Kaci Lickteig Post-2016 Lake Sonoma 50 Mile Interview

Following a winter injury, Kaci Lickteig is already back to take second at the 2016 Lake Sonoma 50 Mile. In this interview, Kaci talks about her injury and how she recovered, the short block of training she had before this race, and her spring and summer racing plans, which include the Western States 100.

For the full story on how the race went down, check out our results article.

[Click here if you can’t see the video above.]

Kaci Lickteig Post-2016 Lake Sonoma 50 Mile Interview

iRunFar: Meghan Hicks of iRunFar, and I’m here at the finish line of the 2016 Lake Sonoma 50 Mile. I’m with women’s second-place finisher, Kaci Lickteig. Hi! How are you?

Kaci Lickteig: Hello. I’m well.

iRunFar: Are you?

Lickteig: I’m good.

iRunFar: You just took second, girl. You had a smile on your face the entire day. You must be well.

Lickteig: It was fun. I had a good run.

iRunFar: You’ve had some challenges this winter. Talk about what you’ve been going through.

Lickteig: Yes, I had insult to injury kind of. I had a big bout of anemia which caused me to become injured throughout February, so I wasn’t able to run during that time. I just stayed in the gym and did some cross-training. I ended up having to go to a physical therapist as a physical therapist.

iRunFar: It happens.

Lickteig: It does. They luckily and thankfully were able to do some techniques, and I was back to running. It’s been about five weeks that I’ve been back to running.

iRunFar: Just five weeks, and you were able to pull off this today?

Lickteig: It was a good race. I’ve been really cognizant on doing what I need to do for my health, so that paid dividends.

iRunFar: Did you go into this race with an open mind about what was going to happen given where you’ve been, or given that you’re a fairly competitive and driven person, did you go into it saying, “I’m still bringing some goals today, kids.”

Lickteig: I honestly had no pressure for this race. I just wanted to go out there and really get the 50 miler in for training for Western again. If it felt good, I was going to go, and if not, I wasn’t going to push anything.

iRunFar: Talk about how the race played out for you. This is not your first Lake Sonoma rodeo.

Lickteig: No, it’s been so odd—up or down, up or down. It started off awesome. We just had this pack of women that we were together in a little train. We were switching who was leading.

iRunFar: This was down on the south side of the lake?

Lickteig: Yeah, so we were just sitting there chit-chatting the whole time. It was so fun. The miles were just clicking by; meeting these amazing women and running with them was just awesome. I am so grateful or them. They made the race a blast.

iRunFar: Then when you come around the other side of the lake, the terrain starts to change.

Lickteig: Yes, it does.

iRunFar: Being somebody that maybe had to have some time off as well as being somebody who comes from, let’s just call it a slightly more flat land than what we find here, did you go into that feeling good, sort of feeling energized by how things started with all the other gals, or where was your mindset when you went into those hills?

Lickteig: I was expecting to have to walk them. I felt really strong. I was just like, Okay, I’m waiting for that seizing of the quads to start happening, and luckily…

iRunFar: Just anytime now…

Lickteig: Yes. Are they going to happen? It felt really good. I honestly think the benefit of going into the gym and doing some cross training really helped me just changing what I needed to do.

iRunFar: Changing things up?

Lickteig: I have not been running vert at all.

iRunFar: When we saw you at mile 30, you were in the third position… or had you moved into second?

Lickteig: I was still third.

iRunFar: When did you pass by Camille [Herron] to take over second place?

Lickteig: It was within that next aid station. That one aid station that was at the top of the hill—there’s only water there…

iRunFar: The Wulfaw aid station?

Lickteig: That’s it. Through that section, I came upon her and she looked like she was having a hard day but she was going to tough it out, so that’s really awesome.

iRunFar: Both you and YiOu [Wang] looked really good. As a spectator, we were all like, “It totally seems like a little bit of a toss-up. They’re both looking really, really good.” As you were coming back around the lake the second time, were you looking in front of you or were you looking behind you or were you just living inside of yourself? What was going on?

Lickteig: Kind of just stayed in my zone. I was just making sure I was running my race and not going to blow up or cause any issues. I was just happy. I’m just happy to be running. It doesn’t matter.

iRunFar: Happy to be running, and happy to be running in California.

Lickteig: Yes, I needed this.

iRunFar: Awesome. Now you have this second place, and now you get to look toward Western States. What’s going to happen in the next couple months between here and there? Are you going to go home and train, or are there any more races?

Lickteig: I’m going to do a similar thing as last year. I’m going to go to Silver State again and run their 50. That’s a blast. Then the Memorial Day Training Run…

iRunFar: Okay, you’re going to come back out here for that?

Lickteig: And then seal the deal for Western then.

iRunFar: Finishing second place at Western States is a pretty big deal. When a person finishes second and then comes back again, I can’t help but wonder if they’re looking for something a little bit more at a race like that. Is Western States that you think you have the capacity within you to win? Is that something you’re seeking?

Lickteig: I would love to. It would be an honor and a blessing to do something so amazing, but there’s such a depth of talent. It can be anybody’s day; 100 miles is a really long ways. It’s just whatever happens, I’m just thankful to be on that starting line again.

iRunFar: But when you go into some of your hard training runs, you’re thinking about, This is for x; this is to help me toward x, can you tangibly grip yourself around the idea that, That’s a race that I potentially could win?

Lickteig: I don’t know. One day it would be amazing. It would be a dream come true. Like I said, there are so many amazing women who are out there, I’m just happy to be there.

iRunFar: Fair enough. Congratulations to you on your second place at Lake Sonoma today.

Lickteig: Thank you. Thank you for being here.

iRunFar: #SeeyouinSquaw.

Lickteig: Whooohoooooo!

Meghan Hicks

is iRunFar.com's Senior Editor, the author of 'Where the Road Ends: A Guide to Trail Running,' and a Contributing Editor at Trail Runner magazine. The converted road runner finished her first ultramarathon in 2006 and loves using running to visit the world's wildest places. For more information on Meghan and her adventures, please visit her personal website.

There are 2 comments

  1. hillrunner50

    First of all, congratulations to Kaci for getting healthy and back into the groove. I wish nothing but success and health for her and hope she learns from past mistakes.

    Nobody should be surprised that she developed injuries and anemia, and that after an extended hiatus she kicked butt on little training. Improvement = work + REST! Just look at 2014/2015 and look at how many ultramarathons she did, all at a high level. There is no question that she is an amazing athlete. Her build is perfect for the sport. But she should ask herself if she wants to go 1-3 years more at 8-10 ultras per year, then burn out due to injury and metabolic breakdown and face life threatening cardiac conditions not too many years down the line, or maybe focus on a few races every year, take several months off of running, and REALLY excel and win, and be able to do it for many many years, possibly well into her 40’s. Money and sponsorship may be partially to blame, but I wonder why so many of these amazingly talented ultra marathoners are taking 3-5 years to utterly destroy themselves, while fanboys and girls are cheering on the sidelines. I know it may seem kind of harsh to criticize after a great performance, but before shredding me try to consider how many athletes just like her have done the exact same thing, over and over and over (train, excel, get injured, time off, excel, get injured, try to come back, metabolic overload, burn out, career done).

  2. Emerson Thoreau

    Kaci, heed Hillrunner’s comments. Geoff Roes was given the same advice as he was racing hard and starting to come apart with “mystery” symptoms. Unfortunately, he ignored theadvice to back off. Overtraining/overracing can not only destroy the ability to run, it can cause many lasting, even debilitating, physiological and psychological problems. Like Hillrunner I wish you great success. More so, I hope you do so in a way that ensures you will be running for many decades. FYI, here is the Roes article, and comments that he ignored (I do not endorse “Cloud’s” nasty rhetoric, but he was substantively correct): http://akrunning.blogspot.com/2011/08/utmb-dnf-what-went-wrong.html

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