The ‘ultraloop (ultrarun) Stein’ 2019
The idea is simple; there’s a 2.5km course, and there’s 6 hours to run as many laps as possible… Sounds not only like fun, it’s also good preparation for the crazy plans ahead (the ultra-triathlons that I’m working towards also have short laps… so this is a good day to test some mental strategies!).
Coach is running as well, so after the bets have been placed who’s going to finish in how many kilometers, and how many times I will overtake her (no pressure there…), we drive down south, meet up with Emma who came down to support a bit (and go for a little 3hour run… to come back to the race when there was no race anymore…), and we set up our nutrition-table; just a simple table with lots of food… gels, bars, sports-drink, coke, water… I basically copied my ‘triple-brutal-nutrition plan’ (minus the pasta, tictacs and noodles…) ,and now it’s time to run!
A little side-note: the weather wasn’t perfect to run… The reports said there was going to be a lot of rain, and there was a bit of wind as well… (some big events were cancelled today, but this one was in another part of the country, so not to worry…).
We start with no rain at all, and, as always, I start way to fast… The first km is faster than my marathon PB, so this might not be a good plan to keep up for 6 hours… I slow down a bit, but the first lap is still crazy fast. But I feel great! After the first hour I run just behind the leading woman in the race, and when when we cross the timing mat I hear the announcer say that she is (and therefore I am) running on a 75km schedule… Ok… This is NOT a smart pace… I should be able to do 65km in 6 hours, and maybe, just maybe, on a perfect day, hit 70km… So slow down…
Meanwhile the wind has picked up; the first part of the course is easy (wind in the back), and when we turn the wind hits, and at the same time there’s a bit of an incline… This is the hard part, but, when laps are short enough, there’s always that easy stretch to look forward to!
After about two hours (my pace has dropped significantly, but I still feel good) the wind gets stronger and stronger. Every lap there’s fewer barriers standing, and there’s more and more broken tree-branches on the course. The sound of the trees out in the park also indicate that there’s more branches to fall… And every lap the branches on course are bigger. At some points I feel as if the volunteers on the course are moving faster than I am, and I wonder if the race-organizer will cancel the race, or if we’re just supposed to continue…
With little over 35km done I cross the timing-mat, and 10 seconds later I think I hear the speaker say that the race will be cancelled. I’m not 100% sure, and I really want to do another lap, so I keep on running (since I already started the lap anyway), but at the end of the lap it’s clear; the race is cancelled after 3 hours, due to extreme weather…
Too bad, I still feel pretty good: although it was a hard run, with the combination of the pace of the first hour and the fight against the wind, and I would have definitely slowed down in the second half, but I did have fun… It was the right decision; safety first!
A hot shower, some tea and at the award-ceremony it turns out that Jacomina has a fifth place (they gave trophies for the first 5 places). When the men are announced I suddenly hear my name, apparently I have finished in 4th place, so I get a trophy as well!
3’06’17, 4th place with 38,7km – (unofficial distance, according to my garmin)