November in Luxembourg is when the weather takes a turn for the worse and when daylight hours get sufficiently short so that it’s still dark before and after work; somewhat impacting my options for commuting and sports in general.
It was a lazy Saturday morning. Rain was pouring down. Either I’d drive to Mersch, 30 minutes away from home, and do a late sign-up for a 18km trail race; or I’d sit at home, complain about the weather and not get any run done. The weather was a concern, but if I managed to go out and “get it done” I figured I would not just train my muscles, but also strengthen my mental fortitude and reinforce a positive habit. So before I could change my mind, I assembled my running gear and got in the car.
October was a high-volume month bike month, with a renewed focus on track training. Since I don’t have endless time and energy something had to give, so I did less running.
Some people train for a competition, then once they’ve completed it once never toe that particular starting line again. I’m not like that. After competing at the Red Rock X-Challenge MTB/trail duathlon in 2016 (see my 2016 race report), I signed up for this year’s edition about one month in advance.
For some people, going up a mountain, traversing a narrow ridge and then descending over 1000m of elevation again is a day’s work. At Ring of Steall skyrace, I’d do that twice in less than 7 hours; going up and down over 2500m of elevation in the process, more than I’ve ever done in a single push.
I like traveling to new locations for races. But there’s also a certain appeal to return to a race you’ve already done, and giving it another shot. Especially if said race is in scenic Scotland.
Since I’ve written quite extensively about the race in my 2016 race report, I’ll keep the writing short(er) and let the photos speak for themselves.
In an ongoing quest to challenge myself with longer races with ever-increasing elevation gain, I figured running a half marathon with “Inferno” in its name would be a good milestone. So in August, the wife and I set off for Lauterbrunnen in Switzerland, the location of this iconic half marathon that climbs from valley floor (795m) to Alpine mountain peak (2970m).
In the week leading up to this race, I had started to fall ill. But since I had taken the weekend off from my freelance job, paid for the hotel, and mentally committed to the race as an essential stepping-stone for the rest of my 2017 season, I drove down to the Alps anyway. It’s only 11km and 1462m of height gain, so no big deal, right?
Was it wise to run the 23km du Mont-Blanc race with 1600m of elevation gain less than a day after running the Vertical Kilometer (3.8km with 1000m elevation gain), especially after not doing stellar at the VK? I didn’t know, but once more it was a challenge that would get me out of my comfort zone.
Third time’s the charm? Could the proverb be true, and was I sure to succeed at a task or event on the third try? After 2015 and 2016, I lined up at the Mont-Blanc Vertical KM in Chamonix again in 2017, intent on improving my ascent time for this race that goes up 1000m of elevation over just 3.5km of distance.