Houffatrail 2015: back off track!
Houffatrail 2015: back off track!

I don’t think I could have anticipated the impact quitting UTMB would have had on me. And for a while, I was in denial. The trip to Gran Canaria helped. A change of environment. Nature. Tons of hikes and a good run. I felt back at it. But the weeks after that trip, I lost my hunger for running. I guess you could call it running depression.

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Faster than a donkey
Faster than a donkey

Hm, yeah. I know. That title doesn’t sound impressive at all. But then again, it IS the name of this pretty rad race in Kuurne. Last year, I ran the race as pace maker for a Gwendolyn (who eventually won the race) and finished just over 1h20 myself, a personal best on the half marathon. Since, though, I improved that best at the Havenloop. Putting things in perspective, I was just back from Gran Canaria and had hardly put in any running at all since UTMB. So bottom line: I had no idea what to expect. At all.

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Under the Milky Way
Under the Milky Way

Some people called it bold. Some called it “not the smartest thing to do”. Others just called it crazy. Opinions were plenty when I announced I was leaving for UTMB a week early in order to climb the Pointe Percée and hike the surrounding area. Still, there were many arguments for it, especially the benefit of spending a few days above 2000m of altitude.

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The road less travelled – UTMB 2015
Ramblings The road less travelled – UTMB 2015

And I’m back. Feet on the ground. A ground at about 50m above sea level. And, from a very mathematic approach, the past 9 days have been a success. Plenty of amazing things. And then this one negative thing that, right now, seems to outweigh all the great things that happened. Emotions tend to take the overhand when dreams are involved and it takes time and distance to put things in perspective. 

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Ardennes Mega Trail 2015
Ardennes Mega Trail 2015

Not unlike last year, I decide rather last minute to run the Ardennes Mega Trail. However, this year, I ’d be all by myself. Tony wasn ’t really feeling up to repeat the challenge. That kind of made things more serious: talk less, run harder. So on Friday, after work, I drove straight to Les Hautes Rivières, pitched my tent and headed for the bib pickup. Gear check… my heart skips a beat. I totally forgot about the obligatory gear. I check the list and notice I only miss the adhesive elastic band. Luckily I can buy some on the spot. Then it turns out there ’s another person who has the same race bib. With some delay, I head back to my tent and have dinner and turn to bed super early, hoping the events of the evening are no omen for the next day.

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Les Trois Ballons – French Vosges pt. II
Les Trois Ballons – French Vosges pt. II

Another weekend, another trip. And since things don ’t always have to revolve around me, Kim was the antagonist of this one: she took take part in “Les Trois Ballons”, a 213k cycling trip with about 4300m of climbing to do along the road. So I took Friday off and soon, after a last-minute bike store visit to get her bike fixed, picking up an extra bike and collecting another one for a friend with car troubles, trying to get the tail lights of her bicycle rack fixed, getting some last minute gear in the store and being in traffic jams for what seemed most of the road, we found ourselves in the French Vosges again!

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How it all began I think I was about 9 when I did my first competitive running.

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