April Runs

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Archive for the category “Races”

Holcici zavod

Sedime takhle loni na podzim s kamoskou L u pivka kafe a probirame se nejtrapnejsima zazitkama z posledni doby. Na mysl se vkrada muj zatim posledni zavod, 25 km trail pred dvema lety. Se smichem vypravim, jak silene ch*alo, takze nebyly videt moje slzy beznadeje, kdyz me V vykopla z auta a ostatni zavodnici mi pak utekli tesne po startu, aby me v kopcich prohaneli uz jen nordicti walkeri, co startovali deset minut po nas. Jak si me s nima poradatele pletli. Jak moje posledni misto nakonec stejne bylo medailovy pac ctyricetilety holky sme tam byly jenom tri…

No a za par dnu otviram email od L s nadpisem: “Happy Birthday to you…” a kdyz kliknu na prilohu, malem zkamenim. Zavodni registrace. Jako – co je spatnyho na karafiatu a bonboniere? Sem pani v letech! Cervicek se ale zavrtal a vytistena A4ka mi pres zimu visela nad obrazovkou compu a sem tam sem se preci jen zastydela a vybehla. Taky sme hodne lyzovaly, zacla jsem vic koketovat s kolobezkou a samozrejme kazdodenne skacu – kolem deti.

Jenze: V prosinci ulehnu se zanetem dutin, v lednu mrazy jak na Kamcatce a tak teda misto behani radsi hrabu snih v kulichu. Pak chyti chripku deti, po nich V (ty sem este na brusleni stihla zlomit ruku) a nakonec ja. Celej brezen a pulku dubna kaslu… no super.

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Zimni treninkove podminky

Cas poklidne plyne a v kvetnu radsi whatsappuju na vsechny strany, ze to nedam. Ze tech 16 km a 800 vertikalnich metru proste nezvladnu. Odpovedi sou samozrejme naposto jednoznacny: nedelej Zagorku a za par dnu sraz na startu!

Moc casu na vymluvy stejne uz nezbejva, ke vsemu v baraku mame zrovna ubytovanejch dvacet skyrunneru, co si takovej minivybeh davaj s prstem v nose jako rozcvicku a tak jako obvykle je nejjednodussi zabalit batoh a zjistit, kdy mi jede lokalka do Zell.

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Jednou denne i na paru…

Dvacatyho rano u jezera samy zensky – co se divim, je to prece Women’s Trail a hlavni sponzor je vyrbce podprsenek. Opatrne rekognoskuju teren a zmocnuje se me trudomyslnost. Slachovity, opaleny a namakany tela, zadky ani prsa veskery zadny. Vedle me se na uplnej konec koridoru stavi L a za nama uz jenom laskujou organizatorky. Najizdim pohledem na jedinou trochu oplacanejsi bezkyni prede mnou a v duchu si zacinam opakovat mantru pro dnesni den: Nezrakvi se a urvi tuhle holku!

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Women’s Trail Zell am See – Kaprun

V deset startujem. Tempo je v prvnim kilometru celkem ok, prevyseni veskery zadny. Do kopce stoupame az od druhyho… celkem vytrvale tak do sestyho. Cestu nahoru k jezirku znam, s detma a kocarkama sme ji valily x-krat. Vzdycky ale po castech a se zastavkama. To dneska nehrozi.

Kupodivu to nahoru celkem jde. Prvnich 6 km ubehne raz dva a u jezirka je pohoda – a obcerstvovacka. Chleba se salamem mi vyslovene zveda naladu. L je sice nekde daleko prede mnou, ale jde/bezi se mi dobre a ta oplacana je daleko za mnou. Teda spis pode mnou.

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Chleba se salamem

Z jezirka pres Schmidolinovu cestu na Areit – za normalnich okolnosti pohoda jazz, ale mne zacinaj tuhnout nohy. Porad to este ale neni zadna tragedie a sem tak nekde ve druhy tretine asi stoclennyho startovniho pole.

Na Areitu veskery stoupani na par dalsich kilometru konci a zacina sebeh. Ten dobre znam: loni sem se v nem natahla pres koren tak, ze mi zacala tryskat krev z kolene. Zachranila to usmudlana Pamperska zapomenuta v batohu, kterou ja snad budu brat jako individualni povinnou vybavu. Sedla mi na ten krvavej flek tehdy tak dobre, ze mi to pochvalil i vlekar pod lanovkou.

Tak tentokrat bez padu, valim si to dolu jak snek bez domecku a uz je za mnou 10 kilaku. No vazne to neni tak hrozny, jak se zdalo!

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Vysoky Taury jako na dlani

A pak se najednou prede mnou cesticka narovna a celkem prudce zvedne. Jako jak do kopce? Tady uz sou prece jenom cesty dolu, k jezeru?
Nasledujici kilak je cirym utrpenim pro nohy i hlavu. Chce se mi brecet (neprsi = nemuzu) a este vic se mi chce zastavit. Jenze co se mnou, tady v kopci? Stejne budu muset do cile pro batoh.

A tak teda du co noha nohu mine. Nadavam v duchu a predbiha me jedna lanka za druhou. Kdyz se ten desne strmej kopec placatej brdek konecne zlomi, mam stehna tak vytuhly, ze ze sebeh meni na ciry utrpeni. Zbejvaj uz jenom asi dva kilaky, ale ty sou teda nekonecny. Rikam si, ze uz sem urcite beznadejne posledni, dyt se tu hrabu jako mrzak uz takovou dobu. Kobyla ale prece jenom ucejti staj a tak do cile nejak doklusu. L me radostne vita, uz tu asi 25 minut okouni :-).

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L v cili

Ohlidnu se a za mnou nikdo. Jasny. Zase posledni. Du svliknout mokry hadry a kousu do vokoraly babovky, co tu este zbyla na takovy exoty jako ja… a kdyz uz mam pobaleny kramy a loucim se, najednou se z tlampace ozve, ze cekame jeste na par zavodnic, ktery budou za chvili dobihat…. Projdeme s L k cilovymu koridoru a vyhlizime je. Jo, je tam ta voplacana. A to teda cumim – je tam i jedna hubena. Diky, holky, ze ste nevzdaly: NEJSEM POSLEDNI!

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Miluju ruzovou 😦

P.S. Mise splnena. Z iTB me teda pro letosek pro neucast na zavodech snad nevyhodi. Pristi rok ale teda zas radsi nejakej normalni darek…

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Klubove heslo

Wandermarathon

Warning: Do NOT read unless you don’t mind me sounding bitter!

The Mittersiller Wandermarathon is a race I was looking at 2 years ago already – back in 2012, the race was brand new and in my ‘I-never-run-hills’ naivety I thought it was doable: 26 km with 850 m up/down. Thank God I became pregnant – which pretty much killed the thought to participate for both 2012 and 2013 and saved me a major humiliation… till 2014.

streckenverlaufFast forward to yesterday: Here I am on a rainy Sunday morning, sitting in the car next to V and with the girls at the back, crying (me – not them, for once). I don’t want to run and I definitely don’t want to run at the back of the pack of muscled mountaineers. Turns out that small local races are small and local. So while I am being pushed out of the car (“If you don’t go, you will be unpleasant all day long and you know today is my birthday!”), all the other runners are frantically warming up and lining at the start line.

There are nine thousand hundred ty runners and me: NINE athletic figures in shorts and T-shirts – and me, in long pants. And a jacket. And a camel bag as from the web of the race I never found out anything about the aid stations. And I knew I would need 3+ hours to get to the finish again…

As I was checking my co-runners (ehm), my worst nightmare became reality: immediately after the start shot the race pack started sprinting towards the hills… and I plodded behind them. Even with a 5:50/km pace I was not able to keep anywhere near them and I knew that this would not change as for the coming 4 km, the track profile was offering a long and steady climb.

The race was everything but boring. Two km into it the ambulance car caught up with me – luckily the paramedics let me continue as I was (sort of) smiling to them. And then the first nordic walker (yes, the wandermarathon was opened to them as well, hence ‘wander’) who started 10 minutes after us passed me and that pretty much outlined the rest of the race :-).

For the first time I did not take the mp3 with me as I wanted to enjoy the atmosphere (which, to some extent, I managed). The one thing I did not consider upfront was the irritating noise of the nordic walkers’ poles ticking to the ground as they were approaching me. I know you will laugh but on occasions, the sound combined with my fatigue felt as if The Death itself was coming to get me.

After the 4 killing kilometers up, I hit a nice 5 km descend back to the valley of Salzach. In the woods above Hollersbach I spotted the first aid station. I took a banana there and tried not to listen to the guys’ remarks (“The last runner? Really? This late? I thought she was walking…?). In Hollersbach, at 9 km mark, I was passing a chip control and although my self esteem was completely gone by then, I struggled to find some positive thoughts and to continue. The rain stopped for a moment which helped me to start focusing on the surroundings, the (few) people along the road clapping for me and the fact that there was still 17 km of a beautiful track ahead.

As I was running further, I ate some fruit sugar and the rest of the banana I took earlier at the aid station. To the credit of the race organisers, there were clear road signs everywhere so even though most of the time I ran alone, I almost never doubted the direction. Also, on many crossings there were volunteers (cute guys from the local fire brigade) cheering me up and prepared to help. It would have been so easy to faint into their arms…

At km 15, we were getting really close to the start/finish area in Mittersill (the track is shaped like a long cipher ‘8’) and I was considering turning there and announcing that I was only participating in the 16 km race. Unfortunately, exactly at that point yet another nordic walker passed me saying: “Are you running? Really? The long one? Wow, super!”  You see, dear reader, it was this guy (aged 60 plus) who simply made it impossible for me to turn to the finish. I swallowed a gummy-bear and hit another hill instead.

Climbing to Thurn Pass (km 16)  stripped me of the last bits of energy that I had. It was steeper than steep (for me), I only know this area from skiing, not hiking or, God forbid, running! Here again Mother Nature saved me: less rain = more views. The valley below me looked fantastic and I even had a short glimpse to some snowy peaks. Then between km 17-21, the track was really beautiful – forest and meadow paths, up and down, mud, rocks,…. it is just that I was really tired by then.

Above Stuhlfelden (km 22), I had to force myself to continue running. I slipped from a wooden bridge into the muddy pool (feet and legs wet, no damage) and realised I had enough. Knowing that the only option to end my misery was walking (which would get me to the finish even slower), I somehow plodded on. Running (literally!) out of resources on how to proceed, I even ate about half of a gel that I had with me. Disgusting, as always :-).

The last 4 km represented a sheer struggle. With shaky fingers I sms’ed V that she could pick me up in 25 minutes or so but what normally would have felt like a nice flat run along the river turned into my desperate attempt to move forward at all. Luckily at that stage the horse started to smell the stables so eventually I passed the finish line.

The muscle ache in my upper legs continued a bit longer, however, after 1 km of a very slow jogging it was nearly gone. A bottle of beer helped as well and when I saw the girls coming towards me, both the bitterness and pain were (almost) gone.

To recap, this was a 25.8 km race with +/- 851  meters. I needed 3:37:30 to deal with it and ended up last (nr 10). On the bright side, I ended as the third woman. 7 nordic walkers (out of 34) were faster than me  – and of course all 9 runners. I needed to be half an hour faster not to end up on the tail. Quite a reality check, I must say.

Apart from that, in all honesty, it was a very well organised race: for EUR 15 (or 10, if registered earlier) there were several aid stations, many volunteers along the track and a rich kids programme at the start/finish area all day long. The locals baked a variety of delicious cakes and prepared goulash for the finishers. And not to forget: there was an impressive average of 0.5 portable toilets per racer :-).

As I am writing this post, my bitter face is lightning up. It was a tough race for me and no matter how it went – I made it (while the toughest part was to walk to the start line). Deep down in my head I already hear myself saying: “Next time better…”

EPILOGUE

It is Thursday evening and I have just unwrapped a thick envelope from the race organisors… with a diploma and a medal for my achievement: 3rd place among the women :-). 

 

 

 

 

JUD21 – Hills hurt

After a long count down, the Race Day of Mozart100 finally came. Together with Iva we drove to Salzburg early in the morning. The weather looked promising – half cloudy and temperatures around 12 degrees with forecasted max around 22. We found a good parking spot and quickly walked towards the race office, picked up the bibs and looked around.

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Mozart 100 logo

While our race was a ‘Light Trail‘ counting only 25.8 km, there were already runners on their way, fighting with 100 km or a 55 km distance… as we were walking through the city, we saw them passing by. Despite their distances, they looked so fresh!

Soon afterwards we found a shuttle bus to Fuschl am See where our race started. Fuschl is a popular summer holiday destination as it is located on the shores of a beautiful lake. It is about 25 km away from Salzburg but the racing buzz was there as strongly present as in Salzburg. As we were waiting for the start signal, we were checking our co-racers – a couple of Kenyans, some nordic walkers but mostly nice and friendly runners with ambitions similar to ours: to enjoy a beautiful summer day while running.

The Lake

The Lake

Almost immediately after the start, a narrow forest path took us along the lake. It lasted about 4 km and I hardly noticed I was moving – somehow I felt like running rather effortlessly, a feeling that would accompany me almost all day. Another 3 km on a small paved road and there was a sign ‘The Wall’ on the side of the road. For a moment I was wondering what did it mean, until I spotted a group of runners walking right above me. The Wall referred to the hill bringing us to Hof bei Salzburg, one that cannot be run by runners like myself :-).

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The Wall…

Just like the rest, I started walking as well and soon ended up on top. From here, it was just a short run to one of the food stations. As I was chewing my water melon, I spotted a famous silhouette: it was Dan Oralek himself, the icon of Czech ultra running. Of course I only saw him for 2 seconds and then he was gone for good but still – from now on I knew I was actually running on the same path as a celebrity :-).

From Hof the race course took us passing the beautiful chapel through meadows and woods to Ladau, Koppl and passed the Salzburg Ring. I was still running well – SLOW but steady, feeling good, enjoying myself, enjoying the scenery. From here (km 16) I knew I would make it despite the fear of the last climb…

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The chapel in Hof

After the blossoming meadows and soft forest paths of the countryside the ‘city trail’ started as we were approaching Salzburg. My half marathon time was 2:36. Around the 22 km mark we passed the railways and then I saw the Kapuzinerberg in front of me (640 m above sea level). Quick cup of water at the bottom and off I was. Vaguely I remembered that the climb was supposed to be spiced up by some stairs. Or were they on the way down? Well, 600 stairs further (and I was sooooo lucky to have trained the stair running throughout Juneathon) I still was not on the top….

Half way up I (barely) passed an elderly lady with poles – probably a local who gave me a friendly smile. She probably SAW the lactate accumulating in my legs by then. It hurt. At that point, I was already running for 3 hours (and Iva was at the finish line for a quarter of an hour…). And then after reaching the top, I realised that what goes up must come down and since my Garmin was showing that the finish line is only a mile away, the descend would inevitably be steep…. which it was.

Stairs case at Kapuzinerberg

Stairs case at Kapuzinerberg

Good thing that the horse smelled the stables – very very carefully I was descending and against all odds, I felt cheerful and happy. After crossing the river, there was the finish gate. My Garmin showed 26.3 km at 3:31:40 (and 531 m up). I made it, the longest, nicest and most enjoyable run of my life! On top of this, I did not end up the last (30th out of 35 women; congrats to Iva to 14th place at 2:42:15!).

Salzburg 1/2M: Slow but great!

After my slow and not very well built 1/2M in Limassol in March, I felt it was time to attempt to race better. He he, little did I know… I decided to run 1/2M in Salzburg on Sunday, the day of S’s first birthday. Originally, all of us would go to Salzburg together: the girls would be enjoying a nice day out while I would get my run done and join them later for lunch and some more walking. The thunder on Saturday night and temperatures dropping to freezing point made us change our plans.

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The wall with the names of all participants in the University Auditorium

At 6.00 on Sunday morning, freezing to death in my light jacket, I left for Salzburg all alone. Arriving to downtown at about 8 am, the soft rain changed into something I was not willing to run in. However, the streets were full of happy (and wet) runners and so I was waiting for a miracle. And it came: By 8.45, it was suddenly dry and the clouds moved several miles outside the city. The starting shot caught a happy colorful crowd, both marathon and half marathon runners started at the same time as the marathon course was designed as 2x ‘our’ 21.1 loop. Foto0111 The first 5 km part was great. As my nose was blocked and I had a bit of a sore throat (this is becoming my new tradition during races), I decided to make it a nice and easy run allowing me to breath well, look around, enjoy the historical down town and its outskirts. I quickly joined a group that formed itself around the 4.45 marathon pacer and stopped thinking about the time, distance and other problems – just stopped thinking all together. After the marker of the second km, the paved surface was substituted by an unpaved sand path. Due to the rainy night and morning, the path was somewhat muddy but nothing too serious. The first pit stop was placed in Hellbrunn and it was great – enough drinks and fruit, well organised (volunteers who actually knew how to pass a plastic cup without spilling its content all over us), cheerful people. The scenery was good too…

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One borrowed picture: Hellbrunn

… and this lasted for another 5 km. Around one third of the race I decided to leave ‘my’ pacer behind me and as I could still spot the green balloon of the 4.30 one, I attempted to move towards him. Why oh why did I waste so much energy to do this? I passed the 1/4M mark in 1.09 and felt well. We came to another well equipped pit stop at Schloss Leopoldskron and by the 13 km marker it became obvious that I had no speed to continue chasing the guy. I calmed down and ran a while behind a tall German girl who kept a pace similar to mine. Every now and then she stopped to make a picture (or to catch a breath?) and we have been passing each other on and off till the finish line (for which I thanked her at the finish).

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Yet another pic I did not take but it looked exactly like this yesterday.

The last third of the race lead us back to the old town: paved roads, good crowds on the sides, very very supportive people and volunteers, music – and then the sun started shining… Unfortunately, I did not have any energy left to speed up, quite the contrary, the last 2 miles were sort of painful – but in a good way. The first 2 Kenyan runners (who were finishing the second loop) passed me with the speed of light around 19th km. I hardly had time to focus on them and off they went. And there was the finish line, again with many people, music, beer, fruit and even this cherry cake: Foto0114 So to sum up: my finish time, 2:21:14, is the worst out of my thee 1/2M’s that I participated in but when it comes to my feelings, this was probably the best race I ran in. I would be happy to return next year :-).

Limassol 1/2M

It was supposed to be an easy flat race on a track that I know as well as my shoes. I have been running along the Coastal Road here in Limassol for months now so when I found out that the annual Limassol Marathon pretty much copies my favourite training route (with the start some 500 m away from my office) and that I would be on the island exactly at the time when it takes place, it was hard to resist. Out of the 4 offered distances (full M, 1/2M, 10 K and 5 K) I opted for the 21.1 K, a distance that I ran once before during a race (Leiden 2012, pre-babies) and several times during my training. With enough ‘winter kilometers’ in my legs, I felt confident that I would be able to run this race well, if only I could get some sleep one or two nights before the D-Day.

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As the race day was approaching, the kids were getting a bit ill, sneezing and coughing. On Saturday, I myself woke up with a head that felt as if it were hollow but decided not to pay attention to it. We all went out and enjoyed the sunny day and light breeze. During the afternoon, E did not feel too well so we made a steam-bath for her with Eucalyptus oil, made sure she drank enough and put her to bed early. Ignoring my own cold, we ate pasta (the only item that I found in my runner bag) with tomato sauce and I allowed myself one small beer and went to bed too. At midnight my Camelot ended: while E was sound asleep, S started crying and was not to be calmed down. She felt really warm and to our surprise, her fever raised to 39.7. Of course we were panicking. To cut a long story short, early on Sunday morning, after hours of cuddling, singing, walking around with her and attempting to put her to sleep, she was quietly asleep in her bed, with fever under control. I still had 1.5 hours or so before it was time to get out and race.

At 7.00 I announced to V that I was not going to leave the house and running was out of question. At 7:30 she forced me outside the entrance door and told me that if she needed me, she knew where to find me because at any given time, I would not be further away than 10 km. Yet again, she was right.

Foto0028By 8.00, I was in the office changing myself and attaching my bib number to my shorts. Then 2x number  1 and number 2 (how great not to be depending on the portable toilets down the road!), check check double check and off I went. Out of 4000 registered runners, some 3500 participated in corporate runs (5 and 10 K). As the corporate teams were lining up near the starting point at Molos, it seemed like everybody knew each other there  and I felt a bit lost, thinking about my girls at home… What distracted me was the fact that the marathon runners were lining up at the start gate while half marathoners and 10K runners were supposed to take place behind them. Weird, I thought.

Foto0032Around 9.00 I heard the gun shot and as the crowd started moving, I crossed the start line some 3 minutes after that. I went with the crowd, the pace was around 6 minutes per km and it went well. After about a mile I suddenly saw a pair of bare feet running next to me. They belonged to a tall blond guy with light blue eyes. As we plodded on, we started talking. Funny enough, he was Dutch coming to Cyprus to enjoy his ‘old days’. Being 60 now, he was never a runner till about 3-4 years ago when somebody advised him to try barefoot running. His life story was quite amazing and so was his running story including the barefoot runs in Himalaya’s. He was happy to be able to talk to me in Dutch while I was happy to be just listening. The pace remained slightly above 6 min p/km and when at 9 km I realised that I wouldn’t be able to keep it forever (or for the next hour or so), it was too late to do anything about it. We passed the 10 km mark at 1:03 and I told my guy that it was time for us to part.

The turning point at Amathus excavations caught me in a bad shape. I was hot, my throat was sore and most of all, I felt no urge to run as my thoughts were wandering to the kids. What looked like a well started race turned into a nightmare as I suffered through the last miles with some kilometers slower than 7 minutes, not being able to come to a good pace and focus. At the eighteenth km, I was only about 1.5 km from home and the idea of leaving the track and turning home was quite tempting. At the end, the biggest achievement was probably simply the fact that I finished.

I crossed the finish line at 2:20:51 official time. To my surprise, I was not the last one – about one fifth of the runners was still on their way. I quickly walked to the office again, called V (to find out that the girls were sort of ok) and biked home. There was still half a day ahead of us to continue curing the little ones and I was left with mixed feelings.

limassol medaileP.S. On the organisational side of the race, it was quite a chaos. My email inquiries with regards to the advertised car rental discounts and bib numbers pickup remained unanswered. Also, I have never experienced a volunteer refusing to pass me water arguing that “there is another water station several miles further, this water is for the full marathoners.” But despite all this, I might be back next year :-).

 

Baroque Day (and Race)

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.
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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!

DSC_0025To 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.

DSC_0033The 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.

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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…

Looking for housing during Zell am See Ironman?

No, I am not a triathlete (I did survive one short race though, back in the nineties, at Konopiste castle) and I do not intend to become one. The reason is I cannot swim. Well, technically, I can but my swimming style and abilities are comparable to the desperate situation of a person who wants to become a writer while his only qualification is the elementary school graduation…ironman kaprun zell am seeNevertheless, I like the atmosphere of racing and as the 70.3 Salzburg Ironman is getting closer and closer (September 1), this is my attempt for a commercial announcement: we have still some accommodation available in Piesendorf, a village about 6 km from Zell am See, a village that is actually on the road map of this year’s cycling leg of the Ironman race.

So whether you want to compete (mind you, the main race has been sold out already) or just come by to enrich the crowd, check our website Apartments Piesendorf.

Of course feel free to check it for skiing, hiking, biking or golfing holiday as well.

And yes, my regular readers can expect a friendly discount :-).

JD11: What hurts more?

After publishing the sad statistics after 10 days of Juneathoning (not more than pathetic 21 running kilometers filled up by some biking and walking) I couldn’t decide what hurts more: my knee or the fact that I cannot run?090620131707So this is how I solved it: 7 km while visiting ‘my road‘…

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110620131721My knee still hurts, it slows me down significantly but I am running! Of course I am careful, I adjust the pace to the fact that one leg does not function as it should but at the same time, I feel so much better than yesterday! As the matter of fact, I even registered myself for a race in autumn: 10K in Plasy (Baroko Marathon).

10K in Leiden

E has just turned 11 weeks and S three weeks so I thought it was the highest time to return to racing. Ehm, can one do that without any training? Without any sleep or proper daily routine? I figured that a short race, just to get the feeling back, couldn’t hurt and so I convinced V to walk with me with both kids downtown yesterday and visit the marathon Expo in Pieterskerk 250520131627

and as we were checking some seriously discounted shoes (bought 4 pairs, the two of us – see the yellow/orange boxes under the strollers), I enrolled for the 10K of Leiden Marathon that was scheduled for today. DSC_0010

250520131628 The loyal reader knows that last year, me and V ran our fist 1/2M here in Leiden and as this year the 10K was practically passing our backyard, this was the one logical choice to do.

As if the kids knew that today I needed to be (sort of) fit, the night was wild. And so was the morning. By the time I had to leave home (14.00) to (hopefully) get to the start line on time, I was exhausted as if it were midnight. There was a lot of crying, no sleeping, refusal to drink…

Anyway, thanks to V, I managed to leave the house on time. The plan was to jump on the bike and get down town and walk to the start. I had about 2 hours to do that, run my 10K and return home. And believe me, I did not want to be late as the breasts would start hurting like hell and kids would yell.

How does it feel to wait there (I had full 2 minutes of time reserve!) at the start with hundreds of charged runners around me – after NO training at all? My last proper run was probably the 10M race in Amsterdam last September. After that, there was some more jogging and then between December and April nothing at all – just weight gaining, delivering babies, breast feeding and NOT shaving the excess weight off at all.260520131634

The first 2 km’s went ok. I somehow knew I was way too fast but I decided to enjoy the day, the crowd, the run, the feeling. Then after another 2 km’s my legs started to hurt. The good thing was that all it was were muscles – no bones or joints. There was a water station half way and a cup of water indeed came handy (normally I don’t drink when running 10K as the distance is simply not worth it…). Around 6 km, the crisis came. Why do I do this? What am I trying to achieve here? Oh nice, I passed a guy who was probably over 70 years old and now he passed me back. Time to quit, go home, feed the baby and stop pushing the limits.

Except that quitting does not show in my books. And so I went on, jogging over all the paths I know from my early morning city runs – except that now hordes of people were supporting me from the sidewalks. By the time I was at 9 km (took me an hour!), I knew I managed to book yet another minor personal victory. The last kilometer was of course an easy one, with crowds around, music, the perfect downtown Leiden racing atmosphere.260520131635And then the medal, the red ribbon hanging around my neck… of course it is dedicated to my 3 beautiful girls who were waiting for me at home.DSC_0018P.S. I managed to return home within the time limit for another breastfeeding session!

Medal without racing

After testing my A.D. running abilities yesterday, this morning (after a night full of crying, feeding, cuddling and crying again) I left my bed at 6.30 am. I had to go running again…
200420131570I haven’t been downtown with my running shoes since last December and somehow, intuitively, that was where I wanted to go. One of the reason was the Singelloop, a 6.6km annual run around the historical city centre – my first race last year, my first running race ever! Last night I missed it so I wanted to check if there were still any remains of it today.

200420131571To my surprise, I haven’t found anything that would even remotely remind of a running race with 5000 runners along the city centre canals. All was clean and quiet. I guess the cleaning guys had a loooong night. 200420131572

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200420131575I did not want to go further than 2 km down the main canal but then I suddenly remembered there was this one cemetary that I always wanted to visit but never had the time or opportunity. Funny enough, the gate was open this morning:200420131576

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Half an hour later my 5.5 km loop was done and I was back at our city gate. What a beautiful morning!200420131578

And there is a bonus to it too – so that I always remember why it pays to get up early: at the end of my run, I picked up the Singelloop medal from the cobble stones. So here I am – no race but still one shiny medal!

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