Pirineosfit Jaca Trailweek – Day Four

Candanchú y Canfranc: A ‘Feel Good’ Mountain run with a Brutal end!

DSC_0049Day four of the Pirineosfit Jaca Trailweek started for me as a ‘feel good’ trailrun for many reasons:

  • We started relaxed down hill through a nice forest.
  • It was clouded with even for a few minutes a little drizzle, for me perfect. However my Spanish and Portuguese trail friends dressed themselves quickly with arm-sleeves and even wind jackets, for them it was really ‘frío’!

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  • My legs felt good, which was a surprise after the long and hot run yesterday.
  • IMG_20170706_130446506The route provided again amazing views of the high mountains, but also through a meadow full of cows, steep climbs and hard descends.
  • After 34 kilometres I had eaten all my gels and bars, drank approximately two litres and could see the road to Canfranc, i.e. the finish, but than it happened ….

The track did not go to Canfranc but …

… started a almost vertical climb of 500 metres …

BRUTAL!!!!

That was a bit brutal (understatement), a real test of my moral.  Something similar to a running drill in the armed forces. Just when you see the barracks you are told … ”another round boys!”.

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‘Brutal’ climb and 100+ zigzag

That is how I felt, but than again, it is a mountain trailrun, the organisation already showed the past days they are really good in finding hidden paths through the mountains end most importantly …

Nobody forced me to join this six days trail endurance …so stop moaning … keep calm, carry on and enjoy!

I took out my ‘emergency bar’, got some water along the track and continued. The vertical climb ended in a narrow traverse before descending finally towards Canfranc with a 100+ zigzag descend (at least that is how it felt). The descend was positive both in that it winded down through forest and most importantly, I did not feel anything at my left knee when speeding downwards. Both yesterday and today I felt a slight soreness in the knee when navigating through bumpy meadows and rocky trails. But not after 40km speeding down hill, HAPPY!

I finished just in 8:29:33 hours, i.e. just within the official cut-off time of 8.30 hours (!) for 41km and 2700 metres height gained.

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We did it again!

All of the instant-team ‘FIT 4 FANTASTICOS’ finished again without any major injuries. Just tired after four long runs in the heat. We are now passed the half-way mark, two more to go.

Yesterday I was too tired to go the shop for an Ice-cream but today I feel much better, probably due to the less heat … so ultimate recuperation time for me will start now …

 

ICE-CREAM TIME!!!!!!!! 

Pirineosfit Jaca Trailweek – Day Three

Castun to Canfranc: For sure a real Mountain Trailrun!!

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Ready for Day Three!

Day three Pirineosfit Jaca Trailweek brought a point-to-point mountain marathon of 41km with two big climbs and 2400 metres height gained, beautiful views and for me at least very sore legs!

The start in Castun was a bit strange because this is a very small ski village completely closed in summer time. However, the speaker and the loud upbeat music prepared everybody for day three. The marathon and half-marathon split Screenshot_20170705-193634today directly after the start leaving in total eleven men and two women braving the marathon trail this day.

Today no shade from trees, the whole track was in the higher mountains of the Pyrenees, so the sun burned fully upon me with a maximum temperature of 34 Degrees Celsius. Luckily on the trail today there were many streams providing fresh water to drink and cool of my head.

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When the speed was still there!

The first part reminded me a bit of the first part of the climb towards the Cobbler in Scotland, gently winding uphill. I trailed along the ski slopes of Castun at a gentle pace, knowing that it would be a long day and I also felt my thighs from yesterday’s fast 25km trailrun (I really enjoyed the speed but knew I had to pay for it today, as I did!).

Together with James Poole of the instant-team  FIT 4 FANTASTICOS’  I trailed at the back of the group towards the first big climb after which a very scenic descent followed, zigzagging down through small sturdy mountain trees, meadows with beautiful flowers and birds of prey flying high.

FB_IMG_1499278530433Was the first climb already a challenge, the second even more, with a steep ascent ending on a small top with a clear top beacon and a magnificent view! In the descend I lost contact with the other runners. It was half-way and I started to feel my left knee a bit too much, combined with being tired and therefore less able to concentrate on the small rocky trails. I decided not to push luck too much and slowed down to a ‘fast’ walking pace (where possible!).

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Summit number two

The last 12 kilometres where slowly (for me) downhill through a wide valley where Spanish High mountain cows enjoyed themselves with their bells and ‘Moo….sss’.

FB_IMG_1499278423549I had eaten four energy gels and seven bars along the way (without any stomach issues!) when I finally finished in Canfranc.

After 7.21 hours I could enjoy the now already traditional ‘Finish Salad’ with today a Melon Gazpacho, MJAM!!!

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Day Three – DONE!! – Up to Day Four – READY!!

All of the instant-team ‘FIT 4 FANTASTICOS’ finished with my Portuguese roommate Pedro ending second. He ran a 100+ kilometres trail just a week ago! The set-up of six days – six mountain marathons attract a certain type of trailrunner, mostly ultra runners just like James Poole, or a crazy Dutchman.

Three days done, three days to go! It will be hard work but trailrunning in the Pyrenees is really great, so if you have not experienced these mountains (as I did before this event) than I can surely advice you to come and join the Spanish trails!

Pirineosfit Jaca Trailweek – Day Two

Biescas round-trip: A ‘Walk in the Park’ …

IMG_20170704_145419_685How can you call day two of the Pirineosfit Jaca Trailweek a ‘Walk in the Park’?

Well luckily for three good reasons!

First of all I woke up feeling refreshed after yesterday’s run. Resting in the afternoon sun, foam-roll self-massage and a mountain of proteins and Ice-cream worked out quite well.

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Day Two – Again enjoying myself!

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Just to be clear, with a ‘Walk in the Park’ I do not mean the English Parkruns every Saturday morning at 0900: ‘just show up and run ‘only’ 5km’. I really like that set-up and that brings me to the second reason: the organisation needed to shorten the route again, just like yesterday to ‘only’ 25 kilometres and 1300 metres height gain, i.e. a ‘Walk in the Park’ when your whole mind is focused on running 41km and 2700m+.

Luckily this time they announced it at the start so it was no surprise at the end! I quickly left half of my TriSportPharma Energy bars and water behind, no need to carry more than needed!

Whilst most runners started relatively fast I decided to start at an ‘easy’ pace, warm up the legs and get into the running rhythm. The MudSweatTrails Black Diamond Trailpoles were ‘locked and loaded’ from the start and of great help whilst winding uphill along a MTB-trail. The legs felt good so I could maintain a nice pace and caught up with some of the earlier fast starters.

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Great pictures from Day One: Alpine country!

 

The MTB-trail must be a real challenge for cycling downhill, running uphill I really enjoyed (so if you want to do some ‘extreme MTB’ this is a good place to go to). And that is the third and final reason for the ‘Walk in the Park’, the trail went through forest, meadows and followed an easy ridge. Completely different from the Alpine environment yesterday.

After reaching the top half-way also IMG-20170703-WA0007the down hill part was along MTB-trails, sometimes crazy steep, through forest and some remote rocky parts.

 

 

All in all I had the feeling of running in a Forest Nature Park, or as the call it in the UK: ‘An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’, and sure it was beautiful!

DSC_0029DSC_0030Just like yesterday the PirineosFIT2017 organisation offered a nice cold pasta at the finish.

During the run I already looked forward to it, mjam!! – with some salt, olive oil, cucumber and a ice-cold gazpacho, just great!

DSC_0032Tomorrow even more sun and a bit warmer again. However, at the moment I have no sunburn (yet), probably (or hopefully) because I follow the wise advice from my spouse Lonneke, ‘put sunscreen on in the morning before getting dressed’, combined with my comfortable Julbo sunglasses and Compressport Ultra-light Visor (disadvantage is that I need to put sunscreen on my head due to my short haircut 🙂 ).

All four of the ‘instant team’ FIT 4 FANTASTICOS ran well today, hopefully we will all finish again well tomorrow, which according to the organisation will not be ‘that easy’.

NOTE: The PirineosFIT2017 have live Facebook coverage every day, summary videos and amazing photos (do not expect anything else from the Extreme photo – it is really funny, they are great in hiding themselves and than suddenly – flash!), all worthwhile to take a look, who knows maybe we can make another instant team next year!)

But for now, sit back (on the bed), relax and recuperate …

CHEERS!

Pirineosfit Jaca Trailweek – Day One

Panticosa Round-trip: Enjoyed … but too short?

grafica-web-1What a great experience this first day of the Pirineosfit Jaca Trailweek brought. The day started fresh, with the start at 0800 in the shades of the mountains surrounding the small (ski) village Panticosa. Cheered by a few people sixty runners started the ‘Endurance’ six day trailrun, of which twenty choose to go for the marathon distance.

DSC_0013I started at a relaxed pace, warming up whilst winding uphill along a stream. I did not bother warming up before the start, it is a six days endurance so … no hurry, no worries!

Soon I left Panticosa behind and climbed steadily through meadows where cows, goats and (wild) horses were grazing, their bells cheering us on going up the hill.

The first 12km I really enjoyed the views, magnificent high mountains, still covered with some snow, the sun warming me up, great!

After the first top I wondered where we would go next …

… not that snow field and scree slope … you are kidding me … no really that’s where the markings were heading me …

DSC_0020I could have known because this was a mountain marathon in the Pyrenees! The MudSweatTrails Black Diamond Trailpoles really were of great use up hill and especially on the scree slope. Finally at the top I understood we had to go back down the same scree and snow slope … I am from the flat earth part of the world, called ‘The Netherlands’, so uphill is already a challenge but downhill even more with all the loose scree and boulders

… Stay Calm, Do not Panic and Carry On! …

… these thoughts brought me down safely.

What followed was a nice downhill winding path ending near a lake and a secluded forest track back to Panticosa.

31km on the Garmin, ten more to go … however? I hear the speaker in the village already and finish in 4.29 hours with 1900 meters elevation and an average of 8.34 minutes / kilometre. What happened? …

Later I understood that some markings were taken away by people and in order not to get all marathon runners confused and lost in the mountains they changed the track. All right, still five to go so who cares about 10 kilometres and and 440 meters less height. I certainly do not and enjoy the cold pasta salad at the finish.

DSC_0023I the car towards Panticosa we made up team: FIT 4 FANTASTICOS with Pedro Sanchez Bruno from Portugal, James Poole from the UK and Ana Trivino Ramos from Spain. Quit an international group of trailrunners. That is besides the running what I really enjoy, meeting all these other trailrunners with their own amazing stories of long ultra’s and other crazy stories!

 

 

I am already looking forward to Day Two, it is a real treat to be able run in this beautiful area .. I would like to thank the Pirineosfit organisation, my sponsors and my family (!) for allowing me to do this …

THANKS!!!

Now time to recover … shower, foam-roll massage, TriSportPharma RECUPRO for a ‘mountain’ of proteins, and …

Huge Ice-cream Time!

 

Ready or not … here I come …

Pirineosfit International Trail Festival, 1-8 July, Jaca, Spain

Six days, six mountain marathons, 234 km, 15.000 meters height

grafica-web-1Ready or not … I do not really know? Joining a six day multistage Pirineosfit trailrun in the Spanish Pyrenees is a new step in my trailrunning experience. I am used to run every day, and did a few longer multiday trailruns, but never six days, and never in the high mountains … we will see 🙂

At least I am mentally, physically and materially prepared … at least I think I am!

Mentally: When you ask me: “Do you want to come to Spain and run for six days?”, it is like asking me: “Do you want a big pack of Ben & Jerry’s Ice-cream”. I am a bit of an Ice-cream-aholic so the answer will be: “Yes!!!”. And I think I will treat my self with a nice, big ice-cream after every mountain marathon next week … good for moral … keep calm and carry on as they say here in England.

Physically: We are now half way the year and I ran 3080km these last six months, i.e. almost 17km per day. I think that must be enough to complete this challenge. If not … I could not really have done more kilometres, maybe different training but I like the way I run … enjoy … no fixed plan … we will see. The six days are called ‘Endurance’ and that is what I enjoy to do. And if all goes peer-shape I can change to a half marathon a day. Still a challenge but I will not be part of the final results … does that matter … physically no, mentally (see above) yes.

Materially: My (trail)run closet is almost bursting so there must be enough gear to get me over the mountains! Six days to test all kind of goodies, that is what I like!

DSC_0001Shoes: I will use these six days to test the new INOV-8 Trailroc 285. I posted my first experiences already on Facebook but this will be a great test!

For assurance I also pack my favourite INOV-8 Trail Talon 275 and Roclite 305.

DSC_0006Clothing: The weather forecast looks … warm! … 24 – 30 degrees Celsius … that means I can surely test my new Compressport railrunning outfit. I have used before during the Sacred Forests World Championship trailrunning in Italy and really enjoyed the compression for both the calves and upper legs. Also the rubber buttons on the short helped during the steep ascends, creating grip of you hands when you push your self upwards. I am struggling a bit with the shirt which has the tendency to wiggle itself up my waist although I am wearing now a larger size. Ventilation is great and I think I will need it.

DSC_0005Trailvest: Pending a bit on the amount of mandatory gear and water refreshment along the route I will use the lightweight (140 grams only) Compressport Trailrunvest. But just to make sure I will also take my well worn INOV-8 Race Ultra 5 with me which has just a little bit more space for clothing, drinks and energy.

Trailpoles: I was lucky enough to get a pair of Black Diamond Trailpoles from the MudSweatTrail Store just in time for the the Sacred Forests Trail. As ‘low lander’ I am not used to run with poles but during the almost 3000 meter height gain within 55km of trail I was very happy to use them, after some ‘gundrill training’ with them the weeks before.

DSC_0004Energy: Maybe the most important part of all. Make sure I keep taking in enough energy and fluids during and after the trails. The six days are called ‘Endurance’ for a reason. It is not about going fast, but making sure you recover quickly enough to enjoy the next day as you did the previous one. I think I have reasonable experience in this subject. I use a mixture of products, mainly of TrisportPharma which for me works well, especially with respect to not have any stomach issues when pushing your body to the limits.

Ready or not?

As I wrote myself on the opening page of my weblog, Trailrunning … I just love it …, I think I should add … and enjoy it! I will keep you posted.