Cody Lind comes from a Western States 100 family. His grandfather, Bob Lind, was Medical Director and board member for two decades. And now Cody has two finishes of his own inside the men’s top 10, including a ninth place this year. In this interview, our first with Cody, he talks about what was perhaps an inevitability of becoming a Western States runner courtesy of his family’s life, how he took his time to move up to the 100-mile distance despite that, and what this event has come to mean to him.
For more on how the race played out, read our 2022 Western States 100 results article.
Cody Lind Post-2022 Western States 100 Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Meghan Hicks of iRunFar. I’m with Cody Lind. It’s the day after the 2022 Western States 100. Congratulations on your ninth-place finish and your second top-10 finish.
Cody Lind: Thank you so much, Meghan. That was quite the day and to experience it a second time was very special. And a completely different race this year that kind of went really well. But there’s also challenges throughout that.
iRunFar: So, as you walked over to this interview, you looked pretty fresh. I mean, not like you ran 100 miles. Maybe I’ll give you 50 miles or 100 kilometers. To what do you attribute feeling so good this morning?
Lind: You know, I think it comes down to, I really wanted to feel good for the last 50k. Really from Foresthill, the last 40 miles I wanted to feel good. And I was able to regroup, feel really good, and continue that even with 10 miles to go of fueling, hydrating, taking care of my body. At a fast pace, but I think that really says a lot for the next 12 hours even after the race. And last year I was not moving around this fast or feeling this good whatsoever. So, it’s a big difference.
iRunFar: Incremental gains.
Lind: Yeah. I got to experience both sides of it, so.
iRunFar: The goods and the bads. Well, this is iRunFar’s first video interview with you. We know a little bit about you from a few other articles on the website, but I’d just love to know a little bit … I mean, I guess I know, and people know, sort of your story related to Western States. But like your story related to running. How did you come to this sport?
Lind: Yeah, I mean growing up track and field, cross country. That’s what I was doing. But on the weekends, I was going out in the mountains with my dad or with friends and it was, “Oh, what did you do over the weekend?” “Well, I went for a 12-hour adventure in the mountains in central Idaho.”
iRunFar: I was an ultrarunner.
iRunFar: Unintentional ultrarunner.
Lind: Unintentional. Exactly. But really, each year I would come out to this event with my grandpa or my dad and just follow along. Since I can remember, we’d go up and hang out in Olympic Valley a few days before, go to all the medical meetings, and then I would just kind of be in awe of … okay, someday. But it really scared me actually. One hundred miles, everyone’s got to check in and do this whole process and it just was something I knew I’d want to do at some point. But just being in the atmosphere of ultrarunning from a young age is how it really kind of boosted my, I guess boosted what I wanted to do with myself in running, but in ultrarunning eventually, but just kind of biding my time to get there.
iRunFar: Do you think it was inevitable that you were to become an ultrarunner and to run this race, given your family history? It seems like kids either follow in their parent’s footsteps or they do the exact opposite.
Lind: Yeah. I knew I wanted to, but I was biding my time. My grandpa, I mean, he would always just say, “Look, this race takes so much on the human body. And if you want to do it, practice with some other things to do some things before you get into it.” And I really, yeah, when I turned 18 of course I wanted to jump into this race. But I really got into the 50ks and wanted to just work on things and really prep and eventually here we are.
iRunFar: Yeah, I think if I can admit it, last year you finished fourth in your first attempt at the race and it was also your debut 100 miler. I think I have to admit I was, I mean I wasn’t surprised given your family history, but I was surprised because you had been focusing on shorter, more verty, hilly things before that. Yeah. Is it just like, the specific accomplishments of your family at this race that led you to succeed or what?
Lind: Yeah, I mean, over 20 years of being at this race, seeing people and what they do throughout the day, and just learning and really just textbook of writing notes and making notes on what you can do right, and you can do wrong at this race. And any ultra, really. Whether it’s a 50k, 50 miles, up to 100 miles, there’s a lot of things that can go right but a lot of things that can go wrong. So last year, just wanted to put myself in contention, but also didn’t really care what place. It was just “Alright, I’m doing Western States and we’re just going to have the day and whatever happens.” And then just happened to have an amazing day to finish fourth. But yeah, really just growing up taking the notes and knowing what I needed to do. I always knew once I kind of got into longer stuff, I think I can do well but I really want to make sure that I’m ready before I jump into it.
iRunFar: What made you want to do it a second time this year? Was it becoming a part of the institution and following the family tradition or bettering yourself or a combination or?
Lind: Yeah, I mean, it’s huge for our family, but for me, I really knew I could do better in certain sections. And to be honest, I finished top 10 and I remember…
iRunFar: They give you the entry!
Lind: I remember every year with my grandpa, I would look through the pre-race pamphlet and you’re looking at all the numbers. And I remember year after year growing up it was Scott Jurek, M1, M1, M1, and then like AJW [Andy Jones-Wilkins] or Hal Koerner and seeing all of those names. And I’m like “Yep, some day I want an M number,” and then it kind of happened. And then I knew I wanted to come back and see what I could do. And to be completely honest, from Foresthill till to finish I wanted to see what I could do and improve on some of those sections from last year.
iRunFar: Yeah, so let’s talk about some of those comparisons this year and last year. First of all, you had an all-star crew with you, crew and pacers. So, you put together sort of an unbreakable team, but what are some of the other things that you really focused on trying to do different and better this year?
Lind: Yeah. I knew last year that I probably lost a little time. Yes, I was still passing and doing well from Foresthill to finish, but there’s always time you can make up in that section. I felt like everything with nutrition, both last year and this year, went really well. But I knew you can run faster on the runnable sections. And maybe that means backing off in the canyons and just having an amazing crew and pacers to get you there. And yeah, I definitely had some challenges this year early on, but getting to the river knowing “Okay, now it’s time to go”, and being able to do that. Where last year, maybe it’s just trying to hang on to that.
iRunFar: You had some challenges early on. What happened? What were they?
Lind: Yeah, I mean, really the first 40, 50 miles. I didn’t feel great and I, there were lows and highs and it just, things weren’t there. I felt like my heart rate was high. I was just not quite feeling amazing. And going up to Devil’s Thumb yesterday, I knew, okay, I’m going to walk out of this canyon and just maybe lose 15 or 20 minutes, but you can make that up later on. So, I just kind of regrouped and I think that was the best thing I could have done yesterday to set myself up well later on. But early on it was just kind of some highs and lows coming really into Robinson Flat.
iRunFar: You’re talking like you’re a veteran 100-mile ultrarunner and yet this is your second 100 miler.
Lind: Yeah. Second 100 miler but sometimes it feels like it’s more just from being around the scene so much and having that experience.
iRunFar: This is my 20th time at Western States.
Lind: [laughs] And just seeing it over and over, of people, and being able to pace and see it firsthand as well with other runners. Whether it’s Brittany [Peterson], my dad [Paul Lind], just getting to see it firsthand and knowing okay, this is what you need to do. It’s like well, I got to do that. Just because I tell them, like I’ve got to do that too and show everyone how it’s done.
iRunFar: Practice what I preach.
iRunFar: Okay, so as we were walking over here talking off camera you said there was a time when you were not inside the top 10 and things were a little loosey-goosey and you were worried. Where did that happen and walk us through that?
Lind: Yeah, so coming actually from Bath Road, yeah Bath Road into Foresthill I was in 15th place. And I knew, “Alright, now it’s time to go.” And I had Jeff Browning, which, look what he’s done here, and alright, it’s time. It’s race mode. And we were able to just kind of start slowly picking people off from there to the river. But staying consistent, not out of control. And then about the river, just after the river going into that dreaded 11th place.
Lind: Where you’re like “I just need one more, one more,” and then able to pick a few more off from there to the finish. But really just going back to kind of comparing it to last year, just setting myself up well to run those sections that need to be to be ran and feeling really good from ALT [Auburn Lake Trail] to the finish and finally able to run all of that and just be really satisfied with that.
iRunFar: So, I look at your run this year compared to last year. Yes, your position was higher last year, but it seems like you had a better race this year. Is that your assessment also?
Lind: Yeah, I mean, definitely. The time was faster this year. But that being said, overall, I think it was really good just to learn some things. And to give that confidence booster of maybe you feel bad early on. Well, things can turn around in these 100-mile races and they might be opposite.
iRunFar: This is 100 miles, everything will change.
Lind: Absolutely. It’s a long ways and a lot can happen. But if you just believe and know what you are doing, I think that’s the biggest thing. Because so much of it is just focusing on you and getting there until it’s go-time.
iRunFar: Well, M9 this year, M4 last year. Yet there are a zillion wonderful races and adventures to do in this world. I know it’s, I hate asking such a question the day after running 100 miles, but do you think you’ll do this race again next year? Or someday?
Lind: Absolutely. I’ll be here.
iRunFar: Okay, see you next year. [laughs]
Lind: I mean, it’s always hard because like, yeah, you’re in the moment of this, why am I doing this? This is dumb.
iRunFar: Ultrarunning is silly.
Lind: Yeah. Why do we do this to ourselves? But yeah, so satisfied. I’ll be back.
iRunFar: So, see you in 2023 then.
iRunFar: Congratulations on your ninth-place finish and your second top 10. Yeah, it’s fun to see the new group of M1 to M10 veterans start to fill in. So yeah.
Lind: Awesome. Thank you so much, Meghan.
Lind: Thank you.