A bit of a restless night and one of the disadvantages of being near the rail station is the noise when the first trains begin at about 0600. My legs felt stiff when I woke up but surprisingly no m ore than they would feel normally. I got out of bed and made my way downstairs to the toilet without the post marathon hobble! After a shower I felt good as new and had a very light breakfast and set off to hire a bike for the day.
I hired a BMC 29er from Imboden bike just up the road from the hostel. The staff at the shop gave me some suggestions for rides and provided me with a map. Off I went.
I headed out to the Schilthorn cable car station and took the cable car up to Gimmewald a very short journey which took me up about 400 m.
Leaving Gimmelwald I headed for Murren and found a sandwich and a coke with my name on it. The day was heating up and with the climbing involved there wasn’t much chance of cooling down. All the trails are well marked with timings given for walking between villages. Leaving Murren I headed for Wintereggand then Grutschalp. The trails up until then had been quite good but things began to get a bit more technical between Grutschalp and the turn off for Sulwald. I reached the turn off and headed up the 2.7k climb to Sulwald basically so I could come down it again!and what a descent it was all the way back to Lauterbrunnen via Isenfluh and fly I did.
After arriving back at Lauterbrunnen I headed for the campsite shop to get some food for the evening. Unfortunately it was not open and didn’t. open for 15 mins just enough time for a beer.
This race is organised to the nth degree I am staying in Lauterbrunnen and the start is in Interlaken there are trains arranged to take runners down to the start very half hour from about 0600! I woke at various times during the night my excitement mounting as the time to get up came closer. I had breakfast and went back for a lay down before finally rising for the train. I plumped for the 0733 as I did not want to be standing around too much at the start.
The organisers provided some entertainment however in the shape of flag throwers and horn blowers.
As the start time got closer I selected a spot near the 5:30 pacer and waited for the off from Nicola Sperig no less!
Popular misconception No1 it’s flat for 10K the uphill for 32k. Its in Interlaken for almost the first 10k plenty elbowing and crowds. The street furniture makes it pretty hazardous as well with speed bumps, bollards and roundabouts to look out for.
It starts to rise gently towards Lauterbrunnen. Which is where the half marathon is past pretty pedestrian 2:02. But happy with that as was wary of what was to come. At 25K there was what is known in business speak as a “sea”change. The track headed very much uphill and the K. Markers were now given in 250m almost immediately people started to walk and were stopping to rub various body parts or simply to rest. This continued for approx 2k with the trail becoming more and more like a casualty clearing station. The weather had been good warm when in the sun but plenty of shade when in forests or running along the side of a mountain even for me heat wasn’t a problem!
The course headed in and through Wengen, plenty of people out cheering the runners on this had been true all through the run and would continue even in the higher wooded sections with hikers lending thier support! I had seen a few people take tumbles and this would increase as the course got higher with rocks and tree roots posing problems to weary runners who could hardly lift thier feet. As the climbing continued so did the walking I tried to run between groups and then make my way through them at a walk this process worked well until the final push when the track is too rocky and narrow to pass anyone. I saw a first aider powering up ahead of us on a grassy path to the side. I jumped onto this and used it for a bot 200 m but then it joined the main track I saw my chance of sub 5:30 dissapeared and trudged up with the rest of them annoying as I wasn’t feelin too bad. At last I could hear the strains of a piper floating down the hill as he came into view he changed tunes from. Scottish Soldier to Amazing Grace and I felt all emotional for about 2 paces!!
Popular misconception No 2 the last mile is all down hill the last 500m maybe!! As you crest the top of the hill you can see the finish but the course undulates and even goes under a tunnel before the final dash for the line.
Once across the line you are presented with a full bottle of the sports drinks sponsors wares, a medal and if you so desire you can Q for a beer. Next is removing the timing chip from your race number and collecting a t shirt and a huge bar of Swiss chocolate. Bags next about a 400m round trip but good chance to ease out the legs then it’s into a shower that’s right, at the top of a mountain the Swiss install a shower tent complete with hair dryers! That was it J done. Not as bad as I was expecting.. But I still had a pizza and wine to celebrate.
Stats 26.2 miles
Generally the day before a large marathon is pretty boring you head for the registration point in this case a large white tent in the centre of Interlaken, browse the sponsors stalls collecting as much freebies as you can and then go for food and get to bed and get ready for the race.
Not today! I headed to Interlaken on the train finally getting to see what I missed in the dark last night and found the registration no problem. With my number collected and browsing duties carried out I headed back to the station to get the train to Kleine Scheidegg to take a look at the race finish. Now so far things had been pretty picture skew but as the train travelled first up to Grindelwald where I changed trains for the onward journey to Kleine Scheidegg this view hove into sight. Under clouds but easily recognisable.
Absolutely amazing. After tearing my eyes away from it I followed the Jungfrau signs up to the finish line..
I will be seeing this only from the opposite direction tomorrow!
I made my way back to the station and this time a 1 train journey back to Lauterbrunnen for a quick cuppa and freshen up before heading back to Interlaken for the pre race pasta party. A bit of a misnomer as it happens pasta yes not a lot but tasty along with an alcohol free drink which is as it should be. But not a lot of partying to be had even the finishers from the mini marathon seemed subdued. I ate my food chatted to a few folks at least as much as language barriers would permit and made my way back to the station for the 20 min train journey back to Lauterbrunnen and bed.
Under a week now till I head for Switzerland and the J in my A-Z marathon challenge. When I decided to enter the Jungfrau I sat down and devised a 22 week marathon training programme knowing that due to other commitments there was no way that the plan could be completed. The first ten weeks went better than planned and were a bit more intense than normal to try and make sure I was in as good shape as possible for the other 12 weeks. Not that I was going to be sitting about you understand. I had a three week biking holiday in France some 465 miles, the Edinburgh Festival of Cycling and various tours for Scottish Bike Touring so plenty cycling but not many running miles. We will have to see what happens!!
Been a while since I put a post up so what’s been happening?
Well today I finished my second week of training for the Jungfrau marathon. Training is coming along slowly but well. I have introduced intervals, marathon pace runs and am increasing the distance of my long runs. All good basic stuff no magic bullets there consistent training is the key. So what have my stats looked like over the last few weeks?
25/4 Runs:29 miles in 4h 52 with 1500 ft climbing. Biking 47.5 miles in 4h 28 with 3000 ft climbing.
2/5 Runs 30.5 miles in 4h50 with 3500 climbing biking was 99 miles in 8h 18m with 3500 ft of climbing.
Two good weeks with everything on the up.
Programmes for the EdFoC have been distributed now and bookings have been coming in for my tours. I even have a honeymooning couple interested! With less than a month to go I am really looking forward to it. Other cycling news is that I have finally made it to both Middleden helping with the youngsters and to Talking Tandems a local charity which helps visually impaired people to cycle by providing pilots for tandems.
Planning is finally finished for Carol and I’s trip from the Atlantic to the Med in July and we both can’t wait to start our trip. We have planned a weekend trip to check all our kit and we have been buying stuff that we need to try out before we get to France. Our pre trip trip is from Falkirk to Dunbar the first part to Edinburgh along the canal and the second part following the JMW. Hopefully everything will go well but we will have nearly a month to make any final adjustments to our kit.