Day One - finished! Germany to Austria in 34k and nearly 2100m elevation gain. In lieu of a polished blog, take a summary in two parts:
Somebody always wants to hear the "real story" so here are the ugly bits for you... feel free to enjoy at my expense.
It was SO HOT that I, who have never downed a salt pill in my life, swallowed nine (including two from a new German friend), took water from two random farmhouse trough taps, and sat in the middle of the trail multiple times clutching my cramping quads. Tried to help my partner, Rene, stay cool by reciting cold things to letters of the alphabet, but didn't get much past "a-ice cream" (I'd spell it how it sounds but then you'd think I'm talking about something else), big blue sea, caramel ice cream and dolphin ice cream (a questionable flavour found in Oberstdorf). Apparently, I wanted ice cream, but I instead found myself standing at an aid station with a piece of unchewed watermelon in my mouth with my eyes closed until I snapped to. Not sure I totally woke up again until we sat in the river at the finish line and iced...well...our entire bodies.
We finished, Rene and I. And we finished together, after doing everything we could to take care of one another. I don't know that I've ever had a day where both my partner and I have suffered so much at the same time - and have worked through it, pulling out every solution in the book. Couldn't have done it without her. After all, seven of those salt pills were hers.
Other people kept us rolling too, and I'm thankful for the positive people that races like this attract. I got to shout hello to Nathan from the mountaintops, and so many new friends from Brazil, Germany, Sweden and Switzerland kept us encouraged - and salted up!
For a laugh
On a big climb, we passed an old couple whose comment in German gave everyone around us a good chuckle. One of our new friends politely asked us how our German was - to which we sadly replied: negligible, unless we're talking food. So he explained: the German couple had taken one look at Rene and I, struggling up the mountain in our matching fluorescent running skirts, and said: well, they're sure not the fastest, but they are the prettiest.