Things are getting interesting.
Where the Vienna City Marathon was a classical road race with thousands of participants, close by my first home, last Thursday’s “Über-Drüber-Marathon” [site in German only] was around my second home region in Upper Austria, going up and across (hence, the name) more mountainous terrain, and having all of 37 finishers (and not many more participants, if any) in the marathon distance.
Some of the participants came from further away, but most were from these here parts, and many – if not most – probably came because they are locals or because they (like me) decided to try their running feet in this year’s Upper Austrian mountain marathon cup (Bergmarathon Cup [in German, again]), for which this is the first race.
The fun is here: It is a small and local race, the participants are a pretty dedicated bunch – and the mere fact of one’s finishing, the experience and the views of the tracks and from them into the surrounding landscape, are of at least equal value to finishing times. And nice views they were…
It was fascinating in other ways, too. With the ascents in there, I was checking my distance when I had gone for 1:30 hours, and calculating that I’d probably just barely make the 6 hour cut-off time for the marathon. Then, I found someone to run and chat with, the track started descending, and I had suddenly finished the first round in below 2 hours.
With the renewed ascents for the second round, I had to walk again, started getting cramps at least around km 26, so that even the descents became slower – and there was still time to enjoy the vistas, wonder at some points if I’d really been there before, chat with people at the refreshment stations, and finally make it into the finish, almost limping (or actually cramping up so badly a hundred meters before it, I could barely walk, and then running into the finish anyways), in officially 4:27:28,6 – only 10 minutes longer than in the Vienna City Marathon.
The track could hardly have been more different, though…
View Uber-Druber-Marathon-2012-05-17 in a larger map
[The track is as recorded by the Suunto Ambit, by the way - but I had to take a few detours to get it into Google Maps because Suunto's Movescount didn't export it. In fact, I got a .gpx from NeoTrack - where I also imported the log and seem to be getting a very wrong number for ascent/descent - then imported that into My Tracks on my Android smartphone, from where it was easy to share on Google Maps...]
… and really, the map view does not quite tell the story that the elevation profile makes clear: this ain’t your average road race.
It’s a few days later, and I have to admit that one of my calves still hurts. Running is out of the question right now (fortunately, it’s time to get the chile peppers and veggies grown for/as ChiliCult organized), and next time I will need to wear shoes that are *not* minimalist…
It all was not calculated as being rather too much, but that’s just because of an earlier record heart rate value that’s now being used in the calculations for the training effect…
To be frank, I was not sure afterwards I should do anything like that again – but the experience stays in one’s memory, the exertion of the ascents and the exhilaration of the downhill have a power all their own, truly human, primal and controlled, that is the perfect lesson for my theme of coming to be at home in surrounding environments and one’s body, in this world – and it’s a way to get away from all the thinking and writing, back to just being physical, putting one foot in front of the other, and not having to be much more.