Speaking of loops, this past weekend I ran an eight hour endurance race, the Backyard Classic. It was a 3.25 mile trail loop that reminded me of a giant rond point (traffic circle or roundabout).
J’ai une ampoule, une grande ampoule. I have a blister, a big blister.
The goal of the race was to complete as many loops as you could in eight hours. I’d consider the trail moderate to hard. Each 3.25 mile loop consisted of two technical sections, two decent hills and two water crossings. The remainder was a mostly uphill meadow like trail with little shade. Sounds fun huh?
“Nineteen.” “There are nineteen rond points from mom’s house to the super marche, two of which are doubles.” My husband said sarcastically from the back seat.
It doesn’t sound like a huge number, until you consider how close le super marché / the supermarket actually is à la maison / to the house (4 kilometers or about 2.48 miles).
Over the years, across France, I’ve seen the gradual conversion of four way stops into rond points. When I see a four way stop in France these days, to me, it appears out of place. The four way stop no longer seems to belong or to even fit into the French landscape. Traffic is halted at these seemingly archaic stops and you can sense the frustration as drivers are slowed on their commutes in their charming, energy efficient voitures / cars and scooters. But come on already nineteen of them over 2.48 miles.
This year as we vacationed, I paid extra attention to the theme of each major rond point. I noticed how each town tried to represent the flavor of their community to the visitor. Often highlighting historical aspects associated with the area. In the center of the larger roundabouts you might find une ancre, un bateau ou un mémorial de guerre / an anchor, a ship, or a war memorial. Each one carefully crafted to represent the area and the people. Some are weird, some are cool, some are relevant, and some are confusing.
Home now in the U.S., I miss the way we whipped around the rond point. I miss the dance of cars between lanes. I miss the way the cars flowed in and out of the rond point. I miss the rhythmic movement. I miss it all so much that last week, I found myself doing a few loops around the lone traffic circle in my town.
Back to the 3.25 mile trail loop and 8 hour endurance race.
How did I do? I realized my personal goal of 8 loops (in 6 hours and 21 minutes) for a total of 26 trail miles. After 16 water crossings, my toes were extrêmement / extremely blistered.
I elected to stop with 1.5 hours to go. Of course now I have remorse as I feel I should have made one more pass through the giant rond point. I had enough time for another loop.
Did I give up or did I make the right decision? In the grand scheme of today’s world – does it really matter? Running is not life or death. This was a gathering of like minded individuals out to challenge their minds and bodies. But the things that will drive a person crazy…
As this was not my 2017 focus race, I convinced myself during the 8th lap that it was okay to stop. My knees held up and I did not hit the famous reputed WALL. I made the smart decision, and although I wish I had done the 9th loop (just cuz), I know I made the right choice in stopping. My 50 mile race is in November and I have a long way to go to get there – risking injury was not an option.
Mais, c’était une bonne journée. Le soleil était brillant! Et maintenant, j’ai une grande ampoule. Fantastique!
What did I learn: Foot health is très important / very important (blisters will take you down). I’ll need to get actual trail shoes, and to find better socks. I also need to do more long runs on the weekends.
My nutrition plan was sufficient but as much fluid as I took in, I didn’t use the bathroom from 8 a.m. till about 6 p.m. Probably need to consume more fliuids.
As far as practicing my French: HAH – that didn’t go at all as planned. I had designated a theme for each loop. However, on the first loop I tried to count my steps in French and I couldn’t remember the difference between treize / thirteen and trente / thirty. Brain fog.
During the second loop I tried to run through the basic French greetings dans ma tête, but found myself dazed and confused.
Sadly, loops 3 – 8 contained no French.
Sérieusement / Seriosuly, I think I made the right choice stopping at 8 loops. I hope I’ll have the mental fortitude needed to push through the 50 miler.
Ne panique pas – Reste forte! / Don’t panic – Stay strong!
Hand painted medals – each one was different. Several different artists painted them. Very unique.