Photo from Mount Royal, Frisco, Colorado.

"That is happiness; to be disolved into something complete and great. When it comes to one, it comes as naturally as sleep." - Willa Cather

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Inaugural 10k "mountain" race: Maglebjergræset

I showed up over an hour early to a parking lot, seeminlgly in the middle of nowhere, outside of Birkerød. I had no idea if I was near the race start, but then saw two women get out of their car in running clothing.

As I walked over to them, I couldn't help but noticing their conversation: "I heard there is a famous American woman running in this race. I've read lots about her. She has a blog." The other one then says "I think I saw her on tv the other day". The other woman interjects "no, I don't think that was her".

My head grew a couple of sizes. I asked them if they were here for the race, trying to hide my American accent, but to no avail. Of course, when I turned around and saw Kara Goucher, my head shrunk to a much smaller size than before. Okay, I'm kidding about Kara Goucher.

As I warmed up and saw the race markers, I realized that we would not actually be running on trails, but just straight through the woods. And up steep, steep hills. Mountains by Danish standards. Everything was wet and muddy from rain that morning and I had only brough my Ecco Bioms (there are few shoes on the maket with less tread), thinking this would be on regular and untechincal trails. I was very wrong and of course regretted my choice of shoes.

The race had two distances: 5k and 10k. Then there was an additional prize for the first man and woman to sprint up to the top of the first and highest "mountain". The top was after 500 meters. Two days before I had run miles in 6:02, 5:58 and 6:19 (it was a brief interaval session - and okay, I took a brief break half way in the first two :() and was feeling confident I could win the moutain sprint AND the 10k. Jakob, who would also be running, kind of rolled his eyes at the start line as I indicated I wanted to win both. He said (and SR said) it was a bad way to start a 10k.

At the start line, I was right next to the local favorite female, Rikke Nygaard Monrad. She was running the 5k and looked to be in her mid 20's. I knew I had very little chance of beating her, but I almost false started, tripping and stopping myself right before the gun, so excited to simply TRY to beat her (perhaps this gives away how few people there were there that some females also lined up in the front).

We took off and I passed Rikke after about 200 meters. The crowd was yelling her name. It was exciting. We really battled up that mountain and I actually may have sort of elbowed her off of track at some point. I know, I am 31, not 5. There were only 2-3 men ahead of us and then with 50 meters to go, she pulled ahead. Here she was, just after the top.IMG_4581
(thanks to Helle Holm Clausen for this and the next 7 photos)
And here I come, now feeling incapable of running one more step. That's Jesper and Jakob close behind.
But that little mountain was just the beginning. Here are Jesper and Jakob from the back, shortly after they had pulled ahead of me for good. I was in really sorry shape.

I think this gives a fair idea of the terrain. We would not actually run on the muddy trail, but simply over it into more hilly forest (oh yeah, that is me there).

Here was the altitude change over the first and second 5k.

There were also areas simply over large holes in the forest floor where one would slide in and then crawl out again on hands and knees.

I came through the first 5k in 29:20 minutes, with Lene and Mette (a Mette I didn't know beforehand) close behind. The 10k consits of simply running the fist 5k again. Since I saw they both had their eyes on me, I sprinted again, thinking this would be a good scare tactic: making them believe I was full of energy. Sounds stupid, but it worked in the sense that I made myself believe I had lots of energy. I ran the second 5k much smarter and right behind a guy who basically picked a good path through the woods and made my run a lot easier. I came in through the second 5k in 29:29, which is without a doubt the most even 10k split of my life. I was thrilled!!!

I took first place for the women in the 10k with a time of 58:49. Here I am with Rikke, who took first in the 5k in 27:13 (and won the mountain sprint, in case you forgot).

We won a 300 koner ($65) gift certificate to a running store. Rikke also won a t-shirt for the mountain sprint.

Here I am with Lene, who took 3rd despite a wicked sinus infection. Lene, I'm sorry, I know this isn't the best picture of you!

Lene then convinced me to take a picture of Jesper's and my shoes.

It is hard to imagine a more challenging 10k unless one ran in real mountains. It was absolutely a wonderful race, which I hope can continue next year. Here is the race website with results.

Helle happens to live a 5 minute walk from the race start. She had Jesper, Jakob, Lene and I over for a really nice Facebook Løbeklub lunch afterwards. I made a broccoli salad, which I thought was a fool-proof thing to make, but perhaps I was wrong. Luckily, I brought some good brie.

Sorry, no music today!


Jesper Halvorsen said...

Hej Tracy - tak for i dag. Her er et link til det marathon jeg snakkede om


SteveQ said...

Sounds like a fun race, but I find myself playing the "who's the most Danish?" game. The guy on the right in the picture third from the bottom wins - it's not even close!

Feel free to look at Minnesota races and play "spot the loony."

cherelli said...

That sounds - and looks- like one tough, but totally interesting footrace!! Awesome effort on the even splits too (and as for those intervals on the - you go girl, those are awesome improvements!)...

Ewa said...

This was one muddy race. You made it sound like fun and I am a bit envious because I MISS rain!
Congrats on your win. I truly enjoyed your report and pictures.
Oh, I love Danish 'mountains' :)

PiccolaPineCone said...

um, hello? 6:02, 5:58, 6:19... could you PLEASE find a fast, flat, ACCURATE 5 or 10 km road race, tie your shoes TIGHTLY and go run a HUGE PB. If you won't do it for you then do it for me so I can PB vicariously through you!

SteveQ said...
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SteveQ said...
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sea legs girl said...
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sea legs girl said...

Steve, re: Bri/Brie/Erika - I'd say it's more a case of "I told ya so". I said anorexics could never be successful triathletes. She can't even place in her AGE GROUP and is wondering why. Well, I can't help feeling it's probably nutritional and though she looks muscular, it's because she is just super skinny. I can also think of a MUCH more likely explanation for her femoral fracture than fibrous dysplasia (um, osteoporosis comes to mind), but I haven't seen the X-rays, of course. I hate to sound so harsh, but people who call themselves doctors while still a pre-med in college annoy me. She is quite cute, though.

Piccola, though it is fun to taunt you with my intervals and the possibility of a PR, I am not avoiding flat road races to torture you. I guess I just run what I think will be fun (and good preparation for the real mountain marathon in 2 weeks! :)). If I find a flat 5 or 10k this weekend, I'll run it just for you (oh and me - I keep telling SR I could PR big, but he's not so sure).

Tak Jesper - ja det ser rigtig sjovt ud. Jeg var dog lidt overrasket at du har tilmeldt dig til 4.30 timers gruppe. Men løber kunne godt være noget for mig og min mand. Men vi ses til 6 timersløb inden det :).

Helen said...

Woohoo!!! Nice job girl - you are rockin' it these days :)

Awesome pics too - that race just looked like soooo much fun.

PS I also love the new header photo - totally you ;)

mmmonyka said...

Those mile repeats times are impressive!!!!
It seems you choose such fun races (or you make them look fun??).
I love it! But we really want to see a PR in a "real" race now!:)

Fast Bastard said...

A little harsh there, Sea Legs. As someone who had complete strangers tear you apart in a public forum, you should be more sensitive. Seriously. Drtrirunner, if you ever find this post, Sea Legs is not that mean in real life.

And Drtrirunner kind of reminds me of someone... likely female athlete triad, hip fractures, pleasantly OCD, fashionably left-wing, moving around a lot, 5K in sub-20, 10K in 41. Yeah, she reminds me of someone.

Ok, about Sea Legs PR chances. There are several reasons I don't think she can PR. I'm speaking of the 5K here. I think her 5K PR is, like, 19:30. But it was set on a course, where I ran a 16:20 in a very tactical race against a triathlete. It felt short, is what I'm saying.

And she doesn't do well with pressure. And she needs faster women around her to PR; As you know, she wins most of the local races by a few minutes, unless our teammate, Mette Bøgard, shows up, in which case she takes second by a few minutes.

SteveQ said...

You're right - the only two women runners I've known with femoral fractures were on the skeletal side of skinny. I sent you to her site because I knew (KNEW) how much it would annoy you.

I think she's 20 years old - a kid. I cut kids a little more slack.

No pressure to PR on a flat accurate course from me!

mmmonyka said...

Do you wear a watch AND a Garmin while you run???

sea legs girl said...


But of course! How could I know when the race was going to start if I didn't have a watch on? How could I know my pace if I didn't have a Garmin? Technology. Good thing I'm not dependent. I will also add that I also wear both when I run intervals so I can time my breaks.