Catalana skimo racer turned trail runner Anna Comet moved up through the day to finish second at the 2015 Transvulcania Ultramarathon. In the following interview, Anna talks about how she came to trail ultramarathons, why she skipped most of her 2014-2015 skimo season, how her race went at Transvulcania, and where else she plans to race in 2015.
For more on how the race unfolded, read our Transvulcania results article.
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Anna Comet Post-2015 Transvulcania Ultramarathon Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Meghan Hicks of iRunFar, and I’m here on the island of La Palma the day after the 2015 Transvulcania Ultramarathon with women’s second-place finisher, Spain’s Anna Comet. Nice to meet you.
Anna Comet: Nice to meet you.
Comet: Thank you very much.
iRunFar: How are you feeling this morning?
Comet: I’m feeling good. I have a little pain in my legs but I’m so, so happy, so it’s okay.
iRunFar: This is my first time meeting you. You are a fairly new ultra-trail racer. You come from a background of ski mountaineering. Can you tell us about yourself and about your sports background?
Comet: Yes, I started with alpine skiing when I was a child. Then I have a bad injury in my knee and I have to stop. Then I started doing ski mountaineering and trail-mountain running but shorter races.
iRunFar: You have been ski mountaineering all the way up until this winter’s competitions. This winter you didn’t race so much?
Comet: No, I didn’t race so much because I went to Nepal in November to race the Everest Trail Race and I arrived here really, really tired. I tried to start the season in the winter, but I didn’t feel recovered. I said, okay, I’ll stop, recover well, and will start in the summer.
iRunFar: So you are fairly new to ultra-trail racing, but you’ve had success. You won the Everest Trail Race and you’ve had some success in a few other races. Then yesterday, second place at a very competitive race, Transvulcania. Is this your new sport? Are you going to focus on ultra-trail racing now?
Comet: Yes, I think so. I’ve been racing a lot of years in shorter races, and I think I’m a little bit tired of this. I feel that I need a change. I’m very excited for doing this now, so I will try.
iRunFar: Very cool. I want to ask you about your race yesterday. You started off sort of nice and conservative and you moved up places within the women as the race went on. You said a moment ago that that was intentional, that that’s just sort of how your body reacts—that you start slow and push harder as the race goes on. Did you feel well throughout the day? How did you feel?
Comet: Yes, I felt well during all the day. I had some problems from 30k to 50k.
iRunFar: The big climb up to the top?
Comet: Yes, because I have a pain in the back of my legs, a sharp pain, but then it disappeared. So then it was good. Yes, I start slower because I didn’t know how my body would react. Then I feel good as the kilometers go on. So I tried to go faster. It was a time that I was third and I thought, Okay, this is my place. But at the beginning of the downhill, I saw the second woman and I thought, You have to try. Then it was when I go a little bit faster.
iRunFar: I saw you about 75% of the way down the descent. You were getting fairly close to the ocean but you were still descending so strong, very well. Is descending something that is a strength because of your background in ski mountaineering? What did you think about that 2,500-meter descent yesterday?
Comet: It’s crazy. It’s so crazy. The legs suffer a lot, but yes, I think with the ski mountaineering our legs are very strong and it’s a good thing to go uphill and then to go downhill.
iRunFar: Ski mountaineering requires a lot of muscular strength to support your body going downhill, but it’s different in that running requires all of these little stabilizing muscles of your feet and your lower legs. By the end of 2,500 meters of descent, could you feel it or were you still feeling good?
Comet: No, I wasn’t feeling good. I think in the hard way of the downhill, I wasn’t feeling good, but it’s a thing of patience. You know you have to go down and it’s that way. You don’t have another thing to do, so go down.
iRunFar: Some people said yesterday while they were running around the rim of the caldera approaching Roque de los Muchachos, they looked down and saw the ocean and they felt overwhelmed with how far away it was. Did you feel that at all or did you just feel at peace with, Well, I have to go there, so I will.
Comet: Yes, I’m a little bit like the second thing. I have to go there, so keep calm and go down. I was happy because I was in the second place. I think, You have to go because [so] the other girls don’t arrive to you. I was feeling very happy there; these things help me to go farther.
iRunFar: So you saw the third-place woman who was then in second, Myriam Guillot, at the top of the long descent?
Comet: Yes, when we were arriving at the Roque de los Muchachos, I saw her really close. Then when I go out from the eating and drinking place, I started to be closer to her and then I just go before.
iRunFar: Did the two of you see each other again on the descent or was it once you passed her, you were gone?
Comet: Yes, when I passed her I looked backwards sometimes and I didn’t see her.
iRunFar: Every time we saw you out on the course yesterday, you had a smile on your face. You seemed like you were having a good time. It didn’t matter if you were going up or if you were going down or if you were running fast or if you were hiking. Were you that happy inside as you seemed outside?
Comet: Yes, I think so. Maybe sometimes you smile to people because they are encouraging you. I think it’s the minimum thing you can do for them. But yes, I do these races because I love the sport. Yes, I’m happy when I’m doing it. Of course, I suffer, but I do these things because I want to. Nobody tells me to do this. So, yes, I’m happy when I’m running.
iRunFar: My last question for you. You’re a ski mountaineer turned trail racer. You like this sport. You’re clearly good at it. You’re planning to do some more of it. Where else will we see you race in 2015?
Comet: In 2015, I will do the Chamonix [Mont Blanc] 80k at the end of June and then maybe at the European championships in the middle of July.
iRunFar: At the Ice Trail Tarentaise?
Comet: Yes, at the Ice Trail Tarentaise. Then maybe the ultra in Zermatt—[Matterhorn] Ultraks. Then at the end of the world cup in Ultra Pirineu in my country. If I can, I’m looking to have money to go again to Nepal because it was a race… I love that race and I love that country. If I find the money to go there, I will go there.
iRunFar: That means back to the Everest Trail Race in the fall?
iRunFar: So does that mean with that line-up of races, does that mean you’re looking to compete in the Skyrunning World Series Ultra category this year?
Comet: Yes. It’s what I’m thinking of.
iRunFar: Okay. Congratulations to you.
Comet: Thank you very much.
iRunFar: Thanks for the time chatting, and all the best to you in your season of racing.
Comet: Thanks a lot.