Rob Krar burst onto the ultrarunning scene with his course record at the Leona Divide 50 and big-time FKT on the double crossing of the Grand Canyon. After barely cutting his ultrarunning teeth, he’s taking on his first 100-miler at the Western States 100. In the following interview, Rob explains how he hadn’t thought of running Western States until six days before running Leona Divide in April, what he did to train for a 100-miler in two months, and how he’ll approach running his first 100-miler.
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Rob Krar Pre-2013 Western States 100 Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Rob Krar before the 2013 Western States 100. How are you doing, Rob?
Rob Krar: I’m doing really well. Thanks for having me.
iRF: My pleasure. First 100–what’s going through your head?
Krar: A whole lot. I’m really excited. It’s kind of been a short span from when I committed to the race to race day, so I haven’t changed a whole lot. I feel really happy that I’m hitting the race super healthy, physically and mentally. I think that plays a big role for me. I’ve always had kind of little hiccups going into races—a little niggle—and everything is great going into Western. I can’t ask for anything more.
iRF: That’s awesome. Did you go into Leona Divide trying to get a spot, or is this sort of a spontaneous you-have-a-spot-in-Western-States kind of thing?
Krar: Yeah, running the ultras is so new to me that I had no plans of running Western even up until a week or two before Leona. I had no plans. I don’t know, but then something just clicked about six days before when I thought, how many opportunities do you get to run Western States, one of the greatest ultras that there is? I started thinking about it about six days before (Leona Divide). I had a great race at Leona and I wanted to see how my body was recovering. That’s why, in the following two weeks, I hit the Grand Canyon 13 days after Leona. I felt great, so I committed the night after my run in the canyon. It was kind of a short time frame.
iRF: Was the canyon pre-planned before you were thinking about Western States or was it another test to see if you were ready?
Krar: No, I don’t think it played much of a role with my decision for Western. With the canyon, there are only two time frames per year where you have a good shot at running really well. Even the canyon was up in the air. I was just watching the calendar and watching the forecasts for that weekend. It turned out it was going to be a great weekend to run, so I got in there and got it done. Sure, when I got out of that I guess I had until the following day to commit to Western. I was feeling great, so I got on Ultrasignup and got it done.
iRF: Awesome! What have you done for training in between? You literally had no plans for running a 100 two months ago. What have you done since?
Krar: One of the things I was apprehensive about between Leona and committing was, in my head I was thinking, I’ve got to do so much training; I’ve got to bump up my miles; I’ve got to do this and I’ve got to do that. I just really settled down. I’d been running and racing and training great leading up to Leona. You know 100 miles is a different race, but it’s too short of a time frame to really drastically change your plan or your training, so I bumped up the miles a bit. More importantly, I was really focused on the little things. I have a circuit routine I hit twice a week and I was diligent about doing that. Rest, nutrition, listening to my body, taking rest days when I needed it—it’s worked out really well.
iRF: Any extra downhill training or do you feel pretty prepared for that from your run in the canyon?
Krar: I did a little extra, but my quads were feeling great in my three canyon runs this year. I bumped up the downhill running a little bit but nothing drastic. My quads have been doing really well this last year and a half. I feel pretty confident with my quads and Western.
iRF: How about the heat? Running in the canyon, you have a window and you choose it based on weather. You don’t this weekend, and it’s going to be hot. How do you fare in the heat? You’re in Flagstaff.
Krar: You know, I just haven’t had a ton of experience. I think my run at Leona was really positive. It was a very hot day. It was over 90F when I finished. I’m suffering, but I think everyone suffers to a certain extent. I’m just going to see how it plays out up there. I really don’t know, to be honest, but I’m going to be really diligent about hydration and running a smart race.
iRF: Anything you’re excited about running a 100? Anything particularly scary? 100-mile distance.
Krar: This whole ride has been a real adventure for me since I started last November at Bootlegger 50k. I’m excited to get out there and see how my body responds to 100 miles. The heat is intimidating, but I think everyone is on an equal playing field. Being a smart runner is going to go a long, long way tomorrow (Saturday).
iRF: You come from a track background originally, cross country collegiately, some road racing after that. Going up Emigrant Pass, how are you going to temper your effort? Even for the Grand Canyon you have to be pushing it to go for that kind of time.
Krar: Yes, for sure. I’ve just got to be patient. It’s going to be difficult, there’s no doubt about it. It’s a long race and a slower pace than I’m used to both in races and in training. I’m a little stubborn at times, but I’m just going to have to suck it up at times and be the smartest person I can come race day.
iRF: So no flying off the front for you?
Krar: No, no, there will be none of that. I’m not even going to entertain the thought.
iRF: You will not be the first one to the top of that?
Krar: I will not be the first one to the top. You have my word on that.
iRF: It’s good. It generally doesn’t work so well.
Krar: For sure.
iRF: Have fun out there. Thank you so much. Best of luck in your first 100.
Krar: You as well. Thanks!