Controversial - Member of the Month June 2009
Fetch says: In what scientists are calling "really quite French", we speak to Controversial about his adventures beyond the ultraworld, his plans for future races, and what would he do if he only had one race left in him. He wins £100 of goodies from our sponsor, SimplyRun.co.uk.
For My Light asks: Congratulation, why the fetch name Controversial?
Contro says: Thanks For My Light. I think it is my French origin that makes me always go against the flow ... to be controversial :-)
Naomi P asks: Massively well earned Contro, and about bloody time, congrats :-) Noone I know trains as comprehensively as you (cf. your monster week leading up to the Gobi march, topped and tailed with 4 marathons/ultras). Where do you get the motivation from when it's not race day?
Contro says: Massive thanks Naomi! Motivation, well it comes and goes, the trainign league is a good way to check if you are slacking, but the motivation comes from passed failures, specially my first marathon that I ran in 4.20 with a first half of 1.40 and second half of 2.40. After that race I understood that the only way to do a race without too much pain is by training.
Zoom asks: Well done Contro, and welcome to the MOTM Club.:) When we had a French exchange student staying with us he found the saying 'mucky pup' really funny. What's the funniest English saying or word you've come across?
Contro says: Thanks Zoom, funniest enlgish word? Well it has got to be 'god', in french it means something really different, and makes the expression 'god save the queen' very very funny :-)
Jen J asks: Congratulations! How grateful are you that I pulled out of the Gobi March in favour of WHWR, thus allowing you to race properly instead of plodding along at the back, keeping me company ;)
Contro says: Ha ha ha thanks Jen! It would have been a different experience, I would for sure had seen more of the landscape and take on more of the country, although I do need to thank you, not as much for pulling out, but for entering it. I don't think I would have entered alone if you hadn't done it. SO thank you!!!
Siamese Pete asks: Weel done Contro. So, what's the least controversial thing you've ever said - ever?
Contro says: Thanks Siamese Pete. Now the less controversial thing I have said??? Argh I am struggling to find something Oh I know: 'there is no doubt that I will kick Jock Itch's butt on all the distances!!' :-)
HB asks: Controβ¦What have you learnt from doing the Gobi March? And what would be your top tip for someone wanting to do it or something similar ( Atacama crossing)??
Contro says: Thanks HB. I have learned so much from the gobi march, not only from the race but form the training, when I entered I hadn't run an ultra and thought doing 3 marathons in 3 weeks was really hardcore now I see that differently. But the biggest thing I have learned is that we can do a lot more than we think we are able and that even if sometimes we don't know how we are going to do things we still can manage to achieve them! I still think the best advert ever is the nike 'just do it'!!
Dai Bank asks: Congratulations Contro For how long were you thinking of the Gobi adventure before you decided to try it?
Contro says: Thanks Dai Bank. I had been toying with the idea for about 6 or 7 months. I was initially interested in the MDS, but then when I saw there was a much smaller event in a much more remote place I feel in love with it. I had pormised myself that if I ran sub 3 in paris 2008 I was going to enter it ... so I had to :-)
ChrisThePuma asks: Well done Contro But... Does Gobi know he has been "done"?
Contro says: Ha ha ha Thanks Chris. Well I think he knows it!! I have tried to tempt him to join me, but he says it is not for him!
MarkC asks: Well done Contro! What three simple tips would you give to someone (ie. me) who will be embarking on training for their first ultra race? (In my case, 40 miles)
Contro says: Thanks Mark. Three simple tips for your first ultra? Well I'll just tell you what I did and that worked for me: 1 focus on ultra, ditcha any speed work 2 do loads of miles, train your brain to run when it wants to stop 3 go slow.
Girlie asks: Well Done On MOTM:-) After the awesome achievement across the desert, what have you planned for your next challenge?
Contro says: Thanks Girlie. My next challenge is to find what is going to be my next challenge. I now I need one like gobi again, but for the moment I am focusing on fast marathons, the targets (if not challenges) are sub 2.50 in abingdon 2009 and then sub 2.45 in paris or london 2010.
Jock Itch asks: Well done my son. I would like to know how you cope with the ridicule of being much slower than me ? :) and do you plan to get faster at any time soon ?
Contro says: Ha ha ha Jocky!! For the past 14 months I have been focusing on training for ultra running, now I am back on the short stuff and you know I am going to be kicking your butt all the way to a sub 2.45 marathon :-)
Dave B asks: Well done!! obviously your french, if you had the opportunity to pick a proper nationality, what would you have picked?
Contro says: Thanks Dave! A proper nationality?? I don't know you can really get better than french so it is a hard choice, but kenian would be pretty cool, I am sure I would be a fair amount faster than I am now :-)
Enthusiastic! asks: Tres bien and alll that malarkey mister :-) Proper MOTM question (unlike DaveB :-P)..... Obviously you're still recuperating a bit from Gobi ;-), but what are your running plans / ambitions for the next year or so...???
Contro says: Thanks E! Yes well running plans are trying to get a sub 2.45 marathon in 2010 before I get too old, and then maybe do the nepal 4 deserts race in 2011, that is for running. As far as personal life: trying to keep the mad balance between running/partying/working and add even more! I want to do more acting ... anyway I am rabling :-)
Monkex asks: What have you been doing recently? :-)
Contro says: Partying a lot, it was my 21st birthday :-)
santababy asks: Many congratulations Contro :) what is your ultimate challenge? and how the hell is someone like you single? :)
Contro says: Thanks Santa! Lol my ultimate challenge, I think you answered the question yourself: it involves running, not being single, having a fullfilled life and never stop trying to be better!
Sweaty Frank asks: Congratulations, Contro, on a very well deserved MOTM. You could be very competitive in running some of the big ultramarathons. The European Ultramarathon Cup might be an excellent next challenge. What do you think?
Contro says: Hey thanks Frank! To be honest, ultras are not my favorite distance, and even if they were, I am really not good enough to try to compete with the big boys! Thanks for the thought though I take it as a compliment :-)
Tiggia asks: Well done, and thanks for the Facebook updates when you were "doing Gobi" - it was great to follow your amazing progress. However, I wanted to ask you about the pacing that you've done at Silverstone & FLM... is pacing something that you are naturally good at? How much responsibility do you feel for the people you're pacing, and how annoying is that little stick thing you have to run with?!
Contro says: Thanks Tiggia. Pacing, I love pacing, I love it because it allows me to give back something to the running community. I owe so much to running, and it generates so much happiness for me, that if I think I can help other people become happier, help them realise their objectives then I will do it! I have noticed also that i seem to have a natural sense of rhythm when i run, i ran km 5 to 35 of paris marathon at the exact same pace with 1 second difference! And finally running with the little label is not hard at all, it doesn't weight anything and you can use it to slap the people that get in your way :-)
Miss Piggy Wiggy asks: Congrats Contro, I loved the facebook updates also :) What are you going to spend your Β£100 on surely u have all the kit already :)
Contro says: Thanks Miss Piggy Wiggy. You have got a fair point about the amount of kit! I struggle to find room to keep it all at home although £100 is still quite short of how much the new garmin 310 costs :-)
jude asks: YAY! My favourite camp french ultra runner :) Many congrats Contro, really well deserved. I loved watching your progress during Gobi and was so proud to know you - I kept showing people at work your facebook blog!! You're always so friendly, helpful and upbeat - how much of your ultra success do you put down to your positive frame of mind and where do you think you get it from? :) x
Contro says: Oy a bit of respect Jude :-) Thanks for the compliments though :-) I am glad people enjoyed the updates on FB. I wanted people to be able to experienced a bit what I was living but also thank you to everybody that sent me messsages! Now do I have a positive frame of mind? Difficult to say, I tend to be very nervous before any race, so I wouldn't say I am very positive, I am more on the scientific side: plan you race/pace/stops/energy intake/clothes etc ... But i would say above all i think if you want to do well you have to train hard ... training hard will give you the confidence that you can do it!
Anna Finn asks: Congrats Cointreau! :-) It's been a pleasure to run with you a little. ;-) You've been ultra inspirational to many of us, so my question is - who has inspired you?
Contro says: Hey Anna, the undercover star! :-) Who inspires me: people that fight to live their dream. If you ever have got the chance to go to see some modern dance at saddlers wells for example, the dancers there are not only artists but also athletes. They spend their days practicing and transforming their bodies movement in art ... when I go their, i usually have a craving for putting my trainers on and go for a run! (nothing to do with the fact that they are also utterly beautiful!!! :-) )
Don Bubbles asks: Congratulations Contro... My question is about the Reading half marathon. You said to me at the post-race social that Jock Itch didn't race there because he's a wuss and was scared you'd beat him, do you really believe that to be true? And have you ever beat Jock in a race?
Contro says: Thanks Don! Lol that one is going to hurt Jock, but the reality is that we only have raced each other only once and I won: ashby 20 miler in 2008! So bring it on!!! Thanks for the question!!! :-) :-)
Pestomum asks: Well done :-) How has this list of questions got so far without a cake based one?
Contro says: Thanks Pestomum! Yes cake!! I mean the great thing with the ultra running is that you can (and have to) stuff your face all the time!!
John66 asks: Well done Contro When are you coming out of the closet? Fulham or Chelscum? What is your fave race (sub and including marathon)?
Contro says: lol John! What closet?? I leave that for the brits, as once the french prime minister said (it was Edith Cresson) 50 % of brits are gay, the other 50% are women!!! :-P Ok for the serious part of the question, I think my favorite race is London marathon, i just can get enough of the crowd support, but then the round norfolk relay is so special too, running for a team is a special experience. And I couldn't not mention the last stage of the '100 km of the sahara' where we experienced and hail storm in the middle of the sand dunes of the sahara at the same time that i was lokced in a race with another guy!
RuthB2 asks: well done and well deserved Contro! I remember in October you arrived at the Abingdon fetchpoint having just driven over from pacing the Cardiff HM, most impressivley. Folloiwng on from Tiggia's question, what do you get out of pacing so many races? and from supporting races too that you could quite happily be competing at the higher levels in yourself?
Contro says: Thanks Ruth! Well for the pacing, I get the satisfaction of helping other people, of sharing my passion. Now I have got to confess I am not the best of supporters, I have supported very few races and I think I the future I should do it more!
SarahL asks: YAY! :) Well done Contro :) Very well deserved indeed! How do you manage to put away so much beer and still train/race the next day! You are a machine! :)
Contro says: Thanks Sarah! Thanks for this question because it is an important thing for me. Running started as a balance to a excessive partying life style . Now partying is a balance to an excessive running life style. If I didn't go out from time to time and have a great night out with my friends, I would just become too obscess with running and lose my motivation. And the 2 pints before the races count as carb loading :-)
runnerbean asks: well done Contro :-) y- fronts or boxers?
Contro says: Thanks RB! Boxers all the way . Or commando in some shorts!!!
John66 asks: Forgot one: How good would you be if you weren't a piss-head? :-)
Contro says: John, well I don't think it would make a difference at all, and how can I be a pisshead? I am a shandy drinker!!! :-P
Dave B asks: Do you blame being french for your bad choice in headwear?
Contro says: lol Dave! I blame england for selling those hats!! :-P
HappyG(rrr) asks: Congratulations contro. Amazing ultra performances. My Q: what do you think causes more injuries - going long or going fast and how would you try and ensure that you don't succumb? Well done again! :-)G
Contro says: Thanks HappyG(rrr). For me going fast is a killer most of my injuries at the end of 2008 were due to some fast running. However I don't think it is long or fast the problem, my problem was the lack of core strengh. Now I have reduced a bit my weekly milage in order to swap on or 2 running sessions for some gym sessions where i do a lot of core work. The rowing machine is your friend!!
B.B. asks: Oh, and a couple of questions. Was your defeat to BB in the 100m after the summer mile last year your most crushing defeat to date? Was it this defeat that made you realise you had no future in short distance running? How did you get over such a defeat to perform so well at Gobi March? Are you gay?
Contro says: Ok B.B. you are not being very kind to me I will just say that before you beat me on the 100 metres by less than 1 millisecond, I had run about 39km and I was on the 5 week on a row of 100 miles so yes I was devastated and had to go and look for my soul in the gobi desert :-) And NO.
Snapstinget asks: Well done and really well deserved - how do you cope with being such a gifted runner and well-liked bloke and still remain foreign?
Contro says: Thanks Snapstinget. The fact is that I could get the british citizenship if I wanted, now can really someone give me a single reason to do it??? :-)
Pammie asks: Well done Contro - Very deserved If you had you had to go onto a reality tv show, which one would it be?
Contro says: Thanks Pammie, I am not a big fan of TV, I don't really have the time to watch it. I just hope I wouldn't feature in those police reality tv videos racing a stolen car on the M4 :-)
BS asks: Well done Contro. If you ever have any bad days how do you pick yourself up for your next hard training session?
Contro says: Thanks BS. I do get bad days, specially if I have been partying a bit too hard. But I really don't care to much, because there is always another session another day where it will get better. And I always think that a bad training day is better than no training at all!
oceanspirit asks: Well done Contro!!!!! Congratulations!! Do I still owe you a beer? Since you're spanish as well as being french, which country do you prefer? What has been your favourite distance to train for of all the distances you have run?
Contro says: Thanks OS! Yes you owe me a beer :-) Good question, and the answer is definitely the gobi march. I have done so much training, met grat new people, learned a lot more about my nutrition, seeing the puzzled looks of the londoners when I was training in full desert gear a 6 AM in the cold ... so many fun memories!
she runs for cake asks: Congratulations! Does one as dedicated as you eat cake? If so , what's your favourite...? Delicious french patisserie options allowed :)
Contro says: Thanks SRFC! Do I eat cake, not really but I love my 'pain au chocolat'. However my biggest weakness is bread and cheese and red wine and well better stop here I am getting too hungry and I am trying to watch a bit what I eat as I have put on 4 kg since coming back from China!
Baronessbl asks: Well done - What is your favourite beer (and of course I mean one of our fine English Ales that many British pubs amusingly like to serve warm)
Contro says: Thanks Baroness, well I will have to do another confession, I am not a great enthusiast of the warm beer. I have had a few pints of london pride but it is more a exception than the rule, can't not even say I really like it. However german and belgium beer .... now we are talking!
Red Ant asks: Well done Contro you are fabulous!!! What and how much cross training a week do you do? ((((Contro))))
Contro says: Red And thanks :-) I don't do much cross training or close to none, what I do is 2 gym sessions a week of about 2 hours each which include 15 mins or rowing, a bit of fixed weights just for the looks, then a lot of core strenght work: pelvis balance (source of some of my injuries), abs, leg raises, planks .... probably the best thing i have done in ages for my running.
oceanspirit asks: I have another few questions: How long has it taken you to get this fast (seriousl question, really)?What have been the ups and downs so far of your running?
Contro says: Well OS. My training has always been marathon oriented, I started pretty badly in 2003 with a 4.20 marathon, then didn't do any running until 2006 where I restarted running. By the end of 2006 my marathon time was down at 3.27, then end of 2007 I was at 3.00.17, and finally spring 2008 i did 2.56. Since I haven't trained for speed so ... maybe this is as far as I'll go? I hope not, abingdon 2009 should let me know!
Argie asks: well done Contro... bungee or freefall?
Contro says: Thanks Argie . Freefall all the way!!! I like keeping my food in my stomach!
Boab asks: Well done Contro, I must have missed this when on holiday last month, congrats fella. Give us an insight into your training, what is a typical week and what are the key sessions that you feel help (or have helped) you achieve your goals?
Contro says: Thanks Boab and congrats to you too, not only for MOTM, or you topping up the running league bur for your amazing achievements! Well my typical running week would be: Monday evening: 9km run to the club and then social club run (7.5 or 9.5 km) with the fast group, it is my speed work of the week. Tuesday morning 14km run to the office, evening 2 hour gym/core session. Wednesday morning, medium-long run (27 km) to the office, another 2 hour gym session in the evening. Thursday morning14 km run to the office, evening 14km run back from the office. Friday lunch 14 km run on the southbank and then finally long run on the saturday or sunday (about 39km). The key session is the long run and then the gym session are also non negociable (still need to improve on keeping up with that). The gym is my injury inssurance policy, the long run is my endurance training, and for the other sessions it is just some mileage. I will try to do at least one tempo session in those.
Hills of Death (HOD) asks: Congrats lovely boy I have a few question (turns over pages) Do you use L'oreal shampoo and are you worth it ? What will it take for you to finally beat Jock ? How do you stay looking so young (stiffles a gaffour) ? Why is M***l*ke the best kept secret ? and Why NO speedwork ?
Contro says: Thanks HOD! I don't use l'oreal, it wasn't in 2*1 offer at the supermarket. I have beaten Jock in the only race we have done together :-). I can say a mix of partying and running is my secret for eternal youth although comes with side effects of shaking hands and grey hair :-) Finally why no speed work, well i think that for marathon training speed work is really not going to give anything more than a slightlty slower yet longer tempo session. And speedwork gives me injuries!! So it is banned, although I am trying to add it to my training again see if it is still true!
SarahL asks: Congrats Contro! Really pleased for you :) Do you think there's anyone that would look better than you in a tight white fitted compression top? [I don't! ;)]
Contro says: Thanks Sarah!! Ha ha ha, I think Victoria Pendleton does!!!
Gymfreak asks: mmm yes contro does look very tasty in a compression top ok contro, if it meant no alcohol passing your lips between now and the Abingdon marathon, but you were guaranteed a 2.44.59 time if you managed not to have a drink, would you do it?
Contro says: Hi Gymfreak! Of course I would! But I know I won't make any difference so I still can enjoy a well deserved pint in richmond river front on a sunny Sunday afternoon after a good old long run :-)
Dave A asks: Congrats Contro. Is it just me who is disturbed by Jocks taste in sweaters?
Contro says: Thanks Dave I think the whole universe is disturbed! They are an accident that science is not able to explain :-)
BigChiefRunningBore asks: Yoooooo dude Q: When you were running across the Gobi desert and you were in pain city, on the edge of give up cliff and wondering if you were to die would they find your body...did you think of me and my big warm manhug arms? Q2: Foreign Legion or Forgeign Legion?
Contro says: Hi BCRB ehhhh sorry to break your heart but nope! And for Q2 Forgeign Legion all the way by the way have you still got the caps, if you don't know what to do with them Wouldn't mind getting one!
Hills of Death (HOD) asks: Who's the hobbit ?
Contro says: BCRB's friend!
CB. asks: Congratulations Contro :-) well deserved !!! Do you dream of pacing Gebreselassie round london carrying a "SUB 2Hr" board ???
Contro says: Thanks CB! Never dreamt of it yet but I am sure I should be able to do it one day, just need to buy a fast enough motorbike!!!
Forest Faerie asks: oooh, sorry meant to ask a question Any chance of you setting up a sub (GFA) 3:45 pace group for VLM in the future?
Contro says: FF, I will touch a word about it to RW, it sounds a great idea!
chrisity asks: Well done Contro. If you had only one race left in you would it be a marathon, a leg of the RNR or what?
Contro says: Thanks Chrisity! If I had only one race left Then probably something like the badwater marathon :-)
Kittenheels Kath asks: Well done lovey, sorry I missed this first time round! You're brilliant, and lovely, and good company on long runs, do you have any tips for not getting bored when you're running on your own for miles and miles and miles and miles and miles and miles?
Contro says: He he he Thanks KK! How not to get bored? Hmmm, it is interesting because I never get bored when I am running. When I am doing a long run then I think about how good it feels to know you have done a big effort instead of slacking, and if it is a long race then the adrenaline of the race is enough! The rest of the time i spend it doing mental calculation about my pace/time left/distance left/target pace to achieve target ... and recalculate all of this at the next mile/km marker. Then once you have mastered those calculation in kms, you can do them in miles :-)
Fetch says: Thanks Contro for filling us in on some vital information there - and to everyone that submitted a question. FIN.