After spending much of the race in contention for the win, France’s Caroline Chaverot took a strong second at this past weekend’s Transgrancanaria. In the following interview, Caroline talks about the highs and lows of her race, what she thinks of the race in general and the island, if she’s satisfied with her performance, and more.
For more on the race, read our 2015 Transgrancanaria results article.
[Click here if you can’t see the video above.]
Caroline Chaverot Post-2015 TNF Transgrancanaria Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Caroline Chaverot after her second-place finish at the 2015 The North Face Transgrancanaria. Congratulations, Caroline!
Caroline Chaverot: Thank you!
iRunFar: You had a very strong performance out there in what was your longest race ever?
Chaverot: Yes, it was my longest race. I think there’s really a gap between 100k and 125k.
iRunFar: Even just 25k makes a big difference.
Chaverot: Yes, oh yes.
iRunFar: So it was very tough for you?
Chaverot: Yes, very, very tough. I felt I was crazy to do it. Many, many times I said, “Never again. Never again.” But you know, it’s okay. I will do it again one time.
iRunFar: What was the toughest challenge of going the extra distance?
Chaverot: I had a problem with my knee, so the downhill became torture. It was also difficult to eat. I couldn’t eat. Stomach problems and a lot of pain in the stomach. I feel it very bad today. And also the head—staying motivated all the night and then a long day. Yes.
iRunFar: You must have found some motivation because for the entire race you were in contention for the win.
Chaverot: Yes, that was a source of motivation for me. I said, “Okay, I can’t stop if I’m second. It would be a pity.” So I continued to the end. I wanted to stop many times.
iRunFar: You were, for much of the race, you were no more than five to 15 minutes behind Núria [Picas].
Chaverot: Yes, it was a surprise because I had to stop many times to go to the toilet. I was lost. I had pain in the knee. So I was under the impression to be very slow. I thought, Okay, Núria will be three hours in front of me. I was surprised not to see the third girl coming at me. So I say I will continue. Maybe everybody is slowing at the end.
iRunFar: Unfortunately you did get lost a few times on the course.
Chaverot: Yes, there were problems with signage at the end of the night, and I got lost. When I didn’t see the sign I say, “Okay, I continue and maybe I see the sign later.” Yeah, it was… I was irritated for being lost.
iRunFar: Maybe in part the signs were not good enough in a section, but you also made some mistakes mentally.
Chaverot: Yes, I think when you don’t see the signs, you have to turn immediately. Me, I’m always optimistic and thought, Okay, I’m probably in the good way, so I’ll continue a little bit. Then I’m lost many times.
iRunFar: Are you happy with your performance?
Chaverot: Yes, I’m quite proud to have continued with all these problems. It was really hard and I was really suffering, but I went to the end and I’m proud of that.
iRunFar: What made you want to run… you’d run very well at 50 to 60k. You’ve won the two 100k races you’ve finished. What made you want to go even further?
Chaverot: I think long runs are really an adventure. I like to run maybe 30k. You push very hard and in three hours it’s finished and you’re happy. But that [long race] is really an adventure and also mentally you have to be strong. It’s very hard.
iRunFar: What is your history in endurance sports? How long have you been training?
Chaverot: I’ve run for three years. Before, I was not running because I found it boring. I’m more into technical sports. I was kayaking, so the longest race was three minutes. I was climbing. I’m a rock climber, or a former rock climber. I like to do every sport but not at a high level. So I started to run.
iRunFar: Why did you start to run?
Chaverot: Because when I had my third kid, I had three kids in three years. So when I had the third one in 2011, I said, “Okay, I need an activity that takes no time and is efficient.” So with running, I go one hour, and I’ve made a good exercise. But now I’m doing 17 hours, so it takes time.
iRunFar: So you’re a mother of three children. How do you get in your training?
Chaverot: It’s not always easy because I work. I want to see my children in the weekends. So it’s not the weekend I do the long course. I’m not often training long because it’s difficult. I train at work. I train a little bit in the evening in my home with BOSU or with some little exercise. On the weekends sometimes… I train every weekend but sometimes just one hour, but sometimes two or three hours.
iRunFar: So it’s a very efficient program. A lot of the people you’re racing against are 20 to 30 hours/week probably.
Chaverot: I know. Me not. Never.
iRunFar: How many kilometers might you run in a typical week?
Chaverot: Maybe between 60 to 80k. Not long. 80k is a good week.
iRunFar: Wow. You run for an hour or two per day. Do you do any sort of specific speedwork? Do you do a workout on the track?
Chaverot: Yes, I like to do quality work. I do two or three times really intensive and then I do more endurance. Maybe sometimes I run two-and-a-half hours in the mountains. In my work there is a mountain, so I can go run two-and-a-half hours.
iRunFar: What do your intense workouts look like? Is it on the track? Is it on the road?
Chaverot: Both. I’m not a good running technique because I never did athletics. So I try to gain some speed on the track. I like it. I find it fun. Also uphill intensity—not long, very hard, but very efficient. You go three minutes up and then rest, three minutes and rest. I find it good.
iRunFar: You say you get to train in the mountains at work. Where do you work and live?
Chaverot: I work in Geneva, and I live in France not too far from Geneva. There are also some mountains around my home.
iRunFar: That must be excellent.
iRunFar: What other races do you plan to run this year?
Chaverot: I’m doing the [IAU Trail] World Champs in Annecy, in my home.
iRunFar: The Maxi Race?
Chaverot: Yes. I did it last year. I will try UTMB. But after doing this race, I’m not sure I can finish UTMB.
iRunFar: But you’ll try.
Chaverot: I will try, but very slowly. Not to win, just to finish.
iRunFar: For real?
Chaverot: Yes. If I finish, I will be happy. But maybe when I’m in the race, I will…
iRunFar: Maybe you will push?
Chaverot: Yes, to be fast. And suddenly this morning I asked myself if I wanted to do Lavaredo. I will see.
iRunFar: Excellent. Congratulations on a great run at Transgrancanaria. Good luck with your season.
Chaverot: Thank you. Thank you.