samedi 30 juin 2018

Race Report - 8th Utsukushigahara Trail Run

2018 June 30 (Saturday)
79km 4000m+

Last year I registered to this race because I was told that the course was beautiful. It rained, the course was changed and all we could see was forest and mud. So I registered again this year hoping we could see the real course. Luckily, we could. Very nice course. Tougher and more technical than I thought, especially the first half. At the beginning we were in the clouds so we could not see the view, but the path was nice and it was still fresh as we started at 4am. But then, we went down in the valley and simultaneously the clouds retired and we entered the sauna.
I started fast for the first 400m, and when I saw that it was not so crowded around so I just kept going at the same pace as other people around me and there was no congestion when we arrived at the single track after 3.5km of large ski slope. Then I kept a comfortable pace in the single track.

It didn't prevent me to have some low points later. First one was in the looong forest road in the first part of the second half, which go slightly up forever until we rich the higher lands again. It's 10km from 45k to 55k. My breath was short. I walked more than I ran in this part though it was a quite runnable slope. I thought that the second haft was going to be very long. But at the end of this section, the second women, Kaori Asada, passed me (I thought she was the first but it seems that Yumiko Oishi was the first though I didn't notice when she passed me). I told her "Oh, same as Hiyeizan! You passed me there too at about 40k". She was the only women to finished the very severe 50miles at Hieizan earlier this year. This time I tried to follow here. Surprisingly, I could. And I did it during the next 20k. Well, sometimes, I took the lead, but most of the time she was ahead.

But then, as a well tuned clock, when 10h of race approached, my stomach said stop. I think my kidney was not happy too, though I can't tell for sure if the pain in that area really comes from my kidney or if it's just muscle pain, which would be better. Anyway, I had to definitively leave Asahara san run away, and prepared myself for a familiar end of race agony. The last wall was particularly hard on me. At a moment I rested against a big rock and when I started again, I felt dizzy and I had to sit down for a moment. So I walked most of the last 10k, even the last 3.5k of downhill where finally 3 other runners of the 80k passed me. I was surprised there were only 3. It probably cost me the third place in my category for ~1min.

Finally I ended up 20th/555 male, 22th/629 overall and 4th in my category. Still improving, but at what cost! I feel those long races are not good for my health and not so fun anymore, at least if I try to be competitive. But doing race at low pace doesn't appeal me much. I can do this during training. So I think I'm going to reduce again the distances and to content myself with things I'm more adapted to: less then 6h races. Maybe ~10h once in a while.

Thanks to Satohi, Yoshie and Chih for the good company. We all finished the race and Satohi was first in her age group. Congratulations and thanks for the drive Satohi!

Starters: 555 men and 74 women
Finishers: 271 men (49%) and 31 women (42%)
Starters: 68 men and 2 women
Finishers: 23 men (34%) and no women
Starters: 290 men and 82 women
Finishers: 245 men (85%) and 76 women (93%)
Starters: 186 men and 78 women
Finishers: 183 men (98%) and 74 women (95%)