29.05.2021 Schwarzacher Trail 47 km 2600+

BEFORE THE RACE

The feeling that a race is coming up was just not there. It is probably because I didn’t see Schwarzacher Trail as a race- from beginning onwards it was for me more of a fun run. So, there was no real preparation. Yes – more of weight lifting so my arms are stronger and I could use poles for uphill. My trainer Gerhard, included some trails in my training just couple of weeks before the race. The whole year I have been running mostly flat as I had some other goals.

Tired. I felt really very tired during the race week. On Sunday I suffered from terrible migraine. The night from Tuesday to Wednesday I had only 2 hours sleep as I was supporting Rainer Predl on his 72 Hour run. The rest of the week I was occupied with too many thoughts running through my head and had a very bad sleep. I kind of enjoyed more to be at work as anything else. Didn’t feel like “racing” at all and wishing that this run was virtual and I could enjoy it quietly in peace. Also, the feeling of “expectations of others” didn’t leave me. It kind of bothered me.  To calm myself down, I cooked some rhubarb-orange marmalade and baked my pre-race cake in a new variation (a really tasty one btw).

It’s Friday morning and I still had to pack. Hopefully all there and not forgetting anything. Stevan, my running buddy comes late, we still need to pick up my daughter from school. I’m trying to be upset but I can’t. Everybody else is calm! So, I have to laugh about myself once again.

On the way we chat a bit about the track, what are the expected times to be finished and when do we start. Stevan, as always will run easy. I’m thinking to run with him but same time a bit worried he is stronger as I’m and my start block is earlier. Stevan says I will race anyway; I try to argue with him saying that I won’t – it is not my goal and it is not the reason why I’m taking part on this run. You ask me why I didn’t run with him? Well, the evening before I saw that Domink (my training buddy) run this same course 2018 in about 5:38 and I thought I can do the same. I know Dominik was never killing himself on trails.

We arrived in Dorfgastein (15 min drive from Schwarzach) and went to eat some Pizza. It is very unusual that I can’t finish mine, but I did have Pasta with tuna for lunch, which was quite a lot.  If there is no race feeling, there is still carbo-loading!

 After settling in the apartment, I wanted to go sleep early. After 1,5 hours trying to fall asleep, finally I managed.

RACE DAY

In the morning breakfast-some bread and scrambled eggs and we wree ready to go.I had a bad sleep but I’m having a good mood. Feeling to want to explore those trails are getting stronger. Picking up the bib, being happy about starters package full of Snickers and other goodies, seeing some familiar faces- yessssssss— it is time to “race”!!!

Starting in blocks for me works better. There is not so much confusion and “fear” about tripping over, nobody pushing from the back. I like it!

The track starts with a small uphill. My heart is pumping faster&feeling happy. Those long-hidden emotions are returning. Trails are different as round course races. The feelings are different. The atmosphere is just priceless. I’m passing some runners. Some guys around km 5 made me a bit upset..I was passing them and one of them said “es gibts doch nicht”( something like: ‘how is that possible’). I must think of men and their ego. Recently I had the same situation 2 times happening – running behind some men and a guy who was just walking by, said to me: “girl, you shouldn’t be trying to catch up with men!” So, I asked myself what’s wrong with the men having issue with women being stronger as they are. Few kilometers ahead, on uphill, passing some group of runners, we exchanged some jokes about me passing them. I was like- we will see each other soon anyway.

I really had no clue if I will break or not. It has been very long since I was running trails- I have no idea how to “divide” the energy anymore. I was just trying to not go over my limits at any time- to have control over my breathing and enjoy. And boy I did enjoy. Using poles and my arm strength uphill and flying like nothing to lose downhills (well- the not technical parts).

After Lab Station at km 15, there was a nice downhill and Jerry passed me- I know Jerry from few years ago- I think we run something together in a group and since then I had him on my Facebook friends- always following up with his running- I knew he is a strong runner, so I decided to no loose him from my sight on the long uphill coming up.  Setting small goals during long runs is a great thing to do to keep the motivation. Starting the way up I chatted with a guy who seemed to know what’s coming up the next kilometers. So, I prepared myself mentally. I kind of liked a lot that I started later in 4th block (I think)- catching up with people, have no idea when did they start, feeling motivated to set this small goal to catch up, although it is not competitive catching up style. More like a small challenge to put on for yourself. And yes, I admit, this time passing some men did make me especially happy – kind of a revenge for those “don’t try to catch up with a man” comments etc. I just don’t get it. I think I’ m still upset about it.

Anyhow- this uphill was nice- not very technical but still not an easy one- I did not try to run. My arms were doing the ‘job’ and I let me legs ‘rest’. Jerry was increasing the distance between us, but I was still able to see him. The crew at the summit were very nice- smiling&cheering up! I made a photo touching each summit! Snow. Up there was still enough snow. My hands were getting cold, so I was glad I had with me some gloves I purchased last minute at Traildog Running local shop in Vienna. Happy somebody still sells them at this time of year!

The small technical downhill, covered in mud and snow, reminded me of KAT100 from 1,5 years ago. I was taking my time to get down- KAT was my last trail race- not really much confidence in me left. I was happy I chose the right shoes– On Cloudventure Peak Gore-Tex. Absolutely amazing. Kilometer or so in the snow. Challenging but still fun. I was upset I didn’t take my sunglasses with me- my eyes were suffering!

After about 15-20 min, the way went uphill again. Nice- the man at the summit asked me if I wanted to have a beer. I was like- be careful what you are asking, I might not refuse! And of course- I took a picture- with the man with the beer! Somebody here told me I’m the 2nd woman. For some reason it made my eyes wet. The emotions I experienced were strange- I didn’t want to be 1st,2nd or 3rd woman. I wanted to run and enjoy not thinking about “positions”. Everybody seemed to always mention it- „see you on podest!“ „so did you win?!“ I must admit it is kind of bothering me.

Another downhill started. Of course, the moment where I was at my slowest and thinking I should be careful, I managed to slip down in a mud. It was an easy fall, I kind of enjoyed it   Jerry was still to be seen. Everything was going as per plan- ok,now I’m laughing- I had really no plan! I was the happiest and planless person in the world all those 47k!

I run. And I run. I couldn’t stop enjoying. Some uphills, some downhills. I felt alive. At km 35 Aid Station hunger hit in. Really happy there were potatoes. I actually had them at every aid station. Potatoes with salt. What else from nutrition? Every hour 1 Maurten Gel. And I had with me 1 Liter Maurten Iso. And 0.5 liter water. No stomach issues, enough fueled. I was thinking- fuel like pro, run like a Diana (I’m laughing now again).The silly ideas you get when running long! Stevan told me afterwards the cake on that station was really delicious. I need to find out what it was 

I left the station same time as Jerry. We run couple of km together and somehow I felt I’m disturbing him. Before the next uphill, I asked him to go in front of me. I was happy to have him there to “pace” me again! And yes, I don’t like to be in front of somebody on uphill- I feel kind of a pressure to go faster. And that day I didn’t want to go over my limits. So, after the uphill, I was keen to “fly” downhill. Happiness pure! I knew all the way along that I belong to trails and my heart is out there. Never want to leave again. Never ever!

The sun came out and I was thinking this course couldn’t end any better! I still smile remembering it.

And then the stairs. Just about 800 meters before the finish. Stairs?! Why nobody told me about this!? – I was really saying out loud. But after the stairs… I saw my daughter- she was waiting for me on the corner before the finish line. She run a bit with me, but as I was not sure if she is allowed (because of COVID) to run with me inside finishing area, I asked her to wait on the other side. I was overloaded with happiness- finishing one of the best trail courses I ever run and my little one is there! Amazing! I felt alive! What a great day! I could hear Fredl saying Diana- Ultrarunner, but for the rest I was already in another world- my very own happy world! I was a very happy finisher!

Finish line- my first medal of the year – beautifully handmade! Some buddy runners I didn’t see for very long time! Chatting, laughing, drinking that nice cold beer! YESSSSS!!!! The day of the year!!!! Called my trainer Gerhard Schiemer to thank him and ask hm what he has done to me to be able to do this so shortly after 100km race!

 The planning for next year will look very much different as for 2021! If there will be any at all. I just want to go wild and enjoy!

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