run around in a park… for six hours…

When the 6-hour run in Stein was cancelled halfway through because of a storm (and trees that were falling on the course…) it is time to go for another 6 hour run…
Online I found a little event in the north of France; just under 3 hours away from home, so it would be a long day, but it would be doable…
After an early start coach and me park the car at the entrance of a little park, in a little French town called Loos… We get our race number, go through the usual pre-race bathroom routine, grab our food from the car and just minutes before the start we’re ready to go… Perfectly planned so far!

The event is pretty simple; the course is little over 1500meters long, and all there is to do is to run around until six hours have passed… When the gun goes of I, as always, go out way to fast, but after a few laps I find a rhythm, and a little group to follow. Turns out this was still too fast, but it felt easy at the time… (I just never seem to learn…). The first two hours are gone before I know, but I am getting a bit tired. The legs still feel good, but I’m starting to get annoyed by a few bumps in the road at the far end of the lap, and although the course is almost flat, the 0.01% incline at one part of the loop starts to feel like a climb… Hmmm… maybe I went out a bit too fast anyway… But as long as the legs feel strong, I might as well enjoy it while it lasts…

I hit the marathon mark at around 3 hours 30, at this pace I would run 72km in 6 hours, but I know that’s not going to happen… Every few laps I walk though the aid-station to eat and drink, and I notice that these walks are getting longer… So I try to focus on keeping up a steady(ish) pace…
By now the first problems start to occur; for the first time in my running-career I suffer some terrible side-stitches, and I have to walk for almost a lap. Luckily I can recover from that, and by now it’s a mental game; the legs feel good, but I don’t seem to be able to push myself. It doesn’t help that I know that the 70km-goal is unreachable today, so why bother? And maybe I haven’t really recovered from my long swim this week

when you zoom in on the garmin file you see that there’s a few laps today…

I now quickly switch to a new plan; let’s at least do 65km, and change focus: until now I was focusing on how many hours there’s to go, but it’s time to do a quick calculation, see how many laps I can do given my current pace, and start counting down the laps… With 12 expected laps to go it gives me a new perspective, and it helps to distract me… When I’m almost at 60km I see that I’m close to my PB, and although I’m not sure what my official best time on 60km is I try to push a bit just in case (and looking at the data when I get back home it does turn out that I broke my 60km PB with 1minute and 3 seconds, that’s a nice confidence boost for ultra-adventures to come!).

Now it’s time to fight for every lap, and when I enter the final lap I hope that I can still do a full loop, so I go as fast as I can (which is not that fast anymore, but still…). 100 meters before the finish-line the klaxon sounds and I stop; just over 65km done! (according to my watch, official timing gives me exactly one lap less… but I choose to believe that there’s been a glitch at the timing mat at some point, since my km-times where pretty consistent with how I felt at the moment…)

A few hours of driving follows, and back home I realised that this was just one of those perfect one-day holidays in France…

1 Response

  1. 9th April 2019

    […] somewhat… After the halfway cancelled 6hour run in Stein, and the last-minute plan to do another 6hour run in France (breaking my 60km PB along the way), the body and mind were slightly tired. So time for a new plan; […]

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