Our favourite Frenchman, Laurent Caudrelier, is part of a 10-person team running The Speed Project in March. Laurent is an impressive runner, cyclist, and all-around powerhouse of good vibes. As the clock ticks down, we wanted to know more about his experience taking on this ambitious goal. Laurent answered all 5.5 of my questions below. I think you’ll appreciate the balance of smart strategy and humourous honesty that Laurent brings to this challenge.
Lauren(+t), your NP fam has your back and we’re already proud of you!!
1. What is TSP in 144 characters or less:
The Speed Project (i.e., TSP) is a crazy ultra-running relay race from Los Angeles to Las Vegas: 550 km through the desert, no rules, just run!!
(And if you count, that’s exactly 144 characters)
2. Why are you doing TSP?
I wouldn’t say that that there is one particular reason why, to be honest.
I was first introduced to this crazy race last year through my running crew/family, Yamajo (@werunmtl). So when we were selected to participate and I was asked if I was interested in being part of the team, I immediately said “Yes!” without really knowing what I had just gotten myself into.
Let’s face it, any “normal” person would say that pilling up kilometers after kilometers day and night through the desert (550 to be precise, or 340 miles if you don’t like SI units), being stuck in an RV for 2 days, running in some of the least hospitable climate there is… etc., can sound like a pretty daunting undertaking.
But this is not something one does alone, it’s a relay after all and when you listen to stories of those who lived it, you start to understand that it’s one of those “once in a lifetime” crazy adventures. Speaking of which, I absolutely love the whole little gang that will be making the trip: they are some of the most encouraging, supporting, loving, cheerful people I know – true NP spirit folks – and I know they will inspire me to make the best come out and give my 110% even when those legs will be really heavy! And I just can’t wait to live TSP with them!
And, for the amateur photographer in me, running through those breathtaking landscapes will for sure make for some amazing shots, haha!
3. How have you prepared (training, nutrition, mental)?
It’s hard to know exactly how to prepare for something you’ve never done, but gladly we are getting a lot of support and help.
On the physical/cardio side of things, we’ve been following a training plan by Blue Benadum (@blue_benadum), one of the race’s organizers which, let put it out there, is quite intense: 7-days a week of runs and strength training to make sure we are at the peak of the form at the end of March. NP is actually a great training element: all these abs workouts and burpees make a difference! Food-wise, we are preparing a number of easy RV-friendly recipes which we are incorporating in our training to see what works best with our bodies ahead of time.
Now, you’ll say that only part of it and I could only but agree. And so, as a team, we spend a lot of time together (we already did, but like, more! haha), but also learn to discover sides of each other we often weren’t exposed to: opening up on what we are most worried about, how we feel about this big event and overall becoming even tighter than we already were. One of our supporters, Lululemon Montréal, has organized a number of recovery yoga sessions and meditations classes where we can focus on these elements and it has been really helpful!
Quick shoutout to Lululemon Montréal (@lululemonmtl), Saucony Canada (@sauconycanada) and Ciele Athletics (@cieleathletics) for supporting us along the way!
4. What are you most excited for? And most afraid of?
I’m just so excited in general! I can’t wait to be in LA, to be at the start line, to cheer my friends and the other teams and also to be in Vegas for the afterparty!! More out of the ordinary maybe, I’m also excited for whatever will not go as planned and make for great stories after the race… but don’t worry, I’m not saying I’m looking forward to changing a wheel on the RV in the middle of the rattlesnakes at nights…
On the flip side, I am worried that I won’t be as good/fast as I’d like to be for my team – a form of performance anxiety if you want – and that lose some of my zen during the race. This will be a struggle for all of us and I hope to be as supportive as I can to everyone in the team! I’m also not looking forward to this ending… I know we haven’t started yet, but I can already see myself miss it… Oh, and if you didn’t get it from my previous point about changing a wheel in the middle of the night, I wouldn’t say I’m the biggest fan of rattlesnakes…
5. Any advice for someone with an audacious goal?
Surround yourself with people that will support you and encourage you to follow through and achieve it, that is for sure the most important! The days and days of training and constant soreness will be so much more bearable! Whatever your goals are, I am sure there is someone in your NP community that has a similar objective or dream; you are not alone!
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