Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Zugspitz Ultra Trail 2013 Race Report

The Zugspitz UltraTrail 100km race was amazing
and I enjoyed every minute of it.

It was a little over 102km with 19,347ft of elevation gain even though they claimed it was 100km with 17,782ft. At 07:15 we started running, I told myself that I was going to run my own race and that I wouldn't let others determine my pace. When a couple ladies passed me as I was getting water in my pack at the first aid station, I told myself to just let them go, it is a long race and I had time to catch them. We immediately started climbing and I felt strong, I was pushing steady but it wasn't until I got to the top and on the way down the mountain that I flew, zooming by the guys and just letting my legs carry me. There were a couple times I almost fell because I slid on the rocks but I just let the momentum carry me through and never fell all the way. Actually, the only real time I fell was just a few times when we were coming down the largest climb when I slid on snow and on the mud, but I just bounced right back up.  Everyone was falling and bouncing back up, it was kinda fun and I had a good laugh. There was a portion of the race where they installed rope so it would be easier to get down about a 400 meter patch of snow/ice however for many of us, it was just easier to let ourselves slide down on our butts!

At the halfway point where my drop-bag was, my friends met me and told me that the 2nd place girl left the checkpoint about 25mins ago and the third place girl (Gabi) was still there. I told them that I wasn't going to stay long because I wanted to keep moving and of course they understood. I felt bad because they had been there for a couple hours waiting on me but they encouraged me to hurry and try and catch the woman ahead of me. I hurried up and changed my shirt because the one I was wearing was open back and my pack rubbed my back raw. Then I quickly drank a protein drink that I had in my drop-bag and took off. In the meantime, third place frau Gabi had taken off and had about a 5min lead on me. I left that checkpoint and I was hurting a little from all the climbing but I kept running, nice and steady.

Somewhere after Checkpoint 7, I started to run with two guys, one who did Tri's, and another named Peter. They asked me what place I was in...I told them 4th. The three of us were very strong downhill, passing some people along the way. Then as we were about to make another steep climb, the Tri guy turns around and says to me, "there she is!" and pointed to Gabi. I had already seen her so I quietly said "I know" and then he told me to go get her. As I approached Gabi, I asked how she was doing. She said she wasn't feeling strong and asked me how I was, I told her I felt good and I kept on moving. As I reached Peter (because at this point he was a little bit ahead of me) I tapped him on the shoulder and told him, I had just passed 3rd place girl and I told him, let's get going. I told him to push the pace and I would stay right behind him...and boy did he! We must have passed about 20 people (both from the ultrtrail and from the supertrail...they merged at some point before Ferchensee(V7)) and all while climbing up! Climbing up the mountain, my heart was pounding, my breathing was labored but I just knew once we reached the top it would be all over and I could relax on the downhill. At least that is what I kept telling myself. However, that was not the case. Peter (who ran the race last year) informed me that once we get to the top we have to run the "loop" in between the Bemadeinkopf and the Osterfelderkopf mountain peaks.  This would be our final climb. And man, was it a big climb. But, we kept moving and before I knew it, the sun was setting and I was flying. The hours had just gone by and I felt like nothing could stop me. As I was running by people, they were cheering me along, giving me lots of encouragement and stepping out of the way so I could run past them. As I ran down the final descent, it was dark so I was relying very much on my headlamp...the ground was wet from the water running off of the mountain but I ran (and slipped) down as fast as I could. I really felt strong and I was so happy to be finishing 3rd. I knew I had it and nothing could stop me. 

I loved this race and really enjoyed every moment. I met a lot of new people and we shared in a wonderful experience together! I hope to see many of you on the trails again.

It was great to come to the finish and see my friends there cheering me on. Thank you to all those who supported me along the way, both physically and virtually. A special thanks to my husband who can't be here to run with me this year, I wish you could!