During the week when the UTMB races take place in Chamonix, it looks and feels like one big party of the world’s trail running community.
My 2014 attempt at the full +160KM distance of the UTMB, from Chamonix to Courmayeur and back via Champex to Chamonix, failed when I didn’t meet the cut-off time at the halfway point in Courmayeur. From my previous experience, running the shorter “CCC”, I knew that the cut-off times are tight for slower runners like me.
Two years earlier, I ran the shorter 100 KM (CCC = Chamonix-Courmayeur-Chamonix) version of this race in miserable, rainy, snowy and cold conditions:
Barely making the cut-off at one of the last aid stations but being able to pick up my pace towards the finish in Chamonix, I blamed the poor weather and trail conditions for my slow average pace. And so I was hopeful that I can beat the cut-offs at the UTMB in 2014.
Whenever I focus on cut-off times, I don’t take time to properly nourish myself in order to save time at aid stations. I don’t enjoy the scenery. Running gets stressful. I have more and more negative feelings. Not making the cut-off becomes self-fulfilling. Finally, DNF. I have had this experience a few times at the Eiger Ultra Trail, UTMB and Leadville 100.
Conclusion: I will no longer check my GPS watch but make sure that I take in more calories and ignore the cut-off times.