Ultra running is all about the preparation both physical and mental. They are both trained at the same time. So without the long runs to facilitate this physical and mental training it is very hard to get the best out of yourself. It wasn’t that I didn’t try, at the end of the Fling I was shattered, but this was at a much slower pace than I knew I was capable of running. In essence I was running much less efficiently and had a depleted cardio system to deal with it.
It was good to get back to a good performance at the UTMB. I had had a good uninterrupted stint of training leading up to it. This gave me confidence to perform and get the best out of myself. I even coped well with the uncertainties that surrounded the event. Firstly the start time being delayed 5 hours and the course shortened, and secondly finding out the course had been re-routed, and extended to miss out Bovine, and whilst at the point in the run where it had changed.
The delayed start ruined my race plan. Which was to try to finish in 28 hours (or better) thus meaning that I would have only 1 long period of night and then finish just as it would be getting dark (22:30). I would maybe have had about 9 hours of dark on this proper UTMB course and correct start time. But with the delay and the extra Matigny section it meant I would have two long periods of darkness totalling about 13 hours. The 5 extra hours definitely cost me some time, maybe 40 minutes couple this with an extra 5 km and 200m ascent and I think that I would have made that 28 hours target.
So taking all this into account I can only be pleased with my effort. I think I will have another go in 2013 but I will hopefully drag some support over there with me to try and compete with the sharp end of the field. I think I spent about 1 hour 40 minutes in CPs. With support I think I could get this down to 20 minutes. This combined with a bit more specific training and more confidence in my ability should equal a faster time.
I had my first run today. It was only 7 miles but I managed it reasonably comfortably. My legs ached a little around the quads and my right big toe was a bit sore but generally I was o.k. Things are looking good for a quick recovery so I will have to think of another race later in the year.
Below are a few pictures from Chamonix, highlighting the tendency for the weather to be nice in the day then stormy into the evening, also showing the start of the long PTL kind of race. Lastly my damaged right toe nail, the left looked much the same. This was taken straight after the run. I’ll have to practice at not kicking rocks for next time!