Monday, April 08, 2013

Back On My Feet

It was a long and draining weekend and I'm totally exhausted and rather emotional, but I won't go into any details. It's something we all have to go through at some stage I suppose, and there will be even more where that came from in future years, though I do hope it won't happen again for a very long time.

Of course I brought my running shoes with me, something had to keep me sane, at least for my low level of sanity. Bad Aussee is a beautiful spot and certainly not the worst place to get a few runs in, even if it could not make up for missing Connemara.

The elevation of that place is slightly over 2000 feet and while that's not all that high I'm pretty sure I could feel the difference. Jogging along was fine but as soon as the effort level rose a bit I could feel something missing, as if the oxygen were unable to flow fast enough. With all those hills in Austria that was a bit of a challenge, but I guess it does provide an extra training boost - not that 3 days of running at those elevation levels will make any noticeable difference.

I ran three times while over there, on the first day I ran all the way up to Lake Toplitz, though I did not manage to find any fabled Nazi treasures. I could see how a secluded spot like that would appeal to anyone trying to hide something, though. My main problem wasn't the connection to the dark past however, but the fact that it was further than I thought, which came to bite me on the way back home. By mile 12 I'd had enough, by mile 14 I was suffering and an extremely steep climb at mile 16 had me reduced first to a walk and then I had to stop altogether to catch my breath, something I never had to do before. Boy was I glad when I finally made it home.

I took it considerably easier the second day with a loop around the Altaussee Lake, with a mile or two on a trail that was still covered in snow, which also caused me to face plant once, though the only thing hurt was my pride.

On the third day I ran up a local mountain pass, though it was no substitute for Connemara's Hell of the West where I would have preferred to be that day. The main problem was not running uphill but the pounding on the way down. It did not help that it was the third run in a row in the same worn-out pair of shoes; usually I always rotate my runners but I had only brought one pair. My shin hurt for the rest of the day and I subsequently took a rest day today, which was almost certainly a good idea anyway due to exhaustion, both from the emotional trauma as well as the long journey back home.

So now I'm back home and hopefully ready to get on with the rest of my life as well as my training. There is yet another marathon in three weeks, but that will be a training run, not a race effort. And I keep hoping that running will provide an outlet, much needed at the moment.

Apologies for a rather subdued entry. I'm sure usual service will be restored soon.
4 Apr
8 miles, 59:02, 7:22 pace, HR 150
5 Apr
17.5 miles, 2:16:14, 7:47 pace, HR 158
   Lake Toplitz, incl a few miles on trail
6 Apr
8.2 miles, 1:06:47, 8:08 pace, HR 148
   Lake Altaussee, incl a mile on slippery trail
7 Apr
12.6 miles, 1:38:46, 7:50 pace, HR 148
   up and down Pötschen Pass


  1. The easy running and different scenery would have been good. Yes, 2000ft is about the same altitude of Canberra. There's a measurable difference from about 550m up - about 3 minutes extra for a marathon (I've read).

  2. Glad to see your back, but sorry for you and your families loss. Loosing someone close does come to us all, we march on through life for many years on the trot without worrying too much about mortality. Then loss of some dear hits us, knocks us down, but as time passes we just have to get up, brush ourselves down and keep moving on, so much in life there is to enjoy and celebrate.

    I have found cherishing the memories of good times had with the ones we've lost, and the positive impact they made to world, helps one move on stronger and appreciate the future good times with family and friends even more.

    One a more running/training note, take care of yourself in this time, make sure you don't push too hard too soon. Times of stress can compromise our immune system and reduce our ability to adapt to training stimulus, and making injury more likely.

  3. Sorry for your loss Thomas. It's always so difficult when you lose someone close. I hope your friends in the running community can rally around to give you a boost over the next while.

  4. Welcome back Thomas. Never an easy time my friend and I hope family is doing ok. Looking forward is the good way to find solace in the situation.

  5. Thomas, my sincere condolences to you and your family for your loss. You are right it is something that we all face at some time but knowing that doesn't necessarily make it any easier. From experience, time does heal somewhat but in the meantime the support of your family and the 'distraction' of running will be a great help. Take care, Brendan.