Switzerland: Hopp! Hopp!
We expected Steve and Harry to arrive in Courmayeur by early morning. But a results check revealed they were still about five hours away, so we had to roll away without seeing them finish. I drove through the seven-mile-long Mont Blanc tunnel, along the rough and narrow roads of France, around at least three dozen roundabouts (have I mentioned how much I miss traffic lights? Yes, I miss them), onto the smooth and narrow roads of Switzerland, and finally onto a real freeway while Beat drifted in and out of consciousness, but mostly out. We arrived at Beat's brother's farmhouse at 11 a.m., ate a quick brunch of fresh bread, cheese and local yogurt (all of which I absolutely gorged on), and were back on the road by 12:30, en route to Lake Greifensee.
I saw Beat one more time at an out-and-back section; he was nearly a kilometer in front of me. And then, just like that, the race was over. I couldn't believe how quickly it went. I finished in 2:07. Beat finished right at two hours, less than 24 hours after finishing the 128-hour Tor des Geants.
I really enjoyed my first half marathon experience. There's something a little magical about running in a Disneyland setting, especially when you come into it with extremely low expectations and thus can just relax and enjoy the experience. Could I run faster? Undoubtably, although I'm not sure I'd want to try. Road running is pretty rough on my knees and hips; as I discovered in cycling, my body doesn't respond well when motion becomes too repetitive. I will say that running thirteen miles of road at a two-hour pace (okay, okay, 2:07) felt physically easier than any single two-hour span that I hiked in the Alps. So, as far as I'm concerned, I already ran about 22 half marathons while I was in Italy. (I kid, I kid ... sort of.)
But the fact that Beat not only showed up at the Greifenseelauf starting line, but ran the entire thing, really shows what a nut he is. Crazy Swiss runner.