For athletes that train like champions…

or everyday champions like you and me

Still one month until I toe the line at the pinnacle event of ultra-distance mountain running, and I’m already nervous (where is the vomiting emoji?).

After downloading the GPX route file and actually giving it a solid look, I suddenly felt overwhelmed. Something that has taken three years to get into, is now rushing at me at a million miles an hour, or rather, it feels like it is. With the nerves comes the utter childlike excitement.

Dreams do come true when you set your mind to it and work hard to achieve them.

It is, therefore, nearly impossible to focus on anything else going on around me, normal daily life and work just happen without me being part of it. It’s just floating by.

This illustration paints the picture of what awaits.

The GPX track (as loaded on Garmin Connect Application) says 168km with 11 748m of elevation gain (it’s advertised at 171km with 10 000m of vert). Mind you, the stats are not here nor there, I know it’s far and tough, very tough.

July has been a solid training month, first worthy month since March, before I injured my knee. The main aim of the month, other than the getting fit part, was to work on more technical trail running, to do more vert and to find my climbing legs. As I’m regularly reminded, “those mountains ain’t gonna climb themselves”.  So July had had 16 000 meters of vertical gain, over 360 kilometres of running, solid.

It included running in the Kruger to Canyon Biosphere, in the Limpopo province, during the two-day Kruger 2 Canyon Challenge stage race hosted by the friendly faces of KZN Trail Running and Lowveld Trail and the Magaliesberg mountains.

Cruising on top of a burned Magaliesberg mountains concluded the last block weekend on 85 kilometres with 4000m of vert. I now have about two weeks of hard work left, and then it’s time for taper.

The closer the race gets, the more I find my brain wandering off into what the start and the finish of this will be like. I’ve been told that the buzz of Chamonix during the week and the race are tangible, and a good mate of mine, Andre-Hugo (in his special sense of humour) told me that my brain will explode with excitement and the view of Mont Blanc.

I still can’t wrap my mind around the enormity of the task at hand, the levels of pain that will be endured, and the absolute epicness of this all.

With the training going in a positive direction I am in good spirits and high hopes that the outcome of this journey will be great. Perhaps not as spectacular as I had once hoped but a life-changing great event.

The enchantment of UTMB® and Chamonix awaits and I bid you adieu and with all fingers and toes crossed, we will meet again after Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc to share my experience.

“Running is nothing more than a series of arguments between the part of your brain that wants to stop and the part that wants to keep going”- Unknown.

I will not stop!