Danmark fra Larkollen

søndag 19. september 2010

UltraBirken, 18th of Sep-2010: Race report

At the start in Rena
UltraBirken is a trailrun that is runned between the towns Rena and Lillehammer. It has four aid- and check-points. First one is Skramstadsætra after some 12 km, next one is Åkersætra after 36 km, third is Sjusjøen after 52 km and finally the finish at Lillehammer after 73,4 km. It's almost entirly on trail with major parts of it even off-trail. The course navigates through large stretches of marshland. Weather was good most of the day, but it got a bit windy when crossing over Snørvillen and it rained a bit on a minor stretch after Sjusjøen. It had rained a lot before the starting and the ground was very wet. Most of the time between Skramstadsætra and Sjusjøen it was like running in a stream. Very time consuming and effortfull.
Romerike Ultraløperklub at the start in Rena
Start went off at 7 a.m and my aim was to reach the first check-point with an average pace of maximum 6 min/km. I didn't manage that. I felt right after the start that something wasn't functioning quite well. My feet felt a bit heavy and I had had some discomfort due to stretches in my butt-I thought they were gone last week, but hey they returned just in time to make this race an ordeal. I needed to slow down and even walk some of the most hilly ascends. I felt really surprised to learn this, but carried on with my running. After all this was still early in the race and my experiences could alter later on. Arriving at the first check-point at Skramstadsætra I changed shoes from Mizuno Ronin to Puma Trailfox. That pit-stop went fairly well-only used 5 minutes there. Average pace so far was 6.46-a bit more than planned-leaving me 9m behind schedule.
At Bjørnåsbjerget
Eager to get on and maybe gain some time I headed out for the next strech which was going to be the most demanding of them all. The trail was very wet. We ran in mud and water almost continually and there were large parts of marshland. On the marshland I was bound to walk and lost a great deal of time due to that. I experienced severe discomfort due to the stretch in my butt and had to force myself to run where I clearly needed to in order to maintain momentum. On two or three occasions I slipped and went down in the mud. Luckilly I didn't get injured. Arriving at Åkersetra after crossing a river just before-the water almost went up to my mid-I was seriously thinking to DNF. My butt was really hurting, my feet were nearly done and my spirit was low. Well, I didn't. Why didn't I? Tough question. I think when I'm going to DNF there has to be present a severe damage that prevents me from finishing or an injury that clearly will develop into something serious if I finish. I could't classify my experiences in those categories. I was just really hurting and having a bad time. Clearly these are not reasons to DNF! Average pace on the section was 9:10-leaving me 1h 2m behind schedule.
Crossing Åstaelva at Åkersetra
After some refuelling, some potato chips and a cup of coffee I carried on with the race. The trail went up for some time and levelled out when starting to cross a major marsh-land. Luckily timber was placed on most of the trail and because of that it was possible to keep momentum at a resonable level. Ascending towards the hilltop "Snørrvillen", the race' highest point, the view was simply fantastic! It was worth the run from Rena just to experience that view. The horizon was mostly clear, but I could see that some dark clouds were approaching from the north. It was time to descend down to the third check point. Arriving at Sjusjøen I was I was eager to refuel and get on with the remaining part of the race. My pain was still there, but I'd decided to not acknowledge it. I changed shoes(wonderful), refuelled and went out. Average pace on the section was 9:22-leaving me 1h 3m behind schedule.
The course went up for some while, but before long it started to descend. The condition of the course was much better than on the previous sections, but I couldn't manage to gain enough momentum in order to obtain the pace I wanted. Maybe I'm wasn't pushing enough? Anyway, I kept a steady pace, passed several runners and arrived at the finish in Lillehammer having spent 10h 52m 27s on the course.
Average pace was 8:50-leaving me 1h 7m behind schedule.

Results, total:
-Finish time: 10h 52m 27s
-Placement: 4th overall

-Verticals: 1.782 m
-Shoes: Mizuno Ronin, Puma Trailfox and Montrail Masochist
-Weather: Partly cloudy, some sun, 10-12 degrees celsuis, little wind-severe some times

This was an interesting race in many ways. I feel that there is a lot to learn from it. First thing that springs to mind is my need for improvement when it comes to running technique and endurance in the terrain. I have had workouts in the terrain on average once a week, but that is clearly not enough. I'll correct that when preparing for competitions in the end of the second quarter next year. Secondly I need to establish another regime when it comes to nutrition. It worked out well to drink energy-drink, eat potato chips and drink cola, but I need more storage space than the one my present sack is providing. I'll also skip using the drinking belt on ultra-runs and use a camel-back or something similar. The mental part is more influential than I thought it would be. It made me finish the run at a point where I nearly thought I'd DNF. Further on I need to train to push myself more-endure more pain. That means to run when it hurts if that's needed to keep the pace as planned.
What's worth remembering from this race is all there was to learn from it and that I was able to finish when I thought I wouldn't.

The GARMIN-logfile can be found here:

Results from the race can be found here:

1 kommentar:

  1. Very interesting - and even more impressive. Congratulations!