Monday: Cycle 6 miles
Tuesday: Cycle 12 miles / 5k easy run
Wednesday: Cycle 12 miles
Thursday: Cycle 6 miles / 11.5k endurance run
Saturday: Austria mountain hike – 3 hours 700 meters up
Sunday: Austria mountain hike – 2 hours 700 meters down
Week 1 and I’m already ‘off plan’, at least that’s how it feels. But as I compile my log of weekly activity, I see that I haven’t been sedentary. As you know, Saturday is mean’t to be my big run day but there was the whole going to Austria adventure and I had hand luggage only – so no room for the runners. Therefore, I moved the big run to Thursday – I planned to run 8 or 9 miles, ensuring that I, at the very least, meet this weeks weekly mileage commitment to the week. However, this is a new route and I got a bit lost so my run was a good 2 miles shorter than anticipated. Nevermind, I thought, I can always go out early on Friday morning, squeeze in the 2 miles before I need to get to the airport.
Roll on Friday morning, after a week of nights and some energetic foxes in the back garden I only managed 4 hours of sleep, so a run was out of the question….. Still I had 36 miles on the bike under my belt so I wasn’t too concerned.
To kill time at the airport I picked up a trail-running magazine – big mistake. By dinnertime in Vienna on Friday evening, I’d tracked down and bought a head-torch to run with – if I cannot run, at least I can get my kicks with new toys – hopefully next week I will get a chance to try it out.
We (the group) arrived at the mountain car park around 12:30pm and by 1pm we were hiking up the trail. The weather was surprisingly warm. Everybody had packed fleeces and waterproof jackets, but pretty soon, everybody was down to t-shirts and sun glasses. There were around 30 of us, mostly Austrians and quite a few of them seemed ill-equipped for the journey – oversized backpacks with sleeping bags hanging off the back, jeans, trainers – maybe I’d underestimated the nature of this hike, maybe it would be a cakewalk along the lower wooded slopes – turns out, it was them who had underestimated. After about 45 mites we reached a low level plateau and stopped for a break, behind us was the valley with the car park, ahead, mountains and trees – I spied a path weaving up the side of the mountain, surely that’s not where the trail is going. Surely.
Well, yah – yeah it is!!!
Once we reached the top, a huge valley lay before us, the signpost pegged the remainder of the journey at around an hour, the terrain was relatively flat and the path was good. The mountain and valleys reminded me of the lake district and as I stomped along I spotted a variety of vehicle tracks and worn paths, awesome trail running ground. There must be a mountain marathon around here.
The next day, partied out, and surprisingly not hungover, the weather seemed a little chilly and a speedy wind was buffering us at the hostel, but an hour later, as we prepared to walk back, the wind had blown itself out completely and once again, we found ourselves stowing the jackets and fleeces and applying the sunblock.
We descended the same way we came up, and as going down is easier on the lungs – but not on the legs, we managed it in a little over 2 hours, although my legs certainly feel it.
So, it wasn’t quite the running I had intended to do but 5 hours of trekking up around 1400 meters felt pretty energetic. Next week promises to be a little more….. boring!