Weeeee! I did it! Not an ultra race, no no. I joined the 18K at ECOtrailOslo, but it was the hardest 18K I´ve ever experienced. Never before have I used more than 60 min per 10K, but as the race went on I ended up being happy to finish under 2 hours. It was painful, hard, exhausting. And today? I realize my body took a hell of a beating.
1.56:44. Sounds really bad for an 18K race. My darling tomtom measured it to 18,7K, and a lot of people said they measured it to 19K. No excuse, still not a good time. I blame it mostly on myself, but still think it can be explained. So, this is me making excuses 😉
If I had known what kind of path the trail would include, I would never have entered the race. I dread narrow paths, with tree roots and other obstacles. I love walking in the woods, and I surely understand why people love running there – with birds singing and no traffic noise. I wish I could enjoy it. But I don´t. I have always had problems with my knees, and prefer to run on even ground. After 2013, then I tripped on a long run and got seriously injured, I have been almost hysterically afraid of running in the woods. I cannot even blame my fall to anything “woods related” – I have no idea why I tripped, and the medical doctors actually speculated in other theories – did I maybe fall because my muscle ruptured, and not the other way around? I really don´t like that theory, so the falling part is always my main concern.
Anyhow, back to the race. It started off with gravel roads, very crowded and slow, but after a while the pack stretched out and I was able to run at something close to my target pace. But soon enough it all changed – the trail changed to those narrow paths that I dislike so much. Up, down, roots, stones, almost tripping, other runners falling, me getting more stressed and anxious by the minute. Not a good feeling, my pulse went off and it really drained my strength. Moving slow, lots of walking – and I realized that my goal of an average pace of 5:30 was going to be impossible.
Finally we passed Lysaker, I was able to pick up the pace and get my pulse down. I started to get a good feeling, and tried to focus on finding my own rhythm. Although some runners came up from behind and passed me, I was pleased to notice that I passed other runners – men included. Passing 12K, all going well, and then – I tripped and fell. Flat to the ground, with my bad knee (and my hands) taking the fall. Guess what happened to my heart rate! I need to say that all the runners around me was just SO nice, everyone asked how it went, and I just hushed them along – I did not want them to stop and get their own race ruined. Thank you so much, all of you – it is so good to know that you were willing to stop and help ❤
I got back up on my feet, and carefully tried out the knee – it was ok, not too painful. After a few seconds I started walking, still not too bad. I walked for a while, and then slowly went back to running. Trying to pick up the pace I had before the fall, but at that point I realized that it was not going to happen. I still managed to find a kind of rhythm, and was able to pass most of the runners that passed me when I fell. All in all, not so bad.
I have to say that running Tjuvholmen and Aker brygge was a strange experience – at that point I was getting tired, and it was strange to see that none of the people seemed to notice that there were people racing. Then the last part of the race – around Akershus Festning. I often run this stretch on my runs to work, just the opposite direction, but it has NEVER felt so long. I could not wait for the “1K left”-sign to appear, and there it was – together with a smiling young man, showing the way and cheering, I just had to smile back. Thank you!
The last K was hard. Someone said it was more than 1K, and it sure felt like it. Passing the Opera house, my stomack cramped and I had to stop – but then this sweet runner that I had just passed, told me to not stop, the goal was just around the corner. I knew that, but the cramps! Well heck, I picked myself up, and was able to turn the corner, and ALMOST sprint the last meters to “Sukkerbiten” and the finish line. Never have I been more happy to cross that line.
I have run 18K before, several times, so I never thought this race would be THAT hard. I was not prepared, and I should have done my homework. Trail running is not like asphalt running. Now I know. And my aching body tells me to never ever run ECO trail again. Like ever.
Well, who knows. In a few days the body will be back to normal (I hope) and I might look at it differently. For now, the e-mail I just received, giving me a 30% discount on the entrance fee for next year, is not enough. I actually said NO out loud when reading it. Not a fat chance, I said. LOL!
I am writing this with one eye on the tv and “the girl with the dragon tattoo”, having a glass of red wine. I hope to be able to go for a nice and slow recovery run tomorrow, but at the moment it is hard enough to cross the room 😉
A friend of mine ran the same race, and I am so proud of her – never to have run more than 14K previously, it is really impressing to finish this tough race. It was easy to smile afterwords – look how happy we are!
Although tired and “broken”, I still feel like planning other races. I will work hard to do a good half at Oslo Marathon, and I am still thinking about doing a full marathon next year. Turning 50 is a good excuse to go the full distance, isn’t it?
Well, lets see. This is not the right time to set all details. I need to sleep on it 😉
Keep running. Stay happy!