Sunburned skin, legs filled with scratches from knee deep wild rose bushes, body feeling like it’s really worked hard for something that means so much, head feeling tired and humbly proud.
I’ve never really raced in my life, never really put my body to a test like I did last Saturday at Samsø Ultra.
I’m writing this all through a haze of after race blues, that funny feeling that doesn’t make any sense, but is still there. But after that race I’m not even surprised, because I went to a whole new level of myself there. I wasn’t that nervous the days before, a bit the evening before but slept good, and then the start line was in front of me with all the people and me alone. And that was the moment when I realized that my friend, who was supposed to run the race too wasn’t going to be next to me. I wanted so badly to get his legs good before the race, not because I thought that I might need to run alone, just the fact that I really didn’t want him to hurt and be injured. And then it hit me, I’m going to run a race alone for the first time, I’ve always had friends around me. And I was so insanely afraid.
The first 5km or so, I was in pretty dark place, I kind of wanted to stop running, I was afraid that I’m going to be last, AGAIN, my legs felt like led and like there’s nothing in them to push on.
And then the route just went over this huge grass hill and on top of that all I could do was look around and feel so small in the best possible way, and then it hit me, goddamned I’m lucky to be here. I was just smiling like an idiot, thinking that I need to go on because I wanted to run the race for my friend.
The first 20km was so hard, so insanely hard. It was like running in some ridiculously beautiful Hobit country, with all the sheep’s and cows and horses around you, with huge hills going up and down. I got lost and was really happy that so did these amazing gentlemen that I ended up running quite a lot of the way. First pitstop I just flew past, yes I wrote flew because that’s how I felt. I started feeling strong even though my calves felt so bad with all the climbing and more to come. All the way to the third pitstop I went alone, and then I got company from Ke, the only other international runner. And we went together all the way to the last pitstop which was really nice. Huge thank you to him!
And then I got lost again, at least not only me! It might have been the most beautiful place in the world to get lost though, felt like a mountain goat trying to get forward through this thick wild rose spike bush hill. That was the moment I realized why the organizer wrote in the info that we should wear long pants or socks, obviously I didn’t. Bruised summer legs FTW! Thank you to that super nice gentleman to picked me over an electric fence when we realized that we are in a “bit” wrong side of it. I think after that I really started racing, no idea why, but I was going like I’ve never done before.
I was running with these nice gentlemen and thinking am I able to keep up with them, but ended up saying to myself that just keep going, you got this. And I just kept going, and started feeling stronger and stronger, which felt, to be honest, really weird. I wasn’t expecting that to happen after almost 30km. And my mind clearing from everything, it was just silent, maybe that’s runners high, no idea, but it was so nice. Silence of all the doubts that I’m so used to.
Never not time for new friends 🙂
After pitstop 4 I called to my friend just to know if I could see him soon, and the idea of seeing him in some time made me just push on. And in silence we ran next to each other with Ke. The rhythm of our steps felt really good. And I just felt so strong. My belly felt super good, no problems at all.
This is how happy you look when seeing your friend at around 35km 🙂
And then I saw my friend, the joy in me was just bursting, a hug at that point felt crazy good!
After that I felt like I’ve never felt before, I started racing for the first time in my life. I was tired and hurting a bit but I just put those on the side and kept going. The next time I saw my friend he was blasting this song from his car and let me tell you, that stuff gives you the biggest boost, even when the song is ridiculous but it made me smile so big that I didn’t know that it’s possible. And I just did my pitstops super fast and kept going with Ke. That was a huge change to my last Ultra in Bornholm, where I had to sit down and really gather some strength in myself. Now I felt like Sally Mcrae looked at last years Western States. She’s pretty great motivator on a race, I noticed, even if it’s in my mind.
I think I really started thinking that I could do a time that I had in mind in Bornholm when I got to the 42,2km pitstop. I had something like 15km to go, so I wasn’t that sure if I could do it. Not before I got to the last pitstop and heard that I have little over an hour to do a 10km. I have no idea what happened, I just charged on and left my race running buddy behind. I just went for it. I kept saying to myself that you got this, yes it will hurt but you can do it easy! Kept thinking about Sally Mcrae and just pushing on. I’ve never in my life felt that strong, ever. I’ve never pushed myself like that in my life. It felt terrible at times, my body was so tired from the heat and the fact that I had run more than ever before, continuously, in my life. But I just kept going, no matter how it felt, because I’d decided that I will get under that time. At one point I remember thinking that it’s not that bad if I can’t make that, and also remember how I almost yelled at myself that you’re not fucking doing that shit now! I was so determined! I actually used anger as my fuel, never done that before either.
Around 35km 🙂
Once I saw that I have 1km to go, I picked up my pace, which just felt so bad but still. Saw this man and just yelled at him that am I far? His answer was the best thing at that point, I just had to push on a little more and then I’m there. And that last bit was the hardest I’ve ever done and it felt like the longest road ever. That moment when I saw my friend and he said where I need to go and ran next to me and said that I’m getting under my goal, that’s my favorite. I started pushing myself even more, just wanted to get there and get it done.
The moment I got to the finish was insane, I felt like my legs are going to give up and it took me quite some time to get myself breathing at least a bit normal. And that was the moment when I realized that I did what I wanted for the last 15km. I had managed to run my race under 7 hours 30min. That meant for me that I had done over 2 and half hours better than in Bornholm.
It also meant that I was the Female Winner in my distance, and 3rd overall in it too. And my official time was 7:27!
I still, couple of days afterwards, feel a bit surreal about this all. I’ve never been like I was during that race. I’ve never raced in my life. I was mentally so strong, so goddamned strong. I managed to do something that I never thought I could really do. Maybe that was the moment what I knew when I started running in the first place, that I would be good at running long. Now I knew that I could be good at exactly that, if I give myself a chance. I’ve never really gave myself the chance to show what I really have inside of me. I’m so humbled by the race. It showed me that me, that I’ve wanted to believe is inside of me. I was able to just run, which I wanted to do. Because in the end, it’s just running. Something I kept saying to myself during the day. I’m also finally giving myself some credit for something I really should. I am really proud of myself, I really am. I remembered to enjoy it all and have fun and even stop if something was that amazing. And I could not done it without my friend, just the fact that someone was there for me, is insanely important. The fact that he knew how to make me smile and said just the right things to make me believe in myself more. That’s priceless! Thank you so much for that! ❤
I think I learned pretty big lesson of myself during that race. I am so much stronger than I give myself credit for. I’ve gone through so much in the last year, that where I am now and what I am able to do, is pretty amazing! While I type those words I feel like I’m talking about someone else, but I just have to own this all. Because I did it!
Thank you so much to my support extraordinaire Bjørn, without you it would have been boring and very hard day at the office! Thank you to all my family and friends for your words and support! Thank you to my sponsors! I hope I made all of you as proud as I’m trying to be here :).