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The countdown for Grand Trail du Saint Jacques has started

Nine days until I will run the Grand Trail du Saint Jacques; 80 kilometres, 3.200m+. The countdown has started and I admit, I’m getting nervous.

Today was my last hard training; a lactate shuttle training. Three blocks of three times 2,5 minutes above lactate threshold, followed by 2,5 minutes below lactate threshold. It should improve my body’s ability to use the lactate I’m building up as fuel. The idea is nice, the training just feels hard.

Slow running

Especially these days. In the last couple of weeks I’ve focussed a lot on slow running and power hiking. I’m not really used to running fast anymore. Pushing myself feels hard. On top of that; my legs just didn’t want to do it.

My Garmin watch says I’m peaking. I’m ready to race, but I don’t feel ready. Don’t get me wrong, my stamina is fine. I don’t think my endurance has ever been this high. Plus; I just spent a week in the Vosges in France; power hiking up mountains. But that’s precisely the problem. My heart is happy, my legs are not. Not yet.

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So tomorrow I’ve got an appointment with Peter, my massage therapist, to get some knots out of my muscles. For the next couple of days I’ve prescribed myself a daily dose of yoga. That always gets the spring back in my step and my legs back in shape.

Raising the bar

I’m looking forward to the Grand Trail du Saint Jacques. Eighty kilometres of running is going to be a new personal best. The longest race I’ve done so far is Auge um Auge, which was 73,5 kilometres. I like to raise the bar bit by bit. 3.200 metres of climbing isn’t a new personal best. During the Dolomiti Extreme Trail (57k) I climbed 3.723 metres. That’s still the only race I’ve done with more than three thousand metres of altitude.

Back then it was a big struggle. It took me almost 13 hours to run the Dolomiti Extreme Trail. That race was almost a year ago. I’m curious to see if I have improved. I mean, I trained a lot. Hopefully I’ve also trained wisely.

UTMB CCC

There is a second reason I want to know how good I am. The Grand Trail du Saint Jacques is the last test for the UTMB CCC (Courmayeur – Champex-Lac – Chamonix). As you probably know, that race is 100 kilometres long, and has more than six thousand metres of altitude. That’s twice as much altitude. So I hope to finish Saint Jacques with the idea that there is still something left in my legs left. That would be a great confidence boost. If not … Well, luckily we still have a couple of weeks before the CCC. But first; Saint Jacques.

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