With that characteristic suddenness I should be used to now after 28 years of living here, it seemed to go from midsummer to late autumn almost overnight. I actually don't mind - this temperature suits me much better. After 2 months of almost unrelenting heat (though I did escape the first 12 days through being in England), I was ready for a change.
Ironically, the first of August - Switzerland's national holiday - was one of the rare non-sunny days, with some rather soggy barbecues......... but at least the fireworks ban was lifted. After that, though, it was back to being hot again. Sunday 2nd Aug: out late evening with J. A slowish trundle along the lake to the school track; 4 kms on the track, each one faster than the previous one (but none of them VERY fast: 7:06, 6:58, 6:32, 6:10), and another slow, sweaty trundle home. 9 kms, 1:18:42. And the 3rd of August: holiday over, back to work. Managed a short (3.8 kms) walk in the woods late that evening, but after that, good intentions were abandoned - it was just TOO hot.
Friday 7th August: my birthday. (61: what a boring number.) At 36°C (that's nearly 97° F), probably my hottest birthday ever. Lunch at Centro, cake chez G; then back to work again. I usually enjoy my walk there (originally an irritating necessity apropos of rubbish transport connections, which has now become a pleasure, a little oasis of calm in my day), but I forewent it this time in favour of an air-conditioned bus.
Tuesday 11th August: tried a midday run in the Bireggwald, trying to keep to the shadier parts as much as possible, but even along the usually cool north-facing side, it was stifling hot; and the 'Tessinerweg' (we call it that because the chestnut trees there make it look a bit like Ticino) was frankly a mistake. I turned back before the end, because the path was getting overgrown, and I was concerned about possible ticks, and retreated into the shade again. 'V. hot and steamy - horrible!' I noted in the Garmin entry, and that just about sums it up. A seriously unenjoyable 6 kms, and 58 minutes.
Swimming would have been a much better alternative.......... but the pool is closed for a month every summer for maintenance! And I didn't fancy the lake, somehow - the conditions had made it quite weedy and murky.
Saturday 15th August: it rained! - I couldn't wait to get out in it! The light drizzle felt so refreshing as we made our way up through the woods. Unfortunately, just as we reached Oberrüti, light drizzle became heavy downpour, and the wind sprang up too. From being too hot, it now felt quite chilly, with soaked tee shirt clinging to the skin, so the return trip was considerably brisker than the outward one. 6.1 kms, 51:26. The next day began with more of the same, but we went out for a walk towards evening - 4 kms, and 45 minutes.
Thereafter it turned hot again - not as fierce as before, but enough to make running uncomfortable, especially with the added post-rain humidity. Motivation was wearing thin, but we persevered (after a fashion.) Tuesday 18th August: another short (5km) trot round the Bireggwald, 43 minutes. Thursday 20th August: having done nothing above 6 kms for 2 1/2 weeks now, it seemed like time for something slightly longer, so we headed over towards Allmend, via Waldrand and the goats. Deciding to stay on the Biotope side, we set about putting together an 'alternative parkrun' route, combining various loops round the ponds and along the edge of the woods. Actually, it would have to be described as a 'trail parkrun', as some of the paths are quite rough and stony, the woodland ones are rooty and have a couple of short sections made up of a row of tree trunks (slippery when wet), and there are four little streams to cross! One path we tried was an instant reject - far too steep and rubbly - but the rest have potential. We haven't managed to get it to come out at a tidy 5 kms yet, but like the Biotope itself, it's a 'work in progress.' Together with running there and back, it was just over 11 kms altogether, and 1 hr 39. (There was quite a lot of stopping and pondering.)
Saturday 22nd August: though feeling seriously under-prepared, we decided to tackle a race, the fairly local 'Event Rothenburg'. This is another race that has re-invented itself this year. Previously a half marathon (which I have done about 4 times), it has now been reduced to 10 miles, with 5 miles as an alternative. It has also moved from a Sunday morning to a Saturday evening, not too sure why; but pre-theatre season, this was no problem. Weather still hot, but not brutal. Okay, let's give it a go, if only to check out the new route. (Not so very new, as it turned out - just a condensed and shortened version of the old one. Farm tracks, forestry tracks, field paths; some road, but less than before.) Twike there; J. went to park while I collected our numbers. Finished getting changed, then wandered in the direction of the start, which was on the same nearby road as previously. Since we were not planning on running fast, we gave the warm-up a miss, and joined the crowd of runners waiting in what shade there was, slotting ourselves in somewhere near the back of the field a couple of minutes before the start, which was at 6. Off we went, resisting group dynamics as people disappeared into the distance, and settling in behind two identically-dressed women. I guessed they must be sisters - in fact, I thought they might even be twins. They set us a very congenial pace for the first few kms, but at some point I felt I could go faster, and overtook. The route so far was much as I remembered it......... and I knew it still included that very mean hill up to Rain, the highest point of the race. I resolved that if the point came where running was no quicker than walking, I would walk. And come it did, and I did. But only for a hundred metres or so, then it was back to running. 8 kms done, another 8 to go, and most of the uphill behind us now - one of those races where the first half is harder than the second. A much-needed cup of water, and I was good to go again. It was getting a bit cooler now as the evening went on, and though it had been our intention to just run, rather than race, we did find ourselves overtaking one or two people, though the field was very strung out by now, and we were very far from the sharp end. I had had no particular time in mind beforehand, but given the hilliness of the course, (and my current training deficit!) I knew it would be well outside the 1:30 I achieved in Aarau a couple of years ago, and probably even the 1:40 at Baldeggersee, when I was pacing Yunsuk in her first and only 10 miler. Somewhere en route, though, 1:45 crystallised as a realistic aim. With this in mind, I kept the effort level going, and pushed on where I could. Some of the latter stages went past maize fields, where I experienced an interesting phenomenon: the low sun through the stalks produced a flickering effect like strobe lighting - a bit disorientating! A longish section on road near the end had been cut out, I realized as we turned towards Rothenburg again by a more direct route. The speaker was audible in the distance. J. was ahead now, and pulling me along a bit faster than I liked.......... but I thought of the 1:45, gritted my teeth, and got on with it. Round the outside of the sports ground, the long way round to the entrance; this is getting hard now.......... but nearly there. Onto the track, just two hundred metres to go, the speaker welcoming us. Okay, sprint finish! (Just about.) I forgot to check the official clock, but Garmin reckoned I had done it. Oh, and a subsidiary aim was also achieved: to finish a race NOT feeling as though I was about to throw up! Some Iso-drink, and a bit of apple; and a cup of bouillon also tasted unexpectedly good. (I expect they thought people needed the salt.) A few minutes later, here came the two women - and yes, they WERE twins! We chatted to them for a while, then one of them had a birthday party to get to, so they had to leave. We headed for a very welcome shower and dry clothes, then went to watch the Rangverkündigung. (Sorry, I've never managed to find the equivalent word in English - 'prizegiving' doesn't sound quite right.) No sign of J. yet, so I parked myself on a flight of steps to wait. I had checked the list of results, so was forewarned......... yes, I had made it onto the rostrum again! Third. Bit of a joke, really - there WERE only 3 in my age category! But still.......... another pair of socks. You can never have too many running socks. And the official time? - 1:44:43.1. Annoyingly, J. was again awarded a time 0.1 seconds quicker, so placed one higher - I shall insist he does the gentlemanly thing next time and lets me go first!
I still haven't caught up! - but the Great Oggie Run deserves a post to itself, no matter how long after the event it finally gets written!
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