A NEW MINDSET
Sports have always played a role in my life. In one phase more intensely than the other but whether it was cycling up the Alpe d'Huez six times, teaching sports, running or fitness, somewhere along the way there was always something new.
So too a few months ago. We were all in the first lockdown. With some weights, together with my adolescent sons, I was messing around in the garden. The motivation for running was nowhere to be found. I did go but pfff, it wasn't fast enough, not long enough and especially not fun.
I stumbled upon a shared post on Facebook asking for people who would like to learn to run 52 km in a group and under supervision; not on the road but unpaved.
Something happened..... my heart started beating faster and my blood started flowing faster. Immediately after that, a little voice said; you must be normal! 52 km is very far, you can never do that, that is a lot of training and you are already busy enough. You are 42, put that out of your head girlfriend. Trailing? You've never done that, you always run on asphalt.
The latter was not quite true, however, I had been competing in a local competition in the mountains around Courmayeur, Italy, for the past two years. Well, contest.... An 18 km run, dressed up and with lots of beer, running through the mountains. It was great! The outfits and the beer were fun but during that plodding uphill and bouncing downhill I was soulful.
Perhaps then I should consider signing up.....? After a phone call with the striking Cor van Disseldorp, the button was flipped. "What are you waiting for?" he asked. Well, until those little voices go away....? "Well they're not going away I can tell you!"
Meanwhile, with a slight delay due to a silly fall, walking with the dog, my trajectory finally started. My Start2Ultra is a fact.
Three to four workouts during the week that fit in wonderfully well because the distances during the week are not that long. On the weekend a long slow endurance run, and phooey that one is really slow! With clear prescriptions around heart rate zones, we were sent on our way. Two by two and with 1.5 meter spacing.
What a relief!!!!! No little voice saying it's too slow, just beautiful moors, forest trails and great conversations with like-minded people. Because yes, with those slow endurance runs you can just talk! There came a completely different mindset. I may run here in this beautiful nature, any pace is good and above all enjoy!
The distances are secretly getting longer.... I need fuel, I feel that after an endurance run in which I thought that a banana and a little water would be enough. Slogging through the loose sand, I feel the energy drain from my legs and the negative thoughts take over...'I told you you can't do this'.
No way I'm going to give up now, we're only at the beginning of the course, these distances don't mean anything yet.
So it has to be different! You can do all the training well, but if your nutrition is not in order, it still won't work, it seems.
Via trailrunnen.nl I received a sample packet with some sports nutrition. Do I really have to believe this, that sweet stuff with all those chemical additives????
To be honest, I wasn't too keen on it because I knew from past experience that my stomach would sometimes sputter or the enamel would jump off my teeth at a bar, gel or sip of sports drink.
You don't become a trailrunner without fuel so the next long run I took something with me in my race vest. A bar, some sports drink and for form's sake that scary tube with magnesium, but that is only for real athletes I thought.
Huh, that drink isn't that sugary at all and I didn't even put less in it on purpose.....and 'that bar is just really tasty' I call out to my running mate somewhere between the hailstones. After a few bites I put it back in my race vest knowing that the next few bites are going to be messy because the stuff sticks to the packaging and with a bit of bad luck you'll have sticky hands. That too turned out not to be the case. A little later I was told that the packaging is also sustainable. That makes it extra cool! We can no longer get away with enjoying nature so intensely during trail runs and at the same time destroy that same nature.
Surprised and happy that sports nutrition can be different, I ordered some more because there are still many endurance runs to come! And that scary little tube is going along every time and I don't have to wait until I am a real trailrunner; I already am one!