Saturday, 8 June 2013

Hello Summer

Summer has finally arrived in Chamonix but that hasn't stopped the skis coming out again. Paul I decided to go for a wee tour up Mont Buet. It was a 6am start from the car in Buet. We walked for around 45 mins until we managed to put on our skis and start skinning up. It was a cracking morning and even at 8am it was getting hot. The skin up was fine and we went at a pretty steady pace. At the top though I was a bit slower than I thought I would be but I blame the heat. I was pouring with sweat as the sun was by this point belting down on us at 10am. We were greeted at the top with amazing blue skies. We didn't hang around on the top too long as it was getting so warm and I didn't want to be skiing down when the snow was too wet and heavy so we blasted off and for the first few hundred metres the skiing was just amazing. It was perfect spring snow and I was loving every second of it. Lower down it got a bit heavier and we managed to set off some slides , one of which was quite considerable but we got down in one piece with no major incident. It was a cracking morning out and again great uphill leg training as it is pretty long at 1800m vertical ascent from the hamlet of Buet to the summit of Mont Buet which lies at 3000m in altitude.

Summit of Mont Buet , Mont Blanc Massif Behind. Awesome
Fresh Spring Turns
Since then though I have been focused on running and must admit I really really want to climb up in the high mountain. I managed a pretty good time on the zigzags under the Planpraz Gondola doing the ascent and descent in 1hr 15mins. I am never really one for bothering about speed any more. I have done my time at beasting myself of 10ks and half marathons and team events so now I prefer to just be able to plod on and on and just see how far I can go but sometimes I go out and I do get an urge to just go for it , this doesn’t happen often now but is fun when it does.

Chamonix from above Lavancher
The day after I went out for a 25km loop from home up to Lavancher then up to the view point over the Mer de Glace Glacier , down an amazing little trail to Les Bois then up to Montenvers and along to the Cascade Du Dard then home. This was just over 2 hours and I was happy with this time as I didn't think I was going that fast but just managed to keep a good pace. I was speed walking the steep uphill sections though. Personally I think this is a vital skill to have for Ultra running. A lot of newbies have great ideas of running the full distance of their chosen Ultra but in reality this isn't going to happen , not even for the pros. It is quite a hard thing to practice and get right , being able to know when to start walking uphill and not gas out trying to keep running it when 99% of the time walking is actually faster even if the incline is only short. Also being able to change between walking and running over a long period of time is something that sounds easy but is difficult to get right. The change in momentum all the time is something I work on a lot when out for longer runs. It's amazing how on some races I am at a walking pace at say mile 30 then at mile 40 I start running and feel great again for another 5 or so miles then it is back to a slow jog/walk and so on. In my view it is vital to practice this when out training.
Finally Summer
Heading to Les Bois
I have also been out for 10ks and some 13-15ks. I am taking one day off a week at the moment. Doing mostly things between 10-15k each day and one day a week do a 25k +. This week looks like it is going to be a 35k on Monday. I am plodding along at 1 hour 10km pace at moment , which yes isn't particularly fast for a 10km race but that's not what I am training for. I need to find a pace I can do for a long long time and I seem to be able to run at a 1hr 10km pace for a good while. There is no way I will do Leadville at 1hr 10km pace for 165kms but I think 1hr 10ks is a good pace for my Ultra training.

The Chamonix 80km race is not far away and as expected the route is going to be changed due to snow. There is still a crazy amount of snow above 2000m and some of this race goes to 2600m so no chance it will clear for June 28th. They have said it will stay 80km and 6000m+ but they haven’t revealed the course yet. I will just have to wait and see but I know this is going to be a very tough race , one I am afraid I am overlooking a little bit.

On the Leadville side of things it is all going great. I am all booked up now with Flights , Accommodation etc... and best of all I have my pacers all sorted for the race which is a big relief. For the first 50 miles of the race I am on my own then at mile 50 Anna is going to come into play and get me back over Hope Pass(3800m) to Twin Lakes which is 13 miles then Todd will see me for 17 miles to Fish Hatchery where Ben will take over for 10 miles to Mayqueen and then at Mayqueen Anna will be back on the course to hopefully see me the 13 miles back to Leadville. I am more than happy with my pacing crew. Anna is a super keen runner doing Half Marathons , Marathons and is going for 50kms as well , Ben is into running 50kms also and is going to scope out his section of the race a few times over the summer and Todd has completed Leadville before and also paced on it before so having him with me will be a big big help. A great little team. I still have to sort out time estimates for stages of the race to give to my pacers and crew (Stacey and Jennifer) but I will do that over July.

I have been thinking a lot about Leadville and my biggest fear is still the distance. The altitude I think I will be ok with by the time August arrives and also the 5000m of ascent doesn't frighten me , of course it is still a fair bit of ascent but I have done that before and also the biggest climb in one go is about 800m(followed 10 miles after by the same 800m climb) which really isn't that big when you consider this years CCC will start with a 1400m climb! Don't get me wrong I am not saying 5000m is easy at all but I know I can manage that. Managing 100 miles is going to hard and within what I consider tight cut off times. It doesn't matter what way you look at 100 milers as they all have different terrain and elevation gains etc.. and yes some are harder than others but at the end of the day it is still 100 miles to cover in one go.

There are a huge number of 100 milers(and 100+ , google Spartathlon) all over the world to have a go at (some easier to get in that others) but Leadville just seems the correct one for me for a number of reasons. It is in Colorado and I have always wanted to go to Colorado and I love being in America. It is a relatively small field being around 800 runners. It really does seem like a small-scale community event , obviously there are sponsors and media involved but it seems to have some kind of small town charm to it when you speak to other runners who have ran it or read other blogs on it the support from locals and other runners family and friends is meant to be immense. The CCC did have great support last year from everyone around and I loved the whole race even if the weather was rotten I still enjoyed myself , the only thing I didn't like was the number of runners on tiny narrow trails , it is way too busy for me or maybe I just didn't run fast enough to find space! Anyway it is a trip away for me to somewhere completely new , who knows I might enjoy the trails there so much I won't come back.

No comments:

Post a Comment