Race Report – SciaccheTrail (2017)

The SciaccheTrail race is named after the Sciacchetrà, one of the wines of the Cinque Terre region. The gorgeous video below features some of the winemakers.

Fantastic isn’t it?

Steve and I earned the requisite qualifying points to run the SciaccheTrail race at UTHC in September. With 2600m+ of elevation over the 47km, AND 10,000 individual stairs to climb, the SciaccheTrail race is no joke! Now imagine over the centuries how the winemakers worked these vineyards, climbing these stairs every day! What incredible passion… and fitness!

On Saturday Steve and I made our way to Monterosso to take part in the pre-race festivities and to watch the kids’ race.

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Oh hi Sally!

We chatted with Sally for a few minutes while waiting for the kids to come in.

Check out Makenzie’s kick! No surprise that she won the race outright!

We picked up our bibs, GPS and a were give a lemon from Nicola! My lemon was huge! Love lemon!!

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The lemon is huge, honest…

Many local vendors were in Monterosso for the wine and food festival. I asked Christine if the race was added to this festival and she advised that the race came first! Only in it’s 3rd year, it was amazing to see the huge turnout!

While waiting for the pre-race briefing we hung out and chatted with Sally and Nic and she introduced us to Jessica from Canada! (We saw there was another Canadian on the registration list and immediately Steve said ‘the girl with the Nathan pack and blue shorts – she’s the Canadian…’ he called it!).

While hanging out I struck up a conversation with Veronica from Switzerland who told me I needed to run her hometown race…  Jungfrau Marathon. WOW. Added to the bucket list. I need to win the lotto.

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We will never be able to eat all this. And then we did.

After sharing a tureen of risotto, Steve, Jo-Anne, Brian and I headed back to our apartment to get organized for the race.

Check out the race kit…

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Wowza!!

Bright and early the next morning Brian, Steve and I took the train to Monterosso (race start).

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Milling about pre-race

 

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Poker face

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Here we go!

I started near the back and lost Steve within a couple of minutes. By the time we got to the first climb I was comfortably running with new friends Suneel from Ohio and Mindy from Florida. There were about 20 people behind me. I was feeling good!

After the first climb (about an hour in!) we came out onto a road. This bit of downhill was a nice break. I caught up to the man in front of me and he was worried were were going to get cut. I was way ahead of cutoff pace so I was surprised, but he looked like he knew what he was talking about, so I booked it! I passed several more people on the trails. Still feeling good.

When I made it to some single track, I stopped to take a picture.

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This is what 11k looks like

Look at that trail behind me! Look at the water beside me! Look at the sweat on me!

Right after I posted this to social media, I received this from Steve.

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Geeesh. That can’t be good.

I was leap frogging with racers Francesca and Gino for a while (of course we got talking – they are so nice!), but then they dropped me on a section of the road climb.

From this point onward I was alone (which was fine), except for the race marshals (always cheering ‘brava’, always smiling 🙂 ), many of whom were hanging around camp fires and burning stuff to stay warm (and probably to keep entertained); aid station and medical personnel; and soccorso (rescue) who I was really glad were not busy and able to hang around because everyone was safe! Also of note, they are really an attractive bunch 😍

At one point I crossed paths with two medico (medici?) and the conversation went like this:

Medico: Brava… sto bene?
Una: *huff* grazie *huff*
…Una runs down trail… 5 seconds later Una’s brain processes the question
Una (now shouting back to them): si, bene!! grazie!!
…Una slaps forehead

My vertigo wasn’t bothering me too much thankfully, and any sections where I was getting wobbly from the height I was able to talk myself through it. So racers, if you heard someone loudly saying ‘Come on Beaudry, just do it’, that was me…

…to me.

I wasn’t able to peptalk myself out of my calf tightness though. I stopped several times to stretch, and used my sticks to try to roll out my calf, hamstrings and hips. Unfortunately it wasn’t working and my Achilles tendon started to get cranky, then downright angry. My gait was off, I was having to stop to walk and stretch a lot and my race was in jeopardy. There was still more climbing to do and that made it feel worse. I felt great otherwise.

I read in an article after the race that there are 10,000 stairs to climb in the SciaccheTrail. I didn’t take the time to take too many pictures, so thanks to Nic for nabbing this shot when he was out marking the course (and massive thanks for that too!):

Another day, another adventure! Let’s see how much I can brutalise my quads today 😜

A post shared by Nic Errol (@nic_errol) on

Yes, there were a lot of stairs, but there was a ton of beautiful smooth single track too:

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This shrub smelled amazing!! <3
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Happy 🙂

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Unfortunately on this day there were too many climbs and not enough flats for me to run out the tightness. Just as Jo-Anne text-cheered me I clicked this photo:

UntitledMeet Lorenzo and Davide, the scope (sweepers). Lorenzo was very kind when he said to me “I’m sorry, but the gate is closed”, which I knew, because I had only 5 minutes to get there and 2k to go. So close 🙁

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I’m out 🙁

The race official took my bib, and that made me really sad. But hello… I’m in ITALY and it’s BEAUTIFUL and these volunteers are AMAZING, so I asked them to gather for a pic.

Because I wasn’t incapacitated (my response to the race official as to whether or not I was broken was, thankfully, ‘no’) I took the walk of shame to Manarola – I was told to follow the flags and I’d get there in about 40 minutes. I can take pictures now! #brightside

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So while I’m making my way down to the village, Brian and Jo-Anne are taking the train from village to village to meet up with Steve as he makes his way through the course.

UntitledSteve was not having a great day due to nutrition issues, and was in a pretty serious calorie deficit for the last half of the race. He had a phone charger, though. 😉

Thank goodness for the GPS trackers because when I came out on the paved road I had no idea where I was going because I was closer to Riomaggiore than Manarola! Jo-Anne and Brian looked at my tracker and told me to head toward Riomaggiore because I was only one kilometre out.

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When I entered the village, I met Marco and Anna (the scope sweeping the trail to Riomaggiore). We had a great chat heading to the train station!

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To live in a place where lemon trees grow like this…

Jo-Anne met me at Riomaggiore 💕 and we took the train back to Monterosso where I washed my face and changed. I felt human again.

While Brian was still going from village to village for Steve, Jo-Anne and I took on the pasta party. SO GOOD. I love that you can purchase guest tickets!

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Steve continued to send me updates, he was tired and sore from the stairs, but making steady progress.

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When Steve was only 2km to the finish according to his GPS. he was also getting close to the race cutoff! We met up with Jessica (she had a great race!) and Gino, who was waiting for his wife Francesca (she finished strong!), and Nic and Sally. Jessica, Nic and Sally waited for Steve to come in – how amazing are these new friends?

Sally informed me that the stairs section into Monterosso was brutal. I decided I was going to keep that information from Steve 🙂  He was texting me to say that he wasn’t going to make the cut. I was telling him to stop texting and RUN. #supportive

Brian hiked his way up the stairs to meet up with him about 500m from the finish. There were kids waiting at the bottom of the stairs to run him in!! ❤️❤️❤️

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Christine was the first to give him a hug and his finisher’s medal ❤️❤️❤️

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The medals are cut from local grapevine. Christine pointed out that there were two that had a pattern of the maple leaf 🇨🇦. She and Nicola saved these for us! I was so touched, I cried. I couldn’t accept a finisher’s medal I didn’t earn, but Christine insisted I take it as a memento – so I now have the most amazing Christmas ornament EVER.

UntitledI named this post SciaccheTrail 2017 because…

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Sigh…

I need to rectify this situation 🙂

See you in 2017 🇮🇹🏃‍♀️

GEAR:
Shoes: Altra Lone Peak 3.0 (Steve) & (Una)
Hats: Cinque Terre Trekking
Packs: Nathan VaporAir (Steve) / VaporAiress (Una)
Watch: Suunto Ambit 3 Sport
Run Nutrition: Strongbars, Tailwind
Recovery: Nuun hydration, CEP Compression socks

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