Saturday, June 13, 2015

Race Report - 2015 Ultralobet Gendarmstien 58K

Just before the race start in Krusa, Denmark.
This race was literally taking place in my old backyard. I frequently run from my mom's apartment through downtown Flensburg, along the harbor and the beach until I reach the Denmark border and continue on the old border patrol path, a trail than runs about 60-70k along the coast of Denmark and used to serve as a patrol path for the border guards. I happened to be in Germany to speak at a conference, so I decided to take a couple of days vacation to run this event just 5 minutes from my mom's house. My son was spending most of the summer at his Oma's house and my brother was around as well, so the race quickly became a family affair when both agreed to be my crew for the race.


The weather was rather warm and my training hadn't bee stellar in regards to speed. Since this was a fast and rather flat course, I was hoping to break 5 hours easily. However, the day had other plans for me. Most runners appeared to be local Danes, but there were a few Germans and even an American living in Denmark at the race. We arrived early and hung out prior to race start. The race started on schedule.

The race start.
I settled into a steady pace early on without getting sucked in to the front pack. I was hoping to make a push later on in the race, but that turned out to be more than my body could handle on this day. I was quite familiar with this first section of trails as I had run it many times during previous visits with my mom.

After crossing a draw bridge and coming into Aid Station #1.
Running felt easy enough and I was felling pretty good as I approached the first of only two aid stations for the race after 20K. My son Mace and my brother Andy were already waiting for me and filled up my bottles quickly to send me back on my way. As I was securing my bottles, I snapped both bungee cords that kept my soft bottles securely in their pockets. Great, that's all I needed. I managed to rig up something to keep them somewhat secure.

Cruising into Aid Station #2.

As I was approaching aid station #2 after 40K, I was looking forward to some fluids and a snack. I was carrying only 2 bottles and the heat had picked up. Lots of the race course didn't have any shade and the heat started to slow me down. I had to carefully manage my water as to not to run out and that meant slowing down my pace.

These trail markers led the way.
As I continued on, my pace continued to slow and I was starting to struggle. I had to decide, drink the water now or save it for later. Either way, I was screwed. I should've taken on more water. The weather turned slightly cooler and it even started to rain, but the damage was done. I felt like I couldn't recover.

View from a cliff along the coast.
As I approached the final 5K of the race, I was out of water. I had no energy left and any time goals were out the window. Now I just wanted to make it to the finish line without completely locking up due to cramps. I had to start walking some, then some more and more. Time continued to slow and my running was nearly nonexistent.

Running along the trail with the coastline ahead.
The last 5K felt like eternity, but I did enjoy the previous sections of the race course immensely. There were bouldering sections along the beach, running on rocks, running on soft beach sand and hardpacked trails. It provided a little something for everyone, but it was still a fast course if one prepared properly in regards to nutrition. I did not do that, but I did get to experience the race with my son and my brother, which was extremely cool.

Coming into the finish line in Sonderburg, Denmark.
Special thanks to my son Mace and my brother Andy, who spent the day finding their way through Denmark while I was out for a casual stroll. Thanks guys, it would have been half the fun without you and you provided great support throughout the day!

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