Team Colorado: Justin, first of all, congratulations on your 18th place performance at TNF 50 this past weekend. On paper, the field this year in San Francisco seemed like one of the deepest, most competitive ultra races ever assembled. What did you think going into the race?
Justin: I just wanted to run my own race and I didn't want to blow up like I had at other 50 mile races. I wanted to run conservative, though, looking back at it, I may have been a little too conservative.
TC: You recently placed 2nd at the USATF Trail Marathon Championships, so you were obviously prepared for the technical, long races; what was your preparation leading up to TNF 50?
Justin: Living in Colorado, there was no way for me to prepare for running in those conditions. Looking back, I think that the best preparation I had came in the form of the Fall Series. Running through Monument Creek was better training than I ever imagined.
TC: We know you are quite fast on the roads, having won the 2011 Eugene Marathon in 2:22:05. How did training leading up to TNF 50 differ?
Justin: I focused more on the 30-plus mile runs and less on speed work. But, the training was basically the same. I wasn't as disciplined in my training as I am when preparing for a marathon.
TC: We heard it was a wet and sloppy day on Saturday and that there was a course change the day before the race. How did that affect your race strategy?
Justin: I was actually excited about the weather conditions; the race was going to be a unique experience. It turned the race into more of an adventure run and it favored the runners who could compete better in extreme conditions.
TC: There were an awful lot of people who went off course and tried to make up by adding in the missed loops later. Did you go off course? What the course difficult to follow? Was it as chaotic as it was for us watching the live stream of the race?
Justin: I stayed on course for the race despite having convinced myself that I had gone off course multiple times. The markings were confusing and I can see how easy it was for runners to go the wrong way. My biggest issue was visibility during the dark hours of the morning. My headlamp was not bright enough to light the trail with the heavy rain I was running through.
TC: Anything else you would like to add?
Justin: I really enjoyed the opportunity to run through conditions I have never before experienced.
|Ricks crossing the finish line at the 2012 TNF 50 photo: Brett Rivers|