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NaomiP - Member of the Month Interview


Fetch says: She's trying to learn how to sleep whilst running, she drinks red wine by the bottle as a recovery drink, and she's aiming to be the youngest woman ever to run a hundred marathons. It's NaomiP!

Our chosen winners get £100 of goodies from our sponsor, SimplyRun.co.uk.

Miss Piggy Wiggy asks: Fantastic winner :) How do you manage your diet in between races to enable you to carry enough fuel for each race?

NaomiP says: Thanks Miss P, and to everyone who voted and asked questions.. Nutrition is the last big component of my training that I need to address (after physical training, rest/sleep, mental endurance and sorting my recalcitrant feet out). I've found it very difficult in the past to eat enough and have experienced weight loss and real lack of energy. I've now seen a nutritionist who is trying to get me to eat truly daunting quantities of food for the TiT, but she recognises that volume is a problem. One of the key recommendations is to drink calories in the form of sports drinks and recovery shakes, and the other thing I've found really helps is to replace calories as soon as possible after a marathon. I rarely feel hungry though, so drinking a chocolate milkshake is a more tolerable option.

Kevski asks: Naomi, congratulations - well deserved. I've asked you this and I'll ask again, with the number of races and mileage that you run, how the devil do you remain injury free? Does red wine play a part?

NaomiP says: Cheers Kev! I have had a few minor injuries this year, all caused by over training and over use, including tendonitis and ITB issues. I'm lucky to avoid injuries linked to biomechanics, they're all over use problems - I've got a reasonably efficient gait and the treadmill has helped me to work on that. I've got to the point where I can tell the difference between tired aches and pains, and incipient injuries which I will rest or get looked at straight away before they develop into something more full blown. It's the main reason I disagree with streaking - a couple of days off can fix something quite easily whereas even just 2 miles is still a lot of impact and can cause a minor issue to become a chronic one.

Enthusiastic! asks: Congratulations Naomi, well deserved!! :-) Obviously 10 in 10 is going to be a huge one for you but which other marathons are you most looking forward to in 2010? Also, being the kind of gal that can literally run marathons in her sleep!, do you think you listen to your body as much as you should or is it mind over matter?

NaomiP says: Ta Enthu, great to see you at your first marathon! I haven't done Langdale or Snowdonia yet and my favourite races are road marathons in beautiful surroundings. I'm very sad to be missing Halstead, but I'm looking forward to having a good day at the New Forest this year. I've got a few foreign jaunts planned too: running past camels in Marrakech will be great, if they don't spit at us. As for listening to your body, there's a lot of mind over matter when the mileage gets big and the speed sessions are hard so you have to keep thinking of the ultimate goal to keep motivated. It's so important to listen to your body though, especially in training. A few days' rest can fix all manner of physical and mental hurdles. However, you've got to be able to push through things, particularly in races. Falling asleep during Dublin, and carrying on, was one of those moments where you learn how far you can push yourself. You've got to weigh up how much long term damage you're causing, and how important the event is.

emdee asks: Well in Niomao :) So, you've given up the off-road stuff. What would it take to get you back onto a long, muddy trail?

NaomiP says: A large amount of tax-free cash.

ChrisThePuma asks: How do you keep your belly button so clean? ;)

NaomiP says: From the inside out.

Argie asks: Congratulations Naomi you are a great MOTM and also you run which is always nice to see. My questions are as follows... 1) When you get runners nose where or what do you wipe it with? 2) Extended Warranties do you take them? 3) If you could only have one which would you chose to grace the planet - the elephant or the mammoth? Cheers and congratulations!

NaomiP says: Ta Argie! I still haven't nailed that nose blow thing that men seem to do so efficiently, so I'm reduced to my sleeve. Running kit gets washed after each use no? Nope, I'm so cynical that I reckon everything's got built in obsolescence to kick in the day after the warranty expires. Hmm, elephant or mammoth, that's like choosing between Kojak and Tom Selleck. It's going to have to be the mammoth, surely all that hair is a sign of testosterone.

Vicksta asks: Well done Naomi. Which is your favourite marathon, and why?

NaomiP says: Thanks Vicksta, there are so many good ones! Criteria for being in my top few would include: road race in great scenery, small field, good organisation, good crowd of people and ideally good weather (ok, that's luck). Halstead, Windermere and the Dartmoor Discovery are my favourites, I'm still waiting for good weather at the DD!

Gymfreak asks: I dont understand why all these questions are about marathons?!! :) Mile 16. Bacon butty or sausage roll with your tea?

NaomiP says: Bacon butty with brown sauce. Sets you up nicely for the last 10 miles.

Doctor K asks: How do you keep yourself motivated to run ?

NaomiP says: Long term motivation has to come from a big target, that used to be a certain marathon, now it's the 10 in 10. I got a bit lost when it was "just" the 100 marathons, 3/4 monthly targets are easier to handle. Short term motivation is purely the knowledge that I'll feel really guilty and annoyed with myself if I don't do the miles, it might not be a great run but I'm guaranteed to feel better afterwards than if I haven't run at all.

santababy asks: Massively well deserved Naomi, well done :) Now, my question is, how did you go from the time you got for your first Marathon, (over 5hrs?) to a 3.30 Marathon? What's your ultimate dream race if money/time etc no option. And (sorry, i'm greedy ok) when you get to your magic 100, are you jacking in Marathons like oggee is and concentrating on races you truly want to do?

NaomiP says: Thank you Sandra, *champagne* all round! I guess improving a marathon time boils down to improving your ability to run for longer, and your ability to maintain a higher pace for longer. What worked for me was: Step one - do at least 3 or 4 properly long runs, that's 20 miles minimum. Step 2 - speedwork, even if it's once a week, do an intervals session (longer intervals like 4 minute repeats with 1 minute recoveries, or 1 mile repeats) or a tempo run. Step 3 - increase your overall mileage. In 2007 and 2008, I averaged about 30 miles per week, in 2009, it's been about 50 miles per week. It really improves your endurance. My ultimate race would probably be the Badwater ultra, I'd like to see if I could cope with that heat over a stupidly long distance. Chances of me ever being up to it are very slim however... I won't be jacking in marathons after the 100 as I do like the distance, but I'll definitely concentrate on getting quicker, and races I want to do rather than need to do. That will probably mean fewer marathons, hopefully a few PBs, and maybe some longer and shorter stuff.

Jock Itch asks: John Noakes used to tell his dog Shep to "Get down". If you had a dog what would you tell him to do ? :)

NaomiP says: Fetch!

Marts asks: Well done and well deserved. Sub 3:15 and 90 marathons or no more PB's but 100 marathons? ooh and a Statto one. What is you average career marathon time?:)

NaomiP says: Great question! I'll take the sub 3'15 and 90 maras please, I know I've still got a fair bit of improvement in me and, while 100 marathons is a goal that gives me a lot of motivation and will give me a lot of satisfaction, it's just an arbitrary round number (as a few wise people on this site have pointed out). On the stats, I do like a good bit of number crunching. Of all my marathons, my average time is 4 hours 40, that's including stupid ones like the 8 hours 40 in Pembrokeshire. I prefer my average road marathon time in 2009, which is 3 hours 59. It's nice to average (just) sub 4.

Dave B asks: Congrats N! So once you ticked the 100 marathon box, whats next? (I'll think of a stupid question as well)

NaomiP says: That's a question I'm trying not to think about until I get closer to the 100, however, things do creep into my mind. I'd like to be faster over the marathon, to do a few road ultras, including a 100 miler some day, and I would like to have done an Ironman. That's "would like to have done", the training seems a bit daunting.

Maclennane asks: Congratulations and well deserved. What's your favourite cheese?

NaomiP says: Really strong cheddar, preferably melted on toast.

ndellar asks: About time, well deserved :-) . I think Santa has covered all the Q's I wanted to ask lol, I'm also interested in how you got from 5+ hours to 3:30-ish. Also, if you could give someone one piece of useful advice about running what would it be?

NaomiP says: Ta N, you've made some pretty damn impressive improvements recently. The things that made the most difference to my marathon pace were quality long runs, speed work and increasing my overall mileage, in that order. My advice would be: be disciplined, listen to physical cues, not emotional ones - your body will tell you when it needs rest and when it can cope with being pushed hard, and when you're genuinely hungry or not etc etc. Treat your body as a machine that needs to be looked after but put through its paces to avoid rusting and seizing up, and remember it's capable of a hell of a lot more than you think it is.

Dave B asks: Olly says congrats as well, His question is, Will you marry him?

NaomiP says: Will he promise to do the washing up, feed the cat and put the rubbish out until death do us part? Oh, go on then..

mile muncher asks: Massive well done and congrats Naomi :-) I'm interested in your day-to-day training. What would a "normal" week's training consist of?

NaomiP says: Thanks Aud, you've taken to ultras like a duck to water! My base week schedule this spring looks like 8 to 10 miles most days during the week, sometimes with an 8 miler in the morning and a 5 miler at lunchtime/in the evening to allow for a rest day, with a marathon or long run at the weekend. That's 70-75 miles over 5 or 6 days' training, I really need one or two rest days per week for both my legs and my head.

Badger asks: Congratulations Naomi! What's more important for the crazy amount of racing you do: the training, the determination, or your superheroesque invulnerability to running injuries?

NaomiP says: I think the determination and resistance to injury allow the training to happen (but it's really useful to tell the difference between a niggle and something that needs resting). You're right, you need all 3, the training most importantly in my opinion to physically get you through a race. As for the determination, I used to say that all that stuff Nike et al go on about - the glory and pride and achievement are all very well, but at the end of the day it's shame that will get you over the finish line. Tell enough people what you want to do and you'll do it, or you'll have to tell them you wimped out.

McNewbie asks: Big Congratulations, hun ! :) You're getting plenty of serious questions, so I'll help balance it out: Mars Bars or Snickers ?

NaomiP says: Cheers McNotSoNewbie! Mars Bars, I don't like the way nuts get stuck in my throat.

ogee asks: Well done N, very deserved. I know you don't like the off road stuff & I know you really do go into the biomechanics of running so here's one for you. What has been your most perfectly run marathon? Not your best time or the most scenic race you've done, but the one where everything went to plan, hydration, food, everything & you finished within minutes of where you wanted to. Ooh thought of another one. Would you ever rip bits off your shirt & forget decorum so that you could use a j-cloth to cool yourself down in a stream whilst out running?:p

NaomiP says: Thanks O, and thank you for all your encouragement and support.. You're right, I love the feeling when running feels perfectly smooth and efficient, like the earth is turning beneath you (sorry to get a bit hippy there). My best paced marathon was probably Halstead - I wanted to run 9 minute miles and was bang on it at 3'55. It helped that it was great weather that day and Fetchpoint rocked, but starting out conservatively and being able to finish strongly was a great boost. I have to mention Florence too, I didn't have much of a plan, but I ran a blinding final 12k for a big negative split, passed over 1000 runners in the second half and loved every minute of it. Those are the races I want more of. And I'd only rip holes in my vest and forget decorum if Steve weren't lurking behind a Dartmoor pony :-P

Nice guy Eddie asks: Nice one Naomi - I read your blog and always end up thinking "I wish I had the constitution to do this...", How long has it taken for you to condition yourself to the mileage that you churn out? And how close was I to getting a smack on the nose at the start of rnr this year?.....;)

NaomiP says: It hasn't taken very long really, I started '09 averaging about 30-40 miles per week and now 70 miles in a week isn't too bad. What helps is the improved recovery times, but if you're running consistently and lucky enough to avoid injury, it only takes months rather than years to build up the mileage. At the RNR start, if I'd known the stress levels were going to stay that high for the next 26 hours, then you would have been pretty close....

Dai Bank asks: Well done Naomi Q- Work and running, how do you balance both with other interests?

NaomiP says: It suits me best to run in the morning, it makes me hugely more alert and positive for the rest of the day. Plus you can then get drunk at lunchtime and metabolise the hangover in time for the next morning run. More seriously, now I'm starting to double up more, training first thing in the morning and after work allows the greatest time for recovery between each session. I can also handle a reasonably hard run on a bottle of wine the night before, it's not so good for my training but it does allow me to have some social life without being a total bore.

jaks asks: Congratulations Naomi What made you take up running and when?

NaomiP says: I ran my first marathon in my final year of university but didn't start properly until 2007 when I put the serious drinking behind me. Running is the best way for me to control the eating disorder impulse; with high mileage I can't possibly starve myself and it was a revelation when I realised that keeping weight ON was more of a challenge than keeping it off. Making improvements in my speed and endurance has enabled me to see my body not as a passive object to be criticised, but an active tool that can run marathons, fight off colds etc and feel full of energy. While training hasn't done away with fat days entirely, you have to be satisfied when you've put as much effort as you can into the hand you've been dealt.

Pestomum asks: Congratulations. What keeps you going when you CBA?

NaomiP says: It's simple - knowing that however unpleasant the prospect of a run might be, the feeling that I was too lazy to drag my carcass out for a measly few miles would be far more unpleasant. Plus the knowledge that every run makes the target race easier. You'll rarely regret the miles you have run, only those you haven't.

Foxy Davy asks: many Congrats & well deserved :) Once the 100 marathons are in the bag what next ?

NaomiP says: I'll probably be a bit pickier about the races I do, with less travelling and picking the ones I really like including a few more foreign ones as an excuse for a weekend away. I'd like to get quicker too. I would like to do an Ironman one day, but all that kit does put me off a bit.

Salty♣Dog asks: Sorry, wrong thread, ok i need to follow with a question or two... 1. Did YOU sometimes wonder how many 'equators' you would have to rack up in mileage before getting motm?!? :) 2. Also, have you worked out how much moola a year it takes to fund such an impressive race schedule? Must be WELL more than my paper round pays!

NaomiP says: Ah no, winning MOTM is a huge privilege that has never been an ambition. It's nice that people win for all sorts of reasons, from being super quick to being an inspiration. It does make me wince a bit to think of all the cash I've dropped, but I have to think what else I'd be doing with my time. If I were out shopping or clubbing, I'd probably be spending similar amounts, and getting very little satisfaction out of it. I try to do things conservatively, booking trains in advance, making the most of early entry fees etc, and I also remember that running doesn't need anywhere near as much kit as a sport like cycling. I am lucky to be able to afford it, and I don't take it for granted. I'm still not going to work it out though!

Ted asks: Sweet. :) Let's get a little political. What are your thoughts on the change of entry criteria for RNR2010 and how should the Fetch collective get around it and get a team in?

NaomiP says: Ah, this is a real Fetch bugbear. We should remember that we're not entitled to a places in RNR and that the race director is fully within his rights to have any entry conditions he likes. Affiliation is a particular issue which we could get around if every runner in the team is a member of "a" club, not necessarily the same club. That would cover the EA insurance side of things and I think it's not unreasonable to expect regular racers to be in a club, it saves you quite a bit of cash for a start. And we could volunteer to contribute by looking after race HQ at Lynnsport in some capacity which would give all those people who are hanging around there something to do and make us look like we're contributing (even more than we have done in the past). A promise to abandon anti-social camp sing songs wouldn't go amiss either.

McNewbie asks: Eastenders or Corrie ?

NaomiP says: I'm a northern lass, it's got to be Corrie

McNewbie asks: Red buff or Black buff ?

NaomiP says: Black

Pestomum asks: vodka and red bull or vodka and coke?

NaomiP says: Vodka and tonic, just to be difficult

Hills of Death (HOD) asks: Well done Naomi well deserved it's a London thing (well we've adopted you init) Secret of Ultras please :) for a total novice

NaomiP says: Ta HoD, I like being a soft Londoner.. To be honest, I'm far from experienced when it comes to ultras compared to some people on here. I've only done a handful, and only up to 40 miles. Training was simply the attempt to get more miles in and ideally some back to back training runs (eg. 10 miles the day before a marathon) and on the day the strategy was even more simply to take it one mile at a time and remember to run slow. I do remember thinking that rationality had entirely deserted me when I was telling myself "It's an ultra, not a marathon".

trumpton riots asks: Well done my lovely *heart* Q. What are your most and least favourite marathons and why?

NaomiP says: Thanks Trumpton, hope to run some more marathons with you this year! I loved the 3 to go & Robin Hood double in September 09 - it was baking hot that weekend, I ran 3'52 and 3'49, bang on target both days, met loads and loads of running mates (and my boyfriend, though I didn't know that at the time) and had a great time in the pub getting trollied afterwards. On the other hand, I hated Paris 09, it was so crowded that we came to a complete standstill at 5k and it was a really horrible aggressive atmosphere with a lot of pushing and shoving. It's really put me off city marathons with more than 10,000 runners.

Mutant Calves asks: Well done Naomi. Q. What was your inspiration behind your Fetch name?

NaomiP says: Ha ha!

Hackett asks: Congratulations Naomi .... I beginning to wonder if you run on the spot when your at the bar ??

NaomiP says: Only if it will catch the barman's attention

Chrisull asks: Well done Naomi Q - Have you got any more stories about getting lost between the pub and your hotel on the way back on the night before a race? :-)

NaomiP says: It was a drunken short cut that just happened to be down a dual carriageway..... And included an assault on the brambles up the embankment and clambering over a fence into the trading estate. I wasn't lost ;-) And sadly no other stories, yet!

BigChiefRunningBore asks: HotP - Being not only MOTM but also HOT - wot precise temperature are you now?

NaomiP says: Ey up Santa :-P I'm sorry to report that at the moment, I'm absolutely frozen..... Normal service will resume soon.

BigChiefRunningBore asks: Vis-a-vis sculpture - Daedalic, Archaric or Classical?

NaomiP says: High Classical, in bronze.

BigChiefRunningBore asks: Polykleitos or Lysippos?

NaomiP says: Ooh, Polykleitos please, while Lysippus is all slinky and elegant, I'm a sucker for a big chest and a hunky pair of shoulders.

BigChiefRunningBore asks: Where would you have lived - Athens, Sparta or Corinth?

NaomiP says: Fantastic question! Corinth was a bit dull, so we can discard that. I'd love to have been a Spartan, they were well 'ard, but it's going to have to be Athens for the whole package: theatre, the gym, politics, philosophy, and a hell of a lot of drinking parties.

nikaim asks: Naomi- Well Done Q. Why do some many of these questions involve alcohol?

NaomiP says: Because there's a very strong argument that red wine is full of muscle fibre-repairing goodness, helps you sleep and improves your mood with every glass. And because I'm a bit of an old soak.

Nice guy Eddie asks: Shiraz or Merlot? Also - with only 42% of the vote............................why do you think more people didn't vote for you?

NaomiP says: Merlot please or, even better, pinot noir. I suppose I could have gone round kissing more babies......

Monster Feet asks: Huge well done - :) :) how many pairs of shoes have you gone through since starting logging your miles?

NaomiP says: I'm on my 7th pair of road shoes since 2008 so should really get my feet used to a cheaper model.

Lalli asks: Jolly well done NP! Would you prefer a beach holiday or a skiing holiday?

NaomiP says: Beach holiday every time, warm sea and sunshine complete with a nice road to run on, great diving, lots of lying around getting a tan with a good book and plenty of chilled chablis and seafood. It's a shame I use all my leave on races so haven't had the chance for a few years.

AlanR asks: Well done Naomi, Q. Having run so many marathons which type of underwear would you recommend to the first time female marathoner looking to cover the 26.2 in comfort? Traditional drawers, Ladies boxer, thong or comando?

NaomiP says: Commando or anything seamless, you especially want to avoid chafing in the camel toe region and VPL is so over.

cabletow asks: Tiger Woods or George Hamilton?

NaomiP says: Tiger seems a lot more fun than a few months ago...

Snapstinget asks: Loon Dodd's interview was great partly because he addressed the beer question. Are you too prepared to quaff the kelp?

NaomiP says: Oh yes, Ogee forced me to like real ale this summer. It's great for marathons - full of carbs and a healthy dose of anaesthetising alcohol.

Limpet asks: You have 30 mins to live what would you do?

NaomiP says: Drink a very very expensive bottle of red wine, jump on a treadmill for a really hard interval session and get someone with a large gun to ensure that when the 30 minutes is up, I'm a goner without even noticing.

Mutant Calves asks: And who with?

NaomiP says: I'm secretly a bit of a misanthropist, so the answer is "noone". If it's going to be light's out, I want my last few moments to be on my own.

McNewbie asks: One for the girls: periods/PMT stuff, how do you deal with running and balancing the hormonal stuff going on ? What kind of impact does it have on your training and racing? Has it gotten easier to deal with as your running has progressed ?

NaomiP says: Thanks for asking a question in a place that there's no chance for it to get all school playground ;-) I do really suffer with girl stuff, and find the few days before my period absolutely awful for running - terrible back pain and real emotional lows. If I can get enough painkillers down to dull the cramps, running on a period can be strangely positive; in a masochistic way, you want to run harder to create a different pain. To be honest, it's got worse the more I run and it's been suggested that stronger abdominals cause more severe cramps. There are a number of things I could investigate, including the pill, but it would be brilliant to have a serious discussion about it. One for Mr Fetch's new Questions page?

McNewbie asks: Incase this hasn't been asked, who is the one Fetchie you would most like to meet and why ?

NaomiP says: I'm looking forward to meeting Cable Tow at a pose clinic in February. While I have no intention of getting sucked into the argie bargies on the efficient running threads, the idea that sorting out your style can save you loads of energy and help you avoid injury is pretty compelling. Plus he's a bit of a legend on here and always happy to offer advice.

Diogenes asks: Well done naomi, richly deserved. When did you decide to begin this 100 marathon quest and why? And can I be on your team again sometime Skipper?

NaomiP says: Cheers Dodgy Knees :-) The 100 only became a viable option around May '09 when I started doing a lot of consecutive weekends. Then Ogee began to brainwash me that I could be the youngest female to 100 if I got going a bit which sounded like a nice challenge. Then you start meeting the people on the marathon circuit and they're largely really solid and supportive people, and really inspirational. Then you get addicted. And of course you can be on my team again, if you get a larger car ;-)

DuncanG asks: What plans do you have to run that marathon in France (Medoc???) where they encourage you to drink wine on the way round and do you think they will have enough supplies? Also, how did you master the art of sleeping whilst running and is it a technique that you would recommed to others?

NaomiP says: I'd love to run that one day, but it clashes this year.. I'd have a good go at decimating the wine, cheese, pate and oyster supplies too! I still need to work on the sleeping while running thing, when I nail it, it'll send me rocketing to the top of the training league.

HappyG(rrr) asks: Congratulations Naomi. A very worthy winner. Amazing training mileage, incredible race distances and improving times. A real inspiration. My Q is: do you do a lot of your training on a treadmill, if so, why and how do you feel it compares with running outdoors in terms of training benefit, pacing, injury and sheer boredom?! (I hate treddies, but I'm v. interested in how others make good use of them!) Congrats again! :-)G

NaomiP says: Cheers G! Yes, I do a large proportion of my training on the treadmill, usually 2 or 3 of my mid week runs. I like them because the softer surface is a bit more forgiving than the concrete South Bank, and because you can concentrate on pure running form and technique rather than negotiating kerbs and roads and stuff. I'm convinced treadmill training has been instrumental in the improvements I've seen as, with a bit of discipline, you can nail a speed session to within seconds of target pace. On the one hand, it's easier to maintain a hard pace when the alternative is falling off, but on the other hand, it does keep you running harder when you want to back off. My preferred sessions are speed intervals (one mile repeats or 4 minute repeats), tempo runs (up to 10 miles at PMP) and hill sessions as London is so flat. As for the boredom, having done several 3 1/2 hour sessions when training for FLM 2007, 10 miles doesn't seem so dull in comparison!

66 Johns a waddling asks: Fulham or Chelsea? 1 glass or 22? Well done by the way - legend!

NaomiP says: Is that a rugby question?? 22 please. Thanks!

AndrewJ asks: Congrats! Daddy or chips? ;-)

NaomiP says: Chips, mmmm.

BlueWombat asks: Steve Redgrave or just STEVE?

NaomiP says: A tall, hunky rower or a stone wash denim clad bloke with a 'tache. Steve Redgrave please, if he can prove he's got the dog on heat moves..

BS asks: Congrats. What question that has not been asked would you ask yourself?

NaomiP says: If I were incapable of running another step, what addiction would come next?

ChrisHB asks: Which question are you longing to answer if only someone asked it?

NaomiP says: Would you like another drink?

emdee asks: marmite: yay or nay?

NaomiP says: Mmmmm, marmite....... Love it!

andydgg asks: do you enjoy running more in the cold or the hot?

NaomiP says: Definitely, unquestionably, without prevarication, in the heat. I'm just looser and more comfortable, and all that kit is such a faff. My better times and most enjoyable runs have always been on hot days.

controversial asks: Shit i hadn't notice that!!!! So red wine or running, which one is most vital??

NaomiP says: That's a really tricky question. On the one hand, there are plenty of other sports to get obsessive about, but then there are plenty of other drinks too. I think I'll take running, and switch from red to white wine :-P

Mr. K. asks: Well done. For anyone stepping up in distance would you give gently encouragement or a `boot up the bum` ? ;-)

NaomiP says: Gentle encouragement at first and advice if it's wanted. Then if they're just being lazy then a good boot up the arse. It's easy to plateau and you have to keep challenging yourself. That doesn't just apply to running.

Binks asks: Can I ask lots of questions? Does that count as a question? When are you going to ditch this road running nonsense and come and run on the trails? How are you mentally preparing for the ordeal next may of spending 10 consecutive days with Foxy? What is the lowest you have ever been in a race that you have ended up finishing? What happened and how did you complete it? Have you ever DNF'd? what was it like and what did you learn? Do you have aspirations to go long? You are clearly capable of it. Are you going to wait till 100 like Ogee? If you could do 1 thing to change the marathon/general running scene in the UK what would it be? Who are your running heroes? apart from me obviously :) why? What time train are you getting to Leatherhead on sunday? Will you be loitering outside Claires Assessories again?

NaomiP says: Hello Ultra-Binks. I like roads, they're smooth and free from evil rocks to stub your toe on and roots to trip over and rutted tracks to twist your ankle in. My counsellor and I are working on the mental endurance required for the ordeal of 10 days with Foxy in May. I think the lowest I've been was on the Beachy/Greensands/Dublin mara triple in 09. By day 3 in Dublin, I was totally exhausted, sleep deprived and hadn't been able to keep the food intake up and at 12 miles, I fell asleep on the move and had to have a kip in the ambulance. I really really struggled to 16 miles when I felt like I was too close to the finish to quit. Telling myself that the more I ran the sooner the whole nightmare would be over has helped in more than one event too. I've DNF'd 3 times, through sickness, injury and because I realised that I was in a style of event I didn't want to do and that I had nothing to prove any more. That was a tough decision but you've got to run for yourself not for the approval of others. Yes, I'd like to go long once or twice, especially on road and have my eye on the Cotswold 100. It will be after the 100 maras, like Ogee, as I've only got one shot at getting to the 100 before I turn 30 and it's already quite tight. The one thing I would do is remind race directors that extremes of temperatures are not that common in the UK and we are capable of running races in months other than April, May, September and October. Can we have more winter and summer road marathons please? Running heroes is tricky, some of the real legends are partially legends because they're so self-effacing. Mara Yamauchi has made huge progress with little fuss and is bloody quick, and Yiannis Kouros is just inspirational. But I get inspiration from mortal runners too, the 100 club old boys who are still churning out marathons in their 70s in very respectable times, the people who decide to get off their arses before the heart attack strikes, the people who are strong enough to resist peer pressure and just do what they want, whether that's never racing at all, or streaking, or running up mountains, or leaving the kids at home to get some exercise. It's one of the most inclusive sports there is, and there are heroes in every facet of it. I was intending to be loitering outside Claires, eyeing up the gilt hooped earrings, but it's been postponed.. I might have to wait until the Picnic again.

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