I ran Le Grand Duc one time before when we lived there – in a relay of 5 with guys from our church. It was an amazing experience – my first real trail race. This year I was too late to get on a team to run as a relay, however this year they introduced the “moyen duc” which is just over half the distance.
One thing that I was really, really looking forward to while we were in France this past summer was running a trail race in the Alps. Le Grand Duc is a 80+km trail race through the mountains, the route changes every year, but it’s in some of the most amazingly beautiful Alpine scenery that you could imagine.
That meant a race of ~48km and 3000m of elevation gain. That’s a bit more than a marathon on top of over 3km of climbing up. That’s a lot.
I knew that it would be tough, and had been training quite a bit. The Moyen Duc meant running the first three of the 5 stages.
The first stage was about 18km – but the first 10k were the killer. From the starting line, we ran about 500 m or so – and then -boom. Side of a mountain. About 1km of elevation gain right from the start. It felt like it was just straight up for a LONG time.
Long story short…
I utterly failed.
I came into the transition from stage 1 to 2 feeling surprisingly good. I had kept a good pace, made it through the hardest climbing, and felt strong.
I threw up about 5k into the second leg. (for the life of me I don’t know why. This seems to be ‘a thing’ I do – if I run more than 2 hours or so-seems to be connected to how much sugary-drinks I have…honestly I can’t really figure out the cause) From there my energy just dropped.
It’s REALLY hard to stay hydrated and keep your energy up when you are literally tossing both those things onto the ground on the side of the trail. I was able to finish off the rest of that leg…but that was it. I debated starting the next leg…so that I could just FINISH -to do what I said I was going to do. But that next leg was another 20km – essentially right over a fairly high mountain. There is literally nothing between the village where that leg starts, and the village where it ends – meaning that if my body completely gives out halfway – I’m 10km from anything in any direction. Probably not an ideal situation. I really wanted to try – but I just couldn’t. It was hard…but I had to abandon the race.
On the plus side – it was a beautiful day – I ran through some amazing places. Since the relay team of guys from our old church was running, there were lots of people we knew there. Plus it’s hard to beat a beautiful sunny day in the Alps….well, I guess not puking would have beat it but still…
However – it’s also hard to beat having the undying support, and love of my amazing family….that makes everything else seem incredibly insignificant
So there is my failed attempt at le Grand Duc (yes- actually just le Moyen Duc