Our next trail run race is a 21km run in the mountains of Morocco. It will be another new experience for us. I am really excited because I read a lot of good things about trail running in Morocco. We’ve booked our igloo tents in the resort where the race is at. It is in the middle of nowhere. It’s going to be warm or could be cold, we don’t know. No matter how much we read, watch or research online about a certain place we are going to, it’s never what we expected at all. Online information are really there for references and general information. Some blog posts are great information as well but to be physically there is a very different experience, of course. The race is a first edition and in looking at the profile for the 21km race, the total gain is 785 m or 2590 ft. It’s not a significant gain but it will be dry and rolling. I really look forward to running on Moroccon terrain. There will be 9 aid stations for the 21km! Seriously, how cool is that. Even with 9 aid stations, we are still required to carry a small mandatory gears with us for just the 21km. One thing this race will require is good hydration and good legs. Sustained climbing is tough but rollers can also be tough. Up, down, up and down. We will see.
Right after UTMR (Ultra Tour Monte Rosa), my feet were a bit sore. We took days on and off. Hiking was okay and riding the bike was good. Coming from Vietnam after 7 months of training in an MMA gym then cramming one and a half months of mountain time with big mileage was good. It did prepare us for UTMR but a few more weeks added would be better.
Training for our next races will be interesting because the main challenge is hydration because Morocco and Thailand have warm weather. Another great thing about training in Vietnam is that we’ve learned to acclimate in 100+ °F. I still can’t believe we train every single day, sweating profusely at that temperatures. However, we still need to transition once we get there coming from fall weather France to Morocco then the heat of Vietnam. Slow acclimation, that is the plan.
Right now, we maintain our base fitness on the mountains. Lots of hiking and climbing. One thing I learned is that “intensity” should be minimal on the mountains or else it will back fire. Truthfully, I noticed that the more we hike the faster we hike. That helps in a mountain race. The body gets beat up quite hard even in short distance which we enjoy racing at. 50km would be the longest race for us, a good distance that we so much enjoy!
Another thing we need to maintain is weight. Power to ratio makes a huge difference in climbing. I’ve been monitoring my body composition month after month in Vietnam because I wanted to gain more muscles and reduce fat. That I did and right now, just from gauging my body I believe I’ve lost a few lbs but I am pretty sure I’ve lost some muscle mass as well. My waist have gone from 28 to 26 inches. No scale around so it’s really hard to know but waist circumference will be good enough this time until we go back to Vietnam. Muay Thai and all those functional training (MetCon) was so worth it. That is one reason we are going back to train again. This time, the plan is to get leaner than last year when we leave.
This whole experience will be good for me now that I am approaching late peri-menopause. The few years before hitting menopause is when the body starts to significantly decrease in muscle mass, increase fat and decrease in bone density. Sometimes, I really think going with the flow of things in our travels is really a lot of blessings in disguise. It’s a good thing for both of us, to keep fit as we race and travel.
We only have a few weeks left here in the French Alps and it’s so hard to leave a place we now call “home” during the summer. We head to Imlil, Morocco. A small town in the mountains. We also look forward to the Moroccan cuisine. A friend of mine highly recommended Morocco and said that Morocco have cuisines fitting for ultra runners. That is very cool.