There are a fantastic group of female speedsters lining up for this year’s Western States 100 and you get to learn about their WS100 aspirations in the following interviews. Cassie Scallon waxes poetic on the parts of the WS course she’s most looking forward to and Kerrie Bruxvoort talks about her arrival onto the ultrarunning scene.
[For more on the top women in this year’s Western States, check out our full women’s preview along with interviews with Rory Bosio, Aliza Lapierre, Nikki Kimball, and Tina Lewis as well as Amy Sproston, Ashley Nordell, and Meghan Arbogast.]
iRunFar: You arrive to the WS100 a 100-mile virgin. There have got to be some benefits and some downsides to this. What do you see as the goods and the bads of being in this position?
Scallon: I’ve heard people say that running 100 miles is completely different than racing other distances. I’ve listened to enough horror stories about what people go through in the later miles of the race to be quite intimidated by the distance, but I’m also interested to see how I handle it, what emotions come out, and if it’ll be my new favorite distance. I am wondering about pacing, eating, staying calm early in the race, and focusing through the middle miles. It’ll be an experiment! The unknown is scary, but at least I don’t have past bad experiences looming over me.
iRunFar: You had to drop from the Cayuga Trails 50 because you tweaked your hamstring in a fall. What’s going on with your leg now? Is your hamstring recovering? Are you starting to feel better? Have you returned to running? Will it inform your run at WS100, do you think?
Scallon: I’m not thrilled that the same leg as last year is giving me trouble going into Western and putting a damper on my summer running fun. Last year, I was picking up my race packet at WS100 when I got a call from my doctor telling me not to run. I don’t want this year to be anything like that! I’m pretty sure that what is happening now is a strain and not a tear.
I have done a few small runs to test it out, but it’s forcing a bigger taper than I’d hoped to do. It definitely feels better than it did a week ago, but it’s not normal yet. The pain migrated down to my calf today, but hopefully it’ll just keep moving down and vanish out from my heel. I’m massaging it a lot, and just trying not to stress too much. It’s frustrating waiting for it to heal, but I am hopeful that it’ll be fully gone by Western.
iRunFar: You have inordinate speed at 50 miles and below. This makes you an automatic podium favorite for Western States. Who else do you see as your main competition on race day?
Scallon: There will be so many tough women out there! I worry that I’ll be eaten up by every last person. However, I’m very excited to be racing with my Salomon teammates Aliza, Kerrie, and Tina.
iRunFar: From an outside perspective, it seems you rocketed onto the ultra scene in 2012, with a second at Speedgoat 50k, third this March at Moab Red Hot 55k, and then you’ve won both the Zane Grey 50 Mile and Quad Rock 50 Mile with only a couple weeks of recovery in between. From your perspective, how has your “rise” gone?
Bruxvoort: I’ve only been running mountain and ultra races for a little over a year now, so it’s still very new and exciting for me and I learn a lot each time I race. It’s been an absolute blast. I know that I still have a lot of room for improvement and loads to learn, so that keeps me motivated. I’m also inspired so much by the beauty of the trails (the steeper, the better) and the wonderful people I get to spend time with along the way. It’s been an amazing year and I feel really lucky and excited about the future.
iRunFar: Somewhere in there you acquired a Salomon sponsorship. How and when did that come about?
Bruxvoort: I’ve been a part of the Salomon team since last summer. Speedgoat was my first race for the team. I feel really fortunate to be part of such a great group of athletes. I’ve gotten to do quite a bit of running with Cassie since she’s been back from injury, which has been a lot of fun. She’s amazing. And there are several other Salomon team members in the Boulder area and Colorado. We have a great group. I’m looking forward to seeing everyone at Western.
iRunFar: You’re a mom, like several of the other women among the top entrants this year. How do you find the time for high-level training and “mom-ing?” Because there’s just no way around it, both require so much time. And, will your kids be at the race this year to cheer you?
Bruxvoort: Yes, I’m a full-time mom to our two daughters, 6 and 8. This year was the first year they were both in school, so I had more time to hit the trails. Before this past year, it was a lot harder to find the time. I spent many hours pushing a baby jogger, which made for some great memories. (I added up the mileage one time and it was somewhere around 3,000.)
The girls are out of school for summer now, so it’s a juggling act. I take them with me to the gym, they bike next to me, and I squeeze time in on the trails around my husband’s work schedule. I’m sure all moms can relate. It’s well worth the sacrifices!
It’s really important to me that I show my girls by example that they can do anything they put their mind to. I want them to grow up to be strong, confident, passionate, and unique. Though they won’t be with us at Western (they’ll be with Grandma and Grandpa in Fort Collins), I’ll be thinking of them out there for sure.
My husband, sister, and brother-in-law will be my support crew. They’re very selfless and awesome to spend their time out there just for me. I’m a lucky girl.