In just a few months time I will be standing on the start line of the OCC (Orsiéres – Champex – Chamonix), a 53km trail running race that makes up part of the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB) week in Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, France.
Not only is 53km a really long way in anyone’s book, the race also involves a few extra ‘speed bumps’ along the way – in particular a positive height gain of 3,300 meters. Eek. My running background is not exactly that of an elite athlete – I did do some cross country races at school but that was only really because nobody else would do them. Other than that, I have hit the roads sporadically over the years, going for a jog only whenever I felt that I needed to shift a few extra pounds. That said, two years ago I ran a 10km race and last year I even entered a 16km trail event in the valley – the P’tit Trail Aiguilles Rouges.
Whilst things have been moving in the right direction, the step up to 53km is at best….a steep one. Having said that, I’m a Yorkshire lass so it’s practically impossible for me to “do anything by halves” and I’m also stubborn to boot so here we are!
Identifying a training plan that I would actually follow has been a huge challenge! I have to admit that I didn’t really train for either the 10 or 16km events and it was my strong ‘Shire horse’ inner strength and willpower that got me around the course rather than any interval training or the like. I’m overweight, I love my G&T’s and a few glasses of wine and will get seriously depressed if I can’t eat what I want to. I do appear to have entered a whole new compression sock-shaped world and quite frankly the whole thing is a little baffling…
Having said that, I am very lucky to be living in a seriously inspirational place. Chamonix is the home of all things activity and adrenaline and every day at our physio clinic I get to meet some truly exceptional and inspirational athletes. Oh and I just so happen to be married to Neil Maclean-Martin – the author and star of our online programmes. What can I say? I guess he does know his stuff when it comes to running having successfully finished numerous Ultra marathons himself so I’ve decided to let him be my coach for this event 🙂
So over the coming weeks and months I’m going to keep you updated on how my training is progressing. I’m not a disciplined athlete by any means and my genes are certainly not what you call athletic, but I’m going to give it a go. I would love to inspire someone else to give it a go themselves someday – if I can do it, so can you!
The plus side with starting a new sport is that you have to go shopping! There is a myriad of new trail running gear that I need to get to help make the experience easier, there’s all the kit that I have to carry with me as part of the race entry criteria and quite frankly there’s an outfit to be bought that should make the other runners think that I know what I’m doing!
First up – buying a heart rate monitor and a GPS sports watch …. watch this space!