Welcome to a new series of guest posts here on the blog!
I often wonder what it’s like in different places (paces) in a race. Up in my pace group, there’s very little chatter, lots of beeping GPS watches and sometimes jockeying for position. It leaves me wondering what life is like way up front and way in the back in the pack, so I decided to find out.
My first guest is very distinguished, because you know I like to keep it classy up in here. Tina Muir is an actual, real life elite athlete! She’s also an English bird with the most adorable accent…and I’m sure she loves when people say that!
Now before you get your knickers in a twist (see what I did there?) about ‘elite’ status and what that means, you must read on. Tina is one of the most down to earth, humble and giving people I’ve ever met…virtually anyway. She just happens to spend her pre-race in a private tent being spoon fed bagels and organic peanut butter. She’s also faster then you and probably anyone you know.
But why am I telling it? I asked her a bunch of
lame questions about what it’s like for an elite before, during and after a race so let’s see how Tina spiced up her answers to make this interesting:
- What is your favorite race distance (aka the one you most like beating the shorts off people in)?
Oooh that’s a tough one. The marathon SHOULD be, but I am yet to have the kind of race that makes me believe that. I am hoping in 5 years you can ask me the same question, and I can say without a doubt, the marathon.
Right now? Half Marathon. Although I am nowhere near finished with that one yet, I think it is the best of both worlds; you get to take in the first 8ish miles, and relax, but then there is the grind of the second half. I love feeling fast and in a rhythm!
- Pace for that distance/ PR if you want to share
My Half Marathon PR is 1:14, which I think is a 5:40 per mile.
- Do you have a pre-race ritual? Do you plan your outfit, meal, sleep, etc the night before or the morning of?
I used to be obsessive about my pre race; had to take an ice bath the night before; eat the same thing at EXACTLY 3 hours before my race; wear the same outfit; listen to the same 3 songs just before; strut around with my bitch face on, hands on hips and all!
However, as I have grown wiser (:P) I have let a lot of that go. I think the marathon forces you to be a little more adaptable, as there are too many variables out of your control. I do have my Saucony racing outfit that I have to wear to every race, and I am very careful with what I eat to make sure I do not upset my stomach, but I am a lot more relaxed with it now.
- Where do you line up at the start? Front, back or somewhere in the middle?
I am usually at the very front, depending on the level of race. At the Chicago Marathon, I was in the elite corral, but was probably 3-4 people back as the men started with us too. We were packed together like sardines, which is something I have never experienced, and made me appreciate the space I usually have at the very front!
5. What happens during the race? Describe the vibe and surroundings…
If there is an elite tent, we are all escorted there by a particular time, so we spend a little while waiting. That time is very quiet, nervous energy fills the air, and we try to make small talk with one another as we sit in a circle.
On the start line it is a little more tense, I may wish others good luck, but we are do not really make eye contact very often.
Once the gun goes, it really depends on the race. If it is championship, it is usually very serious; no one talks, and you can feel the tension in the air.
A lot of us still wear GPS watches, so you do hear those beeping, but there is not usually a need to look for the most part as we are aware what is going on. As for taking pictures, absolutely not!
In the big races, we are usually lucky enough to have aid stations with our own drinks, which is a HUGE help. I think about how lucky I am every time I grab one.
- What happens at the finish? Hugging? Selfies? Food?
As much as it looks easy on the TV, we are absolutely spent, and often can be found on the floor, or holding on to the volunteers. I know I cross that line giving everything I have, so there would be no hugging for at least a few minutes, as I am trying to come back to reality! Haha!
I would say it is rare to take a selfie on the scene, especially as our phones are with our belongings, but usually photographers are around so you may be in photos. We definitely hug and congradulate one another, and usually a big group of us cool down together.
After we cool down and get our breath back, it is usually time for awards, and that is where the cameras come out, and I make sure to eat something to start refueling.
- What do you do when you get home? Ice bath? Massage? Foam roll? Wine? Cheeseburger? Sleep?
A lot of the big races will have massages available, but you have to sign up, and as I am a little further back, I am usually too late to get to the front of the list J
The first thing I do is make sure I eat, and yes, a cheeseburger is often on the menu, or a giant stack of pancakes. If this is a big race that we have been peaking for all year, we will go for whatever the heck we want; pizza, burgers, a beer. Elites can relax and enjoy the post race celebration too J
Later in the day a nap is usually on the agenda for most, but I am not really a nap taker, so I would just spend time with loved ones.
I’m sure at this point you want to stalk Tina…er, um I mean follow her on social media like I do:
[Tweet “An #elite #runners perspective on #racing. What’s @tinamuir #PlaceInThePace?”]
What’s it like in your pace group?
How long do you think you could run at a 5:40 pace?
How much do you love Tina?
Tina is such a nice and down to earth athlete and I’m glad you got to interview her! I love that she celebrates bi races like a normal person too. I’m taking this whole week to just relax!
I think I could run 5:40 pace for about 2 miles but it would be a struggle.
Thanks Hollie 🙂 Steve just asked me if I had ever met Allie, I have not, but I have met you and your lovely self! Thank you for your support 🙂 You kick ass too!
That is the best thing about her – she’s so, so normal…except for her ridiculous pace. I think I could hang with 5:40 for at least one mile, maybe two. Maybe.
I’m glad you’re taking a week off to bask in the glow of your recent victory!
What a wonderful interview with Tina and truly love that you got to interview her here today and get to know her a bit better, as well 😉
Thanks Janine! That means a lot 🙂 I am always here for questions. Thankfully I kept my rambling under control in these answers 😉
She is such an amazing athlete and person. She also knows her way around a kitchen and has great recipes on her site as well! What can’t she do?
I think I love you. Thank you SO much! You are the sweetest person ever!!!! That is the nicest intro/caption/post (other than my own rambling) anyone has ever posted! Thank you thank you thank you! You give me waayyy too much credit, but I really appreciate it 🙂 I am honored to be a part of this series, and I can’t wait to see how the rest of them look!
This is what I mean – you just cannot be any sweeter. You deserve all these accolades and more! I actually think I didn’t give you enough credit. Thank you for being such an inspiration to all of us!! xo
I’m a big Tina fan so I loved reading this. Yes, true elite, and yes, down to earth, which is what makes her one of my favorites. Thanks for sharing this and kicking things off with Tina!
Thank you for always saying the nicest things! I am YOUR big fan too! You know that!
You’re up next mama!! And yes, Tina is so awesome because she doesn’t even realize how awesome she is.
Wow! It sounds very VIP to be that fast! It sounds like the atmosphere would make me so incredibly nervous!!!
Thanks Britt! Trust me, you can easily get to the stage where you are shaking so bad as you are so nervous! Especially when I am around world record holders!! Just have to learn to control it…..good idea for a post….will get on that! Thanks 🙂
I know, right?? The only thing I really love is a warm (or cool) tent pre-race and my very own beverage. So fancy.
So much fun! I can’t believe that they don’t make eye contact at the start that seems so crazy to me!! She is definitely one of the elites and I give her ALL the respect!!
It’s a different world!…which is exactly why I wanted to do this. I don’t think people realize (myself included) how different people are depending on their places in the pack. Clearly back of the pack is where the party is at!!
Haha yeah, we are meanies…..you should see some photos of me on the start line, you would not think I was so nice 😉 Thanks so much Nellie!
AWESOME!!!!! I love Tina and love learning more about what it is like for her! I loved her post on a day in the life. It is funny, I have never done a day in my life post because to me it seems boring…but I LOVE reading other peoples :)!!!!
My pace group is usually pretty relaxed but by this point the butterflies are usually flying in my stomach and I am just trying to focus on relaxing. I also don’t always start with my pace group because I hate waiting in corals for a long time so I have started behind my pace group before…I honestly try not to stress about being with my pace group as much as running my race.
5:40…I wish! Not long at all! I would love to break a 6 minute mile!!!!! I know I am close…just still haven’t done it!
I’m absolutely positive you could run at least one mile (maybe more) at that pace. You are one fast chick and I’m sure you’re pace group is not as relaxed as you think. Stay tuned for more posts…
Aww thank you so much Jen! You should do one sometime soon, they are fun to read about. Its good you are focusing on the right things while you are racing, that will help you get to your goals 🙂 Thanks for your lovely words!
WOW! Just, wow — I loved reading this (especially the part about the pre-race rituals, I always find those interesting)! These interviews are such a great idea, Allie! In order for me to run at a 5:40 pace there would have to be a jetpack strapped to my back OR one of those moving sidewalks they have at the airport, cranked up to a 6 minute pace, I could probably handle it from there. Tina and Allie — you’re both inspirations!!
You are hilarious! And I wonder what it would be like to “run” with a jetpack!?
Thanks Charlotte! It is a good idea for this series, genius actually Allie! If you invent those jetpacks, can I put in a request for one too please? Then maybe I could keep up with the kenyan women! Thanks so much for your lovely words 🙂
I love Tina and I’m so glad you interviewed her! I wish I could read her blog more! I am no where near that pace even for a mile. Even at my peak a few (13) years ago I couldn’t sustain a 7 minute mile beyond the first mile. 5:40, no way!
We all have our “5:40” hers just happens to actually be a 5:40!! 🙂
Thanks Kris 🙂 I hope I do not make it sound easy, as that was definitely a real mental struggle to run that pace! But you should be proud you have been running that long!
Tina has a great pair of legs. Booyah!
Yes she does. Hard earned too!
Awww you guys….making me blush 😉
I have loved reading Tina’s blog and never thought that it would be possible to relate to an elite athlete but she seems so cool and down to earth….I REALLY REALLY hope I can get the chance to meet her when she races Rock N Roll DC in a few weeks!!
I hope you do too! I bet she’s just as sweet in person and I would LOVE to see her run!
Thanks Sue, that is what I really love to hear. That is what I hope to do, and it makes me smile so much that I can make it seem real, I am only human, and I look up to all the women much faster than myself!! I will be at the expo, so lets make that happen 🙂
Love this and so fun to hear more about Tina’s experience racing! She is the sweetest and nicest person. So fun that she’s kicking off this series!
Thanks Christine. I couldn’t agree more.
Thank you Christine, and of course Allie. You need to watch me start a race, you wouldn’t think that then….you would think I was a madam!
I love, love Tina and her blog. She is seriously the nicest person ever – and we’ve never even met in person! I feel like she is a friend – someone you can easily sit down and have tea with. No pretension, no airs- just sweet and lovely!
I know we will meet someday and forgive me if I just give you a hug!!
Allie – great series and looking forward to the next one!
5:40 pace?! Holy pace!! I think one or two miles – but can’t imagine a full marathon. The elites just blow me away!!! 🙂
I bet she gets randomly hugged a lot 🙂
I wish I did get random hugged a lot…..actually in KY I dont get hugged that much as I dont have that many friends yet….boooohoooooooo! I can have lots of virtual hugs form you guys though:) Thanks for your lovely words Nat, and yes you had better gov me a hug 😀 Thanks so much for all your support, oh, and by the way, I am drinking a tea as I type this, so good call 😉
I LOVE this behind the scenes too.
Carllaaaaaaa! you are going to make me cry, thank you for such lovely words, I am honored to be described as those! You make me feel so special, thank you so very much!
I love Tina! She’s so sweet and open, and obviously an amazing athlete. Love that you featured her here!!
I’m a bit behind but so excited to read your interview with Tina!! She is truly amazing and yet so nice and never makes those of us who just plod along (like me) feel like we are less of a runner!!!
You do not plod Kim!! But yes, she’s awesome 🙂
Her dream man and her coach?? Ha. So awesome. God for her! I’m behind just like Kim – Bloglovin was down for a few days for me and life just happened, but you know me – always catching up.
She seems totally awesome! And it seems like everyone loves her! Awesome. Elite.
She is awesome and poo about Bloglovin’ being down! I think I have like 395 posts on my feed right now so… 🙂