The Latest Shennanigans
After all that madness in Kerns the bike was put away and my running shoes (Inov8‘s of course ; ) have been getting a lot of wear. Long trail runs on the weekends up to about 3 hours along the Albis ridge to Horgen. During the week I have been getting out with the runners of TV Unterstrass at Sihlholzli. It has been great to run in a group again and Im sure my running will come on no end. My first two meets with the run group there have been entirely positive experiences, I was greeted with such a friendly welcome and I could barely walk the day after my first interval session on Thursday night! Brilliant!
Bringing me on to my latest race – The Uetliberglauf. I dont know why I have become so obsessed with this race but I think its because its a good measure of how my training and fitness level is. Last year I had a great result coming in 2nd place in my category W30, I was pretty shocked that I had done that well. So this year I wanted, of course, to better that result. However I knew that my lead-in to race and preparation wasnt exactly ideal as I have been really busy at work and I was also sick about 2 weeks ago and bed-ridden for about 3 days! As a result I have had quite low energy levels and I was just doing my best to ensure I made it to the starting line in some sort of ok shape.
Bitter Sweet Result
So race day arrived and I got up early, had a good breakfast and got organised. I felt ok and made my way into town at about 11am – better to be early given my previous history of race preparation.
I was delighted to see so many familiar faces there, Cristoph Zech and Valerie Vuillerat from Free Radicals, some of my new running buddies from TV Unterstrass, Jed Brown the mountaineer and most understated, nifty runner I know (who came 9th in his category and 46th overall), Tony Long my new Irish running buddy and Free Radicals club member, Giulia Hossmann and Christian Schneider back from his 4 months of gallavanting around Eastern Europe and beyond.
Without going into too much detail, the race went well, I didnt have stomach cramps like last year or the Ironman run so I was really happy with that. I havent been drinking any energy drinks or isotonic solutions, just some water with flavouring and a little salt and my diet has been very bland and simple, oatmeal or porridge for breakfast with lactose-free milk and a banana and some bread about 90 minutes before the race. I think the banana really helps too with the potassium for cramp prevention.
HURT – to a new level
I started out fast, and approaching the first hill I was in 5th place, even though I only saw two girls ahead of me, Catherin Cheridito from the EWZ triathlon team and Olivia Kurtz (I think) then I got passed by Nicole Lohri at the 20 minute mark but there was no way I could have kept up with her pace. So I decided then, the same as last year, to run my own race, stay within my own head and get into a rhythm. That is always really important for me, the world will go on around me but I can only control my output from within so I focused on eating up the course, accelerating on the downhills, striding on the flat sections and maintaining momentum and speed on the climbs. I had forgotten how tough the course is! There are about 3 killer climbs, two of which I speed walked for about 10 steps. It hurt!
At about 32 minutes another girl appeared to my right and started to really stride out to pass me. I hung on to her for the next 15 minutes and kept her in sight but I never managed to close the gap that she put into me on the flats which she extended to 11 seconds in the final result. Every time we climbed I would make ground on her but she got me on the flats everytime. It was actually quite cool to run behind her because she had such a wonderful technique with such long strides. She was also about 1/2 my size and I remember looking at her matchstick calves jealously. Her name is Regula Meier.
So. I checked my watch and knew that I was there or there abouts on target for a sub 1 hour course and that kept me motivated despite having been passed. I came in at 59.44about 1.15 minutes faster than last year. So I have to be content with that and to be honest – I am. I never ever, considered myself a runner but to be able to compete with girls who are going sub 3 hours in marathons is pretty nice and inspires me to dedicate more time to being a better runner.
After the race I heard someone say my name and when I turned around I saw a guy who obviously recognized me, but I had no clue who he was, then he said his name and I clicked that he is a Twitter mate Benjamin Wuethrich.
He also dropped my name in his very dry humoured, entertaining but sometimes mean blog and posted a big photo of me in action, for which I gave him prior approval, because I didnt want him to put up this photo he took of us post-race, where I have a big red face: