Sometimes Jakob and I have longer periods where nothing new is happening on our running horizon and where things kind of slow down to a leisurely tempo. It’s easy to be lazy during summer when schools are closed, there’s less to do at work and the weather is absolutely lovely. That’s when it’s important not to become sloppy with our training schedule and keep to it, as usual. For the first time in five years, we have a summer in front of us with no major races. Last summer we had just finished Trail du Verdon and the summer before that the Irondistance triathlon Forestman. In 2010 we were training all summer for our first huge challenge in September, Tjörn Half Ironman and in the end of May 2009 I was battling against myself in Edinburgh Marathon. Two and a half months have already passed since we finished Marathon des Sables. Our bodies have long since recovered and our sights are firmly set beyond the horizon. Read more
Panting and wheezing I tried not to slip and twist my ankle between the muddy tree roots, careening down the soft trail towards the end of the first lap. Seeing miss H, at the moment serving as my personal photographer, I tried to increase my pace to impress the missus and managed a weak smile at the camera. This particular Salomon Trail Tour was my fourth one out of a total of six races this summer. The first couple of competitions were pretty muddy and wet but the sun shone bright and warm last Monday, promising a lovely afternoon in the woods. Running these tours have not only served as high intensive training but also as a form of preparation for running races and getting accustomed to running with a number on my chest, feeling the pressure of trying to beat other runners to the finish line. I always get nervous before a race and this kind of training has been particularly beneficial for me. Also, it’s a lot easier trying to keep your pace up when you’re chasing someone. Read more
During the last couple of months, Jakob has spent a lot of time in one of the coolest cities in the world. Since I happened to have a week off I decided to visit and join him on his own little versions of “running around the block”. My plane was late flying in to JFK and I didn’t arrive at Jakob’s place until 04.00 in the morning. This didn’t stop us from joining our friend from the Sahara, Illka, for a morning run in Central Park at 08.00. If you call yourself a runner, you’d better behave like one. Central Park is one of my favourite places in the world for running. A lap around the park is only a couple of hundred metres short of 10k and is pleasantly undulating with a few challenging slopes along the way. Later in the week we met up with an old friend of ours and spent a couple of wonderful days playing golf at Tiburón in Naples, Florida. Golf is unfortunately quickly becoming an addiction akin to running. I say unfortunately because I’ll soon run out of hours in the day to pursue everything I would like to. We truly live lives of privilege and count ourselves blessed to be able to do the things we do. Read more
Marathon des Sables, resting day
Thursday 11th April 2013
We hadn’t dared to remove our socks when we tucked in the previous night in fear of revealing horrendous and bloody wounds. After breakfast, Jakob and I went straight over to the medic tent to give our poor feet the attention they deserved. Gingerly removing the band-aids I had applied the day before I winced at the sight of raw flesh and new, pretty chafings on my heels. Seeing a humongous blister almost completely encircling my left pinkie drew out a hysterical little laugh, drawing nervous glances from fellow patients sitting round us. The guy next to me gave me a furtive look, grabbed his stool and edged a foot away from me, turning the other way. Read more
Marathon des Sables, Stage 3 (38 km)
Tuesday 9th April 2013
The day dawned bright and warm, promising us a sweltering Stage 3. On paper it looked like a pretty flat and uneventful run despite its 38 km. Still feeling full after yesterday’s freeze-dried pasta bolognaise, I forced my breakfast down with a couple of gulps of water. Jakob, it seemed, was constantly hungry and looked forward to every single meal with the same excitement. This enthusiasm even manifested itself during the runs. “Oooh, I wonder what kind of bar I’ll randomly pick up next? Will it be chocolate or my favourite: orange?” But that’s what it’s all about. Attitude. As an athlete – or as a human being, I suppose – it’s your own choice how you will react to unexpected challenges in everyday life as well as in races like this one. Read more
One of the oldest, most respected and also most popular ultramarathons in the world is simply called Comrades. It was first held in 1921 and was founded by World War I veteran Vic Clapham who wished to create a race whereby those that had fallen in the great war would be remembered and honoured. Thus Comrades Marathon was born and, with the exception of during World War II, it has been held annually in South Africa. The race is run between the cities of Durban and Pietermaritzburg, the direction alternating every year with the so called up- and down runs (the course is 56 miles (86,6 km) long and runs for +/- 1 630 vertical metres).
The race was held today and this year the course was run uphill from Durban to Pietermaritzburg. The renowned Swedish ultra runner Jonas Buud has – among many other races – won Swiss Alpine Marathon (77,5 km and +2 650 m) a record SIX times and has dedicated this year’s season to train specifically for Comrades. This year he ran the race for the third time and managed to win silver (5 h 41 min) in an impressive display of endurance and strength. Congratulations Jonas, you are awesome!!!
For your information: both Swiss Alpine and Comrades have been added to Jakob & Jakob’s to-do list…