Silly Girl Running vs. 'NO', 'You can't', and 'Girls don't do that'. Because I do. And mess up race photos while I'm at it.
What I do on weekends
Courtesy of John de Boer.
Preparing to go Goofy
Yeah, I know, I am acting like a 12 yo. Boo-freaking-hoo. Can you blame me? When you get the chance to race in costume - grab it!
So, I plan on running the Disney World Half Marathon dressed up as a mermaid and the Disney World Full Marathon dressed up as the Queen of Hearts (Alice in Wonderland). Why? Seriously, is that even a question?
As for the mermaid outfit - the costume had a long tight-ish skirt and a mermaid tail. I cut out the middle man (ha!), and attached the tail to the waist. And now it looks like this. Oh yeah, baby, sparkly shells on my boobs.
Possibly the funniest blog ever
You will want to follow this blog:
What's going on - what's going on - dumdiedum
So, what's been going on?
I am still running. Training. Running bug is still very much there. ;) Don't you worry about that. Ha!
Current plans: I hope to do the Goofy's Challenge at the Walt Disney Marathon this January. And the Brocken Challenge in February (a 50-miler / 80K). And the Eco-trail de Paris (50-miler / 80K) in March. I really hope to hop on a plane to Boston in April...to run the Boston Marathon. :) So, those are the planned races all through April. And I have already planned some races after that. I can't help myself. ;)
Apart from that, I'm still busy being self-employed. :)
Physically, it pretty much sucks at the moment. TMI ALERT! In my last post I wrote about stopping birth control pills (detox to the max, hun!). Still very much sucky. The whole waiting for your cycle to find its way thing is no fun. I used to be clockwork regular before starting BCP, so that's what you're hoping for. And now it's just waiting till 'ya know what' comes. Frustrating. Especially when you read all these stories about it taking 6 months to a year on average. And 29 days into my cycle (I used to have a 28-day clockwork cycle) my tummy is bloated. Not charming. Not fun. Very uncomfortable. And no signs (cramps, headache, etcetera) of 'ya know what'. Doesn't help my running - the elastic band on running tights hurts. Blah! So, we could state I'm still freaking out. My current obsession: I've had numerous x rays and ct scans, and even an IVP, diagnosing the gazillion kidney stones I had in my early twenties. Ergo, I'm now worried like crazy that these messed up my cycle. Again, this bloated tummy does not help my running.
On a completely different note: I have discovered the most delicious vegetarian sausage rolls out there. Check out Fry's Vegetarian. :)
I quit... Birth Control Pills that is.
Birth control pills that is.
Birth control pills that is.
For the non-female readers - you might want to skip this one. Actually, guys, I strongly advise you to skip this one. I might lose all my non-female readers over this. Uh-huh.
A little while ago I gave up caffein. Not completely, though. I do allow myself to have caffein on race days. Result: on these days I go all out on Coca Cola - ergo, I hardly sleep the night after. Nutso. ;) The difference that the caffein detox made, is pretty remarkable. I have not regretted it since.
And since I had jumped onto the detox wagon with the whole caffein thing, I figured, why not get rid of these hormones I've been taking: i.e. birth control pills (there are other ways, you know). I'd been taking these babies for 12 years now (got on BCP just a few months before I turned 18 - and was clockwork regular). Got on BCP for obvious reasons: heavy bleeding and cramps when I was having my period (too much info, I know), and well...birth control. Plus, every single one of my friends was on BCP. So, there really was no harm in taking BCP, right?
Well, I could not have been more wrong. I've stayed on BCP ever since. Even when I wasn't in a relationship. You could say I continued taking them out of pure laziness - a bit like a bad habit. Now I can only say I wish I would have stopped taking BCP earlier.
I took my last BCP on October 28th, had the start of my withdrawal bleed on November 1st (too much info again, I know - get over it), and after that my body was forced to start 'working' without the monthly hormone shot. Not fun. Not fun at all. Last week I suffered from nasty headaches. A bit like tension headaches. Add this charming acne outburst on my chin and all sorts of non-fun activity in my tummy to that (ouch - seriously, ouch!), and I am proud to introduce you to 'BCP suck fest 2012'.
Getting off birth control pills
According to my GP my body is - as would be the case with every girl quitting BCP - hormonally imbalanced as a result of quitting BCP (oh, perfect). Apparently it can take 3-6 months, even up till a year, for things to get back to normal (as in similar to before I started taking BCP) again. And that's 'on average'. Are you effing kidding me? There seem to be pills that will kick start the whole thing when it's not working properly, but still.
My GP explained to me, that my body needs to ease into working the hormones all by itself. Ovulating seems to be 'a thing', since BCP has prevented my body from ovulating in the last couple of years. Ergo, my body has to figure out how to ovulate again. And how to work these LH and FSH hormone thingies. Plus, the whole monthly cycle and getting your period side of things. It needs to figure that out again, too. My GP advised me to carry around tampons 24/7. Again, perfect! Another advise: get yourself a pack of ovulation tests to check whether or not the LH-levels in your urine are fluctuating. Hello, embarrassing moment at the check out counter.
For those of you that have been reading this blog for a while now, you can probably figure out how I've been feeling about this whole ordeal. Yep, correct. I am freaking out. What the ef is going to happen. Will everything work? How long will it take? What if it doesn't? Oh yeah, you betcha I have Googled this thing for hours and hours. Insert: total freak out mode.
Birth control pills and running
As for BCP and running - you'll get a zillion hits on Google on this one. Livestrong.com gives a pretty 'main stream' opinion on it:
The effects of birth control pills on running are varied. Some athletes have reported reduced muscle endurance, while others cited a lower rate of injury. Some studies have even discovered increased protection from bone loss as a result of taking oral contraceptives. Runners who prefer to reduce menstrual flow during competitive running can see their cycles decline to four per year, according to Dr. Cathy Fieseler.
Running and your monthly cycle
Which brings me to this. We all know the (possible) effects of long distance running and a 50 miles + / week training regime on a female body. Even though my BMI (19) and my fat percentage (19-20%) are within the healthy range, I'm still worried about this one. Freak. Out. Mode.
Needless to say, I would never have started taking BCP if I'd known about this side of things.
What are your thoughts? Are you on BCP? If you where and quit taking them: what's your story?
Amsterdam Marathon Recap
Long overdue. I know. Mea culpa. Mea maxima culpa. I've been slightly preoccupied with other things. Enough said. ;)
As for the Amsterdam Marathon... Here we go.
Date: October 21st 2012
Where?: Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Goal #1: training run - just a fun sub-4 was what I was aiming for.
Goal #2: trick running buddy John into thinking I wanted to PR and I needed his help to do so - that way he would finish this thing. And John finishing this baby was the main goal of the day. (seriously - 3 weeks after my BQ at the Berlin Marathon, I was not going to try to PR again. Pretty hilarious that John bought the whole 'PR' story.)
Outfit: a pretty adorable Nuu Muu dress. Yeah, I can brag about this one. ;)
Let me just lead you through this year's Amsterdam Marathon photo by photo. Sounds like a plan, huh? (photo courtesy: Ans de Boer and Bjorn Paree)
The 9:30 AM start is pretty cool, since it's in the Olympic stadium. Pretty cool. John was in the corral located behind the corral I was in, so we kind of sneaked him into my corral. Yeah, that's me - living on the edge, baby.
Very crowded start. Narrow course to start of with. Enough said.
Needless to say we elbowed our way through the first 10K. And headed out too fast. Yeah, baby. I like me some positive 'I sure did mess around' splits.
Half Marathon point
Just before the half marathon point John's wife Ans, my mom and a friend of hers were waiting for us. With fluids and energy gel. All part of the play to trick John into crossing the finish line, instead of DNF-ing at the 30K mark.
The course was less crowded at this point - holding an okay-ish pace. We hit the half way point at a relaxed 1:53-ish.
Hello Bjorn! The only guy that is able to take 'non-embarrassing' race photos of moi. And boy, did I try to mess these up.
Definitely my favorite photos of the day. Marathon-photos.com - I didn't even include your overpriced crappy pics in this race report. :)
Ran into a couple of older guys talking about qualifying for Boston. With the post-BQ jitters still in place, I hopped right in. Fun talking to them - even more fun seeing them meet their goal. However, at this point John was no longer talking to me. He was suspiciously silent. At that point I realized the whole '30K point is getting closer' thing was what was going on. In the last couple of marathons (in which marathons he was on BQ-course) he had to drop out at the 30K point (cramp, tummy issues (which were caused by a parasite - yeugh!)).
A sigh of relief next to me. We had crossed the 30K mark. Good bye 30K demons. John was going to finish this baby.
Jasper was waiting for us with more fluids and energy gel. We took some time here to readjust John's compression sleeve (quad) and have some Coca Cola.
I'm a pescatarian. However, I do cheat once in a while. This happened to be the case 2 days prior to this marathon. I know I should not have red meat before a long run - it messes up my tummy. Big time. As in 'I need to throw up, but I'm trying to hold it back' messing up. Ouch. Not fun.
The Vondel Park part was fun - the part where John has a cramped up leg wasn't. A short stretching session seems to fix the problem. Meanwhile, I'm still regretting the whole 'red meat' thing. Will I ever learn?
Mom, Els and Ans are waiting for us. Right before entering the Olympic stadium to finish.
There we were. Nearing the finish line. John was going to finish this baby and had showed those DNF demons who is boss. A short sprint and...done.
3:49:27. For a fun run, I'll take it. Plus, we had fun out there. And didn't kick each other into the Amstel River. That's a plus.
This photo pretty much sums up the day. My absolute favorite pic of this race.
Another weekend, another planned marathon
Planned marathon: Amsterdam Marathon, the Netherlands
The Plan: with an ultra (50-ish K) coming up in a month, the plan is to approach this thing as a training run. Yep, another one of those 'here goes nothing' ones. ;)
Oh, and Barborka on the Run - this girl is going for a huge PR in the Amsterdam Marathon. Mark my words, babe! :)
Made possible by India Arie. :)
Berlin Marathon recap and photos
I loved this year's Berlin Marathon (September 30th 2012). Not a secret. What's not to love when you manage to BQ? A slowpoke BQ, but still - a BQ is a BQ, right?
The race is extremely well organized, volunteers are really friendly, it's easy to get into the start area and there aren't crazy long lines to get your butt into the porta-potties. The course is nice and wide. It's a very scenic course too. Plus, you really don't notice that there are another 43,000 runners out there. The course does measure long, though, probably because of the huge avenues you run on - lots of weaving around other runners from left to right. My Garmin is usually spot on with the KM markers, but said 43K instead of the usual 42.5-ish K (I always get some extra meters in during a marathon - apparently I suck at following the blue line).
What I also loved: running into Wendy and Dieter during the race. What are the odds? :)
As for the stats: hit the half way mark after 1:45:01, and crossed the finish line after 3:32:57. Yep, that hip was definitely killing me - flared up after 11K, and got progressively worse from that point on. Then again, that BQ was well worth that sore hip. Boo Haa! I could not stop smiling for the entire week post race. How cool is that? :)
What I didn't love about this race? The photos. Oh boy, did I manage to get some ugly race photos. Wanna see?
These were taken at the 36-ish K point. Could also have been 38-ish K point, though. This part of the race is a bit blurry-ish.
Oh yeah, this might just be the worst race pic ever. Keep those eyes open, dork! And yes, my nose was congested to a point where I needed to open that mouth to some air into my lungs. Not the best look. Understatement of the year.
Okay, let me introduce you to the horror of the finish line pics (time on clock is gun time, not my chip time).
Those weren't too bad, were they? Well, let me make that up to you with these beauties.
Let me introduce you to the 'What the F, did I just BQ?' look. You'd think I'd be smiling, huh? Well, guess again - apparently I was in shock.
So, I think we could state that - as far as messing up race pics goes - I've reached a new low. ;)
Berlin Marathon, I might just love you
Full race report coming asap, but for now...
Berlin Marathon 2012: you've been good to me. After this year's ultra training schedule and the lack of speedwork because of that, I did not expect it to happen. I did not dare hope it to happen. But it did. I finished the Berlin Marathon in 3:32:57. Over the moon. Cloud nine. What was on my iPod when I crossed that finish line and danced (yes, danced, although it might have looked more like a wobbly hobble) through the finish area? I know, I have the worst taste in music. ;) Get over it.
Ich bin ein Berliner
Okay, Berlin marathon - planned Berlin Marathon - here we come. Excited about visiting this city. As for the marathon, well, this will be one of those 'here goes nothing' marathons again. Considering the ultra training (does nothing for your speed) and the head cold I've had since Fall kicked in.
I might go with the Snow Leopard skirt, so at least I'll look cute. ;) Just in case, I have my glitter packed. ;)
And the madness continues
Note to self: do not look up 'ultra trail Europe' on Google.
I might have just waisted 45 minutes on making a 'possible race calendar' for 2013. Brilliant.
What I've been up to?
Well, being self-employed and working my cute *ss off for one thing (hence, the lack of posts). And, not feeling like running, and still dragging my cute *ss out of the door (oh, the joy of taper mode - am I the only one that is not a fan of taper runs?). Shopping for new running skirts at hiphardlopen.nl to dress that cute *ss of mine in. I guess it is safe to say that the passed two weeks have mainly evolved around my *ss. Which isn't that cute, by the way.
Enough about my bootay.
There's another planned marathon coming up. Berlin, Germany. This weekend. I've never been to Berlin, so I might just make a touristy weekend out of it. Since this might just be another 'here goes nothing' marathon. Uh-huh. I've really been too lazy to do some substantial speed work - with this summer's ultras, speed work made room for long long long runs. Well, that sure paid off at the Swiss Alpine Marathon K78 ultra. So, I really shouldn't complain about my slow physique. Right? Right? Plus, the thing with marathons is - it either is 'your day' or it isn't. So, no need to freak out now. *cough*
On to more important things. Have you checked out the new Snow Leopard print at runningskirts.com? You should. Here. It's even cuter IRL. I usually where the running skirt style, but got this one in the athletic skirt style. I find the athletic skirt style to have a better fit when worn over tights. And with winter just around the corner...I might just be wearing tights before I know it.
Brings me to one last thing. As for the Berlin Marathon - dress my slow bootay in the PR plaid skirt (and have that 'this is embarrassing' thought going through my mind all marathon long), or pick the snow leopard and make fun of those speedy cats?
Still no SuperWoman
Yep, that's correct. No super powers on this girl.
Long story short - not to bore you.
So, I did make it to the start line of the TDS at the UltraTrail du Mont-Blanc. Nervous to the bone. But excited. Lucky for me I ran into Hugo right at the start. And I did not let go of him after that. Sorry, Hugo. ;)
Weather reports were pretty 'blah'. Downpours, freezing temps, wind, snow. Not the kind of thing you'd like for 31 1/2 hours of running through high alpine terrain. Well, running...
Hugo and I decided on starting out really slow and to stick with that pace till the Cormet de Rosselend aid station at 63K. Little did we know that that might not have been the best approach. Since we started out in the back we got stuck between slower runners on the first climb and ended up waiting (standing around - cold...) for 45 minutes to even get up there. Till the 44K point we tried to make up for that. After that 44K point there was a pretty mean 20% elevation climb (11K of muddy fun...), and it was already late in the afternoon - so we decided on taking some time at the 44K point aid station to get changed for the night and to eat. We took an embarrassing 60 minutes there - let's just say we were socializing a bit too much. Result: the climb was a muddy mud slide. Steep and muddy/slippery. Not a great combo. Plus, it was getting colder. It had started snowing and temps were dropping. I knew I had some warm gear waiting for me at the 63K aid station, but Hugo didn't. So cold.
To top this fun of, I took a pretty mean tumble at 61-ish K. Slipped and rolled down the mountain. Hit my shoulder on a rock. Pretty hard. Pretty pretty hard. As a result, the MD in the hospital in Switzerland prescribed me with some nasty pain killers and patches - and a sling. And I've been stuck in that sling for 1 1/2 weeks now. Stupid shoulder - annoying pain. Luckily I didn't break anything - MD isn't sure whether it's 'just' a crack or a muscular thing. I call it 'a souvenir'. Or 'battle scar'.
Okay, the race. At the 63K aid station (and after 16 hours in the race) I wanted to get ready for the night - despite of the shoulder (at that point I didn't realize what was going on with the shoulder - that's what Mr Endorphin was doing to me. But boy, was I in pain). Tried to squeeze Hugo into some of my ultra warm gear. And that's when the guy from the Organization came into the aid station. Saying the race was still 'officially open', but we could only continue at our own risk.
And that's when it hit me. I've just started my own law firm. I no longer have employee insurance benefits. My self-employment insurance doesn't cover 'at your own risk' situations. I was still having fun and ready to continue (and felt surprisingly great), but I was worried about my business. There you have it. So, I picked my firm. I picked my income. I picked avoiding the risk that something would happen and my insurance wouldn't cover for the loss of income because of it. Oh, boy. Would I have continued if I would still have been employed by another law firm? Embarrassingly enough - I think so. Ouch.
I've already had some 'encouraging' emails telling me I'm 'weak' and a 'quitter'. Yeah, very friendly. Luckily, I've had more emails and text messages saying I've acted ' like a self-employed grown-up' . An ' entrepreneur'. Does this make me a grown-up now? I'm not sure. What I am sure about is this - I'll be back next year (and boy, Hugo knows I will force him to come with me). And I will be running for a charity. And will still be covered in glitter. And pink. And I might wear a full body suit to avoid my shoulder from getting cracked again. Stupid rocks.
Stats of the race: 900 runners out of 1500 dropped. The weather must have had something to do with this.
Stats of the race: 900 runners out of 1500 dropped. The weather must have had something to do with this.
So - I am no SuperWoman. Not by far. Then again, I do look good in glitter.
Okay, there we go
Thank you for all your sweet comments on this post: here. Both on the blog and through Facebook. Sure helped a lot in making me worry less. One of you suggested mentioning it casually to the people at Race bib pick-up. In a 'so excited, but some people are weird' kind of way. Sounds like an okay idea.
As for The Race - the one I've been talking about for months, but never dared mention. The race I hope on running, the planned race, is the TDS race at the Ultra Trail du Mont-Blanc in the French Alps. It scares the sh*t out of me. Why? Check out the website: here.
Yep, that's some serious elevation gain. And 114K is a long way to go. 31 1/2 hours - how the heck am I going to stay awake and focussed?
50% doesn't make it to the finish line, so I'm being realistic here. I know there's a 50% chance I'll have to drop out. I'll just focus on how I feel and on trying to make the cut-off times at the checkpoints. I'll try my best. That's all I can do, honestly. And yes, of course I'm doubting everything now: my training, my gear, my taper, etcetera. On top of that, I've been really busy with starting up my own law firm in the last couple of months (in case you've missed it: I'm self employed now. Gulp...). And that's more exhausting than you'd think.
So, as in 'better safe than sorry', if you guys (and kick-ass girls) could send me some positive and strong vibes this Thursday and Friday, please do. I'll cherish everyone of those vibes. Plus, I'll need them. Boy will I need them.
Things I don't get: a threat
The Race. The one I have set my hopes on. The one that is planned for this Thursday. The one that already scares the sh*t out of me and makes me so excited at the same time. It's a long one. It involves night time running. It has some serious (and by serious, I mean serious) elevation gain. I'll need poles during the race. Enough said.
The race I've been looking forward to for ten months now. Beyond excitement.
Why would anyone want to throw negativity into that?
A little while ago, a running buddy of mine pointed out that a certain person was posting negative comments on Facebook and Twitter. Plus was telling other runners negative stuff about me. Why? I don't know. I hardly know this person and haven't spoken to this person for a long while (if you're not running the same races, it happens that you don't run into some people for a while). Nor have I ever said anything that could be labelled negative about him/her. Not on Facebook, not on Twitter, not in person. So, why this person is telling everyone that wants to hear it, that 'that b*tch is going down - literally. I'll kick her off of that mountain. That will teach her. I'll show her who's the better ultra runner', is beyond me. I can honestly say that I have no idea at all where this is coming from. Nor have I ever received such messages in the 29 years I'm on this planet. I'm not the girl to fight with people - I don't see the point. Nor do I see the point in disliking anyone (okay, some dictators in the Middle East do deserve a dislike, but that's about it). Live and let live.
Plus, as for 'who is the better ultra runner' - is this a contest? I'm in it for moi. Not for anyone else. Plus, I'm slowpoke galore. I don't care about which place I finish in. I care about trying to make the check points. And having fun out there. I honestly couldn't care less about who finishes in front of me. Seriously, I hope he/she wins the race.
It is kind of scary, though.
So, for those of you that are in Chamonix this week for the race and are in one of the races (and in particular the one I'm in) - I'm the girl with Silly Girl Running on her shirt - the girl that's covered in glitter (yeah, I know - there's this twelve year old pageant queen inside of me, that's fighting to get out). And if you notice anyone trying to push me off of a mountain - please warn me. Please.
Luckily for me, there's this marine that plans on running the same race that I plan on running - he's already offered to use his muscles to help out. ;) Then again, better safe than sorry.
Have you ever dealt with such a weird threat situation?
Apparently I am Goofy
Despite me deciding on doing the Vermont 100 instead of the Goofy's challenge at the Walt Disney World Marathon, I somehow managed to just click 'register' on Goofy a couple of minutes ago. I could do that first 100 miler in Europe - I can't do Goofy in Europe.
So, there you go. Registered for the Goofy's challenge. Solo. Who is willing to hop around the Magic Kingdom with this nut?
So, there you go. Registered for the Goofy's challenge. Solo. Who is willing to hop around the Magic Kingdom with this nut?
Confessions of a self employed lawyer
Okay, as from August 1st, I'm self employed.
Freaking out all over the place. No need to freak out. In the last two weeks I've learned:
1. Setting up your own business takes up
all of quite a lot of your time.
2. Working, running, eating and sleeping are pretty much all I do at the moment. I'm no fun.
3. I'm a stubborn muppet for wanting to work with Mac. Holland is not Mac minded. Finding a printer that is compatible with Mac (and not everything on the printer but the scanner) gave me a headache (no kidding).
4. My office space is a mess. There's cables and piles of paper everywhere. Apparently being self employed doesn't come with a secretary. Bummer.
5. I have the brilliant plan to run another ultra (as a training run for the planned freak out race end of this month) this Sunday. 56K / 34-ish miles. Considering the fact that I barely had a good night of sleep in the last couple of days, this could be interesting.
Any advice from one self employed muppet to another?
SwissAlpine Marathon K78 ultra 2012 - race recap
Okay, where to start? Another SwissAlpine Marathon K78 (my second). Another 50 miler (80-ish K). Again a ton of meters / feet elevation gain. Another amazing day. Is it even legal to have this much fun?
So, where to start... The day before? There we go.
Friday, July 27th 2012
After Facebook stalking each other for two years straight - Niels and I finally ran into each other! Halle-bleepin-lujah! Not only is he incredibly nice, he's also an amazing ultra runner. Super speedy and extremely well trained. And great fun to be around! Plus, we share a love for brightly colored running gear. Ha!
Saturday, July 28th 2012 - 6:45 AM
After finally running into Niels, I can't seem to get rid of him. ;) Bonus, I also got to meet one of my other Facebook stalking projects: Gabi! And in case you were wondering why Niels ran a kick-ass PR of 8 hours 18 minutes at the SwissAlpine K78 50 miler - this is why. ;)
Oh, and don't let Gabi's skirt fool you - she is freakishly fast. Like 9 hours fast. Whoopa!
Saturday, July 28th 2012 - 7 AM
Mom dropped me off at the start line and now it was time to tackle this beast! Spotted Laetitia right before the start and we crossed that start line together (it was her first 50 miler / 80K - she kicked some mountain butt!). Boy, was I looking forward to this thing! :) The first 6-ish K of the race are a loop the the town of Davos, Switzerland. Great way to 'run into' running buds. Chatted with Allan for a while, then surprised Janina and Peter, spotted Ruud and then decided to stalk Femi. Ha!
Lengmatta (8-ish K / 5 miles)
After the loop through Davos we headed for Frauenkirch / Lengmatta. That's Femi right behind me (yes, I was still stalking him). Right after this photo was taken, I was spotted by Sarah. She did great at the 30K race!
After Lengmatta, we headed for Glaris (10-ish K / 6 miles) and started to climb up to Spina. Absolutely love the cow bells up at Spina. So cool! After crossing Spina we ran through the forest - lovely trails. Right after we crossed Monstein. That's where Matthias spotted me. Thanks for saying 'Hi', Matthias! We chatted the miles till the Zügenschlucht (16-ish K / 10 miles) away. :) Unfortunately, Matthias had some nasty knee issues, and made a wise call finishing at the 30K mark. He's a total rock star for going to the finish line in Davos after that, and waiting for the K78 runners in the rain!
That's Matthias on the right. In case you were confused by the compression shorts I'm wearing. ;)
Zügenschlucht - Filisur (16-ish K - 30K / 10 miles - 19-ish miles)
I still think the Zügenschlucht is one of the most amazing places out there. So gorgeous and such an experience to run through. Could not get that 'is so beautiful out here' smile off of my face. This photo is taken just after leaving the Zügenschlucht and right before Wiesen. And yes, I am aware of the fact that I'm sporting a 'rabbit in the head lights' look. Get over it. ;)
Wiesen = the Wiesner Viadukt. :) I love staring down into this amazing gorge. And running the Wiesner Viadukt is 'kinda cool' (understatement). In my humble opinion. :) Oh, and apparently I had some thing for the sock monkey I was carrying around all day. Don't ask. Must have been the endorphins.
Okay, what's next? Some hilly trails. Fun hilly trails, though, on the way to Filisur (30K / 19 miles). And yes, there's the Sock Monkey again.
Right before crossing Filisur, I found myself running next to Werner. Loved meeting you, Werner, and thanks for taking these photos. Even when I'm obviously having one of my non-Heidi Klum moments. Why did you have to tell me 'to look like I was running'? This is what you get. ;) Oh, and you should really try the K78 next year! :)
My 'Heidi Klum meets Usain Bolt' pose. Enough said.
Filisur - Bergün (30K - 40-ish K / 19 miles - 25 miles)
I'd reached Filisur after 3 hours and 9 minutes and continued my way to Bergün. It was at this point where I got the chance to run with Julie and her husband for a bit. Both of them are nice nice and the fact that they are battling this thing together - is pretty darn sweet. And that's a lot coming from a non-romantic nut. :)
Apparently there had been a land slide on the original route between Filisur and Bergün, so we had to follow this road to Bergün, instead of the planned trails.
That's Julie in front of me (in the yellow top).
Bergün - Keschhütte (40-ish K - 53K / 25 miles - 32 miles)
Ah, Bergün. Where the rain kicked in. Woo-hoo. And the thunder storms. Brilliant. This thing for my Sock Monkey was still very much present. Embarrassing - at least. Reached Bergün at 4 hours and 9 minutes into the race.
Mom was waiting for me at Bergün - with a cheese sandwich, a bottle of coca cola (yeah, I can drink caffein during races :) - caffein detox rocks) and a fresh pair of shoes - slippery mountail trail specific shoes. :) After leaving Bergün and heading for Chänts the rain and thunder storms kicked in. Big time. Thank the running gods I'd decided to pack my Goretex jacket in my pack. Right after
struggling with my pack and almost choking myself with my iPod cords putting on the jacket I heard my name. Femi! Yay! Someone to bore the heck out of on the way to the Keschhütte. I kept chatting away - I'm seriously surprised that he didn't kick me off that hill. I could not have blamed him. ;) Especially after I'd announced that 'I'd have to pee at some point'. 'Charming' has my name written all over it.
And yes, we were only running for this photo to be taken. After passing the camera guy we pretty much stopped in our tracks. ;)
The real climb to the Keschhütte starts at Chänts. Lucky for me they had proper toilets there (not that I mind doing my business in the woods - I don't mind at all - kind of worries me. ;)) - climbing with your bladder ready to burst, isn't my idea of fun. It was in these toilets that I noticed that I did not smell peachy. Sweat bunny galore. Enough said. Weird, since I normally smell like fresh rose buds. All day, every day. No kidding. ;)
What's next? Oh, that's right. The climb to the Keschhütte. Ouch. Let's just say that I have quite a lot of photos of this bit, since I was enjoying the view so much. It had nothing to do with me holding on for a sec to let my quads have a moment of rest. Okay?
Ouchie and so amazingly beautiful at the same time.
A little after this point I spotted Femi again. We began noticing a lot of the K42-runners (marathon distance with a 11:30 AM start in Bergün) on the course. Since Femi and moi (and the other K78-runners around us) already had 53K / 32-ish miles in our legs, we weren't as fresh as the K42 runners. Not ideal on single trails - especially not when these K42 runners start pushing you to the side. And yes - some of them did ask to pass, so we could make way, but despite that - not fun. Especially since I (and several other runners) spotted and helped multiple runners (both K78 and K42) that fell off of the trail because of this. Not that any of us did mind helping others out, but someone could have gotten seriously injured. Dear race director of an amazing race (and that's what the SwissAlpine Marathon is), could you please sort this out for a next race? Start time, whatever. Nothing to complain about, but pretty please? :)
6 hours and 51 minutes into the race, I spotted the Keschhütte (53K / 32-ish miles). So glad! :) And so windy up there! :)
Keschhütte - Sertig (53K - 65K / 32-ish miles / 40-ish miles)
After Keschhütte (the weather got sunny) we were on our way to the Sertig Pass. Another climb. But a gorgeous one. First we had to climb to the Sertig Pass at 60-ish K, before we could start the descent to Sertig.
Boy, was I glad to reach the Sertig Pass. Again, very windy. But - wait for it - they had Coca Cola. Woo-hoo! For a girl that has detoxed from caffein and promised herself it is okay to drink caffein during races - this was like finding a box filled with gold. :) Plus, isn't this view amazing? :)
Yep, it's still a pile of rocks. :)
Hey! It's Femi! Looking fresh as a daisy!
And that's me. Displaying how I felt about the high alpine part of the race. Looking like a goof ball and not smelling like a daisy.
Sertig - Davos Platz (65-ish K - 79-ish K / 40-ish miles - 50-ish miles)
After the (partly steep) descent to Sertig I hoped Bram was waiting for me. He was in the K42 race and was sweet enough to wait for me at Sertig, to run the last bit together. Since I had been speaking either German or English for most of the day, speaking Dutch apparently sounded like Bulgarian. That is, according to Bram. And silly me was wondering why he kept telling me that I should eat something. Whoops
This photo pretty much captures that moment. Me playing around with Sock Monkey. Bram looking at me and obviously thinking 'What the F is going on with her? Why the heck did I wait for her?'.
Lucky for me, he did not ditch me on the way to Davos, so I had someone to sing to for the last 10 miles. Shocker - apparently I can't sing. Boo-freaking-hoo. Some people just don't appreciate a girl trying to entertain.
And before I knew it (and right before the thunder storms kicked in again), I found myself a couple of hundred meters from the finish line. After 10 hours, 28 minutes and 41 seconds, 79-ish K / 50-ish miles and after 2,600 meters / 8,530 ft of elevation gain, I could not have been happier. I had a blast from start to finish. Felt great all the way through (such a gift). The kilometers / miles kept ticking away. And I nibbled an hour off of last year's time (although I feel that last year's race was a bit longer and had some extra elevation gain, but that's for the RD to decide).
How I love this race. Thanks, dear race director and race crew, for setting up such an amazing race. :)
All post finish photos below are courtesy of Wendy Widmer (my dearest Wendy :)).
Okay, I seem way to happy with that beer.
Apparently, I'm a giant. I don't even fit into this photo. What the heck.
Ran into Matthias at the finish line! Had such fun running with him at Monstein.
Wendy! The girls with the fancy kinesio taping on the knees. Won't be long till you see this look on the Paris' catwalks. Mark my words.
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