Remind me not to run any more 6 hour races. At least not when they consist of a short asfalt loop. Of course I knew what I was getting into in advance: 2.2 km around a lake again and again. The race was really well-arranged and the runners were friendly and in good spirits. But it was no trail ultra; let's just put it like that.
I now am certain that what I really love about ultras is the long trails and beautiful scenery. The competition, adrenaline and calorie-burning are big plusses, but don't make a race wonderulf on their own. Had this been my first ultra, it may have been my last.
But the result wasn't that bad for SR or me. We ran together for the first hour and then he went ahead while I enjoyed a new music mix. I was the leading woman for almost the first four hours. I tied my marathon PR at 3:39, and figured I was going too fast. Mai-Britt Hansen had been close behind me the entire time. She is generally considered Denmark's best female ultra runner, so it was exciting not only to meet her but to be racing with her. I should have known I didn't have a shot a beating her, but I tend to have an inflated sense of self-worth in ultras.
I ran into SR and we ran together as I fell into second place. He was kind of begging to drop out, but we encouraged each other to keep going. We were both in extreme pain at that point from the pounding on the pavement, so we started running on the uncut grass along the trail. I came through 50k in 4:48, a slow-down but still a 50k PR.
The end of the race was atrocious. I was starving, but couldn't find anything I could stomach among the danish treats. And my legs still killed me. I ran a pitiful 11.4 km in the next hour and 12 minutes. So my ending distance was 61.4km (38.2 miles). My goal was 60 km, so I guess I was happy. I just hadn't expected to crash like that. And in the cold, misty rain, the 6 hours of the race seemed twice as long as the nearly 9 hours of Voyageur. Well, it's over. Oh, by the way, SR ended up with 66.7 km.
Thanks to Charley Prødel and Jan Wolffgang for the photos!
Running Song of the Day: Ghost by Neutral Milk Hotel