Saturday, August 28, 2010

And Then Almost Again

I'm in Chamonix. Several of the UTMB runners are now out racing a last minute 98k version after the actual UTMB was canceled last night.

The decision not to run this new race was actually pretty easy for me. I didn't find out for certain that this race was happening until 7:30 this morning and the race was set to start at 10:00. I had not slept at all as there had been so much conflicting information all night as to whether there was going to be another race. I was receiving calls, texts, emails, race website info., and even messages slid under my hotel room door and the information in all of these things was completely conflicting. At one point the race website even clearly stated that no decision would be made until 9am. Finally something that seemed definitive and clear. I could at least sleep until 9 and then see what was happening. 30 minutes later I got another message "confirming" that there would be a new race, buses leaving Chamonix at 6:30 (this occurred at about 5am) It eventually became hard to trust anything. I had no way to be certain that once we got over to Courmayeur (where the new race was reportedly going to start) that there would actually be another race. I guess the race organization sent out a text message sometime early in the morning (6 or 7am) confirming that there was in fact going to be a race at 10am. I for some reason never got the text. The race website had nothing about this new race until around the time that it actually started, and the weather (which had stopped the UTMB as well as the CCC and the TDS) had not really changed much overnight. It is supposed to be clearing sometime later tonight and into tomorrow but as I write this at 3:30pm it's every bit as cloudy, foggy, windy, and rainy here in Chamonix as it was last night when they stopped these three races.

At any rate, despite all of these confusions and uncertainties there are hundreds of runners (including perhaps half to two thirds of the top level runners) out there now running this new race. For me though, I came here to run the UTMB. The cancellation of the UTMB provided me with this huge amount of extra physical and mental energy to pore into something else over the next several days/weeks. Had the race organization been able to put together a more definitive alternative race without all of the confusion and question marks that ensued (not blaming the race organization here in any way. Rather just touching on the difficulty of what they were dealing with), and in a more timely manner then it is likely that this alternative race would have been where I would have used this extra energy provided to me by the cancellation of the UTMB. The way it was though, with no sleep and with the threat of weather stopping the "new" race, it was a really simple decision not to invest this energy into this. Now that I have slept and I begin to read the reports of the race that is going on out there now it's hard not to want to be out there, at least a little bit. But I certainly don't regret my decision. As I said it was actually a really easy decision for me. In the meantime I'm having fun thinking about where in fact I am going to focus this energy?

And there's this sky running marathon in Italy tomorrow that I mentioned in a post last night, but I don't think that's going to happen for me because it's 4 hours away and my means of getting there are now all out running this revised race that is occurring right now. So for me? I get to wander around Chamonix, eat some great food, and wait for the racers to arrive here later tonight. And then tomorrow when the weather is actually cleared up I'll go out for a nice long run, ride the tram up to the Aiquille Du Midi, and feel really glad that I'm not laying in bed wasted from running a "consolation" 98k race in which I had not slept for almost 24 hours at the start of the race.

14 comments:

Mahesh Natarajan said...

Its a shame for this to happen .. i mean at the very least, some firm information would have helped. But with weather, one can never tell i guess.. enjoy your stay there. Are you gonna do the Spartathlon that SJ was chirping about?

Dan said...

Best of luck in whatever you decide to do, at least you can still say you're undefeated in 100s! And it will hardly be a wasted trip if you get to spend a whole day exploring the wilderness around Mt Blanc.

PatrickGarcia said...

Crazy Geoff, I can't imagine what the atmosphere must be like over there. Enjoy some wine, I'll try to say hi at Run Rabbit Run in a few weeks... they have a CR that needs tending to.

Anonymous said...

I am sorry to hear that you won't be able to get to the marathon. In 2007, when the rains came in to Cham (just after the race), we took the train to Zermatt, (some of most beautiful trails and best running)

Jeff said...

Wow, I'm surprised they even bothered with an alternate race - I suppose the trails were quickly marked last night? I would be concerned about the likelihood of getting off course (but maybe it's different in Europe).

Surely there's another 100 in the next few weeks with an open spot for you?

Jeff said...

Oh I see - the CCC was the alternate race...(I just checked Irunfar)

Paige said...

Wow, what a cluster. I'm looking forward to seeing what you use all the incredible UTMB training for...!

Kim said...

Wow, what horrible misfortune.
The Grindstone 100 Mile Race, in Virginia, is October 1.
Or the WV Trilogy, a 50K, 50Miler, 1/2 marathon is the next weekend October 7.

Anonymous said...

let me get this straight. there is a marathon 4 hours from you,in italy, with 13,000 feet of elevation change and you are not going to go?!?!?! How often do you get to ITALY? GO. RUN.

Andrew said...

NF50 in ATL looking better and better? its not 100 but there's some nice buckage on the line :)

sent you an email w/ info on some options and you always have a place to crash in Charlotte.

wiglebot said...

This sounds like a version of French organization that I experience every time I visit my brother-in-law and his family in Paris.

Dave Mackey said...

Good call on your part Geoff. Don't regret it, just go out and have some fun.

Anonymous said...

any chance Wasatch would make some quick exceptions and let you, meltzer, and kornet (sp?) battle it out there?

Paul said...

I just got back from Chamonix, the rain was crazy at times on Friday, and really started coming down about 20 minutes after the runners left. Some alpine guides I know, were saying the wind had blown away loads of trail markers and conditions meant helicopters were downed so the route couldn't be sorted, added with the snow line dropping to below 2500m, and the some of the worst sections of course for navigation being a complete whiteout.
But, Chamonix had a great atmosphere and the coffee was so good.
Come back and visit us in Europe next year!