My first ultra-marathon or How a software developer went on a stadium and forgot to terminate the loop.
Time has come - and I ran my first ultra-marathon. To tell you honestly, this race was something I was not afraid of, even though I anticipated it very much. Indeed, this small ultra-marathon is jused 8km more than a normal marathon. Is 8km a difficult distance? Of course not, one would say, but.. in the end of this race I was barely able to walk, so these final kilometers were indeed something special. As the saying goes, the marathon begins during the final 5 kilometers.
Another special thing about this race was that it took place on a stadium. So, we had to complete 125 loops, 400 m each. Everybody was telling me that it was too boring to run in such environment. But it is actually not boring. Can you say that NASCAR is boring? Well, the track is just an oval, but NASCAR is all about competition and fight. The former was certainly present in this race also, but the latter was absent, since this was a friendly race. And, by the way, it was held on Taiwan independence day (10th of October), so everybody was finishing with a flag in his/her hands. Is not this amazing?
Before the start people were divided into two groups: “fast” and “slow”. The fast group was running 125 loops on the inner half of the track, the slower group was running only 117 loops but on the outer part fo the track. The time was measured by the chip and displayed immediately on the giant screen (you can see it on the right-hand side of the above picture). The drinks were provided on every loop, and this was really necessary. For some reason, running on a small loops boosts your engine’s temperature. Indeed - no shadow, no wind, no descent to relax a little bit. This was a rather demanding race. We were very lucky that that day was cloudy! The sun started to shine only after most people finished the race (poor people were those who did not finish yet).
But this NASCAR race was also a good opportunity to learn something from the elite runners which this race attracked a plenty of. Indeed, there were a bunch of people who completed this race in under 4 hours. During the race they overtook dozens of people multiple times. So when they are running nearby you can see how they actually run. What can I say? They run fast. Really pretty pretty fast! Like, if I compare myself to those elite runners then we start at about the same pace, and then after 10 loops I have to slow down, and they can continue the next 100 loops at the same pace, and even accelerate toward the finish. Those top-notch runners run the last 5km the same way as normal people run their first 5km. To put it simply, they have lots of energy and muscle power.
How this race went for me? Quite smoothly, I would say. Mostly because water stations were available at every loop, and cloudy weather, thus overheating was out of concern. I kept stomping loop after loop, at a rather steady pace, ambling past the water stations and enjoying the beverages. What a jaunt it was.
When I finished my 124th loop the clock showed 5:00:00, and then I spent another 3 minutes running with a Taiwanese flag on my shoulders, to finally complete this race in 5:03:35. And surprise surprise - they’ve got shower today! The first time in two years, an after-race cold shower. I am loving it!