Tuesday, October 29, 2019

A short 2019 review before the final act

Well, hasn't been a remarkable year in terms of running, what with bagging the Annecy marathon i was supposed to in April and the Samoens Trail Tour in June (after learning that my friend Cyril would not be joining me, I think i just wasn't motivated to wake up early to do a trail run with a gaggle of participants whose enthusiasm I realized I would be unable to share - which underscored again that I don't want to do too many races, focus on low-key and no longer use shorter races as training for major goals), and then dislocating my left shoulder while on holiday early July (which did have at least the advantage of allowing me to spend part of the summer holidays with the kids, even if I couldn't actually do much). That sidelined what would have been my 3rd attempt at the 100-mile mountain distance at Swisspeaks early September... But I aim to register again next year!

And the Geneva marathon early May didn't go as planned, once again. Aiming for 3h30 but again slowed down half-way and just eased in at 3h51. While I fully concentrated on that race in training Feb-April, I think I went out too fast and still need to focus more on the mental as well as physical aspect of maintaining a pace deep into the race when it becoming uncomfortable but not impossible.

After realizing that I would be unable to train and compete in the Swisspeaks, and that mountain running while recovering from a dislocated shoulder wasn't the most tempting of propositions, I looked for something towards the end of the year - and fell upon a 24h timed race about an hour from Geneva, at La Balme. 20 euros to register, all going to charity, just my kind of atmosphere - and a format I've been wanting to try (without making it a priority) since my 12h time race in Villeneuve over two years ago. So here was an opportunity to give it a good go, with two-three months of specific training...

Now it is just a few days away, and we shall see. In the mean time, my foot has been hurting again but it appears not to be the sesamoid inflammation or stress fracture. Could be the whole chain of my right leg, up to (or down from) the sciatic nerve in my lower back, because the whole thing feels tight (but not enough to provide any excuses for a poor show at the 24h race!). I think my body got slightly out of whack when I started training back in August with my shoulder still strapped tight... But it all went well at my only longish race this season at the LG Trail, from the top of the Jura to Geneva (I hope to do a race report soon, an interesting and quite beautiful race actually - and it was fun doing it with someone who was doing their first ultra).

So for the 24h race:
- 180km = Spartathlon qualifier = dream dimension
- 160km = realm of the possible if the body holds up
- 150km = a distance I would still be ok with, depending on how much I fight for it and sort of a minimum distance if I want a mental qualifier for the Ultr'ardèche next year.

But quite honestly, the morale has been great despite the setbacks this year; I realize I want to be in this for the long haul. So while I intend to go into this to experience a serious mental challenge (i can only discover what it's like to run in circles for 24h if i actually stay out there for the full 24h and keep the intended pace as long as possible) and therefore really "hang in there", if the body (foot/sciatica,...) flares up, I'll be happy with whatever distance I manage.
Basically, it will just be good to get one big ultra under my belt before the year ends.