The 20th of May I toed the line of my first ultra this year, the 80km Ecotrail in Oslo. Since I started running 4 years ago both distance and ambitions have increased over the years. This year I am aiming to take it one step further, but I also knew before the race started that training has not been the best this year, specially in terms of weekly mileage. Most weeks I’ve done my long run and my workout session, but overall I have not been able to log the miles needed to take it to the next level. So as I put on my bib for the Ecotrail I was very curious about my condition and how hard I could push.
At 9 am they started the countdown and we all started running uphill along Akerselva, the first aid station was at 14 km and it was pretty much uphill all the way there. My plan was to control my pace, but I probably went out a bit too fast. As we approached the first aid station I started to feel that this would be a tough day, not to finish the race, because I know what it takes to run 80 km and I knew that I was capable of that, but to run it at my best. I knew right a away that this was not my day, I felt yucky and I knew that I had not trained enough to run the race the way I expect of myself. So I just kept on moving, telling myself that it’s a long race and that things might change. When we got of the gravel/paved road and started to run on the more technical trails, I found a little boost and started to run a lot better, all of a sudden I was floating effortlessly through the mud and water and catched up with and passed some of the runners that had left me behind a few miles earlier. This continued throughout the race, I was much better on the technical parts than I was on the paved or flat road.
So pretty early in the race I gave up the idea of racing for a good time or position, and decided to just focus on finishing and enjoying the beautiful surroundings. And it was cool to come up to the Holmenkollen Skijumping Arena and head back into the woods and enjoy the company of other runners. Nutrition worked pretty good throughout the race, I was drinking some Tailwind in the beginning and taking Hammer gels and GU chews. My salt intake was a bit reduced as my salt tabs fell out of my vest during the first 10k, so I was very happy when I came to the 60km aid station for some nice broth, tasted like heaven!
From 60 to 70 km we ran along the river, and it was up and down like a rollercoaster with quite a bit of mud, but it was nice to stay in the shade under the trees as temperatures were rising. The last 10 km before the finish-line I was able to fight the desire to stop much better and I kept running, even though it was slow-pace running. Organization of the race and the variations from the paved inner-city to the muddy trails in Nordmarka and cruising in along Oslo’s coast-trail was all top-notch and a great experience.
Summing up the Ecotrail Oslo experience, I’m both satisfied and not. I am very satisfied with the race, that I finished and were able to push through the hard phases of the race, winning the mental war and running my fastest 80km so far in 9 hours and 27 minutes. I’m satisfied with the nutrition and also with my other gear. The HOKA One One Challenger ATR 3 shoes were the perfect match on all kinds of terrain and combined with the Injinji toe-socks my feet still look and feel as if I had just walked out to get the mail. After experiencing with different types of vests or handhelds, the Salomon S-lab Adv Skin 12 vest was a dream, perfect fit and storage. So there’s a lot of positives to take from the race. So why am I disappointed? Because I believe that I was pretty far from running the race I have the potential to do, and I had hoped to do a lot better. Now I believe the reason I did not run as good as I’d like to, is all because of the lack of proper training for an event like this. My weekly mileage has not been high enough, and I need to get at least 100km per week to get to the level where I want to be. So there’s room for improvement – and that’s where I’ll be headed.
Let’s do this…