Lavaredo Ultra Trail (LUT) is the ultra trail event with most participants in Italy (Trail Running: statistics for Italian Ultra Races, number of finishers | EmigranTrailer).
However, this is only a numerical detail. The truth is that this event is unique because it allows you to run surrounded by that unesco heritage landscape that is the italian Dolomites.
This aspect as well as an excellent organization of the event attracts a large number of international athletes to Cortina d’Ampezzo every year.
Athletes this year could choose between four races (La Sportiva Lavaredo Ultra Trail – Home):
- Cortina Skyrace (20 Km, 1000 m+ on 24.06.2021 at 5 p.m.)
- Cortina Trail (48 Km, 2600 m+ on 25.06.2021 at 9 a.m.)
- Ultra Dolomites (80 km, 4100 m+ on 26.06.2021 at 8 a.m.)
- Lavaredo Ultra Trail (120 km, 5800 m+ on 25.06.2021 at 11 p.m.)
The iconic race of the event is definitely the 120 km, this year in its fourteenth edition.
I took part to it and it was my third time. In 2016 I finished it while in 2017 I had a DNF, since I stopped at km 95.
And what happened this year?
The review of the race and the results are in the following sections. However, as usual, I also share some details on the race, on the material used, and on other aspects that may be of interest.
Race review: my goals and status
The truth is that I arrived in Cortina in good health for me. I did an excellent winter and spring preparation (for my athletic level), comforted by the results of the first two important races of the year in which I partecipated: 1) Le Porte di Pietra (ITA) “Open” – 72 KM | EmigranTrailer and 2) Ultrabericus (ITA) “Integrale” – 65 KM | EmigranTrailer.
At the same time I also arrived a little tired due to the fact of doing three ultra races in the space of 40 days with many kilometers of driving in the car (Germany->Italy->Germany), many hours exploring tracks in Germany, Italy and Austria, many hours of working (yes, I also work!) and only a few hours of rest.
I could have avoided some extra-explorations. But I always like to live in the present (“carpe diem”) and so I was fine with it.
Goals? The minimum goal was to finish it. The average goal was to be faster than in 2016. The maximum goal was to finish it around 19 /19:30 hours. However, none were a “must do”. My only and unique goal is always to enjoy and finish the race in a status that allows me to talk, walk and eventually drive.
I have already written a long post on Facebook about what happened along the beautiful trails of LUT: https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10158483995029118&id=650234117
Therefore, I will not repeat all these details. I can just say that after Misurina Lake (km 43) the race turned into a nice journey shared with a friend (Michele) I hadn’t seen for a few years.
But before and after the meeting with Michele there were certainly positive and other negative “technical” aspects. And I want to focus on these to give some helpful hints.
What worked well?
The strategy about the shoes
During the spring I tested a few shoes for this race. In particular, the Saucony Peregrine 11 and the Topo Athletic MTN Racer.
I had tested the Saucony in May during the two Ultra Trail in Italy. I had found them very responsive and stable, but they had not completely convinced me about the comfort after 60 km.
I had tested the Topo Athletic mainly in spring in Germany, during my personal running projects (Pfälzer Weinsteig from North to South | EmigranTrailer & Wisper Trails – Info & Trails (GPX) | EmigranTrailer). I had found them comfortable but not entirely responsive especially in the technical trails.
Plus I knew that there could be pieces at the LUT where the shoes would get wet with steps between mud and streams.
So in the end I decided to start with the Saucony, in order to do the descents at night with more reactive shoes, and then to use the Topo in the second part of the race, in the sun and in the heat, and when my feet would need a more comfortable shoe.
I had literally no problems with shoes and feet. Indeed it was a good strategy.
The nutrition in the last three months
I have been competing for many years in Trail Running and have therefore gained good experience. As I have written in other occasions, I generally have a nutrition plan during the race that has been working well for at least 2 years.
But this winter, due to personal stress, I had put on a few extra pounds and above all I ate completely irregularly.
Therefore, I looked for advices.
Not that I didn’t know what I was doing wrong, but I needed a person who from the outside would lead me back on the “right path”. And I’m referring to daily diet, not the competition.
So in March I talked to Elena, an excellent nutritionist and teammate. I explained my personal situation (which kept giving me a lot of stress), my training routine and my weight goal for the LUT.
She presented me with guidelines to follow (no tables or similar; she understood me from the very first moments) and together we then compared to make changes based on the response of my body.
It was a team effort that worked, mainly because I took my responsibility in applying the guidelines and above all because neither Elena nor I set up daily and continuous dialogues. Side comment: I totally disagree (doctors and patients) that they do like this.
To be more precise, these were our exchanges related to my goal:
- First cognitive phone call in March
- Second call after two weeks, where Elena explained me the guidelines
- Third call after other two/three weeks, after some long trainings for me, in order to explain to Elena how my body reacted and what eventually modify together
- First personal meeting in April, in order to make a more precise examination and discuss overall what still to modify
That´s it. And it worked very well and this statement is based on two facts:
- I lost 4/5 kilos in the last three months without affecting my performances and without giving up some foods that I like.
- my recovery time has been significantly reduced. After the two ultra trail in May and Lavaredo Ultra Trail during last weekend I was fine after few hours and I could easily start running again.
Therefore I am happy with the choice to compare myself with Elena and I thank her for helping me to put some order back on this important aspect in long distance races.
If you want more details on the guidelines write me in private or contact directly Elena on Facebook: Dott.ssa Elena Pola Biologa, Patologa, Nutrition Sport Specialist – Home | Facebook.
Final comment: do not forget that something works only and if YOU take your own responsibility.
Nobody can do miracles without this element! 😉
My mental strength
I have to be honest: so many things have happened to me up to Lake Misurina that if I had dropped it would have been the most logical thing.
But with years and experience, unless there are injuries or serious problems, I have learned to be very strong mentally and to handle difficult situations.
Is there a special recipe?
Not, but I can write the following tips:
- Don’t take things too seriously. If something unpleasant, annoying, painful happens, do self-irony. Make fun of yourself! And smile!
- Run with a goal, but be good at changing it along the way!
- Surround yourself with positive thoughts: you are responsible of your happiness!
What did not worked well?
The use of the headlamp
I made a rookie mistake. I have no problem admitting it.
Basically in the last ten days I had done a couple of night runs with an headlamp I have been using for years.
Not my favourite headlamp, but at least I know it very well.
I arrived at Cortina with the doubt whether or not to use it in the race. Then a few hours before the race I saw Markus’ haedlamp and since he didn’t use it, I asked to lend it to me.
Since I still had doubts, I put another headlamp in the backpack: the least performing one with spare batteries.
In short, I started with many doubts and finally using Markus’ one. The first kilometers, however, calmed me down. The headlamp worked as tested in the hotel.
Then after starting to feel sick and cold, the headlamp became the least of the problems.
And in the worst moment, obvioously by Murphy#s law, the headlmap started to blink red. From white to red in few seconds. I stopped and tried to find the problem (the charge was ok), but I could not figure it quickly because I had never tested before!
Finally I switched to the other headlamp which however did not produce the light I wanted to run properly. In the end, between km 30 and km 43, I believe I have lost at least 20-30 minutes simply because I could run as I wanted jumping between roots and stones.
My fault! Lesson learned!
The dinner before the start
This is another aspect that I have underestimated this year.
In practise, the last long race in which I started at night was the LUT in 2017. After that all the ultra had started in the morning, after the breakfast.
Therefore last Friday I confronted myself with the unclear situation on what to eat and how much time in advance.
I do not think that the final choice (a plate of pasta about 3 hours in advance) was the cause of the night’s problems, but it could have made its contribution.
Something to focus more next time!
Official website: La Sportiva Lavaredo Ultra Trail – Home
Official distance: 120 km
Official Cumulative Gain +: 5800 m
Official Cumulative Loss -: 5800 m
Official max altitude: 2450 m
Start Date: 25/06/2021
Start Time: 11:00 p.m.
Start Point: Corso Italia, Cortina d’Ampezzo (BL)
Cost: 134 € (1,1 €/km)
Air Temperature (average): cold and windy during the night and early morning; warm and in some moments with peaks of heat during the day
Weather conditions: mainly sunny; cloudy in the afternoon
Dominant Ground: trails, forest roads
Ground Status: mainly dry
Technical Difficulties: management of the night (cold and windy) and the heat in the Val Travenanzes
Refreshment Points: 8 (ca. 18 km; ca. 28 km; ca. 43 km; ca. 67 km; ca. 76 km; ca. 95 km; ca. 101 km; ca. 111 km)
Official starters: 1182
Official finishers: 835
Official personal time: 2h14’37”
Official personal absolute position: 216
Official personal male position: 194
Official personal AGE Position (M40): n.a.
Official personal finisher certificate: n.a.
Personal ratio absolute position/starters: n.a.
Personal Gps move (by Suunto 9): https://www.suunto.com/move/andreadefilippo70/60d7965363f7733328b3d102
Personal Registration Team: Team NO LIMITS – EMIGRANTRAILER
- Saucony Peregrine 11 (Size: UK 8.5 / EU 43 / USA 9.5; Color: Future Black Noir) for the first 66 km
- Topo Athletic M-MTN Racer Red/Orange (Size: UK 9/ EU 44 / UK 10; Color: Red/Orange) for the second 54 km
Shoes usage at the start:
- Saucony Peregrine 11: 382 km; ca. 14100 m +/-
- Topo Athletic M-MTN Racer Red/Orange: 278 km; ca. 9880 m +/-
- F&V (only used for the right ankle) (Note: I had a second one in the backpack, plus additional adhesive tape)
- I did not use in the second part of the race
- Thyo Special Trail (Size: 41-43; Color: Black/Orange) for the first 66 km
- Thyo Special Trail (Size: 41-43; Color: Black/Blue) for the second 54 km
Calf Sleeves: Compressor R2 V2 (Color: Blue) for the complete race
- Montura Long Short (Size: M; Color: Black) for the first 66 km
- Raidlight Trail Raider Short (Size: M; Color: Dark Blue) for the second 54 km
Race Belt: Suunto / Salomon (Color: Black)
Undershirt: only for the first 66 km
- Team NO LIMITS for the first 66 km
- Raidlight XP Fit 3D (Size: M; Color: Dark Blue) for the second 54 km
Arm Sleeves: only for the first 66 km
- Sportful Bike Gloves for the entire race
- Craft winter gloves for the first 66 km
Wristband: Nike (Color: Blue)
GPS Clock: Suunto 9 (Color: Black)
Backpack: Ultimate Direction 10,8L (Size: M; Color: Blue)
- Buff (Team NO LIMITS) for the first 66 km
- Salomon Cap for the second 54 km
Glasses: Kalenji (Note: used only in the hottest hours for few flat kilometers)
Trail Running Poles: Black Diamond (used for the entire race)
- Petzl Aktic Core (used until km 30)
- Oxylane (used between km 30 and km 43; three spare batteries as well in the backpack)
- Dynafit React (Color: Orange) (used between km 28 and km 66)
- Additional wind stopper used in the first 66 km
First Aid Help: not used but in the backpack (Note: it included a thermal blanket, mobile phone, money, ID-Card, patches, tissues)
Race nutrition plan
After a few kilometers from the start (8 km) my stomach had issue and since then I have not been able to feed myself as I wanted. Also I stopped to check what to eat.
This is what I remember:
- 1 Antioxidant gel by Overstim’s (5 minutes before the start)
- 1 Organic bar Banana/Dates by Overstim’s (after 1h30′)
- 2 hot tea at Passo Tre Croci (km 28)
- 2 cups of hot soup at Misurina Lake (km 43)
- Few almonds during the uphill to Rifugio Auronzo (km 48)
- 2 cups of hot soup at Cimabanche (km 66)
- 1 slice of bread with cheese at Cimabanche (km 66)
- 1 cup of hot soup at Malga Ra Stua (km 76)
- Few crackers with marmelade and a cup of beer at Malga Val Travenanzes (km 90)
- 1 cup of hot soup,1 slice of bread with olive oil and 0,7 L beer at Col Gallina (km 96)
- 1 cup of beer at km 97 along the uphill to Rifugio Averau
- 1 slice of bread with olive oil at Passo Giau (km 104)
- 1 Long Distance Energy Gel before the uphill to Forcella Giau (km 107)
- 1 cup of hot soup and 1 slice of bread with olive oil at Rifugio Croda da Lago (km 112)
In short, this nutrition was not thought of. The problems during the night affected everything. But, at least, together with my basic preparation, this “strange” nutrition allowed me to finish the race.
If you want more information or technical details related to this event, please do not hesitate to contact me or comment below.
Other information about races, results and equipments at the following link: Trail & Running | EmigranTrailer.
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Andrea De Filippo
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