Ellie Greenwood’s had a tough year, but that didn’t stop her from moving up late to take second in The North Face Endurance Challenge 50-Mile Championships. In the following interview, Ellie talks about working through physical discomfort during the race, how the women’s podium race played out from her perspective, and her plans for her fifth bid at the Comrades Marathon in 2016.
For more on how the race played out, you can read our TNF 50 results article.
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Ellie Greenwood Post-2015 The North Face EC 50-Mile Championships Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Ellie Greenwood after her second-place finish at The North Face Endurance Challenge 50-Mile Championships. How are you doing?
Ellie Greenwood: Good. Pretty tired, but pretty happy with my position.
iRunFar: It wasn’t an easy day for Ellie.
Greenwood: No, it was a tough day, that’s for sure. I said in the pre-race interview I had Les Templiers six weeks ago. That did really take a lot out of me. Then I did jump back into… and did what I tell all my coaching clients not to do… and get all overexcited and forget about the race you’d just done and right onto the next race. So, yeah, I honestly haven’t had a really great run in the last six weeks. So I came to the start line and was like, Yeah, this could be interesting and you don’t know. I did start to feel better this week because I really did taper back, but I wasn’t surprised when really early on just hamstrings tight and SI and your legs feel really tight way too early in the race. No, I’m really happy to get second putting that all together.
iRunFar: When you saw me at mile 19…
Greenwood: I did not feel good, no. That was after a big climb which of course is not my strong suit. Yeah, my legs were feeling really bad. On the other hand, I was with Anne-Marie Madden and Jo Meek. That was nice. We were all… we naturally fell together. That was nice to just put your head down and follow someone else’s feet a little bit. Then we started to go out to McKennon Gulch and that was much more runnable and rolling. That’s when the legs started to get rolling a little bit.
iRunFar: Did the mind get rolling, too?
Greenwood: Yeah, I think so. It was just generally, Maybe this isn’t quite so bad, and I’ll just suffer for the uphills. I was moving pretty well on the flats and the downhills. I was being careful on the downhills early on.
iRunFar: When did you move into second?
Greenwood: After Tennessee Valley the second time around.
iRunFar: The last climb?
Greenwood: Yes, on a climb. I know! That’s quite impressive. It happens occasionally. It was funny because before that, first, I was in third place after awhile and it was, “Oh, you’re five minutes back and three minutes back.” Then it got to, “Oh, you’re seven minutes back.” Then it’s, “You’re seven minutes thirty back.” Okay, I’m in third place, right, because I’ve run out of time. Then I came into Tennessee Valley and someone said, “Okay, you’re three minutes back.” “Ohhhh, I’ve got to run now.” I’m not complaining at this point, but…
iRunFar: Was Ruth [Croft] in second at this point?
Greenwood: Ruth was in second, yeah. I’d seen Ruth earlier on and she had, unfortunately for her, a nice, bright singlet on, so I could see her up ahead. She was walking, but fair enough, I walked a good chunk of that hill, but I made myself run bits and just walking I was going faster than her. Yeah, it was fairly soon after Tennessee Valley that I just kept with it. I had no idea where Megan Kimmel was, but I did get the impression that she was quite a bit ahead. So I pushed hard towards the end, but I wasn’t really expecting to see her.
iRunFar: Did you ever get the impression that someone was breathing down your back?
Greenwood: No, not until Larisa [Dannis] came across the finish line. I had in my mind, and obviously like I said, I was thinking, You never know, you never know, so I was working hard until the end. If somebody had passed me, like Larisa, could I have gone a bit faster? Maybe, but no.
iRunFar: You’re in an interesting position. You had a bunch of injury time at the beginning of the year and the middle of the year. You’ve worked your way into shape for Les Templiers and The North Face. Do you keep rolling with your season or do you just call it a short season and take a break?
Greenwood: Yeah, I think so. At the end of the day, I still did Vancouver Marathon, Comrades, Mont Blanc Marathon, and then I did a 20k trail race in Whistler and a 44k trail race in Revelstoke. I have actually done a fair amount. Even in the summer, I was doing a lot of cycling and a lot of hiking. It’s not like an injury where I sat.
iRunFar: There was volume.
Greenwood: There was volume and I was keeping fit and definitely being active. No, I want to be fresh.
iRunFar: One shouldn’t just look at their mileage log to see if it’s time for a break.
Greenwood: No, exactly. And like I said, Templiers, I raced hard. This, I raced hard. Yeah, I think for the rest of this year I will relax and recover a bit before next year.
iRunFar: What does that look like for you? How much do you cut? Do you cut out running entirely? Do you just do casual cycling? For how long?
Greenwood: Yeah, it’s not very good weather for cycling in Vancouver right now in the pouring rain.
iRunFar: And 2 degrees C.
Greenwood: Exactly. Dedicated people get inside. No, I will still do a small amount of running, but I think I really will be careful. I do really want to recover. I can get a bit carried away, and then you get to the end of the week and, I really didn’t mean to run very much. No, I’ll definitely cut back the running. I’m going back to the U.K. for Christmas, so that will be a nice chance to be…
iRunFar: Be Auntie Ellie?
Greenwood: Be Auntie Ellie… and a change of scene is very good as well. If you’re at home, you get in the routine and that kind of stuff.
iRunFar: Not necessarily good routines.
Greenwood: Well, the routine of, Hey, I go run. I’ll still go and do a bit of gym work and whatever and maybe cross-country skiing and maybe have a bit more fun.
iRunFar: This is about the time of year when people start dreaming of next year. Are you dreaming of anything?
Greenwood: I signed up for one race in South Africa.
iRunFar: Are you going back to Comrades?
Greenwood: I’m going back to Comrades, yes. So that will be my fifth time at Comrades. That one for sure. Other ones, I’ve got ideas but nothing set totally in stone yet.
iRunFar: Cool. Well, good job out here today, Ellie.
Greenwood: Thank you so much.