Beat and I spent the past week in Germany visiting his mom. It was a quiet five days of refueling with delicious German bread and yogurt, and getting the tiniest bit of work done. Beat's feet were shredded after the PTL — the entire pad of his right foot was a giant blister — so he refrained from even walking down the street. I felt good after UTMB; as soon as I caught up on sleep and the soreness in my left knee subsided, I would go so far as to say I felt the same as I did before the race. It's strange, because when I ran the Laurel Highlands 70-miler in June, I felt so much more muscle soreness and overall fatigue. UTMB was undoubtedly tougher than that, and yet I emerged from it as though I'd just gone out for a casual weekend run. I think it's a statement about how much my mind is directing this little hobby of mine, and my body is simply along for the ride. Because I braced myself for 45 hours at the limits of my abilities, 23 hours of mud management felt relatively minimal.
So while Beat soaked his feet, I got in a few hours of trail running on the Hermannsweg in Bielefeld. This trail system reminds me of lush forest paths in the eastern United States, and makes for relaxing and enjoyable running. Although I tried to keep it dialed back and lower intensity in the interest of remaining healthy for the following week, I still logged 33 miles over four days. On Thursday I did one harder (for me) twelve-mile run (9:45-minute-mile pace on a route with 2,300 feet of climbing.) While I was blissfully loping through the forest, I hardly noticed the effort. But as soon as I set foot back in the house, all of my UTMB fatigue came flooding back into my bloodstream in a rush of lactic acid and light-headedness. I was shattered for the rest of the day; I couldn't even focus on an article I was working on. It seems my body has a say in this after all.
On Saturday, we returned to the Alps for part two of Beat's glorious mountain beat-down. There isn't time in this blog post to go into the analysis of why he's like this, but he loves look for the next hardest challenge in organized events. When he found out the PTL (290 kilometers, 22,000 meters of climbing) was just one week before the Tor des Geants (330 kilometers, 24,000 meters of climbing) he just had to do them both. Oy. Although he was genuinely excited about the soul-crushing fatigue of such a challenge, I don't think he was expecting PTL to wreck his feet the way it had. He fretted about it all week in Germany, but decided to start the TDG anyway.
The views from Bivacco Pascal. It certainly wouldn't be a bad place to spend a night.
Total climbing: 6,643 feet
I'm stoked to be back in these mountains.