We signed up for a stage race this year. We qualified for the race from completing the 7 stage Manaslu Trail Run race in 2014. This is the biggest race for us this year so far. As we both move towards the race, there will be lots of updates on our training, preparation and everything about racing UTMR. Doug and I will be racing together as always. The stages are incredibly hard but the breathtaking mountains in Italy and Switzerland is why we do this race. Also, looking to finish with better time than Manaslu Trail Run race. We trained for Manaslu with a few training blocks and the biggest one was completing the JMT (John Muir Trail) in 10 days. We averaged about 20 mi each day. But, that is not good enough for Manaslu. It’s not the same difficulty of terrain nor the difficulty of the altitude. We benefited from the aerobic base and can go long but we needed to work on the technical terrain.
Last year, we got a chance to live in Chamonix and Valmorel for 3 months. It was shockingly hard, the terrain in the French Alps is tough! That is where we need to train for races in Europe. Our first race in France was the Grand Tour du Lac 35km and that is where we understood how strong the European trail runners are – no matter what age or gender! The climbs humbled us and the very steep slippery descent were nothing compared to where we train on in California. Even after training much in Chamonix, we finished under 6 hours…barely!
We learned in this last year not to sign up for races without looking at the logistics of how to get there or what is really involved. Pong Yaeng 30 km we did in Thailand was fun and coming from Europe we both made top 10 finish in our age groups. It’s not exactly the time I was aiming for but again, the downhill and heat was a challenge in that race. It was a hard course and very hard packed surface. We finished at 4:49.
There were a lot of things to work on to get stronger and faster in trail running. We are not aiming for placings but we want to improve our time as we race more. We’ve done a few 30km in the past years in California and our time improves the more we race and train. The biggest improvement we need to make is the steep technical descents and the technical ascents. Also, using poles on the descents when it’s slippery, wet and muddy.
We left Thailand and signed up for Bromo Tengga race in Indonesia but that did not workout because we got stuck in Bali airport from the volcano eruption. The drive to the volcano or race venue was more of a nightmare than what we thought so that race was cancelled. We also signed up for a marathon road race in Ho Chi Minh City right after we arrived but not realizing the extreme heat we are facing – we needed more time to acclimate to the hundred degrees heat. These are things we are learning and it’s not really a mistake but just more careful about planning or registering for a race in the future.
I hope to share our journey to the start line and the finish of UTMR!
Thank you for following!