Monday, April 29, 2013

Gore-Tex Transalpine Run 2013 - The Same but Different

Although this will be my third consecutive return to the Alps to participate in the Gore-Tex Translalpine Run this fall, in many regards it feels like it is my first time :)

For starters, I have partnered up with my husband this year.  In the last two years my husband and son have played a very large role in crew support, driving all over Europe to meet us at aid stations and finish lines.  Cleaning my laundry.  Escorting our bags and pretty much assisting us in any and every way we needed during the race.  This year, Trent will get to enjoy the Alps in a totally different way as he gets to run thru it.  We have done two other stage races together.  One was in 2005 (Raid Thai - 5 day trail running race in Thailand) and 2010 (BC Bike Race - 8 day MTB race on Vancouver Island/Sunshine Coast), so it has been awhile since we have teamed up and I am really excited about it.

The 2013 route is also different.  TAR actually alternates between Western and Eastern routes every year.  Not only that but they change some of the stage towns and course.  So although I am returning to run the West route this year, there are at least 6 new stages and/or stage towns I have never seen or experienced.

St. Anton, Austria will be our 3rd hosting town.  This small community was the host of the Alpine World Ski Champions in 2001.
Lech am Alberg, Austria will be our 2nd hosting town. One of the world's premier ski destinations and the home of a number of world and Olympic ski champions.  Oh, and the mountain holiday in the movie Bridget Jones' Diary 2 was shot in Lech.
FEW COMPARISONS:  In 2011 the course went thru 4 countries, 270km, 50,000 feet and maxed out in elevation at 10,000feet.  In 2012 the route went through 3 countries, 320km, 50,000 feet and maxed out around 9.000 feet.  2012 was said to be the hardest route in the history of the race with a drop out rate of approx. 50%.  I finished 2012 as a solo runner (although I had my friends from Alberta out there with me) after my partner had to drop out during stage 4 due to unforeseen circumstances.  The 2013 route will once again hit Switzerland (4 countries) for a total of 250km and 52,000 feet. 

Scuol Switzerland - our 5th stage town in the heart of the Swiss Alps
"This year marks the 8th race since they started this race in 2005 and it is one of the greatest challenges for mountain and trail runners.  It has a reputation of an internationally staffed, highly professional and emotional event for all participants. The route leads up to 3000 meters high mountain passes and through beautiful valleys across the main Alpine ridge."
Another really great enhancement to this year is that I have the opportunity and honor to coach a group of 10 athletes from Kelowna as they journey towards the race this year.  It is great to have such a tight knit group to train with and travel with this year.  For me, it is about so much more than just my race this year...   It is about my involvement to get these athletes trained and prepared for the daunting (but epic) task they have in-front of them... only a short 120'sh days away.  I feel very fortunate.
My sponsors have stepped up in a huge way again this year too.  Western Financial has returned as my main sponsor in terms of this race, as well as True Outdoors.  Both of these local companies are passionate about supporting local athletes, charities and giving back to their community.  Returning for my third time wouldn't have been possible without their support.

Kelowna Cycle has been supporting me and P.A.C.E. for many years.  I love being associated with this local bike shop.  They too care about the community, charities and are also passionate about helping people stay healthy and enjoy cycling. 
Trent and I cycling on the Washington Pass

Udos Oil has also returned for my 3rd season and it is with their help and variety of their products and supplements that help me stay healthy, in tip top shape and enhance my performance and recovery.

A new sponsor for me this year is Salomon.  I feel very honored to be part of the Salomon Team and I am excited to represent a brand who's values I support and embody myself.  "This company was born in the French Alps in 1947 and continues to carry the passion for the mountains into all their products and mountain sports."  Salomon has a real team feel and I am excited to hopefully meet and run with some of my fellow team mates this year.

In terms of my training, I have changed things up a bit this year and put more ultras into my calendar leading up to TAR.  Trent and I are also taking the TAR crew to Lake Louise for a training weekend and Trent and I are plan on hitting the road for some training in the mountains this summer.  The most important thing for me is that my training keeps me happy and healthy.  I am very lucky to coach athletes and have such a diversity of amazing people to run with here in Kelowna.  When I look back at my year, I want my stories to be about more than just stats.  I want to make memories filled with people, adventure and fun and focus on getting to TAR injury free so I can maximize my experience in the Alps once again.


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