Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Tor Des Geants 2013- Here we come!

Tor Des Geants course


Finally I made it through a lottery and have the start of a plan for running in 2013.  Yes I've already run 2 races this year but those were more like early season play days in the warm temps of Texas.  Now it's time to think about training for a real challenge.  The Tor Des Geants which occurs in September runs through the Italian Alps for 330K (approx. 208 miles) and has about 79,000 feet of climbing.  One of the biggest challenges can be the weather.  It's not  uncommon to find snow in the higher elevations and mudslides in the lower elevations and many other challenges along the way.  I know that all too well from running the Ultra Trail Du Mont-Blanc in 2011.  But this year, Kristin and I will be attempting to finish this challenge, which they give you 150 hours to complete, sleeping is optional.  And no, this is not a stage race but it starts when it starts and finishes when you cross the finish line.  Click here for more info on the Tor Des Geants.

For the last 2 months since the Rocky Raccoon 100, I've taken it quite easy, running without a plan and just for fun.  Now I need to focus on building up those miles again and with mountain runs every week.  Luckily we have some hill to train on, the Green Mountains of Vermont.  Not quite the Alps but certainly they provide some good steep ups and downs.  The bi-weekly runs up Camel's Hump have been great with nicely snow packed trails, perfect for the microspikes!  And of course the long, slow training runs on the back dirt roads until the trails clear out of snow and mud.  I've slipped in a couple of fast road races like the New Bedford Half Marathon, always an early season test of one's fitness and the GMAA 10k Sap Run.

Gabby looked like this
I thought after spending a lot of time with Kristin's dogs I would be much better with other dogs when they chase me.  And for the most that's been the case.  But not always.  Recently on a long run with Kristin, we encountered an unleashed Bernese Mountain Dog, "Gabby".  She probably weighs as much as me, maybe more.  On the surface she looks like a big puff ball but she has an attitude some days and on this particular day, she was downright aggressive.  We first came upon her at an intersection but headed in the opposite direction.  Still she wanted a piece of us.  She got close enough to Kristin's right cheek as she could feel her breath upon her as the owner called out to no avail.  Soon we were out of reach but I knew we would most likely catch up to her after we turned around and started our tempo run.  We ran about a half mile out and then turned to do the workout.  We had 2 miles to go and Gabby lived about a half mile away.  Gabby came out to greet us in full force.  I thought I would try to chat with Gabby.  Meanwhile Kristin high tailed it in the opposite direction.  Gabby was ready to eat me with teeth showing and an attitude.  I backtracked only to trip on my own feet and landed on my butt fearing that Gabby would pounce on me while down.  Luckily she didn't.  After much talk, Gabby finally went home and we proceeded with the rest of the tempo run.

Upcoming Races and the Plan:  Still in the works but I know I have to get in numerous 50 and 100 mile races to prep for Tor Des Geants.  I will be running the Don't Run Boston 50 mile in mid April and the North Face 50 mile at Bear in May.  There are a number of options for 100's later in June and July but I haven't decided yet where to go.  The Key Bank Vermont City Marathon in late May will also be on the schedule but not sure if I will race it or pace it and won't know until the start of the race.

Other Notable Races and Causes:

The Boston Marathon and the Dick Beardsley Foundation.  Please help Kristin raise funds for the Dick Beardsley Foundation!  Help raise awareness, we can break through chemical dependency.  Kristin is running Boston this year and is raising funds for this great cause.  You can donate through First Giving

Fellowship of the Wheel:  The Fellowship has an awesome trail network throughout Chittenden County for bikers and runners.  Your donation helps build and preserve some of our great trails.

If you want to see a fun new source for New England trail running look at Far North Endurance.

That's it for now.  More training and races to come :)

The winners in life think constantly in terms of
I can, I will, and I am.
Losers, on the other hand,
concentrate their waking thoughts on
what they should have or would have done, or what they can't do.


Anonymous said...

Hi Jack,
just want to warn you : once you participate ... you're hooked!

I'll be happy to share the TDG trails with you this year, even though I'm a much slower competitor!

One advice: skip the first life base and treat it like a big refuel station. The race really starts in Donnas as the part between Donnas and Gressoney sees most people give up/end outside of time barriers.

Here's my somewhat erratic race report from last year :

"Dal Tor des Geants, non si esce"
"You never leave the Tor des Geants"
See you soon!

Mike L. said...

Jack, it's mid summer..update on where your training is for the "Tor Des Geants"? heard something about a tree stump tripping you?

dmitry@sg said...

One advice...do not believe to elevation profile :) after finishing first section and looking on elevation profile I noticed long decent into Donnas :) I was happy in anticipation of relaxing downhill cruising into next life base.. It happened to be a hellish trail :)