At Ryzon, we live and love sport. Activity. Nature. Stuck full of energy. So it's no wonder that one or the other meeting quickly turns into a walk, a trip or a joint soccer match. And like any good team, we are a team that supports each other, pursues a common goal and, above all, that enjoys spending time together.
Thanks to the 32 hours that we are currently testing in our team, there is enough time to find a balance to concentrated work phases or to experience new things together with the "Tribe". Marie and Elisa from the Ryzon Tribe tell how a couple of the Ryzon girls from Cologne ended up at the Pitz Alpine Glacier Trail, a trail running event in Tyrol, and discovered trail running for themselves despite a few meters in altitude.
Running - my favorite of the three favorite sports of all triathletes in the world: swimming, running and cycling. But what happens when you send a bunch of exactly these athletes, who are also at home in the Cologne lowlands, to a Glacier Alpine trail run on a three-thousander in Austria?
That's right, half the team grabs their heads in shock and says "Whaaat, do you really want to do that, who came up with the idea?"
A crazy idea last summer became serious towards the end of last year and we decided with eight girls to tackle the "Ryzon goes Pitztal Alpine Glacier Trail" project. Including two of us (including me), who had the great idea of running 30km directly over hill and dale, because we slowly "want to move on to longer competitions" (all triathletes know the sentence - but I've never been over 22km before walked and I can still count the few long distances on one hand).
The ideas back then: we do many long preparatory runs together, drive to the Siebengebirge to train on trails and the most important of all points, we still have forever until August 2021. Dandelion! Summer was approaching and almost all of us had to realize that time went by a little faster than expected and although we did our usual triathlon training, we didn't really walk a single meter in altitude.
So in mid-June we started a few more attempts to collect a few of the dreaded vertical meters in training and ran up and down the Jahn monument (Kölle's only "mountain") what felt like a thousand times (small spoiler: about 10 times up and down the Jahn monument). result in only about 120hm - so it remained exciting). At the beginning of August the time had finally come and we started our trip to the Pitztal. The very next day, starting numbers were handed out and pre-activation with a breath of mountain air was announced, which made everyone's nervousness rise significantly.
When the day of all days, Saturday August 7th, finally came, I realized that I was allowed to stand at the starting line with Anna Hahner and Co. in the elite field of the race - thanks to my target time given last year. Now I secretly wished for my usual environment back and prayed that it was still a triathlon that I would start right away. Unfortunately no, unfortunately not at all: the gun went off and I ran the first kilometer (next spoiler: but really only this one first kilometer) together with the elite runners. After that, everyone went straight into the first ascent, which meant for me: grit your teeth and firmly believe that the unspeakable calf pain will eventually subside and that the entire ascent will be worth it with the first glimpse of the Riffelsee and everything will be forgotten. It was like that in the end. With the first climb still in the legs, we went down through the only passage with spectators to the Riffelsee and then continued on some somewhat "flatter" passages until the next climbs (I stopped counting at some point) came. There were even a few via ferrata passages with ropes for us 30km runners, which I was very scared of beforehand, but weren't too bad during the run thanks to enough adrenaline in the veins. Over the 30km, I kept making new short-term runners: inner friendships, which resulted from the different running speeds and have stayed in my head to this day. The comradely atmosphere, nice conversations, walking up and down mountains together in breathtaking nature releases inner strength and willpower, which I have rarely been able to experience before! Despite all the positive feelings, a slightly uncomfortable thought kept coming to my mind: hold out until kilometer 20! Absolutely! Because from then on it goes downhill and you "just" have to let it roll! That's exactly how it was then. Having overcome the last "cliff" (sorry for the non-trailrun jargon), I finally saw the slightly wider gravel path, which made it possible to finally get a little more speed than in the often very narrow and rocky trails. Luckily, my legs carried me almost cramp-free the last eight kilometers with the thought mantra: "It'll be done in a moment; think about the moment afterwards; think about the happiness afterwards; think about how proud you can be of yourself when you do it done; this is your longest run so far; you can do it" to the finish. I did it and couldn't believe it myself!
Suddenly all tension fell away from me, which I didn't even know before that it was so present.
I was allowed to experience an overwhelming feeling of joy in that moment. And that together with the greatest girls in the world, who were waiting for me two meters away and welcomed me at the finish line with loud cheers! That's the best feeling ever! I was able to enjoy the moment for a short time, but then all of a sudden I had a completely different feeling: thirst, water, sugar - and preferably quickly! Now the joy of the refreshments at the finish and finally being able to have a drink in peace took over and I first had to fill up all my storage tanks before I could continue to enjoy the entire scenery and the finish line. I also saw my running friends that I found on the route again at the finish and had a short chat with everyone. I didn't feel the exertion in my legs too much in the first few hours directly after the run, so I worked up the next few hours with Ziel-Coke in my stomach. But the hammer came the next day with full force and the sore muscles promised to stay and not go away quite so quickly. Exactly this feeling manifested itself on the second day and boom, there it was and stayed: the sore muscles of my life – for a whole week!
But even this can't have been that bad after all, because a day later in our cozy eight-bed room with a youth hostel feeling, we decided to choose the next trail run competition directly and would like to persuade all sorts of people in the world to do the same sign up to have this incredible rollercoaster of emotions and experience too! In conclusion, I am very satisfied with my time and the overall 7th place in the women including the elite field and can now say: triathletes can also run trails - albeit a bit slower and more carefully (especially downhill), but possibly with all the more joy and fun on the matter!
For me, running is the easiest way to switch off and leave all the stress of everyday life behind for a few minutes. But running also allows me to gather new energy, recharge my batteries and the best ideas come from running. I started running during my studies. Basically, I wrote my bachelor thesis during the course. The longer the run, the more creative I became and suddenly I was able to formulate the sentences very simply. I completed my bachelor's degree a long time ago, but I kept running.
But how does a hobby runner, who only knows the mountains from skiing in winter, come to drive from Cologne to the Pitztal for eight hours in order to run 16 km and 850 hm voluntarily?
The answer: I didn't really know what I was signing up for.
I just heard that three more girls from Ryzon are going to start. A quick check to see if I had the weekend off and then I simply said, okay, I'll come with you without even knowing what I'm going to do there.
The first question on the day of arrival was: Have you trained for this? The general answer was yes, well I ran a couple of times but not really.
Well, so we were all perfectly prepared.
I didn't feel really in shape, but I just wanted to. Desire to finally have a competition again and desire the excitement and atmosphere at such events. I didn't have any expectations and I didn't set myself a time goal, I just decided to enjoy the run and have fun.
When I stood at the front of the starting line on Saturday morning, I was already very nervous. But after the first meters I was completely in my element. The first 600 hm were in the first few kilometers and I had the most respect for the climb. So I divided my forces nicely. Nevertheless, I was very happy when I saw Nils, our photographer, shortly before the end of the climb, because I knew then that I had survived the worst part of the route - at least that's what I thought at that moment.
After we had circled the Riffelsee, it went downhill. First I enjoyed the beautiful view and just let it roll. But I quickly noticed that going downhill isn't so easy either.
My thoughts have been circling around, worrying about twisting my ankle or falling down the slope to my left. At the same time, I didn't want to lose any time, because I knew I was on the right track.
Eyes shut and go for it. I should have practiced that.
Arriving at the bottom without a fall, a wide gravel path led the last few kilometers to the finish. Here we were able to step on the gas again. At some point I looked at my watch and saw that I could finish in less than 2 hours 30 minutes.
That's when I got ambitious: that would mean I had a chance of being in the top ten.
My endorphins kept rising and when I crossed the finish line my watch read 2 hours 27 minutes! Made!!!
Only one of our girls squad had made it to the finish before me and hugged me.
I was completely overwhelmed. It wasn't quite enough for the top ten, but nevertheless I was seldom as happy as after this run.
Now it was just a matter of waiting for the others to come. When everyone was there, the relief was more than visible on every face.
After the tension and the adrenaline had slowly gone, we all just longed for relaxation. The legs were heavy and slowly I realized that I would probably have the worst sore muscles of my life. And so it was!
But it was worth it. Born out of a crazy idea, we have all become trail running fans. That means: train properly next year and then the 32km are waiting for me.
But no matter what distance. One thing is clear: this won't be my last trail run.