April Runs

… hikes, kickbikes, skis and more

Archive for the category “RUNNING”

JD01 – Fourth running year

Janathon celebrates its 5th year but as I only started running in 2012 and E was born in 2013, this will be my third.

Last year, I managed to run 200+ km in January and hoped that this trend would continue to make it to 2000+ in a year. Unfortunately, the final number shows 1699. We have moved several times, we started a new business in a new country and to be honest, the girls are becoming a hand full with the day. No reason to complaining: I joined some challenges (running staircases and hills) as well as races, traveled and remained healthy throughout the year. All in all, I had a good time. But 2014 is history and it is time to look ahead:

At 6 am this morning, I was out there in the snow and clocked my first 5 km of Janathon 2015. After that a long cross training – with a snow shovel.

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Dark and cold and dreary…

Longfellow said it much earlier – but even on days like these one has to run. And I do not want to repeat the mileage agony of past November. So here I am, at 6.30 a.m…

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And back home the little people fight for breakfast:

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No post in November?

Almost….

And silly as it sounds, almost no running either. I have managed to get out for some early morning short runs but somehow did not even make it to 100 km this month. This means that currently I am running less than I was 3 months before giving birth :-(.

Life is about priorities. ‘Not having time’ in fact means ‘not wanting to make time’ for some particular activity. This fall, I am deliberately shifting my running minutes in favor of all kinds of family and business matters. It is temporary and I know that I will be back on track but believe me, it sucks.

Those early morning short runs all take place before 7 am, in complete darkness, and they are not fun. I try to add some fitness time to it but it is as if the days are getting shorter all the time.

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Awaiting happier days!

Autumn

Cyprus, Austria, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, The Netherlands… there are days when I am almost loosing the track of where I am. Time zones and temperatures change and so do apartments we stay in. And the grand mothers and other people around us… The kids don’t seem to mind too much as long as they can play and RUN around.

And funny enough, RUNNING is my anchor to this chaos as well: Despite the heavy logistics of our autumn moves, I am out there more often than ever. And I am enjoying every mile to the max.

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Early misty mornings, late wet evenings, flat windy stretches, muddy hill paths: This year, I run them all.

Back on track

Just a quick one for my virtual friends who were wondering how was I doing…

Good news! My leg is almost healed and despite my never ending time management struggle, I am back ‘on track’. I spent a couple of days thinking what was it about my running that I liked the most and decided to focus on just that. So for the past days and weeks, I’ve been spending 4 mornings a week on the road/trail I like the most, running some 9-10 km each time. And I am planning to continue doing just that as long as I have time :-).

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On the healthy eating note: The lack of ‘official’ challenges in the autumn forced me to introduce my own one: no bread eating what so ever. It is my second no-bread month now and my pants are already getting bigger. Oh – and chia seeds make me hungry :-).

Happy running!

Instead of racing…

I was supposed to be in Plasy today. My 2014 ‘racing season’ would culminate by the trail 1/2M, a race that many of my fellow bloggers were attending… which promised some serious beer drinking and a proper after party. As we all know, with two little children there is no way to stick to any plan…chaos

Since I still wanted to run today, I forced myself out of bed at 6.20 – my usual get up time on week days – and gathered my running gear. I have been fighting with myself lately – somehow I cannot find the proper motivation for longer runs. My usual midweek 7-8 k’s are fine but whenever the run should become longer, somehow it does not feel the way it used to. No idea why is that as my body does not send any negative signals, quite the contrary – no muscle ache nor any other pain at all. Is this laziness? Or am I getting too old?
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To my credit, I overcame my laziness and poured fresh water into my camelbag, grabbed some fruit sugar and within 5 minutes I was outside the door and moving. My plan was anything above 12 k, ideally around 20. It was a lazy morning with mist in the valley and I felt like the only person alive. As usually, the first 3-4 k were a sheer torture but little by little my face lightened up and after half an hour of dreaming about my warm and soft bed I realised that I was actually enjoying the run. At about 8 k mark I picked some fresh mint for the tea and turned back to run home. Nice and easy 16 k but still, the joy wasn’t quite there. No idea what to do about it.CIMG3052

Oh, and one more thing, especially for Leona: as I was looking for banana’s in our local supermarket, this is what I bumped into (the tiny letters read: “Power seeds for the ascetic runner”) – and yes, I admit, I couldn’t resist to buy one package to experience the magic myself.
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Pictures from IRONMAN 70.3

Vcerejsi IronMan 70.3 v Zell am See – Kaprunu z pozice zmokleho divaka :-). Byla to generalka na mistrovstvi sveta pristi rok – bude se zavodit na totozne trati.
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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 :-). 

 

 

 

 

Back in Villecroze

In 2012, we spent a great week here – with lots of (trail) running, swimming, hiking and kayaking. After the wow-we-are-having-babies break in 2013, it was time to return to this small Provencal village and check the paths through the local rocks again. What I found on ‘my’ paths was stone, stone and more stone:

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CIMG2925 I am not a good runner so balancing among moving rocks was a bit of a challenge. After the initial sounds of despair (non-publishable) I decided to turn the lemons into a lemonade and actually went running every morning. I thought my Hoka’s would help me but funny enough the absence of feeling the stones under my feet due to their extensive cushioning was more of a disadvantage – my ‘regular’ shoes served better.  And I admit, on occasions, the paths were actually great:
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CIMG2920All in all a good week resulting in 65 km in 6 days and 1000+ vertical meters. I am slow but I am out there.

Oh, and there were some regular roads and good old stairs as well:

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Matterhorn, virtually

Talking to friends usually triggers my participation in dangerous projects. Talking to friends when drinking does not make my life any easier :-). We named this summer challenge ‘Matterhorn’ as it entailed climbing this beautiful mountain in 8 weeks. Well, virtually. Translated to real life, we were supposed to climb/run/hike at least 4478 vertical meters during the summer.

I was not sure what to expect, how my body would like to run or hike uphills. The only way to find out was to try it. Little by little I inserted some hilly sections to my runs. My mileage went down a bit and so did my speed (yes, that was still possible!) but the vertical meters were adding up quite nicely. Especially considering me spending the past decade in the flattest country in the world and carrying the extensive body mass.  Each week I covered 700-900 m and so here we are, after 5 weeks (!) on the top of Matterhorn overlooking the Alps – and thinking what to do next.

matterhorn-route

Week 1: 970 m

Week 2: 766 m

Week 3: 865 m

Week 4: 931 m

Week 5: 983 m

Total:  4515 m

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