Over the past few years, Rob Krar has been dropping jaws in the trail running and ultrarunning world, so it should come as little surprise that he did so again this past weekend when he took second at the 2013 Western States 100… in his 100-mile debut. In the following interview, Rob talks about how his 100-mile debut played out, what he did to stay cool, and how Dylan Bowman was a class act during the many miles they shared together.
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Rob Krar Post-2013 Western States 100 Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Rob Krar after the 2013 Western States 100. Rob, secondplace in your 100-mile debut, how does it feel?
Rob Krar: It feels great. I’m still processing a lot of thoughts and emotions right now. What a day… an amazing experience… something I never thought I’d be doing… yeah, you know, it blew my mind away.
iRF: Do you think you’ll ever do it again?
Krar: Why is that the number one question right now? Who knows? We’ll see how recovery comes before I start commenting on that.
iRF: That’s a wise move—not swearing off. How did your race play out? You ended up going up the Escarpment in the early miles and you definitely seemed like you were in control. You were meters back. How long were you sort of in that passive or conservative mode?
Krar: A lot of the race. I definitely feel very proud that I was able to follow my race plan. It was a difficult race plan for me, but I felt it was what I needed to do to both finish the race and having a chance to run to my potential. Yeah, running up the Escarpment I was just calm and controlled. Looking up, I saw guys way ahead of me but I just didn’t let it get to me. I stuck to the game plan. I worked hard, but when I felt myself going to quickly I reminded myself, you know, I want to get to the finish line; I don’t want to drop out or hit the wall hard at 80 or 90. It worked really well.
iRF: Did you take any time to really take care of heat management? Were you sponging off or did you go into any of the creeks or springs?
Krar: Yes, I did. Whenever I had my crew, I put an iced handkerchief around my neck and filled my hat with ice at every aid station.
iRF: Not this one. (points to Krar’s straw hat)
Krar: No, not this one. I think it was at the bottom of one of the canyons it had a spot where I could get most of my body in. I laid there for 20 or 30 seconds. Anytime there were little baths on the side, I’d dunk my hat in there. At the river crossing on the far side, I laid down for 30 seconds. This is the first time I’ve ever done anything like that. I am really amazed at how efficient it is at cooling the core temperature—especially the ice melting on your head and I think the handkerchief with the ice is getting your arteries. Yes, it was really effective. I’d really recommend it.
iRF: Even after it melts you’re getting that evaporative cooling—two-for-one deal. So how did your race actually play out? You went out conservatively. You were 10th to 15th going up the Escarpment. When did you start moving up?
Krar: I guess at the 10 or 15 miles after the Escarpment I sort of maintained my place. It was a sort of tricky section for me with all the brooks and streams coming across the trail was a little slippery. It was pretty technical. I think I maintained 10th through there. It’s all a whirlwind. I know I caught Dylan (Bowman) at a certain point and we must have run 30 or 35 miles together—a little back and forth but for the most part we were right together. I cannot thank him enough.
iRF: Were you pushing each other or do you think helping each other?
Krar: No, I think we had the same game plan. We were both realizing it was a long, hot day. He was awesome. He was letting me know what we had coming up next, what to expect on the downhill, just a gentleman. I can’t thank him enough for his knowledge out there.
iRF: Is that different from the collegiate and road background you come from?
Krar: Just a little bit. So Dylan and I ran together a bunch, and I think we ran into Foresthill together.
iRF: Top five at that point?
Krar: I think we were fourth and fifth there. So coming out of Foresthill, right away going down that steep little section there, and here are these two guys behind me. I looked back and I thought they were just two guys out for a run they were going so fast. So I pull off the side of the trail, and I look and it’s Mike Morton. He blows by me and he’s like, “Hey Rob, nice job!” I was so stunned, both by seeing him and I knew he should be up there, but I didn’t know he was that close, but they were flying. My jaw just dropped. I literally didn’t say a word to him. I couldn’t get it out. I was stunned. So then it was pretty much a battle with Morton for the next 20-plus miles. I was running scared from him over the last 20 when we pulled away. I had no idea how far back he was. I didn’t know I’d gapped him. I was keeping the heat on as much as I could all the way up to Robie Point pretty much.
iRF: So you were more running scared of Morton or going after Timmy?
Krar: Well, I guess going after Timmy comes along with running scared from Mike. I feel good about that because I was running scared from Mike. I know was running as hard as I could. Tim just is a champion. He ran an amazing race and a gutsy finish that he had. I don’t feel like I could have caught him on the day.
iRF: You feel like you ran the best race you could on the day?
Krar: Not a doubt.
iRF: Any lessons learned in your first 100-miler? Anything right off the bat you’d do differently next time?
Krar: Not off the bat. I’m so happy with that one—my first 100-miler; my crew was amazing; I thought my strategy was great; aid stations were great. I’ll have little things that I pick up in the next weeks and months as I think back on it, but I can’t be happier with my first 100. It’s blowing me away.
iRF: As well you should, man. Congratulations on a great race.
One quick bonus question for you, Rob. As far as I know, you are unsponsored. Is that intentional or open for negotiations?
Krar: I just started ultras. My first one was last November. I’m new to the sport. I’ve had some interest, but I haven’t found the right fit yet. I’m open to the idea if something comes along. Right now, I’m just building my resume and trying to prove my durability. We’ll see what happens.
iRF: You did pretty well on the shorter trail side before the ultra stuff, so you’re not quite that new to the trail scene.
Krar: True, I feel like the ultra scene is a little more differently built. We’ll see what the future holds.