After placing second last year, Kaci Lickteig is back to run the Western States 100 once again. In the following interview, Kaci talks about where she hopes to perform best on Saturday, how her training has gone, and how she trains for the elevation change of Western States in the Midwest, amongst other things.
[Click here if you can’t see the video above.]
Kaci Lickteig Pre-2016 Western States 100 Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Kaci Lickteig before the 2016 Western States 100. How are you, Kaci?
Kaci Lickteig: I’m doing really good.
iRunFar: Are you excited to run Western States again?
Lickteig: Very excited.
iRunFar: You were here last year and ran a great race to finish second. Any plans to do anything different this year?
Lickteig: No, just run my own race again and stay patient and just be able to run the second half. That’s what I love to do with this race.
iRunFar: To save yourself and push? Is there a certain demarcation on the course where you go from being patient to attacking?
Lickteig: Pretty much after the river. At Foresthill I’ll start running a little harder, and then after the river is when I can really start to see the end is near, so I kind of push then.
iRunFar: You’ve had a really great spring. You ran faster at Lake Sonoma than you’ve run before. You’ve run some other good races. How are you feeling fitness-wise?
Lickteig: I’m feeling really good. Definitely fitness-wise everything has been great. No complaints.
iRunFar: Last year you were second. Does that leave you thinking about focusing on the win or trying just to do whatever you would call a good race? What are you shooting for?
Lickteig: My race is going to be just doing everything I’ve planned ahead of time. If I’m first, if I’m last, if I’m whatever, just as long as I can cross that finish line feeling good and happy, that’s number one.
iRunFar: From last year’s race, was there anything you did differently in that race that led to success that you’re going to focus on this year?
Lickteig: I did. I was not as patient the first time I ran, and I blew my quads by mile 40. So I suffered the rest of that race. I did not want that to happen last year, so I stayed very, very patient in the beginning. Then, I had legs still at Foresthill, and picked up my pacer, Miguel, and I was like, “We’re ready to run now!” I was really excited to get to run to the finish and finish harder.
iRunFar: Now is that like a different feeling than other ultras, in the second half to be 10, 12, 14 hours in and still be running well? Is there a special sense of accomplishment in that?
Lickteig: I don’t know. Just from the year before, it was my number-one goal to just be able to run and not have to walk the rest of that race. It’s my favorite part of the race, so I wanted to be able to run this. Your pacer is waiting for you. Miguel is waiting for me, and I’m going to make sure we run together.
iRunFar: Now, you live and train in the Midwest. How do you get ready—obviously with great success last year—for the hills here?
Lickteig: I just get my aerobic capacity better and try to do weekend runs at Hitchcock which has some vertical.
iRunFar: What does a big hill look like out there, so everyone else who is training in a flatter area… in reality, what are you training on?
Lickteig: Sure. Hitchcock will have 200- to 225-foot climbs, so I’m kind of doing repeats on those and running through that course. You get a lot of elevation there. That’s one time per week basically. The rest of the week I’m just doing normal runs.
iRunFar: What does your normal training look like in a given week? I’m pretty sure, at least mileage-based, you’re pretty high compared to a lot of folks.
Lickteig: It’s around 100 miles per week. A lot of it’s just asphalt running around Lake Zorinski.
iRunFar: So it adds up a little quicker than folks out on the trails in the mountains?
Lickteig: Yeah, time-wise, I’m sure they have much more time than I do.
iRunFar: How are you feeling… I’ve seen in the past a lot of temptation for the people who have been in second, third, fourth place at Western States or another bit race in one year trying to do a ton more volume or train closer to race day just to eek out a little bit more. Have you been able to keep some balance in your training?
Lickteig: My training has been more consistent this year just because I’ve had no injuries besides the one early, early on. Just being able to maintain that consistency has been the best thing I’ve been able to do from year to year.
iRunFar: Have you had a good rest before the race? Are you feeling energized?
Lickteig: I am. I’m just ready to run. I’m excited. This is the best day ever. I’ve been waiting a year for it.
iRunFar: Enjoy your special day out there tomorrow. Have fun.
Lickteig: Thank you. Thank you, everyone.