We are stoked to have Vlad Shatrov as one of Dusty's friends. Vlad is a back to back Six Foot Trail Marathon Winner, UTA 50km winner amongst other epic results. He is the lead guy and coach at RunLab and runs it all from road to trails, long and short. He had an epic win at Tarawera earlier this year taking out the 100miler in his first attempt at the distance.
How did you get into running and what do you love about it?
Well I actually naturally fell into running, being brought up down on the Monaro and a sheep farm, meant there was plenty of opportunities to run around, thinking back I never shied away from helping round up the sheep on foot either and that’s where it all started really. I didn’t have the “Normal” runners transition through little A’s and a track upbringing, not really picking up organised training until the middle years of my university degree, but from there I've continued on. First with a road focus but now definitely attached to the Trails and the running I love more.
Tarawera 100 Miler – what made you decide to make this your first miler?
A combination of factors really. TUM is at the start of the year and I love training hard through the Summer so I knew Id likely be fit, and that this race wouldn’t impact on other planned 2020 events. But the definite decision was actually made during UTCT in November where I had a really tough race but finished anyway, taking a lot from that day and needing to show myself I had it for the longer races.
What was the key to your preparation?
There isn’t really anything I don’t like about my running and training. I see and have spoken to thousands of runners from recreational to elite and I realise that almost everyone does struggle at times to do some of their sessions in the lead-up to an event. I always try to say, make sure you remember the parts you love about running, and use them to help you, but me lol I think Im wired to train hard and race.
The recovery and or second runs when I'm in big volume weeks (200km approx.) can be some of the toughest and I can actually feel really uncoordinated almost wobbly and faint at the start of these sessions, these sessions usually are only 6-10km easy runs but whoah they can feel ordinary for the first couple of kilometres before 20 minutes later you feel totally fine again.
I've definitely got some tried and proven run sessions that Ive continued to refine and use and target towards trails. What works for me wont necessarily work for all that’s for sure, but it's more the combinations of sessions over the weeks and the actual sessions I do that have paid massive dividends. Whilst on my Strava you will see the patterns, and often the types of runs (road or Trail) what you generally cannot pickup are the efforts or the focus parts of some of these runs where the largest adaptions come from. I do a lot of runs that may finish with a 5km Parkrun at a Tempo or a Threshold for example. These sessions are likely my most favourite because Ive likely done already 15-20km, then finished fast as well as got to see all those out there having a run. My other favourites definitely include the long solo road runs between 45-55km where I just hit a rhythm and getting into a zone as well as the 25-35km trail runs finished with a faster cadence road section and in these sessions I mentally prepare for racing.
Tell us about the race, how was the hype on arrival and at the start?
The start line was pretty sombre, we were starting in a culturally significant place, it was kind of eerie with steam drifting across and a light drizzle in the dark until the Haka got everyone excited for the race. Because it's such a long day/s for everyone – most people are just trying to quietly deal with their anxieties of the task ahead. I was relaxed and looking forward to getting underway.
What was your favourite part of the course?
Probably the parts before Redwoods where you are still high and can look over to your right for some awesome view knowing that your only about 15km from the finishline.
What was the biggest challenge – did your crew/pacer help you through it?
Running out for the final section (40km to go) to home we got a lot of encouragement, It was now the two of us, the first time since the start I was able to run and talk with someone, which was an added bonus. I'd been joined by my Pacer Stu, this next 17km section was the most difficult especially with so much running in the legs. Stu and I also needed to see what was going to work best for us, running side by side or him out in front etc. I’m not going to lie but this first 30 minutes coming out of Okataina was testing me to my limits. Stu full of running and feeling fresh was bounding along in front as I tried my best to keep up, I was suffering and didn’t have strength to focus on anything much more than trying to hold a rhythm. We worked through the runners (the 102km runners) and over those hills, a totally testing 90 minutes or so which was about winning this race.
My emotions were raw, words and actions short and to the point, I took a fall somewhere here which winded me too but as we started to getting into more runnable sections, I was able to relax my focus and enjoy this special place I was in.
How good was that finish?
Well it was unbelievable! I felt good still though, I could have kept running if I needed too, but whoa I was not expecting the arrival I had. I was right up until the end making sure I could hold onto the lead I had all day, but as we started getting close all these emotions were just flooding through me, I was totally ecstatic to have won and felt so good throughout, but then really it was what all my friends, family, other competitors race RD and crew etc said after I finished that made me realise this was a pretty good run. I actually ended up breaking the record by 25 minutes and the course was extended 4km this year too, so more like almost 40 minutes. I had no idea of what the record even was.
Whats next for you?
This chat was done before the impacts of COVID -19 on running events all around the world - so hope Vlad gets to tick these off later this year.
I want to Podium 3 times on UTWT events this year and Ive made no secret of that, its going to be so hard but so good. Im trying to decide right now between another Miler later this year or waiting until next year, but the immediate focus turns to UTA100 where I WONT be hurting my ankle again!
Achieve your impossible