Enjoy the most amazing running story of the year. NRC Friend Camille Herron brings back the spirit of the legendary Anne Trason (last American winner 1997 and the star Female in Born to Run) and wins the Comrades Marathon (which is 55 miles in the hot African sun). This race is likely the most challenging and at the site time rewarding run I have ever done. Sharing Camille’s report at the end of this short interview. Thanks Camille!
The Maffetone Method is a bit too fast of a pace for the kind of mileage I do and my high aerobic fitness. I could see it being beneficial though to those getting in shape or putting in lower mileage. I definitely continue to train by heartrate, and it’s absolutely been essential for knowing how hard I can push myself in ultras! I aim for 75-80% of max HR for the 50 mi-100K distance, on any surface. For the 100 mile distance I’m aiming an effort that equates to 75% of max HR. I’ve always been a Lydiard fan and personally thrive off of high mileage, with a sweet spot around 120-130 miles per week. My lifelong philosophy is to take easy days easy and hard days hard. I run twice a day every day, unless I’m tired, recovering from a race, or injury. I like to run high intensity workouts and races year-round. My husband is my coach and helps me gauge day-to-day when I’m tired and to back off or rest.
We also shared a love for running form and minimal footwear. How has your view on shoes evolved and do you mix up your footwear for variability or stay in what works for you? For the extreme mileage and distances you run what works best for you now?
I continue to train in mostly racing flats and lightweight trainers and some barefoot running when I have time. Nike Luna Racers are my all-time favorite shoes– the perfect combo of soft cushioning and light weight! I prefer softer shoes for ultras, but responsiveness (meaning rubber!) is important along with forefoot flexibility. Being a Nike sponsored athlete, I have a lot of lightweight shoe options. I love the Nike Kiger 4s for trails and even road running. I was surprised to find that I love the new Nike Zoom Fly’s, which are stiff, thick cushioning, and have a unique shoe geometry. Nike pushing the limits of enhancing performance through innovation.
One of the things I love most about you is that you exude a love for running- always smile, costumes, never complain, pass it on…..any simple advice for us on how to view running?
I embrace the moment and really have a joy for life and running! All you can do is do your best on the day. I don’t really focus on time but rather my own effort and the journey to the finish line. I remember when I raced as Spiderwoman how excited it made the kids. The crowd erupted when I shot silly string (aka spiderfluid!) the last mile. The inspiration we can bring to others is powerful! I take in all the energy around me and use it to keep me going. I had some serious injuries with my head-hands-legs from slipping on the snow at Western States this yr. I dropped early at Red Star. We took selfies, enjoyed the beautiful mountains, shared a beer, and laughed and cried. I always look on the sunny side of things and make lemonade out of lemons!
Having run Comrades and experienced the people I can honestly say this race gave me something I never would have if not for the experience. Maybe it is something about humanity….still can’t put my finger on it. Having run Comrades several times what about this race makes it like no other?
The word to describe it is Ubuntu- Humanity towards others. It’s so symbolic and historic! It feels like the whole country and world are behind you- an energy compelling you to the finish! After the race, I’d literally go in a gas station and everyone would recognize me. It’s televised for the full 12 hrs– everyone watches it and grows up watching it. It’s a life goal for people! It is a really grueling road race, far beyond any marathon I’ve done. You’re sharing the experience with everyone around you!
Any next goals?
Definitely many many more goals to go! If I have my health, I could be running at a high level in ultras another 20+ years– that’s cool to think about! I want to transcend what’s ever been done by a woman, or even a man– win all the classic ultras (all surfaces), break as many American and World Records as I can, be the fastest to run across America, and do the Sri Chinmoy Self Transcendence race. Comrades was the biggest and most important ultra to win because of the competitiveness and history of it. I feel a great sense of relief and honor to have finally achieve this lifelong dream. Presently, I’m hoping my body can bounce back to get 100 mile redemption at Leadville! I will continue to pursue winning Comrades an Western States in the same year.
Read Camille’s Amazing Race Report here
Here is my post from 2013