Didn't really sleep all that well tonight. Had to go to the toilet with my eldest at around 2 AM and at 4:21 my youngest couldn't sleep any more due to getting new teeths. Until then I had had a very sweaty night from my body rebuilding itself.
At 9 AM I headed south for the Å til Åsen run. I had desided to wear the same suit armor except the long sleeved shift. That meant the I could bring both extra water and my phone for taking pictures. I expected it to be a very pretty run.
Having landed and having gotten my race number I made a short stroll to test the legs. They felt much better than I had expected. Tracy and her husband Rasmus gave a short briefing before the race started. I really like the couple. They are sweet, very good at what they do and they share the passion for running. They seems to always have their kids with them which is great!
I decided to run with a 6 min/km pace and placed myself last in the group of runners which were mixed 5, 21.1 and 42.2 km runners. The race started and off we went. Everybody else wanted to run faster than me it seemed. My legs felt great but I kept to my targeted pace. After a few kilometers I passed 2 women on a hill. They were walking already and I was a little disappointed on their behalf since they were both wearing marathon shirts. If you bring a guitar I expect that you can play.
Soon after I passed a couple more. I think that steepness of the hills in the first part of the route had surprised them. At this point all marathon and half marathon runners turned left and the 5 km runners turned right. For a few kilometers I ran close to a woman but she made a classical mistaken by running up a very very steep hill and need a break when she got to the top. I on the other hand walked the hill and used the time to get a little water. She only reached the top a few seconds before me and I flew past her as she found her water bottles to have some water.
My legs still felt great and by now I knew that today was going to be a serious run for me. No time for taking pictures. I reached the water post and had a bit of cola to drink and a bit of water to cool the head and cleanse the face from sweat. Still keeping my pace when not going uphill at least. A few kilometers later I meet the leading runner on his way back. He was flying! Soon after number 2 and then number 3 and then number 4 with a few hundred meters between each. I was nearing the turn point myself when I got to another set of very very steep hills which forced me to walk. On the top I meet a man with his youngster in a baby jogger also heading back. The kid was sleeping and I was very impressed by both his speed and that he had gotten the baby jogger up that hill.
A little later I meet a man and a close to him the woman that I had left on the hill but she was also heading home?! What the F***? I hadn't even hit the turn around point yet and I became confused. Had I made a mistake? Had I actually already passed the turn around point without even realizing it. Noo .. I couldn't have! True enough a few hundred meters later I found the turn around point, passed it and was slightly pissed. She must have taken a short cut and quite a good one because the few times that I had had a good long look back she was no where to be seen.
I decided that I had to find her and pass her once again. She was in my spot ;) From that point on I didn't really look at my gps watch for checking my pace I just gave it all that felt reasonable. I had a few long stretches before the water post where I had expected to be able to see her but didn't see her anywhere. When I reached the water post visit I tried to make it a 'quicky'. Cola for energy, water for cooling and cleansing the face. The hunt went on. I finally saw her with about 3 km to go. She had a lead of 3-400 meters on me. The route turned right into a forest and I lost sight of her. 1-2 km later out of the forest I saw her again by now her lead had shrunk to 1-200 meters. The route took us uphill for some time and I kept gaining on her. I really felt I had a fair surplus of energy and I really wanted to overtake her before the finish line. When we reached the top her lead was only about 50 meters and with about 500 meters to go at the max I decided that I had enough energy for a sprint. 100 meter later I passed her flying. I felt great and had no problem keeping the speed all the way to the finish line with lots of energy and a smile :) 2:15:02 my clock said.
My 'nemesis' reached the finish line a little later but didn't want to cross it. She had made a mistake on the route and only run 19.5 km. She was given an official time anyway which was very nice of the man with the clock but not really fair against the others I think. The missing 1.6 kilometers would realistically have taken her 8-9 minutes to run. But after all her mistake meant that I was really 'turned on' for my second split and had a far better experience than any other race I can remember. So thank you, whoever you were. You really gave me a great experience :)
Thanks to Tracy for arranging this race! It was great and I actually think it was her first as a race director!