Pre-race days are something wonderful. You eat, relax, sleep, share moments with people you love, discover new areas or just do nothing. Maybe you also have some rituals, who knows.
When I arrived on Friday night with my Mum in beautiful Auvergne, I had not planned that Trail de Vulcain 2016 would be such an amazing, fulfilling and generous adventure. More than just running in a beautiful place, my first ultra-race was a discovery of new sensations, of my limits. A discovery of warmhearthed runners, organizers and volunteers. The discovery of a long journey.
Welcome in Auvergne!
Pourring rain, cold, fog. We could have been discouraged from the Auvergne the minute we arrived. But everything vanished the moment we entered the little peacefull oasis, l’Hôtel de Paris at Châtel-Guyon, a sweet little town, well-known for its thermal baths. Elizabeth and her team offered us a warm welcome and made us feel like at home right away.
After discovering our BIG bedroom, we directly headed to the restaurant of the Hôtel to have a delicious not-so-before-race-meal, discovering the regional wine – totally unknown for my palate. But com’on, in France it has to be cheat-day every day! 🙂 Next to our culinary expedition, we also rediscovered the music of mum’s youth. Welcome to the 80’s!
We laugh a lot, despite the hours of travel behind us.
“One is sure, tonight, we’ll sleep well!”
Note: It’s warmly NOT recommended to try new food before a race. I don’t know if it was the stress, anxiety, excitement or all at the same time, but I had some stomach pain during my pre-race days. Maybe it’s link to the food – I definitively not eat like that when I am in Berlin.
To avoid any bad surprises on race-day, you should pursue your nutrition plan or follow your habits. You have plenty of time to discover the regional food where the race takes place AFTER the race.
It’s all about planning and organizing they said…
After a good night of sleep – thanks to the wine and the fatigue of the last weeks moving out/in to my new flat – and a late breakfast, I started organizing my gears. Let me tell you, that a LOT of gears were new for that race. Trail de Vulcain 2016 has been all about first times.
My new Salomon SLAB ADV SKIN 5SET backpack
The LEKI poles of my lovely friend and blogger Maty
My beloved shoes, the Salomon SLAB SENSE 4 ULTRA SG (I only ran twice with them before in training: please Movers, DO NOT go into a race without having tested your gears before!)
Pre-race days are full of surprises. I discovered a new way of being… Indeed, I don’t know what happen to me the days before a race, but as my brain decides to spare some energy – I hope this is the reason – I begin to use my head just for necessary, elementary stuff such as drinking, eating and sleeping.
Yes, the level of conversation I had with my mum that days equaled the one I had after the race. You got the picture.
Imagine my face turning pale – as far as my face can become white – when I realized I never fixed poles to my backpack, i.e. never practice to take them out and put them back in while running. This is where my on-low-capacity-brain shows his ingenuity. Instead of looking at it online, Maty got to respond to my anxious, nervous, spamming messages every 5 minutes until I figured out – still with low-capacity-brain – how to use the 4D System of Salomon. Thumbs up Brain, you did great!
Oh and I spare you the details of me jumping in the bedroom to practice the movement of running – oh yeah, you’ve got this girl – and my mum telling me to stop using the mirror for help
You won’t have a mirror on the trail, right!? – Fair enough.
Two hours later… BIB Pick up & Aid Station Check up
Two hours later, we finally headed to Volvic where the start and finish line for the four races of Trail de Vulcain 2016 would take place on Saturday and Sunday. The gym was a bit empty when we arrived, but it was only a matter of time until it became crowded of runners ready to start on the Volvic Nature, or other runners and their crew, looking for their BIB, and talking to the lovely organizers of this wonderful race.
Me and my mum got attracted by a stand of a woman selling natural product such as oils, Aloe Vera drinks, and so on. I don’t think I exagerate when I say that me and my mum stayed one hour talking with this enriching and lovely person.
After numerous questions and the buying of a tiger oil, I finally headed up to pick up my BIB.
#1155 – Heart & Head, and the five fingers of my two feet said the boyfriend of my mum. Well, then I have nothing to worry about! Perfect number!
Pre-race days are made to relax…and eat…and…
After we picked up the BIB, we decided to take the car and drive to each aid station.
I think that was an important step for me and my mum, so we could visualize where she would be waiting for me. Also, she felt more confident to drive the day after. Except on D-Day, we had much more snow on the road.
Driving to Col de Ceyssat where the Aid station KM30 and KM35 would be, we had a lunch from Auvergne. A delicious full of cheese quiche. And then I wondered why I had stomach pain…
When we came back to the hotel, we had dinner (again). A special-sport-dinner with pasta. I was allowed to have dessert! But no wine. We had such a funny evening with my mum. But I was a little stressed out because I had so many things to prepare. My nails had to be polished, I had to prepare my food for the race… So I went up and she stayed a bit longer in the dinning room.
My food for the race was inspired from the receipt of Scott Jurek in “Eat and Run”. Some sushi rice, misopaste and seaweed. I have to admit, I never tried the food during training, so I was a bit anxious regarding the stomach pain I had during the days preceeding Vulcain 2016. Anyway! I trusted in my body to not letting me down. We all know I am the specialist to try new things on D-Day.
Once the food was ready, the nails polished, my feet relaxed, I set up my gears, checked everything and…
Well, I guess at some point, pre-race days turn into D-Day!
And it’s ready for the next days, that I slept in. Like a baby!