Cassie Scallon won the Lake Sonoma 50 Mile in 2013, but was sidelined multiple times last year with a foot injury. Well, folks, Cassie Scallon is back! She may have taken second this year, but she ran a good deal faster than in 2013 and that bodes well for the rest of her season. In the following interview, Cassie talks about not being in a rhythm early in the race, how little training volume she does, what her thoughts are regarding accepting her possible Western States 100 entry, and what else she’ll be racing in the coming months.
For more on the race, read our 2015 Lake Sonoma 50 Mile results article.
[Click here if you can’t see the video above.]
Cassie Scallon Post-2015 Lake Sonoma 50 Mile Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Cassie Scallon after her second-place finish at the 2015 Lake Sonoma 50 Mile. How are you doing there, Cassie?
Cassie Scallon: A little scraped up, a little sore, but…
iRunFar: You were literally bloody after the race, not even after the race but after mile 11.5. What happened out there?
Scallon: Yes. I don’t know. About five or six miles in, I just wasn’t in a rhythm and I tripped and then I tripped again. I wondered what I was doing. It was on smooth stuff that I was tripping.
iRunFar: Really? So did you just snap out of it? Did you have to consciously work through that?
Scallon: Yeah, after you’re bloody enough you kind of wonder, Maybe I shouldn’t be running today. I definitely thought that.
iRunFar: How did you get past that?
Scallon: Well, I didn’t know how I’d explain it to everyone else. People would laugh at me.
iRunFar: You fell and had a little boo boo…
Scallon: Yeah, not a good-enough excuse.
iRunFar: There were no bones showing.
Scallon: No, no bones.
iRunFar: But you were bloodied, so how did you get your head back into the race?
Scallon: I put music on. That kind of did the trick.
iRunFar: Really? For you what is that?
Scallon: Just a really big mix of things—some classical music, some folky music that I listen to.
iRunFar: Keeps you calm and focused?
Scallon: Keeps me calm, yeah, if I’m thinking about the words, I’m not thinking about running.
iRunFar: Nice. Sometimes that’s a good thing. So, when did you find yourself back in it? It looked externally at mile 20 that you still weren’t really…
Scallon: I was really trying to take it easy for the first half. I thought a lot about my breathing and about being very comfortable. Once I was to the top and doing that little lollipop I thought, Okay, I can start getting a little more serious about this and not holding back on the downhills and focusing on where I was going to run fast.
iRunFar: Up to that point you had Stephanie Howe in front of you who you know and is well established. Then you had sort of a couple people with fast pedigrees but no experience at 50 miles.
Scallon: I didn’t even know those girls. A couple of those times I thought it would be nice to catch up to them just to chat with them for a little bit, but they seemed kind of like they were on a mission and I wasn’t going to try and push myself early on.
iRunFar: Speaking of chatting, before you started falling, you were running with Stephanie and chatting away?
Scallon: Yes, on the road when it was wide open and easy, yes.
iRunFar: Was that fun?
Scallon: Oh, of course. It’s good to know what her plans are for the rest of the year. She was just in Colorado recently, so we talked about that. Yeah, it kept it relaxed.
iRunFar: Awesome. So you come back and do the lollipop at mile 30, did things actually start clicking? Did you feel like you got in a good race the second half?
Scallon: I think so. There is more downhill coming back, but I really felt the downhill where I was able to kind of just go with it. Yeah, things were clicking by. It was fun to see the terrain and how the day kind of changed between going out in the morning with the fog or at least where it was very cloudy and then back to the sunshine.
iRunFar: It was a little bit warm there at the end?
Scallon: A little warm there at the end, yes, but at least it’s mostly shaded, so that helps out a lot.
iRunFar: I didn’t think to look back at it, but what was your time compared to two years ago when you ran?
Scallon: I think this time was almost 20 minutes faster and I didn’t think that was possible. Actually, I just joined Strava pretty recently, and it was shocking to see how little I run. I thought, Well, I must run 60 or 70 miles a week. That’s not true.
iRunFar: So what does a training week look like for you?
Scallon: Under 50 miles a week a lot of the time. It made me very nervous for the race because I felt unprepared after knowing that.
iRunFar: But now you can know that high volume might not be what you need.
Scallon: I guess so, yeah.
iRunFar: Do you have a lot of intensity in your training then?
Scallon: No, it’s also just going out with friends. Even when I’m with a group of friends, I’m usually at the back of the pack.
iRunFar: So just 50 miles of casual running and that ends up…?
Scallon: Well, maybe training doesn’t do me any good. That’s all.
iRunFar: Just go out there and race?
Scallon: I guess so.
iRunFar: Do you have any races coming up in the next couple of months?
Scallon: Yes, next month will be super busy. TNF Australia is the second week of May. The last week of May I’m going out to Annecy for the [IAU Trail] World Champs.
iRunFar: Nice. What draws you to those?
Scallon: Well, the opportunity to go to Australia through the Ultra-Trail World Tour—I’ve never been there. It wasn’t really on my radar, so that’s going to be really cool. Just the world-championship event—it’s always such an honor to be on a national team.
iRunFar: You did get a spot in Western States if you so choose yesterday. I’m assuming you’re not choosing that based on previous conversations?
Scallon: Probably not. I know that my spot isn’t going to roll down to anyone else, so I’m not putting someone else out by delaying my decision. I’m going to see how it plays out. I’d like to pace Aliza Lapierre, and if she’s up for it then I’ll go for that. But if she doesn’t want to, then maybe I’ll come to Western.
iRunFar: You’ll have two weeks to make that decision?
iRunFar: Keep us in the loop if you decide to go. That will make for a very busy next two-and-a-half months if you decide to do Western States.
Scallon: It would be. Yeah, after even just next month I was just planning on just playing all summer and getting out in the mountains. So that would change the plans quite a bit.
iRunFar: Really, if you think about it, what is there only a week in between TNF Australia and Annecy?
Scallon: Yeah, one weekend free. I’ll be home for one day.
iRunFar: You’ll be home… why one day?
Scallon: I was thinking about flying around the world, but it’s actually a little bit better to come back to Denver for a day and then go the other way.
Scallon: Laundry, yes, and change uniforms.
iRunFar: That’s true. I assume at worlds you’ll be running in red, white, and blue of some sort?
iRunFar: Awesome. That will be a cool experience.
Scallon: I think so. I think it will be fabulous.
iRunFar: Nice. You have to be… if you’re not confident coming into the race looking at Strava and how little you do, you ran faster than two years ago. You’re fit, yeah?
Scallon: I’ll take that. I think this is a good spring board. I think that two weeks from now I’ll be even fitter, and that will feel pretty good.
iRunFar: After the injuries of last year and some bumps along the road, was it nice to get a real solid race under your belt?
Scallon: Yeah, I had no idea where I was at. Even after Chuckanut, I gave that a good try, but I really went into that with nothing. It’s just a confidence builder to have a couple of races under my belt now.
iRunFar: Congratulations on some good runs. Good luck in Australia and Annecy.
Scallon: Thank you. Thank you.