Mures Olt Marathon – Izvoru Muresului

Posted: July 17, 2012 in Competitions, Marathons, Mountains, Trail Running
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This marathon was the third in this year. I’m really happy that my body started to adapt quite well to this demanding activity and I’m ecstatic that I’ve finished another one.

I’ve learned a lot after this event. The most important thing its that no marathon should be underestimated. After finishing both EcoMarathon and Hercules I’ve got a little cocky and I didn’t plan accordingly this event. I didn’t do any carbo-loading before the competition and was planning to finish it in about 5 h. I said, OK I’ve finished EcoMarathon in 5:05 this one has the same height difference so now being a bit more prepared I should be able to finish in 5h. I was feeling quite good the week before the competition and I said I don’t need carbo-loading. It turned out that each marathon is different, it has its own particularities, its own story and your body behaves differently on the long run.

After the long intro here is the story :). I’ve arrived along with Rose late Friday evening on 22nd of June at Izvoru Muresului. We’ve met with friends and listen carefully to the technical session. I have to admit it took me quite some time to figure out the route from the map they gave us. Last year (the first edition was held) there were some problems with the markings and a lot of competitors got lost, some of them returned at the start line, and for this reason we wanted to assist to the technical session. Probably because of this bad reputation from last year there were quite a few number of participants ~90 to both marathon and cross.

Next day in the morning we were informed that the locals stole some markings from the route and the start will be delayed a bit in order to remark the first climb of the competition (common to both cross and marathon). Talking about stupid people… I really don’t understand this monkeys, what motivates them? Its a big unknown for me. Luckily Luci saved us 🙂 and he started in front of us to remark the first climb and some crossroad common to both marathon and cross route.

I didn’t knew the area, it was my first time in these mountains and I was eager to see them. Around 10 AM we’ve started … very fast. Everybody was running like crazy :). I kept a steady rhythm though and after crossing a rail-road we were on trails. The first climb of the day came quite fast and quite hard, but it was OK. The view was not extraordinary since most of it was through woods.  I arrived to the highest point of this climb which was Piscul Negru 1530 m. In total around 650m +.  After that the route starts to descent quite fast and I’ve met Luci who was guiding us (right for the marathon, left for the cross).  After this point the route become very runnable. A mild descent through a woody road… It was very nice. From time to time I had to lower myself not to hit the branches of the trees which were hanging over the road. Very nice an very green this part of the route.

For some unknown reason I’ve lowered a bit my sight from really far away to a few meters in front of me. The route was very well marked and I was just following the road for a couple of km’s. However our route was continuing through the woods on an unmarked route while I was continuing on the forest road :). I’ve realized this after a few minutes and start to wonder where were the markings. I continued for a few meters and not seeing anything I’ve realized I’ve lost the route :). I’ve turned back but this detour cost me a least 5 minutes. From than on I’ve stooped running with my head in the ground and everything went well.

I’ve arrived quite fast at Balan – a food & hydration point and started the big challenge of the competition. A 3km route with a 600 m+ from Balan to Piatra Singuratica. The climb starts very mild but as you approach Piatra Singuratica it gets very steep and the final portion it looks like the climb to Diana from Plaiul Foii at Piatra Craiului Marathon. However I don’t mind pushing hard on the climbs and I’ve kept a good and steady rhythm. I’ve passed Piatra Singuratica (I have to return here for some rock climbing) where it was a hydration point and entered the last part of this climb up to Hasmasul Mare – 1790m.

After 3h I was up on the highest point of the day, but I’ve started to feel a bit tired. Although I kept having Sponser gels at each 1 h interval my body was tired. My leg muscles were a bit sore as well. Unfortunately from there till almost reaching the finish line I didn’t enjoyed the route as I did at Hercules Marathon. I’ve struggled to continue and to push forward. I’ve kept talking with myself promising that I will never underestimate any competition from now on. Looking back now I think the main problem was the relaxed view that I had in my mind about this event. I was imagining it like a lite jog … Well its not! No matter how hard you train I’m almost sure that you will feel a marathon. Its a looot of running and a looot of climbing. This time however I didn’t struggle to continue as I did last year at MPC. My joints were not hurting at all, just my energy level was low. Anyway after descending from Hasmasul Mare I was back in Balan, had some refreshments and continue on some mountain road. That was the piece du resistance in this marathon :). Why? Well … because it was longer that what I was expecting. It took me almost 45 minutes to get off the road. At the technical session we were told that is 5 km long. That would mean that I did 9 min/km??? No way. I’m almost sure it was longer. Even if I walk I do 1 km/ 9 min. I run about 70% of this road and its impossible to get such a bad time/km :). After this looong road I was up on Piscu Negru again and climb down to Izvoru Muresului finishing this marathon in 5h:45min.

After the finish I spent an enjoyable afternoon with friends chatting about each other experiences in other competitions and a bunch of other minor things which in exchange makes you feel like in a big family :).  This competition marked Rose’s first podium, she finished third in her category at the cross event. Congrats!

I really enjoyed the beauty of this area. It was something new for me and it exceeded my expectations in terms of nature beauty. The route was very well thought offering an excellent view over the most important parts of the route: Piatra Singuratica and Hasmasul Mare main ridge. The route was also very well marked and although I’ve lost the route in the beginning it was my mistake because I was running with my head in the ground. So congrats to the organizers, big thanks to Luci which was like the guardian angel of the competition and we are looking forward to come back here again.

 

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