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Sara’s long distance record breaking trail run

Special day today. Record breaking day today. Well, hopefully. Sara is doing an attempt to break her long distance record. The longest run she has done so far was the Eindejaarstrail (End of the Year Trail), with 12,28 kilometer. Today’s goal: 13k.

To make it extra special, we’re running in the Cartierheide, our favourite nature area around here. However, we didn’t start at our normal parking, but at the Negende Zaeligheyt, a little bar/restaurant in the middle of the forest. See, if Sara makes it, we have to celebrate with apple pie and the Negende Zaeligheyt has great pies.

The tortoise and the hare

But that’s for later. A little mantra to repeat when things get hard. Apple pie, apple pie, apple pie. For now the focus is on going easy. See, we’re slow runners. We’re the tortoise out of Aesop’s Fables. You know, the one who was racing the hare and beat him. Slow is our thing and as long as we go slow, we’ll have a chance.

Although slow, last week we’ve been doing aerobic threshold field tests to figure out our zone 2 limit. For both it was 150 beats per minute. As long as we stay below that, we can easily breath through our nose, or have a conversation in full sentences, without gasping for air.

So that’s Sara’s limit today. I mean if you break your record, you have to do it in style. For today that is without breaking a sweat and staying in zone 2. And again, speed doesn’t matter, it’s all about distance.

Blooming purple heather

That’s why I’ve drawn a nice loop in the AllTrails app. Well, I think I did. It’s always a guess how a trail looks once you’re out there. Today that’s very beautiful. We’re running over small single tracks, with the high, wet grass caressing our calves. We’re running over majestic wide forest lanes, between trees that have been standing here for hundreds of years. And we’re running through open fields full of blooming purple heather.

We’re so taken by the peacefulness of the quiet Sunday morning that the kilometers go by, without us noticing it. And for the first in her running life, Sara is in the zone. When I ask her something, her dark brown eyes look up at me in surprise, as being awakened from a deep, pleasant dream.

Time for apple pie

With five kilometers to go, Sara’s knees start to play up. They often do. Her legs still aren’t used to lots of running. Yet, the pain is bearable and without dropping her pace, Sara runs on; over one more, long sand path, over one more winding single track, jumping over protruding roots and diving under overhanging branches. On all the way, back to the Negende Zaeligheyt, where her watch shows her new long distance trail run record; 13.11 kilometers. Which means, it’s time for apple pie.

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