So if you haven’t had your head stuck in your phone or laptop since Friday then you have not caught the UTMB ( Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc) bug! Talk about a SufferFest, probably the most well known ultra marathon races that start and end in Chamonix in the French Alps. There are 6 races of ranging lengths but the final race is a 106 mile race with huge elevation gain and all are considered the toughest foot races in the world. This year I followed some of the best runners from America.
Thanks to technology I was able to follow the live stream at the finish and I just couldn’t concentrate until I knew the podium winners. America was represented extremely well. I knew more about the female runners but not gonna lie I caught myself holding my breathe while watching all of the runners. Such emotion and such humility!
After watching the race I began thinking, all the runners know that they are going to hurt.. like really hurt. What does a person say to oneself to prepare for that kind of pain? Or do they know and it is just their ability to shut it out and see the outcome?
Sufferfest-A workout or race in the arena of endurance sports that involves prolonged suffering on the part of all who participate.
“I hated every minute of training, but I said, Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.
I found a cool article on Suffering –
The Article ‘Ultra -Marathons: the 15 stages of suffering in the Ultra Running magazine by Sean McCoy,July 2016″ and below I will paraphrase.
- Jitters (a couple days before)- Hello… I am about 6 months out from mine and I am already nervous!
- Panic-full blown panic should set in night before the race (I will be an overachiever in this area)
- Adrenaline-… and Run! The pack moves fast, probably faster than you should go (which you will regret quickly).
- Reality Check- Oh Boy .. what am I doing here? and I better get my pace under control because I have a long way to go.
- Aid Station #1- Everyone feels good so they run past. This is a good time to do a mental check and see if you need to attend to any issues .. and take in some calories!
- It is gonna be a long day-the first twinges hit you and you think Ok let’s do this!
- This is bullshit- and so the cussing begins along with the pain.
- Bargaining- The mental game of an Ultra is a monster! At this point you will make any deal with yourself .. both to quit and to keep going.
- Halfway there-Yeah!.. & Oh No!
- Point of no return-you probably picked a point in which no matter what you will finish… (hopefully this hits about 2/3 ‘s way in my race and gets me to the finish line).
- The Pain Cave/ SufferFest- every thing sucks and you are just pissed, nothing tastes good and all you can think about is the pain. Remind yourself “this is what you came here for..”
- Realization- in the middle of the pain you will realize and recognize your worth… and may give a little smile.
- Will this EVER end?- where is that stupid finish line? .. and they better have Ice Cold Chocolate Milk waiting for me.
- Smelling the Barn- You are that close you can smell it- I personally find this part loooonnng! I usually have to look down at my steps because the finish line just keeps moving away.
- The Emotional Avalanche-Why is my lip quivering? The relief is overwhelming and the tears, high fives and WooHoos may come.
I hope you read the article in its entirety, because I believe that Sean McCoy nailed it. I can speak from experience, I have recently had a couple of SufferFests. Mount Whitney and the LA Marathon, but I would not trade those experiences for anything.
These two events came at 50 , 51 and this year I will be 53yrs old and racing my first Ultra. Goodness .. what was I thinking! LOL! Wish me Luck.
I am almost 6 months out from the Antelope Canyon Ultra Race 55K so you will probably hear more on this. As far as training-The last couple of weeks I have really tried to up the training in Elevation Gain and Altitude while continuing to include more time in the gym. I seem to see the biggest results when I am consistent with these. Today I did a 10 mile with about a 2100 ft elevation gain and tomorrow (holiday – off work) will hike Mt San Jacinto .. not quite sure that elevation gain but it is about 12 miles I think. These back to back days are not only for strength but for my mental training I want to really push it and know that I can.
Meal Prep- will have to wait until tomorrow. I did bake some sweet potatoes and pork chops that I can pull from this week.
Have a Happy and Healthy Week!