Photo from the 2014 Ice Age Trail 50 Miler by Ali Engin. Permission to use header photo must be obtained through Ali Elgin.

"Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive." - Howard Thurman

Saturday, 12 December 2009

A beautiful, beautiful place... to take off all your clothes

No, don't worry. What is about to follow could not be a chapter in a dirty romance novel.

I had started to think there weren't too many interesting places to run in Denmark. But when we drove out to the farm country around Maglesø (south of Holbæk) we saw the most amazing scenery I have seen here. Striking and steep forest-lined hills around a lake with no signs of civlilzation, but a little cabin, where all of the runners gathered before our second "cross" race.

The sun was out today and it was about 2 degrees celcius (the coldest day of the year here so far). As we warmed up, the already setting sun felt good and was almost blindingly bright.

It was about an 8.5 km race. We never found out what the real distance was. The race directors said 8.2 but Mette's garmin said 8.6. Here is SR before the race.

We warmed up for a good half an hour. Man, did I realize the importance of that on such a cold day. There were lots of crazy Danes there. And more women this time. I was excited for some good competition.

The gun went off and I just held onto Mette as usual. Happily, I didn't have as much trouble doing that today. I felt great. We went over muddy trails and up unrunnably steep hills, bounded down again and then next to the lake. Definitely the best race trails we have been on in Denmark. We ran the same loop three times. Mette pulled away, but I stayed with the same group of three guys. I felt really good the entire race, but got really winded on the last huge hill before the finish line.

Here is the finish line and I am trying to outsprint the guys I had run with the entire race.
But here I am coming in alone after being handily beaten by all of them.



I finished in around 43 minutes, 2nd woman, a minute and a half after Mette and about a minute before the next women. And I hope Mette forgives me for including this one of us at the finish line.


SR came in 3rd and had a really good race.

And then, at 3:00 pm (17 minutes later) we had the 3k race. Same route, just one loop. And we needed to get it in quickly before it was completely dark. Tons of younger participants joined in for this one. After the gun went off, everyone below 20 raced ahead with lightning speed. But no worries. I passed them all after less than a half a km when they realized it wasn't a 50 yard (or meter) dash. I felt completely renewed; much better than I had felt on the last lap of the 8.5k. I held close behind Mette the whole time, but there was a 17 year old girl who beat us both.

I came in 3rd and SR took 4th for the men. Our 18 year old friend, Peter, took 2nd.

Now it was getting cold and we all, of course, had sweaty clothes on. I looked around the cabin deck to see a woman changing into a transparent lace-bra and then another woman with her shirt just off. Sometimes it is very clear I am not in Wisconsin anymore. I was somewhat excited to join in the fun, but I have to admit my sports bra stayed on.

On the way to the car, SR and I enjoyed the cookies Mette had baked and then ran into a guy we had raced the Copenhagen 6 hour race with. I stopped and talked with him for a second while SR loaded up the car. He started telling me about a 24 hour race in June. As he was talking, he casually started to pull down his pants, and was then just standing there in his underwear pontificating about ultras and adjusting his glasses from time to time. Nothing strange here.

Running song of the day: none (didn't bring the headphones today), but if you really want to hear a good Celine Dion song, my favorite is "Pour que tu m'aimes encore"

3 comments:

olga said...

Of course there is nothing strange. I do it all the times. Although in UT volunteers got kind of scared at the 50M AS where I did full change. You know, mormons and all...but those who know me had adjusted and at times even enjoy:) Good racing, guys!

Meghan said...

This is a cute post, and, boy oh boy are you right about other cultures and their varying comfort levels with unclothedness! I experienced this at the very international Marathon des Sables, where I'm pretty sure I was the most prudish around race camp. Then again, when you're in a Muslim culture and the race population is only 14% women, there might be a few other good reasons to keep one's clothes on. Cute story, though!

SteveQ said...

I can't count how many times I've been told to "put some clothes on; you're not at a race any more."

One more new song: "Answer to Yourself" by Soft Pack. Garage rock with really deep lyrics.