OMG, I made it from Sierre to Zinal... what an epic day!
It all started well and I was relaxed and happy to be running. When we arrived in Sierre with the bus (from Zinal) and you look up at the wall of a mountain you have to climb up, it certainly is a bit intimidating. I knew I wanted to take it easy on the big climb (which is 1500m all at once) and hoped to have good legs from the rest of the 22km kind of flat-ish run.
I also started relaxed and didn't have too many "traffic jams" in the beginning and while climbing the steep parts, I just walked the rhythm that those around me were walking, not in a hurry, but I was working. I wanted to be in Chandolin at 2hrs and while climbing I saw that this is realistic.
The steep part was over and I was on the ridge on my way to Ponchette and I started to have trouble, and by the time I was on the road between Ponchette and Chandolin I was bonking. It's a big road and pretty flat, but I had to walk. My right hip was tight and causing back pain and I just had no energy. The worst was after Chandolin on my way to where my mom, Urs and the kids were waiting for me at Tignousa. I just had to walk the whole way there... horrible. Luckily my mom had some salty chips and I sat down there and stretched my hip. After eating the chips and resting a moment, I continued. On the road towards Hotel Weisshorn (the highest point of the course) I still had the right hip pain and my adductor on the left side started to cramp up and I really contemplated giving up. I could turn around and meet my kids and take the gondola down... so tempting when you're bonking. But I didn't and fairly soon afterwards I started to have energy again and my head cleared up and it started to be much more fun.
On the way up to Hotel Weisshorn I started passing people and really feeling good, but my adductor was still cramping every time I tried to run a bit faster, so I was really limited by that. From Weisshorn to Zinal it's basically all downhill. 11km of downhill (650m down) and at the end you do about 300m of the downhill in 2km, so most of it is a gentil downhill. The good thing is that it has technical spots too, so it's is interesting. I felt great, but I couldn't run as fast as I could have from my energy level, because my adductor would seize up. I stopped about every 10min to stretch it. I still had fun during this last part, but it does get long. I just kept thinking, when will the steep part come, so I can be done.
When I did get to the steep part, I just let myself pound it out, because the adductor didn't hurt when it was steep. But then my right calf started to seize, so again I had to be careful.
I must have passed about 10 women and 20 men on my way down from Weisshorn, that was fun. Unfortunately, they all passed me again 150meters from the finish. The last 300m are on asphalt and a friend with her kids came to meet me just a bit above that point, so of course I ran a tick faster with them, well my calf seized... and I was on the ground with a massive calf cramp. It was horribly painful and I screamed bloody hell while it was happening. My friend pushed my foot up towards me to relaxed the cramp, but when she let go my muscle cramped up again. You could literally see the muscle bulging out of my skin. I was on the ground for at least 2 min and watched all the people (women) I had passed pass me again... but then it was over and I could get up and limp into the finish.
It was absolutely wonderful to have Marc with Matti and Lena waiting for me in the finish line. I really enjoyed running into the finish with them.
After the race, my legs have never hurt as much as they did then. The pain continued for hours.
I am glad I ran and even with all the pain and misery, I am already scheming about running it again and/or something similar...
If you want to see the course: http://www.sierre-zinal.com/la-course/