Beautiful Tenerife! One of the Canary Islands
Last winter when it was so cold and rainy in London, I imagined a beautiful holiday by the beach. Where, when and what activities could I do?
The answer came quite natural this time as one of my best friends decided to move with her boyfriend Isaak to Tenerife. He signed himself up for the local Marathon and asked me to run with him the Marathon. I said “No” to the Marathon but decided to run Tenerife Bluetrail Half Marathon while I’m there. Why not?
PART 1: Before The Race
Arriving a few days earlier was perfect to enjoy the island. My friend Nicola and I booked an Air B&B in Los Christians (South),a touristy place but in walking distance to the beach.
Isaak showed me one of his regular running routs in Arona (South).
Beautiful, I was impressed by the huge cactus landscape.
We only ran 6km, so I could get a feel how the race might be.
Santa Cruz (North East)
Next day we had to collect the race pack at The EXPO in Santa Cruz. As I stayed in South Tenerife to be close to where my friend lived, we had to drive for one hour all the way up North to collect the race pack.
The Expo had shops with running gear, nutrition and there were fitness activities and shows to watch.
Pic: Got my race number and stepped on 1st place with Tony from the organiser team. Everyone was so friendly and helpful.
The race pack included a few goodies, finisher tech T -shirt, a ticket for the bus to get to the start line (only from two northern cities) and also a tattoo of the route. Green is the Half Marathon, orange the full one. OMG I forgot how tough the incline was. Basically from the start 5km up the mountain, 5km down hill and then a mix until it’s flattened out to finish 20km.
Was I prepared for this hill, ah, mountain?
Not really. In preparation for the race I did run regularly after I finished a Half Marathon earlier in the year. I made it only a couple of times to a hill session in Primrose Hill with team AIRConditioned as I was preparing my move into a new flat.
The running fitness was there but not the muscles to clim a mountain. Being not as prepared as I wanted to be, would only mean one thing… It will be painful. When and where I was about to find out.
Sabine’s race outfit:
- Trail-running shoes by Innov8,
- Camelbak hip belt including a water bladder,
- 3 SIS gels and electrolytes
- a cap with neck cover for the sun, Sunglasses,
- sunscreen to be applied beforehand
- super thin and quick-dry running capri by Adidas.
That fun looking running top “Dirndl” Lookalike I bought in Berlin when I ran the Marathon.
PART 2: Race Day
Tenerife Bluetrail – Media 20km
This Half Marathon (20km) started in Plaza de San Agustín, Los Realejos in the North. The race route varies in paths (32%), tracks (18%) and asphalt (50%) with a cutoff time of 4 hours. The total elevation gain is 2,794 m. The maximum height reached will be 1,092 m above sea level.
So, so important to have a supporter at the finsihline and thanks for driving us.
Los Realejos (North) – Start line
From south Tenerife Stephanie drove Isaak and me all the way up north. She took the left route along the island to get to the start line. Half Marathon and Marathon had different starting points. So it was a 8am drop-off for me and 9am for Isaak.
Nervous and a bit sick from the curvy drive, I just arrived in time, ran to the Toilet and had 5 min to warm up. How do you warm up on an incline? Never done it, so I did swats and heel raises.
It started uphill. Seriously, the incline killed my calfs after 10 min. This was the beginning and I was concerned. I took it easy but my legs are not prepared. My calfs were struggling, but a confident feeling came up. As soon as my body is warmed up and so will my calfs be used to the running conditions, I will feel strong and manage to run this race. I knew I can do it and there was only one way forward anyways.
While the steps were challenging for a lot of runners, my muscle were now warmed up and all the weight training in the gym last year has paying off. I approached each step with the following technique. Imagine doing a squat and you activate your gluts when coming back up. I stepped up with one leg and pushed from the gluts to lift me up while having a relatively straight back. If the step was very high I tried to keep a 90 degree angle of my leg to avoid to put too much pressure on the knee.
Starting this race was just for fun but now I felt strong and got competitive. Damn it! If I would have trained more! While enjoying the uphill more than I thought and without any niggle as my legs were feeling fine, I realise that doing one step up after the other felt very long until I finally reached the top.
The pictures I took are not showing the real deal. Seriously, it was so steep at some points, that I was scared to trip over and fall. I slowed down to feel under control but actually I saw all the local runners running town hill like super easy. “Vamos, vamos”, was someone calling. Meaning something like come it’s downhill! Well, a lot of runners I overtook uphill were now flying downhill you never’ve seen before. Of cause they are locals and used to this landscape. Wow, I was impressed and tried to copy their technique.
Taking bigger steps and trying to loosen the inner break I constantly felt within. I had so much respect of this but it was not ending, so get on with it, my inner voice said. The mountain 5km up had to go 5km down. It took forever. Mentally the downhill was my real challenge. You use different leg muscles which was fine but the pressure I felt on the knee was new to me. Very alert of each step I gained confidence each km.
Pic: This flat part made me think I’m close to the finish line and I speeded up running. Thought for a second, where was the water station? But hey, I got my hip belt anyways.
Pic: Hahaha, I couldn’t believe it! Few km after I thought I would be close to finish, I was just at the water/food station. Lovely stop! I enjoyed fruits and saw familiar faces from the EXPO registration.
Half way though the race! Hahaha, funny and not so funny at the time. My feeling, being close to finish was just due to the fact it took me 2h to manage the mountain.
My usual finishing time for a Half Marathon was 2:15h – 2:20h.
After climbing the mountain so strong then struggling downhill, I had another tough time. I pushed already uphill, my legs were tired after the steep down hill so every little up and down that I hd to manage the last 3km were tough. My legs er tired but I pushed it this time to my limit. I wanted to make it before the cut off time (4h) and I did it. I ran and ran overtaking others as soon as I had flat in front of me. My strength is keeping my steady pace on a flat. Strong mind activated and push trough. I wasn’t in pain, I felt fatigue and this was the first half race I came to my limits but I still got to finish strong.
Awesome feeling when you push, struggle, keep it up to challenge yourself and finish your personal race.
The Finish – META
When I ran into the finish the music was amazing. I saw the dancers and kind of danced into the finish. What a crowd.
7h finisher looking fresh as ever, Isaak.
PART 3: After the Race
Happy faces relaxing on the beach! Now I got a few more days left to enjoy my holiday.
Swimming was the best recovery for my legs. You keep moving them and the cold water is so refreshing! Perfect time with friends too. Bring on the Caipirinhas…
This was a great holiday with a race I never expected to be so challenging and rewarding at the same time. I pushed myself more than I usually do. The next day i payed for it. With the lack of training I was struggling approaching any steps down. Seriously I never had that before. My legs muscles were so burned out that I walked very slow and especially down stairs I had to grab on to something or someone. My muscles were too tired. Shocked that this was holding on for the rest of the holiday. We walked a lot which was the right thing to do.
+ Race organisation was top
+ Beautiful landscape
+ Challenging, tough route. Prepare for it!
+ After Race refreshments and treats were excellent
– Living in South Tenerife was difficult to travel to EXPO and Start.
+/- mainly locals running, only met few internationals, if you speak Spanish it’s a plus.
+ Would absolute recommend the race for the beautiful view and lovely people I met.
I enjoyed the good food and would definitely go back to Tenerife but a race like this only start with the required training beforehand.
Fancy to go on a holiday and running a race? Next years registration is open. The always sell out.
Tenerife Bluetrail book your early bird place HERE
Keep on running!