Saturday, 23 January 2010

The challenge

It's been a while since I have done anything that has given me a real physical challenge, I mean a REAL physical challenge. It's too easy just to tick along inside your comfort zone, not pushing the boundaries, avoiding that unpleasant feeling that accompanies hard physical exertion. Today was different. Today was 'le Trail Blanch' which took place up at the Plateau de Beille. It was my first race in snowy conditions and was billed as 13kms with 450m of ascent. However, temperatures have risen over the past couple of days and it was 7 degrees up at the plateau this morning. It didn't bode well for the snow conditions. I wasn't quite sure what I had let myself in for. I am sure the other 270 runners were thinking the same.

The race started off well enough and I was particularly pleased with the first steep hill section which saw me overtaking numerous people thanks to the superior grip of my Inov8 Mudclaws. The 1/3 of the route that was on the pisted tracks turned out to be thoroughly enjoyable. However, the other 2/3 was through energy sapping, deep, heavy, wet snow which made for frustratingly slow progress with the high possibility of a twisted knee. A single line walking procession of sorry 'runners' was generally the order of the day. The downs were as hard to negotiate as the ups but the atmosphere was good with everybody encouraging each other along.

I made it round in 2 hrs 22 mins which was only 7 minutes slower than the first lady back in the 'Vet 3' category. I was exhausted, not only physically, but also mentally from the intense concentration that had to be deployed in order to avoid injury in those conditions. I was pleased to have got round in one piece. My first snow trail race had certainly been a challenge. I would love to have taken some more photos, but I was too busy trying to stay on my feet!


Lee said...

Sounds challenging...isn't it "Le trail blanc?"

penny said...

Gramatically yes, it should be - no idea why they call it Trail Blanch (not blanc or even blanche)!

Anne said...

Félicitations! A lancer en Suède, je ne crois pas que ca existe: à Stockholm les courses pédestres ne sont pas en hiver!

penny said...

Celui-ci est le 1er 'trail blanch' qui a jamais eu lieu en Ariège, apparement. Mais il faut que le temps fasse plus froid pour des conditions parfaites!