Thursday, October 21, 2010

Gore-Tex TransAlpine Trail Run: Stage VI

Sand in Taufers to St. Vigil
39.7 km (24.7 miles)
Vertical Distance: 1512 meters ascent, 1193 meters descent
Total Time: DAY OFF (Stephanie ran approx 7hrs)

"With an altitude difference totaling over 1500 meters and a distance of almost 40 kilometers, the 6. stage on the eastern route of the Transalpine-Run 2010 is probably the hardest that has ever been run in the history of this stage race competition. Till the finish in St. Vigil, the route first leads along the eastern side of Tauferer Valley until Bruneck. After crossing River Rienz the seemingly endless climb toward Kronplatz begins, never allowing even a peak at the Dolomites in the South until reaching the summit region. The final downhill section into St. Vigil in comparison will feel like a relief."- TransAlps website

Day 2 off. Leg was feeling crappy still and I wanted to run the last two stages if I could. Stephanie was feeling better today and decided to run. I stood at the start line all teared up in excitement for her (jealous, yes, but surprisingly I was incredibly proud and excited to watch her take off!). 

I watched the last runner leave the chute and bummed a ride to St. Vigil. I walked as much as I could around town to try to find us a hotel (and maybe even some laundry service- our bags were smelling really rank) but everything was so darn expensive. I gave up once my leg started to put it's two cents in. I headed to the "camp" and searched the building for a nice quiet spot away from the main hub of mattress pads, stink, and sniffling runners. 

I cringed at the thought of the little disease factory that was being produced. Runners were getting colds left and right with their immunity compromised and sharing such close quarters with each other. 

I found a staircase with a little hallway leading to an office door just off the main gym. There were doors separating us from the gym and the noise was muffled a bit into the hallway. Perfect! I carried both Stephanie's and my race bag upstairs and proceeded to lay out our bedding. 

By that time my sleeping bag was looking very inviting so I snacked on a banana then curled up and took a nice nap. I would wake here and there to stretch my ankle out inside my bag and massage it a bit. It was progressively feeling a bit better to the point that I entertained the idea of running the next day. 

I woke in time to head down to the finish line and cheer in a bunch of runners. It was kind of neat to be on the other side of things for once and I found myself tearing up in pride and excitement for all that were running in, knowing full well the exhaustion they were feeling. I cheered Stephanie in, gave her a huge hug. and promptly fed her! After she showered, we enjoyed a latte and then headed to camp for our pasta dinner. Today was actually really good: baked/roasted chicken half, veggie lasagna, potato salad, marinated tomatoes, roll with cheese!! Delish! 

Stephanie and I headed to the local market after dinner to pick up a few toiletries. On our way out we met Marcus, the sweeper, who asked us how our injuries were doing (Stephanie had declared after dinner that she was going to sit the next day out from overdoing her knees. She was limping a bit and wanted to be able to run the last day). Then Marcus introduced us to the hidden and secret art form of "cheesing". 

Marcus took us back into the market where he had us buy a large chunk of a particular cheese. The name escapes me, but it looked and felt very similar to farmer's cheese. It was soft and spongy, moist, and tasted a touch sweet. He gave us each gauze and wraps, telling us each to slice off a piece tonight, place it on our swelling and wrap it overnight. "By tomorrow" he said, "the swelling will go down significantly!"

Stephanie and I looked at each other then back at him...

then burst out laughing. 

We were convinced, for sure, that he was messing with us. He was trying to get us to do something so fantastically silly that he could go back to his "boys" and laugh at us dumb Americans. We weren't buyin' it.

Until we saw his utmost serious expression. He was telling the truth.

"Seriously?" we asked him.

"Seriously." he said and waved his hand at the cheese counter lady. She nodded her head in agreement. 

We giggled the entire way back to camp thinking about putting cheese on our legs. We sliced and applied, taking pictures to document. 

The cheese was moist and we were concerned with it leaking in our sleeping bags. We already smelled funky, we knew that, but we didn't want to make it any worse. We used the plastic wrap the cheese was packaged in to cover the cheese and prevent it from creating a soupy mess in our bags. We grinned childishly at each other and tucked into bed. 

I had decided to run the next day and, in my pure excitement, spread out all my gear to be ready for the early 0700 start. I had a "date" with the Gore guys at the start line and I was giddy to run!

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