Running in the tube: Bislett 24 h indoor challenge 27-28.11.2010

The renovated Bislett indoor track still has not same temperature all around. The temperature of the warm zone is around 20 degrees and the temperature of the cold zone depends about outside temperature. During Bislett 24 h Indoor Challenge -race the outside temperature was about minus ten degrees and the cold zone had about 15 degrees, max. The runners' own support stations were located at the cold zone, so it was a chilly weekend for support crews. For runners the conditions were close to perfect and I chose to run with my usual summer outfit: T-shirt and short thighs.

At the starting area there were so many elite level ultrarunners that I felt dizzy, there were Norwegian 24 h record holder, Spartathlon top-runners, Nordic 6 day record holder and many others. After the start I tried to focus just to my own race, ignoring what the other runners are doing. I had prepared myself a schedule towards 242 km result and I followed my own schedule as closely as possible. After few hours I was slightly ahead of schedule. I concentrated following lap times on my own clock, so when result service crashed between four to nine hours it didn't troubled me too much. When results service was again operational I noticed that I was still right on target pace, just slightly ahead.

During the race I used only my own drinks and foods, that makes it easier to analyze after the race what and how much I've taken energy during the race. I used for example sport drinks by Gutzy and Gatorade, mineral water, coke and sprite. Once an hour I took something small to eat. My gear caused me no problems during the race. I switched the shoes at about 8,5 hours, mostly as a precaution. There were yet no actual problems forcing that.

100 km was completed in 9.25, I was about one minute ahead of my schedule. By midnight the distance was about 127 km, when my target was 126,4 km. At 100 miles I was still marginally ahead my schedule when watch showed little over 15.20. My thighs started to hurt a little bit, but that's part of the game.

I tried not to pay any attention to my position in the race, but of course I heard that I was placed surpringsly well. Many of the favourites had more or less problems and some of them had to drop out quite early. When about two thirds of the race was passed I get first feelings of nausea, but the symptoms went away quite soon. About an hour later the symptoms returned, but this time it was real. I rushed to the nearest trash box and gave a technicolor yawn by the bottom of my stomach. And after couple of minute the same again. Then it was about three hours vomiting until' I felt all my strength have gone away. While walking long stretches my legs started to hurt so much that I knew for sure my race is over. I was ready to finish and went to shower but luckily my support disagreed with me and managed to convince me that even walking I can still break 200 km limit. Actually I didn't care that too much, but I felt that I'm out of options so I decided to walk to the finish. After some walking I started to feel little better and managed to grab something to eat and drink.

Finally I tried running. Every step made my thighs hurt, but after couple of steps running started to roll better and I realized I have still some chances to improve my personal best (231,754 km) and Finnish indoor record held by Tero Hyppölä (230,060 km). When there were two hours left I was almost sure I'll break my PB and then I got a nasty cramp in my hamstring. Due to the pain I couldn't run and even walking was difficult. I limped to my support point while massaging myself and took magnesium-tablet. After a while my leg relaxed and I could continue running. Last 1 h 40 min I concentrated just to confirm my new personal best and didn't even try to run faster at the end. When I knew that I was already broken my PB I tried to pick up pace, because I knew third place on Finnish all-time list was on my reach. With little margin I managed to reach that target, even though I missed my original target of setting new Finnish all-terrain record.

After all those difficult moments during the last third of the competition I was finally happy to finish third in the race and stand on the podium with the new Bislett record holder Michael Vanicek and norwegian Peter Tubaas. My legs were so stiff that I needed little help from the race staff to climb the podium. And after the prize ceremenoy I needed even more help to get out of the Bislett indoor arena.

Final results and splits (kondis.no)

My splits:
1 h 10,92 km
2 h 21,84 km 10,92 km
3 h 32,76 km 10,92 km
(result service crashed)
9 h 96,10 km (avg 3-9 h 10,56 km/h)
10 h 105,92 km 9,83 km
11 h 116,84 km 10,92 km
12 h 126,67 km 9,83 km
13 h 137,05 km 10,37 km
14 h 146,87 km 9,83 km
15 h 156,70 km 9,83 km
16 h 166,53 km 9,83 km
17 h 176,27 km 8,74 km
18 h 182,36 km 7,10 km
19 h 186,19 km 3,82 km
20 h 196,01 km 9,83 km
21 h 205,30 km 9,28 km
22 h 214,58 km 9,28 km
23 h 224,41 km 9,83 km
24 h 234,989 km 10,58 km

6 h: 64,43 km (estimate) - 62,24 km (likewise) - 55,69 km - 52,62 km
12 h : 126,67 km + 108,31 km / 53,9% / 46,1%

left: Peter Tubaas, Michael Vanicek, Jari Tomppo

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