UtahRunning.com: Hey everybody out there in the utahrunning.com community. This is Ken Richardson and we’re excited today to be able to interview Karl Meltzer. He is an ultra marathon fiend. He’s done some of the most hundreds in the calendar year and he’s also the winningest 100-miler runner on the planet. He’s won 35 and it’s incredible how fast he is over those long distances. We’re excited to have him with us. Thanks Karl, for joining us.
Karl: It’s great to be here.
UtahRunning.com: Tell me about your running background. I know you moved to Utah to kind of become a ski bum, but then you caught the running bug. What happened and how did you get into the running scene?
Karl: Before I even moved to Utah, I did run in high school. I didn’t go to college. I went for one year and decided I wanted to be a ski bum. I did run a bit in high school and I was a state champion cross-country runner. I had some background there. When I did move to Utah it was all about skiing. My buddy and I moved to Snowbird, Utah or Sandy, Utah I guess you want to call it that, and skiing at Snowbird and Alta. We recently went to Jackson Hole, ended up at the time that it was maybe too expensive for us. It’s funny when I look back at it now, how much it was. But at the same time I came here as a ski bum and then we skied. I planned on going back east, back home after one ski season, but the mountains were pretty intriguing.
I started riding a mountain bike. Everyone was fired up about a mountain bike at the time, so I bought a mountain bike for I think 500 bucks. That tapped the bank account for me at that time, but my real love was running and being on foot. I rode some biking for maybe a month and a half or so, but then I started running. The love of running through the mountains came to me instantly. It was very gratifying, very enjoyable. You could hit a summit peak anywhere from 25 minutes to an hour and a half, whatever it took.
That really didn’t take any motivation to get me out the door to do that. I just started running and running, and ran the Snowbird Hill climb, which at one time was called the “Rowdy Run,” in 1990 or ’91. I won the race with about three weeks of training. So that was another thing that really intrigued me to keep running through the mountains.
It wasn’t really about marathoning at the time, it was really about getting out and running through the wildflowers and things like that. It evolved over time in terms of running races and challenging myself and racing other people. But really just a love for the mountains, as opposed to being back in New Hampshire where there are great mountains in Northern New Hampshire, but I love to live in Southern New Hampshire where you had to drive an hour and a half to go have some fun.
The proximity of the mountains here in Salt Lake are in my backyard. It was easy for me to start running and to see where it was going to go at that point. I don’t know, I never thought I’d be a pro runner, but time evolved I guess.
UtahRunning.com: Yeah, and it’s a great thing to be so close to the mountains, have them right at your back door.
Karl: It’s nice to be in the mountains. When I go run every day, I don’t run from my house. I usually drive up to Alta and go up to Cottonwood Canyon or something like that, and run up there. To me it’s automatic, even if that drive might take 20 minutes. It’s a no-brainer for me. I just love the accessibility of Salt Lake and the mountains here. I could live in another mountain town in Colorado or California, and I would have accessibility to mountains as well. But at the time when I started doing this, it was pretty inexpensive to live here. We were able to manage a bit of work at Snowbird being a bartender and working as little as possible during the summer and just giving myself more time to run. Again, like you said, living right here at the mountains is pretty cool. It’s a very unique place to be a mountain runner.
UtahRunning.com: And you’ve had the opportunity to travel and run all over the place. Definitely had a lot of career highlights. What are your top few running experiences throughout your career?
Karl: My top running experiences, you can look back at all my races and all these wins that I’ve had. Some bigger than others, but what I remember most, I’ve been doing this now for 22 years in Utah, so I’ve been running around these mountains and I know every nook and cranny. I know every trail, every place to go. But really one of the biggest highlights from my career was really 2008, not that long ago, was running the Appalachian Trail.
Granted, that’s more of a hike than a run. You kind of jog and you hike a lot of it but it’s an experience where we were out there for 54 days with the crew that kind of takes care of you to a point. Those kinds of experiences for me are what really are the coolest. The races are quick. They seem like they take forever when you’re out there, but at the same time it’s like bing bang, it’s over. All the Hardrock races I’ve run in Silverton, Colorado, the Hardrock100, the Wasatch 100, I’ve won that six times.
I’ve won Hardrock five times. All those races were incredible experiences, but the real experiences are when you go day in and day out of just being in the mountains and doing what you love to do. The Appalachian Trail was the ultimate trail in the U.S., as opposed to other races out there. Those are cool times.
I ran the Pony Express Trail too, which is the same experience with Red Bull when we had this project and ran 2,000 miles across Sacramento to St. Joe Missouri. That was again the same kind of thing as the AT, out there multi-day. That’s what I really like to do.
Right now in my career, I’m 45-years old and I hope to have another experience like that, where I go to the Appalachian Trail again and try to break that record. Again the races are great and I’ve had some great races when I won Hardrock in 2001. My first Wasatch 100 win in 1998 was my first ultra win and that was a huge experience for me too because I never thought I’d be winning the race. I kind of entered the race from a friend who mentioned it up at Snowbird, “You should run Wasatch 100.” I was like “Why would I want to run 100 miles? That’s stupid.”
I thought he was crazy to think that but once you do something once and your experience is positive, you kind of want to go back and do better. The first time I ran it I was 28th, second time I was 7th, and when I won in ’98 it was like wow; I can’t believe I’m still running in mile 90. That was certainly a huge career highlight and it gave me the fire and desire to continue just being a runner or trying to be a runner.
Nobody in my sport is making a lot of money. Nobody. I can assure you. But we all love to do it. When I won that race I was like I’m going to see what I can do, and I’m not going to work — I’m going to work as little as possible. I always say work to live, don’t live to work. When I work at Snowbird in the summer months I work part time. It was the night shift bartending a couple days a week mostly on the weekends of course. And then in the winter I would work — and ski. I skied a lot through about 1997-98. I’d ski all winter and save all the money that I made, or as much as possible, to survive over the summer. I really focused my life around running.
Saving that 7,000 – 8,000 dollars over the course of the winter is for most ski bums quite difficult. You don’t make enough money to do that. But I wouldn’t go out after work. I’d go home and take my cash tips and throw them in the piggy bank. I’d save it for summer because I knew summer was where I really wanted to spend my time running around the mountains.
UtahRunning.com: That’s where your passion was, the training during the summer?
Karl: Mostly, the passion was being out in the mountains in the summer. I loved to ski. I didn’t run much in the wintertime. I was skiing a lot, back-country skiing, so I was plenty fit. Summer would come around and I would start kicking in my running and again work as little as possible and run around. It’s been a great experience.
UtahRunning.com: It definitely sounds like it’s been a fun career for you. You mentioned you’ve been at it for 22 years. What do you think is on your docket for this year? What races and goals do you have for this year?
Karl: Races and goals for 2013 is I’ve already run four ultras. I had to drop from one because I was injured. But what’s next up for me is the Western States 100, a race I’ve never run, as big and all the hype that’s about it. And with my career you’d think I had run that race a bunch of times. It’s in two weeks from now, or less than two weeks, 12 days. It’s Squaw Valley to Auburn, California. It’s a classic 100-miler, Western States. I call it the track meet because it is a very fast course, 15-16 hours will usually win it, and highly competitive.
That’s kind of a big one on the year. Hardrock 100 is 13 days after that. I kind of run Western and then I go to Hardrock and kind of slog through that one, and try to survive. The real goal of those two races is to try and attempt to break Nick Clark’s double record there. Where he ran like 15:50 at Western and 27:40 at Hardrock. Those times are both solid. The Hardrock time I can beat. The Western I don’t know if I can beat that, so we’ll kind of see how that pans out.
Following that I have the Speedgoat 50K who I’m a race director for that race at Snowbird. That’s a big 350 people in the field, it’s a big race. And then the Run Rabbit Run 100 in September, and that’s a race with the big money. That’s kind of my summer and then after that we’ll see if I can still walk after that.
UtahRunning.com: That’s great, you’ve definitely got to build up for something like that. It sounds to me like a pretty crazy schedule. What are some of the keys for you as far as building endurance, like training strategies? What kind of mileage you putting in, that kind of stuff?
Karl: To really build endurance for people getting into ultra running, or any running, is consistency. There’s a lot of people here in Salt Lake that will train for the Wasatch 100 being the big race every year. The race is in September so they have a regular job, unlike Karl. I coach people online so I have that job but at the same time I can turn the button off and go run when I want to.
A lot of people that will work 9-to-5, do extra long runs over the weekend and a couple small ones during the week. That’s okay to help you get to the finished line, but the real way to build endurance is the consistency factor. If you can run every day working maybe six days a week — your body doesn’t know how long a week is. Your body only knows real time. You don’t have to think of things as a week. You can monitor your miles by week, but that’s just kind of a number. If you can get out and run every day until you get to the point where you don’t want to run — say I was real tired and didn’t want to run today. This is the day I need to take off. You take that day off, and you run every day until you need to take a day off.
That’s how I build my base and endurance. Most people when I do schedules for people they will want a certain day off per week. That’s perfectly fine. I work around that. The bottom line it’s hard to teach where people learn how to take the day off when they really need to or keep running when they need to. It’s consistency. I’ve been doing this since I was 12-years old, so I have this incredible base that a lot of people don’t have. I was injured on April 13 through about the end of May. I had a small minor calf sprain, nothing horrible, but definitely something that stopped me from running more than 20 miles a week. For that seven-week period I probably averaged 25 miles a week. That’s not a very good rep going into Western States 100, right? Of course not.
But I have this underlying base that it doesn’t concern me that much. A couple of weeks I’ve run 65 miles a week, so my calf’s fine. I’ve been getting 20,000 feet of climbing in those 65 mile a week. So I’m coming back, getting myself back in the groove, and my base will be there. I’m not even worried about it. 100 miles for me isn’t far. It’s another kind of race for me, because I’ve done it 60 times. I kind of know what it feels like.
UtahRunning.com: And you’ve got those years of consistency building up to it, too.
Karl: Yeah, and honestly if you look back at my career, on my running logs over all the years, like we talked about the weekly thing; you could look at mine and look at the yearly thing. I’ve been doing it so long — how many miles I ran in 1995 and 1999 and 2005. If you look at those numbers, that graph does very slowly climb. It wasn’t planned that way. I just kind of know how my body feels, and I’ve been able to progress that way without really having any debilitating injuries. I’m a runner too. I have issues. I’ve got a neuroma on my left foot that has been there for two years, and I just keep running on it because you really can’t make that better anyway unless you stop running.
I’m going to keep running until I have somebody cut it off. Who knows, that might happen one year, but that’s okay. As long as you can manage issues, that’s what is part of ultra running too, it’s not about dos. It’s about how to manage aches and pains and little issues in your body that your body wants to rebel. Your body doesn’t want to run 100 miles or 50 miles sometimes, but you just have to know how to deal with it. I’ve learned that over time. It’s just an experience thing.
UtahRunning.com: You mentioned too, that your body wants to rebel and the years of consistency and training your body. What about mentally, what do you think you’ve done to be able to endure those long miles alone on the trails, both when you’re racing and in all those miles of training?
Karl: Well, ultra running is a very mental thing. There’s no doubt about it. And to have a career as long as I have, can be a mental challenge. For me it pays the bills. There’s a little motivation there as well, but the bottom line is that I like to get out in the mountains. A lot of the best ultra runners in the U.S. or the world mostly like to get out in the mountains and run. It isn’t about specific training or speed workouts or tempo workouts or progressing up to your long runs before your big race. It’s really about getting out there.
Motivational wise, you’ll see a lot of guys that come into this sport and kill it for a couple of years, or two years, win and win and win, and run very fast times. But then that mental drive and desire to keep racing fades away. It is a tough stress on your body, and I’ve been able to manage it because I still like to do it. There aren’t that many guys that will last as long as I do, but at the same time, I just like to do it. I’m accepting the fact that I’m getting slower.
Some might argue that sometimes, with a few things last year, but at the same time; I am getting older and I’m going to get slower. It’s going to happen. That’s inevitable, but I still think I’m going to go out there and accept the fact that I might come in 10th and not 1st. That’s okay, you have to accept that and if you have the mental vibe just to be out in the mountain, it’s not even a big deal to say I’m not going to win as much anymore.
I don’t expect to win too many more hundreds but I could pick races around the country that I could easily win. But that’s not my style. I won’t do that. I run races because I like to run certain courses. Get me into the woods, give me single track, give me up and down, give me mud and that kind of thing, I like it. I won’t go to a race because people expect me to go to it. Western States has been like that for years.
I’ve had a hard time getting in the last couple of years because there’s a lottery, but Hardrock is really my desire. Hardrock is a much tougher course, more my style, higher mountains, way harder than Western States. It’s not real competitive but at the same time I went there because it was what I like to do best. For me, that helps the mental desire to keep running too. If you run all these races that people expect you to run, well, you have to run Western because you’re Karl Meltzer. You’ve won all these races, you have to try to win Western.
I don’t really care. I’m going to go run my courses, that I like. This year I got in Western because I won the Run Rabbit Run 100 last year in Steamboat, Colorado, and I finally got in Western so I’m going to run it. I haven’t got in because of the lottery and now is my opportunity to do it. Would I rather race in Hardrock? Yeah, probably, but I want to do it once. I want to at least see the course. It’s going to be fun, fast, enjoyable race. There’s a lot of hype behind the race. And I still don’t get into the hype thing. I just do my own thing, and whatever happens during the race happens. I’m just going to let it fall into place.
UtahRunning.com: As far as preparation for the race and things you do during the race, nutritionally what are some of your plans for that race this year, and what have you done for other races nutritionally, that’s been beneficial.
Karl: Usually nutritionally for me it’s a very simple formula. It’s a combination of — this is just race nutrition obviously, but it would be a combination of gel, water, salt/ electrolyte capsules, and that’s about it. A little bit of Red Bull, a bit of chicken bouillon which is a little salty kind of thing, but generally speaking I do the same nutritional routine during the race every time. I’ve got it pretty much down to how much gel I need, how much salt I need. This is one of those things that takes forever for people to figure out if they’re an ultra marathoner.
Everyone is different. Their sweat rates are different. Their electrolyte balances are different. So it’s really taking experience to figure that out. During the race that’s basically my simple formula. I’ll eat something off the table if it looks desirable but generally speaking that’s my routine.
In terms of my regular diet, nutritionally wise I eat well, but I’m not a special vegan. I don’t — any gimmicks of polio diets, vegan stuff, all that. To me that’s another fad of whatever, and it’s okay, if people can do that and they want to do that. It’s just the fact that I don’t desire to do that. So I’m not going to do it. It’s like running. I like running through the mountains. I’m going to run through the mountains. I don’t do much of any research on who tells me I should eat this to have a better performance.
Remember how back in the days of the marathon, you just carbo load before the marathon. That’s becoming sort of a bunk thing now. It’s funny how it works that way because maybe back then it was about carbo loading for marathons because you weren’t planning on eating anything during the marathon. Your body, your glycogen stores are going to last for 2.5 hours or something like that. Then you’re going to blow up and bonk at mile 20 like everybody else.
Seriously that’s how the training was. Nowadays when I go to a race and my pre-race meal, I don’t have a specific pre-race meal. There’s no pre-race meal that made me a superstar over a hundred miles. I can assure you. A hundred miles is a long way for a pre-race meal to last. It’s a long race, so you really need to know how to fuel yourself during the race. That’s the ticket.
If I go to Moab, only 55K, but when we do that we usually go out for Mexican. I’ll eat a chile verde burrito, yummy. Or I’ll eat pizza before the race. It really doesn’t matter to me because it doesn’t make a difference over that long distance and time. If you feel a bit bunky and funky in the morning and you think it’s your meal last night, I can assure you it’s not your meal last night. It’s just because you’re nervous.
I don’t get nervous anymore. I’m passed that point. This is how it’s worked for me. There is no magical formula as long as you learn there’s a few basic things of how many calories per hour. It’s about 250 per hour during physical exertion during a long race. It’s roughly that number. Some people can survive on less than that. Your salt intake for me anyway is like pretty much one tab per hour if it’s 70 degrees. And I tend to use that as my baseline. Then it gets hotter, you’ll drink a bit more water, a little more salt. I’ll take it more frequently. Maybe every 50 minutes, but I really treat it like an IV drip. That’s the most important tip, really, to think of your fuel intake as an IV drip.
If you take it all at once, that’s no good. It’s hard to process. If you don’t do enough, you start to feel crappy, then you don’t want more again. Then if you have a downhill slide, if you keep that drip coming, like you’re laying in the hospital bed watching that drip going, that’s exactly how you treat your fuel intake. Again it’s like how fast can you make the drip go? It’s so hard to really nail it but that’s how I treat it.
I try to teach my clients the same thing. Those that do well, and listen, they generally have pretty darn good races.
UtahRunning.com: I think one of the things too is that people just need to realize take some time beforehand to test it out. Test out what you need to do on some of your runs beforehand, rather than trying to jump into a race and make adjustments during the race.
Karl: Exactly right, you always want to test something before you run, even if it’s a shorter race. One of the cardinal rules of all races, of all marathons, is never use something new in an ultra, whether it’s a certain gel or certain drink or a certain pack. If you’re running with a pack around your waste, then oh, I’ve got this new pack, someone in the industry said it was great. Maybe for them, but the bottom line is you have to try it first and see if it wiggles around too much on you or if you can carry whatever you need to carry, or if it feels comfortable, or if the bottle falls out. If the bottle breaks, or whatever; you need to learn that beforehand.
And the fueling too, a lot of times you can test your fueling by — this might sound crazy, but if you run in the morning, go run on an empty stomach. Bring some gel with you and fuel yourself for that two-hour run with your gel and see how that affects you because when you’re running a hundred miles and you’re at mile 50, I can assure you; you’re very depleted. Whether you’ve been gorging or not, you’re basically depleted.
If you can teach yourself to see what that feels like on an empty stomach, then you kind of know what it’s going to feel like after mile 50 or so. That’s not something I recommend every day, but just once in a great while. But it’s important to practice that kind of stuff.
You have to practice running with your headphones, so the wire doesn’t get in the way, if you like to run with music. Figure out those details so they don’t frustrate you during the race. Every time you get frustrated during the race, your whole mental desire to continue to run hard or whatever you’re doing goes down. Oh this damn cord’s in the way, oh I can’t get my bottle out, or my bottle broke or whatever. Again, it’s repetitive, repetitive, like building base for 23 years. It’s all repetitive. Then it’s automatic and it’s easy. When I go running every day, I have a basic run kit, my fanny pack and bike gloves and hat and glasses whatever essentials, those kind of things. I have it, I can pick it up and go.
A race is the same thing. I don’t have this extra stuff I’m thinking about. It’s all right there. It takes me 20 minutes to get ready to run a 100-miler. My drop bag is the only thing that takes time, and it’s not a complicated process. It’s gel in the drop bag, any clothing I might need depending on where the course is, but other than that, bam, I’m ready to go. I don’t want to get splits, times, or elevation profiles or any of that stuff because the bottom line is it is what it is. When you get to that hill you’re probably going to walk up the hill. I don’t care if it’s mile 20 or mile 80. If it’s steep enough you’re going to walk.
I use my knowledge and go on effort. If I go with my talent and what I have, what I have in the tank is I use the right effort. I usually run a pretty good race. I haven’t had too many races where I blow up. It’s been really rare. Again it’s an experience thing. I’ve run a hundred-and-something ultras, so you’ve got think I’ve got something figured out.
UtahRunning.com: That experience definitely makes a big difference. There’s a big race coming up here in Utah, the Wasatch 100. And there’s a lot of people here locally that are preparing for that. What advice or strategy do you suggest from your experience in conquering that particular course?
Karl: Wasatch course is a tough course. The Wasatch 100 is one of the most beautiful and toughest courses on the planet, really. And I’ve run a bunch of them. I’ve run harder ones, but Wasatch is right up there. You have the local people here, you’ve got the mountains right next to you. You’d be a fool not to go run on the course and at least know kind of how long it takes you to go from section to section. It’s always going to be a little slower during the race, so you have to accept that. But when you’re going from say Upper Big Water, to the top of the Millcreek Road, to Brighton. That’s about 15 miles or so.
You can do this run in training a million times, and that 15 miles takes you 2.5 hours. That’s pretty fast during race day for the front guy, but say you do it in 2.5 hours. You have to accept that it’s going to take you maybe 3:20. It really depends on who you are, but if you practice all the sections and pieces, you kind of know how long it takes to get from one point to another, and that just helps you mentally. Okay, I’ve got 20 minutes left until I get to Scott’s Pass, or 20 minutes left until I get to Brighton. I know it’s all downhill now, so I know I’ll feel a little better here. I know what the climb is after Brighton.
Again I’m not the kind of guy that really studies courses, but if I lived somewhere next to the course I’d be on it all the time. You’re a fool not to do that. I wouldn’t worry looking at other peoples’ splits. Go create your own split, what time you need to run. Try to simulate what race-day pace would be, and that’s hard when you’re fresh. I’ve walked from top of Millcreek Road just to Dog Lake, so that’s three miles, very easy trail, all on — on a training run for me it’s 28 minutes. It’s runnable, it’s easy. But race day it takes 37 minutes, and the thing is I know these numbers exactly with my splits because I’ve run it so many times.
But that’s what it takes me. I know it’s really hard to train to go that slow but try once in a while to set yourself back and do that and say wow, I can do this, 37 minutes no problem; I’m hardly moving. You have to teach yourself that. Teach yourself how much food you’re going to need between those drop bag stations where again I kind of use just gel across the board, so I really don’t use food on aid station tables. But for other people it’s good to learn how much food you’ll probably need on the training runs. Do one of those training runs on an empty stomach and see how it feels. See how much energy you have.
Knowing your crew is really important as well. I mean again being local your crew people should have no problem getting to an aid station, knowing where they are, knowing your time kind of thing, where to park, where to crew you, little things like that to keep your mental energy positive. That’s the whole thing, it’s positive energy. If you’re always thinking negative, where’s my crew, I can’t find them. Oh, Dana’s sitting on the tailgate over there. Why’s she over there? She should be right here. When you start thinking about other stuff like that, when they start asking you all these questions; how’s your knee? Is your knee hurt? You don’t let them do that.
They’re not allowed to ask questions like that. You just have to really be on the course and practice it, like playing the same golf course over and over. You get a little better at that same course if you play golf. That’s kind of how it works with Wasatch. It took me a few years to figure out the Wasatch course, until I started winning on it. But now to me it’s automatic. Hopefully I’ll go back to Wasatch. I haven’t been there since 2009 because other things have been going on.
Again for some of those people, I wouldn’t recommend doing 40 mile training runs on the course. I think that’s too much. But that’s my personal viewpoint on how training should be. I’d rather see more quality over quantity. Many people will think about doing 110 mile, 120-mile week. That all sounds great on paper, but you tell me how many people that run 100-120 miles per week don’t get hurt? Eventually your body will break down.
You can stay between that good quality and not too many high miles, then you’ll probably go to the start line feeling a bit fresher. Your body’s not as pounded. That translates to a better run later in the race, presuming your belly doesn’t tweak. There’s other issues. Those kinds of things happen too. But that’s all food and electrolytes and all that stuff, and that’s why you’ve got to keep practicing and find that balance.
UtahRunning.com: It definitely does make sense that if you’re local and you live close to an area, why not run sections of that course and test out some of the nutrition and test out some of the other things you’d want to test out during the race.
Karl: That’s a no-brainer approach. A lot of people don’t necessarily get out there as much. I’m like you live ten minutes from there. Why would you not do it? Personal preference, people have jobs. They’re working 9-to-5. They can’t get out there every day on the course, so it’s hard. I’m the guy that was a ski bum that rented his house to a roommate to pay for his mortgage, who basically focused on running. I don’t have kids, I save a little money, and I get to run every day. I’m a unique person on that end of it. I understand other people have jobs and work so much but I’ve been lucky. Just because I chose that path. Everyone else could have chosen that path, if they wanted it, but other people have certain desires. It’s all good. Most people want to do to it to challenge themselves.
UtahRunning.com: It definitely is a challenging thing and challenging path too, I’m sure there’s been tons of challenges along the way, and a lot of satisfaction too, it sounds like. You’ve had some great experiences. What would you say, would you have final advice for aspiring ultra runners, of all ages and abilities, any final advice you’d offer up to those in the Utah Running community?
Karl: My best piece of advice is do it because you like it, because you love it. Don’t treat it as a job. There’s definitely certain times when you can run for six months, feel great, every morning you wake up thinking where am I going to go. Or where am I going to run tonight after work? Where am I going to run this morning before work?
If you have that desire you’re good. It’s pretty easy because it’s so easy to get out the door. You don’t want to make it a job. Sometimes people get burned out and I’ve been there too. It’s like all of a sudden man, do I really want to run today? Or this week? It’s fair to take a break over the winter, just for a month. I wouldn’t take it for four months like I used to when I was skiing, but it’s okay, to take a break. You want it to be fun, you want to desire to be out there. If it’s a chore because you feel you have to stay in shape, then maybe you don’t do it as much, so every time you do go out you really enjoy it.
It’s tough to say give some random advice because if you don’t like running why are you doing it? If you shoot 150 when you play golf and no offense to those who shoot 150, but why are you doing it? Because you’re more frustrated. You don’t want to be out there frustrated. You have to like it and like anything else, we have times when — for me, when I first started skiing here, we used to ski 120 days a year. We woke up in the morning, “All right, let’s hit it, meet you up there at 10” or whatever. We were fired up to do it, and that’s what kept us going.
You have to like it. Find that time and the peace, being on the mountain on your own is really the drive. It is for me anyway. The fun of finishing a race, for me anyway, when I finished Wasatch 100, I’ve done it so many times; I’ll finish between 1 and 2 in the morning, and I’ll sleep for a while and then I’ll come out and watch the rest of the people finish. To me, that’s pretty darn inspiring. People that come in at the end, they’re leaning sideways, can barely move. But if you look at the smiles on every one of those peoples’ faces, all you have to do is remember that smile one time and it’s like this is pretty cool.
It’s awesome. My wife finished Wasatch one time. She Bear 100 as well. She was never, ever a runner. She turned into — she didn’t turn into the fastest runner out there. She made the cut off at like an hour, so she made it. But just to see her finish, the happiness on her face was like wow, she actually enjoyed it. She enjoyed it being done, but at the same time if you look back and say wow that was an incredible experience. I may not want to do it again, but you know, it was an incredible experience. When you get those experiences, that’s when it’s easy to get out the door in the morning.
UtahRunning.com: I appreciate you sharing your experience with us, and I think it’s been definitely enlightening to hear from your experience and things that you’ve been able to achieve in your career. I hope we can all follow that advice to do it because we love it.
Karl: That’s right, do it because you love it.
UtahRunning.com: Thanks Karl, we appreciate it.