Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Sälen Fjäll Marathon: a tough long run

The good news of the last week is that I finished my first trail running marathon. I must admit that it has been really tough, probably more than I expected, but I enjoyed a lot such an extraordinary experience. I think that jumping from road running to track running, trail running or orienteering, depending on my mood, is a really nice thing. Personally, I really like that, even if I cannot be strong in any of them. It makes me feel free to prepare whatever competition I feel like to prepare (whenever I want to train), without any kind of stress.

Before running the Fjäll Marathon in Sälen, on Wednesday I entered for a 10km road running competition (Hälsoloppet). I thought that it could have been a good training, since the race was pretty closed to my office in Södermalm. My plan was to run that around 32 minutes. Unfortunately, as it often happens, I started too fast and I crossed the first 5km in 15.25, which was good, but definitely too fast for my actual shape. Thus, I had to slow down in the second half (as it happened in Midnattsloppet two weeks ago). I crossed the finish line in 31.49, in 2nd place (full results here), and thanks to my smart choice to start rather quickly, for the next couple of days I've had a weird feeling of soreness in my legs, which is not really the best sign before approaching a long race.
Hälsoloppet 2014 (Huddinge)
I traveled to Sälen on Friday with Nick. It took to us 6 hours to arrive in Sälen and meet Øystein (who was coming back from an orienteering training camp in Norway). On Saturday morning I was feeling pretty normal. It took to me half an hour to realize that the Marathon would have been 'slightly' tougher than I expected in the beginning. I knew that the course was passing through small paths, but I didn't expect to run at least 30km in what I would define as a quite tricky terrain. Once I realized that, in the exact moment I stepped into the first marsh, I got pretty scared. The rule is rather simple. The distance of a marathon is a constant (you can't change that...), the pace you are running, unfortunately, is not. Actually, I started running slower than 4'/km, simply because I wasn't able to run faster, meaning that I would have run for about three hours on soft terrain. That was not really what I am trained for...

I suffered a lot on the last uphill, from the 29th km up to the 37th, but I am very happy to have finished that in a decent time (2h55'). Second place, once again (full results here). Of course, it would be better to win sometimes, but the guy who won was stronger than me in running on the technical parts, so I didn't really have any chance to beat him. At the end I was 3 minutes behind him, which was OK.
Me, Øystein and Nick after the race in Lindvallen.
My house mates Øystein and Nick ran the half marathon and I'm sure they had some fun (they are orienteers and definitely more trained for running in technical terrain than me). They fought against each other until the last meter. At the end, Øystein won and Nick was second, just few seconds behind.

After having tried a trail running marathon, I can say that trail running long races are a totally different sport than marathons. I remember that when I was running normal marathons, way better trained than I am now, I wasn't really able to train for couple of days after. Instead, the feeling I got the morning after Fjäll Marathon was that I just had a long run the day before, nothing more. My legs were still feeling kind of good and I went with my house mates for a 2h jogging in the unique landscape that Swedish Fjäll can offer.
Fjäll sightseeing.

No comments:

Post a Comment