This is Megan Kimmel’s fourth-straight trip to The North Face Endurance Challenge 50-Mile Championships , where she’d DNFed (’12), taken 10th (’13), and finished second (’14). In the following interview, Megan talks about her previous runs at the TNF 50, what the highlight of her season was, and how she’s coming into the race tired.
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Megan Kimmel Pre-2015 The North Face EC 50-Mile Championships Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Megan Kimmel before the 2015 The North Face Endurance Challenge 50-Mile Championships. How are you, Megan?
Megan Kimmel: I’m doing good, Bryon. How are you?
iRunFar: Alright. It’s hard to believe. This is your fourth time in a row back at this race, right?
Kimmel: Yeah, it is.
iRunFar: DNF three years ago, then 10th, and then second. It’s a good trend.
Kimmel: Yeah, I’ve been happy with all of it actually.
iRunFar: You have for many years sort of concentrated on shorter[-distance] trail running. Over the last couple years, you’ve done some more ultras; you’ve gone more toward the marathon distance. You’ll still mix it up shorter, but what’s been the reason for that?
Kimmel: I think part of me is kind of a roots-y kind of person. “I’m not letting go of short-distance races.” I feel like ultrarunning really has caught onto a trend, and I think there’s still so much more to short-distance running and the mid-distance—the half marathons and the marathon—that really a large part of the population does and it’s feasible for a large part of the population. I like the idea of that not losing its ground, to tell you the truth. I also like the variety in training for myself personally. I still like running fast. I don’t want to lose the leg speed until I’m a little bit older, and I’m getting there.
iRunFar: What has caused you to do some more ultramarathons?
Kimmel: The challenge, the fact that it is kind of a growing part of the sport, and just the learning experience at this point so I can do more in the future.
iRunFar: What have you learned? You’ve shown improvement each year. The first year you had a calf injury, so that’s sort of an aberration. What have you learned doing these ultras? What have you improved on?
Kimmel: That’s a good question. I think for me a big part of it is the mental game. I think more than anything I gain confidence within the distance doing them over and over and over again. Certainly there’s much to be gained in terms of nutrition and hydration for sure.
iRunFar: Speaking of your breadth of distances, you’ve raced a heck of a lot this year. How are you feeling?
Kimmel: I’m pretty worn out and pretty out of it for this race, to tell you the truth. I kind of checked out in mid-October after my last Sky race. I was able to hold on with the training I had for the Moab [Trail] Marathon at the beginning of November. Then winter came pretty early to the San Juans. Training became a little more difficult when all the singletrack was snow-covered and icy. So, at this point, I’m over the fact that I’m over the season, and I’m just here to explore how my body is going to react to this distance.
iRunFar: It was only a month ago you were in pretty good fitness at Moab Trail Marathon. Even if you’ve been tired late in your season, you’ve had some pretty good results—the 25k at The Rut, you seemed to run pretty well. Maybe you’re not physically burnt out but mentally perhaps?
Kimmel: Yeah, more than anything and more than both of those is I was just traveling a lot. That’s what took it out of me more than anything else this past season. I have had a month or six weeks back home. That’s been good, but maybe it’s been a little too good.
iRunFar: Kind of comfortable with the not training so much?
Kimmel: Yeah, other house projects and stuff like that.
iRunFar: With all the races you did this summer, you had some pretty good results. Are there any that stand out to you that you just nailed?
Kimmel: I feel I nailed The Rut actually. Most people know about the Dolomites [SkyRace] and I was very surprised with that finish, but that was certainly probably the one to celebrate the most. The Rut—I wanted to go, and I wanted to win that race, and I did. That’s the one I probably thought about the most and had the most intention about and came out on top for. That’s the one.
iRunFar: Congratulations and best of luck this weekend.
Kimmel: Thanks so much.
iRunFar: Bonus question for you: what do you think about saying, “It’s not raining yet,” before going into an interview?
Kimmel: I asked for it.