Last weekend I survived and finished my first 100k race. A 3 day stage race in China’s Guizhou province inside the Miao minority prefecture.
I am so happy and proud with my new medal and still cannot realize that I finished this 100km challenge. 2 years ago I finished my first 5k, 12 month ago I managed my first marathon and now I’m running 100k. It feels so unreal, but the pain and blood blisters under my toe nails are real and keeps me awake and smiling. 🙂
For this race I got again an invitation, so I hadn’t to pay for the flights, hotels and food. These invitations helps me a lot to join these kind of races. China is a big country and for most races it is necessary to getting there by plane. Even if the race entry fee is only a few $, getting to the race spot costs always a few hundreds.
After the flight to Guiyang the race organizers arranged a shuttle bus to bring the athletes on a 3 hour bus ride to the hotel in Kaili, the city where the first race leg started. During these 3 days I shared the room with an Kenyan athlete, a 2:18 marathon finisher. Completely different world, far away from my PB, but I got a lot of tips for my improvements during next year season.
The race on Friday was my first race under cold and very wet conditions. It was raining cats and dogs.
I wrapped myself in plastic clothes, because I just had a fever 10 days ago and was a bit in a worry that the flu would come back at this lousy weather. But all went fine and I finished the first race stage in 3:48:30. I was so happy because I finished 2 weeks ago in Osaka / Japan under perfect conditions in very unsatisfied 3:55 and now with uncomfortable clothes, wet shoes and bloated feet ran again 3:48. The total ascent was 1300 meter.
We had already checked out in the hotel before the race and our luggage was already transferred to the next city. So we did as well after the race. In Leishan, a 2 hour bus ride away, is was not raining anymore and for the first time we enjoyed the beautiful scenery and the people of the Miao in their traditional clothes
Saturday morning we repeated the procedure from the day before. Breakfast, Checkout, Luggage storage and out to the starting line. This was a premiere for body and soul. Finished a marathon the day before and now this freak is standing on a starting line again for another 42.2k. There must be something serious wrong with these guys and I’m standing in the middle of them. 🙂 It was a very strong debate between angel and devil in my head this morning. But 8:30AM came and off I went and finished also this marathon.
During the race more and more people found their limit and dropped out. One reason might be also these constant ascents. This race stage had a total ascent of 1650 meter. Somehow I managed it and reached the finish line after 4:07:38. What a torturous morning and no chance for a relaxing hour on a sofa or a hotel bed thereafter. We had a quick lunch in the hotel and went to the shuttle bus for the next 4 hour bus ride to city No.3.
Zhenyuan, ancient town, the last stage on this nice but torturous weekend welcomed us with deep wet clouds. The blood blisters went bigger and the legs went painfuller. But an amazing point came which I never experienced. At this morning we had to run the last 21km. I had no sleep during the night, the body pain kept we awake, so there was no recovery. Every piece of the body told me not to run. The damages in the legs and toes would not be less if I continue. It is against every logical thinking and under normal circumstances it would be not possible for me to finish a half marathon with these empty body batteries. That’s the the fascinating point where the mental strength comes into the game. Amazing what a human body is able to achieve just with willpower. At 8:30AM a bunch of handicapped went out, so did i. It needed a few hundred meters to bring the body back into a kind of running mode but somehow I moved my body around this 21km course and I saw the finish line after another 1:59:36 and got my hard-earned and long-awaited medal. There was still no relaxing time after the race because after a quick shower we had straight away went into the shuttle bus, 6 hour bus ride to Guiyang airport, 2,5 hour flight to Shanghai and finally 2 hours with the car back home.
Finally I needed 9:55:43 for 106km in 3 stages.
Now I’m looking fairly confident forward to run the Hongkong 100, a 100km trail run at Hongkong’s country side in January.