Friday, August 02, 2019

Race Report: Aigle to Leysin 2019

Before Aigle to Leysin

Subtitle: Good times

 The team namely Marcus, Agata, Sandra and Dax the dog had to get up at 05.30 on August 1st 2019 in preparation for the 

Aigle to Leysin Mountain Half marathon

Although we are talking Switzerland in August and hence 99%+ probability of fantastic weather this course also involves of +1650m ascent and -800 descent.  That is a lot!

With no mountain running training at all this year of 2019 Marcus and Agata were a little apprehensive.  But we did try the Samoens Trail ultra only a month or so ago, and that was with no mountain training either.  And this race is just a Half marathon.  Surely going to be easy!

 We made good time on the pothole free roads arriving over an hour early to the start.  We picked up our Dossards and then let Sandra go with the car and the dog.   Since this is a one way race  Aigle to Leysin, she will meet us in Leysin.  This means we won't have to get the bus back as in previous years

Previous Years
This is the famous race on which Marcus previously 'bonked'.  I had a problem at the end last time I ran this, in 2012 I think, and Agata had to rescue me and run with me to the finish.  A thermal running top in hot temperatures was diagnosed as the cause.  Today I'd be wearing longs to protect me from the sun  (skin condition) but as thin as possible to keep temperatures down.  And definitely no thermals.

Previous years had us at time of between 03.10 and 03.20.  We expected something longer as we are older and have had no mountain acclimatisation.


The Route

Believe me the race profile was not as shown!  Firstly they changed the course,  Agata realised, Marcus did not.  The run thru the town was cancelled and the start actually basically went almost straight into vertical ascent mode.

And it was bloody steep!

There was absolutely no chance to run after about km2 it was at least 15% ascent IMHO.   Everybody was walking with either poles or by placing hands on quads to push you up the mountain more easily.

I was really shocked at the gradient but just kept thinking if those around can manage it, I will try too.

My ankles got very tight within km8 and felt like they might snap or something horrible but I kept going

At almost all times the path was wide.  The only sandwich was before km3 and that was brief indeed.  So there was no opportunity for Marcus to run past walkers shouting "Run don't walk" and in this case no opportunity at all since with the gradient and fitness level I was walking too

Not as per map there were actually quite a few downhill sections and I ran every single one of them.  I was appalled at my walking up mountain pace and was trying desperately to up the average speed.

After km10 a new problem occurred.  Some paths were very technical and despite my nimble Salomon SLAB shoes I found myself tripping every time I tried to run.  I think I was just exhausted, plain and simple.  Not good.

When I have times like this it reminds me 100% that eating crap food leads to additional weight and unhealthiness.  Stop eating that and my fitness and competitiveness will improve. 
Motivation through failure!

From km15 onward we were on a downhill.  I thought there must be another climb because I thought it did not start down until about km18.  I was wrong.

I just started to sprint.   I caught up quite a few people even on the descents, and Marcus is only mediocre on them.

i was mindful that Agata who I edged away from earlier would be descending much faster than I.  I expected to see her come flying past at any moment.

 Marcus got to the finish lime in 02.38 (8th in Age) and Agata in 02.46  (4th in Age).  Absolutely brilliant results for us considering we've not Swiss mountain run in over 12 months.  We think we are capable of much better!

 Agata always looks so good as she crosses a finish line!

 We were tired but not as much as some.  Next stop was the Swimming pool where we are allowed to use the showers to freshen up and we did!

Goodbye Leysin for now.  We would like to return next year and try harder.  But for now an end to a great day.
Thanks to Sandra for Dog and Chauffeur services, to the Race organisers for top quality refreshments and signage and to Switzerland for its usual brilliant weather.

Race Report: Aigle to Leysin 2019