The LT Facebook group is full of packing lists, gear discussions, plans, weather forecasts and lots of pros and cons about every little details of the upcoming Legends Trail. With only one week to go this is probably normal and shows how excited everyone is. 500 or 250 km in the Ardennes ask for the best preparation possible. Lots of hours out there in a terrain with no mercy lay ahead of all of us. All is well.
I am also in the middle of planning the content of both backpack and drop back. Both shouldn’t be too heavy but need to contain everything one can imagine to be prepared for every situation possible. While reading all the posts I have the feeling I could have or maybe should have done more efforts on the packing list and maybe on training too. My plan is to take the following “things” with me:
- The memories of both dislike and attraction back in November 2017 during the LEO180 pre-race dinner. M&M told us about the Legends Trail and on that very moment I thought: Never. Ever. 250k in the Ardennes – one must be mental to even try it. Later that evening we watched Yiannis running while drinking beer – a remarkable evening. Full of doubts on what may lay ahead.
- That memories of the feelings 50k before the LEO180 2017 finish. Broken and cold. DNFing. Far too weak to run far enough.
- The feelings of deep relieve and joy during the TTdR 230 2018. Amazing feeling to finish that race. The moments 5k before the end – during the final countdown – where I was sure that it will become reality. These moments will remain unforgotten.
- The memories of that moment 50k before the finish line during LEO180 2018. Broken and cold again. And with a damaged foot. And alone. 500 reasons why it would be only normal and totally ok to quit. But there was something pushing. It was neither the non-existing coke (no-coke-face-moment-of-my-life) nor the comfortable warmth in the “In den Bockenreyder” restaurant 30k before the finish. While sitting there and cooling my hurting foot I discovered something strange. I somehow did not want to give up my second place. It felt like an effort way too high to bear, but after what felt like years: the finish was there.
- The memories of 2019s Great Escape and Bello Gallico together with M.. The stunning Ardennes, the ups and the downs, the wining and arguing. The moments in pouring, ice-cold rain with no shelter and the decision that the only chance to not freeze to death is to run a little faster… Wonderful finishes!
- The shining memories of LEO180 2019 together with VPsucher. Lots of doubts in between, lots of lessons on how to not sleep outside, a gruelling race against the time and that moment of a LEO180 finish together!
- The memories of countless hours out there with VPsucher striving through the nothingness. Following nonsense GPX instructions. Often confronted with dead ends and a quite resisting nature. But always determined to enjoy and to discover.
- The memories of countless sunrises after nights full of running. The astonishing feeling of energy coming from somewhere back into the body. After hours of darkness – hope and faith returning with each and everyone of these sunrises. The amazing changing colors during that hours…
- The memories of countless and sleepless nights out there. Lonely dots under trillions of stars. Sometimes with a moon so shiny that we could turn out the lights and watch our shadows flying over the silver earth.
You may think this will not matter and will certainly not help during the race. I have the feeling that those feelings, memories and colors will not ease the effort in any way, will not provide shelter and comfort and will not protect me from the out there. But they may be the friends and company I wish to have and they should remind me that it – maybe – can be done. That there may be that shiny moment of crossing the finish line.