23.04.2021 100 km Langenzerdorf / Austrian Championships (round course 930 m)

DAYS BEFORE THE RACE.

It is the day before the race when it finally hit me. Tomorrow is the race! Until now for some reason it didn’t feel for real.

I’m getting nervous. Am I ready? This question is probably going through many runners’ heads. My training went well, I have done everything as planned, my eating habits were really good, I had only 2 time “slip out “when I had some wine and sweets. I was focused and took very good care of my body. And now the time has come- in about 24 hours I will know if I have reached my goal – to run 100 km under 8 hours.

What could go wrong? Nothing- I’m thinking.  But why does it feel different this time? I did not ‘run the race’ through my head this time as I usually do. The thought that maybe I’m trying one year too early doesn’t leave me. But why too early?! Only because I initially wanted to run it in year 2022 in Germany? It’s just a thinking failure. I need to calm myself down. I ‘m ready. Gerhard, my trainer, knows what he is doing, I trust him completely and I’m strong. I will make it.

The last few days I could not concentrate myself for anything. It seemed to impossible to work. Nervous. Hunger attacks from stress (but all under control) and hopefully imaginary pain. Why pain? I fell down in Winter during country skiing and still have issues with the right side of my upper body. My therapist has it under control. All will be fine. The beautiful thing about ultrarunning is, that the pain at some point just disappears (of course if the problem is not really very serious). I have learned many things about my body the last few years, I have trust to know what I’m doing to not hurt myself. And I’m looking forward for my mind and my body to make a nice job together at the upcoming race. Just one more time to sleep!!!

RACE DAY.

My alarm rings at 4.15 AM. I made myself ready, eat my bread with peanut butter and at 5.30 AM I’m already in the car to be at the racing place at 6 AM. It makes me happy to see faces I have seen before. Soon the race will begin. I’m excited and happy to be at the start line again. It feels a bit strange to be the only “foreigner” here (later I found out there is another runner coming from Poland), although it should not be so- I live in Austria 7,5 years and I always felt like home here. Because for me home is where your heart is. It is also my first run with my running club ULT Heustadlwasser. It is a really great feeling to belong to this running club- I know few of the runners there since longer time- and they all are really nice people!

Start. It is still peaceful, no wind. The adrenalin is working and I’m excited to be “racing” again. I’m feeling happy for all of us runners. The last year has been really hard. I realize very soon that this round is a different kind of round as I have been running before. How? Well, it is not possible to see the other runner from front- only from back. That’s a pity-no happy emotion exchanging from eye to eye. For me this is a very special  way of communication during such a runs.

I’m running the pace as planned, maybe even some seconds faster, same time wondering about many other who seems to have started with a decent pace. Championships. Only the best ones here. I feel more than excited to be on the same track with Elite runners as Karin Freitag.

It is getting more and more windy. My good mood is not leaving me. Everything is just perfect. My right side of Piriformis is getting a bit stiff and I decide to put some warming gel on it – it is getting better. Pheww. After another 2,5 hours the left side of piriformis is sending me some stronger hallo. Very deep inside. It kind of surprised me, because the round is turning on the right side and since ever the run in Bernau I had no issues with the left side. Oh well. Creaming now the left side. Not helping. My first thought- not enough cream. Fine- more cream.

Same time, my pace stays the same (few second faster as it should be) and I’m really disciplining myself to not run too fast, although I’m feeling very good and natural at this pace. I’m trusting my watch and enjoying the people around cheering us up. In the meantime, Dominik ( so happy to have him helping me again, I even had only Brezels with me this time- no sticks ) had to leave for work but I’m really happy my coach could come and swap with him. I have really the best team with me today! The rounds are melting, I’m making some jokes with some runners, admiring the very fast ones and keeping my own pace. A day to enjoy. It feels like we all are a big family.

My piriformis is starting to really annoy. The right side is all good, but the left one just don’t want to stop paining. I’m trying out cold- I put some fabric mit Medivid Cryo Fluid in my pants. My upper legs are also starting to get tired- I spray some of the same Fluid on my shorts. Like a new born. Nice. I’m feeling fresh again. I keep running mostly silent with a happy smile on my face. I’m well taken care of, have no stomach issues, ignoring the strong wind and keeping myself concentrated. The wind and sun make me think of Bernau. Only this time it was much windier.

I’m having a good day. A very good day. Everybody is friendly, I have a great supporting team, my legs are bringing me forward. And then..after 6 hours or so I’m starting to feel strange. Rainer Predl has stopped running. I feel sorry for him. But same time I feel something is wrong with me. I still have some pain from Piriformis, but it is not what disturbs me. Sick.  I’m starting to feel sick. No. Oh no. Please not. The sights from the World Champs in 24 hours are crossing my mind. And the fight with myself has started.

I’m repeating to myself how strong I’m. I keep talking to myself. I know if I now reduce my pace- it will be very difficult to find the way back. I remember the 100km runners from Bernau and trying to get inspired from their fight with themselves I witnessed that time.

I’m losing myself in my thoughts and letting my legs to do the “job”. My eyes keep monitoring my watch. I’ m upset with myself for running some seconds faster from the beginning and telling myself it is now the payback time. Keep the pace, Diana. Don’t give up. I think that at some point I had the word –never again- in my mind and the only time I have ever had these thoughts were after my first marathon). This shows me I was really inside the black hole- and the guy with the hammer has arrived- for the very first time I realized it – I have met him now).I can’t speak anymore at the time when my coach ask me how am I doing. Somehow, I get the word “bad” out of my lips and he replies: Bad is good. I feel a bit surprised for a moment and repeat to myself: Bad is good. Bad is good. And I start to laugh. But of course. I have been running for few hours now, I’m feeling bad. But the runners high will come any minute. I must stay strong until then. I’m strong. I kept saying that to me. I kept believing in myself.

Suddenly, I had to go to toilet. It was about 1,5 hours before finishing. I came out. Was it the change of the “routine”? The world was beautiful again  I was feeling fine again. I was running and being happy me again. KM 90. I found myself back. Riga-Valmiera crosses my mind and it makes me stronger- I know I can run the last 10 km strong. The rounds are diapering , I’m looking at the time- all is good.

My watch is saying 98 km as I pass my coach and he says: only 7 more rounds!

WHAT? I have only 2 km more on my watch! WHAT? I lost my capability to speak (it’s a pity I have no photo of my face expression as I heard 7 more rounds). I can’t believe it. I keep running like a robot feeling cramps in my stomach. My brain is frozen and I try to calculate. It is clear that I won’t be able to reach my goal. I keep running and with an empty mind. Lost. The last round. The smile is fighting his way back to my face, I’m happy to complete the 108th round. I feel happy my coach is there, I hug him and hit the ground. I made it.Yes, something 12 minutes later as I wished but I made it. Everything is good again. I feel like laughing and crying. I gave my best. I run again. My fantastic new club runners organized a Prosecco. I had a great race and even greater people around me.

AFTER THE RACE.

Yes, I m a bit disappointed. I did not run the 100 km under 8 hours. Yes, I’m very happy- I reached the finish line healthy and filled with a bucket of unforgettable emotions.

“I can understand your ambitions & and your attitude & expectations of yourself. Everyone who achieved something for himself or fight for something for himself will always be unsatisfied with himself and mostly oversee the great and impressive what they have already achieved.”- wrote Manuel Peric to me after the race. THANK YOU FOR OPENING MY EYES/ REMINDING ME.

 I wanted to see how fast I can run 100 km and now I have seen it. The idea to do this crossed my mind a year ago as I realized I have been running long distances but never tried to run them “fast”(neither trained to run them fast). I love to run far. But sometimes also fast. I will never get tired of running and challenging myself. The only competition for me is the competition with myself. I don’t go to race to win it or to prove something for others.

And yes, it can be I will try to reach this goal again. Because the road to this goal has brought to me many beautiful memories. And I’m really proud of myself for running 100km in 8:11:13.

I always loved black humor. And 23.04. was a great day filled with it. At the end of the day I cried. A day to never forget about, always to laugh about. A day to love.

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