The climb up to the Thermes de Spa is long, steep and heavy. It’s the second time Sara is doing it this weekend, and she isn’t smiling now. Yesterday’s 5 kilometer trail run made her legs heavy. On top of that, she’s a diesel like me. We have to warm-up before we get up steam.
Going up is going down
Luckily every meter you run up, you can run down. It’s the energy free meters. A little bit like an electric car. It costs a lot of energy to get up the hill, but you’re recharging going downhill.
That is, if the downhills aren’t as tricky as here in Spa. Tricky in a fun way. Lots of limestones, some sharp turns and lots of leaves, hiding the tree roots underneath them. But when we’re running downhill through the Parc des Sept Heures Sara is smiling again.
Fun and scary
Her legs are warming-up, and yesterday she discovered she can do this downhill running. It’s scary for her, but fun scary. Plus, she’s good at controlling her speed, and even better at keeping her balance on the uneven surface. Probably all those years of yoga are paying off.
After the descent, the trail goes back up again towards the cemetery of Spa. Just before it we turn left, into the forest Bois du Chincul, like we did yesterday. Only here the trail splits. The 5k returns to Spa, the 10k, the one we’re doing, goes deeper into the forest, towards the Ru de Chawion, a little creek that feeds the pond we’ll see later.
Walk uphill, run downhill
We stick to what feels best; walk uphill, run on the flats and on the downhills. After 6,5 kilometers we take our time to eat an energy bar and a gel. From here onward we will just climb, climb and climb, before we’ll start our long descent into town.
Maybe it’s the beautiful forest with the pine trees and the moss covered ground that’s distracting us, but the climbs are going easier than expected. Sara keeps an even pace and before we know it, we’ve run almost 10 kilometers, and reach our last and highest, little peak (397 meters), in Spaloumont, a little hamlet that’s part of Spa.
From here we’re joining the trail of the 5 kilometers again, and Sara descents faster and more confident than the day before. A few streets later, we’re back at the Tourism Office, where her face is one big smile. The way only she can smile.
Just one time in her life has she run further (12,5 kilometers) and longer than today. Precisely 40 seconds longer. But that race, the Eindejaarstrail had 108 meters of altitude. Not the 406 she’s done today. The best thing of it all, in Sussex she has to run 10,3 kilometers, and climb 388 meters. That’s in kilometers (one), and in altitude (20 meters) less than today. So yes, Super Sara is ready to shine in Sussex.