However, my preparation up leading to it was far from world class when it came down to my running. I had lost my motivation for running and was still training because I had to, and not because I genuinely wanted to get out there and have fun loading up on endorphins.
So when I got a phone call to do the English comment for the live TV at the UTMB, I accepted not to give up on my however so precious race number for Kima to go and have what sounded like the experience of a lifetime. It was hell of a week leading up to the event and the few days of the actual exceeded my expectations. I’m glad I made that decision.
So here I was, flying to Bozeman, MT, absolutely unfit, having lost that fire that once made me run like a demon. I thus decided to have the most enjoyable experience possible, giving up on a performance approach.
Feeling quite good early on, I figured I’d run fast while I’d have wheels and try to keep it together once that 2 hours mark would hit, turning that run into the longest one in over 3 weeks.
Well, when my wheels feel off, they did. Hard. So my journey in the pain cave started and as expected, it just wasn’t as pleasant.
Things however took an unexpected turn as I fell off the trail after I had managed to go almost all the way down on the other side of Lone Peak. My forefoot kissed a rock for a bit too long, while momentum had me getting closer to the ground.
The always so optimistic runner I am tried to carry on running a bit faster to even my balance and avoid the inevitable. These few more steps only made me gain more momentum, I dived in. Hand and head first, rolled, bounced again and again, until I hit a pine tree 10 feet below. No time to assess the damage, both my legs instantly seized up. I screamed. It stopped. I try to get myself out of that tree. My legs cramped. I screamed again. I would later realise what a trick I must have pulled off to still be alive after such a fall.
I didn’t want to use that fall as an excuse to quit, and after I covered 2 miles to pulling myself back together, got my elbow fixed by a medic on the course, I sucked up the pain and dragged myself to that finish line.
More that finishing the race, I was looking forward to seeing familiar faces and get a full body check to ensure no more damaged had been done.
I ended up being fine, with a bunch of bruises all over by legs, hand, and back. Lucky. Arnaud Tortel did take a close look at me and confirmed I’d be fine. A special Patch on the elbow and should be fine within few days.
As a guest at the Salomon House for the event, it was a privilege and a pleasure to share these moments with top athletes and most importantly getting to spend quality time with people who I considered as friends already, yet whose company hadn’t had the chance to really enjoy.
The competition ended, and it was now time for a special event. An event where chrono and competition gave place to running free and campfires, the SaloMontanaFreedomTour was about to start.