Tag Archives: Denmark

DNF and I feel fine – a guest post from my husband

22 Aug

Originally I had planned to write a post for Tamsyn’s blog after IM Copenhagen but things didn’t go quite to plan and following on from that I wasn’t feeling what I thought I should be feeling so hopefully this post will also help me explore that a bit. 

Firstly, I entered IM Copenhagen back in September 2015 as I wanted to have a challenge for myself ahead of my 40th birthday at the end of this year. At that stage I was reasonably confident about the running and swimming but had never ridden over 65 miles. Those regular readers of the blog will know that I don’t have a great injury track record and at the time of entering I was recovering from a torn calf muscle which happened the week before IM Dublin 70.3. 

I realised I needed a bit of help with my goal and after not being able to find a local coach I signed up to online coaching via Training Peaks (Carson at Fascat Coaching if anyone is thinking about a coach) in November. 
To cut a long story short, I completed around 450 hours of training in the build up to the race with the support of friends and especially Tamsyn who took on more housework to help me have more training time and put up with me being tired and grumpy a lot. There were a few bumps on the way with niggles and illness but this was probably the best training block I’ve ever had. Good to go for race day. 
The short term preparation was badly hampered by our bikes being stolen – not really an impact on training but very stressful and time consuming trying to obtain a race bike and deal with police and insurers. Thanks to Darren at Estrella Bikes http://www.estrella-bikes.com/ I was lent a road bike to race on although I wasn’t able to get any long rides in ahead of the race. I managed to get a last minute bike fit from Garth at Vankru http://www.vankru.com/ so was confident I would be OK with the position despite that lack of time on the machine. 


Copenhagen is a great city and whilst expensive, I’d recommend a visit and the race to others. A few days here getting registration, racking etc. done with a bit of light tourism and I was ready to race. 


The swim went pretty well – it’s a fast route being in a lagoon with the benefit of salt water but not having waves or strong currents to worry about. Age group athletes get set off in groups of 6 every 5 seconds so there is nowhere near as much stress at the swim start as many other races. 


It did get hard to sight at times with fog but I was really happy to come in at 58:05 with around half without any drafting and having done an extra 200m as a result of sighting issues. Transition was fairly standard and out onto the bike course. 


I got about 3k into the bike when another rider swerved in front of me trying to correct themselves after going onto the wrong side of the road and nearly head on into a bus. I took a bit of evasive action but unfortunately caught a pothole which then resulted in me clipping the kerb. 

I was probably riding around 35kph / 22 mph and went down. Nothing spectacular but a bit of a shock all the same. Some spectators helped pick up the bike and walked me down to some nearby marshals. I could definitely feel the road rash down my right side but of more concern was a gash in my wrist. At the time I was struggling to move my fingers a lot (which subsequently is absolutely fine) and I was not confident it would last the vibrations of another 175k and be safe and enable me to brake. 

Another factor was a crack in my helmet which meant I was likely in trouble if anything else happened. I was looked at by the race doctor who confirmed I would need stitches in my wrist and arranged for an appointment at a local clinic. I rode there having no other transport and after that back to the hotel. 

I knew Tamsyn would be really worried as around 90 mins had passed since the crash and I hadn’t been able to contact her. 

What the big surprise for me was the realisation that came to me waiting for the doctor – despite the hours of training, emotional investment and cold hard cash required to get me onto the start line in the best shape I have ever been in, I wasn’t devastated, angry, frustrated or anything I would expect to feel. It’s hard to rationalise this and I’m not sure I understand my own feelings on this but in hindsight I had no doubt I could complete the race and the only question was how quickly. I had hoped some months ago for sub-11 hours but actually sub 10:30 was realistic on a good day. I’m not competitive with others generally and really just with myself and my own abilities so maybe I had proven to myself what I needed to. 
These, combined with more important things in life (looking after Tamsyn ahead of our baby being born later this year) left me feeling that it was ok. I have no regrets over the decision made on course – it was the right one. 

The only disappointment I have is not seeing the bike course and more of Denmark and feeling the support of the crowd on the run route through the centre of Copenhagen. 

We went to spectate and the support was superb. I’d really recommend this race – the course is beginner friendly and fast as well as having good support on the run. 

I’m not sure what the next step is for me – I could look to race long distance again in a few weeks or alternatively may call it a day for the season or just race a marathon. I’m going to take a few days to decide whilst my body heals. 
I never though I would say this but I just DNF’d a race I’d spent 8-months training for and I feel fine. 
– Stu

My first international parkrun at Amager Faelled

22 Aug

We didn’t arrive in Copenhagen early enough for the Ironman 5k run that took place on Wednesday, so I was keen to take part in parkrun on Saturday morning. Denmark was the first country outside of the UK to have a parkrun and we knew that there were three in Copenhagen. We quickly realised that the view from our hotel room window was of Amager Faelled, which is where Denmark’s oldest parkrun takes place.

We got up early on Saturday morning and dressed in our running clothes before heading down for breakfast. I was worried about Stu doing too much ahead of his ironman, but his coach had told him to do a 20 minute run, so he said he’d be OK to do parkrun with me.

We went to the nearby Metro and took the next train to DR Byen, which is the stop nearest to the start of the parkrun. We crossed the road and started walking across the park.

After walking for quite a while, I started to get worried as there was no sign of a parkrun. We then saw an olde lady running, so we asked her is she knew about parkrun. Of course, she spoke impeccable English, but she apologised that he was unsure where the start was and said she thought we should continue in the direction we were going.

There were quite a few runners around, but none of them looked like they were intending to do parkrun as they seemed focuses on their own workouts.

A little while later, we saw some more people who seemed to be looking around. They turned out to be more English people looking for the start of parkrun.

Although this event has been running for 7 years, it is very low key. We found a patch of grass and a couple of people who has stopped there with bicycles. Apparently, somewhere nearby was a sign, but we think it was in the opposite direction.

There were a number of English people who had arrived to run – mainly friends and family of people taking part in Ironman Copenhagen, like me. Everyone gathered on the patch of grass where a tarpaulin was spread out as a place for people to leave their bags and jackets.

(C) Henrik Poulsen


The Run Director gave a really good briefing in English and Danish. She also asked who had done the double. We were a little confused until she explained that because of the Ironman set up the parkrun at Amager Strand had had to take place at 8am, so some people had already completed that event.

After the briefing, we walked a few hundred metres to the start line that was marked in organic flour. We had been told that there would be no marshals on the run course, but that all of the turns were marked with flour.


I set off quite slowly as I was at the back. It wasn’t long before I got chatting with a group of parkrunners who were mainly from the Milton Keynes area. This was good because it meant that I maintained a steady pace.

The course was mostly flat, with only very minor inclines and declines. I was surprised to see one of the runners emerge from a thicket, but assumed that he had needed a ‘comfort break’, so I thought no more of it… Until he stopped again a couple of hundred metres later and I realised that he was picking blackberries as he ran and filling a small bag!


I hadn’t realised from the race briefing that it was a two-lap course, so it came as a surprise to pass the flour start-line. I glanced at my watch and could see I was doing quite well, so I decided to maintain the same easy even pace and see whether I could finish in under 30 minutes. Just after 4K, my right leg started to feel a bit tired and achy, but I figured that wouldn’t do my baby any harm, so I kept going!

Amager Faelled parkrun result

I was delighted to cross the line in an official time of 29:47, which isn’t bad for 32 weeks pregnant. I definitely think the flat course and cool breeze helped.

 


After the run, Stu and I chatted with a few other parkrunners before thanking the Run Director for holding such a lovely event. If you ever have the chance to take part here, I strongly recommend it. It is a small and friendly event.
All photos by Henrik Poulsen.