Courtney Dauwalter is one of the greatest ultra runners on the planet. In the history of the sport, there are few athletes who have been as successful and versatile as Courtney – competing and winning races of all different distances and formats. Most recently, Courtney won and broke the course record at the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc in what was one of the great ultra performances of all-time, finishing 7th overall. This was her second victory at the world’s most important event. We talk all about the UTMB victory in this conversation but also spend time on the Hardrock 100, where Courtney unfortunately succumbed to a DNF earlier in the summer. Hear what Courtney learned there and how that disappointment led to a transcendental victory at UTMB only six weeks later.
Dylan Bowman: Hello, pillars family. Welcome back to the show. I hope everyone is doing awesome. Thank you for tuning into another episode of the podcast. Of course, I'm your loving host, Dylan Bowman. And today we are joined by one of the true legends of trail running. She is not only one of the best athletes in the world right now, but she is also arguably already one of the best of all time on the Mount Rushmore of shred. That's right today, we welcome the incredible Courtney Dewal to the podcast. Of course, Courtney is from Leadville, Colorado, and over the past handful of years, she has truly transcended our little sport of trail and running amassing too many accomplishments to name here all while remaining humble and approachable and emanating, a genuine kindness that her fans around the world all appreciate myself included. Of course, Courtney is just coming off another win at the UT M B her second victory at the world's most important event.
Dylan Bowman: This time doing it in absolutely dominating fashion, winning by an hour and 40 minutes and breaking the course record in what was one of the greatest ever performances in the history of our sport. I am not being hyperbolic. It was that incredible. And of course, we talk all about that performance in this conversation, but we also spent some time on the hard rock, 100 from back in July, where Courtney, unfortunately, DNF we discussed what happened there, what she learned from it and how she applied those learnings to U T M B, where all the pieces came together for her. It was a true pleasure to sit down for a conversation with Courtney for as good as she is as an athlete. She is also just so cool and likable. And in my mind, she is just the perfect champion for our sports in this current moment.
Dylan Bowman: And I hope you all really enjoy the conversation as always a reminder. If you need guidance in your trail or ultra journey or wanna community to share it with, please check out the show notes where you can find a link to download the pillars training app. We would love to help you out and get to know you along the way as we all try to be better athletes and human beings together. And if you enjoy the show and you wanted to support it, you can also find a link in the show notes to our Patreon page, where we would ly and graciously accept and appreciate your support. And before we get to the interview, one final tease that is this weekend. I will be heading to the lake Tahoe area to do the live commentary for the broadcast at the broken arrow sky race. The great Courtney Dewal our guest today is also going to be part of the broadcast team alongside myself, Karin, Malcolm, and Jorge Mara via. So please clear your calendars this weekend. We will be broadcasting Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. So make sure you follow me or broken arrow on Instagram, where we will post the timing of all those broadcasts. It's going to be an absolute blast and you don't wanna miss it. Okay. On with the show, please welcome the two time UT M B champion, the amazing Courtney du
Dylan Bowman: Courtney. Dewal welcome to the podcast. How are
Courtney Dauwalter: You?
Dylan Bowman: Uh, look at me here, my
Courtney Dauwalter: Juggling, all the hats,
Dylan Bowman: My incredible studio here. It's actually terrible acoustics. When I signed the lease on this office, I, uh, I forgot to test, you know, shout into the void here, but you know, we make it work. I got this professional mic, so it's
Courtney Dauwalter: All good. Yeah, no, it looks legit. I feel like though, you could do like a cool poster in the background.
Dylan Bowman: I know I'm totally, that's what I'm working on this fall. My goal is to really turn this thing into a studio. I wanna get like a real good camera, real lighting. Anyway, we'll talk. I'll I'll figure that out offline. This is not
Courtney Dauwalter: Interesting.
Dylan Bowman: Where are you broadcasting from straight. Are you at, at home? In Leadville?
Courtney Dauwalter: Yes. Home in Leadville.
Dylan Bowman: Good. Well, it's great
Courtney Dauwalter: To see no professional podcasting studio.
Dylan Bowman: Anyway. Well welcome Courtney. I'm so excited to do this with you. I'm so appreciative of your time. I know you had to turn down Joe Rogan to come on my little show today, but, uh,
Dylan Bowman: A lot of fun things to talk about and I've wanted to have you on forever. And of course, uh, have wanted to have you on even more after your phenomenal victory at UT M B, which I wanted to talk all about here in our conversation, but I wanted to just kind of start with, with hard rock because you and I were both there and I had, you know, pretty much as good of a day as I could possibly have you unfortunately did not. You didn't make it to the finish line and DNF. And we'll talk about that, but I'm curious, like with the hard rock, UT M B double that you were preparing for, um, of course your Solomon teammate, Fran Swain did the same thing and managed to win both. It was phenomenal. And I remember in his, I run far interview before hard rock. He said that he was arriving in Silverton feeling like very fresh. And, uh, I thought it was a brilliant way to approach that devil. And I was curious, uh, what your approach was in the training leading up to hard rock, uh, or like how you were approaching the, the double in particular as opposed to hard rock individually. Was that something you were thinking about?
Courtney Dauwalter: Um, I was very excited for the double and I was really intrigued by those six weeks in between. So, um, that was kind of the whole purpose of the double for me is like, what do you do in those six weeks between so that you can be at the second one and be ready to rumble? Um, but I think I was approaching hard rock just as it as hard rock. So I was like, we're, we're gonna race this one as hard as we can leave it all out there for this first a hundred mile race. And then we'll play the game of moving the puzzle pieces around for the six weeks to figure out how to recover and be ready again for UT M B. So in my brain, I wasn't really thinking of them both. I was just wanting to give the hard rock course, everything I could.
Dylan Bowman: So what the hell do you do in training? I'm curious
Courtney Dauwalter: Training. I don't even know what I do.
Dylan Bowman: Okay. Give us, give us a little bit of a glimpse. I mean, I'm just very interested to hear sort of like yeah. How you approach the training. I mean, you're so fricking good and where there's no visibility into how you're able to accomplish the things that you do. So tell us a little bit about what
Courtney Dauwalter: You do. So it's full on amateur hour over here. We
Dylan Bowman: But like are,
Courtney Dauwalter: Tell me, I mean, so I don't have a plan. I don't have a coach I'm I love that because I love figuring it out myself. And I also love that because it gives me the flexibility to assess how I feel every single day. And then go from there. That being that this is my job right now. I like can really play around with the hours of the day. And so not, not having a set workout for a day or a set plan for the week makes it. So I really tune into physically and mentally where I'm at, and then I can push the gas pedal down when it feels good, or I can, you know, lay on the couch if it feels bad or anything in between is kind of like up to the day and, and what happens after coffee
Courtney Dauwalter: Time? I do. Yeah. So I use a SUNO, so I have all of that data if I want it. Um, but like during a run, I'm not looking at pace. I'm not really looking at distance. Uh, maybe after the run, I don't even look, you know, like it really just depends on what's going on, but I think my sweet spot for mileage lately has been like, I feel really good around 1, 1 15 to one 20, probably closer to one 15 for an average weekly mileage. So I don't know what that gets classified as is that high mileage.
Dylan Bowman: That's, that's pretty high. That's pretty high impressive, man. You gotta do.
Courtney Dauwalter: No, I don't think it makes it more, less impressive. I just think everyone's like, bodies are different. Like totally some people, you know, they do 60 miles a week and they're like, that's their sweet spot and they're, you know, super fit from it. And, and other people do 140 and that's their sweet spot, sweet spot. You know,
Dylan Bowman: It's one of the great things about the sport. I love it so much. It's yeah. You have people who do 150 mile weeks and smash it, and then you have people who do 60, 70 mile weeks and smash it. And yeah, it's kind of unpredictable, you know, as to what strategy is the best way to go. Whereas like in pro marathoning or track and field, or even like triathlon and cycling, all the pros are kind of doing the same volume. So it's interesting in that respect with our sport. Yeah. Are you somebody who does like the little things also, do you do like the strength and stretching and mobility stuff?
Courtney Dauwalter: I didn't. I used to be someone who just got out of bed and could put on my shoes and run
Courtney Dauwalter: Is this? What
Dylan Bowman: The heck I was in the gym this morning? Not to brag. I mean, you can, you can, you can probably tell, but
Courtney Dauwalter: Well, yeah, I was gonna say
Courtney Dauwalter: Actually, I have noticed the benefits quite a bit. I think that, you know, the trunk, your core and hips and glutes are like super important in running. Um, and also if they can stay strong as you fatigue as the miles and hours get longer, I think it's really helpful. So I don't know if that's just in my head and it helps me do the 30 minutes every day. Um, but I think it pays off often. I also just wanna be in the sport for a long time. So if this is 30 minutes, I can do every day that makes it. So I last, you know, however many more years, that would be cool.
Dylan Bowman: Yeah. Well said, well said. Yeah, I think, uh, it, there's a moment of awakening for all of us where we understand that this is a really important thing and that we shouldn't cut that corner. And yeah, I, I am a recent adoptee of the, the similar strategy
Courtney Dauwalter: And so welcome.
Courtney Dauwalter: So yeah. Is your focus like the same areas?
Dylan Bowman: Totally. Yeah. Hips, hips and glutes, but actually we've got a great group here in Portland. We get together on Thursday evenings with Matt wall SHA guy who I've had on the podcast, an absolute Savan of a physical therapist, but he is more of like a strength coach, very runner oriented. He's an Australian guy. So we call ourselves, we call ourselves the Wal wallabies
Courtney Dauwalter: Nice. That's great. That's great to have a group like that to make it a thing,
Dylan Bowman: Especially with that type of training. Yeah.
Courtney Dauwalter: Oh yeah.
Dylan Bowman: Training. Um, one of the other things that I'm always fascinated about with people who come on the show is like their sporting background and stuff. And I know you were a Nordic skier. In fact, I think the first time I ever like sent you a text, I think it was like a DM on Instagram is I was with a guy at a bachelor party who grew up in your neck of the woods also, you know, an endurance athlete. Name's Mike, Kris. He said, yeah, you know who Courtney DeWalt is? I was like, of course, obviously I know he's like, oh, she was such a badass Nordic skier. I was like, oh, I never knew that about her, but like you and Stephanie, how and like Karen Malcolm, I mean, there's so many other people I'm forgetting. And then obviously like the ski, mountaineering athletes too, who have a similar sort of like, I don't know, athletic history. What have, from that background as a Nordic skier, is there anything that's like still informs or influences your, your training today?
Courtney Dauwalter: For sure. I mean, because I don't have a coach, I haven't had a coach since college. Um, that's all my knowledge of like the types of workouts you can do and how to prepare to peak for a specific race. Like that's where I'm drawing on a lot, because those coaches I had in high school and college were fantastic. And so, um, that's like my Rolodex of, you know, intervals or types of workouts. I might pull out just to try something new for ultra running training for myself. Like none of it's like inventing the wheel, you know, but like, that's just how I feel comfortable just making it up as I go. I think,
Dylan Bowman: Can you give any examples of these Nordic workouts that now you're doing on the trails?
Courtney Dauwalter: No, I feel like they're the same as anyone's doing, but like just having grown up with those coaches, like demonstrating, you know, what they were having us do all the time makes it so like now I just try some of those things again.
Dylan Bowman: Do you still ski?
Courtney Dauwalter: I do. Yeah. I live in Leadville now and there's fantastic groomed cross country ski trails everywhere around here. So, um, recently, like in the past couple years I've picked it up and done it more in the winter and I love it. I think it's so fun. Have you gone ever?
Dylan Bowman: I, you know, honestly, I've Nordic skied once in my life and it was awful. I hated it so much.
Courtney Dauwalter: Gotta give it more than like,
Dylan Bowman: I'm so bad at this. This is so, I mean, I grew up on skis. Like I've been ski touring for a long time. I was downhill skiing, you know, from the time I could walk and put on aortic skis and I was like, I can't even put two steps together. It was skis completely awful. I was also terribly hung over the time that I tried and it ruined everything.
Courtney Dauwalter: Definitely not a factor.
Dylan Bowman: Oh, that's hilarious. Well, it's so cool. And yeah, I think there's a fascinating sort of overlap between people who have excelled at Nordic skiing and ski mountain earing and even sort of like team sports and stuff. I, I love sort of the athletic backgrounds of the people who come on the show and how it's sort of influenced their success in our sport as well. But let's go back to hard rock, cuz I'm really curious. I mean, I guess let's just talk about what the hell happened out there. Uh, I know you had like some stomach issues, but talk a little bit about what went down at hard rock and, uh, sort of what took you outta the race.
Courtney Dauwalter: I was so pumped to race hard rock. I know, uh, you feel the same after being on the start list for so many years and getting the opportunity to make that loop in the San Juans. Um, so I was fired up and I had been training in the mountains all summer. Like I was feeling good for it. Um, and then the race started and like something was off almost immediately for me. My stomach was just not having anything like nothing could go in and stay in. Um, but my, uh, the way I decided to problem solve that was to just ignore it and pretend it wasn't happening. So I was like, well, that's what's happening and that's fine. Let's, let's pretend it's not happening. So even to my crew at aid stations, like I wasn't telling them, you know, what was going on out there. Um, and I wasn't like trying any new foods or anything. I was just like trying to keep jamming stuff in and it was not staying so
Dylan Bowman: Yeah, because when I left U Ray is mile 55 or so that was the first time that I had sort of gotten an update of what was happening behind me. And at that point you were in, I think, fourth overall or something like that. I was like, oh man, Courtney's having a day. I better be looking over my shoulder.
Dylan Bowman: And then the next thing I heard you had like dropped out and camper road, not long outside of, not far outside of U. So like at that point, had it just become completely untenable. You had just been sort of deprived of calories for such a long time that you physically couldn't go anymore.
Courtney Dauwalter: Yeah. It was like, uh, like the plug was pulled out of the wall and it all just like stopped and there was nothing else left. And I was like, what? And my crew was like, what is going on? Like, you've been fine. And I'm like, well, I haven't been fine actually this entire time, but I'm glad that I faked you guys out.
Dylan Bowman: Yeah. It's so
Courtney Dauwalter: I couldn't fake my body out though. Like, I don't know what I was thinking. Like normally I feel like when I am problem solving, I definitely get my crew involved and like, I try to go about it really logically. And this time I was just like, well, we'll just keep smiling and running. Like you're having a normal type race. And like on the inside it was like nothing normal was going on.
Dylan Bowman: So what do you attribute this to? Is it something that you had dealt with at, at other races in terms of just not being able to stomach any calories and yeah. I mean, was there any learnings that came from that particular disappointment?
Courtney Dauwalter: Yeah. I had done a 50 mile race in June and the same thing had happened. Oh. Um, and I don't know. I guess I just kind of wrote it off as a one, a one time thing, you know, like, Ooh, maybe your body just needs to remember how to race or whatever, but it was almost the same scenario for that 50 mile race, but it was only 50 miles, you know, in relation to a hundred miles of hard rock. And so it was like, I could get to the finish line of that one. And then when smash,
Dylan Bowman: You smashed it, you smashed it at that one too
Courtney Dauwalter: Smash. So then when it happened to get at hard rock, it was like, well, this isn't a one time thing. Something's up. Um, so afterwards we did kind of go back to the drawing board with nutrition and figure out what was going on, test a bunch of different things in training in August. So that at UT M B, it wouldn't happen again.
Dylan Bowman: Good. So are you somebody who deals with disappointment? Like you obviously have like a very kind of lighthearted, playful, demeanor. You're always making jokes and stuff, but I mean, most people would, most
Courtney Dauwalter: People that's compliment that you call them jokes.
Dylan Bowman: You have a great sense of humor. You have a great sense of humor. That one on Billy Yang's Instagram about there being a lot of sandwiches here or whatever that one was fantastic. But I mean, I I'm curious, like, I don't know you are so good and yet you have like a very, I don't know, humble, normal, um, personality, but I'm just curious, like if you feel disappointment and moments like that, and, and if you, if you, how you deal with it, because you know, hard rock is a race that I'm sure you wanted to do forever. It was the same for me. And if I were in your shoes and had this wait two and a half years from the time I got into the lottery to the time I stepped to the start line and then to not be able to make the finish line, I would've been devastated. I would've been devastated. I'm curious if, if you dealt with anything like that after hard rock and if so, sort of how you dealt with it,
Courtney Dauwalter: For sure. I was disappointed. Um, and I guess the timeline, how it played out was the race started Friday morning. I was dropped out of the race by Friday night and then Saturday. Um, I didn't think about my drop from the race. I just wanted to be a part of the community. So we went to the finish and cheered for people and, you know, got to see tons of friends who had been out in the area. And, um, I just sort of set aside how my race had played out for that day so that I could enjoy the hard rock culture and, and enjoy Silverton. And then when we left, which was Sunday, um, I was really bummed and I gave myself until Tuesday morning to just be bummed. So I was like, I'm not gonna try and problem solve it right now. I'm just going to be sad about how this played out, because I was really looking forward to kissing that rock. So then it was just a few days of being sad about it. And then once, Tuesday morning hit, it was like, sweet. We've been sad. We were bummed, but now we've gotta like look forward and start trying to problem solve, because that was just one race. And, um, you know, we get to do tons of adventures in this sport. So it was like, let's figure out what went on there so that adventures can be more fun again. Mm-hmm
Dylan Bowman: So I love that by the way. Thank you for sharing that.
Courtney Dauwalter: Um, yes. So once Tuesday hit the goal was to problem solve so that we could go to UT M B with a better plan and execute it better. Um, and I think I felt really lucky all summer that I had, like after the hard rock DNF, oftentimes we have 100 mile race on our whole calendar for the year. And so then if that one doesn't go how you wanted, you have like a really long time before you get to try again and how this one worked out. It was like, oh my gosh, I have a hundred miles again in six weeks. Like that is sweet because I really wanna problem solve it. And I really wanna then get the chance to try again.
Dylan Bowman: It was like the perfect second chance, I guess. Yeah. Even a very similar course of, of different race in terms of environment, but similar in terms of stature and importance in the sport. So it was a, a great way to yeah. Bounce back after a disappointment.
Courtney Dauwalter: Um, yeah, and it, it was like, I mean, the, a golden nugget out of a DNF like that is, I wasn't as destroyed. So like my legs weren't destroyed my brain. Wasn't like, I hadn't had to go into the pain cave and like really tunnel myself in there. Um, so it felt like I could get back into just training mode really quickly after it.
Dylan Bowman: Yeah. That's great. So in this same vein you have like achieved a level of fame. That's unusual in our sport and I'm curious, I mean, it seems to have come on very quickly also, like you were doing great, you were winning races and then like you went on Joe Rogan and it's almost like overnight, you were kind of like world famous and you are been one of the very few athletes in the history of our sport. That's kind of transcended our sort of niche community. Do you feel like a, I don't know, or like how, how have you dealt with that? Um, I know this is gonna embarrass you. I know you don't wanna answer
Courtney Dauwalter: Question, right. I'm thinking in my chair
Dylan Bowman: Like,
Courtney Dauwalter: Oh, what the connections going out?
Courtney Dauwalter: Internet and lead dogs.
Dylan Bowman: Well, I'm curious, like, do, do you
Courtney Dauwalter: Yeah.
Dylan Bowman: That's an interesting way to put it. I mean, obviously we all understand that our lives are IM permanent and especially for athletes and pro athletes, it's an even shorter lifespan for that period of time. But I mean, I guess maybe a better way to put it is to share an anecdote from our run together this summer up Mount Albert. So,
Courtney Dauwalter: Which was so wonderful.
Dylan Bowman: It was so wonderful. And what a perfect day we had. It was so good. Uh, myself, you, Kevin, your husband, and, uh, Paul Terranova went up Mount Albert just outside of Leadville, highest mountain in the state of Colorado. And there was probably, I don't know, 10 or 15 people who stopped you and took selfies with you and just said, Hey, Courtney, you are such an inspiration to me, like genuine feelings of, I don't wanna say Starr, cuz that's not the right way to say it, but just like genuinely voicing their appreciation for inspiring them on their own journeys. And it was so freaking cool. And you also, I mean, just being the person that you are and all I, I can tell this story, cuz you never would
Dylan Bowman: And it was a really cool thing. And it made me think like you're kind of the perfect person for this moment, even though this, this podcast is a no humility zone, it's a no, uh, you can't be overly humble. And so I don't know, I, I think it's, uh, an important thing, um, to just sort of say to you publicly is a, a thank you to, for being a gracious champion, but I'm also curious, like if there's ever points where it feels, I don't know, like a burden or uncomfortable to you or if it comes naturally to you to sort of be in a spotlight like, like that.
Courtney Dauwalter: Well thank you for saying all those nice things. It's way too kind. Um, I would say that like if my third grade or eighth grade self had seen into the future and like this maybe would be what it was, I would probably die, like I'd faint and die because of anxiety. Like I was not, I did not talk in public really. Like I was never gonna go up in the front of the class on purpose, you know, like giving speeches. I would be just in a cold sweat all day, thinking about the speech you had to give in speech class that day or whatever. So I wouldn't say it's a natural thing that like my third grade teacher would've predicted this would be what I was doing.
Dylan Bowman: That's fascinating though. Isn't it Courtney? I mean, um, yeah, we, we can move on from this, cause I know you
Courtney Dauwalter: Don't wanna talk
Dylan Bowman: About it, but it is cool, right? Like seriously aside from maybe killing, you're probably the most well known person in our sport. And I don't know, it's sort of like, uh, I don't juxtaposition for maybe yeah. How the younger Courtney would've imagined your life or I don't know, but obviously you have always had a lot of talent for, for being an athlete and, and it's great that you've been able to also be the person to sort of bring our niche community into the general public as well, and that, and you've taken that responsibility and represented us all very well. So thank you very much.
Courtney Dauwalter: I, I mean, this sport is so cool. So the more people that can find out about it, or just the more people who could hear about something like this and it makes them wanna try something hard themselves. Like I think that's great.
Dylan Bowman: Yeah. Okay. Let's move on from, from your fame because I think you'll be a little bit more comfortable. Um, so let's talk about UT M B and, and your incredible victory there and we'll embarrass you even more so after, uh, hard rock, of course, disappointed as we just talked about, gave yourself til Tuesday, was there any part of that DNF that you now view as a blessing in terms of maybe motivation or freshness of your body and just with some perspective, how do you think that hard rock DNF informed what was an incredible victory at UT M B?
Courtney Dauwalter: Um, I mean, for sure it made me want to finish the whole loop at UT M B. So that was kind of our mindset going into, it was, you know, however long this takes us to get back to Chamee, let's just do it because I really wanted a hundred mile adventure. I wanted, you know, the whole night part, I wanted to feel the pain at the end. Like I wanted the whole package of a hundred miles and the 62 at hard rock had not given me that. So it made our mindset where it was like, no matter what we're going to get there. Um, and then, yeah, of course, if you run 62 miles out of a hundred, it will beat you up less than running a hundred out of a hundred. So physically, um, it probably dominoed where I could get in really good training between the two. And I don't know what it would've looked like if I'd finished hard rock, so maybe one day I'll get another chance to try that double, to see what the, the six weeks actually feels like on your body.
Dylan Bowman: Well said. And it is in those moments when we're determined to get to the finish line, no matter what that, I think we have our best races. That's definitely how I felt at hard rock. And it worked out well for me and throughout my career. That's always been when I've performed, my best is when I'm just like, I'm getting this thing done. I can't wait.
Courtney Dauwalter: Yeah. Yeah.
Dylan Bowman: Were you feeling when you arrived in chimney, were you feeling like you were prepared for a special day? Like, were you, did you have it like a confidence about the fact that you were ready to have what was ultimately like a historic performance?
Courtney Dauwalter: Um, I don't think I ever feel that way, but I did know I had put in really great days, like the weeks between, but also the weeks leading into hard rock. Like I had just gotten in a ton of mountain training. So I was feeling like physically good. And then I, I knew I was mentally fresh because I hadn't, you know, asked that much of the pain cave yet. Um, and I was healthy and we had tinkered with nutrition stuff. So I was like, you know, felt like our plan was good. And then there was just like this, I just have this feeling of calm. I didn't feel like I had to like avenge the DNF. I didn't feel like I needed to like do this because I had DNF, you know, I was like, I'm doing this because I wanna race UT M B, I wanna race this a hundred miles and I wanna get the full adventure out of it and leave everything I have on the course
Dylan Bowman: Beautifully said, can you give us any visibility into the tangible things that you tinkered with with the nutrition to make sure what happened at the San Juan solstice in June and hard rock in July? Wouldn't happen again at U T M B.
Courtney Dauwalter: Um, yeah. So we spoke with Meredith Terranova who is a nutritionist and is our friend. And before this, I didn't really understand anything about like what your body should be taking in per hour or like any of the, like I just ate, I just slow drips calories. Every time I raced, that was my, that was my nutrition plan always. And whatever it ended up being calorie was I have no idea. I just kept trying to eat. And so we sat down and actually talked calories with her and like looked at different products that I was able to take in. And like, what is this actually giving me, you know, what are the things we can play with here? And then what are the trades? So if solids are giving you trouble, is that a problem? Or what are the things you could put in its place to like still be fine fuel wise? So it was nice to have like a smart person who knows those things to actually like help us break it down because, uh, we're still figuring this sport out. And what I had figured out as my nutrition plan was just, these are the things I can eat in small amounts. And that was all I knew. So this was a pretty cool, like it set us up where we had a plan, but then we also had plan B and plan C if the same thing happened again.
Dylan Bowman: Well, shout out to Meredith turnover. She's fantastic. And she's actually had reached out to me and helped me out a couple of times in my career. So she's great. Um, so, but in terms of like solids and stuff, so was the plan to actually go to solids more than traditional race food at UT M B in order to avoid the issue from hard rock, or I'm trying to understand the balance of like, you know, what, what you were eating and how it ended up having the opposite result of hard rock and you just being so strong throughout the whole race.
Courtney Dauwalter: Yeah. So the plan was to switch to full liquids at U T M B um, at mile 70 about, so it just has become clear to me that I get really bad at eating solids laid in races. And if I get bad at it, I just don't do it. And then it domino effects. So we already had the plan set to just switch to liquids at 70. Um, and we knew it would be enough calories. And then at mile 50, I told Kevin let's switch from here because it had already gotten tricky to get in solids at that point. Um, so we just made the pivot a little bit earlier than we expected
Dylan Bowman: And that's around cor my air happening.
Courtney Dauwalter: Yeah. Cor my air. I was like, we're going liquids, buddy.
Dylan Bowman: Yeah, it happens. It happens. Um, so rewinding a little bit, obviously this wasn't your first victory at U T M B U won. Also in 2019, race was canceled in 2020. So you did arrive as the defending champ for those of us who watched the 2019 race, we know that it was not an easy one for you and actually you had some stomach problems there too. I recall you, uh, on camera, you know,
Courtney Dauwalter: At some
Dylan Bowman: Day lock vomiting at chop, like get outta here camera guy. But anyway, of course you won UT B a win is a win is a win and
Courtney Dauwalter: Um, I think, I didn't remember the course super well. Um, but I remembered getting to, Shlock just stumbling into that aid station and, um, not being sure how I would ever make it 30 more miles on my rubber legs and like destroyed stomach and I was a disaster that entire race. Um, but I remember that very distinctly. And so the thing I was holding onto was like getting to Shlock with better legs than what I had, because those last three climbs are really a bummer. If you don't have legs,
Dylan Bowman: So hard.
Courtney Dauwalter: So the, the idea was to just pull the reins in all the way to SHPE lock, make sure it never felt like a big effort that my pace was never like pushing it very hard. And then once I got to Shlock to let him go and see what was left in the legs from there.
Dylan Bowman: Yeah. I think that's one of the reasons why there's always so much attrition at UT M B is because that last 50 K is so freaking hard and because so hard and the race is so competitive that it's easy to go too hard early. So it's like the ultimate speed trap where if you get to Shoppe lock in bad condition, it's fricking hard to get to the finish line. So, but saying that you held the reins back, this is another thing that I find just so fascinating is the style in which you won because you went wire to wire you're out front the whole time. Was that an intentional strategy? Obviously, you know, everybody says they run their own race, but I'm curious about the psychological or the, the psychology of being out front for the whole day. Um, yeah. Talk about the strategy and anything relevant as it relates to what it's like to be out front for such a long time.
Courtney Dauwalter: It wasn't the plan. Um, but you can't control what anyone else is doing. And it's such chaos in those first kilometers, like weaving through town after the start. So I had no idea where any women were and didn't actually know that there were none ahead of me until the top of that first ski hill climb or whatever. Like, I don't know, it's, it's so crazy. There's so many people everywhere. So I just assumed there were probably women somewhere in front of me and, you know, whatever, wherever I was, I was fine with cuz it felt like a fine pace for a hundred miles.
Dylan Bowman: So, but okay. So as you get into the race and you understand that you're in the lead eventually, do you struggle with self-doubt in those moments or because I feel like it's a long time to be alone at the front and it's actually rare that we see people who are able to successfully pull off a hundred mile victories in this style. I remember P P Capel did it heroically in 2019. I can't remember if you did the same thing in 2019, but do you struggle with like self doubt in those moments of like, oh man, I'm off the front with the best athletes in the world behind me. And if so, like what is your self talk like in those moments?
Courtney Dauwalter: Um, no, I, I wasn't really worried if I was going to get past because I was really gauging my effort and uh, and I felt like the pace I was holding was a good one to get me to SHPE lock. And then I was ready to like, you know, chase people or, you know, I wanted to pour it all out in those last 30 and wherever that landed me at the end of it is where it was gonna land me. So, um, if I just assumed people would catch me, like there were some really strong technical, downhill runners, Mimi Koka, incredible on technical downhills. And there was some really technical downhills in those first huge climbs. So on those, I was just like, one of these head lamps is gonna be Mimi coming up on me and that's awesome. Like everyone should roll with the type of terrain that suits them best, you know? And maybe then I'll get to chat with her for a minute as she flies by on this treacherous descent.
Dylan Bowman: That's incredible. Cuz I would absolutely be thinking like, am I going too hard? I'm probably going too hard. Why am I out here? It's uh, yeah, it's just, uh, hard to imagine being out front at UT M B, especially wired a wire and not feeling like, oh my goodness, I'm doing something stupid. But anyway, uh, you left one of the things I thought was interesting just as I was watching and doing like the commentary stuff was at lake con Tomine and you weren't like crazy out front of, of Mimi at least early in the race. Um, but you left LA con Tomine with a pair of sunglasses. And then we also saw at like every crew checkpoint you were using eyedrops. I was curious what that was all about.
Courtney Dauwalter: I, um, in a hundred mile race a few years back lost my vision during it and was advised afterwards to just try and keep my eyes wet with rewetting drops as much as possible and to protect them with protective eyewear, so sunglasses or clear lenses at night. Um, so now if I'm doing a race that will be around 24 hours or over I'll do those eyedrops and I'll try to have some protection on my eyes as much as possible because I would not like to have that again, especially like if it had happened at UT M B and you'd have to go from valor scene to the finish without vision. I don't think you'd make it there now without a guide or something.
Courtney Dauwalter: Yeah, it would be dangerous.
Dylan Bowman: Legit dangerous. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I, I know that phenomenon, well, I I've had similar issues, but never like prolonged problems with my eyes and I figure that's sort of why you were doing the eye drops. Did you keep the, the clear glasses on all night?
Courtney Dauwalter: I kind of had 'em on and off through the night. I was, it was really foggy out there. Did you get out on any of the high points at night?
Dylan Bowman: No, no. I
Courtney Dauwalter: Was sleeping or seeing of it. I,
Dylan Bowman: I was sleeping
Dylan Bowman: Yeah. So in the night section again, you were alone at the front, but Mimi, Coco wasn't far behind you. Just a handful of minutes, usually at least until core my year. So is there anything from the night section really worth mentioning? Were you feeling really good? I'm just curious, like if you knew you were, um, sort of embarking on what ultimately was like a historic performance, did you feel really solid from the beginning?
Courtney Dauwalter: I was feeling like I was doing a good job, keeping the reins pulled in and running a pace that felt chill. Um, I was also feeling like Kevin and I were like doing our aid stations. We had just a good vibe going at aid stations that was like really calm and just like check, checking through the list of things we needed to get done and then just carrying on. So not being too scrambled or frantic ever. Um, but when I left cor my air, which is in the night that's around mile 50, Mimi was at the aid station with me Uhhuh
Courtney Dauwalter: Um, when I got to the little town after KDE fray,
Dylan Bowman: Arva
Courtney Dauwalter: No, after
Dylan Bowman: It. Yeah. LA LA
Courtney Dauwalter: LA um, someone had said like at the peak, this was your time gap. Um, but then I didn't really know and there's that huge downhill off of it. So Mimi's so strong on those. I was like, well, it's probably smaller than that now. Um, and also like whatever's happening is happening. This is the effort that I can be at right now with how much we have left in the race. So probably at, um, SHPE lock, maybe someone had mentioned the overall place, but I'm not sure that those places were like sticking for me. And they weren't, uh, like motivator. I wasn't like, Ooh, let's like, get up as high as we can. It was like, let's just get to the finish line as best we can right now,
Dylan Bowman: Really. So we'll pick up there. So again, SHPE lock is where things looked, appeared to be very difficult for your race in 2019, which again, you, you ultimately won that.
Courtney Dauwalter: They're saying that so nicely,
Dylan Bowman: You were barfing into a garbage can.
Courtney Dauwalter: You looked like a train wreck
Dylan Bowman: Well, I mean, obviously you're gonna be tired at that point, but if you recall back in 2019, again, as you traversed along the top of the Teon at the top of the last climb this year, you looked way better. You had so much more agility. You seemed to have a lot more gas in the tank for sure than 2019. And I mean, you made it look easy. I'm curious, like, was this, was this a, a perfect race for you? Like, did you have low moments in this hundred or was it one of those, those magical days that we all dream about in our careers?
Courtney Dauwalter: It was not perfect. Um, there for sure, the normal roller coaster, it's a long time to be in your brain and asking your body to do so much. So it was rolling, but everything was just like, that's fine. This is chill. That's fine. These things are happening, but we're still gonna get to this a hundred mile finish, like we're gonna get this loop done. Um, and it was like a, I mean, sometimes it's just a disaster during a hundred mile race where it's like, every problem that could go wrong would go wrong. And this one was like, in relation to that pretty smooth sailing, there were hiccups along the way, but never anything that was like a huge problem solving like debacle,
Dylan Bowman: But in the context of a hundred mile racing where perfection is impossible, this is pretty much as low drama and as perfect as it possibly could have been,
Courtney Dauwalter: It was pretty low drama,
Dylan Bowman: Low drama.
Dylan Bowman: It's the Courtney Dewal brand. Yeah. Low drama. Um, so obviously of course, like I can't help, but embarrass you more, but I wanna talk about Rory's record because I was there in 2013 and I hurt my ankle a few days before the race and was devastated to not start the race until I watched it and realized I was totally unprepared for the event. And I had the front row seat to watch Rory because I was crewing for Anton KKA that year. I was driving around with Joe Grant and Anna Frost. And it was, it's still like one of the key moments in my career is just watching the race that year. And especially Rory Bosio honestly one of the most incredible, impressive things I've ever seen in my life. Um, were you ever like brought up to speed on the fact that you were close to the existing record? Was that ever something that you thought about? Did you know you were on a historic pace during the race?
Courtney Dauwalter: No. And I didn't even know the minutes of Rory's time. I had glanced at it at some point I knew it was 22 and a half ish, but I didn't know on which side of the ish it was like, is it in the twenties or the forties? Or like, where are we at with that? Um, and I, I didn't know because of like how broken I was when I got to those last 30 miles in 2019, I didn't know like how long each of those sections would take. So when I got to SHPE lock, I had looked at my watch and I saw like, there was a, quite a few hours before we were in the 20 twos. And then we don't know what the issue is, but maybe, I don't know, you're in the 20 twos, but then I was also like, oh, but you have no idea what this will take. Like, I have never trained on it with normal legs. I only had done those 30, like marching my miles in 2019 on it. Mm-hmm
Dylan Bowman: So have you heard from Barari at all? Have you guys communicated after the run this year?
Courtney Dauwalter: Uh, only a little bit like on Instagram? Yeah.
Dylan Bowman: Oh, that's awesome.
Courtney Dauwalter: And she's amazing. She's she's also a Nordic skier.
Dylan Bowman: That's right. Yes. Look at this. This is the key. I'm picking it up. I'm I'm starting Nordic skiing now. Yes.
Dylan Bowman: UTM B 2022. I'm coming for you. I'm gonna go train in Leadville all winter with Courtney on Nordic. Excuse. It's gonna be great.
Courtney Dauwalter: Let's go.
Dylan Bowman: Um, but yeah, I mean like, so you break the course record on a course. It was slower than Rory's year. Obviously it was good conditions. You guys had good conditions. Rory did to, but, um, all week, this year at UT M B was like the perfect conditions for running really fast. But honestly like your performance, as much as this will embarrass you is one of the greatest runs, I think, in the history of the sport and as somebody who watches ESPN and listens to sports radio a lot, I like to sort of have, uh, you know, sort of rank things like that. You know, what are the Mount rush? More of things. But, um, I, I'm just curious, like, um, obviously we know you're a humble, gracious champion, but again, this is a no humility zone. I'm curious, just like with a, a few weeks
Courtney Dauwalter: Ago, I was not warned of that before.
Courtney Dauwalter: Yeah.
Dylan Bowman: Um, but just like with a few weeks to reflect, how have you, have you been thinking about the race at U T M B? Is it just like a feeling of pure satisfaction that it went so well?
Courtney Dauwalter: Uh, yeah. I mean, I feel like proud that my husband and I were able to do that together and to have that overall just like chill, feeling about the race and with our crew stops. And then like with the pacing out on the course, I think it was like, uh, I didn't, yeah, I didn't get caught up in trying to like play any games with it. It was like, this is the pace I'm gonna do because I'm, I think that's, what's what I can hold and then we'll see. And so I, I feel just psyched of how all those pieces fit together.
Dylan Bowman: And how, how are you feeling now, physically? Psychologically? I know you have been out and about, I mean, what part of our exchange before we got on the phone here today was me telling you, I can't believe you're already out smashing fourteeners cuz you're out doing Albert and the other peaks around where you live in Leadville. So clearly the body must be feeling good and you know, overall. Yeah. How are you feeling physically, psychologically after the race?
Courtney Dauwalter: Really good physically. Um, my legs and body came back pretty quickly, um, which I'm thankful for and mentally I am just loving September in Colorado. It's my favorite time of year. Um, so I've been, yeah, just kind of playing around on the mountains, enjoying the aspens changing color and uh, getting back into training. But it was a couple weeks of just kind of like, I guess, reverse, taper, like whatever, building back into kind of normal weekly stuff.
Dylan Bowman: So you're already back to doing kind of normal volume now.
Courtney Dauwalter: Uh, yeah, pretty normal.
Dylan Bowman: Geez. I'm so lazy. I'm so lazy.
Courtney Dauwalter: In general, just to keep trying things, trying things that sound too hard or new distances or new race formats, um, like what's actually on the calendar next is big's backyard. So I'll be going to Tennessee to run four mile laps
Dylan Bowman: Well, you remember on our, our run at Mount Albert, you said, oh Dylan, you gotta do a 200. Do you remember my response?
Courtney Dauwalter: Yeah. You said absolutely
Dylan Bowman: Not tough. Not tough enough.
Dylan Bowman: No way I was
Courtney Dauwalter: Cur you sure. I can't wait
Dylan Bowman: With, uh, with what's gone down on the Colorado trail the last couple weeks. Is that made you feel inspired to potentially go tackle that again one day?
Courtney Dauwalter: Oh, for sure. I mean right when I was done with it last summer, I was like, I gotta try that again because it's so fun. Yeah. Like it's just so beautiful and to kind of dabble in that next distance step, like figure out 500 miles would be if, uh, I would love that. So there needs to be more summary months in Colorado. We need more snow free months here.
Dylan Bowman: Yeah. Who do we email about that?
Courtney Dauwalter: Yeah.
Dylan Bowman: Um, is there anything else like that inspires you like that we haven't talked about of, of of course like yeah. Do the Colorado trail again, your duke big bigs backyard again, I'm sure. Maybe Barclay's on the list. Is there anything that maybe you haven't, uh, shared publicly that is inspiring for you maybe on a more long-term basis?
Courtney Dauwalter: Like specific challenges?
Dylan Bowman: Yeah.
Courtney Dauwalter: Um, I mean, I'm for sure. Curious about Nolans especially now that I am like looking at the Nolans line from my house, uh, here in Leadville. So that would be a fun one to play with at some point. Um, but yeah, really, if you name a challenge or race of any distance or any place I'm going to say yes, I would like to try it.
Dylan Bowman: Incredible. I
Courtney Dauwalter: Just think it's cool to try and figure, figure it out.
Dylan Bowman: So is it like it's the mental puzzle is as I think fun for you is the, the physical challenge, is that right?
Courtney Dauwalter: Oh, absolutely. The, especially as the races get longer, your brain becomes really powerful and important in it. And I think that's really cool to play with and, um, has me the most intrigued.
Dylan Bowman: Yeah. It's so interesting to go from UT M B with all the hoopla and circus that surrounds it to win that race. And then the next challenge is big's backyard where you just like run a four mile loop for days on end until you collapse in a puddle.
Courtney Dauwalter: Oh
Dylan Bowman: It's so, but maybe that's part of your success is being able to switch, you know, like, because it must be kind of a fresh, different challenge after spending the summer in the mountains. Is that how you feel?
Courtney Dauwalter: Yeah. Yeah. It does feel like a different challenge and also, um, showing up as fresh as possible, I think is a more key factor than having specific types of training in this next month.
Dylan Bowman: Yeah. You should probably sleep until you travel to Tennessee,
Courtney Dauwalter: Just sleep and eat candy corn and
Dylan Bowman: Courtney, thank you for coming on the podcast. It's always a joy to interact with you and I'm still in awe of your victory at UT M B. Congratulations. I'm sorry for embarrassing you in
Courtney Dauwalter: Our conversation.
Dylan Bowman: But I'm, I'm very grateful that you would come on the show and, and talk to me in lieu of going on Joe Rogan today. You turned him down so you could come on my, I appreciate that.
Courtney Dauwalter: Yeah. Thank you. I can't wait to run with you again.
Dylan Bowman: Okay. It's over. How did we do let us know? I thought it was pretty awesome. Courtney is just the best and I just find it so endearing that for all she has achieved, she still gets so embarrassed. When you talk about her greatness, the humility is so genuine and she is just the best. And if you like the show, let us know, let Courtney know, let your friends know, tag us on social media. We would love to know what you liked, what resonated with you and what you learned. Always love hearing from you guys on the old Instagram. So please don't be shy also, please go leave us a review in apple podcasts. It really helps the show reach new listener listeners. As we evangelize the sport of trail running to as large of an audience as we possibly can. And those reviews really do help.
Dylan Bowman: So please do that for us. It honestly only takes a couple of seconds and we would really appreciate it. Finally, please do reach out. If you need help with your training, the pillars mobile app is a great place to start. You can find it in the iOS and Android app stores where for only $10 a month, we would love to help you on your trail journey and get to know you along the way as always, if you can't afford it, we will happily provide you with a free account, just email, firstname.lastname@example.org and we will hook you up with a subscription. And if you like the show and you want to support it, you can also find a link in the show notes to our Patreon page, where we would very much appreciate your financial support. It's honestly the only way that we're gonna gonna continue to do this show in the medium to long term. So please do consider it if you can spare it. That's it for now. Love you guys so much. Appreciate you so much. So fun to chat with Courtney. More great stuff in the works. Stay locked and loaded. We'll talk to you again very soon. Love you. Bye.