8/30/2011

Tuesday Tidbits - The 'Meh' post

Let the 'meh'ing begin. ;) (And yes, I do know there a so many things out there worse than the ones below! ;))



1. Realizing that the new model of your favorite trail running shoes (Salomon Speedcross) is wider than the old model. Too wide for your feet. And now your Googling your butt off to find every single pair of the old model in your size, and stocking up on those. Meh.



2. Getting all excited about a race you really really hope to do next year (UTMB's CCC distance). Then reading that the race has a lottery. One where most runners won't get in. And with your luck in lotteries...well...let's just say you'll have to look for a Plan B race. Nothing you can do about it, but still...Meh.



3. Power black-outs. When you're trying to finish a document for a client. Meh.



4. Friends complaining about your training regime ('I find it strange that you have time to train, but don't have time to go clubbing.') And then making you feel guilty about it. Meh.



5. Your favorite running skirt looking ready to retire. Meh. (Then again...this does imply that you have a reason to look for a new one. ;)).



6. Headaches/migraines. Meh.



7. Water dripping from your bathroom ceiling. Meh.



8. Fall weather in August. Meh. (although the colder weather is so much nicer to run in! :))



What's your 'Meh' moment of the day? Spill it all out! :)

8/29/2011

About that BQ

[Warning: this post might make at least half of my readers stop following this blog...]

When I picked up running about 20 months ago, I kept reading all these reports on BQing and even trying and training to BQ. All these race reports on the Boston marathon. To me it seemed - at that time - that getting that BQ and running Boston would be something to train hard for. Something every runner wanted. The Holy Grail of running. That Boston marathon turned itself into my dream race. At least...in my head it did. The wish to BQ even earned itself a spot on my 5 Year Plan list (check out the tab at the top of this page for the complete list). Trying to get that BQ, and maybe even working my way to that BQ (if I'd ever find a way to ramp up the speed...), would make me a 'serious and dedicated runner'. Well, at least that's what my twisted mind made me believe.

Oh, the ignorance.

After 28 years I knew that little about nutty little me. Apparently.

I love the mountains. I've always loved the mountains. How could I honestly believe that running on asphalt, and on flat courses would be the most fun kind of running for me?

After the Swiss Alpine ultra (well, actually already before that...while training for it) it started to dawn on me that training hard to get that BQ had become less important to me than continuing to train running up- and downhills, and ultra distances. Way less important. Huh? Actually, I could very well state that I no longer care whether or not I get that BQ (might be for the best...since I'm slowwwwww ;)). And running Boston: when and if given the chance to do so (some day) I'd love too, but if I was given the choice between running Boston and - for example - running Western States... No brainer. WS - no doubt in my mind.

Being given the chance to run those trails, hills, dirt, mountains is a true gift. To me it is.

So, there you have it. That BQ just lost its spot on my 5 Year Plan list. Well...it's still there...written in pencil. Hard to read. Because, uh-huh, if I ever manage to get a BQ - by accident...obviously - it would be fun, wouldn't it? ;) I'll find another dream race to fill that spot. I guess there's another 'Boston' out there for me. No worries. ;)

Any thoughts on Boston? Your dream race?

8/26/2011

Friday Favorites - Oh, the joy of all the new Fall/Winter running gear!

Here comes trouble! Most of the companies selling running gear are getting their Fall/Winter 11/12 gear out there for us 'addicts' to drool over. A quick selection of my favorites (so far ;)):


Nike
1. Love the fun print on this long sleeve!


For sale here. Retails at $70.

2. Not too sure about the 'flattering' shape of these babies (part of me knows that even Leann Rimes will look like a hippo in these capris), but I kind of like them for not being the usual all black!

For sale here. Retails at $55.


Brooks


1. 'Run Happy'...need I say more?

For sale here. Retails at $32. $25.95 at www.runningwarehouse.com.

2. It's pink. And will keep my ears from freezing off. Sounds like a solid investment.


For sale here. Retails at $24. $19.95 at www. runningwarehouse.com.

Saucony
1. Their ViziPro tights are amazing! They provide that much needed bit of extra safety on early morning and evening runs!


For sale here. Retails at $65. $51.95 at www.runningwarehouse.com.

Salomon

1. If you only plan on buying one item of running gear this Fall, make sure it's this one. This jacket is worth the money. Trust me!


For sale here. Retails at $100. $74.88 at www.runningwarehouse.com.


Runningskirts


The new Runningskirts line (Fall/Winter '11/'12) is scheduled to be available in September. Check their Facebook page for a sneak peek of the new line. The new prints are adorable!


To all the European skirthusiasts: you can also order through their Dutch agent: http://www.hiphardlopen.nl/!

8/25/2011

Three Things Thursday - the 'New York New York' edition

1. New York City Marathon: A little over two months left till:


Fundraising (check my fundraising button on the sidebar!) is still on track (well, actually I've reached my fundraising goal, but am still fundraising). A little over $ 6,000 raised: that's two kids going to camp! Still trying to trick anyone around me into donating a bit more, though! Those Hole in the Wall Camps are such a great cause!

2. The wild side: Speaking of New York. Any native New Yorkers or frequent visitors that have any tips on national parks to visit in upstate New York? Mountains, preferably... ;)

3. Come fly with me: The issues with my mom's service dog traveling with her to NY are still not 100% settled (I wrote about this a couple of months ago). And the airline keeps getting ruder. Why is it so hard to take a disabled passenger with her service dog on the plane and seat her properly? Extra frustrating, since this mess implies that we're still not 100% sure that NY is actually going to happen. And, nope, swimming there is not an option... I really really really do hope that this can be settled!

8/24/2011

Wacky Wednesday - Would you rather...

...run a 'BQ ready training and course' marathon wearing:

1. A runner wedding dress? As demonstrated in this video. The catch, you'll have to wear 'wedding shoes' with it.

2. A camel suit, but - here's the catch - the person in the suit with you has tummy issues (the smelly kind):



3. Nothing but whipped cream.

Remember, you really want that BQ!

8/23/2011

Stick it to 'em

Photo courtesy: I <3 to run.


'You've got to be realistic here: you're just not 'designed' for this type of races.'


'You're nuts. What point are you trying to make?'


'You? Seriously? No. Sorry. Not in a million years.'


'What are you running from? You might want to see a shrink about this...'


'It's just ridiculous. You're out of your mind, and I do not mean that in a good way.'


'There is no way that this can end well. Such a ridiculous way of life.'


Just a compilation of the sh%t I've been trying to ignore lately. And yes, I know I'm not the only runner/triathlete that has been dealing with nasty remarks like the ones mentioned above. Sad, if you'd ask me. Plus, I can handle some trash talking. No problemo. But, guys, enough is enough! You get to a point where it's no longer considered funny to catapult anything running/working out.


Apparently, doing what you love doing, and minding your own business while doing so, makes some people around you want to...well...blurt out their thoughts on the sad little person that they believe you are. Both behind your back, and in your face. Did I mention the 'minding my own business while doing so' part? It's not like I hop around all day and every day, humming that I love running, and that I loved my first ultra, and that I loved those marathons I did this Spring. Nope, I don't even bring the whole 'running' thing up in conversation. And nope, I do not wear running gear to work, dinner, etcetera. Okay, there are some 'compression sock tan lines' (it's a word), but that's it. There's no 'I {heart} running and non-runners suck' tattoo on my forehead. At least, last time I checked there wasn't. Maybe I should get one... ;) But still...what is it with human beings that makes them feel the need to throw their opinion all over you, like a huge pile of 'I drank to much beer and ate garlic' vomit (see, I didn't say sh^t this time. :)).


The thought that springs to mind - every single bleeping time that someone is talking sh^t about my running and/or running in general - is: why?


Having a strong opinion on a certain subject, well...I understand that. What I seriously do not understand is why you'd feel the need to make anyone deliberately feel bad about themselves...based on something that they love doing. Especially a 'harmless' thing called running. And yes, I do understand a 'you and your stupid running' remark if and when a person would hop around yelling 'running is so cool and non-runners suck' all day. Then again...if this would be post race / post PR, it would qualify as perfectly normal behavior. In my opinion... Any other remark, I do not get.


What ever happened to living your own life? And letting others do the same? Did I not get that memo?


But - for the haters - , once and for all.


1. Not 'designed' for long distance running? Thanks for your concern, but my quads will do just fine.


2. What point I'm trying to make? None. By the way, how's your cholesterol been lately?


3. Not in a million years? Luckily neither of us would be around to see what happens in a million years.


4. What I'm running from? Well...if you'd ask me: nothing. You sort of make me want to run from you, though.


5. Ridiculous? Schmadiculous. I'm not even going to answer this one.


6. There is no way this can end well? Well, since you're apparently blessed with some psychic powers...how about that BQ? Ever going to happen?


Stick it to 'em. Hard. ;)

8/19/2011

Friday Favorites - quickie version

1. Cupcakes. Can't seem to get them out of my head. And the cake shop is just a 10 minute walk from my 'crib'. I'm in trouble...

2. A fresh pair of running shoes in the mail. :)

3. Getting a haircut, asking the hair dresser to only cut off 1/2 inch / 1 cm, and - oh yeah - getting exactly that! Yep, I'm that girl that freaks out over getting a haircut...and worries that they might cut off a truck load of hair (and yes, with my crazy hair, it is actually possible to cut off a truck load...).

4. Ordering in. Sushi, to be more precise. And pairing that with a Mojito.

5. It's Friday. Need I say more? :)

8/18/2011

Three Things Thursday

1. That's a big fat lie!: Lying about race times. Hmmmm... I'd say: why? Who are you fooling? Who cares what your finishing time is? Tracy has a quite interesting blog post on this subject: here. Read it. Seriously... I'm in awe!


*note to self: if I ever do need to hire a PI...I'm hiring Tracy...no matter what! That girl has some serious PI skills!

2. Marathon training: Funny how marathon training can drag you into that 'following the plan' zone, that leads you through everyday life. It sure does kick you off that 'A race done' cloud. Back to marathon training it is. I'm postponing the Yasso's till next week (I feel it might be too much on my body at this point - since it's been only 2 1/2 weeks since the Swiss Alpine ultramarathon. Better safe than sorry? Yep, sounds plausible.). Been considering swapping a couple of Yasso work outs for longer intervals. Just to spice things up. (Ha! Did I really just write that? ;))


What kind of interval work outs do you do during marathon training?

3. About that 50-miler: Just checked the Eco-Trail de Paris (50-miler/80K) website, and apparently this race has only 4 (maybe even less) aid stations on the whole 50+ miles, 2 of them being 22 miles apart... I need a larger pack. I really need a larger backpack. Why? I drink a lot. A lot lot. Thanks sucky chronic kidney thingie I was born with.


Any recommendations on a trail running pack that isn't too bulky, but carries 2L water minimum and the mandatory gear? I'm a huge fan of the Salomon S-lab pack, but that one seems too small for this particular race. And the Nathan packs are okay for shorter runs and hikes, but on longer runs...ouch...blisters on my back (no kidding...).

8/17/2011

The mind is a funny thing... - the 'Post-race blues' follow-up

...that, or I'm out of my freaking mind. Then again, I did seem to find the cure to the post-race blues along the way.


I've just registered for another 50-miler. Another one of those 'seems fun, let's click 'register'' kind of moments. The way my mind works... Did not receive the confirmation email, though, after I'd already paid for the entry (not even after stalking the race director and their FB-page about it...). The race? Well...


Eco-trail de Paris (as in Paris, France, in case you were wondering...) And yes, the whole 'the finishline is at the Eiffel Tower' thing, might have something to do with me registering for it...


And guess what? I could not be more excited about this! :) I'd already registered for a 50K on my birthday (February). The London Ultra in the UK. :) And yes, you're all invited. Just make sure to bring cupcakes. And lots of them. ;)


Plus, two upcoming marathons (planned) this Fall (Amsterdam and NYC, if and when everything goes according to plan...). And some Spring marathons I hope on registering for (Paris, Edinburgh (Scotland)). Swiss Alpine ultramarathon next summer? I sure hope so! The Courmayeur Champex Chamonix ultra? Dare I hope so? Would be a dream coming true. :)


Seems to be fighting off the post-race blues pretty well. ;)


Could this really be the cure for the post-race blues? Could it? :)

8/16/2011

Post-race blues - Been there?

This Swiss Alpine ultramarathon two weeks ago was my A-race for this year. The one race that I really really wanted to do this year. The race that degraded every other race, marathon or not, to a 'training run. The race that made the Amsterdam Marathon this October and the NYC Marathon this November 'something fun to in the last few weeks of the year'. The race that made me drive everyone around me crazy. I could not stop talking about it.


And now it's mid-August. Two weeks have passed since the race. And the race, this experience, was everything I'd hoped it to be... and more.


So, here I am. A-race for the year - done. Some marathons to look forward to in the Fall. Plan on running those for fun. No PR attempts...nuh-oh. But still...I feel 'blah'. Post-race blues? I guess so. I've never had this before (that is, in the 18 months that I've been into running now). Last Saturday the blues had reached a point where I couldn't take myself out into the rain to run a lousy 6-miler (10K). Seriously. A 6-miler. Then again, I did a 13.5 miler (21.5K) the next day and loved every minute of it.


But still...I miss the pre Swiss Alpine ultramarathon excitement. The A-race jitters. A cure? I couldn't find one... No kidding, I googled it. ;)


Have you ever experienced a serious case of the post-race blues? Any cure for this one?

8/15/2011

Zensah Running Bra Review

When Zensah contacted me about a review on their running bra, I was thrilled to do so. Plus, I really wanted to like the running bra. Well...


Sorry...I'm not posting semi-nude pics of myself on this blog. ;) Bummer, I know. ;) Trust me, you're not missing out on anything. Ha!

Material

Moisture wicking. Oh yeah. It does dry speedy speedy, which is a point for Zensah to me! :) After a hot and humid 6-miler, the bra was all sweaty wet, but didn't get heavy.

Fit

The running bra is seamless, which - as stated by Zensah - equals no chaffing. However...I have chaffing issues no matter what (seriously, I'm a freak of nature), so I did have some chaffing issues on said 6-miler. But...this was easily solved on a next run after applying some Asics no chafe gel.

Support

This is where it went wrong. I do NOT have a lot going on under the hood (too much information...I know...). Zensah sent me a size S/M after I emailed them my dress and bra size, but the fit wasn't tight enough to keep the girls from bouncing. Too loose. I've read great reviews by other bloggers that all say the support is great. That's why I guess it must have been the sizing that was wrong. So...running bra wise this bra is a no-go for me. Luckily this bra comes in fun colors and dries superfast...it makes a perfect running top to wear over a running bra! And that's what I've been using it for. I've been wearing it as a top for longer runs and it's comfy. And looks cute: received lots of compliments on this one! Plus, for $35.99 it isn't too expensive for a great running top.

Colors

This running bra comes in 10 fun colors! Oh yeah, bye bye boring black and nude colored running bras! :)

Verdict

I wouldn't wear this top as a running bra. Maybe if it came in a smaller size, that was tight enough to keep everything in place. As a running top it works perfectly! Plus, the bra comes in fun colors!

8/12/2011

And even more Swiss Alpine Marathon ultra photos!

...and yes, I know I'm risking boring you to death here... Sorry about that. ;)

Post race, Wendy and moi stuffing myself with a protein bar...yum...

Post race. Sitting down seemed like a stupid call, but surprise surprise...I was able to get up...by myself. ;) And nope, Lordie isn't aiming for my protein bar...he's just staring at me. He'd literally been waiting for me since I'd left the house in the morning. Love. That. Dog. :)
Yep, I'm a freaking giant. I know. Get over it. Plus, check that rat's nest going on on my head... It took half a bottle of conditioner to untangle that mess. (Note to self: get haircut...).

Mom and moi. And Diddy. :) Mom did the 10K with her service dog Diddy (seizure alert dog). Why she's holding me? Well...I tried standing in one place for the photo...on that hill...but kept falling backwards...Oh yeah...

8/11/2011

Three Things Thursday

1. No rest for the obsessed: 65 days and 17 hours till the next marathon I hope on running (Amsterdam Marathon), and 86 days and 17 hours till the New York City Marathon (that I plan on running for Team Hole in the Wall: this is the link to my fundraising page! :)). Silly me for thinking that I could take it easy on the long runs for a little while...and on the weekly mileage.

Le sigh...can't I just have a couple of 30-35 mile weeks to get some rest? It doesn't help that other NYCM runners I know of all have been training for this thing for months now, and make me feel like a lazy ass for not really feeling heading out for a 20-miler this weekend. I'm a whimp, but I think my body needs another weekend of not too long runs to recover properly (if possible yet) from the 50-miler 12 days ago. I'm a whimp...I know...

Any thoughts on this one? Might help me from going crazy...just might. No guarantees here. ;)

2. Swiss Alpine Marathon: I'm still on the 'wow' cloud because of this race. My first ultramarathon. Just thinking about it makes me smile. My co-workers must think I'm a total nut by now. Then again, they probably already did. ;) My report is up, and you can check it out (please do, but promise not to watch the finish line video....seriously...I made a total fool out of myself on that one...) here: Swiss Alpine Marathon race recap.

3. Blogger: And yet again: what's up with Blogger? My entire side-bar won't show when loading this blog. Huh? Tried to alter things on the lay-out page, but everything seems to be alright there. Their 'Help' section wasn't very helpful... Hmmm....Wordpress is starting to sound more appealing by the day...

8/10/2011

Wordless Wednesday

Silly me for thinking that running an ultramarathon would be exhausting. Apparently spectating tops that!


8/09/2011

Swiss Alpine Marathon 2011 - K78 race report

How to write a race report on a race that made you realize that this (ultrarunning, mountain races) is what you love to do? A race that got you into a Zen-like state of mind for the full 79.1 kilometers. A race that made you smile, laugh out loud like a weird bag lady and teary-eyed all at the same time.


A race report couldn't - not in a million years - do this race justice. Yes, this race is this special to me. I'll still try to give you some of this 'this is freaking amazing' feeling I had the privilege of experiencing during this race. I feel blessed. :)

This race? The Swiss Alpine Marathon K78. My aha-moment. Enough said. I'm hooked.

Where to start? Well...let's just pick the start line for that one. :)

Start

July 30th, 7 AM. Early. Had my gear ready the night before, so all I had left to do on race morning was: shower (a cold shower that is...apparently our boiler doesn't heat the water before 7 AM...oh joy), eat (I actually managed to eat a sandwich and not throw up because of the nerves), get dressed (easy peasy) and throw the old K-tape on. :)

At 6:15 AM Fred (good friend of my mom - came over to Switzerland to help out with the race and the dogs - all three of them. ;)) walked me to the start. Hit the portapotties (funny how you get used to the smell of those things...) and ran into Wendy and Bettina right after that. Yay! :) They were also in the K78 (79.1 km race), and their presence sure did help to calm my nerves at the start line. Chatted the time away at the start line.

7 AM: The Pirates of the Carribean soundtrack and Conguest of Paradise were blasting through the speakers. A helicopter made some serious noise. It was time to go. What the **** did I get myelf into?


And...there we go! Off to kick this trail's butt! No way it's going to kick ours. ;)


The course profile: that's 79.1K and a 2370 meters/7776 ft elevation gain - at least, that's what the Swiss Alpine website says...more on this later...

Davos - Mühle (start - 11K / start - 6.9 miles)

Wendy was sweet enough to stick with me for those first kms/miles. My mom and Fred were cheering us on at the 5K mark. Waved! Chatted the time away. The course took us through Davos for a first loop and then took us to the Lengmatta, heading for the Mühle and Spina.
Ran into Ricarda at the Lengmatta (love that the course takes you through this part of the Davos region!). Ricarda and I had already chatted a bit on Facebook before the race, but I loved meeting her in person! She's not only a superfast and talented runner, but has a great personality on top of that. And looks great in her racing gear! :)

Near the Mühle (11K mark) we ran into Janina. I'd never met Janina before, but she is so much fun to be around!


Wendy, moi, Janina - behind the camera: Ricarda. :) Can you tell we were enjoying ourselves? ;)


Mühle - Monstein (11K - 16.6K / 6.9 - 10.4 miles)

After the Mühle we headed for Monstein. First there was a short climb to Spina. Wendy - there is some sort of mountain goat blood running through her veins ;) - ran up that hill. Moi, not so much. Slogged up there, just like most of the runners. Tried to take it easy here. After all, there were another 68K waiting for me. :)


It wasn't too long till I reached Spina (and their cow bells! :)). Grabbed some water and ran into Janina again. We were running at the same pace, so ended up sticking together and chatting those miles to Monstein away. Monstein is such a lovely village. The views are amazing!


Janina and I running through Monstein. :) Salomon should send us free stuff for all the free publicity we are giving them. ;)

Monstein - Filisur (16.6K - 30.1K / 10.4 - 18.8 miles)


Downhill! Woohoo! :) Just when I tried to talk Janina into trying a running skirt and some arm sleeves, my phone rang. Mom, worried if I'd made the cut-off time for Monstein. At that point I had no idea where the heck I was. Monstein? Did we pass Monstein yet? Luckily Janina could reassure me on thise one. Pfieuwww..... And, look who's there: Ricarda! Yay! Now there's three colorful dressed runners running together!


After those lovely downhills we crossed the rail road and continued our way along this railroad. Loved that the passengers on the train were cheering us on! :) Apparently, Ricarda and her camera were just behind me...


On our way to the Zügenschlucht. Thanks, Ricarda, for photographing my butt. Several times. ;)


The course took us to the Zügenschlucht. How could I - coming to Davos every winter and summer vacay for 28 years now (plus, I even lived in Davos when I worked for the skischool there) - not have known about the Zügenschlucht? The scenery is absolutely breathtaking out there! Reminded me of parts of Yellowstone National Park.

Ricarda and I in the Zügenschlucht.
Janina and I running through the Zügenschlucht.


At the 23K-ish mark we left the Zügenschlucht. Some stairs led us to a trail that took us through a forest near Wiesen. The smell of the pine trees... Loved. It. :) We left the forest at Wiesen, ran through the aid station there (these aid stations are so well organized!) and over the Wiesner Viadukt (25.5K mark). Since I hadn't pressed start on the Garmin (the 410 only has a 6-hour battery capacity, so pressing start would have been useless for this ultra), I had no idea whatsoever about my splits here.


Wiesner Viadukt at 25.5 K.

After the Wiesner Viadukt there was another hill to climb. Yay! :) Boy, do I love those trails! Then again, those uphills (15% incline) do slow you down...


Ricarda had started the race with an awful head/chest cold and it was getting worse on that uphill. I felt so sorry for her! She never - not one minute - complained about it: can you believe that? :)


The trail led us through another lovely forest. And, to another downhill, where Ricarda tricked a fellow runner into taking this photo! :)



Ricarda, moi, Janina. Were we in a race, or working on our modelling skills? What I'm trying to do with my legs/feet (besides showing off how huge my feet are) is beyond me...


Apparently Ricarda loves downhills at least as much as I do, so we continued that downhill together and headed for Filisur (30.1K mark - 18.8 miles). Reached Filisur after 3:13:06 hours. Not too bad considering my plan to start slow and considering the uphills. Not to mention all these photos we'd paused for... ;)

Ricarda and moi in Filisur - 30.1 K mark (18.8 miles).

Another photo taken at the Filisur mark. Yep, looking goofy as usual...

At that point, Ricarda's chest cold had gotten too bad to stay in the race. She made the wise decision to quit and wait for Bettina to keep her company till Bergün (the 40K mark). After all she has a little something called the Ultra Trail du Mont-Blanc coming up in just a few weeks (yep, she is that amazing!). Didn't keep me from feeling sorry for her, though! Plus, I loved spending time with her in the first 30K of the race. She (and Wendy and Janina) were such great company and sure made those miles fly by!

Filisur - Bergün (30.1K - 40.3K / 18.8 - 25.2 miles)


All by myself... :( Well, not for long. Ran into Wendy again just after leaving Filisur (Ring ring - phone again! Mom: 'You're still running!'. Sweet! :))! Chatted with Wendy a bit and then continued my way...into the woods to find a place to pee-pee. I've mastered the skills of 'superfast behind a log peeing' in the last couple of months (yep, I will send the Guinness Book of World Records an email about this), so I was in and out within minutes. Left my log and immediately ran into Janina again. All by myself? Nope, not so much. :)


The race directors had changed this year's course, so instead of staying on the road (without any uphills) we were shuffed into another forest (yay! :)) and up a hill/mountain/torture tool. Yep, nothing like a nice 15% incline uphill thingie in the middle of a race. :) Ran into a Dutch guy named Cor halfway up that climb and chatted the climb away. It wasn't too long till we saw Bergün in the distance. Woohoo! :) That 15% incline climb did slow me down, but then again...it had slowed down all of us out there. And the trails out there were gorgeous! The views...amazing!


Up next was another downhill that got is to Bergün. I knew Fred and Bram (he also came over to help out with the dogs during race day) and my dog Lordie would be waiting for me in Bergün, so I definitely had something to look forward to! :)


Bergün - 40.3K - 4:41:19 hours - can you tell those climbs had slowed me down? ;) I still felt great, though!

Just before leaving Bergün I spotted Fred, Bram and Lordie! Yay! :) Took 10 minutes there to eat a sandwich (peanutbutter and cheese - yum!), change into a dry shirt and to change my Asics for trail running shoes. Hugged Lordie, thanked the guys, grabbed a bottle of Coca Cola from Fred and started the slog up the hill that would take me to Chants.

Bergün - Keschhütte (40.3K - 52.9K / 25.2 - 33 miles)

Boy, that was the best Coca Cola ever. :)

Spotted Cor again on the way to Chants and we ran side by side for a couple of miles. Grabbed a sponge at one of the aid stations to get rid off some of the salty mess on my face. Yep, I'm disgusting like that. ;)

Wait! Is that a bright green top in front of me? Yay! Wendy again! :) She'd passed me in Bergün while I was changing shoes and I'd figured that I wouldn't see her again till the finish line. But, there she was! :) Not too long after that I reached Chants. This was where the serious uphills/high alpine trails were waiting for us. Woohoo! :) 810 meters elevation gain over 5.7 km. That's pretty steep. At least, for me it is. :) I was surprised to find that, even with 47K already 'in' my legs, I felt great on this climb, while - on last year's K42 (2010) - I felt awful. I guess all this 15% incline treadmill torture did pay off. :) Wendy passed me on the way up: she is incredible on those uphills! :)


Uhm, rain? Seriously? No worries, I'm Dutch, I can handle a bit of rain. More rain? Wind? What the bleep! By the time I got to the Keschhütte (was I glad to see the Keschhütte at 2,632 meters / 8,635 ft and after 7:26:13 hours!), I was soaking wet. And cold! Boy, was I glad that they were handing out ponchos up there! Grabbed one, and a coca cola and figured I might as well get this thing over with (I saw many runners spending going into the Keschhütte to get warmed up a bit). And off I was on my way to the Sertig Pass.

Keschhütte. Soaking. Wet.

What is that guy behind me doing? Seriously...

Keschhütte - Sertig (52.9K - 65.4K / 33 - 40.9 miles)

Muddy, muddy, muddy. My shoes and legs were covered in mud. Hehehe, loved it. :) At one point I tried to get my shoe out of the mud and almost lost it. Quick reminder to relace them. ;) This part of the course was rainy, cold and on high alpine trails. Slippery, rocky, steep. Focus! Loved running / speed walking through the streams and little lakes up there. :)

The group of runners (all wearing the orange ponchos) heading up the Sertig Pass (2,739 meters / 8,986 ft) seemed endless. Steep and muddy climb, but loved every minute of it. Loved that you could hear the marmots whistling! :)

Sertig Pass. Enough said. Boy, am I rocking that poncho. :)

At the Sertig Pass I knew the steep climbing part of the race was over, but little did I know what was up next.

Uhm, sorry?

Yep, that's just a pile of rocks. Slippery and muddy rocks. Watch your step! Took it slow: goal was to get down to Sertig village without any bumps or scratches. I literally saw too many runners falling here (bloody head wounds, open knees, you name it). I was fortunate to get down there without a scratch! :)


After the steep downhill, there was a little less steep downhill. Yay on running instead of speed walking again! :) I knew Fred, Bram and Lordie were waiting for me again - down that mountain in Sertig village. Kicked it into gear to hug Lordie! Not too long till I spotted Bram's red jacket. Took 5 minutes here to eat a sandwich, ditch the poncho and hug Lordie. Just 14K left. I couldn't believe I was still moving forward, and still feeling great. I still hadn't hit the wall. :)


Sertig - Davos (65.4K - 79.1K / 40.9 - 49.4 miles)


Home stretch! :) I loved this part of the route. Through a forest again. Beautiful scenery, amazing views, the chance to chat with fellow runners. Loved it!


There were so many people out there cheering us on. The support in Clavadel was great. It's amazing that all those spectating were out there just for us! Means the world when you're in that race! :)


All at once, the 75K sign. 75K and I was still running? :) I was having a blast! Just 4K left and I could hear the speakers at the finish line already!

With 1K to go the course led us out of the forest and to the stadium where the finish line was. Spotted Mom and her service dog (they did the K10 race of the Swiss Alpine Marathon) in the last meters, and with 200 meters to go I ran into the stadium. Even writing this makes me teary-eyed all over again. :)

I can't describe the feeling of finishing this race. Happy and sad at the same time. Happy to have been given the chance to participate and have such a great race (I literally felt great from start to finish), sad because it was over. The photos and the video below say it all:


Goofy face.

Goofy face times two.


Finish line video - try not to pay attention to the 'crying my eye balls out part' - I was glad Bram was there to give me some emotional support. ;) I'm glad his girlfriend was fine with him keeping me from making an even bigger fool out of myself. ;)


video


Finish time: 11:25:24


110/229 women (210 actually made it to the finish line)



And there I am. Writing this report and crying my eye balls out again. It's been such an amazing experience. Just getting the chance to do this, is incredible. I seriously feel blessed.


Huge thanks to the race directors for setting up such a great course and support team. The aid stations were amazing. The same goes for the people volunteering.


As for the change to this year's course (Sertig route): all the runners I chatted with about the race mentioned that their Garmins gave a distance way over 79.1K. Not just a couple of 100 meters, but several kilometers. Plus, the elevation gain must have been at least 2,600 meters / 8,530 ft. According to those Garmins and by checking a simple hiking map. Might be worth figuring this out for next year? ;)


Oh, and if this body lets me, and nothing else gets in the way, I'll see you next year Swiss Alpine Marathon K78, I'll see you next year. :)

8/08/2011

I'm ba-ack!

A day later than planned. Due to car trouble. Serious car trouble. The car trouble that shuts the car down in the middle of the bleeping highway. The car trouble that forces you to spend the night in a middle-of-nowhere German town while you're waiting for a rental car.


Well...at least I'm home now. :)

8/05/2011

Just a quick note!

Just wanted to say hi and 'I'm still alive'. Internet access has been a #^@^@& up here in the Swiss Alps, so putting up the race report and posting updates on this blog will take a bit longer than expected. Plan on going home to the Netherlands tomorrow, so everything should be posted soon!

This internet access thingie also implies that I haven't been able to follow up on all your blogs, so please share any 'you shouldn't miss this' info with me! :)

8/01/2011

Swiss Alpine Marathon K78 - Done!

Still in Switzerland. Will put up a full report as soon as possible!

Loved EVERY minute of this race! :) 11 hours and 25 minutes. 79.1K (about 50 miles). 2,600 meters elevation gain (8,530 feet). Loved. It! I'm addicted.:)