EcoTrail Paris, the power of the bretzel

EcoTrail Paris – March 16th 2019 (80km)

Race Reporter: Chheng

ECOTRAIL PARIS 2019, the power of the bretzels

Saturday, March 16th, after one year of training, it is time for the revenge.

Indeed, last year, I injuried my right knee 3 weeks before the race, I used to do cryotheapy and acqua running to reduce the pain and to stay fit. I ran slowly and had to stop at  check point 56 km because I was late by 15 mn. I felt well and could continue but at this stage, you have to arrive at the check point before the time limit because of the close of the St Cloud Park 1h later. I was happy to run 56 km with a bandage on my knee, and promised to be back next year and to be a finisher, and imagine it will be easier without injuries …

Today, when I wake up at 7 am, I feel tired because of lots of work the last 2 weeks, and may be my last track session 10 days ago, my tapering period is too short? Usually for a long distance, you have to train slowly 3 weeks before the competition, but I felt a lot of energy and was late in my training so I decided to do this session, and now I am tired!

I decide to carry my sticks even though for this trail, it is not necessary, but it helped me a lot last year, and my instinct tells me to take them.

So, at the departure, I decide to take the Expatries shirt in my backpack  for the arrival (150 g more to carry along 80 km, you can imagine the sacrifice for the club 😉).

After 15 km at 10 km/h, my legs are heavy, I use my sticks to keep the pace but I imagine it will be a hard day today.

Happily, the countryside is beautiful and the weather is sunny, compared to last year (snowy, windy, rainy, muddy)

The 1st refueling is at km 22, I am tired but with my sticks, it is ok, I am in advance of 1 hour of the time limit, last year I was just on time!

At km 35, I can not support anymore the sugar in the gel and the drink, I just remember I forgot the bretzels and dry fruits, I decide to continue slowly until the 2nd refueling at km 46. Happily, you can discuss with other runners and someone gives me a part of salted cake and another one gives me some water, that is the trail spirit.

When I realise at the last km before the 2nd refueling I have lost my advance, I try to speed up but my legs decide not, and I arrive 2 min after the time limit. At this stage, you can give up or to continue but your time will not be recorded. As I feel better after the refueling, I decide to continue and to give up at the 3rd refueling 10 km after as it is a flat part.

Now find the 7 differences :

Last year This year

I feel better during these 10 km, and I arrive 15 min before the time limit.

Last year, I arrive 15 min later and you have to stop because of the close of the St Cloud park.

I drink 4 bowls of soup (I am still not supporting drinking or eating sugar) and leave the refueling just on time to continue to the 4th refueling !

I arrive just on time before they close the park, and arrive at the last refueling just before the closing of the park.

The last portion is 12 km and flat along the Seine, and has to be done in 1 hour and half.

I wonder if I will be able to run at 8 km/h after 70 km, but as I have a good finish, I decide to do the last challenge of the day. I decide to empty my water bag and to keep only 350 ml. And I feel lighter after !

I run at 8.2 km/h to keep a margin and arrive at the Eiffel Tower at 0.57 am, 3 mn before the time limit but… the Eiffel tower has to be closed 2 min before ;(

We were 15 finishers to wait for the medals and the t-shirt of the finishers down the tower. We were sad but happy to finish on time. I wanted to take a last photo with the medal and the t-shirt Expatriés but my phone was off (8 km before the finish line according Strava ;(

In conclusion, I was happy to finish the 80 km distance, but sad to miss the official time by 2 min, and the 1st floor of the Eiffel tower in the same time…

I made some mistakes during my preparation, and have noticed all in my booklet to improve for my  next competition. It will be in June for la Diagonale des Yvelines, a 90 km trail, and I am now sure I will respect the 3 weeks tapering period and remember the bretzels…