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Peter Belak ran: I just finished what'...
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- 29 miles
- 06:50 time
- 14:18 pace
- 3734 calories
I just finished what's considered one of the toughest long races in our country.
46km long run in mountains with elevation gain of 2200m / 7,200 ft, the hardest and longest I have ever run, but also the most beautiful and really worth the soreness :)
I will add more details later, need to eat and sleep now.
This run had been my dream since I started running.
It’s a “short” ultra of only 49km (well, officially, my Garmin says 46km), but it compensates for the distance with a nice elevation gain of 2187m (7,175 ft). The course of this run is the main range of Nízke Tatry mountains. I have hiked the range many times, so I knew exactly what to expect.
There is about 130 runners at the start line at 9:30am. Start is located near Trangoška hut at 1120 meters above sea level. My only plan is to finish this race uninjured and to reach the finish line within a time limit of 8h30min.
I make sure to start last, I know there is a brutal ascent at the beginning of the run, climbing some 600m (2,000ft) in the first 3.5km stretch. No need to hurry here. The first checkpoint is at Štefániková chata (hut). I make it here in 45 minutes, at the tail of the pack.
The trail then climbs to Chopok mountain, the second checkpoint. It is the highest point of the race at 2000 m.s.l. And info table says it’s “only” 40km to go from here :)
There are some easier ascents and descents then, a beautiful scenery, rocky trail changes to more grass and dirt, it is pleasure to run. The course descends to Ďurková pass, 20km mark, checkpoint n.3. I was able to bypass some runners and move to around 80-90th place.
The fourth checkpoint is at the last high mountain Veľká Chochuľa at 32km mark. My quads are burning from all previous uphills and they are suffering now in the worst 600m rocky descent from Prašivá to Hiadeľské sedlo, checkpoint n.5. From there it’s only 9km over one steep 230m uphill, the dreaded Kozí chrbát (Goat’s back), and easy, mostly downhill road to Donovaly, the finish line.
I am crossing the finish line in 6:50, 78. place overall (out of 127 finishers). The winning time was 4:47!!
The weather was great, it was overcast with a cool breeze and no rain and the temperature stayed below 15C. I planned to keep my HR as low as possible, it turned out to stay around 160-170 on uphills and 140-160 on flat and downhill parts. I ate 3 gels, one protein bar, few bananas, orange and some chocolate.. And 8 salt tabs and 5 magnesium tabs to avoid cramping. I walked most uphills and was glad that I brought hiking poles. My legs were not well prepared for those steep elevations. I guess, I need to train more in hills.
I enjoyed the race very much and look forward to next year :)
There are some pictures (yes, I had time to stop and take pictures :) here: