My little legs have just run around Lake Annecy. Well….not just my legs my whole body, heart and head! They are all reminding me of that fact today.
I arrived in Annecy with no real expectations about the town or the run and on both accounts I was blown away. It’s a beautiful town by the most glorious lake and the run route was stunning.
I was staying in the Old Town which was so vibrant and charismatic.
The day before the race was bib collection where I had to go up on a stage to collect it as I was one of the international competitors. I felt pretty embarrassed by this knowing that I may not race up to their expectations. I mean an 85km | 5000m+ trail race and my last race was 42km on the road! It was going to be a baptism of fire but I needed to hit the trails at some stage and I love to experience new places so entering seemed a good idea. If only I’d fully known the brutality of the course! 😉
The race started at 5am. It was a really fast start through the first 3km or so to the base of the first mountain (so my road running training was useful!). It was then a 15km climb to 1663m, Mount Semnoz summit. This, at 18km, was the first assisted aid station.
Although I knew I had already lost the top 3 runners and wasn’t feeling terribly strong on the hills I was still determined to push and push so didn’t spend long refuelling. I was experimenting with different fuel types courtesy of Komfuel. I wanted to see if varying the types made me feel less nauseous later on.
My hiking capacity is abysmal and so it seemed was my pace running uphill but I did make up time descending which surprised me. I guess the descents initially weren’t too technical once past the roped sections 😳 and snow line 😬!!
We descended back down to 734m. My memories of the race merge and I can never really remember specific details of the course. I recollect the mountainous course where beauty is connected with pain united by the desire to suceed.
We climbed again to 1286m then down then up to 832m and then down to 43km, Doussard, at 469m. This was aid station 2.
I was at the other end of the Lake. I felt ok. I refuelled again. I had been toing and froing with a French runner called Sophie. She was confident on the technical aspects and strong uphill with no poles!
Leaving Doussard we climbed up to 1650m. It was runnable leafy trails and I was remembering what everyone had told me ‘Enjoy it’!
This photo was taken by PhotoSebt about 60km in and 1500m up just before Pas de l’Aulp/ Roc Lancrenaz.
From there I descended down to the final aid station at 69km, Menthon St Bernard, at 500m.
My quads were beginning to feel the effects and my feet were sore. They were certainly not used to the rock ‘n’ roll assault on them. I had grunted all the way down: my abs ached with the bracing, my feet were developing blisters, my quads were argumentative and I was feeling nauseous. I’m guessing the heat and my relentless mission to push on was making me feel sick because my fuel was actually going down ok. The competition or more precisely my self-competition demanding unreasonably as usual.
I thought I only had 16km to go- I could see the finish along the lake! Oh my god I was in for a shock! The last bit was the most testing and gruelling part. The 1265m climb was technical rocky single track and went on and on. My poles went away thinking it must be the descent now and I repeatedly got them out again. It was the not knowing, my fatigue and crap technical skills that made for some less cheery times! We ran along the ridge and I spied down, way down, the finish. The finish was at 447m and I longed for a road to run on! I had rocks, slippy rocks, slimy limescale, mud, and gnarly trees routes to contend with. It was a beast! I gritted my teeth and cursed all the way down- slipping, rolling ankles and tripping was about the only things I remember.
Although I do remember asking myself why am I doing this!
You only live once?
Makes me a stronger person?
The pursuit of a passion?
All of these and more I guess. Who knows! Before I came up with any sort of answers I was there…the finish. 5th female, 42 overall, 1st old lady. Yes!