Tor Des Geants – June 18th to July 8th

Distance 93km
D+ 2500m
Time spent 9h21min

You can clearly see, that my training is not exceptional. I would like to be more outdoors doing a vertical K daily and long full mountain days in the weekends. However, life comes across and important things must be done. That includes family, work, home, family, money, business, family. This doesn’t mean of course, that I don’t run 6 to 10 times a week. I just cannot travel or take easily 2-3-4 days off from my activities to get away. It is necessary to me and actually interdict to not to run, not to move, not to self develop daily.

So how on earth will I prepare for the TOR de Geants with such little training time ? Easy. Long outings of any over 24h efforts require only two things. Mental fortitude and extremely high general physical resistance. No uphill or downhill speed, no acceleration ability, no real technical skills for switchbacks and down scrambling. There are some basics to be met of course like adaptation to heat, cold and mostly altitude. At the end however it all comes down to mental fortitude and the highest possible physical resistance.

The two are developed together ! Daily ! I do some long runs, but very little. My training consists mostly faster sessions, some downhill pounding and time to time like this weekend I will go for a self discovering adventure. This 6 to 10 hours of training do not correspond to the possible success of the TOR, at all. It is just for the sake of moving my joints the right way and about improving running economy, in case of technique.
So what will do it for me? The daily grind ! Yes that is the most important. This cannot of course work for everyone. Very important to note, that this is my blog, not a training advice. The thing is that my life is very physical. I do a lot of self-propelled travelling, yes on the bike, to meet clients. I also work a lot as a bike messenger and these next couple of months will be packed with bike guiding jobs too. 99% of all times it is just chilling, I mean riding with 80 to 90 heartbeats with an occasional burst of 120 to 130top, to tuck behind a bus or race a fellow cyclist on an electric bike.
This however, still results in some weeks, yes, up to 70hours of cycling. I should take my GPS with me on a packed week once to see how many kms I ride. I am also outdoors, sucking in fresh air, getting constantly exposed to sun, rain, heat and cold.
This is just one side. I am up early in the mornings to do some extra computer work on coaching and advising. When I arrive home, I have been renovating my home for now 3 weeks now, what includes painting and remodelling the walls and ceiling, placing waterproofing joints. I will also repaint some old furnitures after on, what will include tons of sanding and then precision work. In the meantime, I have a light 8kg kettlebell around me and every 20 to 30minutes I do 10 reps of something. It is just to activate some muscles and imprint correct positions. Yesterday I sanded down 4 square meters of ceiling, what meant to be hunched back for 1hour . I mean I was in a standing bridge, holding a heavy machine moving and vibrating everywhere.

I recently also travelled to Hungary for some paperwork and a race. That included two times 18hours of intermittent fasting. Only water. Why ? Flying and travelling are already stressful on the body. I find that not eating, creates a calm inner environment and makes my body handle intruders like a charm. I mean infections, bacteria, viruses, radiation. During the flight and the train travel, I read two books. It made time pass by like 10 times faster. Two Mike Horn books were on the dispense. One is the “A l’ecole du Grand Nord” and the other “Objectif : Pôle Nord de nuit” !

Why ? I do not read his books, only on a way of reading for fun. I try to get into his head and into his heart. How he is thinking, how I like to be thinking ? What woul I have done? I am getting there, I just need a little bit more exposure to situations.
One of his way of life and teaching is what I preach too:

Think very straightly about what are the most important things in life ! Yourself and your family ! Everything else is just clutter and we should not be attached to it, but be ready to turn 180° and look elsewhere. This is true to work, lifestyle, diet and much more. Also accept what is truly unchangeable and embrace it ! Do not believe in what others say, until you checked it out yourself ! 

This is superbly, I mean extremely important. What if you broke a tracking pole and you don’t have another one ? There is still 240km to go with 18000m of elevation gain !
One person will give up as he will find it impossible to complete without his precious tool ! The other will be preoccupied with searching a solution and finding another pole, but the third one will shrug it off, place the broken poles into an aid-station bin and just keep on going. If a situation presents itslef, he takes it of cours, but if not, no poles is just no poles.
I actually was in the same situation. It was hard physically afterwards, but had no other options. I did not hesitate or think too much. Throw it away and go. 2minutes.
I also had my shoe lace snapped in the worst place, 2 minuets before a race start. I found a solution in 30seconds and went on to be 2nd place finisher after 63km in knee-deep snow.
I also experienced feelings on the contrary, where I could not come over. It was not impossible, I was just weak. My interest and my head was totally elsewhere. I had a little, well a giant headache. I could have slept 1hour, ate and drunk for 1hour and still be a well placed finisher. Instead I gave up in like 20minutes and went home.
I got lost once, being ready to win a big race. I was in the perfect shape. I did about 10km extra in the wrong direction. I could have turned back down and start chasing. 20km extra is only 2,5 to 3 hours. The time difference between the first 5 places were like 5hours. I could have finished first 5 still in a very prestigious race and could have also learnt and experienced something to pull out later on from my magic hat. No I sat down and quit while waiting for the crew to pick me up !
I had my fair share of weak headedness ! It takes time and effort to understand ourselves ! If we kept on looking, we will do so though !

Actually when we are out in the nature, in the mountains, beside mental fortitude and physical toughness, philosophy counts too. We can be somewhere, achieve something big and we can be very successful, but did we enjoy it ? Did we embrace every moment of it ? Can we remember with tears in the eyes and joy in the heart about every single minute?

Learning and experiencing is very important. From physical challenges, from person to person conversations, from environmental barriers. Actually I can now expand that two important facets now to four or five, to be successful in the TOR ! As I am writing it slowly becomes a more and more rounded picture.

  • Mental Fortitude

  • Strong Physical Resistance

  • Self Philosophy

  • Learning and Experiencing

  • The ability to turn 180° and to adapt


Categories: Personal Development, Training, UncategorizedTags: , , , , , , ,

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