Monday, February 03, 2020

Atlantic Roller

As I was checking out the Coral Room at the newly opened Bloomsbury Hotel over a Curaçao blue “Atlantic Roller” last night, the pain in my legs finally faded a bit. Still, I basically climbed up to the top of the Kebnekaise while running longer than I have ever run in my life, so I should hardly be surprised by the fact that my body took quite a beating. Going down the stairs of the Tube afterwards, I have to admit that, as happy I was about having earned my first two ITRA points, the thought of running another ultra was not the first thing on my mind. Nevertheless, I think I learnt a lot from this adventure that I will use for future long distance races. For one thing, the importance of conserving energy, to not go out too hot but rather to save glycogen to when everyone else is hitting the wall. Thanks to my gentle start, I was able to overtake more than a dozen other runners in the final 10k of the race. Another thing is the importance of eating early on, everything from salty crisps to bananas. Someone once said that ultra-marathons are as much eating contests as they are running contests and I think there is a lot of truth to that. Finally, I could not be any happier with my Suunto and its heart rate monitor as it kept reminding me every time my heart rate went too high. While I am clearly no cardiologist, I simply cannot think that running with a peak heart rate for 5+ hours can be healthy, at least not if you do it with some regularity. As such, I approached the race more like a Maffetone low heart rate training session, trying to keep my heart rate around 130-140 bpm.

So, now the obvious question remains, what will be my next ultra? To be honest, this is still entirely open but, based on my experiences in South Devon, I have at least ruled out the Stranda 48k race in Norway as 3,850 meters of altitude gain is still far beyond my present ability.  



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