This summer, Darcy Africa (Pearl Izumi) is running the Rocky Mountain Slam. She’s already finished two races – the Bighorn and Hardrock 100s – and won both. She’s back to run the Leadville 100 for the fourth time and she’ll be laying it all on the line despite have one final race – The Bear 100 – in the Rocky Mountain Slam in mid-September. In the following interview, she talks about how she’s dealing with the slam and how she’ll approach Leadville.
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Darcy Africa Pre-2012 Leadville 100 Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Darcy Africa here before the 2012 Leadville Trail 100. How are you doing, Darcy?
Darcy Africa: I’m doing well, thanks.
iRF: We’ve been seeing a lot of you this year. I saw you out at Western [States] where you were pacing a client. I saw you at Hardrock 100 where you had a wonderful win. Now you’re out at Leadville 100. You ran Bighorn earlier. It’s a busy summer for you!
Africa: Yes. It’s been busy. It will continue that way.
iRF: How is that working out for you? You were hurt a lot last fall, through last winter, into the spring. How are you holding up with all these races?
Africa: I’m doing pretty well right now. It took me awhile to work through some injuries. I went into Bighorn a little unsure about the distance, running 100 miles, and ended up having a great race there. So I was really excited about that. I went into Hardrock feeling pretty confident, feeling pretty good. I had a good run there, and then tried to spend a couple weeks of just pure recovery. [We’ve got a visitor. iRF: Ahh, we have Princess Sophia!]. Then after those two weeks of recovery, I was actually feeling a little lethargic. My legs weren’t feeling great. So then I said I have to come up to Leadville and try and get in some mileage up here to work the kinks out of what happened at Hardrock. I feel like I did that. I was feeling kind of crummy in the legs. But since coming up here and getting some mileage in on the course a couple weeks ago, I’m feeling better now. I’m just going to give it everything I’ve got and we’ll see. Hopefully by Winfield I’ll know where my body’s at and what I can do tomorrow.
iRF: I think anybody who has a good Hardrock takes time to recover from that, more than other 100s, just the longer time you’re out on the course and the elevation just really saps you.
Africa: Yeah, and it’s an interesting recovery because you’re not necessarily sore because you spent so much time hiking, but it’s the emotional and sleep recovery that needs to happen. So that’s what I’ve been trying to focus on—nutrition, sleep, that kind of stuff.
iRF: So you’ve been out at Leadville three times before. It was your first 100, a rough one, was that 2002?
Africa: Yes, somewhere around there.
iRF: Then you’ve run it twice more—third both times, is that correct?
Africa: I think so. I’m not certain. One time it was for the Grand Slam in 2006, and then in 2009 it was the first time I’d run a big 100 since having my daughter in 2008. Both are interesting and always a different ball game; so now this is number 3 in the Rocky Mountain Slam.
iRF: So you’ve run Leadville before, and you’ve really excelled at races like Bighorn and Hardrock, and you’ve done well here. How do you approach Leadville differently with all the running and flat aspects of the course?
Africa: That’s probably my biggest challenge here is that I’m not a huge flat, fast runner. So I just have to remain consistent. And I think that’s the name of the game to remain consistent out here and trying to do everything I can to keep moving and not slowing down on the flats and doing what I know how to do on the ups and the downs. And stay hydrated… I know what I’m doing out here and hopefully that… I know there are a lot of fast women, so…
iRF: This is your third race in the Rocky Mountain Slam as you said. How are you approaching it? Are you approaching it just to finish and get through the Rocky Mountain Slam or are you approaching each race as you did… you’ve won Bighorn. You won Hardrock. Are you out here to win?
Africa: I’m here to take each race as its own and to be present in every race—I’ve said that a bunch—and to just be in the moment while I’m here. So I’m going to give it all I’ve got here, and when I get to the Bear 100 I’ll think about the Bear. When I’m done with this, I’ll just be focused on my recovery and ramping back up for the Bear. So yeah, I’m going to give it what I have to give. We’ll find out soon enough what that is.
iRF: Well best of luck out there, Darcy.
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iRF: And as a bonus question, Sophia, are you excited to see your mommy run this weekend? [Sophia nods.] Do you think she’s going to do great? [Sophia nods.] Can’t wait to see both of you out there this weekend.
Africa: Thanks, Bryon.