Kaci Lickteig, 2016 Western States 100 Champ, Finish-Line Interview Transcript
Tim Twietmeyer: I’d like to take a few minutes here to talk to Kaci, our Western States Champ this year for the women. You were sixth here two years ago. Last year you were second. Today, you’re the champ. What was different today from your previous times?
Kaci Lickteig: I just gave it to God, really. I just can’t even describe. I had great training leading up to it. It’s one of my lifelong goals, and I went after it.
Twietmeyer: I’m pretty sure it’s safe to say this is our first Nebraska native champion.
Lickteig: OMAHA, NEBRASKA!!!
Twietmeyer: It’s not your hot bed of ultra-trail running. That must make it a little bit difficult to train for a race like this where there’s heat and a lot of terrain to deal with. How did you overcome that today?
Lickteig: Not the heat—for the last 14 days, it’s been 90-plus with 100-whatever heat index. Then my A/C went out, and I haven’t had that for a year. It was a little bit of heat training.
Twietmeyer: I’m thinking the only terrain similar is the freeway overpasses. How do you deal with the hill training?
Lickteig: I go to Crescent which is in Hitchcock and it has 225-feet hills, so I just work on those.
Jim King: You mentioned it was a relief to win at Western States. You did that. When did you know? When did you have faith that you could do it?
Lickteig: Honestly, I never take anything for granted. Until I step on the track, I never know. It was definitely… I ran my race.
Twietmeyer: When I was looking at numbers today, you went from a two minute lead at Duncan to 11 minutes at Robinson, 19 at Last Chance, 38 at Foresthill, and almost an hour at Auburn Lakes. You just steadily pulled away from the women’s field and pretty much left everyone else in the dust. Were you feeling that strong all day? Was there a place where you thought it might fall apart?
Lickteig: I actually had one mishap, and it was on Cal 1. I had a bad stomach problem, and I just walked it off. After that, I felt great again. I just worked through everything. I kept positive and smiled and just had fun out there.
King: Was there anything you learned last year or the year before or changes you made that really benefited you this year?
Lickteig: I decided to take on the canyons. They were always my worst part. I had a goal of getting through those and feeling good at Michigan Bluff. I executed that. Then I just really tried to stay conservative for me, and for the first half, keep the legs so I could run the rest of the way. That’s my number one goal.
Twietmeyer: I know for those who aren’t regular ultrarunners in the crowd, we’re interested to know how you got the title, the “Pixie Ninja?”
Lickteig: Part of it’s from my pacer, Miguel [Ordorica]. The first time we ran together, he looked at me on the trails and was like, “You look like a little pixie, and you’re kind of fast like a ninja,” so it’s all up to him.
King: What’s your next big goal?
Lickteig: Oh, gosh, I’m going to have to think about that for awhile.
Twietmeyer: I think winning Western States puts a new level of confidence in your running, and then also will bring up other opportunities. Hopefully you’ll come back next year and defend your title. As a souvenir, here’s your finishing ribbon you can hang up in your room. Our 2016 Women’s Western States Champion! It was fun to watch you run.