Nadine’s path towards her first trail run finish…

Nadine has always been under the impression that long distance running is meant for idiots and mentally challenged people. This definitely excludes her. After an annoying shin splint injury, she got rid of her running shoes believing she would never run again. But this all changed when she met Helen. Not only did Helen pretend long distance running was fairly easy, she also insisted that Nadine would be capable do so such a thing. Very annoying! So, when they hiked up a mountain in Scotland, Nadine knew one thing for certain: no one in the world could persuade her to run down this mountain. That being said, walking down meant you could speed up pretty easy. Actually, the quick walk turned into a trot, which turned into a first phase of kamikaze downhill running. On the way down, a couple of tourists asked Nadine how often she ran down mountains. At this point, Nadine was running so fast she could not respond, but Helen clarified that this was Nadine’s first mountain and her first time running off road. Together, Helen and Nadine left behind a couple of dumpfound tourists.

During their second trail edition a few days later, Nadine ran the Ben Nevis (highest mountain of Scotland) downhill with a skilful pace. It did not matter to her that she was wearing a backpack and the enthusiastic man who started to run with her was successfully put at an astonishing distance. So, what was different now? First of all, Nadine was wearing compression socks and good running shoes. The biggest change of all was that the flat and boring asphalt roads were swapped by offroad terrain and the beautiful scenery. Apparently it was not a problem to run 5 miles offroad and also 6 miles were no problem at all.

At the end of November 2017, Helen and Nadine planned a wonderful retreat weekend together. Some people might not think of trailrunning during a retreat weekend, but we do. After 7.5 miles of running, we turned out to be at the wrong side of the woods (that is what you get when Helen is navigating) and therefore Nadine finished her first 9.5 mile run by “accident”. This inspired Nadine to order her first own trail running shoes. She permanently gave up on the idea that 3 miles was already quite a distance (on the other hand 9.5 miles still seemed to be really long). To her own surprise, she decided to subscribe last minute to her first real organized trail run. The Dutch Marine Trail would be her first tug-of-war and seemed to be a decent challenge. She enrolled for the 10 Dutch Marine Miles which equals 10 miles. This immediately struck the attention of her co-workers. What was this women doing between all these testosterone filled powerhouses? Where there even any other women up for the challenge?

The night before the run, the excitement rose to extreme levels. Nadine was going through her preparations: a solid dinner, having her clothes sorted for the run (running jacket yes / no, long sleeves yes / no, short tights yes / no), a good breakfast, checking once more the weather expectations, having something to eat and drink ready for after the run and most important of all: the mental preparation. Nadine had set her goal for her first trailrun to get to the finish line and to enjoy the run itself. How enjoying and suffering would combine, was not entirely clear to her but with a little bit of bad luck she would find that out along the way. Getting to the finish line also appeared to be a small issue. 10 miles looked like a really long distance even though just a week ago she ran 8.5 miles through the dunes without breaking a sweat.

On a misty morning, the start sign for Nadine’s trail run sounded through the Dutch woods. The first miles went nice and smooth. After 6 miles, she was able to set a good pace following the footsteps of some other contestants. Things were going so smooth, that it tunred out Nadine was running in first position. This continued until the 8 miles checkpoint where Nadine followed her hares taking a wrong turn. Fortunately, they realized their mistake after half a mile and were able to correct this. Unfortunately, they did not correct their error fast enough. In the meantime, the other female competitors overtook Nadine and therefore the chase was on! Nadine tried to catch up with them using all her might. At this point, the course started to go up and down and her fitness was thoroughly tested. Every time she thought she was gaining on them, the hole between them turned out to remain pretty large. Just before she completely exhausted herself, Nadine realized she lost sight of her goal: enjoying was fully replaced by suffering and apparently those two did not go together very well today. Having her focus back at her goals, Nadine enjoyed the last miles (okay with a little bit of suffering running uphill). The finish turned out to be far away but every step was worth it once she felt the running buzz after passing the finish. This first trailrun was decorated with a third place: a wonderful start!

See you at the next trail run!

Helen and Nadine

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