Ça va ??
How are you, everyone?
I wrote down the UTMB blog in English for my foreign friends !!
The original version in Japanese is here.
Nowadays I started new life in new place, but I don’t get used to live here because It’s so far from mountains.
I miss mountains…
I finally finished UTMB 2018!!
I’m a first finisher among our running team.
Let me share my story of the race.
Hey, Listen !!
I went to Chamonix !!
I finished UTMB !!
Before that, wait wait wait !!
You might think… “What’s UTMB ??”
Ok !! Let me introduce it.
It’s a BIG trail running race in the world, the course have an uphill and downhill 9 times, the altitude for one way will be over 1000m…
Such a very difficult race !!
I trained going up and down 3 times to Mt. 塔ノ岳 (From the entrance to the summit = totally 1200m).
It was soooo crazy training, I don’t recommend it to you, hahaha!!
By the way.
How was my record ??
It was…. “42 hours 27 minutes 42 seconds”
It was my dream to achieve Sub 40 hours, but I couldn’t…
Because I experienced something, It was a first time for me to do it in the race.
Can you guess ??
...I threw up in the middle of the race.
Let’s get started~~
【Start/Chamonix～U2/ Saint-Gervais～U3/ Les Contamines Montjoie】
Course：8km running ~ 13km uphill and downhill～10km steep uphill
8/31(Fri) 18:00 Start/Chamonix
I started at Chamonix.
First I ran 8km.
Then I went up and down by 1 mountain, but It wasn’t a mountain, It was a kind of a ski slope…
Oh no… I remembered such a bad race called 上州武尊 in Japan.
(FYI => http://hrc.blog.houyhnhnm.jp/entry/2017/09/27/175248）
8/31(Fri) 21:03 U2/ Saint-Gervais
I got to the first aid station !
“What I want to eat~~?”
when I ate meals, I saw one of Japanese girl…
I knew her.
“Are you Nabe-san ??”
She was Nabe-san.
Sometimes we competed in the same race in Japan.
I felt happy to see her here, I didn’t know she joined the race.
I also met IZU-san !
I felt that UTMB brought me such a fun time !!
There were many cheering around here. It was a great part in the race.
Cheering people wearing costumes also must have a fun time !!
And I could see one of a popular sight with our head lumps.
The head lump’s lighting illuminated until the summit.
What a beautiful view~
8/31(Fri) 22:52～23:25 U3/ Les Contamines Montjoie
I could meet my supporter at this point.
His name is ICHIRO-san.
He is Japanese who live in France.
It was a first time that I met him in the race.
So I was so happy, then I stayed here about 30 minutes… a little bit long break, hahaha !
If you want to have your supporter, pls. be careful !!
“You will take a long break like me.”
You need to have a strong heart.
I also met “Roman”.
He is French who works for a fields on earth, a company having a tour to UTMB.
Then I heard too bad news from ICHIRO-san.
Hiroshi and Issey joining CCC gave up to continue the race due to too bad weather and condition…
Please, let this be a dream...
8/31(Fri) 22:52～9/1(Sat) 10:19
【U3/ Les Contamines Montjoie～U4/ La Balme～U5/ Les Chapieux～U6/ Lac Combal～U7/ Col Checrouit Maison Vieille～U8/ Courmayeur】
Course：3 mountains uphill and downhill (1200mUP & 880mDown～960mUP & 450mDown～450mUP & 1200mDown)
8/31(Fri) 23:25 U3/ Les Contamines Montjoie
After saying good bye to ICHIRO-san I started running.
Where is next supporter’s point?
It’s so far, It will take over 47 km...
The course level was changed after passing U3/Contamines.
9/1(Sat) 2:42 summit/Refuge de la Croix du Bonhomme
I got to the summit of Refuge de la Croix du Bonhomme !!
I arrived… but It was behind 30 minutes from my estimate plan…
Oh no… maybe One of the reason is to stay long time at existing aid station.
I have to hurry up a bit.
From the top of Refuge de la Croix du Bonhomme to U5 /Les Chapieux, all downhill !!
I could run fast because I like such a night running.
9/1(Sat) 3:32～4:00 U5 / Les Chapieux
I met DAI-san when I arrived at U5 / Les Chapieux.
I met also IZU-san !
“Wow !! I feel that Japanese will do their best !! Great !!”
In the station I could charge my lamp’s battery at PETZL station.
It’s a great service to runners.
If you wanna charge it, you can pass your battery to the staff, then before starting you can pick it with powerful battery !!
I took a break time again about 30 minutes because the snacks, especially puff and chocolate bar was so yummy~
I can’t stop eating, haha !!
I also liked mini size snickers, It was useful for energy foods.
Apple gel was also great, the taste was so yummy for me. I ate it a lot in the race !
From U5/Les Chapieux to the summit/Col de la Seigne, It was a little bit long uphill because I estimated It will take 2 hours 40 minutes.
I should walk harder, however I have got a leg cramp…
I felt painful when I went up.
So I took a medicine for a leg cramp.
But It had no effect at all…
Finally I couldn’t do my best in the section.
9/1(Sat) 6:26 Summit/Col de la Seigne
I got to the summit/Col de la Seigne, I had already passed 3 mounrains in the race !
Then I entered to other countries !
When I started going down to U6/Lac Combal, someone called me.
Wow !! IZU-saaaaan !!
Why are you here now ??
When I arrived at U5, did you just leave there, right ??
Why I could catch you ??
Finally I got it.
He got “a cold-related illness” !!
Oh no~, I’m sorry to hear that !
I felt happy that you came back to be fine !!
Then It was getting blight.
Morning will come soon.
At that time I was surprised !!
Wow !! What a wonderful landscape !!
Because I couldn’t see anything in the dark.
All view are mountains !!
I could see Mont Blanc !!
I have been waiting for seeing you long time !!
I can’t believe it !!
Is it a real Mont Blanc ??
Is this not dream, isn’t It ??
I enjoyed the course with IZU-san from the summit/Col de la Seigne to U6/Lac Combal.
From U6/Lac Comball to summit/Arête du Mont-Favre, It was just a uphill.
I was very fine, but IZU-san was not good…
He followed me, but It seemed hard for him.
He seemed exhausted...
We got to the summit.
Wow~~!! What an amazing view~~ !!
Mont Blanc !!
Hey, listen !!
Let me share the coordination of his wear today !!
He wore a sexy short pants, hahaha !
He said Masato recommended it to him.
We enjoyed taking the photo a lot with Mont Blanc.
Next aid station was U8/Courmayeur.
From here to next, aaaaaaall downhill !!
Now I have an energy enough, so I can run forever, hahaha !!
However IZU-san seemed tired…
Of course I knew that because he had a cold-related sick.
He said “Pls. go ahead, I’m gonna run slowly.”
Tetsujin replayed “Why ? Let’s go together.”
( But I thought in my mind, Oh~ I wanna run, wanna run~ !)
Finally I said “Let’s meet up at Chamonix !! Good luck !!”
He said “Okay okay… I might go back to Chamonix by bus…”
He joked, haha !
At the point we said bye-bye !!
Then we started separately.
I hope he could finish safety !!
【U8/Courmayeur～U9/Refuge Bertone～U10/Refuge Bonatti～U11/ Arnouvaz～U12/La Fouly～U13/Champex-Lac】
Course : 780m Uphill～Flat course 7km+5km～770m Uphill～1380m Looooong downhill～Uphill
9/1(Sat) 10:19～11:09 U8/Courmayeur
After long downhill, next aid station was Courmayeur. Here was also a starting point for CCC.
When I was getting to be close to the statin, someone called my name !
“Ai !! Ai !! Ai !! Ai !!”
Who call me ?
What’s cheering for ??
I guessed “ I see~, It’s a kind of cheering in French.”
However It was a gift from ICHIRO-san !
He told to cheer leader, “If Japanese girl named Ai is coming here, pls. call “Ai !!”.
Wow !! What a cool present !!
In the station, the supporters could enter here.
I met ICHIRO-san again !
“Sorry for waiting for you long time ! And thanks for your gift, ICHIRO-san !!”
I arrived at the station behind 1 hour 15 minutes from my estimate time... oh no, soooo late !!
When I walked around the station, someone told me.
I turned my face to that voice, I could see Roman !
I was happy to see Roman again~
At the point I said hello to my team members by chat.
“Hello~, everyone !! I’m very fine !!!!”
Next aid station that the supporter can join was U13/Champex-Lac.
The distance was 45km...
A little bit ?? No, so far !!
What was a next course?
First I had to go up 750m !!
It was a tough uphill.
9/1(Sat) 12:45 U9/Refuge Bertone
I got to U9.
From here, the course became so flat.
Oh~, yes !! I can speed up running, yeayyyy !!
By the way, what’s today’s weather ?
It was very cold and heavy wind even noon.
I had already worn a rain suit.
“Umm… I might need to add a second wear later.”
I was getting cold…
I wore a second wear quickly.
No one seemed cold.
Why ?? I doubted that runners.
I though “they are so tough guys !”
In addition I was getting to feel sick..
I thought I might catch a clod.
I took a medicine for a stomachache soon.
“Pls. Got !! I hope I get well soon !!”
Then I ran ahead slowly.
However I still felt sick.
So I changed to walk, not run.
I felt like I’m going to throw up….
9/1 (Sat) 14:06pm I stopped completely !!
From the point I fought with my stomachache.
Some runners asked me “Are you okay ?”
They were very kind, but I couldn’t reply enough because of feeling sick…
I thought “I blocked the path ?”
I should move sideways.
But I couldn’t…
I felt like I’m going to throw up seriously !!
I threw up…
It was the first time for me to do it in the race…
When I raised my head, I saw all the panoramic view in Italy…
Amazing mountains that I can’t see in Japan
UTMB that I’ve always wanted to join
I should give up the race…
The story ended here…
I cried, then cried.
My tears didn’t stop…
Then I sent the messages to my team members.
Then I cried again…
Let’s make a refresh start !!
I had to go ahead by myself to next aid station.
Totally I stopped here over 1 hour… oh no !!
How many runners overtook me ??
( I knew after the race, 300 runners overtook me…)
I had to go ahead with my bad condition.
By the way !
I didn’t check about a time limit to next aid station.
“what time I should arrive at there ?”
Next station will be closed at 3:45pm ???
Now It’s 3:15pm !!!
If I couldn’t catch next station, I would regret !!
By the way, where am I ??
Suddenly I just focus running !!
I have to hurry up !!
I ran with my best.
After running fast I could see an aid station on the hill in 10 minutes.
Yeayyy, I was safe !
I wanted to share my story to someone.
I told Japanese runner.
I said “We was lucky to catch next station before 10 minutes of the time limit, right ?”
“What do you mean ? There are no time limit at the point.”
“What do you mean ??”
I needed to calm down, then I checked the route.
I noticed I took mistake the point on the map !!
9/1(Sat) 15:35 U10/Refuge Bonatti
Now I was getting better.
I made a comeback completely !!
Then I met IZU-san again~ !
He was surprised because I left fast from him when I said good bye in the morning.
I told him about my story.
We told a bit, then I said good bye again~
Good luck again, IZU-san !!
When I started running I could see a nice scenery around here !!
Why I don’t take a photo here ?
The wind was so heavy.
From here to next summit, I needed to traverse a trail road with no three.
The meaning is… I can’t hide anywhere.
The total weather was too bad for runners today.
The weather was getting strong windy, then getting foggy, finally rainy !!
It became the baddest weather totally !!
I felt so cold.
Maybe I experienced to feel a temperature, -10 degrees !!
(Actually an organizer guessed this temperature... so they recommended to add a cold weather kid before the race)
It was not a joke !!
If the weather was sunny, this course must be wonderful.
But now It seemed like a hard training for all runners...
That was a shame.
9/1(Sat) 18:39 Summit/Grand Col Ferret
After the hard training I finally got to the summit/Grand Col Ferret.
Oh no !! The staffs who stayed at the summit were hard !!
Finally I wore "Balaclava" because of so cold weather !
The choice was good, even if I say so myself.
From here I entered 3 countries, Switzerland !
La la la la la ho ho~
La ho ho la, la ho ho~
Clara stood up !!
(By Heidi, Girl of the Alps)
From the summit, the part was all downhill by 20km.
I heard before the race that the part was loooong downhill !!
Even though athletes also felt exhausted.
So I ran carefully.
9/1(Sat) 20:37 U12/La Fouly
I got to U12/La Fouly.
After the aid station I still should go down.
After that I went uphill a little.
I guessed that the distance will be about 2 km and will take about 30 minutes.
I went uphill, then went up, continued going up !
But I couldn’t arrive at next aid station.
I sometimes listened a cow bell’s sound close to me.
“Where is the next point?”
I was getting to feel negative.
“Is the course correct?”
“The runners in front of me made a mistake ?”
Finally I spent 3 hours and half, It was over 30 minutes from my estimate time.
I was extremely exhausted...
【U13/Champex-Lac～U14/Trient～U15/Vallorcine～U16/La Flégère～Goal /Chamonix】
Course : 3 mountains with uphill and downhill (1-gentle mountain / 2-steep mountain / 3-regular mountain) + 825m downhill
9/2(Sun) 00:05～00:56 U13/Champex-Lac
When I arrived at the aid station I couldn’t find ICHIRO-san.
I waited a bit, but he didn’t come here.
I called to him.
He said “Wow ! You were so fast ! I will go there soon.”
Because the application that can find runners guessed that I will arrive at 0:45am.
It was 0:10am.
I was in the aid station in the deep mountain with heavy wind at midnight...
I thought that “Why I’m here now ??
Why I need to continue alone ??”
Why... Why... Why...
My team members who joined CCC already gave up yesterday due to heavy wind.
You know ?? It was also bad weather today.
And more, I felt that today was worse than yesterday !!
I wanna escape because of suffering...
ICHIRO-san was beside me with smiling.
I had no motivation.
I always smiled and told a lot to him when I met him.
I didn’t say anything and sometimes I sighed deeply...
Next courses were here.
I had to go to 3 mountains.
Umm... It seemed so tough courses.
Finally I said.
“I can’t find the reason that I have to go...”
It was a heavy heavy silence...
You know ??
It was a misdirected anger !!
I took it out on him...
9/2(Sun) 00:56 U13/Champex-Lac Started running
I left here with bad weather and bad atmosphere...
In addition I had no motivation.
I felt sleepy.
I was bored about the course.
I stopped and slept while standing twice.
I ran with feeling sleepy totally.
Suddenly I tripped over from my face.
Then I ate a mud.
I sat down in the middle of the course.
After that British lady told me, then helped me.
She was so kind.
I knew her because we sometimes told in the race.
She always ran with her boyfriend.
I compared the situation between me and her.
Oh no... What a gap !!
I felt sad again...
I confused in my mind...
Why I have to continue ?
No one run now in our team members !
Why I have to try ?!
What for ??
I got in a vicious circle !!
It was a downward spiral !!
I had to go ahead with no reason because no one could help me.
I had no motivation.
Ahhh…. I cried.
Oh ? I felt painful around my face.
I skinned my face...
Then I cried again…
The course was changed uphill around here.
I had no motivation, but my legs was fine.
Umm... I needed to reduce the lost time. I had to hurry up.
The course was a great ground for running.
The width was huge.
I could overtake many runners.
I was getting have energy more !
I got to next summit by 3 hours !!
In addition I also enjoyed running downhill.
Oh ?? I was getting excited !!
I got the reason !!
I got the reason finally !!
I like a trail running !!
Trail running makes me happy !!!
I went back to the basics !!
Now I’m running in the UTMB !
I’m in the UTMB that I wanted to join !
It’s difficult to win the lottery, isn’t it ?
I finally noticed that I’m happy now !
I appreciated this meeting to the mountain because the mountain reminded me the meaning.
9/2(Sun) 05:05 U14/Trient
When I got to U14/Trient, Masa-san and ICHIRO-san waited for me.
When they came here by car, they speeded up driving fast because I ran fast in the part, hahaha !!
Especially Masa-san made a mistake to wear a down jacket, It was his wife’s because he hurried up for me, thanks !!
I laughed because he didn’t fit it, looked so tight, hahaha !!
I was fully recovered !!
ICHIRO-san smiled silently.
ICHIRO-san, I’m sorry to take it out on you at the last aid station…
It’s very important to control myself !!
How’s next mountain ?
My plan said that It will take 4 hours to next station.
But now, I can run faster !
ICHIRO-san gave me an advice.
Fuji-kun (who stayed at the same hotel. And he was the fastest guy in Japanese men in this UTMB !!)
Okay !! I will do my best !!
Let’s enjoy a time trial !!
Let’s get more motivated by myself !!
9/2(Sun) 08:09～08:36 U15/Vallorcine
I arrived within 3 hours at the station such as ICHIRO-san guessed.
Umm…. I feel so good !!
So fun !!
Finally I went to the final mountain.
Then I went ahead to Chamonix that my friends wait in !!
I sent the photo with smiling to them.
Let’s go !!
Actually If I can, I wanted to finish within 41 hours, but maybe it will be difficult….
I will do my best until the goal !!!!
The final mountain was a bit hard.
But more than that, what a very sunny day today !!
I didn’t feel tired anymore !
The final summit was skipped for bad weather by organizer.
The changed course was tough…
9/2(Sun) 11:17 U16/La Flégère
When I arrived at the aid station, I could see so beautiful sky !!
The final course to goal was just 8km all downhill !!
I sent the message with the photo to my friends.
“I will start going down to the final road!! Maybe I can got there within 1 hour !!”
Yeah !! It’s the final course !!
I wanna run all !!
I prepared to hold my sticks under my arms.
First the course was a ski slope steeply. It was a little bit difficult, but I ran !
After the road, It became an easy way to run !! I speeded up !
Many hikers cheered me !
Merci~ !! Merci~ !! Merci~ !!
I was very excited !!
Sooooo fun !!
Then someone called me, “Tetsuji—-n !!”
My eyes caught Issey !!
He was worried about me, so he looked for me at the half way !!
“Yeayyyy !! I came back !!”
We met after 2 days !!
He said “Other members will wait for you at that bridge ! I’m going to go ahead, then I will give the info. to them !
See you later !”
I arrived at the bridge.
Yes, I know !
The voice is Hiroshi !!
Wow !! I can see Ryuta !!
I also can see Fuji-kin and Kyoji-chan !!
Everyone was waiting for me.
Oh my goodness !!
Thanks for your waiting !!
I finally came back to Chamonix !!!
Now I’m not tired !!
My tiredness was totally blown off when I saw their smile :)
Their smiles energized me !
We ran together about 2 km.
All spectators cheered me.
I doubted “Am I a star ?”
In this situation, Yes !! I’m a star !!
I can’t stop smiling :)
At that time, someone called me again.
Oh ? Who call me ??
Sei-san was here...
I was super surprised and was so happy to see again such a place in Chamonix !!
(Sei-san => We ran together in Vibram Hong Kong 100km last year.)
To the final road.
I was a dream when I join UTMB...
I wanna finish with my team members joining hands each other !
My dream came true...
They made my wish come true !!
I can’t believe that I’m here now !!
If it’s a dream, let me keep on dreaming !!
9/2(Sun) 12:29pm GooooaL !!
I could achieve within 42 hours and half even though I threw up, haha !!
I actually wanted to finish within 41 hours.
But It’s okay because I could finish safely !!
My loooooong journey had done.
UTMB 2018 was the best race for me.
I think I can’t experience such an amazing goal from now on.
And I also think I can’t come here with the greatest members.
Thanks for everything, Issey, Hiroshi and Ryuta !!
Also Sei-san, Fuji-kun, Kyoko-chan and ICHIRO-san !!
I can’t thank enough to everyone !!
Thanks for these wonderful memories in Chamonix !!
As you know, after I came back from throwing up I overtook so many runners in a single spurt in the end of the race, hehehe !!
Thanks for reading such a long blog.
Have a nice day.