a weeknd without wine – well, almost!

Update 14.7.2021(12.7.2021)billn

Sunrise in Sedrun
Sunrise in Sedrun, Graubünden (Switzerland) – an early breakfast was required…

There actually was some wine on Saturday evening – to celebrate still being alive – something from Sardinia – it seemed the most interesting on the hotel’s list. For the previous 5 days not a drop had been drunk, though with visits in the Côte d’Or, plenty had been ejected to the spittoon that week.

You will probably know that I’m a keen runner, one that has mainly taken to the trails in the last years as this surface seems less aggressive on a sensitive hamstring of mine. Last year I decided to try my first mountain course though typically aggravated said hamstring about 10 days before the race, so couldn’t take part. One year later, last weekend, it was time to try again. Of course, I aggravated my hamstring again just 4-5 days before the race this time but not enough to put paid to the trip – I could anyway use it as an excuse for not trying too hard – runners are well known for preparing their excuses ahead of time 🙂

To collect our race numbers and to be allowed into the start area we had to show our vaccination infos – easy in Switzerland as it’s one of the first countries to have rolled out the covid app with vaccination info on your phone – a QR-code. That box ticked, we were allowed into the athlete’s area without a mask – a novelty in public these days.

Concerning the race, I think the technical term (today) is WTF!

The bald stats – 16.4km – though my GPS said that I did 16.8 – with 1,250 metres of climbing up to 2,500 metres altitude, numbers that seemed abstractly no problem. I did the baby race, not the marathon (that enjoyed double the amount of climbing) and I’d assumed about 8-9 minutes per kilometre for each 200m gain of altitude and then the rest of the course would be downhill – so easy – or(?)! Pff! – more like 12-13 minutes per kilometre and one was 15 minutes – the last major uphill one, fortunately – as it is simply impossible to run or find sufficient space for overtaking – the latter is only possible through the kindness of those in front of you, by making space for you. Early on, I thought I would have to properly stop and take a rest but somehow came through. I was a little faster than those around me on the downhill and only landed on my arse once – fortunately, in this particular place, there was only wet mud/grass rather than the moonscape of rocks higher up the hill. Thank god for Goretex shoes – but my socks will never be white again 🙂

The result was still my slowest 10-mile race ever, yet surprisingly, one that delivered one of my highest finishing positions for years too. Mountain running requires a level of resoluteness that I’ve never needed when racing on the roads. The place and the people, indeed the event, I loved but my initial instinct was ‘never again‘ – I didn’t notice any of the views from 2,500 metres – I certainly only saw the place for my next footstep on the harum-scarum downhill!

So, never again? As my better half explained – ‘Yes, that’s what most women say when they give birth to their first child – but most will do it again.‘ And you know(?) I can already see how altering my training can bring me an improvement of at least 1 minute per kilometre… 😉

Sunday when we got home we drank a little Chablis from one of the J.Moreau samples from Thursday – no surprise that it was less good despite being left stoppered in the fridge – 72 hours open clearly being of no advantage!

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