''MY BIGGEST OPPONENT IS MYSELF''
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THE FIRST 5-HOUR RUN IS DONE

The first 5-hour run is over

On the 5th of October, the Suusahullud Night Marathon took place in Otepää, where the schedule prepared by the trainer called for a 5 hour run, and also the final run of my training month. Altogether I ran 278.9 kilometers over the course of the month as preparation training.

Before the run I had also run at night between 23:30-00:30, as personal business during the day postponed my training, but I managed to complete my planned training regardless which left packing my things for the rest of the night.

Rest and beet juice to lower pulse

On the morning of the next day I headed to Otepää, where I arrived at 11 and went to the store to buy beet juice as the first thing, as beet juice helps lower your pulse. Once I had gotten everything I needed, I headed to a friend’s apartment for a nap and proper rest before the run, and to catch up on missed sleep. An hour and a half before the start, I had a proper meal of pasta for a large dose of carbohydrates, and then there was nothing left but to head to Kääriku, where the Suusahullud Night Marathon took place.

Feeling anxious before the run

I felt a little anxious before the run, as I don’t run like most runners – when they hear the bang, they give it their all for a good result over a short distance. I had set a goal of running 42 kilometers for myself, but unfortunately the terrain of the course came as a great surprise to me, as I was unaware of the amount of climbing required in the 14-kilometer circuit!

So, after the start, my pulse quickly rose to 154 from the adrenaline and I kept thinking of how to get my pulse back to the right limits. So I tried, but it didn’t get much better, as the elevations were so great that by the time I had reached the hill it went down for a bit and then back up again. During this gap I briefly got my pulse to 139 and the entire 5-hour run had to be done with a 7-kilogram pack and a pulse of 139-151.

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My trainer told me I should be running with an aerobic pulse of around 130-140 to practice economic running early on. Unfortunately I felt so good that this didn’t work out, and my pulse remained 10 beats higher than allowed.

I felt good, and felt even better on the second lap, my stride was pleasantly short and going uphill I alternated between jogging and powerwalking, saving energy this way. To refuel during the run I tested out Tailwind food supplements, to restore the energy my body had spent. I had calculated 0.8 grams of carbohydrates per hour per kilogram, which was one of the bases for my diet as well.

Things don’t always go as planned

It often happens that things don’t quite go as planned, and so it went with me as well. On my first run with my desert pack, my own neglect caused me to lose over half of my food, since I had left my front pouch open after the first meal, which resulted in all of my food falling out of my pack due to me not seeing well in the dark, leaving only two small bites behind. To prevent abrasion over a long run, I had also brought a tube of Vaseline along, having planned to use it after the 20th kilometer, but sadly this too was left in the forest for the bears to use.

This discovery quickly made me worry, what if such a loss of food had happened in the desert? Then everything would be ruined, as your body needs to regain what it spends on such a long distance, to make sure your body is strong and capable of repeating the ordeals on the following days.

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Fortunately the Night Marathon also had two dining places which I was forced to use during the second lap, to eat back what I had spent and thanks to this I regained my strength. But then a new problem occurred! When we started the run, the temperature outdoors was around -2 and I had forgotten that it’d get colder over the night — without the right clothing, you’ll soon be freezing, as happened to me.

For the run, I put on a short running shirt, a long-sleeved training shirt on top, and I wore single-layered training pants on my legs. I made the choice of clothing based on gut feeling, as I didn’t want my body to overheat, which would result in sweating and the cold chilling me to the bone. Of course, I had to take into account the weight of the pack, as carrying that around would also contribute to body heat.

Despite thinking I made the correct choice, after a 3.5 hour run I realized I should’ve probably brought more clothing along, because over time it turned to -10 degrees cold, my hands were mostly frozen and I felt like an ice man. Also, by this time the tips of all the bottles had frozen, and so to quench my thirst mid-run I had to take the bottles out of my pockets to remove the caps for drinking — the sports bottle tips wouldn’t let any drink through.

As I’m preparing for the desert marathon run with an approximately 7 kilogram pack, which needs to be carried on one’s person in the desert, then everything becomes important on such a distance — the right speed, food, water, clothing etc. For running, leg protection is important, such as socks and good running sneakers. At the moment I can talk about Injinji socks, which really worked — since usually feet get blisters when running, this time I had perfectly healthy feet after a 5 hour run.

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At this point I would like to thank the Fivefingers store for gifting me a pair of Injinji socks for training.

A bow to the youths who showed up for support

To my surprise, both strangers and friends had showed up to support me at the Night Marathon, each of them going through a distance suitable for them. The students from my dance school had gotten their physical education teacher to agree to drive them to Kääriku. Thank you all!

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Great mood by the end

By the end of the marathon I was in a great mood. Sure, I was frozen and wanted something to eat and to get warm quickly, but I was smiling and proud of myself. I did it! Naturally, this run gave me more motivation and willpower, as I got past my first greater hurdle. When I got home, the first thing I did was go to the sauna, properly stretch my legs and eat until I was properly full. I got to bed at 12:00, feeling some pain in my legs, I took an aspirin to thin my blood a little and tried to get some sleep. I had restless sleep and worked up a real sweat in my dreams, it was difficult to sleep — probably because my body went through a real shock. Unbelievably, when I woke up in the morning I felt as if I could go for another run right away.

To sum up: I feel that I won’t let myself or others down, and I’ll put in a serious effort to achieve the goal’s I’ve set.

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