Tuesday, 6 June 2017

MaXi Race XL

The MaXi Race in Annecy has multiple different options for runners. There is a 110km race, an 83km race, a 110km race over two days, an 83km race over two days, a marathon, a 15km race and even a kids' event. There were a lot of trail runners who raced and an amazing race village was set up on the edge of Lake Annecy where the start and finish took place. I ran in the XL race which was the 83km race split into two days with 42km on Saturday and 41km on Sunday.

Day 1

My goal for the first day was to run conservatively, to run my own race and to enjoy a mountain race. I haven't had such a great start to this season so I wanted to be relaxed and to do everything right in this race. There was lots of climbing and I know I still need time to put in enough vertical in training, but this was a good chance to do some varied climbing in the Alps.

The first climb to Semnoz was long and all runnable. I kept a good pace and was very happy with my climbing. From there I ran a great descent passing lots of people (who were a mix of competitors from all the races taking place at the same time) and worked hard to arrive at the base of the next climb. On the second significant climb I used my poles and tried to set up a good rhythm climbing. I wasn't moving very fast, but I was making progress and feeling good. I ran well on the final descent for the day and kept a moderate pace to the finish although I was starting to feel the heat and the miles by then.

It was a good first day and I came away feeling a lot of confidence and happiness that the work I've been doing in the mountains was starting to pay off. If the race had ended here I would have been happy with my performance.

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Day 2

Waking up on Sunday morning wasn't easy. In an unpleasant reminder of stage racing my legs were protesting and feeling very tight and sore. I wasn't sure what I would be able to achieve in the second half of the race, but I also knew that I'd run multiple days in a row in the past and managed to keep going. I did a good warm-up, loosened up a little and felt more relaxed by the time I was on the start line.

The first climb of the day was steep and technical. I set a good rhythm and felt surprisingly good despite how my legs had felt just a few hours earlier. I noticed I was moving about the same pace as the people around me until the last 10 minutes of the climb where I seemed to move more efficiently and keep a good pace to pass a few runners. On the long descent I was feeling fantastic! I ran smoothly and overtook at least five or six runners. On the bumpy and hilly section to the half-way point I kept a solid pace and felt positive about running a good stage.

The last climb was sustained and it felt much hotter and more difficult than I expected. I was going really slowly, but only one person caught up to me and in reality he seemed to be keeping a similar pace to me. Over the top of Veyrier I was hot, thirsty and crawling along. Fortunately I was able to run a great descent to the finish surprising myself with a great pace all the way down the technical trail. I was pleased with the second day and the good sections (mostly descents) where I ran strongly and with a lot of motivation.



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Overall I was pleased with my performance at this race. I made a lot of progress in my training since Nivolet-Revard and my climbing and descending was a huge step up from that effort. I hope I can maintain this work and focus in the upcoming weeks before Eiger Ultra Trail.

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