Sage Canaday bettered his Lake Sonoma 50 Mile course-record time from 2013… but, this year, that was only good enough for third place behind Zach Miller and Rob Krar, the latter of whom passed him in the final mile. Here Sage’s take on the race in our post-race interview.
For more on the race, including our other interviews, check out our 2014 Lake Sonoma 50 Mile results article.
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Sage Canaday Post-2014 Lake Sonoma 50 Mile Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here after the Lake Sonoma 50 Miler where you were third.
iRunFar: Competition keeps getting better and better. You broke your course record from last year but so did Rob Krar and Zach Miller ahead of you. What do you think about the fast times today?
Canaday: Yeah. Zach ran a phenomenal race. He was just off the front 10 miles in, I think, and he held on. We were thinking he would come back and he just never did. I think he had two or three minutes ahead of us pretty much most of the race. Then I was in second the last 15 miles until Rob [Krar] caught me with a mile to go and just blew past me and was closing, too. So it was all a pretty tight spread and competitive bloodbath.
iRunFar: Yeah, even 4.5 miles out, there was I think four and six minutes, you guys behind Zach. At the end I think it was 90 seconds to two minutes. I don’t know. Really close.
iRunFar: It played out differently last year. People were together and then all of a sudden you just blew off the front as opposed to this year, you were coming back on Zach and Krar came back on you. There was a lot more dynamic action.
Canaday: Oh for sure, yeah. I think it’s just a deeper field. I even wrote down the splits from last year on my arm, my splits from last year. So I was gauging that. I was a little slow early on, I think, and even at the halfway point I was 3:02. Last year I was 3:00. But I mean, I still positive split it, so it’s like, how fast do you go out? I didn’t feel real great and you’re basically hurting, I was hurting the last 30 miles. I mean, I did what I could. I tried to pace it more evenly, and I ran faster than last year.
iRunFar: With those positive splits, it was a day where you would expect those to be rather minimal because it stayed cool most all the day. It got a little warm late, but it wasn’t bad.
Canaday: Yeah, for sure.
iRunFar: What did you find you struggled with the most today out there?
Canaday: I had some stomach issues a little bit. It wasn’t too bad. It wasn’t debilitating, but I was off in the bushes a couple times.
iRunFar: Oh really.
Canaday: Yeah, it was pretty gross. I don’t want to talk about that. So yeah, there was that. I had these ginger chews which I’ve never taken, but I was like, Oh, I saw Rob posted a picture on Twitter of the ginger chews, “GinGin’s, and my girlfriend Sandi Nypaver likes the GinGin’s just when she has stomach aches or something. So I was like, I should just put those in my thing. I ate them all. I think that kind of helped, but I was still feeling off. I don’t know, like I didn’t go to the bathroom enough in the morning or something. It wasn’t bad. I ran a good race.
iRunFar: But it wasn’t the best.
Canaday: It wasn’t ideal. Then the hips always fail.
iRunFar: Tell me about the hips.
Canaday: Something is going to fail eventually. You’re going to get a muscle cramp. You’re going to start puking. You’re going to have bathroom issues probably. You’re going to be in the hurt box, so for me it’s my hips nowadays. I think that’s pretty common. I don’t know what Zach and Rob were feeling, but they were at another level. It was impressive. They’ve got some serious strength.
iRunFar: Are you doing anything to remedy the hip issues?
Canaday: I’m going to now. I actually do some routine, some core routine and hip flexors. I stretch them quite a bit, but I just…
iRunFar: So it’s not a lack of flexibility.
Canaday: My mobility is pretty bad, but as you get older and you put in more miles and you race a lot… I think that’s part of the problem. I’ve been racing a lot this year. I need to dial back probably. I’d rather have a big block of training with a good build up and solid miles than just be bouncing around every four weeks doing an ultra. It’s definitely not ideal.
iRunFar: What was your schedule over the next couple of months?
Canaday: It’s pretty rigorous. It’s a lot like last year. I did a marathon in January. March was Tarawera and back to back weekends. I did a 50k at Northburn, New Zealand. That was more of an easier race, but it was still a 50k with 7,000 feet of vert. It was only three weeks ago. Then I take a week down and I have a week or two to have up-mileage training. Then I’m tapering already. So I’m never really getting over 100 miles/week. Then I’ve got Transvulcania in four weeks. That’s a totally different race than this. So it’s like, do I start climbing now?
iRunFar: After that?
Canaday: June is a busy month. I’m probably going to turn down the Western States spot that I got today.
Canaday: I’m going to turn it down.
iRunFar: Okay. That was a little noncommittal compared to before.
Canaday: I told them I’d think about it. That’s definitely there in the future. This June, I already committed to representing the U.S. at the Skyrunning World Championships at the Mont Blanc Marathon.
iRunFar: Same weekend.
Canaday: Kilian [Jornet] is going to be there. It’s going to be a good race. Then I was like, Well, if I’m doing shorter mountain races in June then I might as well do Mount Washington again and I can focus on that. That race, I just have a passion for that race probably because it suits my strengths more but it’s such a unique race. I want that to be a focus this June instead of doing another ultra. So June will be my short uphill mountain run month. Mont Blanc is still a marathon, a mountain marathon, so that’s going to be rigorous especially coming off Transvulcania. Then the other reason I’d turn down Western States is just I want to get a Trials qualifier in the marathon, so I’m thinking Chicago in October. I just don’t think 100-mile training and marathon training go together real well. I don’t know anybody that’s knocked it out of the park in 100 miles and then come back and significantly run under 2:20 in the marathon. Do you?
iRunFar: Not offhand.
Canaday: I can’t think of it. It’s just two totally different events.
iRunFar: At least not in mountain hundreds.
Canaday: Yeah or even Western States. I don’t know anyone who’s done that. It’s kind of scary. I’m scared of the distance, too. I melt down pretty bad at 100k sometimes. I just couldn’t imagine gutting out for…
iRunFar: Does the hundred-mile distance interest you in some nebulous future time?
Canaday: Maybe next year. It depends on how this year goes with ultras. If I get the Trials standard, that would definitely help. You have to run under 2:18 for the trials, and that’s going to be hard to do because it’s four weeks after The Rut which is not real specific to road marathon either.
Canaday: Yeah, it’s tight. I like the variety.
iRunFar: Yeah. So Tarawera and this were more on the runner-type ultramarathon courses. Are you switching training up and focusing on climbing?
Canaday: I hope so. I don’t know if I have time. Four weeks—I’m beat up here for a week; I’m going to have two weeks maybe in Boulder where I can climb a little bit; then I’ve got to taper.
iRunFar: And travel.
Canaday: Yeah, a 30-hour trip to La Palma. I’m not complaining though. It’s a great place to go. Travel is such a privilege and luxury. It will be fortunate to be there. But it hurt last year—the climbing and the descending.
iRunFar: Well, congratulations. I know you probably wanted to win, but you ran a great race today.
Canaday: Thank you. I appreciate it.
iRunFar: It was the fastest time on this course for you, so congratulations.
Canaday: Thank you.
iRunFar: Bonus question for you, Sage. You’ve got a film. What’s it about and when is it coming out?
Canaday: It’s called “MUT Runner—Mountain, Ultra, Trail Runner.” It’s kind of about how there’s this evolution, that I see at least, in the sport with runners coming in from all different backgrounds—younger guys and women, too, collegiate backgrounds, or just mountain backgrounds. They’re lowering course records all of a sudden. And there are all these sponsorship opportunities where they can travel around the world and live out their dreams with the support of these companies. It kind of analyzes that, but I also want it to be inspirational with some footage from around the world and some kind of artistic, creative shots hopefully that kind of ignite the passion because I’ve always been passionate about running and film, and I’m trying to combine that together. So originally, I did get it successfully funded on Kickstarter, but I was hoping for it to come out later this spring, but I’m thinking I probably have to push it back a little later in the summer because I’m doing it all by myself. I’m doing the editing…
iRunFar: Are you doing the soundtrack?
Canaday: I’m not doing the soundtrack. No.
iRunFar: No Sage on the keyboards?
Canaday: No, no worries. We won’t have that. We’ll have some real music. It’s a work in progress, but I really have a passion for that and I want to share it.
iRunFar: Cool. We’ll look forward to checking that out.
Canaday: Thank you.