11 November 2023
I drove my car to Sätila. Just a 35 minute drive that started for me a few minutes before 5 a.m. The race was about to start at 6 a.m.
I was a bit stressed, I didn't want to come to the start too late and stress my body and mind even more. Thankfully, a few meters after leaving the motorway, I noticed that I was driving behind a few cars, so I figured... other fellow runners, for sure. The race started there, in my car! :)
The plan for this race was to finish the race and hopefully make a better result than the year before. With just a week after the Kullamannen 50k race and those fast 58k in my legs I was very aware that my fitness levels were quite affected. I stretched my legs and massaged them even the day before, but the leg muscles were stiff, very tight indeed. On the edge of discomfort.
Still, I went to Sàtila with the idea to race the race and to push if possible.
The race started after the usual toilet stop, the gear check and the race briefing. After the first flat sandy miles we entered the woods and those nice trails around the Lygnern lake. It took just 3km and my feet were already wet. Those first miles were not that wet actually, but the grass was and certain sections were a bit muddy.
Gravel roads, long sections of gravel roads. You need to push those You need to keep up the pace. I knew that. I knew also that the trails ahead would be tougher, much tougher. So I pushed, but controlled. After all, I had more than 70k in from of me! And while pushing..... I entered a lovely mind-zone and..... took a wrong turn! Well, actually I forgot to torn left! Another runner followed me as well. We were cruising nicely. Luckily we made just a 500mt wrong turn. Nothing more.
The trails started to be more and more challenging and at a certain point I managed to completely loose balance on a wooden board that was ice-slippery. Even worse. I might have manages the icy surface, the wood had some kind of slime on it, I guess algae due to huge humidity. I fall like a rock on it! Luckily on my bottom and elbows. It went OK. No damage.
I continued running and it felt quit good that the first check point was there just in front of me. Just a few kilometers to go. I didn't actually need something to refill. I just needed an excuse to stop for a second or two! :)
After that point I just cruised with a few other fellow runners to the top of the Texelberget climb. The only climb that requires climbing skill and proper attention to avoid falling. It's a challenging off-road climb right up to the top. From the top of the climb you get rewarded with a stunning view! It's worth a tiny stop and why not a selfie or two! :)
After the top there is a long downhill. I just relaxed there and tried to managed my energy levels while moving forward in a controlled pace. Nothing too fancy, just focus and attention on the runner in front - the third lady of the race. She was really moving well and I had no intention of passing her. Not at that point. I kinda needed to have a reference in front of me. Behind me there was no runners that I could see.
At the 50k check point (Äskhult), where we could use the drop bag, I refilled my sport drinks (that were all properly mixed - well done!), I just took out my gels, a few energy bars and I took off. The temperature was stable and it was quite warm for the season. I was OK with my gear so I decided to avoid to loose unnecessary time there and potentially get cold.
After a few miles I touched a gravel road, it was the km 55 or something. I took out my earphones and Volbeat was on the list. I felt that I was flying indeed. I was moving maybe a bit too fast, but I liked it and the pain in my legs did not bother me at all. I kinda knew that I had the race after all.
From that point I was moving quite alone. No runners around. Just me and the music in my ears. I was enjoying the wind on my face, me moving well and the surroundings around me. At the km 60 I passed a few runners with amazing agility. They were impressed. Well, I was impressed as well! Trust me! I am not used to perform at a certain level.
As usually something has to happen out of nowhere in those moments so in this race, I managed to step in between logs trapping my leg into the mud beneath. I was trying to push my leg out. Nothing. I was trapped. I could not get out of there. I mean come on.... just 2k from the finish line I was there in the deepest mud trapped like a mouse! Incredible! I started laughing!
Somehow I managed to free my leg pushing it behind and up, instead of forward against my chest as I tried before. I lost some minutes and the pace was slower. I noticed that another runner was gaining ground.... fast! I tried to respond to the effort, I raised the speed and I was OK. I reached the road and..... wait, is it left or sight now?!?? I was kinda lost in my mind! Creeeepy! He passed me! I followed, passed him again, pushed a bit harder again while entering the last trail stretch. While getting out of the woods he sprinted out of my control. Olle Norås was just fast, too fast for my legs. I wanted to play, but I refused the challenge that could potentially result into an injury. I needed to be happy with the performance and my body that managed to impress me wit an amazing performance just a week after the Kullamannen 58km that I ran in 6hrs!
I finished this race in 10h and 58minutes with a new PB! Managing a 30min PB in such trail conditions was impressive to me! What is actually my capacity? Could I perform at a higher level? At my age?!? Who knows! The question is..... WHY NOT!? :)
I had fun running this race. It was tough, challenging but lovely! It's always nice to run such local races organized by enthisuats of the sport and the whole local community that works together in order to offer the best possible running experience to us runners on the course. You definitely got my love!
See you in 2024! Than you all Sätila Trail and everybody from the OK Räven! :)
Race stats on my STRAVA:
A few images made by Jessica Ahlborg and me: