Hochkönigman Race Report
Being away from home for more than 2 months is really long for me. (A home that stands still I mean, I am home in our rolling one too). We have had some great adventures, meeting new and old friends, seeing amazing places and I feel in good shape. But I must be honest and say that I also miss Sweden very much. Some days I am anxious and just want to teleport myself to Åre, picking berries on the hills with mum and dad. Or dancing around in the kitchen baking my own bread and preparing granola, or go out in the garden and pick my home grown salad. Or just sit in the sofa with my dog and enjoy the calm and secure feeling of just being.
But I KNOW I will be home soon and that I’ts better to just be present in the NOW and live each day and enjoy that instead of always longning for something else. I LOVE to be out here and most days I am super happy. I am so fortunate to be able to have a life like this.
NOW to what I was supposed to write about; the race Hochköningman!
During the summer we have done a bunch of races, and every time I feel so excited in the start and sprint away. I like to be in front, it gives me control. I know I am strong in uphills, then I want to take advantage of that and not hold back. But apparently my strategy hasen’t worked so well. Every time when there comes a technical downhill I slow down and I don’t want to fall. Of course I do anyway. I do my best, I don’t think I run THAT slow. But soon I hear the sound of another runner approaching behind. I listen to the sound of the breathing. Is it a woman or a man? When the steps sounds a bit lighter but energic, the breathing a bit softer. It’s often a woman. (I like to race against both men and women though, but you know rankings in races are between equal sexes).
I know it’s a lot mentally that I feel so bad in the downhills, but I can’t understand either how some runners just fly over the rocks. I do try to follow when someone pass me, but most times they dissappear and I feel angry with myslef that I am a useless, clumpsy runner and always end up with a mediocre performance whilst I’m feeling like I’m in great shape.
My strategy of pushing hard in the first upphills also makes me totally bonked in the middle of the races. I feel so strong but after about 20 km it’s like I have no endurance. I have told myself to hold back, but all the time I had so much fun, and like to use my energy when I feel happy and fast. Sometimes It workes all the way, and sometimes not. You have to dare to try to win 😉
Problems with my stomach is not a new thing. I have IBS which is OK when I know what to eat and not. I do my best to keep it under control, but bodies are weird. As soon as the days get closer to race start it’s war in my stomach. And the morning on race day I go to the toilet so many times until I’m totally empty. Running on empty stomach can be benefitial on maybe a 10 km or only upphill race. But when it gets longer with many ups and downs you definetly don’t want to be out of fuel.
I have gels and water with me, but I have now come to the conclusion that it’s just getting worse with that. On all the races above 21 km I have got an extreme cramp in the right side of my belly. It feels like I’m sucking it in and that my inner organs is going to burst. It is impossible to run in the downhills. It’s so frustrating that even if I have energy I can’t run! I want to be exhaused at the finish because i have been pushing hard and done my best, instead I am exhaused and dissappointed because I couldn’t use my energy in the right way.
After reading a lot about it I see that the blood flow that normally keeps inner organs doing their job, instead goes to the muscles in the legs and skin during hard pressure, which makes the stomach to cramp. It can ofcourse also be many other reasons as dehydration, too much sugar, too much food or water for the body to handle during running, or other reasons. It’s still something I have to dig into and work on to get rid of the problem, or at least milder them…
so yes, that was what happened on Hochköningman too.
A great event with much things around, not so much resting the day before as I had planned since there was covid-testes, and meeting here and there. I also woke up during the night with some kind of food poisoning. So my emptying of the stomach as usully occurs on race mornings, started already in the night. I ate a good breakfast three hours before start, but couldn’t keep much. (For next time I will try to eat closer to start, maybe one hour before and see if it makes a difference).
I wasn’t as excited as I usually is during warm-ups. My legs did’nt respond and my miserable night and morning still did both my head and stomach unmotivated.
When we finally ran away I took the lead anyway and had a pretty good time. On the first 10 km we took about 1400 m of elevation, it suited me well. Both Sanna and I had fun there and encouraged each other. I was a really cool course and beautiful light and views. I could have ended the race happily up there and enjoyed the rest of the day high up on the mountain. But there were still 22 km to go to finish this race. Those times I ask myself, WHY do I do thoses races? I just want to be out here and run with no stress. Not finish as fast as possible and get down when I just got up?
As previous races, one by one soon catched me in my attemps to decend. Why have no one else problems with getting down with rolling stones and sharp rocks everywhere?
I had fun on the traverse though I must say. It was stunning!
Zigzag trails become a gravel road where you want to run fast. Then my stupid stomach started. Bumpbumpbump down a road it apparently didn’t like, and it felt like I had a water bottle bouncing around in there, eventhough I hadn’t been drinking so much. Then when I deeply hoped that there soon was finish, since we entered the village again, there was this other loop whe had to do to get 32 km in. WHY couldn’t they just be happy with 22 km? Then it would have been a perfect skyrace in my opinion. The remaining 11 km was pure survival. My uphill skills were gone and I felt almost like standing still while trying to pull myslef up the grvael road that yes, now had turned uphill. The group of drummers that the whole weekend were drumming didn’t made me more energized on the aid station. I squeezed in watermelon in my mouth and suck on it for a long time before swallowing. Squeezed in a caffeine gel. COME ON BODY, wake up! Feel the sugar and caffeine rushing through your veins! ”HA! Don’t think so!” It replied. ”I’ve done enough for today!”
I soaked myself completely in a watertank (or what ’s called?) that appeared after a long climb on a trail in the forest. ”Thanks! OK, I can help you a little now” My body said.
There came a gate to a sheep fence that were open. On the information before they beg everyone to please close all gates when passing. The one in front hadn’t cared. (I knew it was Sanna since I had seen her up on the hill). Well I better be a good girl since my race for a podium place already was over. Picking up the electric fence and and was just about to close it when I got a shock in my whole body and screamed! Rushed away with the gate still open and thought I will never be a good girl again.
The trail looked very nice and runnable in the forest that also gave a pleasant shadow from the burning sun. My body said ”Well, I just said I was helping you a little”. And the cramp in my stomach came for real. I couldn’t run. Now the race was over for sure. I stopped. Tried to take deep breaths. Walked slowly with my hands in the air. Then started to wobble down. I spent the next hour walking and jogging on parts that I would have loved to push hard and jump over roots and be happy in the finish that I had raced well. I looked in the forest to see if there was any mushrooms to pick. We passed a lake and I was sooo close to jump in and take a swim instad of getting to the village. I still regret that I didn’t do it. Last decend in the ski slope I could see some berry bushes and thought I should go up here later.
Mostly I love what my body is capable of, but during this pain I hate it.
I finally came to the finish. Very disspointed and a bit angry with everyone that said congrats to me, like I was happy with my performance and had been runnning good. I fucking walked down here! I would have liked to scream to them. My team mates did a really great job though and I am happy for them. The rest of the day I had a great time just relaxing by a pool, eating popcorn and not thinking of running at all.
It’s just a race and I don’t put to much energy on thinking of that. There is so much more important things in life to care about! And I had so much fun the first part which I will keep in my mind. :D