Uxue Fraile has improved from fifth to second in her two previous runs of UTMB and she’s back for more. In the following interview, Uxue talks about how she approaches the fast starting pace at UTMB, how she’ll know she had a good race, and how she respects the 100-mile distance.
[Click here if you can’t see the video above.]
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Uxue Fraile before UTMB 2016. How are you, Uxue?
Uxue Fraile: I’m fine, thanks, Bryon.
iRunFar: When did you arrive here in Chamonix?
Fraile: I arrived here late on Sunday.
iRunFar: A little time to relax?
Fraile: Yeah, for me, it’s my last week on holiday, so I came with my mother and father. They are looking around here. They have been to Aiguille du Midi and Argentiere, and I was all the time in the apartment. This is a good week, a sunny week. It’s good.
iRunFar: You’ll get to see all those places this weekend.
Fraile: Yeah, I’m going to do the around, so I will see. But it’s not the same. You are here, and you love mountains, but you can’t go. Well, you could go, but it’s not the best thing to do this week.
iRunFar: I understand. I’m here all week, and I don’t get to go see the mountains.
Fraile: Well, we will come another time.
iRunFar: Will your family, your parents, assist you during the race?
Fraile: This night is coming my trainer and tomorrow is coming my brother. They are going to do all the race, and my parents are going to go to some places.
iRunFar: But not the whole race?
Fraile: Yeah. No, not on the race. Maybe they are not going to go to Courmayeur.
iRunFar: Maybe get a little sleep.
Fraile: It’s better. They are not so young, so it’s better.
iRunFar: This will be your third time… how many times have you run?
Fraile: It’s my third.
iRunFar: You were fifth two years ago and second last year. How can you improve on that? What will it take to win?
Fraile: No, no, no. I think that I have to be relaxed. There are some girls who are really strong. I will fight for all my best. We’ll see on Saturday, I hope, in Chamonix. I hope I’ll arrive here doing my best performance here. That’s my hope.
iRunFar: Having been to this race a few times, are you able to control your effort early in the race? People go out so strong at UTMB.
Fraile: Well, I’m in touch with that. I have been talking to different people. Some of them think that it’s better to go in the good pace, but some of them think it’s better to go slowly, and then from Courmayeur to the finish go all you want. I’m not sure I can go faster from Courmayeur to here, so I don’t know what I’m going to do.
iRunFar: Find out how you feel?
Fraile: I’d like to improve my best time. I would like to do 26 hours, but I think that is going to be difficult. The weather is not so bad, but it’s going to be hot.
iRunFar: That can limit your speed.
Fraile: That’s my goal, to be in 26 hours.
iRunFar: You’re clearly in good shape. You’ve run well at Transgrancanaria and Lavaredo.
Fraile: Yeah, I hope to be better now. It’s true that it’s not easy. Maybe this summer I’ve had some things, but I think I can control them. I will see. I would like to be better than Transgrancanaria and Lavaredo for myself, not for the others. The final result does not depend on me. It depends on the others, too. I’m not thinking on results or places.
iRunFar: If you were 25 hours and in fifth place…
Fraile: That would be great! It’s difficult to think of that. With time, I will…
iRunFar: You know if you have a good day.
Fraile: I believe it’s great to do 25 hours.
iRunFar: Over the last few years you’ve run a number of 100-mile races. Do you feel more comfortable at that distance now?
Fraile: It’s my first this year. Yes, I think that I am more comfortable than two years ago, but 100 miles is not the same as 120k. It’s different. All the time you have to be in good respect. It all depends if you have that or not. I think that each race is different, and you have to believe and have respect for the race.
iRunFar: And during the race.
Fraile: Yes, during the race obviously.
iRunFar: You live in Basque country. Has it been hot this summer?
Fraile: Yeah, I think July was hot. In August, I’ve been in the mountains for 15 days, so it was different. Yes, it’s been a hot summer maybe in all the world.
iRunFar: Maybe you’ll be well prepared for this weekend?
Fraile: The weather is not under control, so we have to do our best with rainy or hot weather or cold. We have to be adaptable to the weather.
iRunFar: You run for Vibram. That means you get to choose from a wide variety of shoes. What do you plan to race in this weekend?
Fraile: I have been testing different shoes. I’m not sure which one I’m going to use. It depends, but I think I’m going to change again this year, but maybe I’ll use the same as last year.
iRunFar: Maybe I’ll have to ask you after the race and see what you wore.
Fraile: I don’t have it clear, so I can’t tell you. It’s going to be something with the Megagrip sole. This sole, I think, is perfect for the race. It’s very good for rocks. It have very good grip. I have different shoes, but I think I will choose between two of them—The North Face and a Technica. I will see.
iRunFar: Best of luck this weekend and enjoy.
Fraile: Thank you very much. Enjoy seeing the race. I think it’s going to be a really, really good race.
iRunFar: It will be exciting, both men and women. See you out there.
Joe Uhan writes about the hip-hinge position for efficient running.
Results from the 2020 Western States 100 lottery.
An essay about how good and bad days are natural in a lifetime of running.