Ultra Trail Mont Blanc Wow what an experience

The only way to sum up everything about this race and my experience was MAGICAL. From being excepted into the race, to lining up at the start line, to having the best support person my wonderful husband, to the countryside you run through and finally the finish line and all the spectators that cheer you on…………. Oh yes and I must add to actually make it to the finish line in the cut off times is a challenge in itself.

I was so nervous about doing this race for many reason, one I was fairly new at Ultras, two I had never done a 100miler let alone 168km of over 9000metres of ascends and the same of descends and I had been told by many only about 65% get through and the organises are very strict with the cut offs…

When I stood at the start line I was shaking I was so nervous and felt way out of my league but here I was a crazy Aussie trying to fulfil her dream to finish this race. My only goal was just that to FINISH To make every cut off,  to get in and out of the check points in plenty of time and to cross that finish line without being withdrawn.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The music was playing and I nervously said goodbye to Col I could feel myself getting teary but as always Col has the right words to say ….. And away I went with the 2500++ runners I was crammed in at the back so it took some time to get into any sort of my own pace…

It wasn’t long before we were climbing up and up and up and yes that went on for hours and hours at times…. I was so glad Andy my coach had me in training doing hill repeats and practicing walking fast up hills and running down over and over again … Oh yes I could now see why…. The hills are relentless but the bonus the scenery was spectacular…. I was taking it all in how lucky was I to be part of this event…..

17109606

When I met Col at the first supporters area it was crazy busy and both of us had no idea how this all worked but it wasn’t long before Col had himself sorted on and of buses getting to the supporter areas in time, finding a space and setting up ready for me to restock up on whatever I needed. For 45 hours he also was on call. He would text me and tell me when he was at the next supporters area and how long I had to the cut off time… it took us awhile but we finally were ticking along both with our different challengers but together a great team…

A couple of times I came close to the cut off…but Col had me in and out those check points each time quickly and I would push through to the next always making sure I had increased that time eventually making up to an hour ahead of the cut off…

Unfortunately for me I had been sick on each high pass I believe it was altitude sickness and I couldn’t keep anything down but as I came to the lower points I would try to nibble away again at food. I got to the point the only thing I could keep down by the second half of the race was miso soup so Col had it ready at every checkpoint.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I was past exhausted as I went into the second night without any sleep….(the race starts at 4.30pm in the afternoon making the first night at the start of the race) … the funniest thing I remember was coming up to a pass and a guy at the top says “welcome to Italy” and scans the barcode on my race bib… I had Goosebumps and it wasn’t from the freezing cold wind….. How awesome was this I get to go through three countries in one race…

France, Italy Switzerland and then back into France and that I did… ….45hours no sleep, hallucinations, vomiting and on very little food I pounded my way down the finally agonising descend into the streets of Chamonix in France.

The feeling was overwhelming how I ran at that point I have no idea the streets were full of spectators and supporters…. And there was Col with the video camera as I came around the final corner to the finish line…..

1000361_10200428514571958_2087018447_n

He ran behind me and we finish the final 300metres together I was in tears it was so emotional….

1235193_10200428524452205_138970585_n

I even stopped just on the finish line and didn’t cross over for 10 minutes as I was hugging him and shocked I had actually completed UTMB… and as they say a “FINISHER”…. WOOT HOOO I had dreamed big, real big and at that moment you could not take the smile of my face…

1240556_10200428525892241_1665857282_n

In amongst the crowd and back at home were friends, family and my coach …. I had kept them all in suspense as to whether I was going to make those cut offs and get through but they all supported me and I hadn’t let them down perhaps they all believed in me more than I believed in myself …. What a wonderful wonderful moment in time…  Sandy

 1234438_10200428522612159_1790197466_n