zondag 1 oktober 2017

Spartathlon 2017 - Tobias

Third straight Spartathlon finish in the bag. Happy about that although the race didn't really go as I had planned or hoped. The weather was a present from the gods, 22 C and cloudy instead of the usual 29 C and sun.

I reached the halfway point in Nemea (123 km) 46 minutes earlier than last year and I was really enjoying the race. The next stretch - getting into and crossing the Lyrkia valley before starting the climb to the Sangas pass (at 160 km) is my favorite part of the race. 

Running for hours in the dark while watching the yellow lights of the highway in the far distance is amazing. The night is cool and I switch off the headlamp to enjoy the night to the fullest. But around Malandreni village I somehow lose my mojo a bit. I start to take short walking breaks. Nemea to Mountain base takes 15 minutes longer than last year. While climbing the mountain I'm passed by several runners, which is repeated on the descent. I somehow manage to get the legs running again but between Nestani and Tegea I get into more trouble. I am overcome by extreme sleepiness. I have difficulty keeping my eyes open and a couple of times I sleepwalk across the road but manage to wake up before falling into the ditch. I drink coffee and warm soup at the CPs. Extra energy gel. I pour water over me, but nothing helps. The only thing that seems to work is to avoid walking so I try to keep running as much as I can. I consider to sleep for a while but decide against it. How will I feel when I wake up...? I decide not to take the risk. At Tegea (195 km) I have a little present for myself - a Red Bull. It kicks in and with the arrival of sunlight it somehow wakes me up. By this time I know that sub30 won't happen. I don't care about my finishing time anymore and I certainly don't care about Leonidas. But I can run somehow. I run for one reason only - 8 to 10 hours of walking just seem unbearable. I do the last marathon roughly 15 minutes slower than last year. I figure out I can still beat last years time and that gives me an extra push. I reach Leonidas after 30 hours and 40 minutes, 12 minutes faster than last year. A small pr is still a pr, but I will need to analyze what went wrong in the coming days. 

Following tradition we went to the athletics track behind the Leonias statue before the mayors lunch for the Spartan Mile (one 400 m race) the morning after. It felt a bit special being the defending champion, of course (and also true to tradition I was again the least tanned person at the starting line). The popularity is this event is clearly growing with Dutch, Danish, Finnish, and French runners joining. Happy to say I could defend my title with the quite respectable time 1.07 (that's 2:47 pace or 21,5 km/h). 

I'm of course very happy that both my teams did really well - the Swedish contingency had a record 6 finishers and the Dutch team 4 finishers. 

Amsterdam marathon next weekend and Bislett (24h) end November. Time to recharge those batteries...


1 opmerking:

Anoniem zei

Slapend een pr lopen, dat is knap - :). Wat een prestatie weer Tobias. Mooi hoe je het lopen in het donker beschrijft, ik voel de sfeer. Evelyn