Since the injury, I’ve steered clear from entering races. I just know that, if I would sign up for one, I’d want to do it properly and train hard to be at my best. By doing so, I’d put a lot of stress on my Achilles and well, honestly, I’m super scared to have to start all over again. Crêtes de Spa has become a bit of a tradition though. I’d run it twice so far, on both occasions together with Greg. However, Greg didn’t feel like doing the full 55k and opted for the 21k run. With my fear of getting injured again and my overall confidence far from high, I can’t say I was sad about this decision. On top of all that, it meant we didn’t have to get up at 4.30 in the morning.
Instead, I met With Ineke, Rik & Ianis and we left for Spa. Crappy weather on the way there but good company to make up for it. And once we arrived, the rain had stopped. Perfection itself. I went to pick up my bib and met with Greg and his climbing buddy Steven. All ready to go, we headed for the starting line and took places somewhere near the back of the pack. A short rang and off we were! High fives and all that jazz. No stress, no rush, just a solid sub-2h half marathon with some proper climbing.
Right from the start it was obvious that Steven was a solid runner and in good shape. We overtook A LOT of people and soon we arrived at the first supply post, just 5k in the race. No Meli waffles here, so stopping was pointless. We held back a bit to save some energy for the ski slope climb, which we reached after about 8k. I wanted to give it a go for the separate ranking (Time was taken at the base & top of the slope), but immediately felt my legs were not up for the task so I tempered my pace and somehow still managed to get the 31st time in the ranking. I guess not a lot of people went for it, haha).
At the top, I waited for Greg & Steven and we continued together. I remembered bits & pieces from the previous years. The area really is lovely and the mist gave it all an eerie atmosphere. We were all having fun. Nobody had to go all the way while still maintaining a solid pace. In and out the second supply post. No Meli waffles, let’s go.
And then there’s mud. Lot’s of it. It’s a long, wide, slow descent and left and right, shoes are lost and curses can be heard. We dive into the woods and follow a meandering trail that eventually takes us to more mud. Eventually, we reach a ‘real’ road and stomp the mud off our shoes. Running suddenly feels like flying and we pick up some speed. Next & last supply post. Meli waffles, so we take our time. Oh, sweet Ambrosia! But no time to waste if we want to finish this in under 2 hours.
The last 5k go fluently as well and we finish well under 2 hours, the 3 of us together. Good run, good fun. And a boost in morale. Didn’t feel anything worth worrying about, except maybe for the fact that there’s a lot of work to do before I’ll climb about 10 times as much and do about 8 times this distance… But I’ve got time on my side.
To finish up, some slow motion footage with Greg totally busted around 0:53. Did I mention it was muddy?