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Getting nervous for the Houffa Trail

I’m running. Outside. In the wind, in the cold. Smile on my face. I’m even running fast. Well, fast for me. Fast enough to clear my head, because I have to admit, I’m getting nervous for the Houffa Trail this Sunday.

23 kilometers suddenly sounds like a serious distance. I mean I haven’t run more than 9 kilometes this whole year. Then again, that’s because of my knee injury. And the truth is, on December 24 I ran 36,7 kilometers. So it’s pretty normal to have a couple of easy weeks now. But still, 23 kilometers. Brrrrr.

 

Climbing, climbing and climbing

It’s not just those 23 kilometers. I had a serious look at the profile of the race yesterday. We have to climb 710 meters. I’ve only done 2 trail runs with more altitude meters; the Three Mealls Trail race in Scotland, and when I ran up Mount Conero in Italy. Even when I ran the Dolomiti Extreme Trail I had less altitude. That race was only 614 meters of climbing.

RELATED: The most brutal race I’ve ever done

We start uphill directly. By the looks of it, one of the steepest uphills we will encounter. I’m a diesel, I told you. I prefer slow starts, so this is going to be spicy.

Last but not least, it’s not just the amount of altitude meters, but also the times we go uphill. A total of 14 climbs. The good thing is, we will go downhill 14 times as well. That’s more my thing than going uphill.

 

Brave sister

I am not the only one getting nervous. My sister is as well. We will be starting together. She’s sending me WhatsApp messages every day. Lately she hasn’t run anything longer than 18 kilometers, so I think it’s really brave she’s doing this race. On the other hand, she lives close to a forest full of sand dunes, so she’s used to running uphill more than I am.

Most messages are about what shoes to wear, to run with poles or not, and how many layers to wear.

 

Seriously nervous

My first plan was to drive down the morning of the race. However, it’s more than 2 hours from my place to Houffalize, where the race is. So I booked a little apartment last minute in Bastogne, which is close by. That way I don’t have to stress before I run. I mean, I’m getting the hang of driving an electric car here in the Netherlands, but so far I haven’t seen as many charging stations in Belgium as in the Netherlands. I don’t want to worry about that the morning before a big race.

So yet, I’m getting nervous for Sunday. Seriously nervous, but that’s part of the fun. Just four more days, 5 more nights and we’re off.

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