As with Nicole Hunt, I had the opportunity to get some comments from Thomas Jodoin after his Wulfman CDT 14K victory last weekend. Thomas gives some great insight into how the race unfolded and how he was able to get his long legs to turn over so quick on the trails.
Muddy Buzzard (MB): So, as the defending champion, how did it feel to be only seeded 3rd for this year's event? And, on a related note, do you think starting 3rd was an advantage or a disadvantage?
Thomas Jodoin (TJ): In the end, it was just exciting to see so many of the top runners from the state gathering in one place to race head to head; and, the inner kicker in me really enjoyes starting from behind and being the hunter. I really saw the 3rd seedd as an advantage. If you caught the guys ahead of you, it's then on their back to make a move to get the time back.
MB: How far up the trail were you when you made up the stagger on the second seed (Reynolds) and the first seed (Winter), respectively?
TJ: After about the first 2 minutes I could tell up made up a few seconds on Lynn. I told myself to keep it steady as there was no need to really push before the real climbing. At about 2k Lynn and I caught up to Matt and ran single file over the ups and downs before the big climb starting at the Beaver Ponds trail junction.
My plan was to really push the switchbacks after the Beaver Ponds trail. Lynn and I both passed Matt as the climbing started. After that I ran behind Lynn all the way up to the top. I was able to catch a glimpse of Keifer 2 switch backs down and he was really flying uphill. When you are running behind someone that is over 2 minutes faster than you over 8k (and Keifer hunting you down) and its only 5k into the race you get timid and wonder if you are in over your head. I was really in a bind because I am not a great downhill runner so I should have been trying to get as much gap as I could but didnt want to blow myself up (14k is the 3rd longest race I've ever done). At that point I was very happy to have maintained contact with someone of Lynn's caliber.
Lynn and I ran together on the blazing downhill. In fact a couple time he put a few second gap on me through the tight switchbacks. However I was able to get back in contact on any flat or uphill portion of trail. At about 7k I started to think about making a move and finally went by on the flat right before 8k.
MB: How much incentive did you feel to chase after the $100 winner's bonus for the sub-4 min/km pace and how did you balance that pursuit with your racing tactics among such a talented field of runners?
TJ: I figured the winner would be under 56 so it was just a matter of trying to stay with the leaders. I didn't start thinking of sub 56 until 2k to go when I saw that I was at roughly 50:00. I thought it would be pretty tough to run 3 min kilometers at that point but I kept thinking that someone would be flying downhill and catch me at any moment. So I tried to keep pushing. Someday I might be able to shake the sit and kick mentality!
MB: Will you be back again next year to go for the "three-peat," and if so, what are your ideas about eclipsing your standing course record for the N-S course?
TB: Its hard to predict for next year. I keep telling myself I want to do one last track season and improve some of my times from college. Its a great course with great people involved I cant imagine I'd really be able to resist. Can't predict any specific result but I think the 58:51 can be taken down easily. I'd imagine this race will start to attract some regional and national caliber trail running specialists and that would be great for some fast times.
MB: Do you prefer the Homestake to Pipestone route or the Pipestone - Homestake direction?
TJ: Leaning towards the Homestake to Pipestone route purely for the view of the Tobacco Roots, Highlands, and Pintlers.
MB: You height doesn't fit the typical build of a top end trail racer. What's your secret to running so well on the trails in spite of the long legs?
TJ: Anyone can be a trail runner provided you have the endurance to handle the distance. Plyometrics and agility drills to develop coordination and foot strength. Training day in and day out on the Helena South Hills trails doesn't hurt. I also just tell myself that Peter Dan Sullivan is chasing me downhill. Trust me its horrifying how he just barrels down with no concern of disaster.
See you on the roads, tracks and trails.
The Muddy Buzzard