Ellie Greenwood ran to a strong second place at The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 Mile Championships. Listen along as she talks about her race on Saturday, banging up her toe, taking a break from training, the highlights of her 2012 schedule, and whether she’s got a chance of breaking Ann Trason’s Western States course record.
[Since this among our first video interviews with transcription, we thought we’d point out that some sweet pics are inserted into the text portion of this post.]
Ellie Greenwood TNF 50 Mile Championship Post-Race Interview Transcript
iRunFar: How are you today, Ellie?
Ellie Greenwood: Not too bad, yeah. I had a good fun day out on the trail.
iRF: Seems like a fun day, if you’re the competitive type who likes some good racing.
Greenwood: Yeah, definitely. It was amazing. I didn’t know I was going to do this race until about a month ago and then you see more and more names signed up. It was just too tempting, right, to come and be part of it with so many good runners.
iRF: How did your day play out? You were up at the front all day, whether Lizzy was ahead or somebody else or Anna, you were there.
Greenwood: When it was dark, I think I was going a little slower, and Lizzy and Anna definitely went out ahead. I was with Kami for awhile. I honestly came into this race [thinking] I could have a good race or I could have a so-so race. I was a bit unsure how ready I was for it. So early on I was like “ugh” and coming upon the switchbacks that’s when I saw Anna up ahead and thought, “Oh, I’m actually closer than I thought.” I didn’t realize at that point I was in third until someone had said. It was at the turn around, I think Lizzy was still in the lead, Anna in second, but I think the three of us were within less than two minutes of each other. So yeah, it was close. [iRF: And you could see at that point!] And you could see! First it was fun to see all the lead men come through, still a pack, right, like half way into the race practically. So that was fun to see. And then you could see exactly how far… and seeing who’s behind you which is kind of helpful because you don’t often get to see that in a race.
iRF: So at that point, seeing behind you, you know that it was a three woman race.
Greenwood: Yeah, Joelle was in fourth at that point. [iRF: A good bit back.] Yeah, enough back, and I was still feeling fairly reasonable at that point that I thought… definitely I was closer to Lizzy and Anna than people were behind me, so that was kind of, yeah, we were in the lead.
iRF: And after that?
Greenwood: After that it wasn’t too much after that I went past Lizzy. To be honest, I mean, my goodness, the amount of miles she’s done! I give her credit for coming out to what’s probably a short race for her these days. So I passed her and I was still close to Anna for awhile there. And then my hamstrings, my glutes, my SI, my whole… which I had come into this race kind of knowing that I was likely to hurt quite a lot. I’d had some issues flare up. I’ve been seeing the physio and stuff. It was definitely good enough and I was just glad I could still run. But, definitely, my legs were feeling really beat up. So yeah, I was starting to lose on Anna a bit and I’d hoped maybe not lose too much on the uphills and maybe catch her on the downhills, but [her lead] just got bigger and bigger so…
iRF: No real low points on the day? Obviously you get tired, but…
Greenwood: No, not really, no, I mean, I’ve never run on these trails, so it was just great to be on such beautiful trails, such beautiful views. Then when you could have gotten low, you’re in with the 50k field and that was really nice psychologically. I did find everyone was really great at getting out of the way, so you were passing people even if they weren’t in the same race. It’s just nice having some more people out on the trails. So yeah, the last 20k was just survival pretty much. So now I know how really runnable these trails really are. I would have liked to run more, but it was just hike or run sections as much as you can.
iRF: Did you get much of a chance to prepare specifically for this race?
Greenwood: Well, the trouble was because I’ve not really run on these trails, you can look at profiles, but until you really come out and even run 5k of it to get an idea… So, yeah, I was trying to do stuff, but it had started snowing in Banff which makes it harder and it’s obviously darker so it’s harder to get on the trails and stuff. So, yeah, I prepared as best as I could. Definitely now having been here, I have a bit more of idea of what specific things I need to do.
iRF: You did have one specific bit of injury on the course today. One of your toes is black and blue well past the base of your toe. How did that happen?
Greenwood: Yeah, I did. That was just after the turn around. I was on a little downhill and not on a particularly difficult bit of trail, as these things usually happen on, and I actually just slammed my toe right into a rock. I’m actually surprised it’s only just one toe because it felt like it was about three. But, I was like, “Just breathe, just breathe, carry on running.” I ran on it fine, it wasn’t overly painful. I’ll see what it’s like. I imagine the next few days of running could be interesting.
iRF: We’re going to have to get a shot of that at the end of this. So are you going to take any down time?
Greenwood: Yeah, I think so, although to be perfectly honest, I didn’t think I was going to do this race. One of the reasons I did it was I went to one of The North Face races in Chile and that was in the middle of October. I went to just go and have fun and I had so much fun that I wanted to do another race. So this one wasn’t really planned. My work is pretty busy now so I’ll have a bit of time off until the end of this month for sure, do more work, enjoy Christmas, that kind of thing. I’m thinking Chuckanut 50k is going to be my first race of next season.
iRF: It will be another great and competitive field at Chuckanut 50k.
Greenwood: Yeah, and this is the finale of the year and it seems Chuckanut is the start of the year. It’s nice for me because it’s still snowy in Banff and you get to run on snow-free trails and hills. Everyone’s out there so it’s great to get together and kick off the season. And 50k is a great way to start the year.
iRF: You’ve run a variety of races. Is there anything else that’s just jumping out of your schedule next year? Are you going to go back to the Western States 100?
Greenwood: Oh, I’m going to go back to Western States. Yeah, I didn’t even have to think about that.
iRF: [What about other races?] There’s the Hardrock 100, UTMB…
Greenwood: No, Hardrock is… I’m fully aware that I would have to seriously, seriously train for that. I mean, everyone has to, but it’s not my most natural what I tend to run. And, obviously, I love Western States and you’ve got the chance, if you’ve come top 10, to go back. So it’s kind of silly not to. And I think Hardrock’s too challenging, but I think I’ll try UTMB.
iRF: On Western States, I’ve got to ask it, you’ve run the fastest non-Ann Trason time if I remember correctly. Is [it] in the back of your mind to run some of her faster times?
Greenwood: Actually I’ve run the second fastest time. She ran 17:37 and I thought she’d run a couple of times under 18 hours. But I know people have said that the course with the snow route last year was faster and I’m fully aware that it was a very mild weather day, like, not hot. So, I’m not saying I’m not going to go for it, but I know it’s an amazing record. Ok, it’s Ann Trason, but it’s stood for a long time. So, you never know, and it was my first 100 miler. I didn’t have a great race. I had a great finish, apart from the bear, but I feel there’s sort of room for improvement. There’s things that didn’t work out. I went slower in a lot of sections. So it’s not like I had a perfect race so how am I going to improve? So hopefully I can improve, you just never know.
iRF: Well, not to take away from today. Congratulations on a solid run and a great season!
Greenwood: Yeah, thank you! Thank you very much, Bryon!