Arlen Glick says he’s happy with his third place at the 2022 Western States 100, despite having a rough day at times. In the following interview, Arlen shares how the race went from his perspective, including about taking it easy in the early miles, his low in the middle of the race due to a calorie deficit, and a 15-plus-mile battle to maintain his podium position.
For more on how the race played out, read our 2022 Western States 100 results article.
Arlen Glick Post-2022 Western States 100 Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Meghan Hicks of iRunFar. I’m with Arlen Glick. It’s the day after the 2022 Western States 100 and you were the men’s third-place finisher. How are you feeling at this very moment?
Arlen Glick: Way too good.
iRunFar: Let’s start with what you said at the finish line yesterday at your finish line interview with Dylan Bowman and Corrine Malcolm. You said you had a 20-mile low patch. What happened there and where was that exactly?
Glick: Yeah. So, it was around like, it was after Duncan Canyon aid station. No, no. What’s the next one?
iRunFar: Dusty Corners aid station maybe?
Glick: Dusty Corners, yeah. So, I had crew access, and I was relying on Maurten, which was giving me a lot of calories and I was feeling great on it. And so, I got to Dusty Corners, did my thing, felt pretty good. And I got to Devil’s Thumb, and I was relying on other aid stations at that point, and I think their, whatever they were putting in my bottle was really watered down, and I didn’t really think about it. There was just a long spell there where I was not paying attention to calorie intake.
iRunFar: Like not counting the calories.
Glick: I didn’t know how many calories were in it.
iRunFar: Yeah, you’re guessing.
Glick: Yeah. It was kind of a guessing game and that just like, I was so overtrained going into it I believe that like I didn’t even feel the bonk. And yet I was having one, and like it just, it was so elusive. So tricky. And then like that induced my hamstring to cramp a bunch, which I carried all the way to the finish line, which I’m glad I took it to the finish line. But yeah, so like, it was a day of like, getting through the hard points. Not sure like, not being able to climb. I hiked pretty much every climb from like Devil’s Thumb to the finish line, which is like the last 60 miles or whatever. But I didn’t have many cards to play. But I feel like I just played the ones I had well.
iRunFar: Just kept going strongly.
Glick: Yeah, once I made it the Foresthill, from then on, my calorie intake was spot on.
iRunFar: Because you were back with your crew and your own nutrition.
Glick: Yeah, so I was back on my nutrition plan, which really helped, but the cramping never did leave completely. Sodium was a little tricky. We were trying something new, and my capsules were coming loose and leaking so I was like scratching for every bit of salt I could find, like almost licking the rocks.
iRunFar: Like a deer or something. [laughs]
Glick: Yeah. But it was it was great though. Like my quads were so overbuilt from the training block I had that it didn’t matter how hard I pushed the downs. It was only when they got real technical that my hamstring would start seizing up and yeah. It was awesome.
iRunFar: Let’s talk a little bit about the men’s race dynamic. Were you thinking about it early on? I mean, I guess the way that I want to ask this, or what I’m curious about is, you’ve done so many of these 100-mile races that you know that there’s going to be these inevitable highs and lows. It’s 100 miles. Were you thinking about racing early? Were you thinking I’ll wait to race later? Where was your head on that?
Glick: Yeah, so I stick strictly to effort based. I, like I said earlier, like I eat 100 milers for breakfast.
Glick: So like, I know what it’s supposed to feel like and the minute that Adam [Peterman] you know, was pushing outside of my zone, it was like I wasn’t even tempted to go with him. Because that’s, I know where I need to be. And he climbs really well and I do downhill well and so it wasn’t really smart for us to stick together. And he, yeah, I was shocked. Like I’ve always heard of the carnage that happens at States and we were at like a minute a mile slower than course record for the first, till the first aid station. And I remember thinking like, “I can see all the American top, my top picks, they’re all in sight of me.” And that was clear down to Duncan Canyon, mile 24. And I’m like, “These guys are going slow today.” And they are going to execute all the way to the end. I remember thinking…
iRunFar: So, you’re thinking, “Everybody’s going to execute here.”
Glick: Yes. I remember thinking I cannot bank on a blow up, like all the other guys blowing up, that I’m used to like knowing that they’re running too fast. It’s okay, I’ll see them later on. So yeah, the dynamic was very different from what I expected.
iRunFar: So, in your mind, you thought I’m going to stay in my own zone and my own effort. Everybody’s going to go away and they’re going to come back later on.
Glick: Yeah, I wouldn’t say I thought they were going to come back later on. I figured it all depended on how well they executed their plan. But like, there were some spots that were so low. I mean, I can remember people passing me around Michigan Bluff, and I was thinking, you know what, I’m not even going to top 10 today. And I was like, you know what, this is Western States. I can try again. I can try to qualify again. I’m like, you know what, I’m going to have fun no matter how bad this goes. And I can remember I watched “Unbreakable” soon before the race and where the guy who won, lost his climbing legs. And he won the race. And that’s what like gave me this hope that you know what, I can’t climb right now. But I can sure run downhill.
iRunFar: So, you’re thinking of Geoff Roes circa, was it 2008 or 2010?
Glick: I think 2010.
iRunFar: Yeah, Geoff Roes circa 2010. He lost his climbing legs, but there’s a lot of running later. This is what you’re thinking.
Glick: Yes. And like the course saved me. After Foresthill, once I got my calorie intake back up, I still had to deal with cramping. I still couldn’t climb. But like I could finally run down fast, and I just played any section I could, and I felt kind of bad for some of the guys that I was leapfrogging. But I just felt like I had to run every step I could as well as I could.
iRunFar: When did you start to feel like, was there a psychological switch where you’re like, “Oh, I’m going to be happy to finish this. I’m going to come back and qualify again,” to “I’m in it.”
Glick: Yeah, I wouldn’t say it was a sudden switch. But I remember I caught two guys right after Foresthill that had caught me in Michigan Bluff. And like it was, I could tell a distinct difference in the pace I was running, the effort I was giving. And I was feeling so good at the effort I was giving. And one thing that really saved me was not fighting through those low times, like accepting the low times. Because I feel like so many guys screw up. When they start to hurt, they start to push. And like it takes them out of that safe zone where they need to thrive.
iRunFar: There might be a lesson for all of us ultrarunners in that statement.
Glick: Yeah, well, like I do terrible at anything less than 100 miles.
Glick: And I was thinking yesterday, I don’t even know what my split was coming into Foresthill. It was embarrassing. Like, it was horrible. And I remember thinking, yep, this is one more time where if this were 100k it would make me look like a fool.
iRunFar: I love it. When did you move into podium position officially?
Glick: So, there were some guys nipping at my heels. But when I got to third, I caught Jared [Hazen] I think about 82 miles. And I can remember coming up behind him. And we had a little fiasco with one of my pacers who wasn’t feeling good. And I couldn’t take the camera. He couldn’t take the camera up to Green Gate and switch off. So, I was like, I caught Jared and I saw him up ahead. And at this point I’m hiking every climb and he was running the climb. But I was closing the gap. And I’m like, something’s not right. If I’m hiking faster than he’s running like something’s not right. And so, I was pretty sure I had Jared. But like that was just a very slim glimmer of hope because I knew the chance of someone else catching me from behind, which proved to be very close.
Glick: Like that was going to be the challenge. I didn’t know. Yeah.
iRunFar: When you moved into podium position, did you think to yourself, “Okay, I’m going to protect the crap out of this now and defend it as much as I can”? Or were you looking forward being like, “Who’s in front of me? What’s the gap to second?”
Glick: Yeah, so I kept getting reports that Hayden Hawks was like, 10 minutes out. It was like a consistent like 10, 8, 10, like we were running probably the same. But I didn’t know is he running the up better than me? Is he running the downs better? Is he running an even effort? Because I wasn’t running an even effort, like I was bombing the downs. And that makes it really hard when someone’s on your heels. And you know that you’re running certain portions really slow. And you can’t defend that.
iRunFar: There’s nothing you can do about that moment.
Glick: Yes, it’s like, so I tried so hard to run just as hard as I could and put gap on the descents and then just pray they didn’t catch me on the climbs.
iRunFar: Ultimately here at the track, it was a, it was not quite a sprint finish, but it was darn close. Tyler Green was nipping about as close as one can nip at 100-mile ultramarathon. How did the last bit play out for you?
Glick: We have to jump back to 85.
iRunFar: Okay let’s jump back.
Glick: So, I come into the aid station at 85 miles knowing that I heard cheering at the river, 80 miles, when I was not very far up the hill. And so, I knew somebody was within two minutes unless they took a nap at the river.
iRunFar: Shouting distance or whatever. Unless they took a nap. Could happen at Western States.
Glick: Yes. So I got to 85 and I am like on my plan on taking care of myself. I’m sitting down, icing down. And just as I’m about ready to take off, someone comes in the aid station. And it was a guy with a beard and I didn’t know, I think it, I think it was Tyler, but I thought it was someone else. So, I thought it was the guy that I had passed out of Foresthill. And I’m like…
iRunFar: He’s back.
Glick: Shoot, I’ve had two and a half hours and he’s back to haunt me.
iRunFar: He’s back.
Glick: [laughs] So I like just tore out of there. And thank God there was a bunch of flat and some downhill and I just…
iRunFar: In your favor, course wise.
Glick: Yes. And so, I just, I had to put time because I knew there was, there’s climbs. Like I have to get ahead while I can. Because if he catches a glimpse of how slow I’m going on the ups, like I am toast. So I think it probably was Tyler. I asked Tyler afterwards and he didn’t know I was in aid station at that point. He didn’t know how close it was until he got to Pointed Rocks. So, at 90 something there’s an aid station. We didn’t make contact there.
iRunFar: Got it.
Glick: Like he came back to haunt me at Pointed Rocks. And as you know there’s a nice long descent out of Pointed Rocks and then a climb back into Auburn. And I, as much as I can taste the finish line, I’m planning this out in my head, I said I’m going to have to hike into Auburn, so if I don’t put like three minutes on this dude.
iRunFar: To make enough room.
Glick: Yeah, down to No Hands, like in this three-mile section, I am going to be toast. So, like my strategy to that segment … And I was sitting there at the aid station cooling down, and they’re like, my crew is like, my sister says, “The other guy is in the aid station.”
iRunFar: “You’ve got to go!”
Glick: She didn’t say you’ve got to go, like I just bounced out of the chair. And like took off. I didn’t even know if I had the stuff I needed.
Glick: I took off and they’re like, “Do you need a headlight?” And I’m like, I want the pressure. Like I want the pressure. And besides if someone’s hunting me, I don’t want to wear a light anyway. And so, I took off, and I was kind of hoping maybe I would drop my pacer in those three miles just to confirm, maybe let Tyler, which I didn’t know it was Tyler at the time, catch my pacer. Or, you know you think of weird things.
Glick: I ran very well, but like the cramp was tripable cramping the whole way down to No Hands. But I was like, I was like, you know what, I’m okay with a blow up. Like, this is the point where you take the risk. And I remember I got really close to No Hands and I’m coming down, and I twisted my knee.
iRunFar: Oh, Arlen.
Glick: It was like, it almost blew my knee out because I was running a stupid pace. But there again, risk.
iRunFar: Taking a risk.
Glick: Fortunately, my knee wasn’t hurt, but it was like, that was close. And I crossed No Hands. Didn’t hear any cheering behind me, which gave me a little glimmer of hope. But I guess Tyler was playing it really smart at this point. So, I ran as far as I could and you know how it is when you get to Auburn, like the closer you get to Auburn, the steeper it gets.
iRunFar: Gets steeper and steeper.
Glick: So it got to the steep point, like the last mile and I hiked the last mile, as embarrassing as it is. Just had to play the cards I had. I remember getting to the top of Robie Point like clear to the top, and I look back and I could see a long way back, and there’s nobody back there. And I’m like, okay.
iRunFar: He was just being a ghost, wasn’t he?
Glick: Yes. I guess he tore up that climb right after I got over the top.
iRunFar: Yeah, our person said it was 28 seconds, I think between the two of you at Robie Point.
Glick: Was it?
iRunFar: I think so.
Glick: So maybe I just didn’t see him. Whatever it was, it was crazy.
Glick: So I’m like, I am going to soak up Western States. So, I’m giving high fives coming down through Auburn, like, I am going to enjoy this moment.
iRunFar: Really? You think he’s distant now.
Glick: Yeah, I figured he’s two minutes back. And if I need to throw down a 5:30, whatever, like I can do it. I had just come off of what I did out of Pointed Rocks and I’m like, I have another gear if I need it. And so I told my crew, which this B crew was with me, the entire crew at this point. And they’re running down with me. I said, “Okay, guys, watch out. Like, if he gets in sight, let me know.” And they never said anything until we made the left hand turn onto the track. Somebody yelled “Tyler is closing fast.” Like you can’t see very far back so I knew if they could see him, he was very close.
iRunFar: He had to be close.
Glick: And I remember, just like here I was going to go around and give high fives and having to finish on…
iRunFar: Have a tour of the track.
Glick: Yeah, and yeah, my pacer I think clocked me at a 5:20 pace around the track. It was like, I don’t want to be a jerk but like…
iRunFar: Off we go.
Glick: Sprint to the finish. And I remember I fell over afterwards, and I turned around and I looked back and Tyler had rounded the corner. And he respectfully like just broke into a walk. Like it was such a cool moment to like, be the first one to hug Tyler. He’s such a good guy.
iRunFar: If you have to go to a sprint finish in a 100-mile race with somebody like, the two of you, it’s like two nice guys sprinting it out, right?
Glick: Yeah, it was great. I thought what Tyler said, you know, I was third, he was fourth and you know, we were, I think someone said if he would have run the whole way through we would have been 17 seconds apart. But you know, he walked because obviously, he wanted to be sportsmanlike about it. And it was it was really neat to be there to hear him say, you know, this was more special than taking second place last year. And I thought that was well said because like the story we have to tell tops a better performance.
iRunFar: You finished on the podium at Western States. This is your first Western States. You get this coveted M3 bib. Are going to do something with it?
Glick: I hadn’t thought of the M3, but I guess. Well, like after running the course, I think this course was made for me. So, like I think I would be stupid not to do something with it. But I mean, that’s a year out. I don’t know, but I mean, yeah, like, I think so.
iRunFar: You seem like a student of the sport. Objectively like if you zoom out to like, be your coach for a second. What do you think is your potential at Western States?
Glick: It’s really hard to say. I was hoping this would be the accurate, you know, debut Western States where I would have my day. It was so far from my day that like, I think I’d be able to put a number out there because like, I don’t want to disrespect the people in front of me. What Adam did, what Jim did, like, I don’t even want to say because like, you haven’t done it until you’ve done it. Like I might come back next year and do the same dumb thing or whatever. And also with gratitude, like I can’t believe there for a while, I wasn’t going to top 10. And I reeled in a podium.
iRunFar: It’s just a great like kind of metaphor for the sport. It’s a metaphor for life. Like it’s a long journey and things change.
Glick: Yeah, that’s right.
iRunFar: Well, congratulations on your podium finish at the 2022 Western States Endurance Run and perhaps we’ll see you in 2023.
Glick: Thank you so much for having me.