Kaci Lickteig and Kyle Clouston will be competing in this weekend’s USA 100 Mile Trail Championships at Rocky Raccoon in Huntsville, TX. Both were kind enough to take a moment from their busy schedules to answer a few questions. Thanks to them both and Giddyup!
Will: Few national class marathoners have made such a quick jump to the upper echelon of ultra trail running. When did it click with you that this might be your sweet spot?
Kaci: I have always been in love with cross country and being out in the woods. I did some small trail runs locally and had a blast. Then I signed up for the Psycho Wyco 50K in Feb. 2012. I had no idea what to expect and I just remember being so nervous for that race. I ended up running it and having the time of my life. It felt so exhilarating to run on single track trails next to trees and with so many like-minded happy people. It lit a fire that has since emerged into a full on passion for me.
Will: I’ve been privileged to watch your development for the last 5 or
6 years. From our time on Team Nebraska to your Olympic Trials Marathon
qualifier to 100 Mile Trail National Championships. What is different
in your training than from when you focused exclusively on the marathon.
Kaci: I have done less “speed” work and more quantity and sub-threshold runs. I love to run, and run and run. I honestly, I am just happier the farther I go. So, with ultra training I am doing less intense workouts, where I would normally have to have shorter runs to recover. I can now run 12-20 miles daily. I have been blessed with the ability to run back to back runs and a lot of mileage per week and not become injured. I have really learned to stay in tune with my body and to listen to it.
Will: Cognoscenti have you picked for a top 5 finish. Will you be
able to get out on the Rocky Raccoon course prior to Saturday’s race?
It sounds like it suits your style quite well.
Kaci: You have always believed in me. I remember the first time we met and you knew that I was going to be a sub-3 marathoner and OTQ. That is something I will always respect. So, thank you for that. I will be able to see the course either Thursday late afternoon or Friday. It does fit my running style very well. I can’t wait to see what it will be like!
Will: Do you have a “plan of attack” or will you let the race unfold
and adapt accordingly? Is there a strategy when it comes to being on
your feet that long?
Kaci: I really like to go into a race with a few goals in mind, but I am still very flexible with those. Every ultra I run I go out remembering that it is going to be a long endurance event and I keep reminding myself of my mantra “run within your means”. I never want to feel like I am pushing too hard too soon. That will be for the last loop…giving everything I got left. The main thing about being on your feet that long is making sure you are staying hydrated and eating often. You can’t let your blood sugar get too low or it will start effecting how you think, feel, and respond to situations.
Will: You are known for being able to consistently handle prodigious
miles. How does having your Doctorate in Physical Therapy impact your
training and recovery?
Kaci: It definitely has helped being an Physical Therapist and know the body’s anatomy and physiology. I can really focus on knowing how to fix problems before they become a true injury.
Will: How many 100 milers have you run previously? I understand their
are enormous logistical considerations, do you have a mentor that has
helped prepare you for the nuances?
Kaci: I have ran one other 100 miler – Black Hills last June. I have my training partner, Miguel Ordorica, who has helped me with figuring out traveling, hotels, rental cars, etc. We basically make a plan and work as a team to get everything lined up.
Will: You were recently picked up by Pearl Izumi, congratulations on
that. Can you give them a shout out and tell us why you are happy with
Kaci: I cannot be more thrilled to have Pearl Izumi as my sponsor! It was a blessing to have met Scott Jaime at The Bear Chase in Colorado last Sept. He is a renown ultra-runner and someone I highly respect and admire. I am blessed to have this great group of athletes as my teammates. And, even better the gear is amazing! If you haven’t tried on a pair of Pearl Izumi’s I recommend it!! (no I am not paid to say that either!)
Will: I know a lot of us are hoping you will be running the Lincoln
Marathon this May. Will you still keep 26.2 on your competitive
schedule in 2014. Any others? Plans to go after the 2:43 Olympic
Kaci: I am planning on racing the Lincoln Marathon. My first goal is to get into Western States by the open slots that the Montrail Series has for the top 3 that place at certain races. Three of those races I am signed up for, Rocky Raccoon 100M, Lake Sonoma 50M, and Ice Age 50M. I would like to train competitively for Lincoln in the middle of training for those. I am always up for a challenge and will definitely be eyeing that sub 2:43 OT standard! If not this spring then possibly this fall…
Will: We all want to wish you good luck, great racing, and Giddyup!
Kaci: I appreciate your support and everyone else’s! I love our running community and how much it is growing. I hope to make Nebraska proud. And GOOD LUCK to Kyle!!
Will: I’ve nicknamed you “The Mechanic”. Your thorough workman-like
approach to this race is nothing short of comprehensive. How much
success at a 100 mile trail race is based on experience?
Kyle: Long run trail experience was an aspect that I underestimated going into last year. I thought overall running ability would make up for quality trail miles, it took about 5 miles into the race last year to realize I was wrong. That being said, I’ve had about 360 days to improve my trail feet and I’m confident my recent experience will lead to success this year.
Will: This is your first 100 miler in a while. You trained up to a
lifetime best 4:50 mile last summer, will you expect that newfound speed
to be an asset at some point?
Kyle: Big time and a thank you to you, Will for helping me buy into that. Not too many coaches would be as willing as you’ve been to work on my speed in connection with 100 mile goals. All the Wednesday nights were big getting the kinks out of my stride. Improved speed has also been a big confidence boost. I’m not much of a math guy but I’m sure there are some far-fetched statistics that would show how improved speed at the mile would correlate on up to faster 100 mile times. I think it’s a common perception that 100 milers are a bunch of glorified hikers which isn’t completely wrong. However, there is a new breed of speedsters tackling 100 miles and setting course records all over the place.
Will: You’ve done a bit of your training from the Bar None, how
beneficial has your training at Two Rivers State Park been?
Kyle: Two Rivers has been beneficial as it’s a new trail for me which offers new challenges. As well as Two Rivers, I’d like to give a nod to the Ni-Bthaska-Ke Trail Run course. By running that course, I feel pretty well prepared for anything the trail will throw at me down at Huntsville State Park. If people want to see what they’re made of on the trails, that’s the race course to find out around these parts.
Will: You ran a 50 mile training run on Christmas Eve, one of the worst
days so far this winter. Will you be calling up mental strength from
any other training runs or is it just a given?
Kyle: That wasn’t the most enjoyable run I’ve ever done. You really don’t know how you’re going to respond mentally to the level of fatigue/pain that comes with running long until you face it head on. The more experiences at the breaking point and successes pushing through, the easier it is the next time. Between the weather and poor logistics on my part led to a lot of rough patches on that run. Being able to persevere gives me a lot of confidence to call on come this weekend.
Will: You’ll be racing with some of the top ultra runners in America.
Any jitters toeing the line against the best of the best?
Kyle: I couldn’t be happier about that aspect. I keep referencing last year but the more I think about this year, the more I realize I had my head up my ass last year. Last year, I had this laid back mentality that a 100 mile run was a leisure long run where being relaxed was paramount to my success. Being relaxed is important but this year I’m treating it like a competitive damn race! Having both men and women that are gunning for the North American trail record reaffirms that this is a Real Race and I need to do some Real Racing. I’ll certainly have jitters on the line but I’m grateful to have the opportunity to line up with the best. That’s what it’s all about, right?
Will: Your NRGE mate Jerrod Anzalone is making the trip with you. He’s been a steady training partner, how has that helped you prepare?
Kyle: Having Jerrod as a NRGE mate as well as a pacer has been great. As a teammate, I love his approach to running. His discipline, work ethic and business-like approach is greatly appreciated as well as contagious. These traits give me confidence that when things go south with 15 miles left to go, he’ll re-enforce his values as a runner on me and that will be the kick in the shorts I need to seal the deal. Anyone willing to take time out of their life to come run around in the woods at night with me shows a lot about their character. I’m sure we’ll know a little more about each other come this time next week.
Will: Do you have any specific goals outside of simply finishing? We
mere mortals can’t even begin to comprehend how long it may take.
Kyle: 20 hours (12 min miles) is my “A” goal, 24 is my “B” and finishing is “C”. Ideally, I’ll knock the first couple laps in well under goal pace. I don’t want to say I’m banking time cause that’s not always a good approach but it’s unrealistic to prepare for even splits. This will also allow cushion as I’m sure there will be some power walking the last lap or two. I’m talking out of both sides of my mouth here but I’m confident in my approach. Pete has been big in helping me prepare from a pacing stand point. Thank you to you, Linda, the Mates, “The Band” and especially my parents. Listening to my bs for the last year takes a different personality and I’m blessed to be surrounded by the people that I am.
Will: Is there a link we can follow to track your progress? Wishing
you all the best, good luck, great racing, and Giddyup!
Kyle: Please let me first thank our sponsors for their kind support of this opportunity. Gretna Family Health, Premier Physical Therapy, Dynamic Physical Therapy, LLC and Stodden Physical Therapy! There are a couple different ways to follow me. None of which are perfect. The race web site is:
Last year they provided splits periodically.
The link above will provide updates on the leaders
Also, my parents will be posting on my Facebook page often throughout the day. That will give the most detailed info so I’d recommend staying up on that.