Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Meeting Chrissie Wellington

You know how much I talked about Mo Farah after I got to run with him? That was nothing compared to how much I have talked about Chrissie Wellington. The last two days have been nothing but "Chrissie said this" and "When I was with Chrissie"...

For those of you who don't know who Chrissie is (yes there are some none runners reading this blog; I call you stalkers), Chrissie is the four time Ironman World Champion. I know she is British and I should be a Rinnie Carfrae fan but Chrissie is a legend for many reasons:
1) She only started the sport five years ago
2) She is a self confessed muppet
3) She is unbeatable, even when she's coming from way behind and covered in gravel rash.

Chrissie is a Patron of Jane's Appeal (Jane Tomlinson, cancer fighter, wife, mother and achiever extraordinaire) who organised Run with Chrissie, a chance to run a 5km through the allegedly tick-infested forests of Richmond Park, train with her and hear her speak. I'd not thought about the physical effort required for the day too much - it was scheduled to take place only 7 days after a small 53km run, but the day was to completely wipe me out.

So I'm off before dawn to go see her and despite train issues arrive early (thanks google maps for showing Roehampton Gate as being in Kent). Awaiting her arrival, I notice there's an awful lot of ridiculously kitted up City boys in Equipe style lycra, including retro hats and very expensive machinery. I try really hard not to giggle when they stop for a soy latte, but fail.

Being mostly Londoners, we do that thing where we all stand around on our own not making eye contact with anyone and standing a safe 6 feet apart, until Chrissie arrives, all smiles and we all move in a little, awe struck and trying not to stare but failing. Chrissie is laughing and joking with people she knows and wearing the most coolarse compression socks I've ever seen (black, mid calf with green, yellow, red and purple stripes). She looks so good in them I would have bought five pairs there and then, and it's a good thing there was no shop in the area because my calf muscles and Chrissie's calves (sp) are not comparable things. She swapped shirts and I was all geeky and going - look at that six pack and then started photographing her Kona 2011 scars before the police stopped me (I joke about the police, but am afraid the rest is true).

Chrissie makes jokes about lyme disease and I am already fawning: "oh my god she's so funny". And then we're off being escorted on a wee run through the park. I started for a second near Chrissie but was quickly passed by everyone, and I mean everyone in the field. I should have known when they said "sub 30 or sub 20". I'm a distance runner people, and a long slow recovering one at that. I'm sub 30 on a good day. Today is not a good day. Anyway I determinedly continued and got a bit of mojo on a downhill home straight to finish a trio of girls who sportingly were helping a recovering runner get Back. Clearly, I am not sporting.

Let's be honest, I was knackered after that: legs of lead and all that. So I went a scoffed a protein bar (I'd be hungry since the train!) and swigged a load of water. This would have been sensible if not for some British Military Fitness style Ross Kemp lookalike deciding we should do burpees. Excuse me sir while I vomit on your shoes. Those who know me know:
1) I don't tolerate the British Military
2) I don't believe in the concept of British Military Fitness
3) If a man tells me to give him ten of the best, I will do so via finger gestures.
But it being for charity, I pretended to go along with everything and found refuge in a nice girl who had won a prize to be there and like me, didn't need a bald man in camouflage to point out how unfit we were. After 30 minutes of rolling in mud and performing an exercise called "morning darling" that I'd normally reserve for a gynaecologist, we moved to a session on cadence and finally a session WITH CHRISSIE on running drills.

The session was running drills was expertly run by Karen and I learnt that I must be able to hold a credit card between my butt cheeks while running (for glute strength, not for lack of pockets). But that is all I can tell you about that session because I did these drills with Chrissie. No, sorry WITH CHRISSIE!

She and I joked about glutes and lazy glutes. She remembered me from running past on my ultra training round Uxbridge canals! She remembered my tweets. I was so uncool about it I almost foamed at the mouth! She congratulated me on the ultra. I told her I wanted to do ironman before I was 40. She thought I was way younger. I heart her. She recommended Austria or Copenhagen. She also writes "smile" on her hand! She spoke to other people too and was really nice and encouraging. But she spoke to me! ME!

Well that's probably enough excitement for one blog post no? I'm going to do a separate one about her talk and the sport related things I learned but just reliving that moment means I need a lie down!

Chrissie. Chrissie Wellington. And me.


  1. That.Is.So.Cool! I'm completely jealous! I love, love, love her and she is one of the women I am most inspired by. I am very happy you got to meet her and run with her. And did I mention jealous? :)

  2. Ah if I had known, I will try and get a message from her for you if I can get near her on Saturday at our triathlon show. I feel very lucky. The more I read her bio the more I love her!