Making the effort to ….. welcome the sufferfest!

Los Liones Trail- 10 miles + 2100 ft elevation gain= Tough one

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.

Muhammad Aali

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.

  1. Jitters (a couple days before)- Hello… I am about 6 months out from mine and I am already nervous!
  2. Panic-full blown panic should set in night before the race (I will be an overachiever in this area)
  3. Adrenaline-… and Run! The pack moves fast, probably faster than you should go (which you will regret quickly).
  4. 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.
  5. 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!
  6. It is gonna be a long day-the first twinges hit you and you think Ok let’s do this!
  7. This is bullshit- and so the cussing begins along with the pain.
  8. 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.
  9. Halfway there-Yeah!.. & Oh No!
  10. 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).
  11. 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..”
  12. Realization- in the middle of the pain you will realize and recognize your worth… and may give a little smile.
  13. Will this EVER end?- where is that stupid finish line? .. and they better have Ice Cold Chocolate Milk waiting for me.
  14. 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.
  15. 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!

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