TSL 16 – Finding your truth during an ultra-race

Briefing of TSL 16 on a cold Friday night sounded like…
“Please, guys remember one thing about the race. It’s cold outside, and tomorrow will be colder. If you fall, and you don’t know how to survive, to do a strap or anything, we’ll have a problem. The cold can get to you before we do, it can be dangerous out there. As soon as you find an area where you have a network, please stay there and call us.
It’s a simple equation: if you fall, you die. So please, just hold it together.
Oh and please, try at least to always pair with other runners, especially during the night.
We have wolves here.”
Pardon me, WHAT?!!

It was supposed to be my last ultra-race of the year.
I chose TSL 16 – also known as Trail des Sources de la Loire – because I needed some points for CCC.
It was supposed to be hard and smooth.
But what I found on that trail that day goes far beyond any points for CCC, far beyond running itself.

What if I told you, TSL 16 was an eye opener, and that I found some truth during that last race of the year?

Overtraining – A chase for more and more

Overtraining is a keyword every athlete has already been confronted with during his/her career.
Being it in magazines, blog posts or by experience, we all know its existence flying above us.
We always hope it will never affect us. It can happen to anybody sooner or later.
But as long as it is off the table, we continue to act like any other day.
After all… Why stressing out about something that didn’t happen yet?

While I was training for the Berlin Marathon, it never crossed my mind a second to be overtrained.
Rather did I felt like missing something and chasing for more.
In fact, I was always wanting to push one more session, even though I ended up frustrated at the end.
Despite signs of exhaustion, the loss for the fun of running, I pushed through.
So, when it hit me at the Berlin Marathon last Sunday, I first cried.
Like I wrote about my marathon preparation in the last article…
similarly to my training, my marathon was ugly and two-faced.

SportScheck half-marathon – Emotional rollercoaster

Last Sunday I ran the SportScheck half-marathon for the fourth time in my life.
New course, same hood, same distance.
It’s been 7 weeks already since I’ve started training for the Berlin Marathon, taking place in one month. This half-marathon now was supposed to be a test. See how my body responds to the past weeks of specific training. To cut to the chase: see how fast I can run, you know.

When we picked up with the training a few weeks ago, I asked my boyfriend (and coach) what time he thought I would be able to run. And he told me 1:35′
No need to tell you how thrilled I was to beat my (at that time) personal best of 1:42’26 by 7 minutes.
So when he sent me the race plan last week, telling me we would go for PB, with a 1:37, I was disappointed. Didn’t I work hard enough? Was I training the wrong way for the last 7 weeks?!
I can be much of a drama queen sometimes.
And such pain in the ass.
I don’t need to tell you the conversation that followed.

LTBCN 16 – The Rocky mountains in Barcelona

I was not supposed to run LTBCN 16 actually. Back to November 15 when I was planning my race calendar, I was considering running my first 100K there, the UTBCN 16. However, earlier this year, my friend Julien registered for the 70K and so I downgraded the distance. Fortunately! I think it was a wise decision.
My preparation was as it is when you work 46H a week and keep on having a social life. Being sick during the 15 days before the race, when I felt really strong about my training got me worried. A lot. How could I only dream about running a good time at LTBCN 16 while not training for two weeks? My flatmate got to hear about it during the last days before my departure.
“You won’t run on time. That goal is over. Remember: always set different goals for your race” I kept telling myself.
It was a difficult and long process for my mind to accept lowering my expectations. I am really stubborn you know. But in the end, I wanted to enjoy the race as much as I could, and I want to run as long as my body can take me. Don’t understand me wrong. To me, enjoying a race means different things, like competing or just sharing the course with friends.
Finishing the race strong and smiling, and enjoying the surrounding of nature and like-minded people all along would be my A-Goal when I’d toe the starting line that Saturday for the LTBCN 16.

Are you failing as a pacer?

What is wrong, did I miscalculate? Was her training enough? Did something go wrong with it? How could that be…
Oriane are you like failing as a pacer? As a want-to-be-trainer? What is wrong…
Yesterday was Berlin Half Marathon day. Ultimate goal was to pace my lovely friend Gina to a personal victory. Not only did we want her to achieve her personal best (last HM Time was 2:09), but we wanted to break the 2H-Mark. Preparation went as a preparation goes, with ups and downs. The conditions for the run were ideal: the sun and the wind were coordinated in a perfectly synchronized choreography.

But let start from the beginning…

Trail de Vulcain 2016 – My first ultra-race

Like really? Are you sure? I thought we only had one big climb at Vulcain 2016, and it was like right now at Puy du Dôme! Don’t they have anything else to do then putting one climb after the other? I mean we’re climbing a lot but what about all the amazing descent we should have?
It’s hurting… Well now it’s warm…Oh LOOK! This region is amazing… Wait I sooo have to take a picture…Which view? Oh yes because of cooourse we’re still climbing! Ok if you say so… hm hm force, don’t stop… Don’t stop ‘til you get enough… Ups, youuu are not alone. OK, I STOP singing. Don’t worry! It’s not like the sun is shining anyway.

Trilhos Abutres 2016 – an epic bitch kind of trail

My shoe! My shoe! That is ridiculous! – And I started laughing. A nervous breakdown kind of laugh. I had enough. But I was only 9KM in the race. 9KM and still 41 to go. Why the hell am I here? I felt like a fraud.
Trilhos Abutres promised to be epic. To me, it was an epic DNF. If I sum up what the lovely running community, my friends and my family said to me after the race.
You don’t fail on the trail. You fall, you get back on your feet and you learn.
A look back on my first race of the year, which I wanted to be….well. Epic.

Basetrail Zugspitze XL – my first trail race

After my Paris Marathon, I was not into training. I started again mid-may, running some hills to entertain the illusion that I was strong. I heard from Chris (Die Flitzpiepen) about the Salomon Zugspitz Ultratrail event. One week before the ZUT, I met three trail-machines, Sonja, Maty and Ivy who told me I could definitively run the Basetrail Zugspitze, now called XL. The same night I registered myself for the run, with no idea where I would sleep or how I would get there. But… we always managed in a way right? That was the first step to my first trail race…

Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful. – Joshua J. Marine

Paris Marathon – One ticket for Boston!

The best pace is a suicide pace, and today is a good day to die. –
To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift. – Steve Prefontaine

 

I don’t have children. I never went through the painful process of given birth. But I tend to understand what women mean when they say „you go through a lot of pain, but when the baby is there, you forgot everything. You have a blackout.“ My friend Christian asked me today what was the most horrible part of the course to me. And at first, I couldn’t recall. I am so overwhelmed with joy and happiness because of my performance, that I simply forgot.

But let’s start with the beginning.