16 September 2013

UTMB - the dream continues

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About 1.5 years ago I got this (typically Martin-ish as Shelley would say) idea to celebrate my 50th birthday with an epic run and as incredible as it seems to me right now, I have done what I set out to accomplish in 2013; I have qualified for the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc lottery. This doesn't mean I can run it in 2014 but hey, you can only control so much.

Back in February when I toasted my left ankle (for the second time!) I figured no way. You need seven points to qualify for UTMB and on the day I injured myself I had just managed to acquire one. ONE. And now I was looking at two solid months off from running.

Here's the deal.

  • A qualifying 100 mile race is worth four points.
  • A qualifying 50 mile race is worth two points.
  • A qualifying 50 km race is worth one point.
  • You are only allowed to accumulate points in a maximum of 3 races which means you have to run at least one 100.

When I finally got the green light to run I ramped up my training as fast as my body would allow while still trying to give myself adequate recovery time. This was a bit like walking a tightrope and I just did the best that I could.

When I finally started running outdoors again I had about 2.5 months to get ready for my first ever 50-mile race. 'Game on' as they say.

How did it go? I got super lucky and it went better than I could possibly have imagined. My training was adequate, I held back for the first half of the race and was actually able to push myself a little for the last 15 or so miles and push a lot the last six miles.

And then my feet were so wrecked I had to take a full week off again. Crap.

Six weeks after the 50 was my first 100-mile race. One word: NERVOUS.

I rested up for this one figuring there was no way I could add any fitness at the last minute and took it out slow. And by 'slow' I mean it felt glacial. But guess what? It was the right pace. I didn't really speed up but I also did not slow down and that I have discovered is key. Once again I blew away my expectations and although I was pretty crippled at the finish I had in fact finished!

In December I get to enter the UTMB lottery and along with a gazillion other hopeful runners I'll be crossing my fingers in hopes of receiving one of the coveted 2,300 spots that are available each year.

TWO THOUSAND THREE HUNDRED. I'll just let that sink in for a bit...

If I get in, Shelley and I are taking a European vacation next August.

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