Sätila Trail 121k
My first DNF (Did Not Finish)!
I started the race with an injured foot. It went well for 30k but than i managed to injure the other foot too due to the mud and tough terrain. The trails, gravel roads.... everything was wet, muddy..... It was tougher to run than I expected! My shoe choice was great for the surface we were running on at the very start. The VJ Sport Sarva D'vil 2 has all I needed during a race like this: light weight, grip and protectiveness!
The first part of the race is quite easy, a tiny loop mixed trail, gravel and asphalt, than the return to the start area and technical trail for a few km. After that part came the gravel road part..... a long section quite easy to run and fast as well.
I had a good, easy and relaxed pace and I was quite happy with the race up to that point after 15k. But after crossing a technical tougher "crossing" from one gravel road to another I managed to step a little bit harder on my sore left foot.... My race was almost over! The pain was there! I kept running but a little bit slower. I tried to keep the same attitude and focus on the race. A racer passed me in the dark - she was strong and a nice pace! I decided to follow her and speed up a little bit in order to gain something during this quite easy section.... we ran easily switching one or the other and everything went well until she stopped and asked me when was the last time I noticed the course markings.....
I felt a nasty irritation in me! Once again I managed not to take care of the course and we made a wrong turn which resulted in 2.5km running wrong! We made a mistake.... She started running again at the same pace, me.... not! I was so dissapointed, my foot was killing me and I had trouble breathing too due to the chilly air and the huge humidity! I felt the heart beat in my head too.... 160bpm - this is when I hear my heart! I needed to slow down a little.... again!
This was getting a nightmare! A frustrating nightmare!
After a few km I managed to reach a group of runners. I noticed that the two runners that passed me were not gaining too much - I had the same pace, but 150mt behind! No way I was going to chase a runner now... in this miserable condition! I waited... I just wanted to run to the start line, and take the 2nd loop and try to push the "reset" button" To try one more time and decide after that.....
The beginning of the 2nd loop started in a group of fellow runners. We ran nicely together but after 500mt or something like that we had to stop and check the route! We were quite insecure where to run!!! Another runner passed, he knew the correct route so we followed! Once again I was disappointed and my running "inspiration" just vanished.... I was tired of that! I had my feet wet and because of stopping there I had my legs cold too! But I managed to run again, a little bit slower just in order to feel my blood running in my vanes again. I lost ca. 200-250mt from the group in those 500mt! That bad I felt... just horrible.....
The climb! I will never understand why people hate climbs! I love them! As I lost 200-250mt back there on the flat not only that I managed to regain the distance but I passed the runners too bach there after the climb! I felt strong again and I was once again positive about the race. During that flat-ish section the gravel road gets quite stony... stones everywhere and a few quite big and sharp ones too! Well, you guess what happened here.... I managed to step on one sharp stone with my left foot right on the painful spot! I felt soo much pain that I went immediately inside the ice-cold water aside the road in order to "cure" my sore feet! That felt great and I managed to continue rolling.... yes, I was not running anymore! I was rolling!
The gravel road turned into left and after a short section turned into a nasty technical trail downhill! That was a quite lovely part actually! I could focus on something else instead on my pain. That went OK. But just after that part, I felt that I had a real problem, and that I should maybe change my shoes into something more comfortable. The VJ Sarva have great grip and protectiveness but they have basic cushioning and my painful foot needed some love! So, I wanted to run back as fast as possible.... well..... run!?...
This section of the race is crazy! Tough and crazy trail section made of sharp rocks combined with slippery round ones, mud... a LOT of mud and on the top of the cake leaves.... a carpet of leaves!!! So you walk/go without actually knowing how it's gonna be... you slide, step inside up to the knee inside the chilly mud and repeat 1000 times! That 3k section was just.... lovely! Well.... nice up to the spot where half of my leg disappeared inside a muddy hole, twisted my leg and the result was .... pain, pure pain! The good thing is that we were moving the whole time in chilly mud and water so our feet were constantly wet so nothing happened... but the fact that the racer behind me staded: "You had one sore foot.... now you have two! This is getting impossible right?!"..... well, she had the point! The situation was not the best one. But we were neat the starting spot where we should start the third and last 80k loop in order to complete the race....
Those last 250mt..... I decided there that I had to finish the race! If you cannot push it on the flat after just 40k you have nothing to ask there.... not today! I tried to run faster... pain! Once again a sprint... pain, just pain!..... I knew: DNF!
I went to the race director and announced my defeat.... I was both relieved, sad, disappointed, mad, happy, tired, not tired at all.... I mean, everything! I was a emotional hurricane back there! I just wanted to move away from everyone and disappear inside a dark hole!
It's not an easy task to admit that the DNF is and was my best option! That terminating the race I made a good choice avoiding serious problems and maybe a long injury too!
I feel great now, the foot is at the same status as before the race but now I know that I need to take care of the injury! I cannot train like I did before! :)
Well, I did a marathon, quite OK too for a Saturday early training? 😂
I Learned a LOT during this race and I am very thankful for having had this opportunity to learn something new in my life!
Congratulations to the organizers! All good this year! Great job!!! :)
Photo by @ultrarunningphysio
See you again the next year Sätila! 😁