A Q&A With Ultrarunner Courtney Dauwalter
Courtney Dauwalter just won the prestigious Western States 100-mile endurance run in June of this year, with a time of 17 hours, 27 minutes and 2 seconds—the second fastest women’s time in the history of the race.
She’s a brand fan and OOFOS advocate, and we recently had a great time catching up with her about her training, recovery from the race, and the latest and greatest at OOFOS.
Check out some of the conversation below:
Q: Tell us about your lead up to Western States. How/when did you decide to run this race? What was your life and training like in preparation for the race?
A: I really wanted to get into Western States this year and made a plan to go after a Golden Ticket - which is one way runners can earn a spot in Western States. I raced the Sean O'Brien 100km in February, successfully earned my entry to Western States and could start to think concretely about my preparation for the "big dance". I spent the winter and spring doing some shorter training races, getting in big mileage weeks and ran a 100 mile race (Ultra Trail Mt. Fuji in April) to remind my body and brain what it feels like to go this distance. It was all pretty typical training for me, though. I didn't change too much from what I normally do.
Q: Describe a few of your recovery practices during training and in everyday life. What recovery practices did you feel were most necessary and helpful in the lead up to WS100?
A: Besides wearing OOFOS? I take rest days when my body is tired. I eat whatever I crave. I keep my feet, body and brain happy by listening to what I need, and then giving myself that thing.
Q: How did you prepare emotionally for WS100? What was your motivational/emotional experience while racing such a long, grueling course?
A: I felt really lucky and honored to be able to take part in the WS100 - a lot of people wish to do this race every year, there is tons of history in the amazing athletes who have run the race before me, and we got to run a sweet network of trails that carried us 100 miles from Squaw to Auburn. Keeping that in mind made it easy to stay emotionally and mentally invested in the preparation for the race. It felt so cool to be able to take part in something so special. I was also motivated by the fact that some of the best ultrarunners would be racing, and I wanted to bring my best version of myself to the starting line to see how I stacked up against the field. During the race, it was just trying to stay smart, stay tough and be efficient.
Q: How did you recover after the race? (physically, emotionally, or in any other aspects of recovery)
A: I took some down time for sure! I spent about a week doing a whole lot of relaxing. Physically, I now feel recovered and will start ramping up my training again. Mentally, it's important to make sure your brain is fully rested before pinning on a race bib and asking your mind to go back into race mode. I will still give myself some more time for this part of my recovery - I don't have another race planned until mid-August.
Q: How does it feel to win WS100 as one of the most challenging and esteemed ultras? What are your thoughts/reflections after the race?
A: I think I might still be processing this! It was a really incredible day to be part of. I am thankful to the race organizers, the absolutely wonderful volunteers, my crew, and the amazing field of runners I got to share the trails with. I am thankful for an ultrarunning community full of folks who have shared their wisdom and many miles over the years as I try to learn how to pick up my feet on the trails and run farther distances. It is so cool to be part of this sport.
Q: What's next for you after winning WS100?
A: The next big one I'll be training for is the Tahoe 200! I'm excited to test myself in another 200 mile race.
Courtney’s dedication to the sport and competitive spirit are inspirational and we can all learn something from her, regardless of whether you’re looking to run an ultra or not.
Here at OOFOS, we look forward to continuing to support her post-race recovery as she tackles her next challenges.
All photos courtesy of Courtney Dauwalter.
Leave a comment
Comments will be approved before showing up.