Kasie Enman closed out her 2014 Skyrunning season with a second-place finish at the 2014 The Rut 50k. In the following interview, Kasie talks about how she’s likely to change her running season next year, how her racing strategy has evolved through the season, and why she’s excited to hit the roads before switching over to Nordic skiing this winter.
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Kasie Enman Post-2014 The Rut 50k Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Kasie Enman after her second-place finish at the 2014 The Rut 50k. How’s mountain running going?
Kasie Enman: It’s over. This was my last race of the season.
iRunFar: You have done the Skyrunning schedule. You’ve done a ton of Skymarathon distance as well as the ultra distance. You had a good season.
Enman: Yeah, yeah. It was a competitive group of ladies this year for sure.
iRunFar: Heck yeah.
Enman: Yeah, I got my butt kicked quite a bit.
iRunFar: Couple times, but you’ve also had some great performances.
Enman: Yeah, I’ve been consistent.
iRunFar: I mean, if you’re running against the best in the world it brings out the best in you.
Enman: Definitely. That’s why I run these races.
iRunFar: So you’re pretty happy with your season?
Enman: Yeah. Yeah, I would have liked to have held on more strongly at the end of some of the other races, but it turned out well.
iRunFar: It’s your first season really… you’re getting more experience at these distances. It probably is encouraging for future seasons?
Enman: Yeah, I’m trying to decide next year if I maybe want to go back and focus in on fewer races and go back and try to be more competitive in the shorter ones. I like competing against that really strong group of ladies, and I feel like I can come out on top some of the time if I’m more focused on that. This year I was just doing too much.
iRunFar: You were all over the place. You did a lot.
Enman: And the 50k and a number of races this season, that was the longest I’d ever run over and over again.
iRunFar: Was this time-wise the longest you’ve run?
Enman: Not today. Kima was.
iRunFar: Kima. You won Kima.
Enman: I won Kima.
iRunFar: You weren’t expecting to win Kima.
Enman: I was not. Of all the races on my calendar this year, that was the last one I would have predicted a win at.
iRunFar: That’s why you race them, right?
Enman: It helped me that I was really conservative in that race because I had very little confidence in my ability to navigate that course. I took the safe strategy and it ended up working out.
iRunFar: It paid off. Not only were you conservative and Emelie [Forsberg] took a wrong turn which is unfortunate, but you still ran reasonably close to the course record there.
Enman: Yeah, I wasn’t too slow.
iRunFar: And that was a record that I think Núria Picas has it and probably has a lot more experience in that sort of technical…
Enman: Yeah, yeah, I was fully expecting to get caught by some of the other women in that field because I was not impressive in my technique on the bouldering and the rock climbing chains and…
iRunFar: You just got it done.
Enman: I have a bit of a fear of heights, so I was taking those sections pretty slowly. I think because I started slower, similar to today—both of these races I started out slower than I normally would and had it in me to stay strong in the end. Some of the climbs at the end, anybody that’s gone out hard just could barely move up the climbs later in the races, but if you’ve gone out really slowly you can keep moving. Sometimes that’s what it takes.
iRunFar: Probably a little more fun to finish that way than some of your races where you’ve really, not that you’ve come walking in, but you’ve definitely hit the wall.
Enman: Right. It’s gotten ugly. Yeah, although you know what? Those have been fun, too, because I’ve been in the race. All I wanted this season was to be in the race, to be mixing it up. The one race that I backed off so much tactically was Sierre-Zinal, and it didn’t work because I was so far back that I couldn’t see the lead pack, and I just couldn’t compete because I wasn’t in it. I need to be somewhere in the middle.
iRunFar: Today you kind of were. Emelie, of all people, kind of took it out.
Enman: Yeah, well she’s had some unfinished business from Kima and she just wanted to get that going and get what she couldn’t get there.
iRunFar: I was kind of surprised. I would have expected maybe Ellie [Greenwood] to go out hard.
Enman: Except that that’s not what Ellie usually does either.
iRunFar: She’s a smart racer.
Enman: I think all of us, it’s late in the season for all of us, and I think we were all a bit tired coming into this one.
iRunFar: Taking to Emelie and Anna [Frost] before and they were both pretty honest about not being motivated—been racing for awhile. Was there a little bit of that?
Enman: Yeah, exactly. Oh absolutely.
iRunFar: You weren’t planning to come.
Enman: I wasn’t planning to be here. I was saying, “I think I’ll get my head wrapped around the fact I’m doing this race maybe 25k in.”
iRunFar: Did you?
Enman: Yeah, yeah, maybe even later than that. A week ago I was planning on being home this weekend resting up because we had just gotten back from Europe and we just needed some stability in our family life. Taking another trip and another 50k wasn’t exactly feeling like the best thing to do. Being the series finale and with Anna and Emelie and I all being in the running for trying to go for that title, it’s like, Okay, you don’t drop out of a series one race before the conclusion; you finish it out.
iRunFar: You’re competitors. In professional sports, you don’t want to be the team that throws the towel in at the end.
Enman: Exactly. Yeah, I just figured I’d come and see what happened. I was trying to just run within myself and not completely trash myself today, but that worked out really well because I ended up being able to finish more strongly. Apparently I was making up time at the end which I didn’t realize.
iRunFar: You were. Also, we don’t know if Emelie was just… she had the lead and was just kind of like…
Enman: It’s quite possible. She also went out aggressively, so who knows?
iRunFar: Do we know how that scoring went off for the series?
Enman: Yeah, so it was ‘winner take all’ kind of a thing.
iRunFar: Emelie won.
Enman: Emelie won. I wonder if Anna and I are tied points-wise?
iRunFar: There was a bonus here.
Enman: I know. I know.
iRunFar: It might be interesting. Ian Sharman is doing the math today.
Enman: If you do the math, it might be that Anna and I have the same number of points now with my second and her third.
iRunFar: You had a win at Kima…
Enman: I had a first and a second.
iRunFar: She had a win at Transvulcania…
Enman: So, I have a first and two seconds.
iRunFar: And she had two firsts.
Enman: She had two firsts and a third. With this third points being 20% higher, it might be a tie. It’s possible. I don’t know what happens then. It might go to Anna since she has more wins. I don’t know.
iRunFar: Is there a tie breaker? Fractions of a point?
Enman: But it’s good to finish a series. When I tried Skyrunning two years ago I didn’t quite have enough races to complete the series, and now I’ve completed it. I had enough races to be scoring in both the Skymarathon and Ultra categories this year.
iRunFar: A couple years into the Skyrunning thing now, how do you like it?
Enman: Yeah, I still am trying to find balance because I like to mix up the type of running that I do. I like to do road races. I like to do some shorter races. This season felt a little imbalanced for me, a little too much of the long, really technical, really mountainous stuff. I think next season, I’ll pick a few more and just have three or four key ones that I can really focus on and then have the time in my schedule to be able to do the other types of racing I like to do, or even just maybe some training. You know, my races won’t be so on top of each other so maybe I can train.
iRunFar: Speaking of training, you get to train for the New York Marathon next.
Enman: Yeah. November 2, I’m racing.
iRunFar: That’s a pretty quick transition from a season of Skyrunning to a fast road marathon.
iRunFar: Are you trying to get an Olympic Trials qualifier?
Enman: Yeah. This will be my third Olympic Trials. I think I can do it whether or not it happens at New York or whether I have to pick another one in the spring. Yeah, I actually at the beginning of the season when I was looking at, Yeah, what can I do or what do I want to do, I thought it would be fun to try to do a mountain season and then go in relatively quickly to a road marathon and see how well I could do off of… because this type of racing in the mountain races is tremendous endurance and general fitness and strength. The only piece missing is the speed and leg turnover.
iRunFar: You could really surprise yourself.
Enman: So, I’m curious. I have absolutely no idea how it’s going to turn out. Every other road marathon I’ve ever done I’ve come off of shorter races like 10k training and I’ve moved up to marathon. Then I usually follow a road marathon with a mountain season. So this is the first mountain racing season that I came in without having done road marathon training coming into it, and that kind of hurt me at the beginning of the season.
iRunFar: Hurt at the beginning, but in the end…
Enman: Yeah, I feel like today I finally had it all together, I mean, I started and finished in the same place.
iRunFar: Maybe you do need to race a road marathon…
Enman: I think you can get the same effect from training and maybe be a little less stressed by it. Yeah, so it will be a fun experiment. We’ll see what happens.
iRunFar: Congratulations on your Skyrunning success and good luck in the marathon.