Saturday, October 8, 2011

Runners highs and lows

I haven't run for nearly 2 weeks. I really haven't felt all the great. I've had no injuries but after my last two runs I have had a period of 'runners low'. My usual runs felt too short and not worth spending time on. I'd even lost my appetite. Strange and unwelcome feeling.

Luckily I got out there today.

A little more than a week ago I was sent a link to Marathon Des Sables I was sold right away! That and Badwater Ultramarathon seem like the ultimate races. Don't worry I'm not nuts enough to think that I can run either of those races here and now. But after my 2012 goal which is a 100 km race I now know what to aim for. The ironman goal has officially been deleted.

Talking with a very good colleague about doing long distance runs I asked her when she was going for her first marathon. She told me that she had never run a longer distance than 25 km but she was fascinated that others could. Knowing that she had been running for a far longer time than me and that she does so far more often I was quite convinced that she could easily run at least 30 km if she set out at the right speed. She like me and many many others have a tendency to set the bar to high from the start and then struggle at the end. 

I convinced her that we should make a 30 km attempt today and claimed that she wouldn't have any troubles finishing if only she kept the pace I had set for her 7 min/km. She did agree to make the attempt but didn't seem confident that she would make it all the way. I on the other hand knew that she would :) 

The trail used was the same trail as my recent 50 km run but with a turn around point after 15 km so that we would finish the same place as we had started. I had placed one water post at 10 km with water, lemonade, bananas and apples which we would visit twice. 

The weather today was rainy, windy and felt cold. Luckily the trail runs for the most part inside forests which acted as a great shield though parts of the trail had become rather muddy.

We set out and at once I had to tell her to slow down! 7 min/km feels really really slow when you got fresh legs but I knew that 25 km later she would thank me ;) All the way out she did everything I had asked and expected of her. We walked the steepest hills and kept the targeted pace. After 18 km though she started running a bit faster than I had wanted her to. I was getting a bit scared that she wouldn't make it all the way to the finish line. We had our second water stop at 20 km and even though we got rather cold from standing still she kept the slightly higher pace afterwards. By now I was personally getting a bit sore and was wondering when she would start getting tired. It wasn't until 27 km I started seeing signs of her being tired but at that point I was confident that she could keep this pace for the rest of the race and I took the lead keeping the pace that she had set. She looked a little tired but she kept up and I was really impressed. 200 meters before the finish line I sprinted and found my camera so that I could take her picture as she reached the goal.

That is a nice feeling :)
She had done really really great. Excluding the water stop she had kept an average pace at 6:49! Congratulation on your first 30 km run!! I don't doubt for one second that you would be able to run a marathon.

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