Following knee surgery this summer, Pau Capell returns to run the Madeira Island Ultra-Trail, where he’s finished as high as second. In the following interview, Pau talks about his knee surgery in July, his recovery from the surgery, how he keeps focused on long-term priorities, and what he enjoys about Madeira.
Pau Capell Pre-2021 Madeira Island Ultra-Trail Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar, here with Pau Capell, before the 2021 Madeira Island Ultra Trail. How are you, Pau?
Pau Capell: Good, thank you. Madeira is the perfect place to be here. I’m very happy to come back again in Madeira. I have run two times. Yeah, it’s my second home.
iRunFar: Yeah, I was going to ask you about that later. You’ve run MUIT, but you’ve also run some of the other races here, (Trail do) Porto Moniz. So you’ve run a few other races here. What do you love about Madeira?
Capell: It’s a different island. Normally, when you imagine an island, you imagine a flat island with a beach, very nice. And here you have the beach but also you have the big mountains. There’s Pico Ruivo, Pico do Arieiro, when you are there it’s, like, I’m not in an island but then you are running and you arrive to the sea, and it’s fantastic.
iRunFar: In 90 minutes, you’re running.
Capell: Sure, all downhill, really fast, yeah it’s a really nice race.
iRunFar: Besides the running, what do you like about being on Madeira?
Capell: I like the food, for example, really, really good. And also, it’s at peace, island. So the people are really calm, not speed. All the things that you can do is step by step, no pressure, and it’s really, really good.
iRunFar: Speaking of step-by-step, earlier this year you had knee surgery. When did you decide you needed to have surgery and what did you have done?
Capell: So in June, after a big volume of training, good races, I suffered a break on my knee in the cartilage of the knee. So, it was a piece of the knee of this cartilage out of my knee and it was traveling there inside and the doctor recommended surgery and we did it … 23 of July. So I couldn’t run in July, I couldn’t run in UTMB, I couldn’t run in October, Ultra Pirineu. But today I am here. It has been a long time for me. Because three months and a half, a lot of work behind, to be here.
iRunFar: Very few days after your surgery you are already on a bike.
Capell: Yeah. Because I wanted to do a good job of recovery. But also don’t lose time.
iRunFar: So it was surgery but to clean the cartilage, not screws, not metal?
Capell: Nothing material inside, only put out this cartilage and then try to be calm and recover well, the knee.
iRunFar: When did you feel like you got back to more or less normal training?
Capell: So more or less, end of September. More or less. I started to train well, I felt some pain but not too much so I could train good and in October I did my first ultra trail.
iRunFar: Gran Trail de Peñalara, was that, 60 kilometers?
Capell: 60 kilometers. It was a fast race also. It’s not my kind of race because I prefer to run long distances. It was a good start.
iRunFar: It was a step.
Capell: Yeah, it was a step. And last weekend I run also a marathon in Catalonia. Today I am here. I think that next year will be the year.
iRunFar: So it’s still on the process to recover?
Capell: Yeah. And also it’s important, listen to the people that know more than you. The coach, the doctor. And normally they know more, you need to be a little bit smart with them and know that if they say you stop, you must stop.
iRunFar: Yeah, and we were talking before the interview that it’s about running well next year, in two years, but also to be healthy and have a good knee in 10 years.
Capell: Sure. Because if you want results today, it may be a mistake because you need to think about the next year and the next 10 years, and I don’t want to finish my career in four years, so I have to be calm and recover well.
iRunFar: During these past few months, have you done maybe more cycling?
Capell: More cycling, more work with exercises. Exercises with your body, with the quadriceps, the calf, a lot of work with the physio.
iRunFar: Not just the knee but your whole body.
Capell: Yeah, your whole body because, we move all the body so we need to be strong with all of that.
iRunFar: Do you think in the long term, the big picture may be, that having this break is good for your long term in the sport?
Capell: I think so, I think so because last year and 2020, I compete elsewhere a lot and did a lot of projects, the Breaking 20 for example. And I finished the year with a lot of stress and I don’t want to say that it has been a good choice, this because…
iRunFar: You don’t want it.
Capell: I don’t want but yeah, in this term that I’m here today I think that it has been a good point for me to think about how it’s important, the sport for me and how it’s important, my health and who is important. A lot of times train less to be better.
iRunFar: It’s fun this weekend, you’ll have your parents here to assist you. What is that like?
Capell: My parents are my parents. In the long distances, when you’re running and you’re tired, you need to listen to the people that you love. And if your parents say to you, Pau, come on you can do it. Or your girlfriend says to you, Pau, come on you can do it, it’s not the same as another person. And that’s why they are here and they will be my team in the race, with my girlfriend, so it’s a fantastic team.
iRunFar: And it will be a birthday celebration as well, your father. He’s 71 on Saturday.
Capell: 71, during the race, so it will be fantastic, share with him my passion of run with his birthday will be fantastic.
iRunFar: Cool; best of luck and enjoy and continue the long process.
Capell: Thank you so much.