In running, as with everything in life, there’s good days and there’s bad days. Inevitably, you need to make decisions based on the cards you’re dealt. At Kilometer 4 my body told me “I’ve had enough” and I turned around even though I’d already covered 80% of the distance and 90% of the elevation.
Einstein may or may not have said “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results”. Likewise in trail running, expecting to do better at a race you’ve done the previous year without having done a better preparation may indeed be, well, insane.
“Don’t go out too hard” is pretty much the universal advice for long distance trail running. So why was I in an unlikely second place the entire first Kilometer?
“How do you know a runner has done a marathon? – they’ll tell you”. So here I am to tell you about my very first marathon. And because I like a good challenge, I didn’t just pick a flat and boring road marathon but an iconic race in the mountains with plenty of elevation gain and loss.
Just a week after running a 12km trail race, I toed the starting line on a 10km road race. This seems slightly illogical, considering I’m supposed to run an iconic mountain marathon later this year and at this point should be doing long runs and lots of elevation. But if for a variety of reasons I can’t do that right now, there’s still a few lessons that can be learned at races like this.
The preparation for my summer mountain running challenges isn’t going great. With my main job and side job both taking up considerable time and energy (both physical and mental), my proverbial tank has been empty on a lot of days, which means I’m not getting in as much mileage and vertical elevation as planned. My running and cycling commutes are also taking a lot out of me, without bringing either mountain- or speed-specific training to the table. But rather than lamenting about this while watching TV on my couch, I decided that maybe a short 12k trail race would be a good reminder of what this summer’s challenges are about.
The beauty of running a race in the city that was my home for 20 years, and where I still work to this day, is that most of the race course is very familiar. Will that make up for the length of the race, which for me will be a record-breaking 34km (a distance I had never even done in training)?
I’m contemplating several long-distance races in 2018, so a local 6km race today wasn’t really on my radar. But it’s cheap and it’s nearby, so why not?
It was a lazy Saturday morning. Rain was pouring down. Either I’d drive to Mersch, 30 minutes away from home, and do a late sign-up for a 18km trail race; or I’d sit at home, complain about the weather and not get any run done. The weather was a concern, but if I managed to go out and “get it done” I figured I would not just train my muscles, but also strengthen my mental fortitude and reinforce a positive habit. So before I could change my mind, I assembled my running gear and got in the car.