Our trip to Plasy (little town north of Pilsen famous for its beautiful cistercian monastery) was planned in a split of a second – once we found out that Running Shadow was on his way there, accompanied by 12Honza (who initially told me that meeting up with Shadow at the Prague Grand Prix would be too much of a bore 🙂 and we all know how THAT ended) and the rest of the running and blogging bunch, there was no turning back. Originally, both V and me registered for the 10K race in Plasy (the choices included a 1/2M and full cross M as well) but V still did not recover from the delivery 4 months ago so her role quickly turned to the one of our logistic manager, driver and baby sitter.
We drove to Czech rep. on Thursday night, spent a day (and night at the outside fire place) with my mother and pretty much talked ourselves through to Saturday morning, being entertained by Emma’s second tooth growing.
Last week Iva has tried to change my mind about the race by sending me the height profile but she couldn’t stop me anymore. Despite the fact that the pregnancy (yes, lets blame the baby, not my endless appetite and chocolate cravings) left me in anything but a perfect shape, despite the sleep deprivation and absence of hill training back home, I was predetermined to give it my best. Little did I know that my best wouldn’t be enough.
As all other bloggers already wrote, gathering at the Big Meadow (and boy, was it BIG, once I had to run around it at K 11!) was more of a social event than a running race. After parking and disembarkment (how else to call our group getting out of the car with double baby stroller, huge bags full of milk bottles, nappies, reserve clothing, some little presents and many more needful things), we started bumping into friends whose faces I only knew from blogs and stories. Finally, the hard evidence was there: Running Shadow is NOT an urban legend. 12Honza DOES talk all the time and his wife is the kindest person ever. Leona‘s hair had different color yet again, Iva’s hair was not there at all (s0cketka‘s shoes neither), Digi‘s camera bag is HUGE while Jitka is tiny…. I could go on and on, there were many more people who I knew only virtually and it was my pleasure to get introduced to them, like Advid, bubo, Machy, rid, Lucka, nikie, II,… for sure I forgot some but hey, I had to run too.
Well, talking about running, there were HILLS. Not one hill at the beginning that ‘you don’t have to worry about because everybody walks it’ but ALL the time. Up and down. Mostly up. In my own stupidity I thought that as the route follows a cycling path, it would be pretty much a flat asphalted road (hello, I live in Holland)… my fatal mistake showed immediately at the the first corner. So while I was struggling to survive, the smiling yellow bandanna (formerly known as Iva) hopped around me, talking and picking mushrooms. It took me ages (40 minutes or so) to get to K 5 where there was no water. At K 6 I finally drank and as we saw Leona some 150 m in front of us, I tried to catch her. Pathetic. No luck for the next 4 K, quite the contrary. At one point I thought my soul was leaving my body and floating in the sky while I saw myself running down below – just kidding, I was there, on the running path all the time :-).
Around 9.5 K I attempted to speed up (funny in itself) thinking that the finish line cannot be far anymore (well, 500 m, to be exact). Yet another mistake that marked that beautiful sunny day: despite V’s presence (she was holding Emma in her arms at the finish line) it took quite some more torture to plod around the hot meadow. My Garmin stopped at 10.9 K and the time was showing little under 1:20. Pfeeew!
To make things worse, Iva, still with mushrooms in both hands, suddenly collapsed. Luckily her blood pressure went up again in a short while so we could laugh about how she, being the World Champion, did not manage to shake me off.
The showers were too far away to bother so I grabbed the stroller and all family members and walked to the car to change and then there was beer to drink and stories to tell. The half marathoners who were starting just 2 minutes after us were dripping to the finish line as well and soon after them the first marathoners followed.
The kids had trouble sleeping (loud music all over the place) so at one point we had to say good bye to everybody and stop whining about missing Honza and Shadow at the finish line…. As we were leaving the Meadow, I actually saw them running about 100 m from our car… but that was all there was.
So to wrap it up: a perfect day with many many new friends to whom I am grateful for their never ending support and motivation. Time for me to move on and start some running…