Ive been lacking a little bit of motivation to go out training these days partly because of the weather and partly because an old lady moved into the apartment below me. It appears as though she doesnt sleep and has a habit of moving furniture around and cook at OBSCENE hours like 12.30PM or 5.30AM. Im tired.
But Im moving in a week and hanging in there until then.
Last weekend was a shock. I decided last Friday to compete in the last race of the Zuri Lauf Cups on Uetliberg. The Zurilauf Cup is a series of about 12 hill/trail runs organized by the Zurich bus drivers club and held in the Canton of Zurich. The course was 14km long with an estimated 380 metres of total altitude gain. In other words TOUGH
The German word ‘lauf’ means ‘run’ in English and Uetliberglauf is a run around Uetliberg, my training hill on which I also conveniently live. It was a great idea! Until I woke up on Saturday morning to a temperature drop and rain! But it was nice to spend the morning relaxing inside, having a nice breakfast (normally Im running out the door to get on a train to the hills with a bike or hiking gear) knowing that I will have deserved this rest time after finishing a gruelling race later that day.
I turned up to Albis Güetli already buzzing at the sight of so many participants. I registered, collected my number and then spent about 30 minutes faffing around and putting off going outside in the cold to warm up before racing. As it stands I only did a 15 min warm up! Tch tch. I met up with some friends there too, Giulia Hossmann and ultra runner Christian Schneider who was suffering from a cold therefore just there to support us.
Lining up at the start I was looking around anxiously to see what other girls looked fit and to make sure I was at the front of the pack when the gun went off. It was a fast start, but nowhere near as fast as I thought it would be. I think this is a result of my recent speed training and becoming more comfortable at running at a faster pace than the sloth one we normally run at during adventure races!
The race pretty much started into a hill, I had no idea how many women were ahead of me but I knew that there was one right next to me who was pushing really hard. I played back and forth with her for an agonizing 20 minutes or more. I would push, then she would push, and eventually she got me on a flat section and started to move away, I decided to let her go for fear that if I kept up that pace, I might actually blow up. I kept repeating to myself then “run your own race” and as soon as she was out of my sight I developed a better rhythm and I was able to concentrate more on what I was doing, passing guys and trying to hold them off. At about 7 km another woman appeared and passed me, but I let her go too, secure now that I was feeling good, going at a good maintainable pace and just minding my own business.
The course was incredibly tough. Some really steep climbs and long decents, absolutely unrelenting. The nice part about it though was I recognized every stone on the paths as I had ran them so many times in training and I was able to guage how much I had left to go to the finish or half way.
Towards the end of the race I kept trying to up the ante and push push push towards the finish and it was downhill most of the way so that was a nice break. I was also neck and neck with the same runner for the last 17 minutes so it was also good company and motivation, having him on my heels.
I eventually finished 2nd in my category W30 and 5th overall with a time of 1.00.59! I was very happy with that as I had no idea how I would fare over this distance and I hadnt done a race like this since Corran Tuathail, at home, in June 2008.
It has made me think…maybe this is my real strength after all!