Stephanie Howe took third at the 2014 The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 Mile Championships. In doing so, she rounded out a successful 2014 season that included a second place at the Lake Sonoma 50 Mile and a win at the Western States 100. In this interview, Stephanie talks about how she felt during the race, what she’s going to do now that the season is over, and what is on tap for her in 2015.
For more information on how the race played out, check out our results article.
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Stephanie Howe Post-2014 TNF EC 50 Mile Champion Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Stephanie Howe after her third-place finish at the 2014 The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 Mile Championships sponsored by GORE-TEX.
Stephanie Howe: That’s a mouthful.
iRunFar: You had a great race out there today. You came in sick.
Howe: Yeah, I kind of didn’t talk about it too much because I thought if I ignored it it would go away. I was not feeling good. I’m thrilled that I finished with a smile on my face and happened to be on the podium.
iRunFar: How was it actually out there?
Howe: I just didn’t have any fight in me today. It was challenging. It was a hard race. I did the best I could. The conditions were, I only did this race two years ago, so it was way better conditions except for that singletrack going down from Cardiac. That was a little bit disgusting—a little finesse needed to navigate that.
iRunFar: I think we’ve heard about it. This is the third interview I’ve done and it’s been mentioned.
Howe: I’m sure that everyone is bringing that up.
iRunFar: You ran super strong. How did that play out? Were Magdalena [Boulet] and Megan [Kimmel] off the front right away?
Howe: Yeah, Magda was off the front pretty quick. Megan and I went back and forth a little bit. She was the stronger climber, and I was the stronger descender. We were leap frogging. After awhile, she got ahead of me and I was kind of in my own race there a little bit. I couldn’t see them, so…
iRunFar: There was some separation there.
Howe: Yeah, there was a little separation.
iRunFar: It was a good day to not have any fight because, I don’t know if you got any reports, but…
Howe: I didn’t know. I actually saw Rickey Gates a mile from the finish and I said, “Do I need to sprint?”
iRunFar: And he’s like, “No.”
Howe: He’s like… well, yeah. So I didn’t really know, but I don’t know. It probably wouldn’t have changed my race.
iRunFar: You’re pretty good about controlling your season and rest. I assume you’re going to…
Howe: Rest! It’s ski season!
iRunFar: It was ski season three weeks ago, I think, from your Facebook posts.
Howe: I know! It was! It’s been really tough to train in Bend right now. We got snow, and then we got ice. I did three treadmill runs, and I don’t do that. At all. I do one a year. So I did three in a row and I was like, Oh, my gosh, is it winter and ski season yet?
iRunFar: And it is.
Howe: It is. This race was… I just gotta get through this. And I did. Now I get a little break.
iRunFar: And you did. Now you get a little break. Thinking about anything for next year?
Howe: I signed up for Western States. I will be there again.
iRunFar: Try to defend your title?
Howe: Yeah, there are things that I want to improve on personally. It’s hard to go back to that race and win again. So, there are places I could have run a little better. I’ll focus on that rather than going for the win. It would be nice.
iRunFar: Just have your best race.
Howe: I have my best race, exactly, yeah.
iRunFar: And that could be pretty darn good.
Howe: It could be. Yeah. We’ll see. If I recover, I’d like to do UTMB.
iRunFar: That would be a nice double.
Howe: It would. We’ll see. I’m not interested in running and injuring myself. If I recover, then I’ll be there.
iRunFar: Any tune-ups that you have planned for Western States?
Howe: I think Lake Sonoma. I love that race. It’s so much fun. Then probably a 50k again—either Way Too Cool or Chuckanut.
Howe: Yeah, some good stuff.
iRunFar: Something to look forward to for next year.
iRunFar: Congratulations on your run out there today.
Howe: Thank you.
iRunFar: Talk to you next year.
Howe: Congrats on Hardrock!
iRunFar: WHOO WHOOOOOO!