Talking with Dub Price - Bonneville Backyard Ultra Race Report
This week we caught up with NOM Athlete Dub Price to talk about his experience during his recent race at the Bonneville Backyard Ultra. This was the second annual Bonneville Ultra, a "last-runner-standing" race format where you have to complete a 4.16-mile out-and-back loop every hour. If you're not in the starting box before the next hour's bell rings, you're disqualified.
- Hey Dub, thanks for taking some time to chat. First, congrats on the big day at the Bonneville Backyard Ultra, 56 miles, 3rd place, pretty awesome result for you! Was this the longest you had run up to this point and what has your running background looked like so far?
Thanks Ron! Happy to talk about Bonneville Backyard Ultra and my experience. I had a really good time and the race was awesome. I didn't really know what to expect with this kind of race format, so I was happy that I was able to make a plan and execute it. The longest race I had done prior to this was a 100K that was a traditional race format. As far as background goes, I have only done a couple actual "races". I have done one 50k, one 100k, and then the Bonneville Backyard Ultra. I have completed a couple other endurance efforts like the WURL, Grand Teton Picnic, and the running Calendar Challenge. I have also done a few of the shorter mountain races like the Cirque Series. I still feel new as a runner as far as races go. There is so much to learn about in terms of fueling and hydrating, taking care of your feet, what clothes to wear, and so on. Always things to learn when I show up to the races.
- The Bonneville Backyard was a “last-runner-standing” type race, where you had to start/finish laps every hour to continue on. Did you find the format more mentally or physically demanding?
I actually really liked this format. I think that there was a lot more thinking involved during each loop and it seemed like time was always top of mind. Always checking the time to make sure the pace is good enough to get you back in time, and making sure you are at a good spot on the course for the time. After figuring out how the time should be each lap (which took a few laps), then it gradually became more and more physically demanding. Making sure I was fueling correctly and staying focused got harder and harder as the day went on.
- You had one hour to complete the 4.16 mile out-and-back loop before starting out for the next lap. What was your strategy for pacing and rest time, and how did that change as the race went on?
My strategy was: go low and slow. Low heart rate, and slow pace. I wanted to run the downhill and flat and power walk any uphill. It wasn't that steep of a course so it was mostly running. After three laps I had a pretty good idea of where I needed to be based on what the time was. I knew going in to the last hill I wanted to be between 17 and 19 minutes and then going in to the last mile I wanted to be between 34 and 36 minutes. I managed to stay pretty consistent all the way through the end and end up back at the finish line 44-47 minutes from the start. I felt like this gave me enough time to prep for the next lap and conserve energy while running.
- Anyone who has done an ultra knows that at some point things start to go off the rails. Were there any surprising moments or challenges you had to deal with?
Around the 10 and 11 lap I just felt over it. I started telling myself I had gone far enough and had done enough miles that it would be fine to just stop. Even though that was short of the 50 mile goal I had set for myself. It was crazy to see how my mindset would change as soon as I would start running again. I would feel good and want to keep going. Something about sitting in that lawn chair surrounded by food was just hard to leave for a few laps.
- What did your support/crew look like to keep you out there running for 14 hours?
I was so lucky to have such a good crew all day. (You guys) the NOM team took such good care of me throughout the morning, making sure I had enough NOM to last me the rest of the day. Letting me sit at their tent and helping me refill between laps was awesome. Then I had family and friends coming through the rest of the day that kept me going. I couldn't have done it without them coming and helping and motivating me to keep going. They all sacrificed time from their days to be there for me and I couldn't be more grateful.
- Speaking of support, hydration and nutrition are super important to keep you moving during these long events. What were you eating and drinking during the race?
Staying hydrated and getting calories were a big concern of mine. I would take a hand held water bottle with NOM every lap. I was alternating between caffeine and non-caffeinated for the laps. Mixing in a couple pre run NOMs as well. As far as food goes, I was eating whatever felt good at the time. I had some chicken nuggets, different honey stinger gels and gummies, pretzels, pb and j sandwiches, candy, cup o noodles. At different points in the race, different things sounded good but the NOM was reliable through all the laps and went down easy.
- Thinking of someone who has never run an ultra before, what advice would you give them for how to train and compete in their first race?
I think just getting going can be intimidating, but everyone has different goals. So finding races and signing up for different types is something I wish I had done sooner. Smaller races are great ways to train for bigger races. You can learn from other runners and how they strategize and apply that for longer races for yourself. New distances can also be intimidating, but by putting the time in and committing to a training protocol can make a huge difference in preparation for a long race. While training, it is important to do things the same way you will want to on race day. Try different fueling methods, different foods, caffeine, salt, etc. practice all that, not just the running so that on race day you feel confident in your strategy.
- And the final question everyone is wondering about, what’s next for you? Any big races or adventures you’re planning for this year?
I am going to run the Ring the Springs 100 miler on June 17 in Colorado Springs, and then Speedgoat 50k in July at Snowbird. Part of the reason my goal for the Bonneville Backyard was 50 miles was to treat it as a good training weekend to prep for the 100 miler. I am also hoping to throw in some trips to Jackson hole to grab some summits and a trip down south to hit Rim to Rim to Rim.
- Thanks so much for talking Dub. Can't wait to see how the rest of the year goes for you!
Interested in competing in next year's Bonneville Backyard Ultra? Click here to find out more about the race!