NewsTrail Racing/Mixed Terrain

Jill Connolly, Transgrancanaria, 24/02/24

I can’t improve on Jill’s own race report, so here it is in her own words.
Transgrancanaria Advanced 2024 – 84km and +/-5000m
“If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again”
Following last year’s disappointing DNF I had two choices – Option 1: move on and try other races. Option 2: take home the lessons learnt, replan and put myself in the arena again. I chose option 2.
Some lessons learnt from my 2023 attempt: Transgrancanaria is best described as a giant running party with a week of celebrations and races, and stunning trails spanning across the entire island. However it is also a beast with rocky terrain, steep technical downhills and relentless elevation gain. Another important factor is that it is held in February, which means training through winter and frozen trails. I also live in a very flat area so training for a mountain race becomes a little more tricky.
Game plan: be adaptive and utilise as many ‘good weather’ weekends in the winter to get in mountain miles. Become best friends with the stairmaster in the gym. Focus on weekly elevation gain rather than weekly mileage.
My amazing crew of Hannah and Emma were happy to support another attempt, so we were off.
It wouldn’t be a typical ultra for me without a small hiccup along the way. This time it was a rolled ankle 2 weeks before race day. Race day game plan: use my running poles as much as I can to absorb the force of the downhills on my dodgy ankle. I like to call it the “rolled ankle shuffle”. This meant long and slow descents. However it kept my legs fresh throughout and I was able to power up the ascents which felt awesome!
My A goal was to finish the race, and my B goal was soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the party. I achieved both, feeling strong throughout the entire race. I fuelled well and managed to avoid the nausea of last year. The weather was on my side with some moody wind and rain keeping it nice and cool (although I think the Spanish would disagree!)
Ultra running is a rollercoaster of a ride. Last year I hit a big low with the DNF but you get to decide how the story goes, and I decided to rewrite the Transgrancanaria chapter. I’ll be riding this high for some time.
Jill finished in 19:07:06.