But, first, what are all these acronyms if you are not an insider? PUSATF stands for our Pacific Association (North California and Nevada) of USA (that one is easy...) Track and Field organization (what is FFA or Federation Francaise d'Athlétisme in France). And MUT stands for Mountain and Ultra Trail. There is actually some debate about the "and" in the acronym, that is if every race in our MUT Grand Prix should be an ultra, or if we should include shorter trail distances too. Like not all ultra races have to be mountain runs (we do ultra marathons on flat roads too, or even on the track). For now, our Grand Prix included 17 ultra events in 2014 and I competed in 13 of them (finished 12, 1 in the M40-49 age group and 11 in my new M50-59 one). As I said, I'm hooked...
The great thing with our Grand Prix is that it also includes team competitions. In our Grand Prix, the top 3 runners of each team score and we have 4 team flavors: Men, Women, Mixed and Overall. It certainly helps making our sport less of an individual one and add a great social component to it.
One more acronym I used in the title: LDR for Long Distance Running. This one is interesting because the Long aspect is quite subjective: it starts with a few miles with Cross-Country (or XC) and as basically no limit on the ultra running side although we don't have 200-milers in the schedule yet and it's really hard to run more than 175 miles in 24 hours. LDR basically groups events which happen outside of a stadium, what we call "hors stade" in France. From Cross-Country on trails (rarely muddy in California though especially these past dried years), to Short Road events (e.g. 5 or 10K), Long Road ones (10-mile, half marathon, marathon) then MUT.
Last year I only ran the Championship in the Cross-Country category and placed 2nd in my age group, behind Rich Hanna. Great velocity test on the 10K distance, and on the course which is going to be used for the 2015 Cross Country National Club Championships in Golden Gate Park this December. Focusing on the MUT Grand Prix and a few Nationals (50K Road and 24-hour), I didn't make room to run any of the Road Grand Prix.
Our QuickSilver Running Club was hosting the yearly award banquet this year in Los Gatos.
- Be open to change. Change in your racing. Change in your training. And even leveraging new technologies such as compression boots, cryotherapy or our local NASA Ames Vasper facility.
- Set a standard for yourself. Raise the bar, don't just "run your age." If you moved up to a new age group, keep racing the younger folks (hmm, sounds familiar... ;-). For instance, Christine doesn't run as "a 60-year old woman" but as a Master athlete.
- Rely on a coach. Rely on someone else for nutrition and stretching guidance, and training plans, so you can remain focused on the competition.
- Embrace each competition. When asked which distance or event she prefers, Christine says that she likes every competition. From sprinting men on shorter distances, to the challenge of keeping up with the elite on the marathon. You have to live in the moment and get excited by such competition.
- Pay attention to nutrition. Christine still carbo load before a marathon race, but not much otherwise. She would skip bagels, and stay away of pastries, desserts and, of course, junk food.
- Sleep a lot. Christine takes sleep very seriously, between 8 to 10 hours a night (yikes, I need to change job... ;-). Especially to recover after a big competition or work out. If you don't sleep enough, better skip a work out.
- Run with a club. There is amazing value in getting support from club mates. Support, social ties, emulation, motivation.
Injinji.com toe socks: