Caroline Chaverot has had a rough time since she won Hardrock last year, but she’s now healthy and she’s back at UTMB. In the following interview, Caroline talks about what was wrong with her, how it changed her perspective, and how she’ll bring that perspective to UTMB.
Caroline Chaverot Pre-UTMB 2018 Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Caroline Chaverot before the 2018 UTMB. How are you, Caroline?
Caroline Chaverot: Fine, and you? Hello.
iRunFar: Doing very well. You just came in today from one hour away?
Chaverot: Yes, it’s not too long journey.
iRunFar: Is it nice to be so close?
Chaverot: Yes, it’s nice. It’s very convenient. I could stay home with my stuff and not think too much about the race. It was perfect.
iRunFar: Yes, and I understand this race is the end of your summer time off. You go back to work on Monday.
Chaverot: Yes, I go back to school, and it went well. I had to prepare at the last minutes my lessons because I didn’t work enough this summer.
iRunFar: What do you teach?
Chaverot: History and geography.
iRunFar: What age?
Chaverot: High school, so ages 16 to 19.
iRunFar: So you will have a busy week next week.
Chaverot: Yes, I have to work a lot, but it depends on how the race goes but I have also to rest.
iRunFar: You ran Hardrock last year and you won, and you’ve had sort of a difficult time since then. What happened?
Chaverot: I did not really know, but I was always very tired. When I trained hard I took time to recover. It went worse and worse and worse and never really found a solution. I tried to rest, but it didn’t do any effect. First I thought it was overtraining, and finally in June of this year I found the solution. I had the Lyme disease. I think it’s been a long time and that’s why it got worse and worse despite the rest. I decided not to wait anymore and started the treatment. I started it at a bad time because it was just before the 90k at Mont Blanc. So I felt really bad for the race. Then it got worse and worse and worse for the summer because when you kill the bacteria, the toxins go into the organs and everywhere. My liver was very bad. In the beginning of August I couldn’t train anymore. The good thing was I had a lot of time to do activities with my family. I didn’t have to care about training because I couldn’t train. The bad thing is that I couldn’t really train. Two weeks ago I hesitated and said, “Okay, should I go to UTMB or not?” Then I started to feel better and better, and now I feel really full of energy. So I don’t have the training, but I think the past I’ve raced since many years and have done long races. I could do some good training since I stopped my treatment in the beginning of August. I could do some long runs, not too much, but some… four exactly. It’s not a lot, but I think from the past I have the experience and the will. I thought it was a bit of a pity not to try, to drop without trying. I want to try and am motivated.
iRunFar: As you said, you have lots of experience both with training and racing. For a number of years you raced a lot. Is it actually nice to have had a break?
Chaverot: Yeah, it was nice but also a bit frustrating because this summer I was really thinking I couldn’t race anymore in my life. I felt a bit sad because I thought it was a pity that I couldn’t do everything I wanted to do. It was a bit frustrating for me to take the decision to stop to race forever just because of a disease and a tick. So I was a bit sad, but it was also good because I could think about my motivation, what I like about racing and what I don’t like. I think now I’m fresh again. I want to race. I think I also understood that I don’t have to care too much about the results. I have to care about taking more pleasure during the race. Before I wanted to win, to win, to win. I was never really satisfied because if I lost five minutes in a 15-hour race I would be, Arrgh, I could have gone faster. Now I think I will be more quiet. What I want tomorrow is to start in a comfortable place and to be able to enjoy the race. It’s difficult to say that about UTMB because it’s long and sometimes it’s hard, but I want to enjoy it as much as possible.
iRunFar: Maybe the last 20 to 30k are hard and you’re pushing, but maybe you can try to enjoy it for longer.
Chaverot: Yes, and try to enjoy even the suffering. Okay, it’s an intense experience. I’m lucky to do that kind of effort. It’s full of learnings for life and myself. I have plenty of people who are cheering me. I can also enjoy that.
iRunFar: It’s your choice to suffer.
Chaverot: Yes, exactly. I’m really excited to take as much pleasure as possible and really not to look so much at other people.
iRunFar: That’s a change.
Chaverot: Yes, that’s a change. I know I won’t be in front in the beginning or maybe not during all the race, but I’m deciding not to care about that. I’m trying to be also more confident about myself. If I’m slow, to accept it and to say that everybody is slow and I can keep going.
iRunFar: You have envisioned the possibility that you could have a bad race and you’d continue even if it’s 35 hours.
Chaverot: Yes, exactly. I think so because last year I dropped, and after that, I regret that I dropped. It was a bit… I was so tired and cold, and I didn’t take any pleasure, so I decided to drop. After, I regretted it because I should have tried and see. This year I decided that even if I’m cold and tired, maybe I stop a little bit and eat and then I start again.
iRunFar: You’ll have plenty of time. You can go to a checkpoint and relax if you have to. But you also can see yourself having a good day?
Chaverot: Yes, I’m optimistic. Yeah, I hope I won’t be too slow. The conditions will be perfect compared to 2016 when it was way to hot. Now it will be fresh. I think the level of suffering will be lower. It will be the same for everyone, but me, I really don’t like the heat, so I think I’ll take more pleasure with good conditions. I’ll be less thirsty and able to eat more. It will be more easy.
iRunFar: It could be the best weather UTMB has ever had—maybe a little rain the first night.
Chaverot: In 2013 it was fantastic and beautiful and fresh. I think it will be the same.
iRunFar: The setting is being made for you to really enjoy a race.
Chaverot: Yes, exactly.
iRunFar: I hope you do enjoy it, Caroline. Good luck.
Chaverot: Thank you. Bye bye.