Thursday, December 17, 2015

Late November I received an unexpected email:

Dear Thomas,

Entries for La Ultra - The High 2016 (7th edition) are now open, and you are invited ! World's cruelest race takes place in the mighty Himalayas of Ladakh, India. 7th edition is scheduled for August 11, 2016

What makes this race cruel ? 
    • 50 % oxygen of sea level.
    • Three 17,500 ft high mountain passes. 
    • 40 degree C HOT to minus 12 C COLD in 6-7 hours
For more on race, previous editions & registrations check our website - 

I took my time responding because I really needed to think this through first. Niamh did not want me to go because she wants me to come home alive but then again she had the exact same reservations about the Spartathlon and that worked out very well (she wants to go again!). However, running this race would rule out a 24 hours race in June/July and/or the Spartathlon, which quite possibly could impact my chances of running in the next world championships, so eventually I sent my regrets.

Ever since pressing that "send" button I cannot shake the feeling that I'm that idiot who just refused the offer of a lifetime!

Anyway, training goes on. After the last, extended weekend training I'm still feeling a bit tired, which means I'm very close to the edge and need to be a bit careful. My right calf was very tight after Tuesday's 10 mile run and I did wonder if running 15 miles on Wednesday was a great idea and would I be better served by some extra sleep? In the end I hated the thought of pulling back more than I worried about overtraining so went ahead. The calf felt perfectly fine but I'm still a bit tired. I did a 10 mile run on Thursday with a Kenyan fartlek (Kenyan in structure, not pace - ok, ok, I've been saying that every week, I know) because I think it's an easy way to get the legs moving fast without overworking them but I'll definitely take it easier on Friday and will assess over the weekend if I need to pull back.

Another lesson I'm only now starting to understand is how important it is to remove negativity from your environment. It really can be exceptionally draining.
15 Dec
10 miles, 1:16:43, 7:39 pace, HR 143
16 Dec
15 miles, 1:54:14, 7:37 pace, HR 147
17 Dec
10 miles, 1:18:30, 7:50 pace, HR 146
   Kenyan fartlek


  1. So true about the importance of removing negativity from our environment...

  2. Oh boy the "La Ultra" looks like another whole step up. I don't recall you doing a multi-day before. Can't imagine many roads up those mountain passes. You'd would need lots of race specific prep for a monster like this race. Acclimatizing to the altitude will also require something different in prep race run up, i.e. going to stay locally for as long as you can. Then there is the technical side of navigation looking after yourself in hot/cold environments. Not surprised you haven't accepted the offer of place this time around.

    Good to see the training going well. HR for pace figures seem to really coming down nicely.

  3. I thought Badwater was the cruelest race on earth. Anyway, I'm sure you'll get another opportunity to do this one so don't be too regretful. And yeah, positivity rules. All the best for 2016.