So it was time for my first ultramarathon. Last spring, when I sat and looked through the list of races in Europe in the fall, so I stuck to that. 55 kilometers in mountains just south of the Sierra Nevada in Spain. On Friday I added up all I could possibly need, and be good to have, and packed so much I got the place in your carry-on baggage.
I landed in Malaga 23:10, and picked up my rental car, sat down and drove the 10 miles to Loja, where the start would go. I had received no special instructions on address, more than that you could spend the night at the stadium in Loja. So I drove there. But when I came up, it was dark, closed and deserted. I was hoping it was the right place, brought down the back seat and added me and "slept". Cold and uncomfortable, but I managed to get a few hours sleep before I got up. And at half past eight more people started showing up, so I followed them, and pick up my Starter Kit.
Now I could even take me into the Sports Hall and switch on. Here I met Magnus Kihlberg, one of 4 other Swedish registered in 83k class, and a Swiss would run 166k. Nice to have someone to juggle tactics and clothing before starting.
At 9 a.m., it was time for the group photo, and 9:15 was the start. I was going to go out quietly, and unable to start on something otherwise, then the first 3 kilometres were uphill. Not really steep, but even so it was difficult to keep the 6 min/km pace.
I had 6-7 runners in front of me, and the first mile went through a fantastic landscape of Rocky trails half a bortsköljda of heavy autumn rain. But not today. It was brilliant sunshine, and in tea a cloud in the sky. I was very happy with my clothing, shorts and short sleeves, although it was still a bit chilly in the shade of the mountain.
I had anticipated mountain passages to 6 over the course, and when we came to the second, so I saw that the runners in front of me were starting to go. They are experienced, I thought, so I started also to go. I then took that used to go into the hills where the pulse was over 150 when I went.
At 15 km, I caught up with Robert Hackel, who I met at the start, and a Spaniard who were out on the 166k loop. I had been overtaken by another Spaniard in an uphill before, so when I counted after it was maybe 4 or 5 in front of me, then the first three had run 21 k distance.
On the road to CP1 at 19 km, on the top of the third pitch, I felt strong, and could easily hold 5:30 pace up. Gradient fit me, and I came up with the first check a few minutes before Robert and 166k Spanish. I filled in the Camelbaken properly, for now it had become thoroughly warm, and I lost a lot of fluid. I mölade even in me bananas, chips and drank cola, for I felt on me that it would be needed.
I, Robert and Spaniard stack then off at the same time, and the two kept a hard pace performing serpentinvägarna on the mountain. It's almost harder to run than when performing up the legs begin to stummna.
On the way up the 4th top I could chew on almost without going, and left Robert and the Spaniard behind me. Soon I came up with the 83k the Spaniard who passed me earlier in the race. He was not a meter up, not even the steepest slopes, so bi passed each other dozens of times, then I was faster once I ran, but when it became too steep.
We then had the company performs and at misterpf1, where we had about the same pace, but when we came in on the climb up to the 5th top, and CP2, so I was able to pull away when it's not leaning very much. Any km in mind control I went, because it was very steep, and when I then started running again got cramps in my calves.
I took my way to control, and stayed quite a while to fill up with sports drink, bananas, coke, potato chips, oranges and electrolytes. I made sure to go in me of all they had, and after a pause of 5 minutes I ran on. I had run 35 km, only had a runner ahead of me in my class, and 20 km to go. But both calf muscles pulled together and krampade in each step.
Now it was about to make his way to the finish. Go until the cramps, and release the spring until it comes back. I noticed that could better perform, and after 36km it was almost all downhill. I put the sequence step lest I loaded your calves, and after a few km to the kramperna had almost released, although it felt ranges.
And now it was asphalt. And relatively flat. As long as I could keep a controlled easy step, so I could keep up to speed. And the faster I ran here, the more time I could go at the end. It was so I thought, and could keep a pace at around 4:45 p.m. prior to your calves krampade together.
I came to CP 3 at 42 km, and felt that I had the right amount of water left in the camelbaken, so I just took for me of what was offered, stretchade out your calves and ran on. 13 km to go, it's just a quiet lunch that, that you are better off without a problem, I said to myself. And it went well in the 4 km, when it was flat. But I saw the last mountain in front of me, and knew that it was going to be heavy.
And when it was steep in so much that I had to go, so it felt good. Kramperna, I had not known of for a while, and the body felt fresh. But when I then would run again beat the cramps to. And properly in both calves. I felt that I couldn't go anymore, too few I would not be able to get started on the run again, so I tried as best you could run with the toes pointing straight up.
But with 7 km remaining to the destination, and 1 km away from the top, it was no more. Your calves are krampade for every step I took, and I had to go. It releases perform, I had to tell myself, and at the top with 6 km left, I made an effort to start running again. And your calves screamed for me to stop. Give you, they said, never, I said. But I range legs and lock the knee and runs on your heels down, and are thus kramperna under control.
This worked in some kilometres, and with 4 km to go until goal also began the thighs protest. Now I knew that if I stopped running, so I would never be able to start again, and the last bit in mind goal was one long struggle against myself. I had cramps in both calves, back sides and front sides of the thighs, and the front sides of my calves to staple as well. I had to invent some sort of löpstil that was so exhausting that I lay on the threshold heart rate all the way towards the goal. It was like running with gipsade bones. And slow counting. 2 km, 1600 m, 1 km…
And soon I saw the goal. There were no crowds on the ground, but those who were there cheering me over the finish line. I had passed it.
And I had also done so at 5:19:48, a time that was only a minute over the course record from last year. But I was still beaten by a Spaniard, but not with a lot of minutes. I was most pleased to have taken me in goal, and was assisted by the officials to have me thoroughly with drinking and electrolytes. You can see quite clearly how much salt I have lost in the picture above.
After one-quarter did Robert in as 3rd in the race, also with cramp. I could not sit down before kramperna came, so I strolled around in the target area and talked to everyone who was there, and after a while I thought fresh to me a bit. But when I got off my shirt and pants, and would take me off his underwear, locked up högervaden completely. I got nowhere, and screamed for help, and officials arrived and stretched back calf. I also got help to take off my socks so I could take a shower.
Then it turned out that we got the prize too! I could still not get at me socks or shoes, so that's why I stand barefoot on the podium.
But what a nice feeling when the announcer calls out my name, and I get to step (or hobble) up on the podium. It's been a long time since that happened, or it has probably never happened in the past. Only in team sports when I was young.
When I had finished the staple in your calves, I said goodbye to all the officials, and put me in my rental car and drove down to mal aga coast. Now I devote myself to advanced recovery on the beach until I fly home on Monday.
I promised to come back and run next year, and then I get see what distance I choose. Maybe 83: an, but then I have to have solved the cramp problems.
Link to course: