Sunday, 26 June 2016

Zugspitz

Zugspitz stands a proud 2962m and is the highest peak in the Wesserstein mountains in Germany, in fact, it's the highest Mountain in Germany. I was looking forward to my first visit to the country and to running in the Salomon Supertrail XL, one of 5 races organised by Plan B events on the 18th June 2016. The Supertrail XL is 81.4 (ish) km with 4131m (ish) of ascent.

 It was an early start getting from Oberau to Ehwald. However all went well and I was standing on the start line with minutes to spare. I had an objective, it was to run as well as I could under the circumstances. The circumstances were that I was barely a week after catching a cold which had rendered me to my bed for three days in the previous days and further the death of my grandfather., I couldn't put either of these factors on hold and so it was with a heavy, stuffy head and chest and a heavy heart that I was waiting for the countdown at the start.

Never encountered before, writing race numbers on the food you carry including gels etc, so any litter dropping and you can be identified as the litter bug, brilliant (albeit, there are the odd occasions when it's an oblivious accident (accepted)).

The race panned out ok, there are three big climbs, two at the beginning and the last at the end with a period of rest-bite in the middle where there was the opportunity for some faster running alongside a river for about 10k. I had one pace when climbing and so using poles I hiked my climbs with some gusto and then steadily tackled the descents on the first two climbs. The two leading ladies had proved consistently steady and consistently travelling slightly faster than myself. They maintained that pace and it wasn't long (about two hours in) that I never saw them again. I held on to the belief however, that anything can happen in a race and it's right to focus on how I was feeling and not concern myself with who was in front or behind.

The weather was perfect and to be fair, I felt ok throughout in between the clearing of mucus. Some stomach issues as I was drinking more fluid that usual, so that was sitting heavy on the stomach. The variety of savory checkpoint fodder was great (as usual in these European races) so there was no issue with feeling sickly from eating jelly babies or flapjack. I maintained a steady pace and on the approach to the last climb I wanted to leave everything I had left on that last mountain. However, I still held back, I am unsure why, I was telling myself that I'd save it for the descent, and yet, on the descent there was still some tentativeness, as a result I finished the race fresher than I would have liked. I can't complain nonetheless, I made a podium finish in third place in spite of the adversity pre race, and i know my grandfather would have been so so proud of me. I am going to miss the old man.

My time was 11 hours and 50 mins (59 secs) pretty ok for someone who ticks over on canal tow path in Stoke. I used superlight and technical kit provided by Raidlight UK, including:

Gilet responsive 8l race vest
Cuissard Easy Trail Shorts
Raidlight Made in France T shirt
Raidlight cup (you carry your own quite rightly)

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