Being a Wild Roses ambassador is not about climbing the highest mountain or being the first on the top or to the finish line. It is about the passion of doing things for a greater reason. Life can be an adventure, but the greatest adventure is giving life a meaning. It was a dream of mine to complete this running race around Mont Blanc and pass through the finish line just steps away from my own home.
It is hard to believe one week has past and my biggest goal of the summer is now behind me. The 2012 CCC Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc endured some of the toughest conditions on their 10 year anniversary. The course was changed slightly to its original route omitting the first climb to Tete du la Tronche and the last Tete aux Vents making it 90km instead of 100km.
1800 Runners withstood rain, wind, snow, sleet, mud. Temperatures plummeted on the high cols and runners ran through passes with 10-20cm of snow. I was thankful to have poles to help keep the balance on the slippery descents.
It got to points on the course where it was merely about survival and being well prepared in the conditions with not only the right gear & clothing for but the right mental attitude.
For most of the course, my feet were wet and cold. It was almost pointless to change shoes and socks. Eventually my feet were so cold it felt like I was running on bricks. It’s a whole lot easier to wear ski mountaineeering boots in tough conditions. Because my hands get cold easily, I wore hand warmers at about 1hr into the race and they kept my hands warm throughout.
One of the most amazing things about living here in the heart of the Alps is being able to travel to Italy or Switzerland within minutes and get a sense of the culture of another country. Being able to run between three countries around Mont Blanc was my big goal this summer.
Having spent most of the summer at training at sea level in the States, and training on the trails when I could I knew that it was going to be a big effort to complete the 100kms around Mont Blanc at the end of the summer, but I prepared as best I could with the environment at hand. Some of the things that I played with this summer was changing up my diet to see if it helped with inflammation, recovery and general energy levels. Avoiding diary and gluten has played a huge roll in improved recovery, less inflammation and increased energy. I was hoping that my heat training in 40 degrees was going to be advantageous but it was quite the opposite. I still had a great run with DC/ Virginia friends in the 40degree heat.
My biggest fear for the CCC was a re-occuring injury from last year and I was super pleased to not have had any symptoms of previous injuries. Adam St. Pierre, my coach from Boulder Center for Sports Medicine has helped me work hard on building up my running strength this summer in an effort to avoid injury and get me ready for this big event. With lots of hard work and focus I have re-trained my running style to avoid injury and become a better runner. Neil’s RunFit Classes at La Clinique du Sport combined with yoga inspired by YogaX Runner Tite and Pilates have all been part of the process. All of these helping me aim to unite the body, mind and spirit for better health and well-being.
My goal was to finish, injury free. I could not have done it without my husband and kids who supported me 100% of the way, as well as Lyndsay and my other friends on the course who suffered through cold and rain and all of you who sent words of encouragement from across the globe! THANK YOU!!
Running 100km can be lonely and it was great to see friendly faces along the way as I passed through 3 countries. A huge shout out of THANKS to all the volunteers who endured the wintry conditions for many hours night and day.
A huge thanks to my sponsors: Hammer Nutrition who kept me fueled throughout with no digestion issues for all of the 14hs of running, Camelbak who helped me stay hydrated, Petzl who helped light my path in the muddy, slippery technical descents.
It was a pretty amazing feeling to cross through the finish arch in Chamonix and come home to my house just a few meters away.
Here are a few photos from the next day Prize giving. Congrats to all the runners who endured this week of UTMB races in tough conditions.
Nina finished 197th place overall out of 1800 + runners, 15th overall for women and 3rd in her age group.
What are you up to next? Are you already working on a dream?