Anna Frost has dominated every ultramarathon she’s run. However, heading into this weekend’s Speedgoat 50k, she’s feeling less confident in her abilities than she’s ever felt going into a race. Find out why in the following interview as well as learn what’s been bothering her, what she’s been doing other than running, and why she’s looking forward to her extended visit to the US.
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Anna Frost Pre-2012 Speedgoat 50k Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Anna Frost two days before the Speedgoat 50k. How are you feeling?
Anna Frost: I’m feeling ok.
iRF: I saw you last over at Transvulcania, and since then you’ve raced. You won the Maxi Race over in Annecy, did a loop around Mt. Blanc, and promptly…
Frost: Blew up.
iRF: Blew up. What do you mean by “blew up?”
Frost: I think I just overdid it. I cooked it. I guess it’s all part of learning a new distance. I’m new to ultrarunning, and I’m new to knowing what my body can handle and what it can’t handle. I guess in some ways you have to go over that line to know where your line is to reach your potential. I found that line. I went diving over it and really blew up. I’ve had the last seven weeks with a lot of pain up my legs and in my shoulders. I’ve been to doctors; I’ve had physio treatments; I’ve done everything—blood tests. I just had to accept that I just cooked it, really.
iRF: So it wasn’t a particular injury, you just…
Frost: No particular injury. The pain moves. It makes its own mind up where it’s going to hurt and when it’s going to hurt. What I’ve been finding out lately is having that kinesiotape wrapped tight around my legs and having some sort of compression on, that seems to sort of hold the pain solid. I’ve had the last month on ibuprofen, which is terrible, I know, but I had to get through the pain somehow. I’ve gone off that this week, so I’m feeling a little bit of pain. Also, I haven’t been running. I’ve just been power hiking straight up mountains and straight back down again, which doesn’t hurt. So as long as I’m going pretty steep down and almost out of control, then I’m fine, apart from falling over and scratching up my legs. That’s fine. So, I think it’s coming right, slowly, but I just have to be careful of how much I run, I think, at the moment.
iRF: So you were kind of on the Anton Krupicka “injury fill-in plan.”
Frost: Yeah, and it’s been his inspiration that I’ve been chasing him up and down the 14ers around. And with him doing the Nolan’s recces and trying to get over those mountains as much as he can; it’s just been awesome for me to go up and play on them. After Hardrock, as well, it was great to be down there and be inspired by the course and the people there. There were hundreds of other like-minded people wanting to go up the mountains, as well. There’s been no excuse not to get up them, and it’s such a great workout just walking hard. I learned that in 2009 when I had knee surgery. I just could not run for five months, and I just power hiked five hours/day for five months. I raced at the end of those five months and raced the best I have my whole life. I think you just gain a really deep strength.
iRF: It’s interesting to hear you talk about it, because Anton hasn’t raced in one and a half years and I just talked to him, and he thinks he’s in some of the best shape of his life. He’s proving that with his personal bests on courses from walking.
Frost: Absolutely, yeah. You can cover the same distances that you had and if you’re going up 14ers, your lungs are bursting and it’s hard work! You can’t run up there even if you wanted to. So I think you can never underestimate power walking.
iRF: It’s great that you’ve kept a very positive attitude, not letting your problems set you back. You’re finding inspiration in the mountains and the people still. The joy is alive.
Frost: Yeah, yeah, definitely. I’m going into Speedgoat feeling the least confident I’ve ever felt going into a race. It’s not a really nice feeling. When I go into a race, I like to be in my best performance, to be able to go out there and have a really good crack at the race and a good crack at the time and chase down the guys. It’s something that I really enjoy doing. It’s hard because I have nothing to judge my fitness on. I’ve been walking up 14,000-foot mountains, but that means—it’s good, it’s great, but I don’t do that. So I don’t know how fast or slow I’m going up them. So for the last three days I’ve started running, which seems ridiculous—a week out of Speedgoat and I’ve started running.
iRF: Sounds like Kilian before Transvulcania, right?
Frost: Yeah, exactly.
iRF: He ran something like four times.
Frost: So this morning I was on the course and I was trying to run up stuff that usually would not faze me, and I was feeling a little worse for wear, so I turned around and came back down and thought, “Right, that will do for now.”
iRF: Give it a day to recover.
Frost: Yeah, I just hope I pull something out of the bag on the day.
iRF: So last year, you were jet-setting around the world every week. A good part of the beginning of this year, you were travelling around Europe and quite busy. Now you’re in the States. Is this going to be a break for you? It’s a new country, a new experience. You’ve been here, but are you actually going to be able to spend some time relaxing?
Frost: Yeah, it’s been nice. When I’m in Europe, we’re doing a lot of races on a lot of weekends and events—media events. Out here it’s just been nice. We’ve been out in the mountains finding different trailheads to go up and park at; and in the morning getting up big mountains, sitting at cafes in little villages—not even little villages, I can’t say—little towns where there’s literally one café and one service station and that’s it. That’s been really nice. It’s just a different scene here, a different vibe. The people in the ultrarunning race scene are quite different out of Europe; they’re more laid back and chilled. They’re really for the passion of the mountains. I find in Europe there’s a lot more science to it, a lot more “Europop” to it, which is fantastic, as well. But it’s just different.
iRF: Yeah, welcome to the press conference.
Frost: Yeah, exactly, it’s a really nice thing.
iRF: What are some of your plans? How long are you here for? Where else are you going to visit and race?
Frost: Yeah, so I’ll relax here after Speedgoat for a bit, and then go to the OR Show in Salt Lake City. Then I’ll be heading to the Transrockies 3-Day run in a couple of weeks. At the moment I’m still questioning whether I’ll be able to do the three days because the first and the third day have a lot of flat running, and at the moment I’m not able to run so much on flat. So I may just do the Hope Pass day. Then depending again on my form of running, I would like to have a go at the Pikes Peak Ascent. Then I’ll be jumping straight back in the car and driving over to Leadville to help pace Tony through the Leadville. Then after he’s through, I’ll go back and get Jenn Segger from the Salomon Team who will be racing as well.
iRF: So that will be a lot of flat running for you.
Frost: Yes, unless I can catch her before the Powerlines or on Hope Pass somewhere, but I’m hoping over the next couple of weeks that my legs will come right and I’ll be able to get on the flats again—which is crazy, but I really feel like running on flat. I’m never usually like that, I’m like, “Find the hills!”
iRF: But you’ve walked enough hills?
Frost: I’d love to be running on flat right now.
iRF: Well, you’ll actually find some places where you’ll have a good mix of flat and a whole lot of uphill this weekend, so hopefully you’ll enjoy that.
Frost: Yeah, I’m sure I will.
iRF: Good seeing you in the States and best of luck to you this weekend.
Frost: Yeah, thank you.