zaterdag 25 maart 2017

Spa trail run

Start 9.00
Well I've finally managed to get out the bath, despite my thigh muscles feeling like how I imagine a bit of steak feels after it's been tenderised by a particularly thorough and bad-tempered top chef. 
Yesterday was an initiation into a whole new world. I've lived too long in the over-civilised Clogland, where 'trails' are paths in the woods that get a new layer of woodchips every year and organised races have someone at every corner in the road to point you in the right direction. 

Belgian trails are... breathtakingly wild and muddy and rocky and ... just ridiculously, insanely steep in some places. Going up them trashes your calves. Going down them pulverises your thighs. And the ups and the downs go on for so long! Much as I loved charging down the hills in barely controlled delight at being able to use again the skills I learnt as a child scrambling over rocky cliffs, the Clogwummin part of me kept whispering in my ear - 'This is actually quite dangerous, you could easily break yer sturdy peasant bones if just one wee thing goes wrong!' But it didn't. I only landed on my arse in the mud once, very briefly, and only had my shoe half sucked off by the mud the once as well. 

The miles flew by. It wasn't like a flat road race where you're constantly counting down to the end. Just coping with which particular set of leg muscles were being asked to work themselves into a frenzy with every changeover from ascent to descent - there were hardly any flat bits - took the emphasis away from the actual distance. Which was perhaps just as well ;-) 

Anyway, I absolutely loved it. Yes, yes, of course there were moments when I just wanted it to be over and I was fantasising about being in my nice warm bed in the van with tea and a book afterwards, but that's all part of the pleasure of doing seriously hard stuff - the knowledge that it'll be really really good when it stops. 

It was a fantastic day. The weather was sunny but not hot. Wind was barely a factor. Organisation was great - a couple of times I almost missed a turn but there was luckily always someone to yell from behind and after a few times I learnt to pay more attenion myself and check for the confirming next bit of tape at any dubious fork. 

Good big chunky medal at the end and the most delicious piece of ricepuddingcake I've ever eaten. Plus a bottle of Belgian beer and one of Spa (of course). Oh, and when collecting our numbers at the start we got a sleeveless trailrunners jacket from Kalenji. 

(I think I have a lot more to say about trailrunning, but I also think that this is enough for now.) 


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