I cannot summarize it in just one picture. The large perspective misses all the fundamental details and features that make up this time span.
Kilian’s article (here) has propelled me and given me a reason to write. The first thought I had was “wow, that’s just unbelievable”. The second was “aww, I haven’t been doing a proper workout since May (…still counting…)”. Then I started having some more appropriate reflections.
One thing that impresses me is how much volume he’s able to bear. The other is the great mix of flat/fast workouts and strength sessions (uphill/cycling/cross training). Taken one at a time, none of his workouts are hugely impressive (yet still very hard). But “it is the harmony of the diverse parts […] that permits us to see clearly and to comprehend at once both the ensemble and the details”, as Henri Poincarè would say, that strikes me. Kilian provided us with some insight on his training and I think this is a valuable resource we all should think about carefully. Mountain running can’t be taken for granted.
I was there when Kilian set the record in Sierre-Zinal, taking a bitter 16th place in a race that has seen some of my best performances on the trails in the past three years. But well aware I couldn’t have done any better in that particular day. I was just happy for what I managed and to have been able to witness an historic edition, with the most competitive elite field ever assembled, in which four athletes (two men and two women) went under the old course records.
I must say, by the way, that the thing that I haven’t been doing a proper workout since May is kind of true. I know you really need to work your butt off in training if you want to perform well in races. And that hasn’t been done this year, simply because my mind and my body didn’t support me. No hard workouts mean poor racing results. It’s that simple (even though not the complete story).
After that, a period of wild Colorado wanderings lead me to Pikes Peak Marathon where I found great ambience and friends. It was great to be back with Andy and Peter. You don’t need much more than a banner and hot volunteers to organize a great race. It’s the history that makes it legendary. And that’s precisely what Pikes Peak was about.
Contrary to the grandeur and the clamor of Chamonix, in my experience racing in the US is much more about people and performance. I wasn’t too concentrated on racing but it turned out to be a quite good run. It showed once again how poorly I have been running uphill recently and also that I’m getting better at handling the marathon distance. I enjoyed running into thin air above 4000m and the fast, never ending descent from the summit back to Manitou Springs. I managed to grab the top ten with a pretty good final part: this is my race. The Golden Trail Series final faded away as expected; there will be another chance to try again in the future.
I went back to the top of Pikes Peak two days after the race and ran a 5’49” mile at 14.115 ft (4300m) in the parking lot. I also ran the Manitou Incline, the place most famous trail. I ran up and down the High Dune in Great Sand Dunes National Park. These are the things I enjoyed the most: I like running everywhere. Boulder Res, The Flatirons, Magnolia Road, Red Rock Canyon, Lake Isabelle, Dillon Reservoir, Rampart Reservoir, Colorado Trail, Leadville, Twin Lakes, Denver’s Confluence Park, Colo Springs’ Santa Fe Trail…just a few locations where I let running go free.
This year I’ve raced in six foreign countries so far, and a few might add up before 2019 ends. It’s not the end of the story.
#wanderings #anysurfaceavailable #sierrezinal #pikespeak
Photos (c): Peter Maksimow, Andy Wacker, Golden Trail Series, Marco Gulberti, Martina Valmassoi, me