Saturday, June 28, 2014

Athlete’s Corner: Knee Knacker Race Preview

Knee Knacker 30mile – athlete interviews


When: Saturday July 12, 2014, 6am start
Where: Vancouver’s North Shore Mountains from Horseshoe Bay to Deep Cove
Distance/Elevation: 30 miles, 16,000 feet of vertical climb and descent
Time limit: 10 hours
No. participants: 200 max (by lottery)

Two weeks to race day. The male and female competitive fields go deep. There are too many talented runners to predict top spots. Contenders could either have a stellar day or a disastrous day, that’s what the Knee Knackering is famous for. You may have your favourites, though don’t dismiss the wild cards who keep things exciting.
For the ladies preview, let’s check-in with Sam Drove, Kathy McKay, and Kim Magnus. A preview from the men’s perspective will be posted on Jeff Pelletier's Blog.

Chloe: How long have you been an ultra-trail runner and how did you get into it?

Sam: I have always been a very athletic person. I grew up on the North Shore playing pretty much every sport under the sun and spending time roaming around on the local mountains. Eventually, I gravitated toward soccer and played for 4 years at college in Florida. I have always run trails, and have spent more and more time running over the past few years. My first 50k was the Dirty Duo a few years ago, and I have raced in a couple more ultras since.

Kathy: My relationship with trails started in my last year of high school (along the Niagara Escarpment in Ontario) and quickly turned to love when I went to University at SFU on Burnaby Mountain.  Although I loved the trails, it took several years of mountain biking and off-road triathlons before I did my first ultra (Tenderfoot Boogie) in 2010. 

Kim: With only one Knee Knacker under my belt as the longest run ever, I’ve got some miles ahead of me before I’d call myself an “ultra” runner. I played recreational team sports (volleyball, basketball) and did some track when I was younger. Then, I moved to Vancouver and loved the hiking. I started running, did a marathon and ran well. I hit the trails in 2012 with NSA (North Shore Athletics) for the Mountain Madness Phantom Run. I actually don’t know why I decided to do this. The main reason I trail run, despite the scrapes and getting lost, is because I’ve met the most incredible people through this sport. At all levels, everyone has this sense of pure bliss in nature and exploration.

Sam Drove

Chloe: How did you prepare up to now, is KK a goal race for you?

Sam: The KK is a goal race for me this year.  It’s something I have always wanted to participate in so I am excited to get the chance.  I ran Diez Vista earlier in the spring and Survival of the Fittest as a warm-up for the season.  I am feeling pretty good about my training so far.  I have been able to cover most of the Baden Powell Trail in the past few weeks, so there should be no surprises.

Kathy: I hoped to make KK a goal race this year, but school, work and other commitments changed that plan for me slightly.  As a result I’m about a month behind on training.  It will be a different kind of goal now. I tend to start too quickly in races and die off, so one of my goals for KK is to stay calm and run a negative split.  I’m building-up for Squamish50 (50/50), so my second goal is to eat, drink and pace myself so I can train the day after KK.

Kim: Last year was my first KK and trail ultra, so I diligently made it to all the training runs (until I fell and smashed my face and knees two weeks before the race). This year, I haven’t been as married to the KK specific runs – only because I have wonderful people and spectacular trails to also train on – and want to avoid Baden Powell Trail burnout before race day.  KK is not a goal race, although I’d obviously like to do well. My taper begins Sunday (June 29) as I’m also preparing for Squamish50 (50mile) – which I’m completely terrified of.

Kathy McKay

Chloe: What is your strategy for the race?
Sam: This terrain is what I love to run on.  Lots of technical trail up and down mountains.  I am not entirely sure how fast other folks will be, so I’ll wait for race day for that.  My main goal is to just take things as they come and enjoy the experience.  For me, making sure my nutrition is consistent throughout the race is always a challenge.  I don’t have a crew out with me, just a lot of moral support from family and friends.

Kathy: I aim to hold back and hit Cleveland Dam at 3h20, and drink/eat 25% more than usual, see how that sets me up for the next day’s run.  I can’t wait to try out my new La Sportiva Bushidos, especially in the fun downhills.

Kim: There are a few things. First, the standard list that Martin (my boyfriend) tells me when I leave the house on weekend mornings:
  1. Don’t fall
  2. Don’t get lost
  3. Don’t hurt yourself
  4. Don’t hurt others
  5. Don’t get chased by a bear
  6. ****HAVE FUN****
Plus: A good taper. Fuel well before, during, after (food, salt, hydration). Don’t start out too fast….but not too slow either. I do better uphill than downhill – so I’ll charge up and meekly trot down. I’m trialling new shoes right now – La Sportiva Bushido. 

Kim Magnus

Chloe: How many times have you done Knee Knacker, and what would be an ideal finish time for you?

Sam: This will be my first time doing the KK. To be honest, I’m not sure about finish times.  I am going to try and stick to my plan and hopefully things fall into place and the day ends up feeling like a success.

Kathy: Once, in 2011, I finished in 6h20.  I had such a fun time, and look forward to doing it again.  This year, I’d be thrilled with 6h30, with a negative split and finish feeling good.  It’s such an amazing course, with amazing organizers, amazing fans, and amazing participants.  Definitely a day where anything can happen!

Kim: This is my second. I said that I wouldn’t do it again ... though entered the lottery on the last day. Then on lottery night, I suddenly had to get in or the world would end. Last year was an absolute wonderful hell. I enjoyed it, but was injured and the inexperience made the last half super hard. Plus I rolled my ankle in the last 2k, sidelining me for 2 months. Main goal is to feel good: I want to enjoy it and feel powerful at the finish line. In 2013, I finished in 5h43. Hoping for the same or better. 

Best of luck to everyone who “Won the Lottery”.

For more on who else is racing this weekend, see the UltraSignup Entrants list, and see race info here.

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