I DID IT! I DID IT! I DID IT!
OK, expect an over-emotional and over-enthusiastic race recap. Sorry, but that's just how it's going to be! ;)
Me at the Scalettapass at 2.606 meters / 8.550 ft
Just to get this clear
This was going to be my first marathon...ever! And I only picked up running seriously 7 months ago. During the race a lot of runners told me that I was absofreakinlutely out of my mind for running a mountain marathon as my first marathon. They all told me to start with a flat course and work up to a mountain course in a couple of years. But, hey, that's just not me! Then again, they did congratulate me on the accomplishment. And that's what counts, isn't it? (I already knew that I'm completely out of my mind...;) what else is new ;) )
The race started at 11.30 AM in the town of Bergün. Bergün is about a 1 hour-trainride away from Davos, where the finish of the race was, and where I was staying. Took the 8.50 AM train for a beautiful trainride through the villages and landscapes surrounding Davos. We entered the town of Bergün at 9.55 AM and walked to the waiting area. The sun was out and it was already getting hot (what a relieve after the cold and rainy weather we had the days before!), so I just waited around in the sun and tried to relax a bit. Ofcourse, relaxing was not really relaxing, since I was still freakin' nervous!
The waiting area was well organized! Enough to drink and eat, and - most important - a lot of toilets!
At 11.15 AM I walked up to the start line and waited for it all to begin. At that moment I was actually feeling quite calm. That totally changed when the race started!
There we go!
At 11.30 AM the race started! Woohoo! I was so nervous, that I was actually feeling sick. Luckily, I felt a lot better as soon as we ran through Bergün again (at the 2K / 1.3 miles-point) and saw the crowd cheering at us! Your name was on the race BIB, so people were actually screaming my name; wow!
Uphill to Chänts
We left Bergün and went uphill to Chänts. The Swiss say that this is a slight uphill run. Well, that's just a plain lie; it's steep! Silly Swiss! It was 10.1 K to Chänts and we had to climb 457 meters / 1.500 ft. I was fine, up and running, 'till the 5K-point. But that's where it became too hilly for me to run, and I started walking as fast as I could. Most of the other runners started walking too, because they didn't want to get too tired before the really steep uphills started. It was so beautiful and quiet up there! I ran (well, walked) into Samantha. Great to see her! Her calf was all cramped up and she was going back to the start line. I was feeling so sorry for her!
I entered Chänts (beautiful little town) after 1.15 hours of running at 12.45 PM. Had a Powerbar Energy Gel and some water. They had some cold sponges and I used these to cool my face and neck. Great idea of the race crew!
Uphill it was!
After Chänts the real horror begins. Uphill to the Keschhütte that is! On mountain trails. We had to climb 810 meters / 2.658 ft in 5.7K. That's steep! I used my video camera a lot, and that way I had an excuse to stop once in a while. Smart, huh? :) Took some great shots! Saw a blind runner with a buddy that was up there for the 78K(!) Ultramarathon distance of the Swiss Alpine Marathon. Wow!; told him how great I think it is what he was doing.
It was hard climbing up there. I was so glad when I finally saw the Keschhütte, that I actually shouted out 'YES!'. Embarassing, I know, but I was so glad to see the Keschhütte! Incredible views up there, and such a gift to be able to run up there. I reached the Keschhütte after 2.45 hours at 14.15 PM. Planned on being there in 2.30 hours, but decided that I wanted to use my video camera as much as I could.
Alphafoto.com took pictures up at the mountain. Here are some that were taken at the Keschütte (2.632 meters / 8.635 ft):
No, I was def not trying to look pretty; I was trying to push myself up that mountain! Hence the arms...
Downhill to Alp Funtauna
I had a Power Bar Energy Gel and some water at the Keschhütte and walked around a bit to enjoy the views. Got compliments from the race crew on my running skirt and couldn't stop smiling because of that!
After the Keschhütte it went downhill to Alp Funtauna. 440 meters / 1.444 ft in 5.4K. After all the uphill walking, I was finally able to run for a bit again! I was careful, though. It was steep and muddy/slippery. These slippery/wet mountain trails are dangerous, and I didn't want to fall down the mountain (would've been faster, though ;) ). Oh, and ofcourse I stepped in some cow poo up there; these Swiss cows are everywhere! Reached Alp Funtauna pretty fast and had some GU (vanilla bean - my fave!) and water. Alp Funtauna is at the Half Marathon-point, so I figured I was halfway there. Little did I know what came next...
Another climb! I made the mistake of looking up. I really should not have done that! From Alp Funtauna, you have to climb up to the Scalettapass. Rocky mountaintrails + climbing 414 meters / 1.358 ft in 2.6K = complete horror! Halfway up there, I actually started to feel sick. I was so tired. Slowed down quite a couple of times and enjoyed the views. That helped. Also, I chatted with other runners (well, at that point, we were just walking/struggling to get up there). Everyone was so nice and positive that we would make it. :) That pulled me through it. And; I got a lot of compliments on my red plaid running skirt! A lot of runners asked where I got it, and I told them. So, runningskirts.com; I gave you a lot of free PR! ;)
Finally, after 4.41 hours at 16.21 PM, I reached the Scalettapass! Great feeling! Had some bouillon (salt!), water, another GU (chocolate outrage) and some Coca Cola (that worked!) and sat around for a couple of minutes.
Downhill to Dürrboden
After the Scalettapass it went downhill to the town of Dürrboden. Difference of 600 meters / 1.965 ft in 4.3K. I didn't know how I did it, but I went down that mountain like a rocket. Jumping from rock to rock (dangerous, I know...). Reached Dürrboden after 5:24 hours of running at 16:54 PM. Had another GU (vanilla bean, ofcourse), some water, bouillon and Coca Cola. Texted my mom that I had another 14K to go, and took off again.
Me at Dürrboden, goofing around; I was actually still feeling sick; I was just so tired!
Downhill to Davos...well, no, think again
The last 14K were supposed to be all downhill. Well, I have to admit, it was kind of downhill, but it was a hilly kind of downhill. Every time it went uphill again, I had to slow down and walk; that's how tired I was. My legs were feeling OK, but my hips were killing me. And I was still feeling sick. Stopped taking energy gel, and figured I'd better stick with the Coca Cola.
The last 14 K were beautiful, though! Through a mountain valley; very quiet. And then for the last 3.5K you ran through the forest and the city of Davos. The sharp left into the forest was uphill again (ofcourse...), but at that point I just wanted to get it over with.
And then, just as I reached the point where I really wanted it to be over and was prepared to crawl the last miles, I saw the 40K sign and realised I was almost there. I chatted with a runner that was about to finish the 78K (!!!) ultramarathon distance of the Swiss Alpine Marathon, and he pulled me through that last 2.2K! We decided to book it for the last 1K and ran into the city of Davos as two rockets flying out into the sky!
Saw my mom cheering at me, and took my dog Lordie at the gates of the stadium to finish together in 7:06 hours at 18.36 PM (that corresponds with a just under 4 hours flat course marathon time). In that last 1K I forgot all the pain and agony I had been in! Unbelievable! BEST FEELING EVER! I would've loved to finish in 6:30 hours (I'm very competitive), but decided I wanted to use my video camera a lot, and that it was my first marathon ever! No shame in that, is there?Me and Lordie finishing!
Hugged Lordie to death (well, not literally, ofcourse!) after finishing and went to get my medal. :) Wow! What a well organized race! Congratulated some other runners and walked (yep, that's right, 'walked') home. So glad I didn't have to be all over the carbs anymore, we went for Cheesefondue and Swiss Beer! :) Great post-race meal!
So, there you have it; it's a long recap, but it was just such a great race! Was I in pain? Yep, a lot, actually every muscle from the neck down hurt. Did I want to quit? Yep, considered it, but quitting is just not me. Do I want to do this race again? Heck, YES!
And if you want to see me finish, just check out this video: