I’ve already started sizing up the competition and I’m not even in Chamonix yet. I saw a guy wearing a gore-tex pac-lite jacket carrying an OMM backpack. He was showing all the signs of an ultrarunner (who else wears gear like that in normal settings?), except, of course, for the hyper alert and slightly manic expression on his face. I couldn’t figure out why he seemed so darn relaxed! I immediately got gear envy staring at his backpack. It was the perfect size for this event…. I guessed it had a 2-L bladder and it looked like it had ample room for the mandatory equipment required by the race directors. And oooooh, how I was drooling over the pockets and zippers! I wanted to snatch it right off his back and run onto the plane, never to be found again. Luckily I restrained myself appropriately (although I think he caught me oogling).
As it turns out, the reason why this bag-toting, gore-tex wearing guy seemed abnormally calm was because he wasn’t running the race…he was covering it for Runner’s World UK! Cool!
I quickly started scheming of ways that I could come across as being astonishingly funny and witty during our short conversation to lead him to the inevitable conclusion that he should work me into the piece… Amazing delusions of grandeur! He couldn’t have been less interested! Maybe my drooling put him off?
I tried to distract myself and prevent the race nerves from getting to me by staring out the airplane window at the alps poking through the clouds. My quad muscles started to throb in protest….