Last time I blogged about my running activities was after DebConf 13
in Switzerland, back in August.
At that time, I just completed two great moutain races in one month
(Mont-Blanc Marathon, then EDF Cenis Tour, one being 42km and 2500m
positive climb and the other one being 50km and 2700m). EDF Cenis Tour
was my best result overall in a trail race, being ranked 40th out of
more than 300 runners and 3rd in my age category (men 50-59).
So, in late August, I was preparing for my "autumn challenge", a
succession of 3 long distance races in a row:
- On October 27th, Toulouse marathon (this time a "classical" road marathon), with
the goal of breaking my PB of 3h33'34" and going below 3h30
- On November 17th, Le Puy-Firminy night race, a 68 km long night race in hills south
of St-Etienne, my birth city, with the goal of breaking last year's
time of 8h25
- On December 8th, Saint lyon, the most popular French trail race,
75 kilometers between the cities of St-Etienne and Lyon, by night
again, and mostly on trails. Here the goal was....finishing the race,
and running it with my running friend Sabine, who I already shared
the joys of Mont-Blanc Marathon with.
Quite a challenge, indeed, to run 3 long distance events in a row, with only 3
weeks between them.
Preparation for all this was mostly piling up kilometers over
kilometers. First in road and flat training, when the goal was the
marathon. So, after piking to 471 kilometers in August (more than
15km/day), I ran 452 in September and again 420 in October. During
that preparation, I also broke my personal best in half-marathon, down
I therefore was perfectly fit for the Toulouse Marathon and, indeed,
unsurprisingly, I achieved my first goal by breaking my personal best
down to.....3h25' and a few seconds. Really a great achievement and
something that gives me a little hope of being able to qualify for
Boston Marathon (though chances are a bit low again: I can apply
because I'm below 3h30 but the chances that I get a seat are not very
Recovery from the marathon was easy, thanks to the big preparation and
then the second race came very quickly: Le Puy-Firminy. My third
participation to this night race, organised by a cousin of mine. I
completed the first one in 9h15....then, last year, the second one in
8h25. And, this year, well......7h15 and 26th out of over 200 runners.
Huge, great and stunning performance for me, really. Everything went
so well that I can't remember any moment where I had any doubt. And I
will indeed remember the last kilometer ran along with my sister (who
is also a runner) and where she.....couldn't follow me while I was
sprinting at about 14km/h after 68 kilometers. Definitely my best race
And then came the last challenge: Saint lyon. If you never saw it, you
have no idea. While Le Puy-Firminy features 200 runners and 150
walkers over 68 kilometers, this one features 6000 runners for 75
THOUSAND. The vision of a light snake, kilometers long, over the hills
in St-Etienne neighbourhood, was stunning. Moreover, we ran that one,
with snow, ice and cold (down to -10 C at the highest point of the
race). So, here, the goal was running with my friend and share the joy
of the race with her, all along...and eventually beat her personal
best on this race (11h15 last year, while the race was 5km shorter).
We made it really well, despite the crowd and the fact that it doesn't
allow running one's real speed. Despite the ice and snow that makes
downhills really.....interesting. Despite dolors I had in my legs at
the end of the race. We completed the race in 10h38, quite away from
our secret goal (9h30) but that one was really ambitious...:-).
And we crossed the finish line together, hand in hand, for the third
time of our running life. And we shared tears at the end of the race.
And we shared many great moments over that week-end. Moments that let
one remember what the definition of "friendship" is. I found my
"running sister" in Sabine and this is something we really appreciate
and is hard to explain.
All this would make a great conclusion if.....I hadn't injured my leg
with this accumulation. Indeed, as one might expect after such a hard
challenge, I discovered during the days that followed the last race,
that I have a fatigue fracture on my left tibia. As a consequence, I
need to stop running for about 6 weeks....which you can understand is
kinda hard for me.
But, guess what? I'm allowed to bike...:-). So, well, I repaired my
old moutain bike and now, I'm biking instead of running...:-)
Finally, 2013 has been my greatest running year, again. 4700
kilometers ran over the year, nearly 13km/day in average. 14 races (3 road races and 11 trail
races). 463 hours spent running and 72,000meters climbed (about 8
Sagarmatha, aka Everest, climbed). 2 Personal Best performances. 2
long distance races which I ran in more than 1 hour less then last
year. 2 new moutain races. And first running injury...:-)
2014 will be different. I will run again some races I alreay ran such
as Paris 80km Ecotrail or Le Puy Firminy (4th time in a row). But I
also hope to be able to run one of the Ultra Tour du Mont-Blanc races
in late August in Chamonix (need to be picked up at the bib lottery
for this to happen). And probably some other interesting challenges
such as running the Paris Marathon dressed as SpongeBob....one week
after running the 80km Ecotrail....:-)
But you'll see that in my next running update, of course. Merry New
Year and Happy Christmas!