Kaci Lickteig felt great during her run on Saturday — until she hit mile 62.
“I started getting nauseous,” the 29-year-old Omahan said Tuesday. “It kept getting worse. I was trying to push through so I stopped to walk it off.”
When that didn’t work, Lickteig tried another tactic.
“I finally burped a few times,” she said. “From then on, it was fine.”
Lickteig won the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run in Squaw Valley, California. She completed the race — which is ultrarunning’s equivalent of the Boston Marathon — in 17 hours, 57 minutes and 59 seconds.
She was the first woman to cross the finish line.
“It’s so surreal,” said Lickteig, whose nickname is “pixie ninja.” “I am so overwhelmed thinking about it.”
The remote and rugged route follows a 100-mile segment of the Western States Trail, which stretches in full from Salt Lake City to Sacramento, California. Much of it is accessible only by foot.
About 380 people entered the race; 280 finished, including three other Nebraskans, who all live in Lincoln.
Pete Kostelnick had a time of 19 hours, 55 minutes and 44 seconds. Kyle Clouston completed the route in 25 hours, 46 minutes and 48 seconds. Jonathan Tanner finished in 28 hours, 45 minutes and 42 seconds.
This year marked Lickteig’s third time competing in the Western States 100. She placed second last year, completing the course in just under 19 and a half hours.
Lickteig said during this year’s race she drank the most she ever had during an ultramarathon to ensure she had fuel to keep moving and was properly hydrated.
“I was worried my blood sugar would crash,” she said.
As part of her training, for the 100-miler, she ran two 50-mile ultramarathons this spring.
In May, Lickteig won the Lincoln Marathon. Since then, she had been struggling with tendinitis in her knee. Lickteig said she concentrated on rest ahead of the Western States 100, and her knee didn’t bother her.
“I was very, very thankful for that,” Lickteig said.
Lickteig, a physical therapist, started ultrarunning in 2012. The races include distances longer than a marathon’s 26.2 miles.
Lickteig said she plans to run another 100-mile race in September. She hopes to eventually qualify for the Hardrock 100, which is held in Colorado and is considered one of the toughest ultramarathons in the country.
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