23 February 2010

1,5 marathons

I took the second week of the month easy and tried more alternative ways to train. What better way to end such a week if not taking part of my hometown's skating marathon? I had tried to skate a couple of times with regular ice-hockey skates, so I had some experience. Long-distance skates, on the other hand, were something new. With a week of planning ahead, I managed to equip myself with home-made skates, which could be fastened to regular skiing boots (the skates can be seen on the photo). The skates were notably heavier and had wider blades than the originals, but considering my skills, they suited me well.
Though the real marathon was 70 km, I chose the more popular 30 km event, which was enough for the first time. The track was a 3-5 meter wide and 3,75 km long prepared loop on a lake, which we had to pass eight times. Since I basically only ski in classical style, the skating movement is not very familiar to me. Because of this, the tibialis anterior muscle of my right foot was in a cramp during the first and a half lap. It was so difficult to skate in that status and I couldn't imagine continuing the whole race. But like magic, it got better and the rest of the distance was just fun! Out of 110 finishers in the 30 km event, I crossed the line right in the middle - 55th! The time was 1:38:59, with 31:48 behind the winner. All in all, I'm pleased: great emotions made this a memorable day!
Photo: At the start on lake Tamula

Last week, on the other had, was a tough one. After great trainings during the week, it was finally time to take part of the Tartu skiing Marathon for the first time. I had never skied as much as 63 km in a row, nor was my skiing preparation as strong as last year, so this promised to be a difficult task. After the launch of approximately 5000 marathoners, I took it rather easy and didn't fight for any positions, as it's still 63 km and not a kilometer less. The first time I could start skiing in my own pace was after 10 km, right before the first official refreshment point. My arms were a bit sore of the week's trainings, but 5 more kilometers later I felt quite loose and strong in the muscles and started pushing more. Though the glide of my skis wasn't that good, I started passing many groups, while flying solo. After about 25 km, to my surprise, I caught my brother, who had started with a faster pace, but now was also struggling with his ski glide. He didn't feel very strong, so I went my own way. I felt really confident, but was still afraid of the last 15 km. And basically that's where the real marathon started. My so-far-races had ended at that point, but now it was still a lot to go. Unfortunately the last part is flat and requires strong arms, which at this point, I didn't have anymore. Basically the engine was running smoothly, but I just didn't have the power to push myself forward. 10 km before the finish, I consumed an energy gel with caffeine, which hit in 5 kms later. I felt fresh again and with the last 3 km I passed three more skiers. The overall place was 53rd! An amazing result, especially when I imagined myself to come in about 150th. My time was 3:27:43, 28:02 behind winner Anders Aukland. I sure hope this is a good sign!
Matu - 00:38:19 - 109
Harmiägi (~20 km) - 00:56:36 - 85
Kuutse - 01:43:06 - 67
Peebu - 02:07:18 - 56
Palu - 02:31:00 - 56
Hellenurme - 02:53:33 - 56
Finish - 03:27:43 - 53
Course scheme

During the race, there weren't many who passed me - about 2 or 3 (not counting the beginning of the race). One of them flew past me with a good pace at about 43rd km. He was wearing a rather familiar green dress and I could tell that he was a foreigner, but unfortunately I didn't see him face-to-face. Later I discovered that it was three time JWOC silver medallist Tuomas Tervo and finished 1:38 before me!
Another interesting fact: I got beaten by one woman.

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