I feel empty now. Today’s 24 kilometers Alfa Bear Trail was beautiful, but hard with 580 meters of altitude. It didn’t feel like that for a long time, but the last few kilometers got me.
I would like to tell you all about the race, but I feel a little uninspired. Not because of the race, but because of my lack of energy. The race was amazing. I enjoyed every moment of it. Well, almost every moment.
I told you, I’m a slow starter. Not just as a runner, also as a person. I like silence in the morning. I know running a trail race and silence is a little too much to ask, but there is a difference between saying something now and again and non stop blabbering about nothing at all, like the guy behind me.
Luckily, the trail has some steep climbs and when we reach the first one, after about 8 minutes, I lose the talkative guy and can start enjoying the rest of the Alfa Bear Trail. It’s a combination of running through open fields, bits of countryside roads and lots and lots of forest, with steep and less steep climbs and downhills.
Without a sweat
Twelve kilometers in the race, I decide to give Sara a quick call. She has just finished her 5 kilometers, with 180 meters of altitude without a sweat and I just want to let her know how proud I am of her.
My legs feel fine, I am zigzagging through a forest, with trees sometimes so close on top of each other that I have to pass them sideways. But this is what I love. Small, single tracks. And that’s not the only thing I’m enjoying, I also enjoy the power I feel in my legs. The first 5 kilometers they felt a bit heavy. Maybe, because I was already up at 4 am. But now they are doing great.
Shuffling down, racing up
Not only the climbs are steep, also some of the descents. So steep, that some runners stop running and slowly shuffle down. With all the loose leaves on the ground, I understand. Yet, I prefer to race down. After all, every steep descent is followed by a new climb. The harder I run down, the less energy I need to get up again.
That is, up to kilometer 16 when the cold shivers run over my back. Sand! Not again, not like the Duinen Trail in Schoorl. Not now, I have these super legs. Luckily it’s just one hill. Sadly enough, one hill is all it takes to upset my left calf muscle and drain the power out of my legs.
I planned a fast finish, like I always do. I still try and my pace slowly goes up, but it has to come from far. Maybe it even has to come out of my butt, because after 21 kilometers my left buttock starts to protest as well.
I look at my Garmin watch. It tells me all the serious climbing is done. Just 3 more flat kilometers to the finish. One more time I push myself. 15 minutes more, maybe 18, maybe less. That’s all.
I grab my phone. No more podcasts. It’s time for something better. If I want to be the boss over my protesting legs, there is only one guy who can help me: The Boss. So I put on some Bruce Springsteen and on the sounds of Born to Run I cross the finish line of the Alfa Bear Trail and fall into Sara’s arms.