Every year I come home and write my annual report on the Gore-Tex Transalpine Run and I tell the whole-wide world how much I LOVE this race and what keeps me coming back year, after year. Even after an exceptionally disappointing outcome at this year's crossing... I have to say that I am still in deep love with this race.
Preparing for a 7 day stage race, like this one, comes with it’s share of sacrifices. The physical preparation (for me anyhow) peaks at 16-20hrs per week of running, which can be tough if you also work full time, have a family, volunteer and have other hobbies. There are moments when I am in the thick of TAR training that I question why I do this every year and whether or not I have what it takes to make it to my taper in mid August, let alone the start line. Yet, I always do and every year I am acutely aware that finishing is not guaranteed to anyone, as all sorts of things can happen over 7 days…
Approximatley 7km into the first stage I started to feel sick with stomach pain. It continued to worsen as the stage continued and kept me up all night. I decided to toed up on stage two hoping that I would feel better. I suffered through the second stage with low energy and continued stabbing pains, despite having to walk most of the stage. My husband Trent forced me to visit the medic tent imeediatley after crossing the finish line in St. Anton, Austria. The doctor examined me and advised I had some sort of infection. He gave me meds, advised it would likely take upwards of 5 days to heal and told me to rest until it was better. I wasn’t convinced or ready to give up just yet, so I decided I would wait and see how I felt the next morning. Unfortunately, I never recovered enough to get back into the race. It took until the last day for me to get any relief from my stomach pain and even after 2 full weeks of rest (post race) my body continued to work on getting back to a healthy normal.
One might think after such a stinker of an experience that I would finally be ready to move on from this race. I have, after all, experienced almost every scenario possible in the past 7yrs. I have finished with a parter, finished solo, finished on podium and DNF'd. I have had years where my body barely stayed together and years I could have kept the stages going. Through the ups and downs, however, the same things keep bringing me back: the partner aspect, travel, beautiful trails and views, the challenge, camaraderie among the friends and relationships I have made and the awesome race organization. (and this is just to name a few)
I also feel that my experiences over the years, have made me a better person, athlete and coach. There isn't a podcast, book or course I could have taken over the years to teach me the things I have learned from this race. So while I am not defined by any particular outcome, time or "moment" in my Gore-Tex Transalpine Run journey - this race has certainly shaped part of the person I am today.
in 2018 I am very excited to announce that I will be returning to work for Plan B as the marketing representative and liasion rep for North America. I will be hosting a talk within Kelowna, continuing to book accommodations for PACE teams and write monthly articles under a new page on the Plan B website, called SHARE by Rene Unser. These articles will focus on different aspects of the race that will help runners prepare. I will also re-write 2 detailed training plans. One for novice and the other for veterans that cater to the 2018 eastern route. Lastly, I am going to have some fun & run the marketing on the and Gore-Tex Transalpine Instagram page. As to whether I will run it again or not, hasn't been decided yet. I have until November, over espresso with my husband to decide and lots to process still. Either way - I am heading back alps and I hope for the opportunity to share the magic of transalps with new and old friends from all over North America looking for a challenging , yet rewarding and beautiful running experience.