Challenge 16: Mozart 100

Since my withdrawal from the Severn Challenge I have battled with various negative thought processes & questioned the value of challenge639. Thankfully I have been reminded that the worth of some things extends beyond the absolute value of the raw data. The challenges do serve a purpose because of the connections made along the way, that are increasing awareness of muscular dystrophy.

Tomorrow I am due to fly to Salzburg to take part in the Mozart 100. Which, as the name suggests is 100km & is centred around Salzburg, Austria. I will be starting despite my peronial tendon still be sore from the Severn Challenge. This isn't wise. It is against everything I would advise my athletes. But it is what I intend to do.

I did contemplate not making the trip, or switching to the shorter parallel event but I will be there for the 100. My hope & aim is to finish & then allow things to mend fully.

I will be wearing my SPOT tracker during the day & I hope that this will show my progress. What it won't convey is the emotion behind my progress. With each step I will be reminding myself how fortunate I am to be able to out there taking each step & reminding myself others do not have this option. I don't have muscular dystrophy. Others do.

Update: 24/6/12.

Where to start..

I have just had a personally uplifting few days in Salzburg. I am now sat in the departure lounge of the airport feeling fatigued, sore but happy. I shall blame the fatigue on what follows as I feel it may read like a poorly constructed Tarrantino rip off.

This was the first year the Mozart 100 had been staged. In addition to the 100k option there was a 54k run & a 24k run. The organisation was amazing from the regular newsletters, the painless registration & the impressive race briefing. I am a linguistic failure but everyone involved was helpful & patient from the first to the 'last' contact. I have put 'last' in parethesis as I hope to return.

As indicated at the start of this blog I was unsure how I would cope with the event as I was carrying an injury into it (I will conviniently ignore the previous lack of training!). My hope at the start was to finish, I felt I had something to prove to myself & I also wanted this blog to be a positive one.

I set off on the first lap wearing my new Salomon rucksack (always good t try it for the first time at a 100k event) & for me, suprisingly little kit. Within the first few km I had to make my first emergency pit stop. Not ideal & it gave my confidence an early knock. From about 10k to 30k I questioned my ability to finish & my wisdom not to switch to the more manageable 54k. My concerns were further heightened when I missed an opportunity to refil my hydration pack leading to a dry few k. However I rounded off the first lap (46k) having created a small but mentally valuable time buffer. This made the prospect of completion a possibility (mentally at least). I then did some maths (never my strong point) while walking & trying to catch up on fluid intake.

I broke the remainder of the run into hourly chunks to make it easier to deal with & set out to achieve a set distance in each chunk, anything over was a bonus. This was designed to get me round 2 hours within the cut off. Strangley I never fell short - so perhaps too soft a target ;)

During the 2nd lap Itraded places with 2 other runners. This informal battle helped keep me motivated & moving forward. I was possibly the strongest going downhill, another was as strong as an ox going uphill & the third was pretty good on the ups & flat. It created a good diversion.

The course was stunning, giving some amazing views & including some testing climbs. One of these I found exceptionally difficult on lap 2 & had to sit on a fallen tree at the top to re-group.

The final few k of the run take the runners through Salzburg, the atmosphere was warm & supportive, the applause welcome. The welcome at the finish line was also fantastic. Despite my time being twice as long as the winner I felt a small but important sense of pride on finishing this one. I think I can honestly say I left everything I had on the course on this one.

I rounded off the evening by contemplating this on all fours by the hotel toilet for a couple of hours while being quite unwell.

Over breakfast I spoke with the runner who came 2nd. Interestingly he too revealed various inner mental barriers during his run which led him to contemplate withdrawing. He battled through those & earn his place on the podium.

So what are the take home messages from my first 100k? Firstly I think it is important not to limit oneself through fear & negativity, secondly it is important to realise what a huge impact one's mindset can have on performance. Thirdly to judge what you do by your own frame of reference. I may have taken significantly longer than most but I put myself out there, I gave it a go & I finished. In the words of a friend, fast or slow exertion is relative.

For most of us our limits are self- imposed & not beyond our hysical capabilities if we dare to believe & try.

Lastly a huge thank you to all involved in the Mozart 100.


2 Comment(s)

Amazingly inspiring!!!! Very positive and against all odds. Love it ! I wish you successful completion which you fully deserve.

Anonymous / 23-Jun-2012 06:02 PM

Dear Ian, we wanted to thank you very much for your participation, your endurance and your positive attitude you were showing during your 100 km. As you indicated it was the first edition of our mozart 100, on the original trails of "Sound of Music". The
feedback from you and other runners was overwhelming, and compensates for all the hard work (and Euros...) we have put into this race. Thank you very much for your feedback - we would love to have you (and a lot of your fellow sportsmen) back for mozart 100
in 2013! All the best - Yours, Micky

Michael Fried / 26-Jun-2012 11:21 AM

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