Ellie Greenwood hasn’t raced a major trail ultramarathon in over a year, but she’ll be racing Les Templiers this weekend. In the following interview, Ellie talks about what’s kept her away from the trails, how she’s feeling now, and why she’s racing Les Templiers.
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Ellie Greenwood Pre-2015 Les Templiers Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Ellie Greenwood before the 2015 Les Templiers. Ellie, it’s been way too long. How are you?
Ellie Greenwood: I’m good. Yes, it has been a long time.
iRunFar: I take it you’re all healthy?
Greenwood: I am, yes, which I guess for this year is a rarity. I guess it’s kind of funny because everyone else is saying they’re winding up their year whereas I’m, “Hey, it’s just getting going!” I’m feeling good going into the race.
iRunFar: What’s been the issue or issues this year?
Greenwood: At the start of the year I just had little niggles. I was just getting through those and then the bike accident/broken hand. That obviously didn’t affect the running too much but did interrupt training for awhile. Then this summer it’s just been one kind of little thing after another—big enough little things that it’s interrupted training and limited training and that kind of stuff. I would say, probably, I can’t even remember now, but since middle of August I’ve been consistent and getting in good mileage and good sessions. I feel ready for this.
iRunFar: Yeah, you ran a 10k personal best a week or two ago?
Greenwood: I did, which was… I’m kind of joking about the personal best because it was my first 10k in five years. But even so, it was good timing. There was a race that happened to be going on, and I’d been doing pretty fast workouts with my running club. It was like, “Hey, I’d like to go and do a race and get an official time.” No, I’ve got speed right now. 75k—I know it’s not a super-long ultra, but it is an ultra, so we’ll see if I’ve got the endurance.
iRunFar: Does doing even a race like a 10k give you confidence going into Les Templiers?
Greenwood: Yes, because it’s all very nice going to workouts and, Oh, I’m getting good times in workouts, but I think also did, literally in the last two weeks, I did that low-key 10k road race, and then with my running club there was a relay race. I did a 13k leg of that. Just to get back into racing and feeling super motivated and that kind of mindset—that wasn’t the reason I did any of it—but coming out of it, I think that’s good because I now come to this feeling excited to race because I got into the racing mindset.
iRunFar: You’ve been injured all year on and off, what brought you to Les Templiers now that you’re feeling good?
Greenwood: I’d hoped to do this at the start of the year, so it had been on my calendar all the time. It was nice… I love France. It’s a nice opportunity to come to France. I’ve obviously not raced in this area. It’s maybe, say, a little different than going to Chamonix, so you get to see something a little bit different. I like the concept of how they’ve got the French team, the European team, and all the different teams.
iRunFar: Which team are you on, by the way?
Greenwood: The European team of course, because it’s Team USA not North America.
iRunFar: You’ve been hanging out with the South Africans a lot.
Greenwood: I’ve been hanging out with the South Africans. No, but that was part of it, right, because there’s this team concept, obviously that adds just an element of fun. It also does mean there might be a little bit more competition than there might otherwise be in a race like this where people in the U.S. go, “What is this race?” So that adds a friendly and a competitive element to it, so that appealed to me.
iRunFar: 75k—how are you going to approach that as a race coming off a few months of training?
Greenwood: I’ve got some long runs in in training.
iRunFar: How have they gone?
Greenwood: Pretty good. Pretty good. I did a 44k race in mid-September in Revelstoke, BC.
iRunFar: So you’ve done an ultra in the last few months.
Greenwood: An ultra—I was joking and I said, “If this course is short, I’m going to run around the parking lot at the finish to make sure it wasn’t a marathon. No, but it was a five-hour race. I’ve been refreshed with that concept and with, Okay, don’t go out blazing fast; just pace it. Obviously, I don’t know this course, but by the sounds of it, the harder, slower, more technical bits are later on. I’ll just go out and see.
iRunFar: So you have heard a little bit about the course, that there are some flat, fast sections, but there are also some real hikers.
Greenwood: A little bit. Yeah, which is totally fine. When I couldn’t run tons and then was easing back in and therefore limiting my running, in Vancouver, we’ve got Grouse Mountain which there are various routes up it, but you can hike up it two-and-a-half miles and gain about 2,500 feet (800 meters over 3k). I’ve been doing a lot of hiking. No, I’ve definitely got the hiking practice in. Yeah, I’ve been trying to get the elevation practice in.
iRunFar: While you’ve been injured—not with the hand injury—have you been doing some cycling or other cross-training to maintain your fitness?
Greenwood: Yes, I’m not by any means a cyclist, but I do enjoy road cycling. Yeah, there were a few weeks where I did not run at all because I thought, Okay, I’d better pull the plug here rather than back off, so I was road cycling, doing a lot of hiking, and yeah, I think I maybe pool ran a few times but not much.
iRunFar: That’s not your thing.
Greenwood: Not in the summer. It’s a great option, but if I’ve got the option to cycle or hike, yeah, pool running goes further down on the list.
iRunFar: It’s great to have you back, and good luck out there, Ellie.
Greenwood: Thank you so much.