Copenhagen Exhuast Trail/ National Short Trail Championship 2023
|Downhill, section 5 Photo by MORSCH PHOTO
For me Copenhagen Exhaust Trail started in October, when I decided it was going to be my main goal for Spring 2023. I was excited about the 21km, as I did the race a couple of years ago, and it was one of the toughest races I have ever done. A few weeks after I decided on this goal, I was surprised to learn that Exhaust Trail would be the National Short Trail Championship in 2023. After disappointing myself terribly in 2022 at the Short Trail Championship, I was worried it would happen again. Therefore, I decided to keep my training to myself and think of the race as Exhaust Trail.
I had only been running in that area twice before, even though it's about 10km from where I live. I decided this was going to feel like home turf to me. This meant that I would have to get familiar with the area. I started running old Exhaust Trail routes, got lost and frustrated, but week after week, everything got slightly more familiar. By December, I knew the course by heart and was able to navigate without using the map function on my Garmin.
Only about 5 people knew that this was my goal for Spring 2023, I was hiding all my Exhuast Trail running on Strava and I didn’t tell anyone about the race. Those few people who knew, got corrected every time they said ‘Championship’, to me this was Exhaust Trail. I knew my mind was my worst enemy going into this race, so I was determined to do whatever I could to win that battle against myself. A week before the race, I signed up. I had been dealing with a cold for weeks, but I knew I wanted to do run this race.
Last year I barely slept during the week leading up to the race, due to nerves, this year I slept well all week and the night before the race. Saturday morning when I woke up, I knew I had beaten my nerves and mind.
I was really excited the morning of the race, for better or worse, I had trained for this for many months. I had named all the hills on the course, I had my race plan ready, and was ready to race.
My race plan
- Be positive towards myself during the race
- Focus on my own race
- Let the others run from the beginnin
- Do not start out too fast!!!
- STICK TO MY PLAN
In my mind the race had 6 sections, and I had a time for each section that I wanted to finish within. I knew I had to go slow on the first two sections in Ravnholm, as starting too fast on them comes at a steep price later on the run (I had tried that earlier this Spring).
On the first lap in Ravnholm, I kept thinking ‘slow down’, I had no idea what place I was in, but I knew I had to focus on myself. When we went out on lap two, I passed one woman. I just focused on myself and kept my pace.
I was ahead of my plan, for the first two sections, and managed to push my pace on section three to catch up on a little extra time. In section 4 I saw another female running up in front of me. I kept my pace, focused on drinking water, and slowly I started getting closer and closer. Towards the end of section four, I passed her.
My mind was weirdly blank, the only thoughts I had were ‘keep going’, ‘drink’, ‘it’s tough on the others too’, and ‘focus on yourself’. Towards the end of section five, I got closer and closer to the woman in front of me. I started to feel sick, and like I was going to throw up. I agreed with myself on two options, 1. I could do it while I was running. 2. I could do it after I crossed the finish line.
I was behind on my time on section five, which was frustrating, I knew that on section 6 I had to give it all I had and push myself to the finish line.
|First time up the ski slope Photo by MORSCH PHOTO
‘Three hills left’
That sentence was playing in my head. When I go to section 6 I started pushing my pace even more. I could see I got closer and closer to the woman in front of me. I caught up with her on the second to last hill, passed her when we get to the top and then I just ran. I had no idea if she was behind me, I went down the hill and onto the flat part, I feel like I was sprinting (in reality, I probably wasn’t, but I gave it everything I had). I knew I only had the last hill left, which led straight to the finish line. I am pretty sure that hill was twice as long Saturday, compared to what it normally is. I could feel all my power and pace completely disappearing. I started to look back, to see if anyone was behind me, I saw no one. I kept pushing, crossed the finish line and fell to the ground.
I learned that I had placed 4th, with one minute to the podium and 2 minutes to the winner. This is the best I have ever placed at a National Trail Championship, and it is by far the closest I have ever been to a podium placement.
I am so proud of my race, both result wise but also, and probably even more, I am proud of how I raced. I stuck to my race plan and gave it everything I had, and I truly enjoyed it. And that is what matters to me.