Where do you come alive? These days I come alive on trail runs. Maybe it is some lame excuse for not running as fast as I would like on pavement, but I don’t think so. Once you experience true, gritty, gorgeous and wild trail racing, road racing just seems like boring work.
Now I am part of two trail racing teams: Team USA and Team Salomon Denmark. Maybe my days of proving something on the road are over. I read in Bryon Powell’s book that Tony Krupicka’s 5k PR was somewhere just under 17 minutes. And that is a great example of the fact that you don't need to have a super fast 5k to be an outstanding ultra runner. (I think people have gone a bit overboard thinking the opposite) If Anton's PR were 15, would he be that much better at running a mountain 100k? Probably not. (I actually think he’d get worse if he focused his training on a 5k). I often think weird things like SR would be even better at marathons and ultras is he weren't so dang fast at short distances.
I remember having what I though was a great first 50 miler at the North Country Trail run where I came in 3rd among tough competition- and soon thereafter went on to take absolute LAST in the 400 meter at a track meet. I’d never even tried to run 400 meters before – and why should I? My arms went completely numb and I almost threw up and I was like- why on earth do people do that??
I’ll tell you why- because regular interval training gives you 1. better running technique and 2. makes all the long stuff feel easier.
So you’ll see me at the track, but don’t expect me to show up at too many road races. (until that one day in the future when I secretly show up at a road marathon and NAIL that sub 3 hour goal)
Sunday. What an awesome day. I drove with Dorte Dahl and Anne-Mette Lindgaard to Faaborg on the island of Fyn. This my coach’s island. Lots of people around here have their island. Anyway, in the south of this island are what Dorte affectionately calls “The Danish Alps”. They are better and worse than the Alps. They are nowhere near as steep as the Alps, but they have continuous views of the ocean and the green, bucolic countryside. They are called Svanninge Bakker.
|Hello- might look like normal American terrain, but this race would be killer!|
|Awaiting the start: Anne-Mette, Dorte, Anne-Marie and Nina (Nina had won the Hammer Trail 50k and I suddenly realized I had competition for 2nd!)|
|Dorte, Dorte, Dorte. Previous Danish Orienteering champion in these very hills. Ole told med to hold onto her as long as I could. This woman is the WORLD masters champion of mountain running 2012. She comes to win.|
And in breaking news - Dorte will be visiting the US to run UROC with me! Watch out - I am predicting a money prize for her. After spending all day with her on Sunday and a large part of the day on Saturday, I know her secrets, now I just need to figure out how to use them to my advantage.
So the race starts and I hang on to Dorte and Nina hangs on to me and we are going at an absolute breakneck pace. I feel more breathless than at the start of a 5k. Branches, long grass, steep hills up and down. My whole body hurts in the very best way and Nina drops back. Phew. Dorte is a machine, but after 4km I am still right on her tail, along with two other guys. At some point the three of us drop back and Dorte pulls ahead. Here were some pictures from the tamest part of the race, near then end - a beautiful pine needle covered forest.
Thanks to Salomon for all of the gorgeous and free race pictures!!
|I ran with Peter the entire way- until the very end when somehow I pulled away. It was honestly great to have his company. Especially when at some point he asked "Um- is your name Tracy? The one on Team USA? Hahaha. OMG I am famous! Among like 100 people... anyway!|
What can I say other than that I absolutely loved this race? When we weren't going uphill or leaping over stairs and ladders – or wading through waist deep mud and water – I kept it at just over 4 min/km pace. I didn’t get tired. I didn’t slow down. This is what an ultra runner does- this is not what a 5km runner does. And it is interesting because though I felt Dorte had gotten real far ahead of me, she started to slow at the end. I really think this reflects the training she does, which seems to be to peak around 10km.
Here are the results. Whatever it was that happened out there for me, I want to bottle it up and use it again in Wales. Even Ole seemed a bit shocked with my race and has lightened up my training schedule a bit before July 6th. I agree that it is not a bad idea to start the taper now. The worst thing that could happen would be for me to get injured now. So I am thinking a la Amy Sproston with DVT and PE before the 100km worlds that I will get the most out of laying low.
I won a pair of Salomon mountain running shoes, which Kim at Salomon allowed me to switch to the S-Lab Sense Ultra. There is a great review on irunfar and I am thrilled to get to own a pair. The S-Lab Sense are continuing to work well for me on the technical terrain of the Salomon races. They give you such a feeling of power on the trails. I guess you could run on roads with them, but why?
|I had time to change clothing after the race- look at my awesome new jacket!! (I was given a whole bag of new clothing at the finish line- thank you! The jacket is so light. (the shoes are my post-race relaxers- I didn't run in NB ;-))|
|Nina is such a sweet person despite her very confusing Jylland, Odense, Roskilde accent. It is too much fun hanging out with these ladies.|
1. Claus (from Team Salomon), 3. Anton and 2. Jonas
Time for bed. What a crazy time in our lives right now! Tomorrow SR and Christian get home from the US. The next day I leave for
. Wow. Life flies by you. Remember –always- make the most of it. California
Runing song of the day: was surprised to hear an old favourite on SR's walkman- Summer Song by The Decemberists