Stephanie Howe’s still ramping up her 2014 training ahead of the Western States 100… and that should scare her competitors. Especially, as she was still able to take second place at the 2014 Lake Sonoma 50 Mile amidst strong competition. Here are her post-race thoughts.
For more on the race, including our other interviews, check out our 2014 Lake Sonoma 50 Mile results article.
[Click here if you can’t see the video above.]
Stephanie Howe Post-2014 Lake Sonoma 50 Mile Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Stephanie Howe after her second-place finish at the Lake Sonoma 50 Mile. How’s it going?
Stephanie Howe: Good. Really good.
iRunFar: You came in here saying you basically didn’t train. You did some cross training. You did some running. Did you run within yourself today?
Howe: You know, I did. I started a little faster than maybe I had planned, but I felt good. I really felt good. Yeah, I think in the middle for sure I was just kind of running and I was smiling, so that’s kind of fun.
iRunFar: So you maybe went fast but you weren’t consciously pushing the pace?
Howe: No, I was just feeling good. I had just done this race two years ago, and I remembered that last 11 miles just ate me up. So I was like, No, just be patient until that part.
iRunFar: When did Emily [Harrison] get out ahead of you?
Howe: We were kind of just running together. I had some stomach problems at the beginning, nothing major, but I had to take a couple stops. She just got ahead there, and I just never saw her again. Maybe that was mile 15?
iRunFar: You and her, there was a pretty similar gap for quite awhile.
Howe: Yeah, I think it was like two or three minutes for most of the race. Then she got a little further ahead at the end.
iRunFar: When did you sort of have that feeling that she was really pulling away?
Howe: I got a split that she was seven to eight minutes. I was like, Whoo, she’s starting to gap me. I was running maybe a little too comfortable. I had to turn on the extra gear the last four miles.
iRunFar: How did it work out with Jodee Adams-Moore out there?
Howe: Good. She ran with us for awhile. She was kind of going up which I expected because she’s so fast. She struggled a little bit on the climbs, then I just never saw her again.
iRunFar: You were pretty much… not alone because…
Howe: Yeah, I was alone for awhile, for a good part of it. There were a couple guys, but…
iRunFar: Not really?
Howe: Not really.
iRunFar: Pretty much on your own.
Howe: Solo, yeah. But I was doing this little thing, not until the end, but when there were 10 miles to go and when my watch would chime, I’d say, “TEN!” Then with nine miles to go, “NINE!” So I did excite myself.
iRunFar: So you did have a little gift to yourself, a little trick to make it positive.
Howe: Yeah, I was tricking myself and trying to smile and have fun.
iRunFar: Were there any, aside from the little stomach problem early, were there any low spots or trouble along the way?
Howe: No, this is the best I’ve felt in a 50. I think I did really good on the nutrition. I’ve had some races where it hasn’t been awesome, but today, and it’s probably going to sound gross, but I did every 15 minutes with my little gel flask. Then at the aid stations, I had Coke and chips. I fueled a lot, but I felt great and my energy level was good the whole day.
iRunFar: It’s good to hear you say as someone with a very strong nutrition background that in an ultra race, Coke and chips aren’t that bad for you.
Howe: No, it’s good. You want the simple stuff when you’re racing because you can digest it. The chips are great because if your stomach is a little big queasy, it will usually help settle it.
iRunFar: Do you take salt along the way?
Howe: I do. Today it was a little bit chilly at the beginning so I wasn’t taking a ton, but I was trying to take two or three [capsules] an hour when it got sunny out. I didn’t have any problems later on.
iRunFar: Are you doing an electrolyte drink?
Howe: I just do water. I like to know how many calories I’m getting, so I do the flask and then just water.
iRunFar: And then salt separately?
Howe: Salt separately, yeah.
iRunFar: Each constituent separately.
Howe: It keeps me busy the whole time. “Oh, it’s time for salt!” Then five more minutes, “Oh, it’s time for gel.”
iRunFar: You don’t have to think about the fact that this is stupidly runnable.
Howe: Oh, yeah, exactly. I loved the big climbs because I just got in the groove and went up them, but the last part is so hard for me because it’s just relentless. You can run it, everything, and it’s so hard.
iRunFar: So what else do you have on your plate for this spring.
Howe: Western States!
iRunFar: You’re excited about that.
Howe: I’m excited. It’s going to be a big step, so I need to get some training under my belt. I shouldn’t say I hadn’t been training, but I’ve been doing 50 miles/week which is pretty minimal. So I think I need to step it up a little bit for Western States.
iRunFar: How do you think that will change how you approach your training?
Howe: More volume, less intensity. I have to talk to Ian. We were chatting a little bit. “We need to talk about training next.”
iRunFar: Which Ian do you train with?
Howe: Ian Torrence.
iRunFar: So you still have to work out that plan exactly.
Howe: Yeah, I’ve got to see what that looks like. The goal was to get me healthy and to just get some consistency with training. Before, I got really fit cross training. Every race I talked to you I was like, “I cross trained before this.” It was great because I could get fit, but then I’d go into the race and we decided I’d kind of break myself because I just wasn’t used to that pounding. So to break the cycle, we’re like, Okay, get some consistent training, stay healthy, and then once I’ve addressed some of that, start to increase it a little bit.
iRunFar: You feel like you’ve got that base now?
Howe: Yeah, I feel ready within reason. I’m not going to go crazy now, but some longer runs will be on the docket I think.
iRunFar: Nice running this weekend and best of luck to you getting ready for Western States.
Howe: Thank you. Thank you.
iRunFar: Why the concoction (in the gel flask)?
Howe: It’s easier for me than opening packets because I can just sip on it. I’ll open a packet and then I won’t eat the whole thing right away. It’s a little easier.
iRunFar: So the recipe for Stephanie…
Howe: I can tell you. I’ll tell it on…
iRunFar: It’s rolling right now.
Howe: It is two scoops of CarboPro and then four Clif Shot gels with a little water.
iRunFar: But I remember you opening the gels yesterday at the coffee shop and they were different flavors.
Howe: Yeah, I like to mix the flavors. So my first one was like strawberry vanilla. My second one was mocha chocolate cherry. So I get different…
iRunFar: So ones that kind of complement each other, not a lemon coffee cherry chocolate.
Howe: Yeah, no.