Episode number 140

Pau Capell | Recovering from Injury & Returning to UTMB

Share the love:

Pau Capell is a Spanish professional trail runner and the 2019 UTMB champion. We talk about his return from injury, stories from his UTMB victory, and his training leading up to this year’s race.

Deals from our sponsors

Dylan Bowman (00:00:15): Hey fam how is it going? Welcome to the free trail podcast. Of course I am your loving host, Dylan Bowman joined today by Pau Capell, the great Spanish trail champion and 2019 UTMB winner, who is returning for a second appearance on the podcast. Last time we recorded was way back in February of 2020 after Pal's fourth consecutive victory at trans grand Canaria of course, as most of you will remember just after that race,

the world plunged into the chaos of the COVID pandemic. And similarly, unfortunately, Pau hit a moment of adversity in his own career with some injury stuff, some personal stuff, and ultimately needed knee surgery, which was performed last summer. But after much rehab, much contemplation Pau is now back in full form, heading into his third running of the UT M B in just a couple of weeks. So we talked all about his return from injury, what he learned from that process and how he's been building his confidence back again.

Of course, we also talked about the amazing story of his 2019 UTMB victory. In fact, there's a, can't miss retelling of a beautiful story, uh, from that race here in our conversation. And then we finish up by talking about his training and strategy for this year's race. It's always great to catch up with Pau and I cannot wait to see him back on the start line in Shamini. I hope you guys all enjoy this episode. Of course, a big thank you is in order to speed land, the presenting sponsor of the free trail podcast and the makers of the S SLH S V a beautiful piece of trail specific footwear. That is the pinnacle of innovation removable CarX plate for two very distinct running experiences, double BOAD dials for the best fit of any shoe I've ever worn and DMA integration into the upper for world class durability, visit run speedland.com and pick up a pair today.

Also, you may have seen on my Instagram, I did a little teaser of the new colorway that we're working on for the next commission. That's about to drop a lot more news on that coming soon. So make sure you go follow at run speed land on Instagram. So you don't miss out. Also very importantly, Gorge water falls registration is opening up very soon. So here is how it's going to work. We're going to have to do a lottery for the 50 K, which will open on September 1st. So if you want to do the Gorge 50 K on April 2nd, 2023, need to put September 1st on your calendar, because that is when the lottery will open. And then the 50 K lottery and the hundred K and 30 K registration will both happen on September 18th. That's right. So we've added the 30 K race in addition to the a hundred K and 50 K. And both those registrations will open on September 18th, along with a 50 K lottery, which is also happening that day. Set your calendar notifications and please visit Gorge waterfalls.com for more info. Okay, please welcome the great P Capel. Welcome back to the show. Good to see you, buddy.

Pau Capell (00:03:45): good to see you. Thank you.

Dylan Bowman (00:03:48): Where are you right now? Are you in sham?

Pau Capell (00:03:51): No, not yet. I'm now I'm in, in CA is in the more or less the south of Catalonia with my family. I, I have been here days and now I come back to Anora and after Andora I go to SHA for the UTB.

Dylan Bowman (00:04:07): Yeah. So is, uh, training starting to wrap up for UT M B. Now I imagine we're now two weeks ahead of the start of the race. I'm imagining that you're probably feeling pretty tired coming close to the end of your training block.

Pau Capell (00:04:20): Yeah, yeah, yeah. Now at a typical lady that you are going to train here is really hot. The feeling is the nerves, all of this, and it's complicated to manage these days. Yeah. I feel more nerves than, than other things. So yeah, it's more really take it easy, take it easy. Do some trainings, don't think a lot about the race, listen, some podcast, uh, to disturb your mind and enough.

Dylan Bowman (00:04:48): So you're feeling nervous though. Let let's talk about that. Yeah, because you don't strike me as the type of athlete that gets nervous. You know, you kind of have this confident swagger to you, you know, and you always have like this great kind of personality of, you know, chasing your dreams and setting big goals. I tell me a little bit about the, the nervous energy.

Pau Capell (00:05:10): So when you have a big dream, then you can fail and that's why the areas appears. Yeah. So, uh, normally for the races, it depend in the raise VA for the LAN, especially I feel areas before the race. Uh, I don't want to show to show the areas because it's an advantage for the other people. So I prefer to stay calm when I'm outside home. And then at home, maybe talk more about these areas with my family, with my girlfriend. Yeah. And then try to, yeah. Try to be with calm at home because it's not the nerves will, will kill me.

Dylan Bowman (00:05:49): Yeah. Well, it's understandable. I mean, obviously UT M B is the biggest stage on earth and you're one of very few people who has had the true honor of knowing what it feels like to win the race. And I'm sure you're good. Yeah. You have big goals for yourself going into this year's race in 2022, especially coming off injury. And I want to talk about all that stuff, but let's maybe just catch up from the last time we talked. You were actually one of the early guests on the podcast we recorded after you won trans grant can area for the fourth consecutive time back in 2020. And that was just before the pandemic happened February of 2020. And you were only six months removed from your victory at U T M B. Um, and I know the last couple years have been probably one of the most challenging moments in your career. And you went from like this immense high to sort of getting knocked back down to earth with injury. So maybe just tell us a little bit about what that injury was and, and the operation that you had done on your knee.

Pau Capell (00:06:51): Hmm. So yeah, it has been a problem for me because I was, I was feeling so good after using me and after trans and Canaria 2020. And I think that I was in my best performance and, and the pandemic appears, and I was at home training like everybody. And it was like in a race that you are feeling so good. And then the soak explode and you have to stop. And it was this kind of feeling now that I want to continue running, but the races are off. It's impossible to run outside. And, and I was, uh, some not nears, but, uh, I was thinking in the future and I didn't know what I could manage the situation because I wanted to run and it was impossible. And that's why I created the break in 20. I did some projects and after these projects appears thes, and I think it's because I was training a lot in the, in the treadmill.

I didn't train in the mountain too much. Yeah. And then when I wanted to run 100 miles, 180 kilometers in Menorca and one other project, the, the body wasn't ready. Yeah. And, and appears this ISS. And last year, 2021, it was a complicated year for me. It was the worst, the worst year for me, because I suffer here in my face, uh, and stress and appears, I dunno, in English, but, uh, some, uh, problem here. And it's, it's the fact, uh, when you are really stressed, when you have a lot of pressure, when you want to do a lot of things appears problem.

Dylan Bowman (00:08:39): So it was like, like almost a, a pain in your head, like a, a headache type thing. Yeah.

Pau Capell (00:08:43): I dunno if you can see or not. Sorry, but it's here. I have one, one signal

Dylan Bowman (00:08:49): Here. Oh, okay. Yeah.

Pau Capell (00:08:51): And it was, I had to stop because the body say how, if you don't stop, this will be worse, will be other problems. Uh, this happened after, uh, my travel to Kenya, I went to Kenya in, in January 21. Mm-hmm . I went there to, to be faster, to learn with the Kenyan athletes. I went there two weeks. And when I came back home, my body said, wow, you did too much in Kenya. And after that appears, they injuries. Yeah. Stress in, in the Coxes. And then, uh, they injured in my knee and all the year was like up, down, up, down, and it was complicated. It was yeah. For my mental health, it was too complicated.

Dylan Bowman (00:09:43): Yeah. Well, let's talk about that because obviously every athlete, especially every high level athlete at some point hits a year, that's just very hard where one thing after the next seems to fail and you can't seem to build any momentum. And just when you feel like you are another injury pops up. And like I said, this happened to you at the moment that you were at the highest height of your career and in the sport, right. You sort of over the course of a few years, built your reputation, built your skill and sort of got to the highest level, you know, like P Capel, winning UT M B again, very few people have that luxury in their lives. What was it like going from that high to that, that deep, low on sort of like an emotional, psychological level.

Pau Capell (00:10:32): So, uh, I have to, to explain a little bit more because after UTB, my last relation is stopped and it was a plus. No. So, uh, I was alone. I was with the pandemic. I was with injuries and all the things were so bad and my life changed a little bit. I was really happy with the sponsors, for example. So all of them, uh, were with me in, in this way. And I was with a good support. So I was really happy for that. But then my personal life changed a little bit and, and it's really hard. It's really hard to manage because you know what you have to do, you know, what is the plan? Uh, you know, what you did for when they losing me, but then you are, I'm human. I'm not a robot. I have feelings. I, I love. And, and then when you can't, uh, love the people that you want, it's complicated because then I have to train everyday five hours more or less.

Yeah. And who I train alone in the mountain with my mind, thinking all the time with the same, why I did this. Why not, uh, why I'm suffering this, why I'm, I'm feeling these things inside me. Yeah. And, and, and why we have this big problem in the world. Huh? Yeah. And how I can manage how I can create new projects, how I can move the social media, how I, and all of this is, is like a button. No. Yeah. You have about, and then you start to put, uh, some feelings, some bad, uh, I dunno, bad things with things. And then one point in the bottle, boom. Explode. Yeah. Yeah. And , and then you stop.

Dylan Bowman (00:12:22): It's a good point. And it's a great example of how our personal lives do have a big impact on our physical health. Right. And when, when things aren't feeling good on that personal level, then it's very hard to compete and train at the level that you need to, to win races at, uh, the highest level. So what was the ultimate injury in your knee? Because last time we saw each other was at UT M B last year. And I think, uh, you were coming back from surgery at that point. Tell us about what that operation was. And did it have anything to do with, cuz I recall the last time we spoke, you had surgery when you were transitioning from being a soccer, a football player to being a trail runner. Were those operations similar? Those surgeries?

Pau Capell (00:13:08): No. When I was, when I played football in a soccer, I suffered, um, I broke my ligament on the mens. Mm-hmm so preparation and then I start run and my knee was really good. But then I remember last days I, I told you that I was listening you the podcast with Jack Miller, that he won the under Royal trail. So I run in the role that rail one year ago, mm-hmm and in the race, I feel a big pain on my knee mm-hmm and I decided to stop in the kilometer 70 because I couldn't run in under I couldn't. And after two weeks, my knee explored. So I was training in July of 2021. I was training in, in, in my town and I felt something that it was really bad and I, I lose P and, and broke. Yeah. It was a cartel lake in the knee, the knees like this and one cartel lake is on this way. So here the Catholic explode and it was a broke, it was broke. So I had to go in the, in the series and they open, they put out this Carle and I had to be more or less, uh, three month doing recovery. And I was in using B 20, 21, but it was my first, my first running were there. Uh, but only 20 minutes and after one year is now, um, I'm ready for run race. But yeah, the, the wave has been really, really long.

Dylan Bowman (00:14:49): Yeah. Well, I want to hear about the rehab, but going back to our conversation at UT M B last year, you said something that stuck in my head that I think is illustrative of who you are as a person. And you told me that during the pandemic, you had your treadmill set up in your house and you were doing 40 to 50 K of running per day on the treadmill during the pandemic. And of course, I'm just shaking my head of just like, man, that's serious commitment, right. Running 25 to 30 miles a day on your treadmill at home. Well, during lockdown. So I, I guess, uh, tell us what it was like to go from that level of commitment and training to then having the surgery in rehab. Like, do you pour the same level of intensity and intentionality into the rehab process and tell us a little bit about what the rehab process entailed.

Pau Capell (00:15:46): So I'm really lucky because I have a good team with me because if not today, maybe I will, I wouldn't run the, the YouTube B because I, I would be in enjoy. Uh, and they told me how you have run a lot these years. Maybe now it's time to do a good rehab and be with more calm, maybe run less, uh, in the first month, obviously. And then, uh, when you will, when you will feel good, maybe, uh, we don't need to run 300 kilometers per week, only with 200 kilometers each off the other hours, you can use the bicycle and then you will run 10 years more. If not, maybe in two years you will stop because your body will say P have done a lot too much. Yeah. And, and today I'm training the same hours more or less the same. Yeah. So 26 hours per week is a minimum. But, uh, yeah, I, I, I do more cross training.

Dylan Bowman (00:16:53): I was gonna ask you about that. So let, let's talk about that because just like from observing your Instagram and stuff, you've been putting up a lot of photos of you riding the bike. And it seems like you've started to emphasize that more heavily since the injury talk about how you used the bike in your training.

Pau Capell (00:17:11): So I, I trained two times per day. So one time per day, normally,

Dylan Bowman (00:17:15): No. Or, or NA right. You always put that on your Instagram story, right? Yeah. Double or nothing. Yes.

Pau Capell (00:17:21): There nothing. That's true. That's why always I'm pushing in the Instagram photo videos because, and the people say you don't rest. And I say, yeah, I rest, but I don't do anything more during my day. I train every day. So that's why always I'm pushing, uh, with these stories. So yeah, I train two times, uh, double or nothing. And in the morning, normally it's running because I feel more tired if when I finish the, the training mm-hmm and then in the afternoon is, is cycling or maybe another time running. But when I do, when I ride a bicycle, I maybe two hours, three hours, and it is only to maybe some TURs in training, but not too much. It's more only to, to ride and enjoy, uh, with hours. And it's like, we want to do volume for the trails. Yes. Okay. But we can't do it all the volume running. So we use the bicycle to do this volume.

Dylan Bowman (00:18:19): Yeah. I think it's something that American runners are slowly learning by observing the great European champions who do such a good job of balancing other endurance sports, you know, ski mountain airing in the winter and a lot of cycling in the summertime. So it sounds like you do mostly just low intensity volume on the bike, but with occasionally you'll throw some intervals in. I'm curious about that.

Pau Capell (00:18:44): Yeah. So in, for example, in winter we use this, the skimo the, the sche tunneling and there we use more the height, high rate mm-hmm so we work more in, um, yeah. With volume, but with more intervals and, and then in, in bicycle, normally I only ride and only, yeah. Only use the bicycle to, to move the legs. Yeah. And I do some races, uh, this last weekend, I did one race in Endura of bicycle, but only for enjoy no. Oh,

Dylan Bowman (00:19:19): Oh cool.

Pau Capell (00:19:20): I didn't win

Dylan Bowman (00:19:21): well, uh, those, those cyclists better be scared of pow Capel gets serious about it. But tell me about what it's been like to build your confidence back because this kind of maybe goes back to what you're saying about being a little bit nervous going into UT M B, but the level of the sport is accelerating and moving at a really rapid pace right now, the athletes are so good and every race you have to show up ready to perform at your best. I mean, obviously there's some opportunity to use competition, smaller races to help build up towards the bigger races mm-hmm . But talk about how you've built your confidence back in your capabilities as an athlete and in your just trust of your own body after injury.

Pau Capell (00:20:12): So it's really difficult to, to be confident again, and, and to believe in your capacities is, is so complicated. And I think that I have not the same, uh, confidence, uh, if I compare with 2019, uh, I was with more confidence than today. Uh, today I'm running with this injur, I think is not, uh, recovered a hundred percent. Really. I will have always this injured with me, maybe here inside, or maybe with feelings is depending the day. So sometimes I think, okay, I have to, to learn how I can run again with this pain, because some days I have this pain and then it's like, if I leave one time, I can do it one more time. Mm-hmm , it's always, I think the they're saying, but then I have some doubts. Obviously the people is running too fast. The people is training more than ever. And, and it's really difficult to win, but I, I, I have a video that I have not published yet, but I want to publish before they using me that I explain in Spanish, eh, why the people think that we can't finish second or third Uhhuh and people only think that we have to win. Yeah. And it, before the race they say, but you will win. No, I will not win. Maybe one person win only. Yeah.

Dylan Bowman (00:21:40): I

Pau Capell (00:21:40): Dunno. I'm the winner. Maybe it's Jim Wesley Ette. And a lot of people will run this race. Yeah.

Dylan Bowman (00:21:48): So

Pau Capell (00:21:49): How you can imagine that I can win the race. I, I will run and then we will see. And if I finish in top 10 with my time with my planning, I will be really happy. Ah, but the people will not understand that we are happy with this.

Dylan Bowman (00:22:05): Yeah. And

Pau Capell (00:22:06): This is the one thing that I want to explain to the people.

Dylan Bowman (00:22:09): Yeah. Well, let's, let's keep going. Let's, let's talk about this a little bit more because especially for someone like you, who has won the race, the expectation is that you do it again. Right. And your first U T M B, you finished six. So it's, you know, you've had two very good performances, but people remember the first place. Right. And so there is a, an expectation or a pressure on a returning champion, even when you have people like Killian and Jim in the field. So, so talk about, talk about that a little bit more, like, just like, is this a way of you trying to take pressure off yourself by explaining that like I'm here to run as well as I can, if that, if I win amazing, but if I finish fifth or 10th or 17th, like, and I run as well as I can, I'm gonna be happy.

Pau Capell (00:23:01): Yeah. Yeah. I, I did. I did some sessions with one psychologist Uhhuh uh, maybe I don't know, one month ago, because I was, I dunno, doubt. I didn't be confident with myself. Uh, I was training a lot, but I wasn't happy because I receive a lot of input of people that say power, eh, oh, new team me, you will win again. Or you will push to India or you will. No, no, no. Or you will break. You will do the break in 20 say no, no, I'm, I'm, I'm human. So maybe in the morning I will not feel good. I will try for sure. But I, I will try to win. Obviously I'm com I'm really competitive. Yeah. I want to win in, in, in my home in all the things that we have at home, but yeah, maybe I finished 10 or five or three or three. Yeah.

Dylan Bowman (00:23:56): And

Pau Capell (00:23:57): They have to understand, because this is a negative energy for us because we were a lot of inputs maybe are positive or maybe not that they say, Hey, P, come on. You can do it because you have to win. No, I don't have to win. I have to compete. And then we will see if I enjoy, maybe I will finish in front. But if I have all the day when I'm running this, these words that you have to win, you have to win. You have to win. And in the economic of 40, I am in the 15 position. It's really, really bad for me.

Dylan Bowman (00:24:35): Yeah. Right.

Pau Capell (00:24:36): I would think, yeah. I love, I

Dylan Bowman (00:24:37): Love how you, I love how you said that it's the negative energy and it makes me want to draw the parallel. Of course, I told you before we started recording here, that my wife is due to give birth any minute now. And she's been saying something similar with this big endurance event that's ahead for her. Right. Is like, she's trying to protect the energy of her birth. Right. And so like when people say to her about like, oh, it's hard or it's painful or whatever, she's like, I don't want to hear that. Like, I wanna just experience it. I wanna be in a good mental space and it's kind of the same before UT M B for you. So that's great though. And I'm glad that you're putting that video out and it is important for fans of trail running to know that, you know, the, the pressure that you guys feel at the highest level, like that's, it's a real thing.

And it is possible to, to be really happy with a performance that isn't a victory, even if you are pal Capella and you have won the race in the past. So let's talk about your comeback or like your return to racing this season, cuz you've had a solid year so far and you went back to trans grand Canary to start the year, which I think you've done now like six or seven times, including four victories. You finished second to Pablo via in another great performance from you. What was it like to, to get back on the podium at a big race? Like trans grand Canary, especially after the injury and stuff.

Pau Capell (00:26:03): It was, for me, it was really magic because I didn't know if PPE could run again, ultra distance. I didn't know. And I didn't know how my knee, uh, could run again long distances. And then when I was in the race, I felt really competitive. So I was running as with hid and hooks, uh, with the Chinese runners that were there. I was running with P with Pablo. Uh, I dunno, it was a good, a good competition there. And then obviously Pablo VI was in a next level. I couldn't after 80 kilometers, he was in a one more step than me and I felt this and I was more smart than I was thinking. Okay. About maybe you have to become running your piece and, and try to get to focus on the podium. And I was pushing against, uh, per and finally I, I could finish in front. And then when I finished, it was like, I, I did a big hack to Lara is my girlfriend and my family. And I told them maybe I can feel again a runner. Yeah. And I can, again, professional because I didn't feel again before that. No, yeah. I train out, but I need it. I need to finish a race and say, okay, I finished where I have to be.

Dylan Bowman (00:27:29): Yeah. And there's such a feeling of just like relief of like, thank goodness. Like, and the same exact thing happened to me in 2020 P at, uh, trans grand can area where I finished third behind you and Pablo via because in 2019 I was injured all year and I was having those similar doubts that like, oh, you're getting older. Like your ankle is a complete mess. Like these guys are so young and so fast. And anyway, but yeah, when I finished third behind you guys, I was just like, oh, thank goodness. Like I put another good one on the board, like I'm not retired yet. So, so then, uh, let's talk about the, the rest of the season before we start looking ahead towards UT M B. I know you, uh, you went and won the Patagonia a hundred, one of the Spartan races down in south America. What looks like a beautiful event that you've won now twice, but then you, you sort of dropped out of Laredo and you've won some other sort of, uh, local races around Europe. Like you usually do. You've raced a lot this year. So maybe just catch us up on how, uh, how those events have gone. And more generally how your preparation for UT M B has gone.

Pau Capell (00:28:39): So in Laredo is a, is a bit because it's is a good race that I like it. So I, I love this place and, and then I wanted to win, elaborate. I, I was ready. Mm-hmm I, I did a training, but then in the Mo the Monday before the race, I, I had the COVID and I try it. I, I was doing all the week doubting about if I'm professional, if I have to run or not with COVID and because maybe, I dunno if it was good for the other people, but I wanted to be separated with them. I was always alone during the week. And I wanted to try, I went in the start and go, but then in the kilo, 60, my body say, it's impossible. I couldn't run. I couldn't run. Uh, and, and after that I needed to take good energy, uh, win some races mm-hmm .

And that's why I did small races in France, in Turkey. And, and I, it was part of the, of the planning of the preparation for theb because, you know, when we are training, I can train five hours in the mountain, but then, uh, you are not in a competition. And when you are in a competition, you push a little bit more than in a training. And that's why you wanted to cross, uh, volume of training and volume in competition to be faster know. And yeah, and now we are in, in two weeks of two race. So now we tapping and, and try to, to become,

Dylan Bowman (00:30:13): To relax.

Pau Capell (00:30:14): Relax.

Dylan Bowman (00:30:15): Talk a little bit more about the calendar construction process for you, because you have been in your career. Somebody who races quite a lot, especially if you look at the guys like Jim Walsey, who's only done. Well, I guess he did a local race in France a few weeks ago, but then he won Madeira in the spring. Think about hon naer, he's done two races this year, but of course you, you do a lot of races, you know, and some of them are shorter distance, but I just think it's interesting to see the different strategies employed by the contenders at UT M B and similarly, like killing ran Sears and all this morning. And, uh, then you look at somebody like Fran Swain, who always does like three or four races the entire year mm-hmm . So talk about what your strategy is with calendar construction, especially building up to UT M B.

Pau Capell (00:31:07): Yeah. So I, I don't know, ho ley can manage the calendar with two races. I don't know. Yeah, because it's more pressure because if you lost, uh, in one race or you don't win in another race, your year is, is nothing. And, and I prefer for my security, uh, B in a different races from, for example, grand Canna, Patagonia, and lado. These three races were main races of the year. And then a big race that this, these shouldn be. If in Newton B, I can't run good. Then I have three other races that I have been there doing a job maybe, or no, maybe not. No, but if I don't have these three races and I only run in Newton B, and I don't do a good race, how I can explain to the sponsors, to the people that is helping me. Okay. This year.

Nothing. Yeah. And for me, it's too much pressure. And that's why normally we have three races before UTB. We have UTB. And then inside this plan, we put some short races, like 60 kilometers, 50, 70 to push more, to have more speed because it's not, uh, in the trainings, I train really easy. So I have some internals inside, but not too much. I don't like it. Yeah. So I prefer to work more in zone two zone three maximum zone one, obviously. And then in the races, in the short races, I work all the time in zone three, zone four. Yeah. And that's why I have different races, but these short races are not objective.

Dylan Bowman (00:32:54): So yeah. It's just training.

Pau Capell (00:32:55): If I'm not feeling good, I don't push. Yeah. Even I push, it's not, I don't have pressure there.

Dylan Bowman (00:33:02): Yeah. It's just interesting to see just how the different athletes implement their training preparation strategy, knowing that UT M B is the goal for everybody. Right. It's like the biggest goal of the season for everybody. So for those who don't remember, you're victory at UT M B in 2019. I mean, it was one of the most impressive races I've ever watched. Like just went off the front from the beginning. And a lot of people, of course, were suspecting that eventually you would crack and somebody would catch you from behind. And Savier also ran a fantastic race, started making up time on you, but then you found a second win and ultimately won by like 45 minutes, a very convincing victory wire to wire. And I was texting with, uh, our mutual friend Keith burn yesterday. And like, because he told me a, a funny story that I want you to relay here on the podcast about that race last year or in 2019. And specifically the stories about the phone calls that you made on the course. Because I don't know if a lot of people know this and it's like one of the coolest, like sporting stories. I can remember hearing, especially from trail running, tell, tell the people about the, the phone calls that you made during the race in 2019.

Pau Capell (00:34:19): So normally the, the people use the, these small phones like this and, and you can't see anything in the, in the screen. Yeah, but I don't like it. I prefer to use my iPhone. My normal phone is big one. I have the music, I have my Instagram, sometimes in the races. I, I do some videos, uh, filming me for the Instagram. Then I will not publish because the people will think this guy is crazy. So I prefer to not publish. But in the 2019 before the race, I was thinking about what you can do. So I have my planning of timing, but what you can do during the race for the, for the people that you love. And I thought, okay, maybe if I prepare one call for each marathon, the race is for marathons because for the two plus four for marathons, uh, ultimately, so the first call I will do to my parents, the second, my girlfriend, the third, my coach, and the fourth one friend, and these four people were the pillars of my life. Yeah. And that's why when I arrived in the kilometer, 42, I was using the phone and I called my mother and my father. They were following me, but they were in the other because it was in the night. And I called and my mother say, pow, what is happening? No, mom, I'm really good. No worries. I'm really good. I'm running. Uh, but pow, what are you doing? No, I'm running. I'm in bono. It was in bono. More, less.

Dylan Bowman (00:35:55): Yeah. They called it now. Yeah. Early in the race.

Pau Capell (00:35:58): I feel really good. Uh, two, I dunno, the hour 10, 11. I dunno. Yeah. But I, I have to do this call and she told me what call and I say nothing, nothing only things that I'm thinking byebye and I put off. Yeah. And then in the kilometer, 84 to my girlfriend ter 120 to my coach. And when I was in SHA, before three kilometers to the finish, I called my, my friend and he told Meow, did you finish? I was following in the screen. And you are running said, no, no, I'm running, but I have to call you. This is the last one. Yeah. I'm going to, and thank you to be my friend. And, and then, and I put off and then I called him again when I finished. Yeah. And say, I explained him a little bit, what was happening now? But yeah. These inputs are really positive because,

Dylan Bowman (00:36:50): Oh, it's a beautiful story, man. I mean, it's amazing. Like, so imagine doing, just being the people who are receiving that call and I can totally empathize with your mother. Who's probably like, oh my God, he's dropped out of the race. Like, why the hell is he calling us at 10 o'clock in the evening, climbing cold. A and of course you were in the lead of the race that whole time. And it's just like one of those just amazing sporting stories of yeah. Like, okay, how do you keep yourself motivated? How do you keep your mind engaged? And I'd love how you're just like articulating that. It's a way for you to show your gratitude to the people who support you in your life as an athlete. It's a be story.

Pau Capell (00:37:31): If I would not have these people with me, I don't know if I would be professional today. I'm, I'm, I'm really honest now, eh, because, uh, I can train and I can train a lot, uh, a lot of hours, but when I'm sad or when I'm tired or when I don't want to continue, they are the people that say power. We are here with you, not for you with you. And, and this is a big difference now because I feel always with, with people that I love with my parents, with my sister, with my brother, with my girlfriend, with my friends, and they moved to Shani to encourage me to run. And this is very nice. I'm not father, but the day that I will be father. Yeah. And I will see my son in a, in a checkpoint and they will look me. I don't know if I will have more power or not. Yeah. But I will stop. I know. Yeah.

Dylan Bowman (00:38:28): Yeah. I re I remember after you won, when you were at the finish line in the corral there, and you were, you know, given a big hug to your dad and just like the pride that he had. And then also thinking, as you're mentioning children last year, when Fran SW won, you know, and his wife and his three kids are there and it's just like, wow, like none of this is possible without them. And I just, I just love that story of like you being in, in the lead at UT M B in 2019 running one of the most memorable, a hundred mile races that I can recall. And having the energy to make phone calls to the people who are important in your life. It's a beautiful story.

Free trail is grateful for the support of JBO eyewear, the best sunglass brand in the game. I've been fortunate to work with these guys for probably seven or eight years. At this point, Joel Bo was born in the mountains of France way back in 1888. And they have been a leader in mountain sport eyewear ever since Joel Bo's special sauce lies in the photochromic reactive lenses that adjust to lighting conditions, getting lighter, darker, depending on the intensity of the natural light. It's really just an amazing product you put 'em on and you keep 'em on. No matter if you're in the shade in variable lights or full on Bluebird conditions, the glasses adjust for you. So you don't have to. My two favorite models are the ultimate and the fury. So go check these out. The ultimate is more of an exposed lens. Athletic look, where the fury is more of a shield design, but both are under 27 grams.

So extremely lightweights and high performance best suns in the trail. Biz, go check out the products@jbo.com. Use code free trail 10 for 10% off your purchase. Joel bo.com code free trail. 10 important note. This discount does apply to prescription shades, but does not apply for those outside. The us apologies to our international listeners, but big tanks to Joel Bo the free trail podcast is brought to you by gnarly nutrition. The first brand to believe in our fledgling operation gnarly makes the best nutrition products on the market for outdoor and mountain sport athletes. Top to bottom. Everything is first class, much like the people that work for the company. You've heard me talk about the fuel two, oh, drink mix the BCAAs, the performance greens. Well, today I want to tell you about the gnarly hydrate electrolyte mix harmony. My wife will tell you I am obnoxious and annoying about hydration.

I suspect most athletes walk around at least moderately dehydrated day to day. And I think improving hydration status is a simplest thing that you can do to improve your performance. Of course, improving hydration is not just about drinking more water. You also need minerals and electrolytes, which the gnarly hydration mix has in spades loaded with electrolytes and B vitamins, gnarly hydrate has everything you need to keep your muscles and brain fully engaged to power through your time on the trails and in your daily life. As usual, you can get 15% off your purchase of gnarly hydrate and any other, other amazing products by visiting go gnarly.com. Use code free trail 15 back to the show.

Let's just touch on the breaking 20 thing for a sec, cuz you mentioned it a little bit now and you've also mentioned like being a professional. And I think this is one of the things you've just done, such a good job in your career of like thinking of cool things to do, like how to engage the community, how to do fun things. And of course, living through the pandemic, when there weren't racing opportunities, you came up with this fun idea to run around mom Blanc and attempt to break 20 hours. Ultimately you ran about 21 hours, but for me it was so entertaining because you just broadcasted the whole thing on Instagram live. And I watched hours of it and it clicked in my mind of just like how easy it is to do cool stuff like that, you know? And um, I just thought it was impressive that you had that forethought, but maybe just talk about the, the breaking 20 project, how it's informed your race coming up here in a couple of weeks at UT M B and then also Keith told me that you're gonna be doing a film showing during U T M B week.

So tell us about all that stuff.

Pau Capell (00:43:04): So the rank queen, the rank in 20 appears in a, in a call with my manager and that's, I was training the first days after the pandemic and, and the race was canceled. And I remember that I called my manager and I say, I want to run because last year I won the race and I want to run again. And he told me, okay, if you want go there and run. And I say, okay. And we start to create this break in 20 now because when I finish, sorry for what I'm going to say. But when I finish the race in 2019 in a dinner after the race, I told to my manager Jordi, I think that I can run faster because during the race I didn't run in my a hundred percent. Yeah. And I think that we can run in less than 20 hours.

And that's why we create the break in 20. That's why I went in Kenya to train with the Kenyan outlets, to train with kit Cho to be faster because I have to be faster. Uh, and that's why we, we say break in 20 because elute did the wrecking two, the wrecking two hours. And I explained this project to elude. And I said to him, elude, I want to use this breaking the name. And because if, if you don't say, uh, power, you can use, I, I will not use it. Yeah. You have to say that I can use it

Dylan Bowman (00:44:33): Out of respect because he did the breaking too project.

Pau Capell (00:44:35): Yes. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. And he told me, okay, P you can use it because I know that you are, you're normal. You are healthy, blah, blah, blah. So you can, you can use it 10. And that's why we did the breaking 20. But when the people ask me P you will do the break in 20 this year. I say, no, I'm sorry if north face wants, I'm sorry if the people think, but I can't say that I'm going to do a break in 20, because if I start the race with this, with this mind about we are going to crash the 20 hours, I will not finish. It's impossible. Mm-hmm so I have to be normal and think normal and think about it's impossible to do in breaking 20. But if the race is good and I feel good, maybe in the last 20 kilometers, we can try it. if we are close, if not, I'm not. I'm sure that it's really complicated, but is my dream. Yeah. And I have, I had a dream when I started running, it was win the UTB Uhhuh, and I did, and now I have one dream is try to break in 20. What's the problem that maybe in one Killian, they can vote. This is my problem, but I'm human.

Dylan Bowman (00:45:52): I'm sorry. Sure, sure. I love it, man. Keep the dream alive until you achieve it. I mean, it's one of the reasons why you are a UT M B champion. So tell us about the, the film, cuz Keith said that you're gonna be doing a little film showing during UT M B week and they I'm sure there's gonna be some listeners who are gonna want to intend in person, but also maybe tell us when we might be able to see it on the internet.

Pau Capell (00:46:14): Yeah. This film is, uh, more or less how PKA can run in using me for the re mm-hmm . So how I can prepare my body to do it. And we explain a little bit, uh, about Kenya. Uh, when I went in Kenya, I went with a production of people. So we film there and then they film also in, in my home in Endura. So, uh, we show how I'm training in Endura. And I show also a little bit about my family, my friends, and how is the people that is around me and it's helping me mm-hmm so it's more a little bit how I can prepare, uh, my body, but we talk more, not training more about how we are. We are humans, we're on robots, Uhhuh. So like humans, how we can prepare, and this is more or less, it's only 30, 40 minutes. It's not too long, but it's really nice. Nice film. Also some outlets, uh, talk there. So Roy Bosio for example. Oh, great. He is part of this film.

Dylan Bowman (00:47:25): Great. And so will it be at the north face store in chimney?

Pau Capell (00:47:29): Yeah. We're in the office store. I think it's Wednesday. I think if I'm drunk or Thursday, I dunno.

Dylan Bowman (00:47:35): Cool. I'm sure you'll post about it on your Instagram. So who are in SHA? Just make sure you check in on P Instagram story during race week and then hopefully we'll be able to see it on the, on the internet shortly thereafter. So let's talk about the race now because it's solely two weeks away. I'm curious where your head's at. I mean, you said that you're not as confident going into the race this year as you were in 2019. Is that born of maybe just the injury that you've been through since then? Or is it maybe the training hasn't come as naturally? Like why aren't you as confident as you are in 2019?

Pau Capell (00:48:13): So in 2019 I did the best race of my life and it's complicated to do the same. Yeah. I'm very honest. It really complicated. In 2019, I did the times that I wanted and I follow my times this time in this year, I will do the same more or less the same times more or less the same times. Mm-hmm I have two options depending if I'm feeling good or if not, so, uh, but then the training is done. So I have, I have done a volume of training more or less the same. I try it to copy the same year with the same races, more or less the same training, the same coach, because I'm training again with Leia. She was my coach in 19. Then we stop because I needed to stop with her. And after the injury, I start again with her and I'm feeling good again.

So great. I think all the things are in a good way. And then during the race, uh, is try to focus only on my time. I have also one surprise for the race, not calls, but one surprise, uh, for more people. So I will do something also to disturb my mind. It's not, it's like I'm running and maybe I do some things to take positive energy, but it's things for people also know. So, uh, yeah, I'm ready for the race. And then I dunno if Jim Killian run faster, uh, we have to do this congratulations and go home happy. So

Dylan Bowman (00:49:47): Yeah. Yeah.

Pau Capell (00:49:49): Lazy easy.

Dylan Bowman (00:49:50): So let's talk about that. Like the strategy element, because like I mentioned in 2019, you were off the front through oosh, you know, eight kilometers into the race and you had like a 20 minute lead going over the cold toum, which is about 50 K into the race. So it was apparent that you were racing with your trademark, just confident and aggressive strategy. And this year, I mean, obviously like the likes of killing and Jim, like, they're not gonna let you go and you're not gonna be able to run away from them. I think that early and, uh, I, I I'm wondering what, what you're thinking about strategically.

Pau Capell (00:50:30): So I think it's impossible run alone this year because they will not want, and the strategy is follow my times. I did in 2019, I followed my times. I didn't want to arrive first in Sangwe and I didn't want to arrive first in cold bono or grand Ette. I didn't want, it's only, I wanted to arrive there with my times. And this year is, is the same. I know that if I want to play or yeah. To play with them in, in the war that they will play. I, I can't win. It's impossible. They are better. So I have to play my war.

Dylan Bowman (00:51:14): Whoa.

Pau Capell (00:51:15): My war is my war. It's only me. Yeah. Only my, and then maybe it's like, I don't know in English, but it's like, this is small animal that is doing small things, small things. And then finally he has a castle. Yeah. Yeah. And then you can have a big guy that tried to do a big castle in one day and the castle will, will go down. Yeah. So prefer to be this small animal, all animal, do my job in silence, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And finally arrive in Shamo in 20 hours,

Dylan Bowman (00:51:50): For example. Yeah. So expand on that a little bit, because I think that's kind of an interesting thing for you to say that like if you play Keon and Jim's game that you won't win because in your interpretation is that they're better than you. I think that's debatable. I mean, you're absolutely in their category as an athlete, but tell us more about what you mean by that

Pau Capell (00:52:15): Because I'm normal. Uh, really, I don't know. So I train a lot of hours, but I'm not the special, I'm not the founder in the race. I'm not the best athlete in the downhills and I'm not the best outlet in the first place or in the uphills. I'm not the best. I'm the best in my life. Yeah. My life is only my life. Mm-hmm with my family, with my times with my feelings. And I know that if I play this game, I can be the best. Yeah. Because I'm not alone. I have a team with me and it's not the same. If you want to fight one by one, it's only one by one. But if I am with 10 people, one against 10 people, we will win. And that's why I want to think about that. Yeah. Because I'm not a special, I'm not an athlete.

I'm normal. Yeah. And, and I have to know, and if I want to, uh, run against Killian for me, Killian is like a robot. It's not human. , it's not normal. It's impossible that the one normal athlete, sorry for Jim. But Jim Wesley tried to win hero, tried to win Al Rahma and UT B in the same year, Al Killian has not win. Yeah. And this morning, but for three minutes, but then the other races he can win. Yeah. He won hard rock and he will try to win and he can win UTB. Uh, I can't win. It's impossible. Yeah. So we have to know that. And then with your, uh, I dunno with your, eh, in English with your things, Uhhuh do their best. Yeah. So if you think that you are good eating, do your best work, eating. Yeah. Eh, don't lost, eh, your water, your food being controlled that if you are good working, do your best working. Mm-hmm , it's not important if they run. Okay. If they run this AHI to run ed, congratulations for them. Yeah. If I can't work, but work good. Not only do working no work good. And if you plus all of this, finally, you have a gold gradual. And that's why I won using beer. Not for,

Dylan Bowman (00:54:45): I love it. Yeah. It is about just like paying attention to your own race and doing all those, those little things, the best that you can. So let's start winding down now, but it's makes me wanna ask, as we talk about killing a little bit, you and killing are two of, I think probably the only two Spaniards you've ever won. UT M B and, and also this year, Pablo Villa is in the race. And the three of you guys represented really interesting Spanish element in the field. Is that something that you think about at all the national pride and, and maybe because of course, like, especially in the last, like, I think it's 13 years or something like that, the Frenchman have just dominated except for you and killing, but now killing his back you're back and Pablo via has had an amazing season. Yeah. Great athlete. And he's won. He's won TDS. Um, so maybe, uh, talk about that a little bit. The Spanish pride.

Pau Capell (00:55:46): Maybe we should do a meeting together before the race we, we, we should do a team. I don't know. Uh, I will propose them, but absolutely. Alberto is running new team mid this year. Oh,

Dylan Bowman (00:55:58): Louis. Alberta is running that's right. One of the, one of the all time. Best. Yeah.

Pau Capell (00:56:03): Yeah. I, I think it's the second time for him in the distance where UTB, but, but yeah, obviously they are, they are for me in the top five, for sure. They will be there. And, but no, we have not talked about, do some strategy together. We should do it, but, but, but yeah, maybe I will prepare a WhatsApp group and I will, I will tell them that maybe we have do it to, to win the French people or the American.

Dylan Bowman (00:56:32): Yeah. Yeah. Well, very cool.

Pau Capell (00:56:34): No, in the American you do it normally or not, or

Dylan Bowman (00:56:38): It more now? No, I mean, I'm, I'm sure there's, there's some conversation back and forth, but I mean, there, there isn't that team element on a national level. I think sometimes the sponsors, you know, you may see a little bit of team encouragement, but, um, yeah, I don't know. I think UTM is an interesting race because it's the race in which there is the most national diversity and where the best athletes from every country are present. Right. And, and of course the Americans, like on the men's side have had a hard time, you know, racing to our potential. And I don't know, I'm just trying to, like when I look at the, the, uh, fields that are assembling for all the different races at UT M B, I'm always also looking at the nationalities of the top athletes and thinking about, you know, the density and, you know, I think in recent history, the French have just been so good.

And, um, and then, you know, you and killing have been the Spaniards, but now that we're seeing the rise of the Chinese and Asian athletes, which I think is gonna be a very interesting thing too. So anyway, it's just an exciting time in the sport. And, uh, I just love how it's so global international now, and there's so many good athletes from every corner of the earth. So, so P maybe, uh, in closing, let's just talk about the team that you've put together, cuz you've been talking about it, our entire conversation of just like the importance of the personal life, the importance of your friends and family to be around you. How do you approach the team element during UT M B of course you're only allowed to have one crew member, but tell, tell us about the people that you have in your corner and, uh, how they've helped you to be the athlete that you are today,

Pau Capell (00:58:28): The people you, you mean, for example, nor face.

Dylan Bowman (00:58:31): Yeah. Nor like your sponsors or your family. And, and then also just like who takes care of you during the race? You know, like your crew.

Pau Capell (00:58:39): So in, in my crew is my family obviously is my, uh, normally in the, I rent the house. So for them and for me, uh, nor face for example, they, uh, offered me to be in the same house with the other ADEs, but I'm very grateful, but I prefer to live with my family. Yeah. And I rent the house for them, my family, my parents friend, uh, my brother, my sister. And, and yeah, we are, uh, with some friends, maybe we're 10 in the house and, and then my coach, so my, my physio is there uh, and yeah, this is my crew. And then obviously, uh, for example, in north face, uh, for the race, they want to help me, uh, during the race, in the checkpoints, in the, in the refreshments. But I have my crew and for me, it's enough. Otherwise, who does

Dylan Bowman (00:59:37): That for you? Is it your girlfriend that cruise for you or yeah,

Pau Capell (00:59:40): Yeah. Yeah. My girlfriend, she, she will manage all the, all the, all the points, the checkpoints. And then during the night, uh, she's with my mother and my father is resting and then my father in the morning will come cause my father is older than my mother. So , my father is 71 years old. So imagine that 71 B in, in, ER, yeah,

Dylan Bowman (01:00:06): You don't need to go to cor Myer pops, you know, you just stay home and sleep through

Pau Capell (01:00:10): It. It's not necessary. And that's why he comes normally in Chan LA, LA. Yeah. Yeah. Comes there. And my mother, yeah, with my, with my girlfriend, with Lara. Yeah. They will be in all the points following me and maybe my sister, my brother. Yeah. So for me, it's better if, obviously I love the people in face and, and when I'm tired, I want to listen. The people in north face say how you can do it, come on. But they are friends maybe, or yeah, yeah, yeah.

Dylan Bowman (01:00:44): Yeah. I mean, they, they help you in other ways. Right. You know, they give you, they give you the opportunity to be a professional athlete, but I don't know. I just think it's just, again, remembering back to when you won the race and your family being there and then Fransua last year and then also like Courtney Dewal and her husband, Kevin, like yeah. And his him crewing her and watching that on the live stream. And I don't know, you've just mentioned so many times just like your friends and family and how important they are and thinking about the phone calls you made in 2019. I don't know. It's a beautiful thing and a special part of the sport when we can include those who are most important to us in these life changing journeys around these mountains. Well, P dude, it's so fun to catch up, man. I'm so glad to see you back from injury. I know firsthand how hard it is to go through that shit. And, uh, it's just good to see you back in top form again, and getting ready to, to line up at the world's most important race at UT M B. So thanks so much for coming on the podcast.

Pau Capell (01:01:43): Thank you so much, LAN and I hope to listen your voice again. When I will watch the, the last kilometers in the TB that I do a lot of times when I'm training in the trade mile and I put the video of the last kilometers of the TB and you are, you are talking with Keith in the finish line. So I listen a lot of times. So I hope this year repeat and I hope to listen you again.

Dylan Bowman (01:02:09): Well, good luck, man. Thanks so much

Big thank you to pal. So good to catch up with him and so glad to see him in good health and good fitness again, ready to do battle against the world's best at UT M B in a couple of weeks, reminder to check out Gorge, waterfalls.com for more information about our race next spring, we would love to see you there. We'd also love it. If you checked out and support the sponsors of this podcast, who make everything that we do possible here at free trail speed, land run speed, land.com. Check out the best shoes ever made. Gnarly nutrition, go gnarly.com. Use code free trail one, five for 15% off your purchase of the best nutrition supplements on the planet. If you enjoy the show, please do share it with your friends or on social media. I always love it. When you put it up on Twitter and your Instagram stories, or if you're feeling particularly inspired, please leave us a review in apple podcast. It takes literally 30 seconds and it makes a big difference for us. We will have more news about how you can get more involved with free trail very soon, but that's it for now. Hope you're all having an amazing week. Love you very much. Talk soon. Bye.

Become a Freetrail Pro member

Get exclusive access to premium content, our private trail community, and more. Just $10/month or $96/year.