Thursday, January 8

Fame at last: I'm a Colorado Runner of the Year

It's fame and glory time: this month's Colorado Runner magazine features me and Dwight Cornwell as winners of our age divisions in the Colorado Runner Racing Series - headlined on the front cover as "Colorado Runners of the Year".
All the interviews were edited for reasons of space, which left out a mention of training partner Patty Murray as well as one of my key training secrets. The unexpurgated version is below.

Picture shows me and team-mate Susan Brooker in the Aetna 10-miler. This year it was a 15-race series starting in January and ending in November.There were 4 5ks, an 8-mile trail race, 2 half-marathons, 2 10milers, 2 10ks, 1 12k and 1 25k trail race, all over Colorado, some at 8,000-feet plus. I ran 9 scoring races, winning 4 and getting 2 2nds and 3 3rds.

I opened the Series in January by running 20:05 for third place in the Oatmeal Festival 5K in Lafayette, CO. I clinched the series by winning the Eerie Erie 5k in 19:02.
That put me more than 200 points clear of second-placed Heath Hibberd, from Montrose, a trail running specialist who handed me some severe defeats in the longer events of the Series. Third place was Devin Croft, from Littleton. We were all 55.

Tell me a little about yourself: your age, where you live, what you do for a living, etc
I live the life of a professional elite athlete only without the recognition, the sponsorship and the million-dollar winnings; I also have to work and I turned 56 in December, but apart from that it is a very similar lifestyle. I moved to Boulder from London four years ago in pursuit of a more laid-back place to live and had no idea what I was getting into.

Why do you run?
Because I'm too scared to stand and fight.

How do you train?
My 2nd year in Boulder I had a blisteringly successful year, taking 11 minutes off my 10k time, and I've been recovering ever since. I'm really greatful for advice from Lorraine Moller, who made me throw my Garmin away and taught me that training has to be fun. She put me on the road back. I since found a "home" with Ric Rojas, who has been my day-by-day coach this year and opened my eyes to a doing more with less style of training that suits me down to the ground. I have driven him crazy by constantly switching goals.
Most of my emphasis is on recovery after training, rather than the training itself; this involves lying on the sofa and drinking lots of tea. I believe that groaning and complaining a lot are key.
Do you have a favorite place to train?
At home, indoors, doing repeats up three flights of stairs with my two cats.

What is your favorite race?
Any race where I perform better than expected. Also almost any race where I come home with something more than yet another race t-shirt. I need to be able to stagger in the front door saying "Look what i won today, honey!"

Do you have any advice for other runners?
The absolute best way to fail is to copy what everyone else is doing, and/or take advice from people who don't really know why they get the results they do.
Apart from that, something from Ric: often the most important thing is showing up - consistency in training inevitably brings results. Look at the Racing Series: to do well you have to stay healthy and be consistent enough to turn in reasonable perfmances from January to November.

What did you enjoy most about running this year?
1) Running fast and effortlessly along a trail out near Wonderland Lake and being blessed with having a eagle glide at the same pace and just below me for 100 yards. 2) Occasionally being able to train with triple national champion and world's medallist Patty Murray - which is very similar to running with an eagle, but requires more effort on my part.

What are your goals for 2009?
1) To decide that I am a 1500m/mile/5k specialist and stick to it. 2) To develop some sort of facial grimace and/or a signature grunting noise so that my friends in Ric Rojas Running will accept I really AM trying.

Is there anything about you that other runners might be interested to know?
I am British born and bred and regularly hallucinate that I am Seb Coe, Steve Ovett or Steve Cram, sometimes Lasse Viren, and more often than I like to admit, Paula Radcliffe. I am plagued by an inbuilt drive to relentlessly explore new ideas about running (as well as my specialist field of complementary and alternative medicine). I benefit here from ongoing discussions with and feedback from team-mates Dwight Cornwell (winner of the 60-64 age group) and sprinter Steven Sashen, while Ric somehow succeeds in keeping me grounded in reality.

1 comment:

Nan said...

Great interview. I like your unique outlook and good sense of humor. Its inspiring to see you keeping the fire going into your 50s. Way to go!