Kami Semick has had quite a stretch. Over the last two years, she has won the Miwok 100K and sported top finishes at the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run, White River 50 Mile National Trail Championship, and the World 100K Championships. Last August, she captured the U.S. National 50K Trail Championship when she set a new course record at the Headlands 50K in Marin County, California. Kami took a short break from her busy schedule of work, training for the Endurance Challenge, and parenthood (rarely in that order) to answer a few questions about running.
Q: What was the first run that you would call "long distance?"
A: When I was in high school in Sandpoint, Idaho, my parents decided to enter Bloomsday, a now famous 12K run. 12K seemed like a long way to go and just finishing seemed like a big accomplishment to me. I ran a very slow time. The following week, I told my sprint coach what I did, and how fast, and he just shook his head and said “you’ll never be a long distance runner.”
Q: How do you juggle parenthood, work, training, and racing?
A: Sometimes I think I'm going to explode because of everything I've taken on. But, the key for me is being able to work for myself - which means I can work early in the morning and late at night - and having a very supportive husband.
Q: What do you find the toughest part of any race?
A: Inevitably, in any race, there is a low. 10K or 100 miles, there’s always a point where I doubt my ability. During that period, I try to assess what's going on. Am I pushing too hard? Do I need to eat, drink, take salt? I've done enough racing to know that chances are, I'll be OK. But, if not, I just pray that the finish line is really close.
Q: Describe your two or three days prior to a race.
A: One of those three days is usually a rest day. Typically, I prefer the rest day to be two days before a race. The other two days, I do shorter runs, but keep my intensity up. I also may throw in some strides or fast paced running to remind my legs how to turn over.
Q: What is your greatest running memory?
A: Thinking back, my greatest running memories are all times when I've surprised myself with a breakthrough performance. I've never known when a breakthrough is going to happen … I guess that’s why it’s called a breakthrough. But they are pretty cool when they happen: scoring at the NCAA National Cross Country Championship in Virginia, winning the Seattle Marathon, winning my first 100K race at Miwok. - Kami Semick