Wednesday, May 23

Sharing an Interview of UTMF 2012 Finisher

Name: Nora Senn
Event: UTMF 156km Trail Run

1) How did you prepare for the race?

"I intensified my core and strength training. I went on a few longer runs but in general I tried not to train more than usual as I was concerned about getting injured before the race. I made sure I had suitable gear: good headlamps, comfortable warm running clothes, enough fuel (my favorite is Sustained Energy from Hammer Nutrition), etc"

2) How many Ultras have you done now? Are they just becoming all the same?

"I had done three 100km races and a few 50km ones but never more than 100km. To be honest, I was scared of this race. I don’t think any of these races will ever be the same. They are not just races, they are experiences that I will never forget. This one was very special for me. Loving the hills, it was so special to run around a volcano like Mt. Fuji with his snow cap.

I met so many amazing people, our amazing hosts the Adventure Diva Team, all the other athletes, famous ones and first-timers, the race directors of both UTMF and UTMB etc. Seeing all the enthusiasm and the passion for trail running in everybody’s eyes, still moves me days after the race. The friends that I made during these days will always pop up in my mind when I run the trails and I will hopefully see many of them again in other races"

3) How does your body deal with running over 100km?
"Of course I got tired and the coffee in the morning after a night of running was delicious as never before, but it is amazing how much a human body can endure.

Yes, I had blisters and my ankle hurt like hell, my shoulders were tight from carrying the backpack, my chest hurt from the chest strap of the backpack and I had bruises from a small fall on my arm which hurt every time when my Road ID band touched it.

After kilometer 100 I had to slow down to walking because of my ankle and I was considering giving up. I ran out of water for about 4 hours during the long difficult section and I knew it was critical when I started seeing cows in the woods where there were absolutely none. But hey, I was still moving, doing a good time and was third female so far. What right did I have to give up, while so many runners were still behind me and fighting??? So I kept going"

4) Did everything go as planned for the race?

"I didn’t really know what to expect and what would happen after 100km. I guess most of it worked out well. I had the right gear for the cold night, my decisions on what to put in which drop bag worked well, I had my poles, spare headlamps, garmin etc. at the right checkpoints, my stomach was fine…

Twice I ran out of water for about 10km, which was not supposed to happen and needs to be avoided by all means for future races. 

Having said that, walking from kilometer 100 to the end (which took me 13 hours) because of my ankle certainly was the most painful experience ever and was not in my plan"

5) What do you think about when you’re out there?

"I thought a lot about my friends. I decided that I dedicate one kilometer to each of my friends who have shared my life with me. So for the time of a kilometer I thought about a specific friend, what we experienced together, what makes this friend so special for me, what I would want to tell him/her next time I see him/her etc"

6) Any tips for someone wanting to do a race over 50km

"Be prepared to be flexible, adapt to different circumstances. Many difficulties will pop up and the ones who can deal with these difficulties will manage to continue.

Your tested nutrition might not work, your shoes might give you blisters where you never had them before, etc. 

Anything can happen but it doesn’t have to stop you. It’s up to you to deal with it.

Another important point is pacing. It doesn’t matter if everybody runs up a hill and passes you. It is your race and you need energy for the whole distance. Run your own race and don’t let others influence your pace"

7) What races are you planning for the rest of the year?

"In the last part of UTMF while I was shuffling at snail pace, cursing every additional uphill or downhill, I was promising myself that I will never ever do this again.

But the human brain is amazing in forgetting pain and less than 24 hours later on the stage during the award ceremony I promised the race director of UTMB that I will be in Chamonix in August.

This year, I will focus on a few but special races. I will do UTMB and then maybe Challenge Wilson Raleigh and Trailwalker. In between I will just go out on some long runs in my favorite hills of Hong Kong with some good friend"

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