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

Friday, 30 September 2011

The Inaugural Å til Åsen

When I left you two weeks ago I had just gotten my body out of the shape of a capital gamma symbol after intervals. If you had heard that I subsequently have been laying on cold, cement floor in the dark, unable to get out of the gamma position, I can reassure you that this rumor wasn't true.

Nope, the truth is that I got myself into an even more precarious position, and that was one of race director. It is probably not the best time to debut as a race director when you have a two month old. In fact I had NO CLUE how much time an event like this would require. (an event like this= 5k, half marathon and marathon on an out and back trail).

The race appeared in our local paper, Sjaellandske, a couple weeks before it was run and it suddenly turned from what I like to consider a "cannonball" run (low-key and arranged at the last minute) to Naestved's new trail race for charity. And with that, I needed to step it up. It needed to run flawlessly. I needed to get official permission of all of the land owners the trails went through (and for this I needed to personally walk up to the door of some enormous estate owners and beg and plead). I needed to seek local sponsorship for things like energy drink and prizes. I ended up getting Sportmaster, Maxim and Spar Nord (the latter is a bank that even donated $400 to Unite for Sight because they like sponsoring local events). And suddenly I had created this giant and I nearly cracked under the pressure. It also drove SR nuts. But when it came down to it, he was out setting up race markings, aid stations, etc. with me from sun up to sun down the day before the race.

Since Unite for Sight fund raising events require that I personally spend no money on fund raising, I also needed to get the blessing of our local athletic club to use their signs, their plastic ribbons and arrow maker, their cups and water canisters and chairs and tables, etc., etc.

And it was amazing how people offered to help - even some people at the last minute. Some people helped the entire day and even on days leading up to it (yes, Stig, Anette, Morten, Mathilde, Hoeg family, mom, I am talking about you!)

Oh my gosh - now I am boring you- but seriously, the night before the race I vowed repeatedly "I will never do this again" and SR was happy to chime in: "no, you WILL never do this again".

But then at 9:30 am the day of the race, the runners came. They had smiles on their faces and were nervous. They were charming and enthusiastic. They had dressed in their best race clothing and had taken money along and food to share at the aid stations. And the volunteers came and were also smiling and willing to help out. And suddenly organizing a race was wonderful.

And it was fun to try to keep things organized.

And Anette from our tri club was watching Mattias.

And The Lorax was watching his little cousin, Ayla.

SR and I held a rather flighty, only potentially helpful race briefing. And the runners started to line up.

Even I ran the 5k, hoping to keep runners from getting off course in the beginning. Having run nearly 180 km (109 miles) in the last 8 days, I wasn't going to set a PR, especially not on a hilly course. 21:17 was what I managed and that was fine.

How did the race go for everyone else?

Well, you can read Daniel's report here (in English). Or you can try to translate this section of a two page article from our local newspaper. Luckily, we had perfect weather and runners who seemed to love the challenging route.

Even Kim seemed to enjoy the half marathon route with a baby and jogger! The above newspaper article actually followed Kim through the route (the reporter was on his mountain bike). Just in case you were confused, Kim is a guy's name in Denmark.

Here are the results .

And suddenly, both SR and I found ourselves saying "of course we'll do it next year".

Plus, we raised $1481 for Unite for Sight.

And businesses have approached me about sponsoring next year. And I find myself unable to say no. Å til Åsen may just become a Næstved tradition.

Just have to add that I am writing this from the US - and in just two days we'll be running The Milwaukee Marathon. Goal: qualify for Boston and don't get injured before the Glacial Trail 50k next weekend. I am not good at road marathons (even my PR was set in a marathon half on trails). SR, on the other hand, is going for a PR and I think he will do it.

I have so many mixed feelings about being back in the US, but that will all come out in another post.

Running song of the day: Vi Lægger Ingenting I Dage by Tue West


Mapp said...

Good to hear from you : I was started to wonder if something had gone wrong (I mean, two weeks without blogging!). Glad your race went well : sound slike a lot of work, but a lot of fun too!
(on a side note, we've got news, too... if you have a couple of spare minutes in your crazy schedule!).
Good luck for this weekend and next!

cherelli said...

Awesome SLG!! Congrats on organising the inaugural (haha) annual event! Hey, at least it increases the chances that some of your blog readers will get over there to enjoy it in the future too :) Welcome back to the Nth American continent - and good luck in your marathon, hope you set a road AND overall PB!!

DDitlev said...

180 km in 8 days! Wow, you keep impressing me :) You already know that I think you (plural) did an excellent job with the race. I'll be happy to join again next year. I totally agree trail > road! Good luck with the upcoming races!

Diana said...

Congrats on such a successful event. I'll have to mark my calendar for next year! :)
Good luck to you and SR tomorrow in Milwaukee! Sending lots of positive vibes your way.

RunnerWoman said...

You're in Wisconsin??? STAY PUT!!! We'll be there on Thursday! Don't move an inch!
You could have knocked me over with a feather when I read you were trying qualify for Boston... I thought big city marathons on asphalt were the epitome of everything you dislike??? but don't get me wrong, I am super excited that you are gunning for a PR on fast(?), road course. GO FOR IT GIRL! That's awesome (tie your shoes laces double!!). Though I hate the say it but qualifying for Boston is actually the easy part of getting in. Registering before the race sells out is far, far more challening. Last year it sold out in a few hours so make sure you are on the ball on the day registration opens.
Finally huge congratulations on your debut as a race director. What an amazing accomplishment.

pernillesarup said...

Yay! Of cause you have to do a sequel!
And it will be SO much easier next time around, because you know the drill.

Best of luck over there!

Danni said...

Nice work! I RD a small trail run and it's super stressful. The good thing is once it's been going some years and is well established and easier to put on others will volunteer to take it over :p

SteveQ said...

No one appreciates what race directors do until they try it. The one time I did it, I got a phone call saying that the race director of a local race quit and would I be willing to take over? After I said yes, I was told the race was the next day and the course hadn't been laid out! No permits, no volunteers, no numbers or awards... nothing.

In 2008, after I dropped out of the Sawtooth 100, Larry (race director) drove me to the finish, pulling up course marking flags from the door of his truck while still moving, just to save time - and started the 50 Mile and marathon races at the same time. That's multi-tasking!

sea legs girl said...

Runner Woman/PPC! You're coming to Wisconsin on Thursday???? Aaaahhh!!! It's too good to be true. Wherever you are, we will find a time to meet you! Oooh. And then you can run the Glacial Trail 50k :). Sound fun? (even pregnant, you might win for the women...).

I gotta admit I had no idea Boston Marathon registration closed to quickly. Thanks for the pointer!

Kate said...

Nice work! I continue to be amazed by all that you're able to do with a two month old, since, you know, my youngest is only a few weeks behind yours in age. You sometimes leave me wondering, "What am I doing wrong here?" (that would be especially true on the days that I can't even seem to manage a shower.) : )