I suspect most people dropping in to read my blog couldn’t give a toss about my running, but I want to be able to look back on these posts and reminisce about the days I was able to scurry across distances of 20km and upwards. You know, when I’m old and my legs resemble overcooked bean sprouts.
I wrote about the Aletsch half before we actually participated. For anyone wondering whether we survived it or not, well, the answer is yes. Was it perhaps thanks to the fact that weather conditions meant that it had to be shortened to 15.2km with only a 450m or so climb? Most likely.
I have to admit, I definitely underestimated how my body would react to the altitude. The start point was at 2100m and I think we went up to around 2300m. My heart was pounding against my rib cage with as much force as King Kong uses to pound his chest.
The race started out cloudy and, quite honestly, discouragingly grim, but just as my energy levels started to dip, out came the sun to lift my gaze from the ground to the immensity of the view that surrounded us.
Although Oscar, my running coach (I go to running classes, more on them later), always tells me to look ahead and not down, and while I’m trying my best to get better at this, I’ve noticed it’s very hard to do this when running on trails. I saw a few people cross the finish line covered in mud. My guess is that they took a tumble going down hill at breakneck speed. You need the dexterity of a tap dancer to run fast down those narrow mountain paths dotted with rocks, streams, etc., but the helping hand of your eyes will go along way too.
Now for proof that I wasn’t amongst the few who ended up covered in mud:
Oh, and let’s not forget B’s biggest moment of glory. Proud to be German!
Since that race I got straight onto my marathon training. I have two half marathons coming up in Greifensee and Lausanne (Lausanne was originally a marathon, but all the wedding commitments have screwed up my training) and am sniffing around for a full one mid-November – possibly the Frauenfelder one. I have ambitious goals: I want to shave 7 minutes off my half marathon time and at least 15 off my marathon time.
In addition to those goals, I’m working on transitioning to minimal shoes. Behold my new project:
It’s proving slow, but my eagerness to use them full time is rivalled by my determination to avoid injury, so for now my discipline is in force and I’m only using them for my shorter runs.
What else? Oh yes, I have resumed my attendance of the Wednesday Night Running Sessions . Although the group’s summer break and my various commitments meant I had to take a few nights off, the previous sessions combined with my regular tempo and interval runs meant I was actually pretty damn fast yesterday. My tempo run last week also saw me maintain a pace of around 4:40 per km for 8km, which isn’t bad for me. For once B had to fight to keep up with me and not the other way around.
Every time I go to Oscar’s classes I find myself feeling nervous beforehand. It’s because I know I’m about to feel as though I was born into the body of an elephant with the lung capacity of a mouse. Afterwards I’m always so grateful though. Without the encouragement of Oscar and the other runners, I would never push myself to the verge of collapsing. As a consequence, I am getting speedier and speedier. No matter how many long runs you trudge through, without some speed work you’re gonna have a hard time reaching any PBs (unless you’re participating in a race for the first time, of course).