Last year, Rory Bosio straight up crushed the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (post-race interview). After winning the TNF Lavaredo Ultra Trail in late June (post-race interview), Rory is back for another go at UTMB. In the following interview, Rory talks about her summer in Europe, what was so special about her run at UTMB last year, and how she actively cultivates her positive atmosphere during races.
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Rory Bosio Pre-2014 TNF UTMB Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Rory Bosio before the 2014 The North Face Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc. How’s it going Rory?
Rory Bosio: It’s très bien. Very excited to be here. Yeah it’s going very nice.
iRunFar: Just last year you spent a good bit of time over here in Europe.
Bosio: I have been over here in Europe. I was over in Italy in June and then I had to go back for a few weeks in Tahoe and then I came back out here. So yeah, it’s been the European adventure. I like it.
iRunFar: What have been some of the highlights here?
Bosio: Just getting really big long days out in the mountains. I don’t know if I’ve made more friends or if there are more people around to run with this year, but I’ve been able to do some really fun runs with a good group of people and then lots of days by myself. Yeah, just exploring the area more. I feel like I’m getting to know this area of the Alps really well especially since last year. So I’ve been able to do some big loops which have been pretty awesome. I still feel like I’m just dipping my toe into what the mountains have to offer out here. Yeah, it’s been great.
iRunFar: Any particular highlights in the area here?
Bosio: Let’s see… Mike Foote and I ran up to the top of Le Buet kind of as our last bigger run which was the perfect way to end things. It was 360-degree views up there. It was fantastic. We had snow. You could see Mont Blanc. You could see the Matterhorn. You could see… it was phenomenal. The training weekend we all did running around Mont Blanc at the end of July was great.
iRunFar: Was that The North Face group?
Bosio: Yeah, just a random group of people who did it. That was really fun. Pretty much everything has been great. Yeah, no complaints.
iRunFar: You’ve stayed healthy, happy throughout this?
Bosio: Yeah, it would feel so ungrateful not to feel happy over here.
Bosio: Yeah, healthy enough. Yeah, exactly. Pretty healthy.
iRunFar: You do approach your time in the mountains as fun, but there’s training and you put some miles in. How much are you out there? Like at the end of July and beginning of August, how much…?
Bosio: Well, I don’t wear a watch and I don’t really calculate mileage, but I would say I would go out and be outside on my feet for six hours a day kind of thing. But I putz. I’m taking pictures of wildflowers. I’m going swimming in lakes if it’s warm enough. I’m stopping to eat a lazy lunch. I fell asleep a couple times taking a little nap by a lake. When I first got over here I was still kind of jetlagged, but I was like, Oh, I don’t want to waste these days. So I ended up running up to some lake, fell asleep for four hours, and woke up and it was a downpour of rain on me. Don’t run this long with…
iRunFar: It sounded really run until the downpour.
Bosio: Yeah, yeah exactly. So, I putz. I’ll be outside all day, but that’s kind of the goal to be able to see as much as you can. I’m never running super hard. So, it’s pretty enjoyable.
iRunFar: Casual… a lot of time…
Bosio: Very casual, yes.
iRunFar: A lot of time, but low intensity. Exploring.
Bosio: Yes, pretty low intensity. Yeah, I would say very low intensity.
iRunFar: But no training plan?
Bosio: Well, I have a plan in my head, but sometimes I go off course of that.
iRunFar: What is the Rory Bosio big picture plan?
Bosio: I kind of work it out with a friend of mine who used to be my cross-country ski coach. He and I will do a big training weekend at the end of May in Yosemite. We take those days to plan out the summer. We go over, like, Okay, you should maybe getting your longest, biggest days in here and then kind of start to cut it off and maybe throw in some stuff that will maybe get your heart rate up or maybe not. So, it’s a blueprint made in pencil—very erasable.
iRunFar: So speaking of getting your heart rate and your intensity up a little bit, have you done any races for fun over here in Europe?
Bosio: No, I haven’t done anything except Lavaredo at the end of June. That was my last race.
iRunFar: That went pretty well.
Bosio: Yeah, it went great. It’s like here. You just want to be there and explore those trails forever. It’s just fantastically gorgeous and a really fun event. That was kind of a good preview. I was thinking during that race… that race was 14 or 15 hours long, somewhere in that distance, I was like, Oh, gosh, I don’t know. UTMB is going to be like another 10 hours or something… You know how when you’re doing something shorter—how am I going to do something longer? It was good.
iRunFar: Was that your first time at Lavaredo?
Bosio: Yeah, it was my first time. I would go back for sure. It was just a great event.
iRunFar: You had a great event here last year.
Bosio: Yes, last year was really nice.
iRunFar: It was a pretty special day, not just…
Bosio: Yeah, it was special for me. It’s funny. Thinking back to last year, I don’t really think about crossing the finish line and collapsing… I wasn’t collapsing; I just wanted to sit down. There are definitely some special things that kind of trigger in my brain when I think back to last year. It’s not so much the result-oriented things but how I felt so vibrant and such a sense of flow and just joy in some parts of that race which does not happen in every race for sure. So that made it really special, yes.
iRunFar: Now how do you get that going? I know when I’ve seen you at Western States or whatnot, you’re literally joking with the aid-station crew and people around you.
Bosio: I kind of feel like, “fake it until you make it.” So if your mind is in a good place, then you’re forgetting about the discomfort or the pain you’re feeling in the body. Your behavior will follow what you’re thinking. I do try and keep things… I feel very fortunate that I’m able to do this just because I want to. I feel like we should all feel that way. The way the majority of the world lives is not so… not like this. I feel very fortunate that my body is able to take me to all these places. I want to give that sense of gratitude back and not be a stick-in-the-mud about it.
iRunFar: How do you do that here? You do that where you know enough people and there are enough English speakers to have that outlet.
Bosio: Chamonix is like the United Nations over here. Everybody is like, “How’s your French coming?” I’m like, “Nobody wants to listen to my poor French. They hear me speaking and like, “Ah, American,” and speak English to me. I have found during the races that with most people you can find a common language—between my butchering French or Spanish, you’re usually finding a common language.
iRunFar: At Lavaredo were you able to find that flow or that mental state at all?
Bosio: Yeah, definitely. I had some low points at Lavaredo, but yeah, definitely. It’s so hard not to feel that way when you’re in such an epically beautiful place. I’m feeling so crappy, but look around me at all these beautiful mountains. So, yeah, I definitely had that there.
iRunFar: How did the Dolomites compare to the Alps here?
Bosio: I don’t know. It’s pretty tough. I could be happy living in either one of them.
iRunFar: Are there any major differences between them?
Bosio: I just feel like the way… the Dolomites, the race at Lavaredo, you’re more… you get closer to the mountains and the rock. Here, it’s more like the ‘massif.’ You’re kind of around it. There, just the rock formations are all different, and the limestone… both places are pretty spectacular.
iRunFar: You were obviously in great fitness when you came to the race last year. Do you feel in similar condition?
Bosio: I don’t know. I have a really bad memory. I don’t remember how I felt.
iRunFar: Do you feel pretty strong right now?
Bosio: Yeah, I guess so. I feel like this stuff is all a little bit of a crap shoot. I’ve gone into races being so gung-ho, “Yeah, I’m feeling great! Test my lactate threshold right now! It will be through the roof!” And then I’ve had really crappy races. I feel good. I’m relaxed. I’m really excited. The tapering week is always the worst. I get some art projects done. Reading some Dostoevsky [stage whisper: No, I’m not.]—more like Calvin and Hobbes.
iRunFar: It’s good Dostoevsky weather out there.
Bosio: Yes, it is. It’s grey and ominous. Yeah, so tapering week is always hard because you want to be out and doing things and you feel like you’re just getting slower and slower as each day goes by which is not true, but mentally it’s…
iRunFar: How does that work for you? You seem to ride on joy and experience and excitement. How do you sit here? Well, today is kind of a yucky day.
Bosio: Yes, today is a good… you know, if it would rain today, it’s great. The hardest time is when it’s full-on sunny out and the trails are gorgeous and you’re like, Oh, my gosh. I feel like I’m in jail, although they probably don’t have as good of views in jail as I do in my apartment window. Tapering—I think every runner probably feels the same way; it’s like you’re just killing time. I’ve got some hobbies. It’s not too bad. Actually it’s kind of nice to be able to be mellow and low and be like, You know what—I just have to sit here with my legs up for awhile. I’ll definitely be excited for the race to start hopefully in nice weather.
iRunFar: Well, great chatting with you, Rory. Good luck out there.
Bosio: Thanks! Bye! Hi Phoenix!
iRunFar: Bonus question. You’ve been here for a long time this summer in a couple different stints. What’s the best food you’ve eaten over here?
Bosio: Best food, by far, was a Nutella crepe that Mike Foote and I had at the Refuge des Fonts on the Tour des Fiz course which is over in Passy. We stopped at this little refuge, “Ahh, should we get something or should we not?” “Two Euro for a crepe? We’ve got to.” It was like, I’ve been dreaming about that crepe. Ahh, fantastic.