After many months of preparation and covering many kilometers, the day finally arrived, and on September 15, 2023, at 14:10, I finally set off, healthy and full of anticipation. As always, there was a group racing ahead, the middle field, and somehow I found myself in between. But then, Rasmus appeared, and we started chatting, realizing we had similar experiences. Little did I know that we would run together for the next 12 hours and 38 minutes, sharing life stories and engaging in deep discussions as time passed. We had the same rhythm, without pushing each other. We celebrated the small milestones we set for ourselves or ran silently side by side for hours.
I was feeling great, in high spirits, and I could feel the kilometers flying by. There were sections that were very runnable, alternating with the root-covered and rocky trails that I knew from Sweden and was looking forward to. Until just before kilometer 72, everything was going wonderfully. Of course, my legs felt a bit heavy, but everything else was fine. My mind had no objections. However, a slight pain under my right foot started around this point. I didn't think much of it and changed my shoe, socks, and applied some Vaseline. I couldn't see a blister, and I thought it might just be some dirt. Until kilometer 85, everything was still okay, but then it became painful rapidly. Beware, this is where the less pleasant aspects of ultrarunning can manifest. At around kilometer 92, I could feel layers of skin peeling off due to a blister's thickness and pressure. I stopped and saw a massive bloody blister spreading further with each step due to pressure and strain. I decided to pop it to release the fluid. Unfortunately, it tore a few meters later, and I could hardly put weight on it. After further inspection, it was clear that I couldn't continue running for another 10 hours with this blister. I didn't want to risk other issues that my body might compensate for automatically, causing problems I'd have to deal with later. A brief call to my favorite person, and she picked me up on a road in Sweden at 3:00 in the morning. Infinitely grateful for having you in my life.
Now, one might think I'm sad or disappointed, but somehow I'm also happy about how well everything went before that. I had never had an issue with a blister in any of my previous runs and see it more as a technical glitch. Now, the wound needs to heal, and I'm using the time to plan my next adventure, as I'm really excited about what's coming next.
Absolutely fantastic. It's very diverse. There are rolling sections on gravel roads or beautiful small forest paths. Then you have rooty single trails with manageable undulations. Followed by highly technical paths, which I chose to walk to conserve energy, and a few inclines. We ran over rocks and enjoyed breathtaking views. It's a perfect course for a first 100-miler.
Organization:Billy and his team organized a great event. There are excellent aid stations with plenty of food and coffee, and occasionally, you'll find some water canisters in the woods. They arrange a bus to get from the finish to the start, and there's a great atmosphere at the finish line's campsite. This is where runners from all distances end up, so you have runners coming in all day on Saturday.
Fueling:My strategy was to eat a RabbitFuel every 2 hours, and I stuck with that until my DNF. I combined it with bananas and occasionally a gel, so I was consuming a little over 150 calories per hour. I never had any issues with my stomach or felt hungry, which tends to put me in a bad mood quickly. At the aid stations, there was coffee and the highlight - Oatly's vegan chocolate milk (although I organized that myself). Despite the mild temperatures, I consumed about 800 ml of electrolytes and water.
I was just in a great mood and really looking forward to this adventure. I didn't experience a single low point in the 12 hours and simply had a blast. I didn't let the slow sections frustrate me. I looked forward to every time I could get a kiss from Jette and thanked the volunteers for bringing the aid stations to life.
Physical:Apart from my blister, I was feeling fantastic. I didn't have any muscle soreness or heavy legs the next day, and mentally, I would have loved to run again by Monday. I must also say that I had consistently collected kilometers over the last 12 months and set new distance and time records each month in the three months leading up to the run. I'm confident that would have carried me to the finish line.
Highlights:My good mood and not being disappointed by the DNF. It was like having a flat tire, but one I couldn't change. Definitely the time with Rasmus and our discussions. Thirdly, the sunset at the highest point of the course (86m above sea level). Last but not least, grateful that my favorite person waited for me for hours to briefly assist me at the aid stations and provide encouragement.
Hard Facts:Distance: 96.94 km
Ascent and Descent: +/- 1700 meters