Thursday, September 5, 2013

Karwendelmarch 2013

Today is the KarwendelMarsch, a 52km long run / hike through the Karwendel Nature Park.

It is the 5th "new" edition as this Event used to be in the early days from 1969 - 1990. In the previous 4 years the weather didn't cooperate. Most of the times it was raining and 2 years ago they even had to bring the Finish forward because of snowdrifts, so the course was much shorter. But this year it was a great day with a lot of sun.

The start is in Scharnitz in Tirol at 967mt and is heading through:
  • "Hirschboden" at 1173mt
  • "KarwendelHaus" at 1771mt
  • "Kleiner Ahornboden" at 1399mt 
  • "Falkenhütte" at 1848mt
  • "Eng" at 1227mt
  • "BinsAlm" at 1502mt
  • "Gramai Hochleger" at 1756mt
  • "GramaiAlm" at 1263mt
  • "Falzturn Alm" at 1098mt and
the Finish is in Pertisau am Achensee at 932mt

04.45 My alarm rings..  Full excitement I get up and get ready for the KarwendelMarsch. I get all my gear and up to Scharnitz, the start of the KarwendelMarsch.

Parked the car and walked across to  the town hall where the start is, my friend just arrived as well. We are heading to the front of the start as we are signed up as "runners" and the people marching and Nordic-Walkers will be standing behind us :-)

There are many people, all different styled from wearing runners to large hiking-shoes, with or without poles, with or without rucksacks, jacket or singlets etc... Everyone prepared to suit themselves. And there we all are, waiting to start.

Me and my friend
My brother was happy to take photos and after we left, he drove my car to the "Eng", the 35k only access point for vehicles in the Karwendel Naturepark.  He had to drive at least 1,5hour to reach the EngAlm, which included picture times.

The countdown started en the start was a big BANG, and.... off we go.
WOW everybody  is running fast. Via the mainstreet we turn left towards the KarwendelPark, along a narrow paved road and after about 1,5km we reach the trails heading up into nature and away from civilization. My friend left me from the beginning, but she is fast, much faster and she is more experienced :-))... so I just run easily at my pace alone but not alone with another 1800 people around.

My friend takes of as I will take it more easy 
The first 10km slowly went uphill, some parts a bit steeper than other but not that steep that I had to walk. Slowly the daylight was getting brighter, but still no sun. When we reached the water more and more, it became a bit more cold. Some fog & moist air covering the most beautiful nature.

After 10km, I reach the first drink & food station, at Hirschboden with an altitude of 1173mt. The volunteers prepared many cups of water, tea and holunderjuice, but as well pieces of banana, apple and small cookies. All is good and I enjoy every single minute.

So ready for the next part, this will be the next drink & food station at 19,5km distance, so just a bit under 10km to go and there is another break.
After a total of 15km running, now the trail goes uphill. Up the top is the 2nd station but that's 5km with about 600 altitude meters to go. I will hike uphill, like the rest of the people, but in a good pace, of course :-)) to safe energy for the rest of the run.

Scharnitz - Karwendelhaus valley

Slowly the sun came up. Walking from out of the valley, heading up the mountain, towards the sun: nice! Despite a lot of running and walking, my body was cold, the early morning freshness but only until reaching the first top, I could take off my long-sleeve shirt as I was standing in the sun, warming up.

Scharnitz - Karwendelhaus

The photos show you the route via the valleyfloor  while slowly the sun is rising. From the point I'm standing we starting heading uphill from about 1170 meter to 1770 altimeters. The road becomes more steeper and twisty.

Karwendelhaus hidden in the rock face  (just above the walkers)

the 2nd station

Just before the Karwendelhaus is the 2nd drink & food station at an altitude of  1770mt. They have a good range of snacks: bread with cheese or speck, soup, tea, drinks and the fruit. But I just keep it to some banana and apple with tea.

Pepi, a former colleague from skischool, who is part of the Mountain Rescue, is set up with some of his mates at this station to help people when they have injured themselves. I will just say hi and have a picture taken, and of course a picture together.

Just enjoy

Pepi & me

Seen from the Karwendelhaus station, what a view

Yeeeeeooo, made it to the first top of in total 3 tops. I heard this one is the easiest, but still... Now the fun part comes, running downhill. A great trail to run, not to steep or too technical.  Great, this is what I like, just flying down.... Yep my best or easiest part for me is the downhill.

The 3rd station

Not much further I arrive at the 3rd food & drink station at a distance of 25km and an altitude of 1400mt. And here, the volunteers have been really good as well. Filling up my CamelBag and just having a couple cups of tea, bananas and some dry biscuits and still enjoying the whole scene...

I met someone I know from the community and as well one of the Skischool owners, who works at the Mountain Rescue team as well.  It looks like they are enjoying the event as well and so far they haven't been busy.
Kleiner Ahornboden.  Still some snow to be seen... 

What a piece

From the kleiner Ahornboden the road becomes narrower and more twisty. We are heading more into the mountains, further away from civilisation. As well the amount of people from before the 2nd station shrinks. The field of participants extends further...

Passing a couple of mountain huts, probably private ones, cows are walking around this area enjoying their moments.
What a great weather today is. Then I'm almost reaching the 2nd top, the beginning is kind of easy but then the higher the steeper and more rocky it gets.

Just turn to the right, the twisty road

The last part, near the top is getting steeper and more narrow. The picture unfortunately doesn't show it. Most people still walking easy here but there are some people who are getting more difficulty reaching the top. Especially the last part, just before the Falkenhütte. 
I still feel good but will be happy when I reach the top.

Arrived at the 4th station, the Falkenhütte at 1848mt. and with a total distance of 32km.
What a great hut, cozy with terrace and you'll see a wire with a bike mounted on it high in the air.
We have our own drink & food station of the event, in front of the hut which again was a great set up.

Falkenhütte at 1848 mtr. Check the bike...

Video at the Falkenhütte

Surrounded by massive rocks, the Falkenhütte is in the middle of the Alpenpark Karwendel and what a view. Just amazing. I enjoy the surrounding and at the same time I have my rest and take my own  energy bar. A kind of fruit bar from Isostar to strengthen again. Just sitting/resting and enjoying on the wooden bench, before I head to the 35km point, the "Eng". 

Only 300mt away from the Falkenhütte, my mobile received a message. That is great as up to here I didn't had any reception. Just quickly I'll send a message to my brother to let him know I have only 3km to to Eng. Than he knows when to expect me (approx) so he can prepare himself to take pictures from me and the area. ;-))

From the Falkenhütte a little descent, along the massive rocks, climbing a bit and this time it is more technical. Loose rocks, higher jumps and more narrow so I have to maneuver like a capricorn,  just love it. Just a bit more uphill from the 2nd top and then downhill to the "Eng, the 35km point. Great running, jumping on the narrow twisty roads with rocks and roots. I have to make sure I don't fall, leaning a little to much forward or backwards and I will slip away easily, especially when it's steeper. 
Passing a little mud pool at a small creek but nothing scary. Up to Eng. 

Up to "Eng"
Thumbs up, but as well fatigue
My brother was here, he took some great pictures of the way into the Karwendel and of me, running and arriving at the 35km point. 
There I come, running down :-))

Arrival "Eng"

Happy and enjoying reaching this distance, 35km...

An acquaintance from Seefeld

Arrived at "EngAlm" tired but satisfied and very happy with this distance, 35km and many altitude takes away a lot of energy. Over here it was very busy but great atmosphere as some people finished their race.

Happy with my yoghurt

At this station I noticed they had yoghurt at the station and took a cup. My brother asked me, after I had some, if I should take that. and yes..... my stomach started to get upset so I gave my brother the rest of the cup with yoghurt. But it was too late, my stomach was more upset but was it only the yoghurt or as well from the effort...

Just stayed a bit longer at the"EngAlm", but my stomach stayed upset. Filled my camelbag, went to the toilet but that didn't help either.... Not great

So I can choose to stop and I can continue. Let's continue, maybe my stomach will get better soon. So there I go, easy walking and not running as my stomach will get more upset. 

Slowly starting again, passing some goats

A bunch of goats at the Engalm, very cute but with a bad stomach it didn't really cheer me up, just a little.

After 300meter from the EngAlm the road inclines, I heard this will be the steepest part. Not because it is the 3rd top but it is steeper and longer. 

Well as I've never been here, I will let surprise myself. 

The next station, wasn't that far, only 2km from the Eng. This was at the Binsalm and is at an altitude of 1500mt. I just sat here, took some banana and apple and a cup of tea but my stomach didn't really wanted to get better. So slowly I go again...

And there I go, a wide steep but windy road in the forest. Just after 1km I see more of the area and look up... WoW at the top I just saw many people in line twisting their way up, steep, very steep. ajajaj my stomach.
I just keep on going slowly, passed someone and I think this person wasn't feeling that great either. So at least I'm not the only one. 

Well and there it started, the single-trail, making altitude meters all twisty. But I wasn't good, had to stop every 2nd bend to rest, if it was possible to stop as it was very narrow. Sometime I could sit on a rock on the side of the path. Another guy was stopping regularly as well, I asked him if he was ok, he had cramp in his  legs. Well I don't know what is better, cramp or a bad stomach, hahaha rather have none of that. But yes.... you don't always control your body.

Reaching the last top in almost 2 hrs, a short distance of only 5km. I'm very happy reaching it. Up here some people from the Mountain rescue were around so I asked them if they have something for a bad stomach. They asked me if I had enough rest, so that;s what I did. I sat at the top, behind some bushes, out of the wind and sat there for about 15 minutes. A tiny little better I left again, downhill so easier.

Pertisau and behind the Karwendel Mountains where I walked

Happy to go downhill, what I enjoy, to the next staion which was only 500mt from the top. I took a cup of tea and walked slowly to drink it as I was going. Then I returned as I thought it is better to take some banana and apple. After having eaten this I started feeling better and better.

Joehoeeee I can run again and jumping rocks, my speed is good and the road is getting less steep. Out of the mountains, the hinterland of Pertisau, another station at the GramaiAlm where I stop to get some energy. After this the road continuously descends slightly and after 2 more station, the path turn into asphalt road and again some forest/grass path. I skip the last food & drink station, the Falzturn Alm, as I run in a good rhythm and it can't be that far.

My GPS watch stopped at 45,5 km, but I keep on going. Some more paths along meadows, river bedding, along houses and this time I overtake some people. That feels good and I almost forgot about my bad stomach.

Now it is just about, keep on running to the end as when I start walking it will take longer before reaching the finish... haha ;-) My legs are feeling heavier but I see in the distance some kind of a blue finishline, but nooooo it is not the finish. This is very mean, thinking I am only footsteps away from the finish but no....  

Not yet at the finish so...
Haha, look...there is my brother, I have to wave as he didn't see me. Ah, now he sees me. I ask him if this is the finish, another 2 or 3 km he let me know... Bwaahhhh. That sounds far, far away. But I keep on going, listening to some music an keep on going. A street to the left, a roundabout, turn right somewhere and I see at the end of the street many people.  That must be the finish, and yes turn right in between the small line, where the finish is at a field, just before I have to overtake someone and yes... 

the KarwendelMarsch

At the finish...

I receive my medal and slowly walk out of the finish area to the last food & drink station in Pertisau am Achensee.

WOWWWWW what a day, just amazing. I first have a drink, some banana but no I can't eat that bread. First I keep on walking, just to loosen my leg muscles after this day. I drink some more tea and start looking for my brother. Where I met him, 3km before the finish, he had to wander to the finish as he has a sore knee so it will take a little time...

And yes, there he is. He gives me a great bunch of yellow/red roses.
Done and tired - with my beautiful roses

Proud of my medal 

And yes, that's me....

And now, take it slowly and let me think. Ah I can pick up a bag with brochures, raincoat en 2 jars of Steinöl for muscle sore.

But now I have a shower and a free massage, everything is very well organized. After the shower I feel really good, heavy legs but no bad stomach etc... Now I'm hungry and return to the station to get some bread with cheese and salami. Then I look for my brother before heading home....

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