Instead of watching the sunset all night, I went to bed early, so I could get up early, so that I could run a long way through the forest, and get really tired. In the words of Beau Miles, “these choices is weird.”
Vasaloppet is a race with rich history, 2022 will be the 100th anniversary of the ski race which was the inspiration of the running race. The course travels from Salen To Mora on forest roads, tracks, planks and through the beautiful green Swedish countryside. Along with the ski and run, there is a bike race.
The race started with cool temps, great trails and beautiful forest. It was smooth and quick for the first 65K.
Around 67K things got rough, real rough. I think I over did it on the Coca-Cola at one aid station and was paying for it a bit. I knew it was still a long way to the finish and I knew there were a line of guys just a few minutes back. Moments like this always take everything you have just to hold it together. By mile 45 my stomach chilled out and I was able to refocus on trying to hammer the remaining 12 miles.
Around 83K (mile 52) I had another real bad 15-20 minutes. These races are always a roller coaster, you can’t always predict when things might get bad, and you can almost never predict when they will improve. But you have to believe things will improve. If you keep focused and engaged things will come back around. In the moment you won’t want to stay focused, in fact a little voice will tell you it doesn’t matter if you focus or not. That voice will start asking questions, like why are you doing this? That voice will start trying to eat away at your motivation to keep moving. But that voice is a liar. These parts of the race are a gift. These parts of the race are a shining glimmer of something indescribable, like a late summer sunset that goes on for hours. Legs got real tight over the last 5K, but the magnetism of the finish line was pulling strong and thankfully the mind held together, and the body had no choice but to follow.
Many thanks are in order, First to the Vasaloppet Organization for hosting this race. Thanks to the volunteers for keeping the aid stations well stocked all day. A huge thanks to the good people at Craft Sportswear for crewing me all day, as well as creating a dream team and incredible products. The CTM Ultra is the shoe I raced in, and it performed exceptionally on everything from technical rocky/rooty terrain to smooth forest road. I love putting it on every morning. Race Rebel (road racing plated shoe) is out in Europe and will be available in the US soon. After seeing much of the upcoming line I can say there are more incredible things to come from Craft footwear.