Running has been tough this year. Lack of motivation, hectic working hours and life screw-ups turned my whole training plan into a mess: irregular runs, not sticking to the schedule and that <feeling bad while running> feeling.

However, with three events on the horizon (Boston Marathon, Tarn Valley Ultra Trail and Mozart 100, it was time to start paying more attention to training before shit hits the fan.

I managed in February and March to have two decent training months to get myself prepared for Boston Marathon; This till the moment where at my last long run I stepped on a stupid duck (!!!), took a big tumble and hit my hip pretty badly.

This, with 10 days before Boston Marathon.



Physiotherapy and some pain-killing shots solved the issue for short term, and I ended up in Boston jacked up and fully drugged 😊)).

The good thing of working for such a long time with Radu and Team Run is that, looking at the training sessions, I realize how confident Radu is about my training status: around 70%. And I actually felt the same. Getting things straight: there were a couple of goods weeks of training under my belt (the long runs clicked in and the speed workouts were easier) but clearly not enough to build the physical abilities or the mental strength of <I got this; Bring it on>

Boston Marathon is without a doubt on the plate of all runners; qualifying for it was a bit of an <accident> as I did the Amsterdam marathon in 2:52 in 2019 as part of an ultra-run training. So, why not?!?

The city of Boston during Marathon weekend is living the vibes of the event: all American glamour and feasts are on display and the 30,000 runners are taking over the beautiful city.

The race itself feels like a show – it starts in Hopkinton and it crosses a series of small towns until it reaches Boston, ending with the most famous left turn in running courses.

So here I am, toeing the start line together with Florin, in the first start group after the elites, aiming to keep a steady pace of between 4:05-4:10. The start feels fabulous – the 7500 runners in our group burst into running in a frantic pace of well below 4:00/km on steep downhill road. The Up-Down changes are slowly settling in and you hardly find any flat portion of the course. The pace settles in and we manage to keep it steady; I start to feel the legs a bit heavy around km 20 while I cross the half marathon mark in 1:27. I knew it would not be easy, yet I continue to hold on to the pace for as long as I can.

Every runner also knows that Boston course is hilly and the infamous Heartbreak Hill topis it all. Well, you don’t really know how hilly it is until you actually run it.

The struggle begins at km 27 – it feels clear that it is not sustainable to keep the pace up – I see Florin passing me by, I try to follow him for the next 2-3 kms but the legs do not listen to my mind.

I slow down, knowing it would be some really long 12 kms until the end and I try to damage control the race till the end.

I cross the finish line in 3:10, well above my target of a sub-3 hours marathon. The good thing is I know the course and the finish time will give me a good chance for qualifying in 2023 (it’s good to be old).

The bad part is…there is no bad part; we loved the city, we made MIT plans (😉) and there’s a planted seed somewhere in our minds for Boston.

Travelling back to Netherlands we got a nice upgrade in the plane and heartfelt congratulations from the check-in agent. On a high note, knowing that the speed is there I felt confident about the next couple of races; there was only one small thing to be answered – how do I deal with the positive elevation of the trail tracing?!?

And the next race was Tarn Valley Trail in the South of France.

Tarn Valley trail caught my attention with the epic scenery of Festival des templiers: the small villages taken out of other centuries, mystic forests and an air of legend living amongst us.

Conceived my the mastermind o the Templieres, this one hundred miller follows the rule of Western States 100 with minimal equipment required, crossing of valleys and canyons and heat-exposed sections.

Quite a hassle though to get to the starting point, somewhere in the heart of the mountains. A small holydays village, with houses built of stone and a very old-time feeling.

The race starts in silence, at 6 AM, with light creeping in. I start slow as I know I am not trained for the full distance, and I need to manage my resources properly. After 5 km, due to two emergency stops in the bushes, I realize I am actually the last one as I overtake the organizers who were already taking down the course markings.

The race crosses amazing landscapes, beautiful valleys, story-like villages. I soak everything in while I pay extra attention to the very rocky terrain: while it is highly runnable, the descends are just killing my quads as the rocks and the roots and sometimes slowing me to walking pace.

The amazing French hospitality is translated into checkpoints: it feels like a proper restaurant with delicacies and nice servants. Everybody is taking care of you, offering soup, cheeses, charcutterie and all the goodies.

I try to manage myself properly and while I feel that the breathing and the lungs work properly, the legs are slowly starting to cave in. After 90 km I find it really hard to descend as everything is cramping up and after the last ascent to km 110 my legs decide to remain flexed and the muscles are as hard as stones.

The pain is excruciating and although I have still 40-ish like kms to the finish line, I decide to call it a day.

The next day Radu reminds me that with the 5000 m+ elevation done in the race I double the elevation gain of 2022; which in a weird way makes me proud but it really starts to worry me….

The following week was absolutely horrendous: I could not even walk, let alone bike or run and it made me really wonder if Mozart 100 was still on the cards for myself….


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