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

Saturday, 24 April 2010

The Copenhagen Ultra 2010 (though I just ran the marathon)

I should say all of my races are "just training". It makes me look more like a superstar. But it sure doesn't help me get a good night's sleep. And it was an early 8 am start (that is the earliest start time of any race I have been to in Denmark). But 4 hours always ends up being more than enough. I have never once noticed sleep deprivation in a race.

What a perfect day for running: sunny, cool and a moderate wind. Okay, so the wind was the only thing I could have done without. There were 125 runners in all, 45 in the marathon and the remaining 80 split between the 60k and 100k races.

The 60k and 100k started first. We waited as they lined up and I met a man with these VIBRAM shoes:

He said he was "fully converted". I have to admit I am intrigued.

But our race was about to start. SR gave me a kiss (without tongue). We had a 2.2k loop around Tueholmsøen, the same lake we ran around in the 6 hour in the fall. And then would run 4 laps of 10k on route I had not seen.

As we started, 3 women raced out ahead of me. Trust me when I say I wasn't worried. I don't mean to sound like a know it all, but I could see they were starting too fast (not that I cared about place, of course, as this was just a training run ;)). By the end of the first 2.2k, there was 1 woman ahead of me. To everyone's shock, instead of turning left to start the 10k loop, she turned right to do the lake again. Her friends yelled after her "Camille! Vend om!" But she was listening to music. One of the aid station workers ran after her and I didn't see the end of it and didn't see her for the rest of the race. And that's how I became the leading woman after 2.4 km.

There was one woman close behind me. This was Linda Kjäll from Sweden. I only knew about her because SR had said she would be my main competition.
This was, by the way, more of a Northern European event than a Danish one as there were tons of Swedes and Germans there. Why Sweden and Germany? Because they are the only two countries one can drive directly to Denmark from.

Back in the race, I could see behind me that Linda was trying to hold on, but I also had a strong feeling she wouldn't. I raced at a comfortable 7:45 mile/min pace and felt I could hold it.

The scenery was gorgeous! I was really happy to see such peaceful, rural course in the middle of Albertslund. There were beautiful rolling fields with furry, stout horses. And our route went on a nice earth, farm path for about 1/4 of the 10k. When we turned into the wind, it got harder, but I still felt unlabored. I figured it was time for me to just enjoy a peaceful race, where hopefully nothing would go wrong. And when you're not fighting with another female, a race IS a lot easier to just enjoy.

Here are some pictures I stole from the internet of the course:

The course was more or less as flat as can be. There were small bridges and turns and little ups and downs, but aside from the wind, it was a fast course.

After the first 10k, I still felt the same and kept my spirits high. Here I am after 12.2 km.

I kept a pretty even pace through the loops and enjoyed passing the 60 and 100k'ers, since they had started earlier and had run 2.2 k less. The women, without exception, got scared when I passed them and all sped up at least a little to see if they could keep up with me. There was no way to tell from our numbers who was running what.

Here were my splits on the first 3 10k loops:

I stopped at every aid station to both eat and drink, except for the first two and the last two, so that made four aid stations per lap. I didn't eat much for breakfast and stupidly at a small dinner the night before, so I needed calories. I found myself wishing I had a gel, but got along fine with peanuts and cinnamon rolls. It was not a hot day, but I only drank sports drink and no water.

With 5k to go, my legs were feeling tired, but I knew I'd come in under the planned 3:30. How much, I wasn't sure. I ran the last half km with quite a lot of speed and ended up with a 3:27:10, getting a PR by over 10 minutes and feeling confident I could run under 3:20 at the Copenhagen Marathon. I felt happy and good and earned a solid first for the women's marathon. I was really pleased since I'd run such a fast half marathon 6 days before and a 50 miler 3 weeks before. Plus my left hip, which had been bothering me, got better and better as the morning progressed. I'm not sure if it's yoga that prevents injury so well, but I can't really identify anything else.

(I should add that my Garmin said 26.20 miles on the dot, so I still have to wonder about last week's half marathon, but I digress...)

SR also won the mens' marathon with a time of 2:50:58, shaving 11 minutes of his his PR and feeling good.

We both had a great day and I think it is safe to say that, though the route was pretty, It was nice to not have to do it 10 times. BUT, this route was perfect for fast times. It was so exciting to witness Kenneth Munk running for and achieving the Danish record in the 100k, with a time of 6:57:35. But every reader who cares about that probably already knows. But you might have not seen THIS photo I snapped of him :).

And here is a picture from right after he got the record (which he beat by one minute), which was taken by the race director, Charley.

Here are all of the results and a link to more pictures:

Here is the second place female, Linda Kjäll, and me. All Swedes think I'm stupid because they can't hear I have an accent when I speak Danish, but, unlike all other Danes, I can't understand them. So we had to speak English. And it's never as big of a problem as I think it will be.

Henriette had an awesome marathon, despite getting 1k off course and took 4th for the women.

And here SR's and my respective trips to the podium.

We both got a super huge trophy, a t-shirt and a really nice New Balance water bottle belt.

I can't end a blog post with the words "water bottle belt", so I will mention that I listened to music the entire marathon, but only six songs, over and over. I love repeating songs when I am in a good rhythm. Here were the songs:

The Balcony by Rumor Said Fire
Zero by Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Your Rocky Spine by Great Lakes Swimmers
Kick Drum Heart by the Avett Brothers
Dance Floor by The Apples in Stereo
Nobody but You by The Apples in Stereo

Now we're going to enjoy perhaps the only night of our lives where SR and I are BOTH marathon winners :). Thanks to Charley Prødel and the many volunteers for a wonderfully organized and beautiful race!


Unknown said...

You are amazing!! You guys won a marathon, I am just in awe at how cool that is!
Congratulations and great photos!

cherelli said...

WOW - phenomenal race time! Congratulations!!

Danni said...

Great job and congrats on the huge PR! That's awesome!

Olga said...

That is pretty neat that both of you ended up winners:) Could become a family tradition.

Michelle said...

I won't lie. I am incredibly jealous of your natural talent! I am too slow to ever win anything. Maybe that's why I've switched my focus to cycling, lol!!

Congrats to you and SR!

Ewa said...

What a great 'training' race! Congratulations to both of you.
And btw, the Vibram Five Fingers are really, really cool.

SteveQ said...

Great race, blah blah blah... (More interesting that a guy can do a sub-7 100K and be an unknown to me)

More importantly, that's a great song list, but the best running song of the year is "Forced to Love" by Broken Social Scene. Trust me, you'll be playing it a lot.

PiccolaPineCone said...

Hello! You just ran a 10 minute PR in a TRAINING RUN! I love it! Awesome! 10 minutes... goodness, that's time to shower, dress, drink a cup of coffee, change a diaper and still have some time to spare to go over to my blog and enter your prediction already :)
Seriously, congratulations! I'm psyched for you!

Helle said...

Hey. Congratulations. You are such a strong couple!

May-Britt Hansen said...

It seems to be the season for new PRs ;-)
Congratulations to the both of you on a victory and PR :-)