The TNF Endurance Challenge 50 miles in San Francisco has been much more than the last race of my 2013 season.
To begin with, it was my first race as a New Balance athlete, and thus first fitness test after 5 weeks of specific training with my new coach to have a preview of what 2014 could offer.
It was also my last chance to race against what was arguably the most stacked filed of ultra runners this year, on a course that would be challenging for me (very fast and non technical). I wanted to prove myself that my 8th place at the Ultra Skyrunning World Series (UROC in Colorado) this past september wasn’t an accident.
It was also a field test to launch a new very exciting web service – Twiinkly – on what I have been working on for about a month with a good friend of mine. More on that later.
Last but perhaps the most important part, having a chance to catch up once again with many of my ultra running friends from around the world. Sure I’m in touch with them through Facebook and Twitter but nothing compares a good old chat over coffee or lunch, at a local running store or even during the race itself. I am extremely lucky to call most of these ultra running mutants my friends, who with no exception whatsoever are also men and women with big hearts.
This is pretty much all what I was looking forward to as I left Lyon Airport on December 3rd for a short week in San Francisco. Only after I made it back to the place I call home though, I realized that I had once again created such a busy schedule for myself that I would hardly have any time to chill. Proper Martin GAFFURI style. Stupid.
Looking at this past week, I could say that I didn’t manage to catch up with all the friends I wanted to, didn’t launch the service I wanted to have online by now, didn’t place top 10 in the race as I secretly wanted to, and I feel like I should have spent way more time with my better half.
But that’s how I am, I have never been able to settle for average. I always thrive for exceptional, outstanding, extra ordinary, whether it’s in my personal life, professional life or as a runner, where the lines in between each are getting more and more blurry. I can’t help trying to make the best out of everything I do, or feel bad doing nothing. Problem is, I happen to do a lot of things and only push a few to full completion.
However, looking at these semi failures from a different angle, I see that they are just the consequences of high goals I had set for myself. Risking to miss a goal that was set too high is precisely what really matters to me and makes me happy on a daily basis. Taking the chance to make excellent happen (glad I got that one in!). Whether the outcome is a success or not, it doesn’t matter that much in the end, because with the right attitude, you win every time.
Reach it and it’s an obvious victory. Fail and learn, and you have a life experience.
And for that life experience, I would like to thank all the ultra running peeps I had a good laugh with, Greg and the Salomon boyz for their welcoming attitude, Monica and Dominic from New Balance who respectively geared me up and paced me for the race, San Francisco Running Company for being the central place to be and making it easier to catch up with friends, my coach for the obvious quality of his training plan and pre race psychological support, and finally Lisa without who none of that would have happened.
So I have decided to only look at things the better way. I did catch up with most of the friends I feel more than ever part of that global ultra running family, got to make business contacts about Twiinkly and already got few people on board, I still had a pretty awesome race : felt great the whole time and learned a few more things, and I the very short moments I have spent being in the moment with my girl have been the most meaningful of all and we created new memories that will keep my heart happy for the next few month.
But for now, I will allocate time to take a proper break, from running as well as from work, so I can fully enjoy the company of the ones I have left behind during this busy year, my own crazy family.
Happy holiday, merry Xmas to ya’ll !
Instead of a detailed race report, a few shots will be much more meaningful :
On the Out&Back by San Francisco Running Company
On the course, by Dom:
FINISH (Photos : Twiinkly.com)