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Race Recap: 6h Of Aalter

Preparation

A week has already passed, so a recap is long overdue by now!

The race itself took place in the afternoon, which I thought was great, because I could get all the sleep I wanted and do all the food intake I wanted.
So I got up around 7:30 am and started eating some oatmeal, a banana, piece of chocolate and starting drinking water water water.

6uAalterFoodCollection
The food I brought to the race myself.

My brother was going to pick me up at about 10:30 so we could get there early enough, install his stand in time and see the course beforehand.
It went over a track for about 200m, followed by a small but steep uphill, some streets in and out and ended through the building, which was a good find!
This made up for a 2km total, which I hoped to lap about 33 times.

Because of the expected warm weather an extra water/sponges stand was put out at 1km, which meant that water was provided every km, together with my own stand (manned by my brother), this ought to mean that I could be hydrated enough and beat the heat!

The Race – Part 1

The race goal was hitting 66km in 6h.
The way towards this goal was running 11k first hour, 12k 2nd hour, 11k, 12k and then see how I feel with two hours left. In the best of circumstances I would be able to run more than 66km, in worse circumstances I “only” needed 20k in two hours.

From the start my heart rate was up. “Must be the adrenaline”.
Sad thing was, after about 5km it still wasn’t where it should be. Starting around noon (sun high up) and being hot for quite some days (less oxygen) did no good to running conditions, but here I was, so no use to complain about. Just watch the heart rate and keep going!

First hour went fairly uneventful. My brother gave me all the dates I needed and provided me with mental support every lap I did.

Second hour was a “fast hour”, with the heart rate already up, I was somewhat afraid I would go above my threshold. Luckily this wasn’t the case and the hour passed good.
After this I was about to start my last “slow hour” if everything went ok, so I decided to eat a bowl of oatmeal. My biggest fear was hitting the wall, since being out and about this long was new to me. Apparently, this meant my “downfall” as well.
In the first two hours I ate a dozen of dates, some gingerbread, a “melikoek”, some salty nuts and a bowl of oatmeal.

The third hour I drank a lot and ate at a normal rate but my stomach started to acting up.
I don’t know if it was the heat, some dehydration, the nerves, the stress to my body, but my stomach acted up and I decided to switch to mainly drinking for the next “fast hour” of 12k/hour

The Race – Part 2

The first half went really well, with ~34,5km in 3h. I was 0.5km ahead of the pace I wanted and 1.5km ahead of my halfway-goal.
But then I started dropping in pace.

Everything I tried to eat I felt my stomach turning and protesting, big things were not an option at all anymore, so I stuck to sugary drinks and small bites of salty crackers, dates and pieces of gingerbread.

After the fourth hour I seemed to be climbing back from my mental setback and decided to just run it out and see where it took me. 66k was still possible, although it would be pushing myself to the limits.
Legs still felt good, breathing worked, heart rate wasn’t a lot higher compared to the start, but my head started aching and the stomach still was bad.

I couldn’t drink more than I was doing, so the I just had to work with the (minor) headache, but my stomach and the lack of food worried me more.

Halfway the fifth hour, my brother joined in to give me some mental support, this was well needed, as I needed to stop for some time at this point. It was never long, nor was I planning to DNF, but it was rough.
It felt like my body was constantly saying “stop this shenanigans and go rest. Lay in the sun and just relax!”.
But I clenched my teeth and kept going.
Sadly it was clear by now 66km was no longer an option, so I really hoped to get to minimize the damage.

The last 1.5h was clenched teeth, as less thinking as possible, taking my time to drink at the aid stations and just keep going.

For my final laps I decided to skip the aid station and just get out of it wat was possible.
At 6h they blew the whistles and I stranded at a decent 64.6km.
Glad I could stop I threw myself on the grass 🙂

 

The aftermath

According to my watch I had about 1km extra, which means I didn’t follow the perfect track, but did get me closer to my desired goal.
Officially I stranded at 64.664km.
This lands me at 14th place of the 93 men, 16th of the 107 men+women.
The winner landed 73.102km, which puts my goal-shortage in perspective, seeing this 6h run already had winners of 80km and more.

It feels somewhat strange to not getting my goal, but all in all I’m happy.
There will be other races and everything is the road to the ultimate goal of 100k 😀

One week after the race I still feel tired, but the legs and body feel recuperated.
I did 2x4k last Thursday, which went so-so, that’s when I decided to wait until today for my next run.

Statistics @ 6h Aalter Strava & 6h Aalter Endomondo!

4 comments

  1. my26pointtwo says:

    This is exceptionally inspiring. You are a remarkable athlete. Having your brother there to support you must have been a real boost. Your 100km goal seems more than achievable based on this evidence.

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