8th of December; 4ºC heavy rain and 10 gusting 18 m/s wind
This race came to me by coincidence. All distances were fully booked as I first looked into it. Chatting with some people in the facebook group of the event, a norwegian girl sent me a message that she would not be able to participate and wanted me to take her spot – for free! Given this offer, I had to say yes.
During the first kilometers I was actually thinking about the race report that I usually write here after a longer race. “There will be nothing to write about”, I thought to myself. “No big adventures or challenges out here. Just grey winter weather and easy terrain.”
If you would have asked me after 40 km, my opinion could not have been more different.
At that point I was so close to giving up. It had gotten dark, pouring rain, being all alone in the woods on a trail that was at times hard to follow…
I thought about the wedding ring that I lost earlier in the race and it was hard not to be upset. I actually felt like vomiting when I came to the final aid station, 11km from the finish. Being drenched and ice cold really impairs your judgement: by kilometer 30 I changed into dry clothes that I had brought with me. Somewhere in that process I apparently took of my ring. I noticed that it was missing some kilometers after leaving the check point and it took me a while to figure out what to do. Turn around? No. Then I remembered that the telephone number of the race organization was printed on my bib. Did this count as an emergency?
It took a bit to come to a spot with phone signal and after some calls forth and back it was confirmed to me that the ring was found by a volunteer of the race. What a relief!
I walked into the aid station tent and sat down in a chair with a wool blanket. I sat there, ate and drank a little. Charged the phone. Someone asked if I wanted a lift to Tjörnarp. I was far behind my schedule – almost 1.5 hours.
Outside, I could here the wind howling and the rain drumming on the tent. It was completely dark. But nevertheless this felt like an unnecessary way of giving up. Basically nothing was wrong, I was just exausted, cold, hungry and still confused about losing the ring. It was difficult to leave the warm and illuminated aid-station for another hour of being alone in the darkness.
But I did it.