Velociraptor - Member of the Month April 2009

Member of the Month April 2009


Fetch says: It's not all that often you get to say that you know a world record holder. And I don't mean stuff like the biggest beer mat collection, or longest-sucked polo. No, V'rap ran 10 marathons in 10 days, in a faster time than anyone else. OK, so maybe you could argue that not many people ever do it - but I think that just makes it even *more* impressive. Sorry for the delay in bringing this interview to you, hope you'll agree that it's worth waiting for. Velociraptor wins £100 of goodies from our sponsor,

Badger asks: Did you ever want to be a tyrannosaurus when you grew up?

Velociraptor says: More than that, Badger. For most of my childhood, I believed that I WAS a tyrannosaurus. Then I stopped growing L But although Iím a puny, feathery little reptile on the outside, deep down Iím still a big scary tyrannosaurus.

Zeb asks: If Hotel Chocolat did commissions, what sort of chocolate bar would you ask them to make for you?

Velociraptor says: Ooh, Zeb, thatís a difficult choice to make! I think it would have to be a football-pitch-sized slab of their 62% cocoa milk chocolate, studded liberally with chocolate-coated salted caramels. It would not contain dried fruit, spices, alcohol, biscuit crumbs, or gritty little bits of ground-up coffee-bean.

santababy asks: Well done Vrap :) are you superhuman? I literally cant recall you stopping for a moment when i stayed with you! Have you always been sporty? xx

Velociraptor says: Thanks, Santababy! Thatís two questions, but after your splendid sub-4 performance at Edinburgh I think you deserve a freebie. When you stayed with us for the POSE Clinic, you saw me firing on all cylinders. Iím not superhuman, and I canít sustain that level of activity all the time, which is just as well because IĎd be impossible to live with. Most of the time I just calmly tick over, doing what I need to do, and occasionally I crash or blow up. And I havenít always been sporty. Throughout my schooldays, I was renowned for the slowness of my running, the lack of co-ordination of my ball skills, and the clumsiness of my dancing. I spent most of my PE lessons standing in a corner of the hockey pitch wearing a dunceís cap. Out of school, however, I walked and cycled for hours on end and went swimming most weeks. When I was about 14, one of my closest friends was a Christian girl and she encouraged me to join the school Scripture Union group. The teachers who led the group introduced me to hill-walking. For the first time in my life, I wasnít trailing behind or sitting on the sidelines - in fact, I was rather good at it.

Siamese Pete asks: Well done vrap:) Did you audition for Jurassic Park?

Velociraptor says: Thanks, SP. Yes, I tried to audition for Jurassic Park. When I arrived at the studio door, the casting director gently turned me round and directed me to the soft-play area, where they were auditioning for bit-parts in Barney. I have never recovered from that experience.

Fenland Runner asks: I *heart* you ;-) Srsly :-) Well done V'Rap on so many levels... Question: Favourite Fell in the Lake District, please?

Velociraptor says: Thanks, FR. I *heart* you too, in an appreciating-a-fellow-fell-lover kind of way. Favourite fell? Thatís even harder than Zebís question and Iíve had to think about it for weeks. Hereís my final run-down. In third place: Cat Bells, for the views. In second place: Helvellyn. You can reach the summit from the A591 with an hourís brisk walking, yet it is 100% proper mountain and the views from the summit are quite unexpected. In first place: Blencathra. It has lots of interesting approaches and descents, Sharp Edge is possibly the best scramble in the North Lakes, and itís within walking-distance of Keswick.

Dai Bank asks: Congrats V'rap. TiT ever again or will once be enough?

Velociraptor says: Thank you, Mr Bank. When eL Bee! and I applied to do the 10-in-10 this year, we agreed that we would do it only once, and do it well. We expected to enjoy it, but we had no idea just how good an experience it would be. Logistically, we canít commit to doing the training and fundraising for such a gruelling event year after year. We wonít be there in 2010, or 2011, but Ö BUZZY! Does your diary go up to May 2012 yet?

Maclennane asks: Doctor, doctor, can't you see I'm burning, burning?

Velociraptor says: [Dials 999 and hands the Ďphone to Mac.] Next question, please!

oldbiddy asks: lol @ bcrb :-O Well done Velociraptor:):) How much of your training is with ElBee and do you find you motivate each other ?

Velociraptor says: Thanks, OB! I am a very lucky dinosaur because I have a husband who, although heís capable of running much faster than I am, is happy to run most of his training mileage, and all his races apart from the ones heís targeting for a PB, with me. And I mean that he runs at my side, trundling out 9-minute miles, rather than that he sprints off and loops back, which I would find very demoralising. On this regime of lots of slow miles, he has blasted all his PBs into the stratosphere in the last few months, including running his first sub-3hr marathon. We enjoy the time we spend running quietly together, and there is no doubt that we both run more because we make a commitment to running with one another. Conversely, itís more difficult for one of us to keep running when the other is injured or loses focus, although Iím generally better at sustaining solo training than eL Bee! is.

LouLou asks: Huge well done! How do you combine having a career, being a mum and a running machine?

Velociraptor says: Thanks, LouLou! One of my favourite philosophies is that in almost anything you do, you can get 80% of the maximum result for 20% of the maximum effort. Iím not a perfectionist by nature, and Iíd rather do lots of things just well enough than struggle to do one thing to an exemplary standard.

Magbag asks: Congratulations :) What motivates you to keep running ?

Velociraptor says: Thanks, Magbag! Mostly, itís knowing that Iíll get home sooner if I keep running than if I start walking.

Boab asks: Well done V'rap :) Massage, help or hinderance? Why?

Velociraptor says: Thanks, Boab! As you know, Iím sceptical about the benefits of most of the rituals that runners engage in, including ďsports massageĒ. During the 10-in-10, I didnít expect to find myself on the massage table, but after three races my legs told me that they quite fancied a gentle massage, and I canít dismiss the possibility that massage played a part in keeping me in such good condition during the event. However, Iím not convinced enough to make regular massage part of my routine. Itís a step on the slippery slope to making running more high-maintenance than it needs to be. I suspect that really vigorous deep tissue massage is more likely to hinder than help, but maybe thatís just because pillow-biting pain doesnít float my boat.

Maclennane asks: In your opinion, is it wise to walk around constantly imbibing water from a plastic bottle with a sports cap.

Velociraptor says: Indeed, Mac. Itís an essential transitional stage between running around sucking on a dummy and staggering around slurping from a can of Eastern European lager.

Jen J asks: Congratulations! :) :) :) :) xx How do you top the 10 in 10?

Velociraptor says: Thanks, Jen! Well, winning MOTM comes close ;) I canít imagine anything topping the 10-in-10, but we have to move on and find different challenges. We have the Endurancelife Coastal Trail 7x7x7 Marathon Series starting later this year, and meanwhile we plan to do more ultra-distance running with a view to taking part in some much longer races - the LD100 and the SDW race in 2010, the GUCR in 2011, and some attractive-looking events on mainland Europe. And then there are the mountains we want to climb...

cabletow asks: Wahay Vrap well deserved how do you keep up the mileage when you get low

Velociraptor says: Thanks, Cabletow! I wish I had some nice motivating tips to offer, but the reality is that when I canít be bothered running, I quit for a while and do something else until the notion comes back.

Pammie asks: Congrats Vrap Do you think you will ever top ten in ten as a challenge, and if so any ideas of what it might be?

Velociraptor says: Who knows, Pammie! There are so many wonderful challenges out there and Iím not ready to hang my trainers up yet.

royalgreen asks: is it wise to pull out old loose black toenails that have been hanging around for a couple of months (I can see the new ones underneath)? and would you choose a BMW or a Mercedes?

Velociraptor says: Neither of these, RG. If your toenail is that firmly stuck on, and you canít bear just to leave it to fall off in its own time, Iíd suggest a tractor.

Sparkly Bridget asks: Hearty congratulations! To get back to basics - When did you start running and why?

Velociraptor says: Thanks, SB! I still donít quite know why I started running. Get a cup of tea and a cake now, because this may take some time. On 11th September 2001, I opened a mailshot from the National Autistic Society, which Iíd joined because two of my children had been diagnosed with autistic spectrum conditions. It contained a Christmas catalogue and a leaflet inviting me to run the London Marathon to raise funds. It wasnít Christmas and I didnít run, so I threw it all in the bin. I had a market research appointment a few hours hence. Meanwhile, I went to the shops on our local High Street. I saw people clustered around the windows of the electrical goods shops watching television footage of a tower block collapsing, and assumed it was a movie. When I got home, the market research company Ďphoned to tell me that my interview had been called off because their American clients had to go home urgently. I may have expressed irritation. ďHavenít you heard what has happened?Ē the caller asked. I dived for the television and watched the coverage of the Twin Towers bombing with growing disbelief and distress. What I donít understand is why this tragedy prompted me to get the NAS leaflet out of the bin, Ďphone the number on it, and say, ďYes, Iíll run the marathon for you, give me a place.Ē The person I spoke to asked if Iíd applied through the ballot yet. ďWhat ballot?Ē I asked. Thatís how much of a clue I didnít have. The following weekend, I went along to the local leisure centre and told the personal trainer in the gym that I needed to learn to run, from scratch, because I was running a marathon in seven monthsí time. Bless him, he didnít laugh. He got me to stand on the treadmill, switched it to 12mm pace, and told me to run. I did half a mile. Hey, I COULD run after all!

basils xt350 asks: well done :-) my question is WILL YOU MARRY ME?

Velociraptor says: Hee hee! Well, Basil, Iím very flattered and all that, but are you sure a young fox like you can keep me in the manner to which Iíd like to become accustomed? If you are, Iím sure my husband will be happy to negotiate an arrangement ;)

Dirt Monkey asks: Fantastic Vrap your amazing. Vrap has helped me alot with both running advice, non running problems and Charity :-) Where is your favourite scenic spot you would choose to run and why

Velociraptor says: Thanks, DM! You are very kind J I donít think I have even started to explore, even in my dreams, the many beautiful places that are available to those of us who are willing to discover them on foot. The UK alone could probably keep me happy for several reptilian lifetimes. However, I am very keen to see the Alps in summer, and will be making this wish come true when eL Bee! and I spend a week in Saas Fee in August this year.

Sophster asks: Well done V'rap. I saw in one of your TiT blogs this week that you aren't really into alternative remedies/treatments like Phiten patches. Why is that?

Velociraptor says: Thanks, Sophster! To say that I am not really into alternative remedies and treatments is a slight understatement - I regard the alternative health industry as even more cynical and exploitative than the tobacco industry, preying on the neuroses of a pampered, well-fed and deeply gullible population for financial gain. Most of its products and therapies cannot demonstrate either biological plausibility or scientific evidence that they work. Those that do, quickly become mainstream medicine. The rest is, at best, a consumer lifestyle product.

Treacle asks: HUGE congratulations - very very well deserved. So - does chocolate have special medicinal qualities, or is it just yummy? And is Hotel Chocolat chocolate better running fuel than Cadbury's?

Velociraptor says: Thanks, Treacle! Well, unlike Phiten patches and suchlike, chocolate has the merit of presenting itself as a consumer lifestyle product rather than as a medicine! eL Bee! eats Cadburyís chocolate and Iím a Hotel Chocolat devotee, and he runs faster than I do, so itís probably best to settle for the Dairy Milk.

Hourglass asks: Congratulations V'rap :-) ... and to you all for the TiT too :-) Do you think alot of the country's health issues could be solved/cured if folks didn't eat so much processed food, and cooked from scratch instead?

Velociraptor says: Thanks, Hourglass! I like cooking fresh food from scratch, so I wish I could answer your question with a resounding and unqualified ďyesĒ. However, in the urban area in which I live and work, the biggest problems with obesity, heart disease and diabetes are actually in those ethnic groups where the culture of home cooking has never been lost. I suspect the only way of reversing the consequences of overabundance and underactivity would be to ration food and ban the internal combustion engine.

jude asks: If you could have only one - Climbing; Running or Chocolate?

Velociraptor says: Thatís an easy one, Jude! It has to be chocolate. If I couldnít climb or run, Iíd be happy to walk and cycle and ski, but if I couldnít have chocolate Iíd be in a proper predicament.

HellsBells asks: Congratulations! :-) What do you think are the benefits of realigning the chakras before running a marathon?

Velociraptor says: Thanks, HellsBells! When I run a marathon, I like to minimise the amount of distraction, internal and external. I suspect my performance would suffer if I was worrying about having to go home after the race and tidy up scruffy chakras. Far better, I find, just to realign them in advance and hope that the kids donít lob them around the house while Iím out.

LorraineS asks: can you sit still ?

Velociraptor says: Yes, Lorraine, I can. When Iím sitting, I sit very still - Iím not a fidgety wriggle-bottom. But I canít sit for very long. Sprawling, on the other hand, I can do for hours on end provided I have a wodge of print to keep me entertained.

Ultracat asks: Hi, congratulations. Apart from El Bee, who do you particularly admire in the running scene?

Velociraptor says: Thanks, Ultracat! Time for another cup of tea, I think. In no particular order Ö The entire pantheon of great fell-runners, past and present. As a tarmac-trotter, I can never hope to come close to doing what those amazing men and women have done. I can only admire. Ann Trason, Scott Jurek, Mimi Anderson, and my near-neighbour Alayne Malkin. And all of the other likeable, unassuming, yet incredibly talented and dedicated ultra-distance runners. Mara Yamaouchi, who has quietly served her apprenticeship and is now challenging to be Britainís finest female marathon-runner. Every runner who turns up at the start-line of their first race. And those runners who donít ever feel the need to race but are, nonetheless, runners. The race organisers, supporters and sponsors who are the life-blood of our sport. Nicholas Romanov, for his tireless research into the science of running. And, if you want a named Fetchie, Loon Dod, because running and helping other people with their running are what he does and his idea of sports nutrition is eight pints of Guinness the night before a long run.

early bird asks: A huge congratulations Vrap :):):) I don't have a question well I do but it's a selfish one can I have a recipe for a stonking apple crumble please :):):):):):)

Velociraptor says: Thanks, EB! Apple crumble Ö yum yum! Hereís my recipe. 3oz rolled oats, 3oz plain white flour, 3oz butter, 4oz demerara sugar, 1tsp cinnamon, if you like. I donít. Put lightly-stewed and sweetened Bramley apples into a big glass dish (add berry fruits if you like) and preheat a conventional oven to 160degC. Rub the butter into the oats and flour until itís fully combined, stir in the sugar, and sprinkle the crumble mix over the apples. Cook in the oven for about 45 minutes. Donít be tempted to turn up the temperature to speed up cooking, because this will result in the crumble burning on top and being undercooked beneath. Serve with lashings of custard. I hope CB.ís custard-making skills are up to the job ;)

PaulaMc asks: Well deserved V'rap :-) Could you be persuaded to open an official Fetch B&B in the Lake District? With homemade rice pudding and porridge? Please?

Velociraptor says: Thanks, Paula! As you know, eL Bee! and I are planning to move to the Lake District in a few yearsí time, and I wouldnít hesitate to open an official Fetch B&B if I could be sure that everyone would be as easy a houseguest as you are.

meglet asks: Yay, for V'rap, congratulations! Your favourite place in the Lake District? (it can be a tearoom, a climb, a run or anything else!)

Velociraptor says: Thanks, Meglet. Can I have lots of favourites? Place: Buttermere. Very easy to get to by road, yet surrounded by fantastic mountains, and a couple of hoursí walking will take you to the middle of nowhere. Tearoom: The Lakeland Pedlar in Keswick. The food is so good that you wouldnít notice that itís vegetarian, the crumble and custard is magnificent, and thereís a well-stocked bicycle shop upstairs. B&B: Bowfell B&B in Keswick. Race: The Keswick/Buttermere 34k. Enter on the day for £5, hardly any visible infrastructure, some seriously challenging ascents, and a lovely friendly atmosphere. But the Langdale Marathon and the Brathay Windermere Marathon come very close.

meglet asks: oh, and can you stop writing blogs that make me want to run Windy next year?

Velociraptor says: Hey, donít blame the messenger!

Hamsterboy asks: Congrats Vrap! Whats the ingredients for you lovely banana loaf? :)

Velociraptor says: Thanks, Hamsterboy! Now, donít blame me if this is slightly different from any of the variations Iíve posted on Fetch before now. 5oz butter 5oz soft light brown sugar 4 large eggs 10oz self-raising flour 2oz ground rice, semolina or polenta Some chopped walnuts (you can use dates or raisins too if you like, but donít add chocolate chips) 4 or 5 manky bananas, squished 5ml vanilla extract A splash of milk Grease a 20cm square cake tin or a 2lb loaf tin, and coat the inside with ground rice, semolina or polenta. Preheat the oven to 200degC. Cream the eggs and sugar, then add the eggs one at a time and beat them in well. Add a little flour with each egg if needed to stop the mixture from curdling. Add all the other ingredients and mix them in gently. Tip the mixture (which should be very soft but not runny) into the cake tin. Bake at 200degC for 15 minutes then turn the oven temperature down to 180degC and bake until itís cooked through - which could take 30-40 minutes depending on the shape of the tin. Allow to cool for a few minutes in the tin, then carefully turn out on to a wire rack. Donít cut it until itís cold. Best eaten within 48 hours. This is rarely a problem.

Roobarb asks: Massive well done to you :):):):):):) Which cake do you enjoy cooking and eating the most?

Velociraptor says: Thanks, Roobarb. It has to be my spicy orange bread pudding, not only because itís delicious but because I associate it with races and Fetch-meets.

frangale asks: If you could go back and repeat one event in your life (I mean not change the outcome, but because it was so good), what would it be?

Velociraptor says: Just one, Frangale? Oooh! [Scratches head delicately with foreclaw.] Tell you what - I would LOVE to go back in time to when my motherís parents (with whom I shared many fantastic times as a child) were alive, and take my own children with me so that they could meet those particularly special ancestors face to face.

JJ Flash asks: Congratulations V'rap. I'll bet you were a very easy winner this month. How do you manage to fit everything you do into one life? You never seem to stop. *heart*

Velociraptor says: Thanks, JJ! My arithmetic suggests that I was only a vote or two ahead of Boab this month, and Iím delighted that heís got next monthís MOTM award. And there are two reasons why I appear to manage to do so much. Firstly, Iím good at bullsh1tting. And secondly, I never, ever watch television.

Vicksta asks: Congrats! What is your all time favorite race?

Velociraptor says: Iím hoping I havenít discovered it yet, Vicksta. Iíve run numerous good races, and look forward to running races that are even better in the future.

Lyra OK asks: Congratulations! You deserve to win this. Brathay Hall Trust sounds a very worthy cause. What made you choose them as your TiT charity?

Velociraptor says: Brathay Hall Trust is an excellent cause, Lyra, and our Justgiving site (include link please) is still taking donations. The 10-in-10 is actually organised by the charity as a fundraising event, and part of the attraction was being able to support this very worthwhile organisation. While we were living on site, we had many opportunities to witness the work that Brathay Hall Trust does, and to see that the money raised was going towards this work rather than being squandered in administrative costs.

mags asks: What would be the one race you would do if you were only allowed to do one a year?

Velociraptor says: It HAS to be the Brathay Windermere Marathon, Mags. Iíve run the course 14 times now, and still canít imagine getting bored with it.

Haddi :-) asks: well done V :) how did you prepare for running the 10 in 10 :)

Velociraptor says: Thanks, Haddi! Now, thatís another big, big question! We prepared physically by running lots of easy miles. We used short runs - sometimes three or four runs a day - to get us into the habit of just going out and running without any fuss, and long runs to hard-wire our perception of the marathon distance. We did just one weekend of back-to-back 20-mile races. Typically we did 70-90mpw, although we had a 113-mile week, at the end of which eL Bee! ran a 20-mile PB. We didnít do any cross-training. For me, the head stuff was at least as important. I identified my psychological weak spots - boredom, lack of confidence, a mental block about running up all but the shallowest hills - and set out to attack them in training. None of those particular gremlins came back to haunt me during the 10-in-10.

Coffee Addict asks: Well done v'rap! Very much deserved and I voted for you... :-) Nowt the question...what advice would you give for a lazy, fat fellow like me...and how do you keep your energy levels up(consistent training). boring question...I know!

Velociraptor says: Thanks, Coffee Addict (I used to be one of those too) - Iíll bet youíre not one bit fat or lazy! But if you were, I would advise you to get out walking (or cycling hard, or swimming lengths) for an hour a day, accompanied by a small reduction in your food intake, to get some weight off and reduce the impact of running on your body before you graduated to a run/walk programme. A few years ago, I couldnít have sustained the sort of training I do now. Nowadays the ďenergyĒ issue just doesnít arise. Over the years, Iíve adapted to increasing mileage and can happily run for an hour or two a day without any noticeable extra requirement for food or sleep. But getting ENOUGH food and sleep, and making sure other areas of my life are as stress-free as possible, definitely helps.

Red Ant asks: Congratulations Vrap you deserve it! :) :) How do you fit training in around your work and family life?

Velociraptor says: Thanks, Red Ant! Fitting in training is less difficult now than it used to be, because my children are older (the youngest is eleven) and I work as a locum, which means that the time between my work sessions isnít full of meetings and paperwork. To minimise the impact on my family life, most of my training is done in the afternoon between surgeries, and on the weekends that my children spend with their father. It definitely helps that running is something that my husband and I do together rather than something that divides us.

RFJ asks: Well done, very much deserved. As I have been blessed by your cullenry delights (very many thanks), What would be dream meal to cook? And your dream meal to be cooked for you? Take care

Velociraptor says: Thanks, RFJ! I like cooking hearty soups and stews, and traditional cakes and puddings, and Iím rarely happier than when Iíve got a houseful of people to feed. And to have cooked for me Ö mussels in cream and garlic sauce with some fresh crusty bread, then game with perfectly-cooked potatoes, and, two or three hours later, a really good baked cheesecake.

Hekkel asks: oh, so well deserved, congrats! and thanks for being so inspiring. What, in your considered opinion makes you tick?

Velociraptor says: Thanks, Hekkel! Curiosity is mostly what makes me tick. And wanting my children to be proud of me. And Wertherís Originals.

_andy asks: Huge mega-congratulations V'rap! Enjoy that moment in the limelight! So what started you running? That's just one big fat, holistic sort of question there.

Velociraptor says: Thanks, Andy! Iíve already answered that at length above J

Dipper asks: From the little that I've read, you seem to have firm beliefs in what does work, doesn't work, what treatments have genuine benefits and which are twaddle, etc. Has anything that you've been through during the ten-in-ten caused you to change your opinion, or conversely convince you even more confidently of something you were only half-sure about? Oh and congratulations for MotM and TiT!

Velociraptor says: Indeed, Dipper, I donít make any secret of my beliefs, and since those are based on science rather than personal experience it would be surprising if a single event could change them. However, the 10-in-10 taught me a great deal about how helpful a good physiotherapist can be in the acute management of sports injuries, and demonstrated that ďstop runningĒ is not the only sensible reaction to injuries. It also reinforced my belief that immersion in cold water after a run is unnecessary, and that the nutritional demands of a gruelling multi-day event can be met adequately by a normal diet, without supplements. It may or may not be true that I would willingly have agreed to have acupuncture for my hamstring tendonitis had the physiotherapist suggested it :P

Ness asks: Congratulations, V-rap. As a 'beginner' trail runner, what advice would you give to help me attempt to avoid injury?

Velociraptor says: Thanks, Ness! Iíd advise you to speak to eL Bee! - heís the man who knows everything about off-road running!

HappyG(rrr) asks: Many congrats V'rap. His and Hers MOTM awards. Nice! Recommended food intake for long runs and races? (I think you're a fan of more natural balanced diets rather than gels, supplements etc. right?) Congrats again! :-)G

Velociraptor says: Thanks, G! Yes, youíre right, I favour a proper-food diet rather than pills and potions, even for people who are doing heavy training - after all, not many of us are preparing for Himalayan ascents or polar crossings, and weíre getting nowhere near our bodiesí potential for physical exertion. My advice can be condensed as: Eat food. Donít eat things that arenít food. Eat enough, but not too much. Eat meals rather than grazing and snacking.

she runs for cake asks: Congratulations V'rap - well deserved!! :) It's got to be the cake question from me - what's your favourite?

Velociraptor says: Thanks, SRFC. What is it with all these questions about cake? I donít eat cake. Except that I am rather partial to a really good, moist, boozy rich fruit cake. And a baked cheesecake, perhaps with some raspberries. And my own banana cake and bread pudding and chocolate speckle cake. And carrot and pineapple cake, provided it hasnít been poisoned with cinnamon. And the gluten-free, vegan chocolate hazelnut cake in Abrahamís Cafť. And YP1ís butternut squash and walnut muffins. And hot apple cake with custard. And Ö oh, dear, Iíve run out of space L

Jason1969 asks: Does this mean next month it'll be a buzzlet or a mini dinosaur for MOTM?

Velociraptor says: I believe not, Jason. Boab may be a youngster, but heís not young enough to be my son ;)

Mrs Funkin asks: Many congratulations to a lovely dinosaur :) Very well deserved. Question: Acupuncture or reflexology...which is the biggest waste of an hour of your life?

Velociraptor says: Thanks, Mrs Funkin! It depends on whether you have a bigger problem with needle-phobia or ticklish feet. Seriously, acupuncture has some evidence to support its use in a limited number of clinical applications, even though the mechanism by which it works is unlikely to have anything to do with meridians or multiple radial pulses, and has recently been approved by NICE as a first-line treatment for non-specific backache, whereas it is generally accepted that reflexology is just blatant quackery.

heebiejeebie asks: Well done! If you could go back in time just once to give yourself a piece of advice, what would it be, when and would you take any notice?

Velociraptor says: Thanks, Heebie! I would, of course, go back to when I was about nine years old and advise myself in the strongest possible terms to be nicer to my lovely little sister, who couldnít help having curly hair and a sunny personality. Would I take any notice? Would be a bit out of character if I did!

Heavyweight asks: Huge congratulations for both MotM & TiT. What aspect of your preparation for TiT do you think was the most important?

Velociraptor says: Thanks, Heavyweight! Itís difficult to pick out a single ďmost importantĒ element in my 10-in-10 training, because the physical and mental aspects were so bound up together. If pressed, Iíd choose the marathon-distance training runs, and especially the training runs round the Brathay Windermere Marathon route itself. Being familiar with the marathon distance, and knowing how to handle the course, boosted my confidence immensely.

Deenzy asks: Many congrats vrap :) I am in awe of what you and hubby acheived. Did you ever doubt you could do it and question why you were doing it?

Velociraptor says: Thanks, Deenzy! I never questioned WHY I was doing the 10-in-10, and never had any doubt that Iíd give it my best effort. Given the nature of the event, it was only natural that I had doubts about whether or not I would be able to finish it. In the early days, those doubts were useful information about what I needed to address in training. During the event itself, the only time I had any doubts about my ability to stay the course was during the last half of the run on Day 5, when my hamstring niggle first surfaced. My old gremlins crowded into my head and had a noisy conference about what I should do if I pulled out. Fortunately, my niggle was a trivial one. I doubt if Iíd have been able to quit after seeing many of the other participants persevering despite far more serious injuries

Tiggia asks: Vrap, fab going, MOTM and Tit extrodinaire! Does the running that you & hubby do inspire the kids to keep fit?

Velociraptor says: Thanks, Tiggia! We donít push our children to do sport, but we encourage them to be active and weíve introduced them to fun activities such as indoor rock-climbing and skiing. eL Bee!ís oldest son is a talented athlete and clearly sees his father as a role-model. My two youngest daughters are just starting to discover the delights of hill-walking and scrambling. However, of all our collective children, the one who does the most exercise is the one nobody notices - my 15-year-old son, who has quite profound special educational needs. He walks for miles, at a blistering pace, mostly on his own. Just like I did as a PE-phobic teenager.

IanS asks: Congratulations V-rap :-) Apart from the physical demands of the TiT, what was the hardest part mentally and how did you tackle it?

Velociraptor says: Thanks, Ian! IĎd trained out most of my potential mental issues before starting the 10-in-10, and the only problems I had during the event itself were on the day when I developed my hamstring niggle. Having finished that dayís run, I was worried and wanted one of the physiotherapists to examine and advise me as quickly as possible. When eL Bee! jumped on the couch ahead of me on the grounds that heíd finished running before I had, I hit my lowest point. I remember thinking that everyone there - even my husband - would kick me in the face without a pang of conscience if there was the slightest prospect that it would improve their own performance. I posted on Fetch that I was feeling sorry for myself and needed a kick up the backside, and everyone sent me cyber-hugs. By the next day, I was rational again.

chrisity asks: Have you appeared in Primeval yet?

Velociraptor says: I donít know, Chrisity. Have I?

jennywren asks: Many many congratulations! How does it feel to be a World Record Holder? :)

Velociraptor says: Thanks, Jennywren! Itís very satisfying, in a surreal sort of way.

MsM asks: Congratulations, Vrap! :-) How are you recovering from all the exertion?

Velociraptor says: Thanks, MsM! Recovering? Ten days with no responsibilities apart from to run round a pleasant marathon course once a day was as good as a holiday.

Girlie asks: Congratulations on MoTM and the TiT challenge. My question is: What would you choose for your last meal on this earth?

Velociraptor says: Thanks, Girlie! Another difficult question Ö whatever it was, if I knew it was going to be my last meal I probably wouldnít enjoy it much, so itís probably best if itís something simple. Beans on toast with a mountain of black pudding on the side would be about right.

MH asks: Whilst you have clearly trained hard for the TiT and are in great shape, you seem to have a healthy dose of irreverance towards over-analytical training plans and nutrional plans in favour of having running as a 'thing you do' on a daily basis, eating proper food (inc cake & choc), and a balanced life. Is this approach fundamental to your positive belief of 'I can do this'?

Velociraptor says: Youíve got me sussed, MH! Running attracts lots of different personalities. Some runners thrive on devising and following detailed training plans, enjoy collecting and analysing data, and take a siege-style approach to each target race. I admire that dedication, but I canít bring myself to be that interested in the minutiae of my own training and I think itís important for people learning about our sport to see that running doesnít have to be complicated or high-maintenance and that itís OK to run lots of easy miles, eat normal food, and not have a team of professionals standing by to minister to every twinge. For those of us with jobs and families, running has to fit in where we can make room for it and canít be the centre of our existence.

Joe Hawk asks: So going by the mile a day rule. What race have you picked to do next um february :-)

Velociraptor says: February! Aaargh! February means mind-numbing loops around Draycote Water. I wish Iíd done eleven marathons, then my comeback race could have been at Rhayader in March instead.

Kittenheels Kath asks: You're fab and I *heart* you. So, this daisy stuff: could you give me any tips on how to slay my own inner-daisies when feeling particularly wimpish?

Velociraptor says: Thanks, Kath. I *heart* you too. And I'm all for rooting out those inner daisies! If you can recognise the factors that make you turn into a daisy, that's the battle almost won. So when you come over all droopy, try to identify what has made you feel this way. This isn't always easy or comfortable, and sometimes it means that you have to revise your own perception of yourself - I certainly had to acknowledge that I had traits that I was burying rather than confronting. Once the gremlin is exposed to sunlight, it looks a great deal smaller. Give that gremlin a name - "fear of failure", "boredom", "shyness" or whatever - and you've got a starting-point for working on a strategy to destroy it.

jaks asks: Congratulations to you and El Bee. What keeps you motivated?

Velociraptor says: Thanks, Jaks! I am mostly motivated by my next challenge. A couple of years ago, I had the opportunity to ask Sir Chris Bonington about how he planned his expeditions, and he said that whenever he was on an expedition, he would use all the time when he wasn't actively working on the current expedition to start planning the next one. My head works in a similar way. I don't spend much time reflecting on what I've already done, I'd much rather look towards what I'm going to do next.

RunGaryRun asks: Congratulations on that amazing 10 in 10. During the 10, what was your lowest point and, apart from the finish, cos that is perhaps obvious, what was the highest point? Thanks.

Velociraptor says: Thanks, RGR! Another cup of tea required, I think, and ... ZOOM! Could I have a stack of your excellent Welsh cakes please? Apart from getting a transient gremlin-infestation after tweaking my hamstring, my worst experience during the 10-in-10 was on Day 8. It was pouring with rain and unseasonally chilly, but I was running well, my niggly hamstring was quiet, and Dave A and YP1 kept popping up around the course and making me smile. Halfway round, I dared to wonder whether I could run my third sub-4hr marathon of the event. Then I saw Amy the physio wrapping a runner in foil blankets, and realised that the runner was eL Bee!. I had to decide what to do ... since it would have been in nobody's interest for Amy to have TWO hypothermic runners on her hands, I kept moving, but I didn't stop worrying about eL Bee! until Amy drove past me a few miles later and assured me that he was wearing lots of clothes and had started running again, accompanied by Dave A. I had no other low points, and many high points. Those that stand out are: Meeting Joss Naylor in person, even if he made it clear that he regarded me as a bit of a runt. Seeing my parents waiting at the finish-line on Day 5, and realising that they had come to accept this silly hobby of mine at last. The many Fetchies who made the effort to come and support, especially the lively atmosphere on Day 10 and the surprise Fetchpoints. And finishing on the final day, and thinking, yes, I really AM a runner now and nobody can take that away from me.

Spally asks: Congratulations to you for winning MOTM and for becoming a World Record Holder, I bow before greatness- definitely well-deserved. What's the next challenge after the high of the 10 in 10 .... or are you planning to it all again next year?:-)

Velociraptor says: Hey, donít worry, Spally, it hasnít changed me one bit ;) A few days before the 10-in-10, I updated my marathon PB at Stratford, but it still feels soft. So my next proper challenge, before starting the Coastal Trails, is to try to reduce it a little further. A slight complication is that my planned Autumn marathons are Langdale and Snowdonia, neither of which is a classical PB course. But I ran a good race in severe weather and off limited training at Snowdonia next year, and the course suits me rather well. If I can improve my uphill-running pace, Iíll have no excuse for not giving it my best shot.

Joe Hawk asks: What do DOMS x10 feel like :-)

Velociraptor says: I donít know, Joe. I havenít had DOMS from running for as long as I can remember.

fraggle asks: Could the 'you' of 5 years ago ever forsee you doing something daft like this? and what sort of daft things will you be doing 5 years from now?

Velociraptor says: Hee hee! Fraggle, youíve known me for long enough to know the answer to the first part of your question. Five years ago, Iíd run a marathon PB of 4:41:21, off what I thought was pretty good training, and, with no evidence whatsoever to support it, I was blithely saying that I thought I would be genetically incapable of going much below 4:15. I had no idea that I was capable of improving quite so much. On the other hand, anything I DID achieve was always going to be in the realms of the ridiculous, and was not going to involve descending into triathlons. In five yearsí time, well, who knows? By that time, my youngest daughter will be 16 and I hope at least some of my children will have maintained an interest in running and climbing and be willing to share their adventures with their old mother!

Fat Dave asks: Was Roy Castle right about dedication?

Velociraptor says: Thatís one possible approach, Fat Dave. Alternatively, if youíre a slacker like me, you just have to choose your event wisely.

Drell asks: Absolutely amazing, and totally inspiring. Well deserved MoTM, if only for the blogging :-) You've got a lot faster over the training period. Was that simply miles, or did you do speed work too?

Velociraptor says: Thanks, Drell! Iím a lazy old dinosaur and I donít like getting all sweaty and out of breath when I run. Avoiding speedwork is one of the things I do best, and in my preparation for the 10-in-10 I did no structured speed sessions at all. My only hard efforts were in my clubís monthly 5-mile race. So yes, my improvement between January and May was entirely the result of running lots of miles, most of them, I suspect, in what the Heart Rate Training zealots would define as the forbidden ďgrey areaĒ, between 75 and 85%WHR. The small incremental increase in my average running speed that occurred at the end of March was entirely co-incidental and had nothing to do with my participation in a POSE Clinic. And the Earth is flat.

Wanoah asks: The TiT was a stunning achievement. Absolutely amazing. So, did the goody bag afterwards contain a straitjacket?

Velociraptor says: Thanks, Wanoah! Scarily, my post-race ďgoody-bagĒ was a bottle of something alcoholic and a large chunk of jagged-edged slate which could be used as a lethal weapon.

mad4purple asks: Well done V'rap, I have only just seen this thread :) I know you love being the host at your house, but if someone could host a 'do' or meet for you what would you like them to arrange?

Velociraptor says: Oooh, thatís a tricky one, M4P! I donít know if I can even begin to contemplate that much role-reversal. What I would like, though, is to stay somewhere scenic, have my meals made for me, and be able to spend all the daylight hours out and about learning new skills in the company of friends who share my love of outdoor activities. And if I was really allowed to push the boat out, Iíd choose a few days learning winter mountaineering skills in the Alps.

Fetch says: Thanks all - proof if it were needed that dinosaurs are anything but extinct. Raaaaaaaaar. :-)

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