Liza Howard

Liza Howard

Liza Howard is a national champion runner with multiple records in distances ranging from marathons to 100 mile trail races.

September 2017
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Diagonale des Fous race report reading continued

LizaLiza

Yesterday I started reading this fellow Jalmin’s race report about DdF last year.  He’d just started running at an 8 minute pace after waiting forever at the race start.

“I’m feeling good, there are a lot of people cheering along the road, big fireworks on the beach, it’s great.”

I get to see Six Flags’ fireworks displays most summer nights when I’m running. So this might make me feel homesick.

“After another quarter of hour going up-hill in the forest, the unavoidable : I hit traffic. The trail is not very technical in the jungle but 2000 runners can’t go through smoothly. Runner pack is getting more and more nervous and I’m starting to understand why race staff ban trekking poles, way too dangerous for cheaters who try to cut the line.”

Well, that is great news about the trekking poles.  I was going to borrow some from a friend and practice with them between Tussey and leaving for DdF.  (7 days). This rule was written with folks like me in mind. Thank goodness I will not be responsible for skewering anyone.

“At Notre-dame de la paix, I’m stopped for about 45 minutes, I’m 30 minutes behind schedule and it’s annoying me.”

Geez, that’s quite a bottleneck.  How do you say, “This is quite a bottleneck!” in French?

Notre-Dame de la paix (km25)—Piton Textor (km41)

“….First 40 kilometers of the Diagonale are almost up-hills, like 2000 m of elevation non stop. It’s tough.”

Yes, I believe tough is the right word here.

Piton Textor (km41)—Cilaos (km 67)

“….Give it up for Mare-à-boue refreshment point, chicken drumsticks were dope!”

The Mud Pond aid station! And another French phrase to learn.  “These drumsticks are quite dope.”

“….After a 2-hour climb, I reach the top of the worst downhill of the race, -800m elevation in a single mile: a Wall. Every step, stair, ladder is wet and slippery. It’s very technical and I am not very confident. Local runners pass me full speed but couple of turns later, I come upon rescue team helping a runner with a serious head injury, blood everywhere.”

Well, dang. Death in Joe’s report and bloody head wounds here. Too late to switch to a 24-hour track race?

Cilaos (km 67)—Marla (km 80)

“I arrive at Cilaos Friday at 11am, I grab my supply bag, take a quick cold shower, change my clothes and stop by the medic post to have a leg massage.”

Showers and massages? That sounds better.

“A physiotherapist per leg for 20 minutes, so good.”

A 20 minute leg massage with two physiotherapists? Maybe my goal should be to get as many massages as possible. “I’m going to need five physiotherapists for the next 20 minutes.”

 Maïdo (km115)?—?La Possession école (km146)

“1h45 stop, it’s too long but it was good.”

If I have to stop for a long time, I hope I’m either sleeping or getting a multi-therapist leg massage. Otherwise that amount of time would drain my willpower. TAXI!

“When I leave Sans Souci for Galet river, the heat is terrible, like 35°C.”

Well, that’ll feel familiar at least.

“This part of the race isn’t my best memory, I can’t handle the heat. The trails are still very difficult. My mood is shifting quickly from “I feel amazing” to “I yell insults at rocks on the side of the road”. Another runner notices and warns me that I’m probably having a hypoglycaemia attack. Bad mood is one of the first sign. I try to eat but I can’t. I’m scared, I don’t want to give up now.”

That is darn good advice. Good job unknown runner. Also, I have never yelled at a rock, yet. We’ll see if that streak comes to an end.

La Possession école (km146)?—?La Redoute (km 167)

“When I reach the top, I ask to medic staff for a quick massage, my legs are killing me and a steep downhill is waiting for me. A young physiotherapist gives me a quick massage, just enough to be able to finish.”

Clearly, I have been running the wrong races. 

“….I get the famous yellow finisher T-shirt.”

I feel like I’m going to have to tell people the shirt is famous when I get home — assuming I have the good fortune to get through this and get a famous yellow shirt.

“Finisher in 49h 02min 32sec?—?834th among 1688 finishers and 2500 registered”

Two days. Start praying for me now people — and sending caffeinated gifts.

Running: 14 miles easy to moderate.  The humidity almost did me in, but I managed to go at a good clip for some of these miles.

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