At age 12 Anton Krupicka ran his first marathon. He’s been running ever since. Today, the New Balance-sponsored athlete has won the Leadville 100 (twice), the Miwok 100, the Rocky Raccoon 100 Miler, the Collegiate Peaks 50 Miler, the White River 50 Miler (twice), the High Mountain 50K, and the Estes Peak Marathon. It’s an impressive list of achievements, but even more impressive when you consider that Krupicka is a self-trained former graduate student. We caught up with the minimalist ultra-marathoner to talk sweet potatoes, Don DeLillo, and his degree in physics.
Q. What’s one thing every man should know?
A. Always question. Be curious. The minute you think you’re sure of something, you’re hosed.
Q. What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done?
A. Earn my 4-year degree in Physics.
Q. What are you working on right now?
A. I’m about to head to the Alps for a 100-mile race around Mt. Blanc (UTMB) at the end of August. It’s a race I’ve wanted to do for the last six years and it’s probably the closest thing the sport has to a truly international mountain 100-mile championship. I’m pretty excited about it!
Q. Name one thing you can’t live without.
A. Beyond food and water, getting out in the mountains is pretty important to me.
Q: Who or what influences you?
A: So many things. With regard to what I do in the mountains, I am inspired whenever I see someone pursuing something passionately and with a level of mastery that has come about because of that unquenchable passion. That could be in the outdoor world — surfers, climbers, runners, skiers, alpinists, cyclists, etc., — or it may be an artist, musician, or writer. I’m inspired to be the best version of myself when I see others pursuing an objective with passion, innovation, creativity and curiosity. And joy.
I am inspired whenever I see someone pursuing something passionately and with a level of mastery that has come about because of that unquenchable passion.
Q. What are you reading right now?
A. I have a few pages left in Underworld by Don DeLillo.
Q. Name one thing no one knows about you.
A. Well, that would sort of defeat the purpose of that thing, wouldn’t it?
Q. It’s your last drink and meal on earth. What’ll it be?
A. Sauerkraut, potato dumplings, sweet potatoes with walnuts and apples slices, and a pecan pie with ice cream.
Q. If you could go back and tell your 16 year old self something, what would you say?
A. Don’t worry, someday your potential as an endurance athlete will be realized. I ran so much during my teens and raced so poorly.
Q. How do you want to be remembered?
A. I’m not that old, but as a kind, passionate, curious person.
Q. Do you have any secrets or personal tips for avoiding injury?
A. Don’t train at your maximum level. Instead, try to find a manageable level of training volume and intensity just below your maximum that doesn’t leave you constantly exhausted.
Q. How do you feel after a 100 mile race — and what do you do to recover?
A. My legs hurt a lot. I often don’t feel like eating for several hours and often not until the next day, but I am typically extremely thirsty. I recover by not running for a couple days, only jogging easily for another week or so after that, and eating healthy foods.
Q. What does a healthy diet look like for you?
A. That is a tough one. What I can tell you is what my diet looks like on a daily basis. I wake up and brew a couple shots of espresso, then go run for generally 2-4 hours (but up to 8 hours). If I run longer than that, I eat some GUs during my run. After my run I eat two apples, drink a couple diet root beers, and then consume a fair bit of sugar and carbs, usually in the form of tortillas and nutella or maybe scones, muffins, or cookies. I may snack on another apple or a couple carrot sticks later in the day. Dinner is then most often couscous with a one-pound bag of frozen veggies. When I’m not living on the road, this will more often be fresh veggies; usually it’s a whole lot of spinach, a couple carrots, maybe a tomato and a bell pepper. And I might do some black beans and/or 3-4 eggs as well instead of the couscous. That’s a pretty standard day. I don’t know if nutritionists would call it “healthy”, but I like it and it works for me.
Q. What advice would you give to a person training for his first ultra?
A. Above all else, be consistent. Even if you only have time for a 20-30 minute run, get it in.