Sometimes I`m doing things that I don`t understand, like sign up for the 100 km ultra marathon in the mountains and not running before at all. But I like things how they come so the bigger challenge the better. This one was called „Krakonosova 100“, very tough ultra marathon in our highest mountain range Krkonose.
It is Friday 8:30pm and we are sitting in the town square restaurant in Vrchlabi. Eating soup and pancakes and getting very full, the reason is to slow me down at the beginning of the race 9pm the symbol and guru of Krkonose mountains, Krakonos (something like jamaican rasta with dreadlocks in his beard with weird green coat and hat) pushed the trigger of his rifle and 400 runners slowly but surely moved towards the mountains.
I moved from the restaurant quickly through the race field to the front of the race, first 10km uphill, keeping good pace, first checkpoint 10th place….perfecto. Well Murphy`s law is always working so when something goes too good, naturally, something not so good has to come.
And it did. The race course wasn`t marked (only by tourist route signs) so after 13km I got lost, I ran off the race course and it took me 8km and one hour to get back to the race course…..first demotivating booster:) After this I was pushing through the race field again , but this probably took too much energy.
After 30 km I reached second checkpoint where I gulped down one refreshing beer and bread with lard and salt (disgusting but working), it was like adrenalin injection and I was leaving checkpoint like Usain Bolt. We were climbing for ages, up, up and up, and when we were up we went up again, but it was beautiful night with the stars and warm weather.
It was magical to run the highest part of the mountains, in the dark, on my own in the silence. Third checkpoint, Luzicka bouda, 52 km, 4am and goulash soup that was like me – that soup loved going up and not down so for next kilometers it was like highway in my throat, soup up, soup down.
I was getting close to Snezka, mother of our mountains, and night was slowly passing away, giving way to rising sun. After hard and steep climb to the peak Slonecznik on Polish side I enjoyed the views for couple seconds before I realize I shouldn’t`t be standing there….damn I got lost again….I don`t know better way how to motivate yourself .
For a second I was mentally down, but the raising sun gave me the power to move again. And after couple hours I was at the top of Snezka, from here you can`t go higher and from here the muscle destruction begun. I love going up, I can go up for ages, but please, don`t make me go down, nightmare. Dancing between stones I was moving down,looking under my feet and I got lost again………..this time anger was my partner, I couldn’t`t believe it that it happened again.
Anyway, soon I was back on the course and at the fourth checkpoint where I swallowed delicious beer and some bread. My thighs went for strike, they hurt so much after downhill massacre so from now on I was carefully jogging down and power walking up.
Every other downhill made the pain worse and when I reached checkpoint in Pec pod Snezkou I was looking for buses that would take me back, because I was done, I couldn’t`t run, jog or walk downhill anymore.
But when I finished my checkpoint beer that gave me little bit more power I decided I will do this so I set out for last 17km. I was on the 33rd place (after first lost I was around 140th). It was 3 km uphill and that was perfect, I passed few guys and I was going up like a bull.
But when it turn to downhill, bull almost at the place turn to newly born calf that has got big troubles to keep on its legs. Last 12 km was downhill, and it has no end. Runners were passing me and I was going through hell every step I made, I had big troubles to walk that damn downhill.
Somehow I made it, 4 km to the finish line. I climbed one shorter hill. Euphoria? No, I got lost again and only way back was going down the same way as I came. This was the final punch for my morality. The pain was so big that I couldn’t`t imagine to go down, so I sit down, take out some food and I took it easy.
I lied down on my back and I was sure this is the end of the race, I had no idea how I will get back, but I knew I can`t keep going. After while I realised that actually the shortest way to get to the finish is going on the race course. Very slowly I started moving again and walking like after palsy I was reaching for the finish line.
Last 4 km took me one hour and half. I did finish and I was very happy for that. At the end I had 112 km and 56th place.What came after the race I never experienced before. The pain in my legs is inexpressible. Literally I wasn`t able to walk and I had muscle fever and when I was dosing off there was a guy sitting on my shoulder telling me „Hey brother, welcome to hell“