Kaci Lickteig ran a blazing 15:45 at the Rocky Raccoon 100 earlier this year and has gone under 7 hours for a trail 50 miler. Still, she’s not yet mixed it up with a big-time women’s field… but she sure is excited to do so at this weekend’s Lake Sonoma 50 Mile! In the following interview, Kaci talks about how she’s recently changed her training under coach Jason Koop, why she’s excited for this weekend’s race, and how she got into trail running as well as why she keeps doing it.
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Kaci Lickteig Pre-2014 Lake Sonoma 50 Mile Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Kaci Lickteig before the 2014 Lake Sonoma 50 Mile. How are you doing, Kaci?
Kaci Lickteig: I’m doing great. How are you?
iRunFar: I’m doing alright. It’s a pleasure to meet you. I’ve read lots about you, heard lots about you, and here you are in person.
iRunFar: You’ve already had one great race this season, Rocky Raccoon two months ago. Was it 15:45?
iRunFar: That’s an amazingly fast time. You’ve run some great times for 50 miles—6:43 or so?
Lickteig: I think it was 6:50-something.
iRunFar: Pleasantly under 7:00. One thing you haven’t done yet is face a lot of tough competition out on the ultra races. Are you excited about that? Are you nervous about that?
Lickteig: I’m excited. I think it’s really cool to be with so many elites. I’m just awestruck. It’s really great.
iRunFar: Is there anybody in particular you’re excited about racing this weekend?
Lickteig: No, I just want to meet everybody. I met Stephanie Howe back when I ran Moab Trail Marathon for the first time. I was just amazed by her, and I still am. Everybody that’s in the field is just awesome.
iRunFar: It is a great women’s field tomorrow, and you’re one of them. How has your training gone since Rocky Raccoon?
Lickteig: It’s been great. I actually have a coach now, Jason Koop with the Carmichael Training Systems. It’s definitely something I’ve not experienced before. He’s pushed me to my limits I think. It’s fun. I enjoy testing myself.
iRunFar: How has your training changed up since you’ve joined Jason?
Lickteig: A lot of different variations in my training. I used to just go out and run what I felt like per day—if it’s an hour, two hours, who knows? Now it’s like a set schedule of like you need to do some tempo work so you’ll do some lactate threshold here and there. So it’s more set and rigid.
iRunFar: More structured?
iRunFar: Still time for some fun running?
iRunFar: Going into Rocky Raccoon you had a very particular goal. You wanted to finish top three and get a Western States spot.
Lickteig: Yes. Yes.
iRunFar: You’ve already done that. You were second. So what is your goal this weekend?
Lickteig: I just want to get out there and really compete against myself, and then this is my new experience of getting any kind of mountain-ish terrain. So I’ll see how I actually fare against that so I know what to train for Western States. I’ll see what my weaknesses are and what my strengths are.
iRunFar: Yeah, there is probably a lot different terrain than you’re used to begin from Nebraska, right?
iRunFar: It’s a lot of runnable terrain. It’s very hilly out there. Have you done anything in particular to train for that?
Lickteig: Not really. I have not. It will be something kind of a surprise.
iRunFar: You have some experience running two 100 milers and at least one 50 miler. What is your nutrition plan going into a race like Saturday’s?
Lickteig: Probably the same thing I’ve been sticking to but just making sure I’m more hydrated with the temperatures being a lot warmer than what Omaha has been. So just making sure my hydration and keeping fuel through the system through my whole race.
iRunFar: The trails, for the most part, are pretty nice tomorrow. It’s not really a technical course. Have you figured out what shoes you’ll wear out there?
Lickteig: Oh, yes. I’ve got to go with my Pearl Izumi Trail N1’s. Those are my go-to shoe for every race. They’re comfortable. I know they drain water well which is always a plus with the water crossings.
iRunFar: Yes, there is at least a pair of those. I don’t know. There may be more. You will get your feet wet.
Lickteig: That’s okay.
iRunFar: You also have some road experience before you came into trails. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
Lickteig: Basically I was always road. I never set foot on trails until just a couple years ago.
iRunFar: What drew you onto trails?
Lickteig: Really I just had a friend talk about Leadville—they ran [the] Leadville 100. They were like, “Why don’t you try this 50k that’s on trails?” I was like, “Why not?” I just jumped into it. Once I ran that race I was like, “Oh my gosh, this is amazing. What have I been missing?”
iRunFar: What do you enjoy most about trail running?
Lickteig: Just being out in nature, being yourself, listening to the birds—it feels surreal.
iRunFar: You’ll get a little bit of that this weekend. I don’t know if you’ve had a chance to go out on the course at all.
Lickteig: We did check it out this morning and kind of looked at it. It is so gorgeous.
iRunFar: Beautiful green hills over Lake Sonoma. The wildflowers are already out.
Lickteig: I’ve never seen such huge pine cones. Huge! There as big as my head!
iRunFar: They can take you out if you don’t time your jump over them just right.
Lickteig: That’s right!
iRunFar: Well, Kaci, it was great meeting you and great luck this weekend!
Lickteig: Thank you so much.