Courtney Dauwalter, 2023 UTMB Champion, Interview – iRunFar

The U.S.’s Courtney Dauwalter has simply accomplished the last word triple crown of path ultrarunning, successful the Western States 100, Hardrock 100, and UTMB multi function season.

On this interview, she talks about how she tried to race UTMB prefer it was the one race of her season, how she managed fatigue when it hit through the race, what it was like to complete her three-race aim, and what restoration will appear to be now.

For extra on how the race performed out, learn our in-depth UTMB outcomes article.

Courtney Dauwalter, 2023 UTMB Champion, Interview Transcript

iRunFar: Meghan Hicks of iRunFar. I’m with Courtney Dauwalter. It’s the day after the 2023 UTMB. You’re the Girls’s champion. Congratulations, Courtney.

Courtney Dauwalter: Thanks, Meghan.

iRunFar: Rattling, you gained this race.

Dauwalter: I, yeah, I imply for certain we haven’t processed any of it. I’m sort of, it’s positively in all probability the consistency of like, pudding or applesauce in my mind proper now, and my legs are fully destroyed.

iRunFar: This race got here on the finish of an extended summer season of racing for you. Did you go into the beginning line of UTMB making an attempt to place all that behind you, and simply get as a lot out of your legs as you may, and see how far they might take you? Did ever Hardrock and Western States creep into your mind these final couple days?

Dauwalter: I wished to race it prefer it was my solely race of the summer season. It’s type of what my method was with all three of them. Not have, you realize, an excuse queued up, not be pondering of the fatigue that may nonetheless be there. However simply give it every little thing I’ve. So, lining up for this one, that was the plan. And for certain I began the race with that intention. Like, my tempo was not making an attempt to be conservative or maintain something again as a result of it was the third in a string of tons of this summer season. It’s like, let’s race it how we usually would, after which simply see the place that highway leads us.

iRunFar: And the highway led you precisely to, is it Grand Col Ferret?

Dauwalter: Yeah, at roughly Grand Col Ferret…

iRunFar: A bit of over midway.

Dauwalter: The highway ended abruptly. [laughs]

iRunFar: [laughs] What did we discover when the highway ended at Grand Col Ferret?

Dauwalter: Whole physique fatigue and like, my muscle tissues had been blown. I used to be deep within the ache cave, you realize, earlier than arriving there. However often after I’m within the ache cave chiseling, it interprets then to the bodily movement I’m asking for. And this time, regardless of how onerous I used to be chiseling in there, the psychological energy wasn’t translating. And so I topped out on Grand Col Ferret, which is a very massive climb within the race. And then you definately get this luxury downhill. And my legs instantly had been simply empty. And from there to the end I needed to do actually brief strides. And simply hope like heck, like tougher than I’ve ever hoped about something earlier than, that each time they landed, they might catch me. As a result of it felt unsure.

iRunFar: It actually, I imply, I suppose that is extra of a query. It actually did really feel unsure at instances, of whether or not you’d have the ability to proceed and make it to the end. Or was it like, I might need to cease and hike this in kind of factor?

Dauwalter: Ending was the primary aim.

iRunFar: Okay.

Dauwalter: I wished to finish this triple and tried to then study from finishing it, what can we take from this for restoration, or coaching, or simply items of the ultrarunning puzzle. And so, I wished to complete it doesn’t matter what time of day, what day it occurred. So, it did cross my thoughts like, would it not be value it to cease someplace longer and attempt to triage this a bit of bit extra, but it surely simply felt like my muscle tissues weren’t, like, there was nothing left. And it made sense there was nothing left. And so, I used to be like, prolonging this by stopping. I don’t suppose will change the sport. So ahead movement was the aim. And yeah, finally we discovered our strategy to Chamonix.

iRunFar: You had been within the lead of the race for a lot of it. You had been within the lead your complete time that you simply had been actually struggling by this. The place did that consider mentally? Was it such as you simply needed to flip off the competitors change and be in survival? Or had been you pondering to your self, what occurs if I, you realize, want to answer competitors?

Dauwalter: I had a bit of details about possibly some gaps that had been there within the later components of the race. However I used to be doing every little thing I might, which is how I attempt to all the time race. This time the operating movement was an excessive amount of. Like I didn’t even have that left in my legs actually, but it surely was nonetheless every little thing I might pour out on the path. So, if somebody had caught me, you realize, I’d hope we might change some, uh…

iRunFar: Pleasantries.

Dauwalter: Pleasantries. Perhaps a joke, or a lift for one another, however I used to be giving it every little thing I had. It simply took fairly lengthy.

iRunFar: It is a very public 100-mile race. There simply isn’t a whole lot of alone time on this path. What’s it prefer to endure so publicly and with so many individuals round you?

Dauwalter: There have been a pair instances after I thought in my head, like, I simply want a minute. Of like, I used to be actually struggling, particularly on a number of the extra technical downhills. I simply wished a minute to love, reset myself in silence, and on my own. And that wasn’t ever out there.

iRunFar: There was no beat, was there?

Dauwalter: No. There was no minute. Nevertheless it’s additionally simply actually cool that that path might be despatched out to your complete world to see and expertise this sport. And so it’s, I imply, professionals and cons, for certain.

iRunFar: Yeah.

Dauwalter: And typically that’s why I’ll put in music, is as a result of it helps me really feel like I’ve this bubble to present myself these moments.

iRunFar: And I suppose in the end it’s what you join while you come to a race like UTMB. You’re signing up for having this very public 100-mile expertise, nevertheless it seems.

Dauwalter: Completely. I imply, it was so cool on the market yesterday. The variety of folks out heading in the right direction cheering was insane. And the protection that individuals received to see again dwelling was so cool. So, being a part of it’s actually enjoyable. And I feel we simply have to seek out methods to have our moments. Internally, you realize.

iRunFar: Yeah, I don’t know who stated it, so I can’t credit score them correctly. However any person stated yesterday, it appears to be like like she’s main a bunch run.

Dauwalter: [laughs] It was fairly cool. The final little downhill into city.

iRunFar: So many individuals.

Dauwalter: Yeah. Individuals had been simply leaping in and becoming a member of.

iRunFar: Courtney’s UTMB group run.

Dauwalter: [laughs] Thanks for popping out. No, it was it was actually particular. It’s what it’s about. And also you’re proper, you come to a race like this as a result of that’s a part of it. And it simply seems like this contagious vitality surrounding the game we love on this place we love, the mountains, and doing onerous issues with our ft. And so, sharing that with all of those folks is admittedly particular.

iRunFar: You at the moment are a three-time champion of UTMB. You’re the course document holder. You’ve gotten round this in plenty of completely different fashions over time. Do you’re feeling like, I don’t know what the suitable strategy to say it’s, such as you’ve achieved UTMB? You’ve achieved what you got down to do on this house?

Dauwalter: Um.

iRunFar: Oh, no. The reply’s no. [laughs]

Dauwalter: [laughs] I don’t know. I don’t know that there’s a must put an finish to issues.

iRunFar: Choices open.

Dauwalter: Choices are all the time open. Proper now I’m in no psychological house to make any future plans. However after some rest, we’ll begin scheming for certain. You already know, what different concepts we’ve. This undertaking that summer season was, it was simply so enjoyable in a whole lot of methods. It was actually, actually onerous. And I knew it could be, but it surely was additionally simply made every little thing sort of really feel new. Like, including these new parts to this distance that I’ve now achieved fairly a number of instances.

iRunFar: Wanting again on the 300 miles of very completely different operating, like, every race is so distinctive. Are you going to remove, are there some concrete moments from every of them that while you consider Western States, that is the second that happens to you. Whenever you consider Hardrock, that is what you’ll keep in mind.

Dauwalter: I hope within the subsequent weeks to have extra time to essentially course of. Like, zoom out, you realize, and see every little thing. But additionally zoom in to every race, and actually admire what went on there. For me, it’s all the time the moments shared. The recollections made with folks. And my crew for all three races are a few of my favourite people. Kevin [Schmidt], you realize, I had working extra time this summer season, crewing three massive ones. So.

iRunFar: Kevin’s achieved some onerous work this yr.

Dauwalter: He, yeah, he has labored quite a bit for this problem. So these, I imply proper off the bat, are immediately, you realize, a few of my favorites.

iRunFar: You’ll take some restoration, possibly?

Dauwalter: Yeah. I imply like…

iRunFar: Like a day or two?

Dauwalter: Yeah, possibly right this moment.

iRunFar: Oh, right this moment.

Dauwalter: [laughs] No, I’m taking massive time restoration. I’m, for certain, that of every little thing. And the main target now shifting ahead will probably be take so long as it wants to ensure all of the reserves are stuffed again up, mentally, bodily, emotionally, in order that no matter we give you for subsequent yr, I’m able to go once more.

iRunFar: You come from the excessive nation of Colorado, which is shifting into its most interesting season, fall in Colorado. Are you wanting ahead to something explicit at dwelling now that this complete bundle is claimed and achieved?

Dauwalter: I really like fall in Colorado, so all of it. I’m hoping to possibly do some bike rides on the lookout for the leaves to be altering. Halloween sweet will probably be out. [laughs]

iRunFar: In fact. Like, tomorrow.

Dauwalter: And it simply, I really like that point of yr for the crispness of the air. You already know, having your espresso outdoors within the morning, or sitting round a fireplace pit within the night. It’s simply one of the best.

iRunFar: So, the subsequent month is sorted, let’s simply say.

Dauwalter: The following month sounds fairly busy.

iRunFar: Actually busy recovering.

Dauwalter: [laughs]

iRunFar: Congratulations to you in your win of the 2023 UTMB. Congratulations to you in your hat trick of victories. This has been fairly an journey to observe. So, yeah, it should have been an incredible journey to stay.

Dauwalter: Effectively. Thanks. Thanks for being all over the place on a regular basis.

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