Thursday, August 25, 2016

Running in Chamonix

We walked from our rental house to the Chamonix Planpraz cable car, rode to the top, and took the TMB (Trail du Mount Blanc) toward BrĂ©vent. Ann had mentioned taking the cable car up and running back down, so I was surprised by the climb at the beginning.

John and Ann planning our routes with the map en route in the cable car 

So many trails at the top of Planpraz

Saturday, August 20, 2016

The absolutely nutty North Umpqua Trail 100k

After an amazing year full of adventures-- our first 100k atMiwok, running around Rainier, Hood AND St Helens, a PR at the Columbia Gorge half-- I was looking for our next big thing, preferably in our beloved home state. I found the North Umpqua Trail, 72 miles end-to-end along the Umpqua River in southern Oregon. And then I discovered that there was a supported race entirely along it, the NUT 100k. It was too good to resist, so when registration opened, Ann & I signed up.

Our race calendar for 2016 filled up and then we got picked for the CCC, one of the Ultra Trail du Mount Blanc (UTMB) races in late August. The NUT fit into our race calendar as the perfect big training run-- a similar distance but about half the elevation gain, and much closer to home.

Our running and training was going smoothly, even with our disappointing time at the Peterson Ridge 40 miler, until suddenly, it wasn't.

First vista-- we all stopped to snap photos

Ann's major back issue hit the day before we were set to take off work to do our final long run. My son got sick, and then I came down with strep throat exactly one week before the race. It was a rough month, with my average weekly mileage plummeting to about 5 miles. I concentrated on what I could control: resting, taking antibiotics, and going to physical therapy, acupuncture and massage to try to help the Achilles issue that has bothered me since the beginning of the year. I also skipped running the awesome Beacon Rock 25k the weekend before the NUT, which I had planned to run with my husband, Erik. He ran it solo—his first trail race, distance longer than a half marathon, and run in 100 degrees (F)!

Come Wednesday, three days til the race, I buckled down to it. Staring down my longest-ever run (at 64 miles, NUT is about two miles longer than 100k) without my best friend and training partner was terrifying. But I knew that Ann would give anything to run the race, and because I was physically able to run it, I owed it to both of us.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Preparing for CCC

Hiking TMB in 2013

Every week our friend David has been asking us how our training has been going and if we are still planning on running CCC. We half jokingly respond, "what training?" There were probably only a few times after I went to the ER, that I thought I would have to cancel the whole trip to Europe, but I had more than a few doubts about making it to the starting line of CCC

But that was several months ago, every week for the past 2+ months I have been adding 3 miles to my weekly long runs and I am up to ~27 miles for this week. Initially my main goal was recovery more than training, but the last few weeks I have been focused on the race and using the time we have before the race in the most efficient manner, without over doing it.