St. Johann to Neukirchen, Austria
50km / 1850m (6,000ft) ascent and 1620m (5420ft) descent
“This is your 26th stage. Don’t worry, you’ll be fine. You always are.” These were the words my husband whispered into my ear as Carrie and I got in line for our gear check this morning
I woke up feeling nauseous and could barely eat breakfast. As we lined up in the B gate this morning I was burping, hoping nothing else would come up. I was also feeling extremely tired. Partially from stage one which beat me up and reminded me of my lack of training since my injury and also due to the fact that I hardly slept the past few nights. Last night I was standing in the hallway of our guesthouse knocking on the door of our neighbor who had his TV cranked to a Spanish channel until 10:30pm.
We had an early 7am start as today's stage was just slightly longer than yesterday's and it had more climbing. That meant we were up at 4:45am and eating breakfast at our guesthouse by 5:00am.
Conditions started out dry but overcast and cool until around 11am when the rain started. It came on fast and picked up to pretty much a torrential down pour within 10 minutes where Carrie and I found ourselves on the side of the trail peeling off our wet shirts, putting on our merino wool tops, gloves and jackets. Within minutes we were climbing up the main ascent of the day with a river of rain pouring down across our feet. The rain was cold and our feet were freezing. The rain didn't let up until late into the evening.
it was a tough start as we pretty much ran 30km of flat running with a mix of pavement and forestry road, as it weaved through a few towns along the way.
Today was one of those days that is hard to articulate without coming across as whiny or dramatic. Here is a quick summary to keep this read light and more entertaining than I felt.
- 6km in I crossed to the dark side.
- I became quiet which I suppose if you ask Carrie she might say was silent.
- Then this sexy guy (Trent) in a pair of “tight shorts” came rolling up the hill on his bike. For a glimpse of time I forgot about my pain. This happened 2 more times only on his 2nd visit I almost crumbled on the side of road.
- Then the walking kicked off.
- And we walked some more until we hit a “crap festival”. For real. We used those exact words for over 25k of today’s stage.
- Also indicative of the crap I took inside a café at 22k, which was followed by a little cry and then the decision to carry on. We referred to this event as the three C’s.
- Then we came up to a mountain and it was as if a switch went off because I think we passed at least 50 people who were dabbling around the mud and waterfalls that were on the trail and Carrie and I said “honey badger don’t give a shit about mud and waterfalls.” So we hammered up that do-dab-dib.
- The “crap festival” hit it’s peak at the top with kilometers of ridiculous mud and rock trail that was un-runable. More walking.
- Then it rained harder.
- Then our hands froze.
- We ate candy to dull the pain.
- On the last muddy, steep, knee and hip smashing descent we played the alphabet game to things that are warm as in “Arizona”, “Blanket”, “Coffee”.
- Carrie and I lost track of time and just pushed on to the finish. I am fortunate for such a great husband and running partner. Truly, there support made all the difference today.
- We celebrated by standing in the fountain with a beer and then proceeded to roll, stretch and rub Hagina all over our bodies with hopes for a Stronger day tomorrow.