Tarmac or not ?

Tarmac or not ?

Well, running on tarmac is fun, it’s challenging by itself to run faster or maybe even further, you see a lot of similar enthusiasts and there’s a shitload of races to choose from, if you want to. Over time I met a lot of great people and some of them I still consider good (running-)friends.

This can have its caveats; I call it ‘the elbow effect’.

But there’s a catch with the tarmac races. People are (almost-)always very, and I mean very, focussed to finish that freakin’ race in a new PB (personal best) time. This can have its caveats; I call it ‘the elbow effect’. This effect starts when changing cloths and dropping your bag. Continues when walking to the start-area and basically does not end during the whole race. It even has its peak moments, the water-stops are best. If you don’t have issues with this, tarmac running is great!

I have now(2017) finished about five different (international-)marathons and the last four sub 4-hour (PB 3:50) next PB goal is 3:40.

Off road?

The tarmac story must sound familiar to a lot of you, right? But wait.. there’s more ! Like I said, I met a lot of interesting people and some of them did this thing called Trail Running. I immediately had this mental image of elderly people doing this Nordic Walking thing. Well, I was rest assured quickly (over some beers) it had nothing to do with that, maybe only the poles, which still made me frown.

Up till then, I was anticipating on the elbow-effect thing, but it did not happen.

So, they convinced me to join a trail running event in the south of Holland, De Koning van Spanje, which was a (iirc) 22km race through the ‘hills’ of Limburg with a huge amount of very enthousiast people surrounding me. Up till then, I was anticipating on the elbow-effect thing, but it did not happen. At. All. So this was the first huge change I noticed. Obviously I fitted myself some Trail-running shoes (hey, running is a very cheap sport!) and a race-vest. And let’s get ready at the start, at least 15 mins ahead of time. Well, I was there alone. “Where is everybody?”. People started walking to the start area about 5 mins ahead of time. I started to like this relaxed thing of Trail Running already.

it also includes good food, drinks (beers mostly)

Long story short; I enjoyed and even finished my first Trail Running experience. I don’t remember the time, but this is more a secondary thing; Initial focus is on finishing the race. I noticed a second big change, which is a very obvious one, “what the hell is this hill thing and what is it doing with my heart-rate ?!” and “Wait, there’s mud on the path and people even enjoy splashing through it, hmm cool :)”. Another great thing with Trail Running is the community surrounding it and it also includes good food, drinks (beers mostly), complaining about the terrain and complimenting the people planning the routes in the same sentence.

So clearly this also got me hooked. Which now resulted in me liking two types of running your arse off. I have now finished a variety of Trail runs and the first serious one was in 2016, the Eiger UltraTrail in Switzerland, 51km in length and about 3.1Km in total height difference (D+). The longest was 60Km on one of the Dutch Islands Ameland, De Vuurtoren Trail in March 2017 and I will be running the Laugavegur UltraTrail in Iceland in July, which is 55km and about 2000D+. My next goal is a 100Km somewhere in 2018.. Let’s see about that 🙂