Courtney Dauwalter is back at the 2019 Western States 100 as the defending women’s champion. In the following interview, Courtney talks about why she’s excited to run the Western States course again, how she’s aiming to be efficient, and how she switched gears from training for the Hardrock 100 to training for Western States.
Courtney Dauwalter Pre-2019 Western States 100 Mile Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Courtney Dauwalter before the 2019 Western States 100 and we’re having a good time, right Courtney?
Courtney Dauwalter: We’re having a great time.
iRunFar: Speaking of great times, you had a great time at Western States both in terms of chrono and it looked like you had a fun time out there.
Dauwalter: It was so fun, yeah. Last year was my first experience with all of it so getting to just explore new trails and see the aid stations and the community was so special last year. I’m excited to be back.
iRunFar: So you’re excited to be back but it’s all, you know, a second-time experience. How do you think that will change your day out there?
Dauwalter: I’m excited. I was trying to remember sections of the course and I don’t know what I was looking at before but I can’t envision what some of the sections are. So I’m excited, it will feel like the first time for some of them, I think.
iRunFar: Yeah, so refresh yourself.
Dauwalter: Yeah, yeah. And then to know now what to expect for Robinson [Flat] and Foresthill makes it real cool target to get to those places just to roll through those sections.
iRunFar: So you get a lot, like a good boost, out of running through those parts?
Dauwalter: I think it’s so fun. People out just enjoying the day in whatever way they enjoy it. Y eah.
iRunFar: And it doesn’t get you carried away or anything? Because some people it does, like they go through that atmosphere and is almost energizes them too much.
Dauwalter: Yeah, I don’t think it does. But I love it. I’m excited to see everyone out there.
iRunFar: Nice. So having had experience on this course last year, are you changing anything up this year?
Dauwalter: No. I don’t think so.
iRunFar: Maybe get your pacer in shape? [Bryon and Courtney are looking at Courtney’s husband Kevin Schmidt off camera and laughing jokingly.]
Dauwalter: Yeah. I’m interested to see how much snow there is. So that will be fun to maybe go glissading a little bit during, that would be cool. Yeah, otherwise we will just see how it goes.
iRunFar: The snow, I went up to the Escarpment this morning, and it was surprisingly a little soft. The top layer. I mean it’s not like you’re postholing, it just absorbs a little energy.
Dauwalter: Yeah, I just need Jim [Walmsley] to start a glissade track for everyone to follow. Start a glissade, Jim.
iRunFar: Jim, you’ve got a job to do. One job. And they would be [made with] Hoka [shoes], so they would be nice and perfect. Needs to be perfect.
Dauwalter: Thank you in advance.
iRunFar: So last year I mean you ran really fast, like sub-18 hours, like crushed it. And now you’re coming back, the weather’s going to be cooler, you have experience on this course. Is there anything that you’re shooting for out there?
Dauwalter: No. I mean getting to the track for sure. Then just being as efficient as possible through each of the sections. So I don’t really like to get attached to times or anything and I’ll just give it what I’ve got on each part, and see where that lands it.
iRunFar: How do you do with running on snow, speaking of efficiency? Because some people are very inefficient and some are more.
Dauwalter: Yeah, I have no idea. We’ ll see.
iRunFar: Didn’t get a lot of snow time this winter?
Dauwalter: I mean, I think I did but I don’t know if I was efficient on it or plodding. Yeah, I have no idea. We will see.
iRunFar: Speaking of up in the air, you had Hardrock on your schedule for a long time.
Dauwalter: We both did.
iRunFar: We both did yeah. See you next July.
Dauwalter: Which is fun.
iRunFar: Nobody else has had that. It’s been a very long time since someone has known they’ve got 13 months to train for Hardrock.
Dauwalter: I’ve never been so planned out.
iRunFar: Yeah, dialed in, this is just a long training… So, training for Hardrock and training for Western States, for anybody, they are very different. Were you training for both or did you switch gears all of a sudden a couple of weeks ago?
Dauwalter: I was focusing on Hardrock for the year. That was where I really wanted to put my attention. But luckily, Colorado mountains weren’t free of snow anyways so May was just a lot of volume. Then I was hoping to get up high as June came through and into July to get ready for Hardrock. So yeah, I think it will be fun, it’s going to be good.
iRunFar: You’re doing a lot of volume and more runnable training, just out of necessity, in May. So in a way you were steered toward preparing well for Western States?
Dauwalter: We’ll see. You never know.
iRunFar: You never know but you weren’t just hiking up the mountains and running down?
Dauwalter: Right. Yeah.
iRunFar: At least from outside, the last couple years looks like you did a lot of racing volume. And maybe a little less this year. Was that intentional?
Dauwalter: Yeah, yeah. I have a lot to learn still with ultras and hearing all the stories and wisdom from people who have been racing before and been through this whole thing it’s like taking the nuggets that I can from everybody and one of those things was you can’t race every month as hard as possible. Yeah, it’s been fun to have more huge stretches of just training where there is no race nearby and I can just try out whatever I want to for training and see how it goes. But I love racing so I’m excited for Saturday.
iRunFar: Though a little bit of a smaller scale, the only race that I can see that you ran both this year and last year was the Behind the Rocks 50 Mile and this year you ran like 25 minutes faster. Do you feel a lot more fit this year? Or was it just a good day?
Dauwalter: I don’t know. We’ll find out on Saturday.
iRunFar: All right, well, have fun out there Courtney, great chatting with you.
Dauwalter: Thank you.