A great trail run (chose between 27 and 47km – I did the shorter distance) from the edge of the Larzac plateau down and across the Pas de l’Escalette and up over some more stuff before the finish in Lodève. Normally the views are splendid. On the day it was rather drizzly and misty. Early on in the race there was a little cliff with ladders (above). Later, some very wet slippery bits with even slipperier ropes to help.
I finished up covered in variegated mud… geology and sport rolled into one.. bliss!
I am running the 2015 Paris Marathon to collect money for the UK Charity the Cardiomyopathy Association. Our son Samuel McNaughton (pictured) died of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in 2000 aged 19. You can donate on VirginMoneyGiving.
My second go at the Ecotrail, an 80km run from Paris suburb Saint Quentin en Yvelines into town. Last year finished in around 12 1/2 hours at the very grand Trocadero. This year it was even more splendid with a finish on the first stage of the Eiffel tower. Like many, I probably ran the first 20k or so (which are on the flat) a bit too fast and felt pain in the upper front part of my thighs around km 30. Around 50km into the race us tail enders were doing a fair amount of walking and what with some stuffing down of (rather unappetizing) food at the ravitaillements I was in good shape for the final 10km along the Seine, into Paris and up the Eiffel tower where, to my disappointment, we were not hosted in the famed Jules Verne restaurant.
Why is it called the Ecotrail you may ask? A good question. The organizers would have you believe that you are running “to save the planet” or some such. To which end they supply reusable drinking cups (no plastic throwaways) and a train ticket to the start from Paris. They also will post your race bib etc. saving a trip to collect.
As the Aveyron and Bozouls is on the TV tonight I thought that I had better blog this quick. Last August I ran the spectacular Trail du Gourg d’Enfer, a 20k up and down starting and finishing in Bozouls, Aveyron. This is a very attractive and geologically interesting village, built on a rocky spur above what could be described as a meander in the Dourdou river but is really more of an curvy incision. I think I read a long time ago an article in the Scientific American that spoke of ‘least work curve.’ I looked this up on Google but all I found was … a short note I wrote in 1999 on the same reminiscence. But I digress.
The run heads off steeply down into the bottom of the hole and then climbs quickly up steps and then proceeds up and down in a switchback. See my GPS track below. And here for the results. I came in 67th out of 90 at just a smidgin under 8kph. Not too bad for the quite tricky terrain and dénivellé. The saucisse aligot and fouasse et the finish was pretty good too.
On training. I don’t. I just run. Usually with the dog. For the last three years this has been Max, a nutty spinning, neurotic tail catching (mostly) border collie. For Max, running is the normal state of affairs. All else is distraction (we were obliged from the organization who provided him for free to have him neutered). This is not such a bad philosophy and actually helps answer that most difficult of questions, ‘why does one run?’ But that will be the subject of a future investigation. OK I do do some event specific stuff. Like back in 2006 for my first Etape du Tour I lost 5kg and did a fair amount of hill climbs on the spinning bike (what a phenomenal workout that machine can provide in a short amount of time). But if the outside and the dog are calling, the spinning bike doesn’t get a look in. I usually run 12k or so. Maybe with a 20k every other weekend and just a few times a year do a 30k (still with the dog). Also I am a member of the local athletics and biking clubs but don’t really do them justice (again, I blame the dog) although I get away for a week a year with the bikers for a week of 100k/day rides usually in a fairly hilly area. On the athletics track I put in maybe half a dozen sessions of interval training. Again, I blame the dog, but also I blame a lack of any true knowledge of what I should be doing out there. By that I mean that at age 65 it is hard to fit into the expectations of most training programs. I am certainly never going to beat a personal best (3:22 for the marathon). The objective is maybe to complete and if you do better than you did a couple of years previous then that is indeed great. Apart from the dog excuse, I don’t ‘train’ because I don’t really know what to do. Just run… its fun… I have a book somewhere which purports to explain how to ‘bike till you are 100’. I will pull it out and blog about it sometime.