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, 21 April 2010

Danish ultras are boring and repetitive

Or that is one opinion you could have. This coming weekend, we are going to be participating in our second Danish ultra, The Copenhagen Ultramarathon, though we will just be running the marathon as a training run and actively observing the 60 and 100k's.

In order to understand Danish ultras, you need to understand the way Danes view their countryside. "I have been out hiking on some trails behind Mogenstrup Kro that are so beautiful, you actually think for a moment you aren't in Denmark anymore" said an 80 something member of the Dansk Vandrelaug, as she stood naked in the pool lockeroom rubbing lotion into the skin of her breasts.

While Danes love their countryside, they seldom find it exciting or remarkable. And maybe this is why ultras tend to be run on repeated asphalt loops instead of forest or countryside trails.

A typical Danish ultra is the one this coming weekend.
Vis Copenhagen ultramarathon på et større kort

A 10k asphalt loop repeated either 6 or 10 times to make 60 or 100k (the marathon is a 2.2 km detour followed by 4 loops). The attractive part of these races is they are easy to measure, easy to plan for and allow for fast times. But what is lacking is the "I wonder what natural wonder awaits me around the corner". The exact opposite of Danish ultras is the Trans Alpine: a winding trail/rock line across several countries, often taking the most challenging route. The most extreme Danish ultra is 6 days straight of running a 1.023 km loop on the island of Bornholm. May-Britt, who some of you have gotten to know through her comments on this blog, holds the Danish female record in the 6 day race. How can one have the mental discipline to keep running, I have to wonder!

I personally love the stunning, wide open Danish countryside and the charming forests carpeted with wildflowers. I would love to see more exploratory ultras here. As I have mentioned, I want to organize a trail 80k with start and finish at Gavnø Slot, but can't do it alone and don't know if Danes and/or foreigners would be interested in this.

I really look forward to this weekend, though, and will enjoy the mental and physical challenge this loop format brings. Although my legs felt like shredded tires as I tried to run intervals today. Despite it being a fast course, I don't think I can aim for a wildly fast time. A 3:30 seems reasonable. I think SR could get a really fast time, but he is also just treating this as a training run.

My running song of the day, Dance Floor by The Apples in Stereo, is hot off the presses. If you don't like the song, you may like Frodo singing like a robot. I think I exceeded the reasonable limit today for the number of times one can listen to a song in a row while running. By the way, does anyone ever listen to the songs I recommend besides me?


PiccolaPineCone said...

Still regarding your last post as to whether to report official race time or Garmin time... I think this video very nicely demonstrates what happens when a runner does not take the shortest route possible (well worth a watch if you have 1:44 to spare):

sea legs girl said...

OMG! That was sooo cute!

Also regarding my last post... there is still a heated discussion going on on the Danish running forum as to whether or not such a large distance discrepancy could be a result of taking wide turns.

SteveQ said...

Bange Sokolowska wins the baby race again? My bookie's making a fortune!

I saw Apples in Stereo in concert - kinda wish the guy with mutton chops was part of the real band - and I do listen to most of your recommendations (the English ones at least).

SteveQ said...

btw: my last two posts have music just a tad different from your usual fare.

Danni said...

I almost always check out your recommendations since I often end up downloading them to my iPod :-)

sea legs girl said...

SteveQ, I saw The Apples in Stereo, too, in 1996 opening for Pavement. It was so cool because I actually got to meet them in person since it was such a small concert. I have always felt like they were long lost friend since then. Did you see them on the same tour? I'll have to mosey over to your blog to hear some of the new music.

Danny, thanks for letting me know. The funny thing is, I bet like half the time you're like, "God, SLG, this one sucks!" Oh, well. At least the other half might give you a little joy.

Lars Merrald said...

Perhaps you should have a look at this race for the future -
50 miles this year + half or full marathon.

Unknown said...

Great video! Oh, Elijah...

sea legs girl said...

Hi Lars, Thanks. Yeah, we'll have to run that one next year. Looks great. I guess we'll have to use the Copenhagen Ironman to qualify.

Emily, Are you an Emily I know? Og a new Emily? Thanks for the comment :).

Diana said...

I love your music recommendations! Keep 'em coming.
That ultra course looks like hell on earth. I sometimes get bored running out and back routes for distances that are a tiny fraction of an ultra. I can't imagine doing a loop like that six or ten times. Props to all of you who can do it, though.

cherelli said...

not sure why I can't access your "Is it getting better?" post - Blogger says the page does not exist?

sea legs girl said...

That's my new way of attracting readers to my blog: pretend I post something and then have nothing there. Genius, huh? Anyway, I posted in and then suddenly had this feeling I shouldn't. And then erased it for good. So now it's really gone.

Lars Merrald said...

Good luck to you and "SR" tomorrow in Albertslund. I think your blog is extremely well written, and I look forward to the race report next week.
Todays music tip could be this one - sorry in danish - idea to the song came up during a running session !

Lars Merrald

sea legs girl said...

Thanks, Lars! I just had time to add the song to my playlist for tomorrow. I actually PREFER songs in Danish, so great suggestion!

Ewa said...

I just stumbled on your blog and I can't believe what I am reading. How can Danes find their countryside unremarkable? I visited Denmark a few years ago and was in awe of carpeted with red poppies fields and cool forests. Sorry you have to pound the pavement. But then Copenhagen is beautiful also. Hope is not too windy.
Good luck.

Helle said...

All the best of luck tomorrow. I look forward to your race report.

sea legs girl said...

Hey Ewa,

Yeah, sometimes I think foreigners can help the natives appreciate what they have. It really IS gorgeous here.

Thank you and Helle for the kind race wishes!