Tuesday, August 2, 2011


    Its okay I haven't jogged of this mortal coil just yet. After my race I  received many questions which I hope to answer in this blog.Firstly there were 204 people who started  and I came 166th which on a race as tough as this I thought was alright. The winner did it in 3hrs and 32 mins......my time was 6hrs and 32 mins so clearly I have much room for improvement!! I have no blisters or injuries  but my quads ached a bit on Tuesday, this was as a result of the battering you get on the downhills.....If you climb up 8500 feet then you have to come down 8500 feet and the pressure on your thigh muscle is intense. The good news is when this pain subsides your quads are actually stronger that they were before............so then you can go and do it again !
           Did a quick 10 k on Wednesday, a very quick one hour upper lactate threshold run on Saturday and another fat burner today and I felt fine. I will therefore increase my length (sorry) distance, over the next few weeks and slowly build up the miles, strength and speed again. I'am looking at several options for the next race as I still need to do an official 50 k; I know this mountain race was much harder than a normal 50k but that's the technical benchmark and I want to pass it. Sue was a brilliant support in everything including my special eating diet, leg massages and overall preparation . I can highly recommend her and will give excellent references.......although I think she would have been much happier if I'd just paid her. My running prep was so spot on that I must find ways to improve it or I might get complacent. I think going faster is the primary goal and that will be my main focus.
        To be honest parts of this Alpine mountain course scared me half to death so I would prefer a nice gentle 'foresty' type run next time....mind you I forgot to mention that on Sunday I took a wrong turn, grabbed a fence wire and got electrocuted ! Interestingly I was so pre-occupied with the race I just ignored it...............mind you I didn't half go fast for the next few minutes..........whoooooooosh!!
           Also I didn't use my pole (baton) because when I asked the organisers about it they looked at me incredulous at the suggestion. Obviously to use a pole whilst running in the mountains is tantamount to gallic blasphemy........'Eet is not in ze spirit of ze endeavour monsieur'.........The french really do talk bollocks sometimes........ I blame the revolution.
          After the race they provide you with a free towel to have a shower; now I know the french aren't a very big nation but the towel was the size of a napkin..... I think I managed to dry two toes and a finger.
         Someone asked me how do you keep running for all that time and I would have asked the same question 3 months ago. The  answer is quite simple, its just training. I honestly believe that anyone can do this if they want to and that is the reason why I think I can go alot further, even though as I sit here now it would appear impossible. Basically , as with all goals ,you just chunk it down into small pieces. Each part of the race was split into small targets in my mind and all I had to do was get to the next point, be it a wood, a river, a road..........and then, after 6.5 hours,voila............that, and 'don't stop'.
         I consumed only 3 gels, one power bar, one isostar electrolyte drink and one pedialyte, as well as 5 litres of water. Apart from a few salty snacks, a banana and a peanut butter muffin (courtesy of Sue) that was it. I would have expected to consume a lot more but I am used to running in much hotter temperatures  and so even though I was running a longer time perhaps I didn't expend that much more energy......Or maybe I am fitter and have trained my body to burn more fat for fuel and so therefore I didn't need to supplement with reserve carbohydrates. The truth is I don't know and so I will experiment more with this in training as I don't want a nasty suprise in future races.
              All in all the day was  a big success and I would like to thank everyone for all their messages of support and encouragement......and of course Sue for her patience and altogether brilliantness!!
        P.S.  - One of the hardest, if not THE hardest mountain races in the world, is the Ultra Trail De Mont Blanc staged in Chamonix, France. It takes place on the last weekend in August (its always referred to as the UTMB) and the best of the best are there. Relax, I might go up to watch but thats all. The reason I mention it is because I thought it might be interesting to get an idea of what is possible. It covers three countries over a non stop 46 hour time limit and is 166 kilometres long and 9000 metres in height gain.........that's 4 TIMES further and 4 TIMES higher than what I just did........Crikey!!

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