Running Lionell Travels
Actually it’s a misleading title as this post will not be about how I run this website. I probably had you fooled there for a second. But no, it’s actually about running. What?! Yes, the sport where you right foot in front of your left foot and keep repeating until you drop to the ground of exhaustion.
No in all seriousness, back in 2017 when I was on a 3 week hiking trip through the inland of Sri Lanka, I actually started running again. In the past I had done a lot of cycling, heck I did it for about 17 years. Both mountain biking and road cycling. But I got fed up with all the training. As I love being in the outdoors in Sri Lanka, I picked up running. At first I struggled to even complete a 5 km loop. These days this is just a warm up for me.
I also took a step back from the role as editor for the InsideFlyer NL website. I was no longer motivated and other things in life were more important to me. So this freed up a lot of time. The goal last year was to run a half marathon, but my first race of the year was a 50 km trail run. Yes you read that correctly, 50km. It was probably the toughest thing I’d ever done. It was under the positive influence of 2 co-workers that I got into these so called “ultra” runs. Preferably on trails, as it’s more fun and your body will take less of a beating than running on pavements or roads. Besides that, I’m not made for running fast.
Running is actually very easy, all you need is some motivation and a good pair of shoes. Then walk out the door and run. But one good tip, don’t overdo it in your training. That’s a lesson I learned the hard way and I probably set my goals too high. It doesn’t hurt to dream, right? Two weeks after the 50 km trail race, I had an 80 km trail race planned. This was way too soon, and my right knee told me to f*ck off after 57km. It was too much, too soon.
UTMB in Oman
As if that wasn’t enough, I was convinced by my running buddy Eric to join him to the UTMB race in Oman. Oh boy, did that one hurt both of us! Imagine a race of 137 km through rugged terrain, on which you could barely run and about 9000 meters of ascent. On top of that, you needed to complete the race in 44 hours!
My volume of training sure wasn’t enough for the race, but I would at least start and see how it went. Well I made a rookie mistake and mixed my drinks the night before and left the bottles in a warm hotel room. Smart move Jansen, smart move… We started at 7.30 PM at night and the temperature was still very warm, meaning I consumed a lot of water. This went ok till about 14 km into the race and my stomach started turning. Before I knew it, I spend the next 15 km dry heaving about every 5 minutes. I had told Eric to go ahead and leave me behind.
It is crazy when you’re in such a bad state, that your mind starts playing so many tricks on you. One minute you’re thinking: “I’m going to quit at the next aid station”. A couple minutes later you manage to get your act together and tell yourself to push through this, it’ll get better (no it won’t haha). It’s a total mind fuck. If only the contents of my stomach would come up and out, it would have been such a relief. But no it decided to stay down and cause me issues.
The one thing I love about participating in these ultra trail races is the fact that everyone looks out for each other. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you’re from, people will check on you if you’re in a bad spot. I remember this one endless incline, a dirt road that just kept creeping up in the dark of the night. At just about every corner of the trail I had to bend over, lean on my poles and started dry heaving. I felt like crap! But every single runner that passed me, stopped and asked if they could help me out or how I was doing. Well the second was obvious haha.
It was at the check point at 29 km that things turned around. They were serving some kind of sports drink of which I took 2 sips and my stomach was instantly better. But it was too late, I had already lost too much time to make the cut off time at the next check point. Together with a guy from India I tried to push harder. To no avail, we were both taken out of the race. Another lesson learned… My buddy Eric managed to finish this tough adventure, he came across the finish line after 44 hours and 6 minutes. I was glad for him that the organisation but him on the finisher list and he got his medal.
Plans for 2019
So that was last year in a nutshell, what about 2019? Well hold on, cause this is what I have planned. I have set even bigger goals for this year. At the end of April I will be participating in the MIUT, the Madeira Island Ultra Trail of 85 km with 5000 meters of ascent.
I have signed up for the EPIC 100 in Spa (Belgium), which as the name states is a 100 km trail race. After that I will have a short period of recovery and start training for the Pyrenees Stage Run. A stage race through the Pyrenees in Spain spread over 7 stages, with a total of 240 km and 15.000 meters of elevation gain. The PSR is a team event, so I had to find someone crazy enough to join me on this adventure. I was happy to find Malcolm through the website of PSR with whom I’ll be joining forces as team Tartan Devils. We’re going to meet up in Chamonix at the beginning of April and get to know each other and go out for a couple of runs.
In 2018 I went to Nepal to attempt a trek to Everest Base Camp, in which I did not succeed due to altitude sickness. As I had such a great experience with the people there, I wanted to return. When I was looking for information about other areas of the country, I found out about the Manaslu Mountain Trail Race. A small scale event put on by Richard Bull. Small scale in terms of the number of people that are selected to participate. I had nothing to loose, so decided to pre-register. Maybe it was sheer luck, I don’t know, but I managed to get selected. So, in November I will be travelling to Nepal to attempt this multi stage race through one of the most beautiful regions of Nepal. 170 km with about 10.000 meters of ascent… I know, I’m crazy!
Last but not least, I have signed up for the Bello Gallico race in Belgium. A 80km trail race through the woods somewhere in December. After this race, I will either love trail running or hate it so much haha. Both my body and mind will be put to the test throughout the year, that’s for sure.
Now you know why I have been quiet on this blog, most of spare time is spend training. So much time that I haven’t flown a single flight yet this year. Do I miss it? Yes, it has its charms. Same goes for hotel stays. But I have other goals this year. I’m trying to let my body get used to running long distances. Let me tell you, it hurts! But I get such a joy out of it, sounds strange but I get a kick out of the endorphins. I will try to post more regular. See you around!