chartreuse trail festival


Distance: 25 km
Elevation: +1400 m
Route: Charmant Som
Conditions: cool, snow, fog, mud
Rank: 2nd scratch women, 13 overall, 3:21:42 

Today was our first race of the trail season! I was both excited and nervous. This was my first race back, and I didn't know how my heal would react to the intensity so I planned to run conservatively and not push more than I should. It wasn't a mad dash to begin and I wanted to go faster, but thought it best to keep calm and wait for someone to start to lead. I talked with the other woman near me as we leap-frogged for a bit. We all made a wrong turn and had to double back, so I rejoined Derek as he was making the turn and we began the long climb together. It had snowed all yesterday, so we were expecting some snow on the course, but suddenly here it was already, at lower elevation than I expected, and nearly knee deep. The climb was slow, slipping one step back down for every few steps trudged up. This climb was where I planned to be strong, but instead of trying to make passes, I just wanted to keep moving forward through the white snow and fog. 

After we reached the high point of the route and waded though more snow,  it was finally time for the crazy-fun of throwing myself down one of the toughest downhills I have raced. I was in a group of half a dozen runners together as we maneuvered over the tight, steep switchbacks, narrow and covered in snow. I was grabbing branches and rocks and anything I could get my hands on to control the downward momentum. I was happy for the snow to soften the constant falls and finally to use to surf down to where it met the mud.

The final uphill stretches seemed extra tough since I could hear the town and knew the finish was below...but we were once again going up. I saw Derek below me as I looked back across a U shaped turn, but the finish was close and I knew I could keep my distance. The final challenge- a muddy down hill finish- surely to keep the spectators entertained with falls. 

What a fun race! I managed a second place women's podium! More than a good finish time, I was proud to have kept myself under control and not let the thrill of competition push me too far. I think it's a good sign for the rest of the season- no pain and all fun! In the overall rankings Derek and I placed 13 and 15, with only 90 seconds between us...I am really proud of him, but I have to step it up if I want to keep my lead.

Racing season is here and it's going to be a good one. Bring on the trails!