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Adam Schwartz-Lowe: Pre-Sawtooth 100 Q&A

Photo courtesy of the Black Hills 100

Adam Schwartz-Lowe, of Minneapolis, has placed third and second at the last two years at Sawtooth. He also won the inaugural Black Hills 100 in 2011, and doesn’t exactly dodge competition – he ran at the stacked Speedgoat 50k in Utah in July. We caught up with him before this year’s race to hear about his training, his goals for the race, and why he keeps coming back to Sawtooth.

What’s your history with Sawtooth?

I’ve run Sawtooth twice before.  The first time was in 2010, the year it rained 10 hours overnight.  That was cold, and seemed to last forever, but I do remember cool things like mice scurrying around the edges of the trail.  I ran again in 2011, it was hot during the day, and tough going, but I had a stellar night, running the second half about 4 hours faster than I did in 2010.  I set my PR on the course with a 24:20.  From that year, I clearly recall how strong I felt once the sun went down, and it seemed like nothing could stop me.

What are your goals or expectations for the race this year?

I would like to get under 24 hours this year.  I was close last year, and I’m at least as fit this year, and the weather is looking much better.  I don’t expect to contend for a win, since there are some really fast guys showing up this year, but I’ll give it my all.

What’s been your buildup this year? What’s training been like, and what races have you done? What does your training and racing this year tell you about your fitness going in?

My training has been much as it was last year, long miles on the weekend, a bit of speedwork, and fill in some more miles the rest of the week.  I average around 60 miles a week.  I’ve raced a lot less, mileage wise, than last year.  I ran HURT 100 in January, then Ice Age, Grandma’s, and lastly Speedgoat in July.  I have made two adjustments in focusing more on core fitness and my diet.  I think I’ll come into this race 6-7 pounds lighter than last year and I feel really fit.

What keeps you coming back to Superior? What do you like? What don’t you like? How does it compare to other races?

I like the atmosphere at this race a lot.  I see the same people at it, the after party is a blast, and it is home turf.  It’s always been really well organized, and I’ve never really felt lacking for information or support during the race.  If I had to pick something I don’t like it’s that occasionally some of the volunteers don’t really get what we’re going through and aren’t prepared to help.  Point to point races like this can be tough to fully staff up with experienced ultra runners, so you just have to roll with stuff like that.

The general organization and support at Sawtooth rate comparably to other events I’ve done.  I think it’s fair to say that Ultra RDs really try hard in general to make sure everyone is well taken care of.  The trail itself, though, is one of the best I’ve been on.  Doing a point to point race on predominantly single track is really hard to find and pull off.  It’s really hard to beat being in the woods all day on really rough trail.

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