Last year’s UTMB champ Caroline Chaverot is back to defend her title. In the following interview, Caroline talks about why she is optimistic rather than confident, how she might take a different strategy for this race, how she had a difficult time recovering from the Hardrock 100, and how she actually enjoys her taper.
Caroline Chaverot Pre-UTMB Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Caroline Chaverot before the 2017 UTMB. How are you, Caroline?
Caroline Chaverot: Hello. I’m fine. I’m fine.
iRunFar: Last time we were at UTMB together you’d just won UTMB in an amazing performance. One year later, how does that feel?
Chaverot: It was great last year. The race was really hard for me, but winning UTMB was really special. Now this year has been more complicated, because I had some health problems and sometimes it was okay and sometimes not. I could never know. I could not train as much as I wanted, so I don’t feel very confident. But I’m optimistic and will cross fingers.
iRunFar: Maybe a few months ago you could be less confident because you had the problems at Transvulcania and your health problems were worse, but then you won the Maxi-Race and you won Lavaredo and Hardrock. You must have a little confidence again?
Chaverot: Yes, perhaps I should have more confidence, but it’s difficult for me to be very confident, because I only started training two weeks ago. I had some very good training but only two weeks. I hope Hardrock was a good experience and maybe it help for my endurance. So the difference between this year and last year is this year I think I know I can finish. Last year, I wasn’t sure.
iRunFar: Now you have a finish at UTMB and a finish at Hardrock which is much longer time-wise.
Chaverot: I know if I’m tough and solid in my mind, normally I will finish. That gives me a little bit of confidence.
iRunFar: Does that give you more confidence to go faster earlier or just to…?
Chaverot: I’m a little bit frightened about the start, because there are so many people pushing very fast. I don’t think I will take a very quick start. I will try to be more careful and more slow at the start, because it’s so long to race.
iRunFar: How do you do that because you do go out quite fast often?
Chaverot: I think I will really try to breathe slowly and easily, and that will be my guide for the first kilometers. Last year I think I did this pretty well. The only thing was I had a problem in the stomach in the first part of the race. That was not very great, but last year I think I was careful about that and it was okay.
iRunFar: How was your recovery after Hardrock because it was a longer race time-wise.
Chaverot: It was a nightmare, because I arrived at home and I took a holiday with my family which was really good fun, but I was so tired. I could not recover. Every day I was taking my heart rate and it was still very high, and I was never recovering. Then, I was supposed to go to a Salomon training camp at the beginning of August, and after two days I had to go home, because I was too tired, and I couldn’t follow the others. I was pushing really hard and being so slow. It was terrible. Then since the 10th of August, I recovered fully, and I could have really good training.
iRunFar: What do you think the cause was—the high elevation or the long time?
Chaverot: The osteopath said… you know, I had an injury. My ribs were a bit broken or cracked, and the ligaments and also the muscles were completely sore. I had problems in my back and problems here. My osteopath said it impacted to my energy level a lot.
iRunFar: So it was the stress from your body healing the other parts.
Chaverot: Yes, it was because of the injury.
iRunFar: Now, you feel good? You had some recovery since your training?
Chaverot: Yes, I feel good. Yes, since last week I haven’t done too much. Yesterday, I ran a little bit; today I don’t run.
iRunFar: Just to move your legs?
Chaverot: Yes, just to move. I also get joy, because you know the good training is done, and to get to do only short runs is fun for me.
iRunFar: You enjoy that little break? Some people cannot enjoy that.
Chaverot: I enjoy it. During the year I have no time for anything but family, training, and working. These small breaks before the races, for me, are holidays.
iRunFar: What do you do? Read a book?
Chaverot: Today, I’m very busy all the sudden, but, tomorrow, I will try to lay down. I have a very good book, so I have to finish it. Maybe I’ll take a little nap.
iRunFar: Sounds nice. I would like your holiday.
Chaverot: Before Hardrock it was so great, because I was alone in the flat. I had plenty of good books. It was perfect.
iRunFar: You don’t probably take many vacations without your family. Maybe a few days is okay?
Chaverot: No, I was a bit sad. That part, I was sad, because I was leaving them for two weeks which was a bit too much. But still, before the race I could enjoy it. I have to rest, so I have to the time.
iRunFar: This year with UTMB, it’s maybe the best women’s field you were compete against all year. Is that exciting?
Chaverot: Yes, it’s very exciting. I’m very happy. For some people they don’t want to look at the internet because it puts too much pressure on them. Me, it’s the opposite. I’m so happy about all this space and the excitation to see Jim Walmsley and Kilian Jornet and all these big stars. To run with them is…
iRunFar: How about in the women’s race? Who are you excited to run with there?
Chaverot: I’m very excited to know the American girls because I don’t know them, like Kaci Lickteig—I follow her on Strava—who is so strong at Western States, so I’m very happy to know her. Stephanie Violett and Magda Boulet…
iRunFar: She could be a good challenge as she’s had success here.
Chaverot: Yes, she is very strong. Also, my usual concurrents. Andrea [Huser]. Núria [Picas].
iRunFar: You have long histories with both of those.
Chaverot: I’m very happy.
Chaverot: Thank you. Bye-bye.