Sunday, November 13, 2011

Not for me

Today I ran Rudersdal Social Marathon. It had 3 groups you could choose to run in a 4 hour and 4.5 hour and lastly a 5 hour group. I had chosen to run with the 5 hour group. It was described as a hard marathon and the race director wrote to the participants that they should pick a group that ran 30 minutes slow than their normal marathon pace. You had to run with a water belt or water cell since you were expected to bring your own supplies with you with the exception of 2 water refills here you could fill your bottles and get a cup of cola (love cola) and perhaps some wine gummy.

I don't have a water belt that is usable so I brought my Salomon s-lab 5 backpack filled with 3 gels, my Iphone, 2 pre measured boxes of energy mixture, some chocolate and of course some energy drink in the water cell.

Left the house at 7:30 AM arrived just before 9:00 AM. The race director had asked people to come a little early (the race started at 10:00 AM) so that we could join in the celebration of a Danish marathon icon who would be running his 500'th marathon today. He and his daughter who also run a lot are 2 well known and respected members of the danish marathon runners society. I think they have run close to 200 marathons together. I'm really impressed :) We also had a 100'th marathon runner today but it kinda stood in the shadow of the 500'th celebration.

My bag felt heavy as I lifted it from the ground but once on it wasn't that bad. I've been hungry for this race all week so when we finally started running I was ecstatic :) I knew that my group was meant to keep an average pace of 7:06 min/km but we set out quite a bit faster than that. The couple of km's was averaged with 6:08 min/km and the pace remained in that neighborhood. I heard a few people questioning the pace but the race director (who also was a pace maker) said that we were supposed to run a little fast until the first water refill (16 km in) and since my legs felt great I didn't think any of it.

Photo: Tor Rønnov. You don't get better company!

On the way to the water refill we passed some beautiful landscape, lakes in fog and so on. We also got mingled with a MTB race on a very narrow path which the bikers didn't really seem to appreciate :) Proves to me that running makes you less stressful than biking :)

We arrived at the water refill at the same time as the 4.5 hour group who had taken a wrong turn somewhere. I started looking for a refill bottle and only just got around to add the mix and water to my water cell when the group took of again to my surprise. At that point our average pace was 6:34 including the water break. Hmm .. I kinda concluded that I didn't share the 5 hour target with the pace makers. Keeping this pace we would only hit the 5 hours mark if people started getting problems later on and that was plain stupid in my book. I would have preferred that we had targeted an more even split.

In the kilometers to follow the group started breaking up. The front part still maintained a fast pace but 2 of the 3 pace makers was in the back picking up the people who couldn't keep that pace. I was starting to wonder what to do. Should I keep the fast pace or should I slow down to the pace that I'd planned and accepted for my 3 marathons in 21 days plan? My biggest concern was that the route was poorly marked and I was pretty sure that I would get lost without a pace maker. The only pace maker I could see was the fast one right in front of me so I decided to match his pace as long as possible. I did speak up about my view of the set pace to one of the others who seemed to be a semi official. His counter argument was that if people couldn't keep up with this pace they could just slow down and get picked up by one of the other pace makers in the rear. Not really what I thought running in a 5 hour group was meant to be about...

When running marathons my biggest problem is the kilometers between 22 - 30. After 30 km my second stage engine steps in and I'm running on endorphin, body fat and will power. For that to happen I need to be in the zone though. Today that didn't happen :( I had only just reached the zone and had run in it for a few km's when we reached the last water refill. I tried to be as quick as possible refilling my water cell but before I was ready to start running again the last pace maker insight had already left. Shit! I had only 10 km's left but I felt lost and alone. The signs marking the route was only 10 by 10 cm and was really really easy to miss. Luckily I managed to team up with another runner who had run out of energy. He had run the race 3 years earlier and had some idea of the route but only vague. We weren't a perfect match though. When he was running he liked to run a lot faster than I did but he often needed to take breaks so we were always in reach of each other. Let me point out that by now I welcomed the breaks and happily walked with him. The constant looking out for missed signs meant that focusing on being in the zone was impossible and every negative feeling in my body flooded my brain instead.

We got lost 2 times one of then only a km from the finishing line. Hadn't I had my Iphone and a map application on me we would have run in the direct opposite direction of the finishing line for some time! That little detour added enough minutes to our total time to make us just pass the 5 hour mark but only just. Had we had a pace marker to guide us we would have had NO problem reaching the finishing line in time or even faster.

My mood wasn't the best in the minutes afterwards but getting something to drink and eat and getting out of the wet clothes greatly improved it :) There was a reception for the 500'th marathon runner and I sat down and enjoyed the atmosphere of like minded people. Ahh :)

I DID have a great time with some great people today. I DID have some interesting talks .. especially with one of the pace makers. The only let down today was MY idea of running in a 5 hour group was different than that of the pace makers. Since this was MY first social marathon I will conclude that it was MY expectations that was wrong. On the other hand I will also conclude that social marathons is not for me.

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