Tribe Stories // Pitz Alpine Glacier Trail
Running - my favorite of the three favorite sports of all triathletes in the world: swimming, running and cycling. But what happens when you send a bunch of exactly these athletes, who are also at home in the flatlands of Cologne, to a Glacier Alpine Trailrun on a three-thousand-meter peak in Austria?
That's right, half the team grab their heads in fright and say "Whaaat, do you really want to do that, who came up with that idea?"
From a snap idea last summer became serious towards the end of last year and we decided with eight girls to start the project "Ryzon goes Pitztal Alpine Glacier Trail".Among them two of us (including me), who had the great idea to run directly 30km over hill and dale, because we want to slowly "move on to longer competitions" (all triathletes know the phrase - but I have never run over 22km before and the few long distances I can count on one hand until today). The ideas at that time: we do many long preparation runs together, go to the Siebengebirge to train on trails and the most important of all points, we still have forever until August 2021. No way! Summer was approaching and almost all of us had to realize that the time passed a little faster than expected and we did our usual triathlon training, but ran pretty much not a single meter of high altitude. Therefore we started in the middle of June some attempts to collect a few of the dreaded altitude meters in training and ran the Jahndenkmal (the only "mountain" of Küllle) up and down a thousand times (small spoiler: about 10 times Jahndenkmal up and down result in only about 120hm - so it remained exciting). At the beginning of August it was finally time and we started the trip to Pitztal. The very next day we had to hand out our start numbers and get a taste of the mountain air, which made everyone's nerves rise considerably.
When the day of all days, Saturday 07.08., finally arrived, I found out that I was allowed to stand at the starting line with Anna Hahner and Co. in the elite field of the race - thanks to my target time last year. Now I secretly wished for my usual environment back and prayed that it was still a triathlon I was about to start. Unfortunately no, unfortunately not at all: the starting signal fired and I ran the first kilometer (next spoiler: but really only this one first kilometer) together with the elite runners. After that, everyone went straight into the first climb, which for me meant gritting my teeth and firmly believing that the unspeakable calf pain would subside at some point and that the entire climb would be worth it with the first view of Lake Riffel and everything would be forgotten. And so it was. The first climb still in the legs, it went down highly euphoric through the only passage with crowds of supporters to the Riffelsee and then continued on some slightly "flatter" passages until the next climbs (I stopped counting at some point) came. Even some passages with rope were there for us 30km runners, which have prepared me in advance quite a lot of fear, but during the run thanks to sufficient adrenaline in the veins but were not too bad. Over the 30km I have always made new short-term runner friendships, which resulted from the different running pace and have remained in my mind until today. The companionable atmosphere, nice conversations, running together uphill and downhill in breathtaking nature set free inner strength and willpower, which I have rarely experienced before! Despite all the positive feelings, a somewhat unpleasant thought kept coming to mind: keep going until kilometer 20! Absolutely! Because, from then on it goes downhill and you have to let it "only" roll!
The last "cliff" (sorry for the not trail run jargon) overcome, I finally saw the slightly wider gravel path, which made it possible to finally get a little more up to speed than in the yet often very narrow and rocky trails. Over this my legs carried me fortunately almost cramp-free the last eight kilometers with the thought mantra: "soon it is done; think of the moment afterwards; think of the feelings of happiness afterwards; think of how proud you can be of yourself when you have done it; this is your longest run so far; you can do it" into the finishline. I did it and could hardly believe it myself! Suddenly all tension fell away from me, which I didn't even know before that it was so present. I was able to experience an overwhelming feeling of joy at that moment. And that too, together with the greatest girls in the world, who were waiting for me just two meters away, cheering loudly as I crossed the finish line! That is the greatest feeling ever! For a short time I could enjoy the moment, but then suddenly a completely different feeling: thirst, water, sugar - and better quickly! Now the joy of the finishing food and finally being able to drink something in peace took over and I first had to fill up all the tanks before I could continue to enjoy the entire scenery and the finish. I also saw my running buddies that I found on the course once again at the finish line and had a quick chat with all of them. I also didn't feel the strain in my legs too badly for the first few hours directly after the run, so with finish line cola in my stomach, I just cranked it up for the next few hours. But the hammer came the next day with full force and the muscle soreness also promised to stay for now and not to go away quite so quickly. On the second day exactly this feeling manifested itself and, there it was and remained: the muscle soreness of my life - over a whole week!
But even this can not have been so bad in the retrospect, because we decided one day later in our cozy eight-bed room with youth hostel feeling to pick the next trail run competition immediately and would love to convince all the people in the world to sign up too, to make this incredible emotional roller coaster and experience as well! In conclusion, I am very satisfied with my time and the overall 7th place of the women including elite field and can now claim: also triathletes can run trails - even if a little slower and more cautious (especially downhill), but possibly with all the more joy and fun in the matter!!