Stockholm Ultra 100km 2013

So it’s 6am the morning after the race and due to large amount of discomfort in my legs I can’t actually sleep so I thought I’d start my race blog…..

We only arrived in Stockholm at around 9pm Saturday night and so I hadn’t been able to pick up my number from the “Loplabbet” shop in the city centre which closed at 7pm. Fortunately our apartment was just a 1km walk from the start line so the plan for race day morning was to have breakfast at 5am (Large bowl of Dorset Cereals Proper Raspberry porridge) and then walk over to the info desk to stretch my legs and pick up number. Thankfully this all went to plan and I started to relax a little once I was all sorted with my number.
Sarah and I then went back over to the start line at around 8am and she set up her “crew” station while I walked around not really knowing what a good warm up should be for a 100km….. I decided that 62.1 miles was plenty for the day and so my warm-up consisted of walking to the port-a-loo and back!

The start of a 100km race is a bit odd when it’s your first one, you have been training for 3 months for your “A” race….. the gun goes bang……. and you kick off with what feels like a light jog!!
After around 50m of running I suddenly realised that I was already 10m up on my competitors – I turned round and joked to John Henry Strupstad (who I knew from last year’s World 50km) saying “You can tell this is my first one!”.
The first lap was a shorter cut down version of the full loop (just under 5km) but it already started to give me a feel for the course. A bit “lumpier” than I was expecting but the good news was there was quite a lot of shaded areas which would be useful later on in the day as the temperature rose. For the first lap I also had 3 lead cyclists who amusingingly kept looking back as if to say “Who’s this clown going off at an unrealistic pace, he’s not one of the favourites!”
When I came round to the end of the first lap it was time for me to put into action the hand-signals that Sarah and I had practised 3 weeks ago around the Littledown field. 2 arms went up which meant a bottle of water (with Elete add-in) and a Clif Bar – the trouble was I had mucked up my pre-race debrief with Sarah and had told her I wouldn’t be picking up anything on the first lap. She obviously wasn’t expecting a request from me and quickly scrambled to get something together. I ended up with a bottle of water and some Clif Shot Bloks which was close enough! The other 12 hand overs went without any dramas at all :-)
The first lap went through in just under 19min which was bang on target and then on to the first of the 12 large loops (just under 8km). At this point I assumed I wouldn’t be getting the lead cyclists service any more as it was a multi lap race and the course was quite narrow in places so I thought I would maybe be left to my own devices. It turned out that although the 3 cyclists would drop down to just one, that one would play a major part in getting me a good time.
Marten (pictured below after the race) would end up being the perfect companion for the next 6hrs and 40min. He ensured I always had a clear path through the back markers and spectators, he announced my presence to anyone who would listen – “Here comes Steve from England – leading the race – cheer him on” was the constant shout, he told me off when I wasn’t taking the shortest route and told me I still looked good at 90km when I obviously didn’t!

Thank you Marten!
martin

You’ll be glad to hear that I’m not going to go through a detailed commentary of every lap, to be honest the first 40 miles should be pretty uneventful if everything is going to plan and for the most part it was. It was a good feeling going through the marathon in 2:46 although I found it best not to dwell on the fact that I had to do another one followed by a 10 miler! 50km was 3:17:10 which was a little faster than I’d planned but only by a couple of minutes and it felt “right”.
My nutrition up until half way had gone very well and I had managed to take on 1 Clif Bar and 6.5 packets of Clif Shot Bloks by around 60km. However, as the weather started to get warmer and my effort levels started to increase I was finding it harder and harder to take anything on. At this point I requested to Sarah (with a hand signal of a pat to the heart 😉 ) for my Beet-It shot in my nutrition bag, seemed like a good idea as I was struggling to take on solids and thought a few extra “nitrates” running through my body might help out – seemed like a good plan until I took the top off the shot bottle and chucked bright red beetroot juice all over me – Brilliant!! I did manage to get some of it in me so not a complete waste of time.
It was around 70km when I first started to realise that the legs were going to start making it very hard to keep up the pace. Up until then all my laps had been in 31min – 31min 30s range (averaging just under 4min/k pace) and this was the first one that wasn’t with a 31:48. By no means the end of the world but it did start to put doubts in my mind….. what if everything was about to go pear shaped! I was entering uncharted territory as I hit 80km and I had no idea if my slow down would be gradually or dramatic.
With 10 miles and 2 laps to go the fatigue levels in my legs were becoming really painful, fortunately at this stage my left little toe exploded in a toenail/blister incident which took my mind off the leg pain 😉 This only lasted a couple of minutes though before the legs took first place in the pain management stakes again.
This penultimate lap was probably the hardest mentally. Although the leg fatigue hit new levels in the last lap the fact I still had one more to go at this point meant it was very daunting. A few doubts crept in that I would be able to maintain any sort of pace but at this point the crowd at certain points of the course were getting quite big and I was getting some fantastic support, not least from Swedish Ultra legend Jonas Buud (2nd at Comrades this year and sub 6:30 100km PB) which gave me a much needed lift.
The penultimate lap came in at 33:02, that will do I thought – haven’t fallen to pieces just yet.
I spent most of the last lap trying to visualise how I was going to feel at the end which helped to take my mind off the pain. Thinking about crossing the line, the relief and elation I would feel, hugging my wife and celebrating the win with her, enjoying all the attention I would get for the win and then finally that beer and cigar I’ve been looking forward to for the last 10 weeks

……… and then it all happened just how I’d pictured it :-)

13-vinnaren-NY

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6:40:14 puts me 5th on the British all time list. More than I could ever have hoped for for my debut 100km. At the beginning of my training when I was explaining why I thought I could be quite good at the 100km one the main reasons was because as far as I could see, Ultra racing will repay you well for a bit of hard work and commitment to your training……. turned out I was right – “Smug mode engaged”

“Team Way’ will now be enjoying a couple of days R&R in Stockholm…. may not be much walking going on though!

Full Race results and Splits here

Full Garmin Stats Below

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51 Responses to Stockholm Ultra 100km 2013

  1. Pingback: Sørstad badet seg til 5.plass i Stockholm Ultra | sportsmanden.no

  2. Tim says:

    Congrats Steve!
    A superb result.

    Read your blog regularly , and am truly impressed by the level of dedication and discipline you apply to your running. Inspiring!

    Rest up and recover.

    Cheers
    Tim

  3. Billy Nixon says:

    What can I say that hasn’t already been said Steve!! First thing on Sunday I was up checking out the race website for updates and from then on I was giving my kids a running commentary on your progess. I have so much respect and admiration mate for what you have achieved and as an avid reader of your blog can appreciate the committment and dedication it has taken for you to succeed. It honestly choked me up to read your race report Steve….bloody brilliant and I couldn’t be more pleased for you!!

  4. Massive congrats Steve!

    Following your progress via Twitter yesterday (thanks to Mrs W for the updates) was really inspiring and reading this report doubly so.

    Enjoy your recovery, can’t wait to see what you decide to do next.

    Thanks for the continuing inspiration.

  5. Colin Simpson says:

    Congratulations Steve.

    Absolutely fantastic effort and 5th on the all time list at your first go!
    And so soon after the London marathon injury too.

    Huge respect for this performance.

    Enjoy your well deserved break!

    Cheers

    Colin

  6. Harald says:

    Impressive! Congratulations from Sweden!

  7. the clown says:

    hi steve, well done yesterday you did terrific. Very inspiring to see you shoot past and run such a great time , best of luck for the future

  8. Mark Packer says:

    Just like everyone else, I can only say congratulations to you Steve.
    Often see you on the Purbecks or on the Sandbanks Ferry when I’m out and about, and say hello.

    Mark
    Littledown Harriers

  9. Madeleine says:

    Congratulations! What an amazing performance. I enjoyed watching the race online from the US. Good to hear you speak so well of the organization in the post-race interview – that inspired me to at least begin thinking of participating next year. Good luck in the future.

  10. John O'Regan says:

    Fantastic result Steve, I’m delighted for you and following your race made my weekend.

    John

  11. Joakim W says:

    I got passed a few times, running the 50k. You looked sharp, fresh all through, and always had a cheerful reply. Good work, dude, hope to see you in the race next year! (assume there will be one)

  12. Jeroen romeijn says:

    Great effort!
    Find just yesterday youre blog. Nice to read.
    Very interesting.

    Kind Regards
    Jeroen romeijn

  13. Robert says:

    WOW! amazing running Steve :-) I was so pleased for you, enjoy the well earned R&R!

    Robert

  14. Matt Harrison says:

    Steve,

    Very impressive result and especially performance. Given the form you’d got yourself into, I know how tough it was to have London ruined by injury. Brilliant to see the results of such dedicated training and preparation – I especially liked your working out arm signals for the nutrition you wanted at the end of each lap!

    • Steve says:

      Cheers Matt, felt a bit of a spoon doing all the hand signals but it certainly worked well and will be using it again in the future!

      Steve

  15. Great story and congratulations for an excellent performance and an amazing show!

  16. Josefine says:

    Congratulations!!!
    I did my first ever 50 km and was really inspired by you. Everytime to passed me l got new energy to keep running!
    Im a very slow runner and a beginner so l have lots to learn and you give me inspiration! You did the 100km faster than l did my 50 :)
    Thanks for the inspiration and congrats againt to a great race!!!

  17. Christina says:

    Good work!

  18. Niklas Grebäck #405 says:

    It was a good fun to see you swooosh past me every other lap. You’re as alien to me as I am to my non-ultrarunning friends. Awesome!

  19. Ousa says:

    Wow! Great running! I hope to see you more in the future!

  20. Linus says:

    Hey Steve! Amazing race – I (and all other 300somethings!) could just look in awe!

    Hope to race you soon again!

    /Linus, proud #2, 40something minutes behind!

  21. Rasmus says:

    Amazing performance and love your interviews after the race. A mere 23 km (training) was quite enough for me in the heat on sunday!

  22. Cédric says:

    Congratulations Steve! What an amazing race.

    It was fantastic to see how you were keeping up the same pace (31 min/lap) lap after lap while everybody else was losing time exponentially after 50-60 km.

  23. Anders says:

    Superb execution of the race and a fantastic race report.
    You inspire me big time, being a lot slower and in shorter races
    There is still hope for the rest of us 😉

    Hope you feel back on track and good luck in the future
    Once again congrats :)

  24. Joacim Martinsson says:

    Fantastic race! Congrats!
    I also did my first 100k in Stockholm. Seeing you “fly” by was inspiring but your pretty big lead already the first time you lapped me worried me a bit. What was going on with the Swedes in contention for the national championship? Your killer finish time, and theirs still decent ones, explained it all very well. I had a great race, came in at 9.26, comfortably under my 10-hour goal.

    Joacim

  25. bazz says:

    just realised on last post, i put my costume as my name sorry not very helpful! congrats on a tremendous run.

    • Steve says:

      Ha Ha, I didn’t make the connection – I know who you are now :-) Good work yourself mate, not the best weather to be wearing a clown outfit all day!! Cheers for the support on the course as well :-)

  26. alun says:

    Superb steve,5th all time on first shot,woner what next for you?enjoy the fatty food&beer.

  27. Lotte says:

    Congratulations on your fab 100k debut, hope you are recovering well. Thanks for the great blog. Really interesting to read about your training. I did my first 100k this year (8:54) and wish I had been able to read about your training before that!

    Just out of interest I was wondering what shoes you train / race in? Having a shoe dilemma at the moment, so much to consider, I have been happy doing up to 100mile weeks in my asics sky speeds but they seem to have been discontinued. The others I wear are kinvaras for track / speed sessions and Hokas for trail. But need to find a suitable replacement for the bulk of my mileage.

    • Steve says:

      Thanks Lotte, well done on the sub 9 debut :-) I’m very simple when it comes to footwear, I pretty much wear the same model for all my training and racing whatever the distance. (3k -100k!!) I wear Saucony Fastwich, got on well with them so havejust stuck with them for everything – don’t fix what isn’t broke :-) They are reasonably lightweight but also have a certain amount of support.
      Cheers
      Steve

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