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

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Salomon Trail Tour Svanninge Bakker ½ Marathon

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.
Dorte came in in 1.36.54 and I came in in 1.39.57. Think that I can come in 3 minutes behind a 1.20 road half marathoner!!! I could have never done this on the road, of course. But I was in my element and if your spirit is in the right place, never underestimate what your body can do.

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.

more goodness

And here were the top 3 men at the finish.

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 California. Wow. Life flies by you. Remember –always- make the most of it.

Runing song of the day: was surprised to hear an old favourite on SR's walkman- Summer Song by The Decemberists


Ingunn said...

You are on fire these days, congratulations!!

Also, a walkman? Is Denmark *that* far behind? ;^)

sea legs girl said...

Hahaha. I wrote walkman to emphasize how far behind my husband is! Ok, so it is techincally an mp3 player, but it is a dinosaur and barely works. It works better for me than my lost i-pod, though.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for explaining the sea legs part. I've always wondered :-)

And congrats on your succesful trail series!


sea legs girl said...

Malene - yeah, I realized recently that probably not a lot of Danes would know that one. It is old marine lingo, but it used more these days in the figurative sense - "getting your sea legs" means adapting to a knew situation. It was very meaningful to me at the time I left my job and everthing I knew to be with SR- and continues to be meaningful today. Weird how that is so much of what life is about! Thanks for commenting!

Anonymous said...

I've learned from these pictures that it is mandatory for men to wear calf sleeves in Denmark:)

I hope all your mentions of 5k didn't have anything to do with you feeling a need to respond to that comment about your 5k time. All the rest of us know perfectly well that being good at a 5k and being good at 100k are not the same thing!


Anonymous said...

TK? The guy hasnt had a credible run in over two years. NB is pimping him like a stripper on a logo'd pole. I really wouldnt read too much into that reported 5k time... its called self preservation. He know's which venue keeps him sleeping in the back of his truck and it sure as hell has nothing to do with asphalt. SLG...
you pitch 5k's and club tri's against the same 4 people and that's all anyone has to reference on you. Your OCD manic f'ing bizarre traits are a total trip, and honestly make an entertaining read. Life's obviously a bitch for you, enjoy it, and next month when the wind shifts and you're back to running the track with that stupid ass GPS in hopes of the elusive 5k PR enjoy that too.

sea legs girl said...

Anon- does TK really sleep in the back of a truck? I am just imagining him writing this beautiful blog while sitting in a pickup now :0). Ok- so no recent good races (I KNOW!!) but he's got talent, no doubt. And committment to "the life". He's just probabaly overdone it the last few years.

As for the 5k PR and garmins on tracks, you know after sitting in amputee clinic and then peds brain injury clinic today- it is hard not to admit in the grand scheme of thing that running is small potatoes (and I always neeed to remind myself of this). But you know, we all just need to keep on doing what we love. And life IS bitchin' right now. :0) Hoping the same for you.

SteveQ said...

I really need to hear Nina's accent. When Debbie Martin-Cosani posted a video that had the voice of "the Gibbering Midget," I was floored (in a good way).