Dave Mackey has been at the endurance-sport game for quite some time, but he’s still looking to master the 100-mile distance and all its variables. This weekend, he’ll have another shot to get it right at the Run Rabbit Run 100. In this interview, Dave talks about what’s gone well and less well with his summer racing season, why he just keeps on truckin’ even though he’s been competing a long time, and if his racing strategy will change because there’s big money on the line this weekend.
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Dave Mackey Pre-2013 Run Rabbit Run 100 Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Dave Mackey before this year’s Run Rabbit Run 100. How are you doing, Dave?
Dave Mackey: I’m doing well, thanks, Bryon Powell. How are you?
iRF: I haven’t seen you in awhile.
Mackey: No, I think it’s been months. I can’t remember when.
iRF: Probably Western States.
Mackey: Oh yeah. We both dropped.
iRF: We both dropped. How about that? What was your reason for dropping out there?
Mackey: Because I suck. No, I had stomach issues, and it was too close to San Diego 100. Yeah. Otherwise, yeah, it wasn’t happening.
iRF: Yeah, I feel you on that. So do you think running San Diego did negatively affect you?
Mackey: I’ve tried to push things a little bit as far as back-to-back races this year. San Diego was definitely a little too close. It was super hot there and that carried over a lot more than I thought it would to Western.
iRF: You haven’t raced since then, right?
Mackey: I haven’t done any ultras. I did, well you might call it an ultra, the Pikes Peak Double.
iRF: Oh, that’s right.
Mackey: Yeah, but besides that, no ultras though.
iRF: You had solid placings in both races, correct? Top 10 in both?
Mackey: Yeah, pretty good. Yeah, seventh in the [Pikes Peak] Ascent and sixth in the [Pikes Peak] Marathon. So I was pretty happy about that.
iRF: Improving on the back end of the double.
Mackey: Yes. My ascent time was about the same for both races, so I can’t really complain about that.
iRF: You’ve run that race many times. It’s probably a good fitness test for you. How does it compare to past times?
Mackey: I was surprised. I thought I could run a little bit faster than that. It’s hit or miss that day. Simon Gutierrez ran 2:27 on the Ascent, and he came into it pretty fit, but that was a poor time for him. You just never know at that race. Unless you live on that mountain, it’s pretty hard to tell. I was pretty happy over all. It was a good fitness test for sure. I’m pretty happy.
iRF: I know, at least in the spring, you were doing a lot of mountain biking in addition or a lot of just other training. How has your training gone since the double 100s? Or have you sort of taken some time?
Mackey: It’s gone pretty good. I haven’t really gotten my volume up too much. Kind of keep it pretty low. I knew coming into Run Rabbit Run I wanted to be pretty rested instead of overtired and overtrained which I think myself and most other people are. I think I learned my lesson earlier in the summer. So I came in rested. But like you were saying, doing a little more training and cross training in the spring was fun when there’s time for it. I haven’t ridden my bike in a month. That’s just how life goes. I’m trying to get more runs in instead and other stuff when I can.
iRF: You’ve been doing this for a long time—even 100s. You’ve been doing those since 2004—your first at Western States?
iRF: Almost a decade of those. How much do you think you can rely on experience?
Mackey: Yeah, 100s are, I mean, I’m experienced, but 100s are not my forte. They still haven’t been yet, except for a couple of exceptions like at Western States. I’m still figuring it out. I feel like I’m kind of experienced, but there are people here for whom 10 years is nothing. They’ve been doing it for 30 years. I was talking to Roch Horton—he’s been doing it forever. They have it more dialed than I do. I’m definitely going to learn some stuff along the way and definitely tomorrow.
iRF: On the other hand, you have been, not just in ultras, but with adventure racing and ultramarathons, you’ve been competing in endurance sports for a long time. What keeps you coming back to racing?
Mackey: It’s just super fun. I’m just having a good time with it. A year or two ago, it was just a good time and really fun. It really has become even more so in the last year or two. I’m just happy to be out there. I’m able to stay really healthy and no joint issues. So I just want to keep doing it as long as I can and still try to compete and run with the fast guys and hopefully win some here and there.
iRF: What is fun about it? What is that experience?
Mackey: I don’t know. You were talking about the weather a couple minutes ago, everybody was talking about the weather, but it could be epic tomorrow out there. It could be pretty mild. Just keeping the unknowns out there—the course, your stomach, your body in general. Just keeping it kind of adventurous kind of keeps it interesting all the time.
iRF: Hearing you describe that, I was thinking of your adventure-racing background. The multitude of variables is something you must enjoy figuring out on the fly.
Mackey: Yeah, I could probably apply myself a little better as far as figuring those things out than I have in the past and better than other people can. Yeah, I’m still working with it.
iRF: Sort of on the strategy side of things, there’s a huge cash prize first place over the weekend. Do you go out really hard and try to stick it and risk blowing up?
Mackey: Yeah, no doubt. No, not this time. Everybody was saying last year it was a hammerfest up to mile 4.4 at 4000 feet up. They said, “No, don’t do that.” I’m definitely not going to. I’m trying to change my perspective a little bit to thinking about finishing rather than just going out to win, and I hope that is a good formula. Just letting it happen, and if the result happens then that’s good.
iRF: When we were talking before we got on camera, crazy flooding, like once-in-a-century-type flooding, your wife and family are back taking care of that and you’re…
Mackey: I know. I’m sorry, Ellen. You’re digging out our window well right now with four feet of water at home. So, you’re right. I’m up in the mountains.
iRF: You have a good day up there. Not so bad here, is it?
Mackey: Yeah. Pretty nice.
iRF: Well, have fun out there and enjoy the experience.
Mackey: Thanks Bryon. See you tomorrow.