About to take to the air tomorrow morning to fly over to Europe for UTMB.
Just got settled in here in Colorado and it's off on another adventure.
I've been really happy here in Nederland so far. The weather is amazingly nice and I've been finding all kinds of fun trails to run on. I haven't been able to find anything nearly as challenging as the trails I run on in Juneau but I'm sure I will find this in time. Right now I just keep finding a lot of trails that go up really high (have been up as high as 12,000 ft. so far) but they take their sweet old time getting there. Not Juneau style in which you just go straight up the side of a mountain. With how tough the altitude has been at times I guess this is probably a good thing.
I feel good and ready for UTMB. I haven't really thought much about it until I packed my bags today. I'll have 3 days over there before the race and I figure that is more than enough time to focus my mind on this one. It will be the toughest race I've ever run as far as terrain is concerned but I'm definitely making a choice not to put the kind of mental energy into this one as I put into Western States in the weeks leading up to it. In this case (as I do with most of my races) I'm just planning to show up and run, saving all of my energy for the race itself. There's always the worry that this will cause something really important to be overlooked, but with having run 20 or so ultras in the last 3 years I feel like I have enough experience to instinctively remember all the necessary things. I guess we'll find out next weekend if this is the case.
This said though, I'm really excited to run in Europe. From everything I've heard this is one of the most beautiful race courses in the world. I'm excited to race against the insanely top notch competition that will be there, and in some ways kind of scared (in a good way) to see just what Kilian is capable of on his home turf (in a sense) and on a course that he's already raced twice before. It's a long tough race, and a lot of things can happen, but I saw enough of his ability at Western States to know that he is capable of making this one a race for second place. That said I'm planning to be out there keeping pressure on anyone who is out ahead of me, and hoping to find a late race surge as I've been able to in so many of the races I've run in the past year.
This will be a fun one to see how it plays out. More than any race that I've run in quite some time I really don't know what to expect. There are enough strong runners and enough unknowns (to me) in this one that I could easily have a good day and finish behind a dozen or more runners. I'm kind of excited for this aspect of this race. It will make it very easy to show up and focus on simply having a fun day of running. Something that I intend with every race I run but sometimes it's not as easy to do when you line up for a race knowing that you "should" win it if you have a good day. With those feelings it's easy to start feeling like you need to win it to have a good day - not a mindset I like to go into a race with. At UTMB I know that I won't be feeling any of this and that's certainly a much easier place to come from going into a race which is already ridiculously hard no matter how much extra performance pressure you put on yourself.