The next race on my schedule is the Ultra Boucle de la Sarra on 21 May, about seven weeks away. That’s a good enough time to try and get ready for the climbing, the stairs, and the demands of fitting in somewhere between a marathon and a 50K in six hours of constant climbing on a spring evening.

But I’m wondering if I shouldn’t take advantage of another opportunity that is just three weeks away, too.

On 22 April is the La Valbonne 24 Hour race, with a six hour option for those not looking to run all day and all night. It kicks off at 11am and so would finish at 5pm and is on a 2km loop that is about half asphalt and half trail. It’s only a short way away from Lyon and, with daylight savings, I would be home before it got dark without a worry. I know I can run the distance and wouldn’t be aiming to break my new six hour record; basically it would be an opportunity for a long run with a regular nutrition station and no need to carry my own water in a backpack.

The question isn’t really whether I could do it, it’s whether I should do it.

I don’t think it will take all that much out of me ahead of the Ultra Boucle de la Sarra as it is a full month before that event and I have proved this week I can bounce back from a six hour reasonably fast. As the race is not on my schedule for the spring at the moment and I didn’t plan to taper for it, I can also just take advantage of the loop and race conditions to get in a nice long run without the stress of carrying food, water, and mapping a route. Heck, I wouldn’t even have to bother tapering for the event as I would not be taking it all that seriously, and it would be another opportunity to try and get my nutrition dialed in before the Ultra Boucle.

The downside? Well it would be a pretty long run in any circumstance, certainly more than 50 kilometers even on the slow side of things. And adding things to my program that I didn’t really expect just because they are there may not be the best way to progress through my first season of ultramarathons.

Officially the last day to sign on is the 17th of April so I have about a couple of weeks to decide and pull the trigger on the race. In reality, though, I’ll probably decide in the next couple of days after I see how tomorrow’s long run goes, and after a few more days of run commuting. Most probably I’ll make the call on Wednesday evening after the Lyon Running Club run – as good a place as any, right?

To La Valbonne or not to La Valbonne – that is the question.

Image by Benoît Prieur.

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