The Trail of the Vikings, DenmarkBy Line Kolbe or Vikingesporet, which is the actual name, is the half-marathon I did this past Sunday. What a trail run! They claim it's the most beautiful half-marathon in Denmark. I can only agree. The route starts at the Viking's museum by the fjord in Roskilde and then heads out to the forest near by, and there it's path is on the mountain bike trails up and down and up and down on the hills in the forest. It's a very tough if you aren't used to steep hills. You get to run on sand beach, stone beach, gravel forest roads, a little bit of asphalt and then as mentioned mostly narrow trails in the forest. The route: I absolutely love trail runs like this and when I first read about this run I just knew I needed to do it. I stayed at Berit's (a friend of mine who lives in Copenhagen) the night before the run so I didn't have to drive that far in the morning and I got the run in good time. Got a perfect parking spot, had no line to the toilets, got my number and chip, had some carbs and then just relaxed and waited for the start. This was the very first "Vikingesporet" (I do believe that this run will be one that comes back year after year) and there were only 440 runners participating (in both the half-marathon and the 10K) but the atmosphere was great. The weather, as you can see on the pictures, was amazing and almost too warm, but it was great in the shadow of the trees and with the wind from the fjord. I placed myself in the back of the crowd before the start so I could run slow and not slow others down. That was a good decision. I had not been able to train as much as I probably should have to this run since I've had some issues with my left foot since the half-marathon I did in November last year. So I've had to work up the milage again, and I hadn't really run that much. So taking it slow was an absolute necessity. There were no km markings on the route so I had to go by time as to how far I'd come and that was not what I was used to. I had no idea how far I'd run. I only knew that at 10 km there would be a water/energy drink station. My feet, legs, everything felt great for at least the first hour, then it started to get tough. The route was marked with red/white plastic strips and they were placed along the path pretty often and you were able to easily follow it. When I'd run for about 45 mins, and the ones that ran the 10K and us on the half-m were separated into different routes, I was running pretty much alone. There were one woman behind me and I believed we were the last ones. At one point I passed a so lovely couple who were out with their puppy and that puppy was so sweet and I ran there and looked at them. I must have missed those markings at a turn and suddenly there were no marking on the path that I was running on. I started to think that something was wrong, looked back and saw that woman was following along and thought that then it might be right after all. Then we got to a place where the markings came back but it sort of looked funny. Like we could chose both back/left and straight forward. I stopped and let her catch me and we talked about it. We both had the feeling that this was wrong. We decided to go forward concluding that this could be where the 10K and our route came back together and we also thought we saw some runners ahead (which we later learned must have been others just taking a walk in the forest). Then suddenly we came to the beach again and recognized that we were running the same place as we'd been at earlier, just the opposite direction. I ran to a fisherman who luckily was there, and asked if other runners had run here with the same direction as us (the route might go this way and the split again later..) but he shook his head, "No" he said "just the other way". Then we knew for sure that it was wrong. Damn!! I thanked the fisherman and we turned around and ran back. Up in the forest back to the long path without the markings and then we found where we'd gone wrong. Where the puppy and the couple had been some 20 minutes before. I don't know the exact time I was off the path and how far it was, but I'm guessing 3-4 km and about 20 mins. I can only learn from this. Do not lose the markings! After that we ran together for some time and then I slowly started to run from her. We had not come to that water station yet. The time had passed 1 hour and 15 mins and I was already starting to get tired. I started to question if I could actually do this, started thinking to myself "just run, just focus on not stopping, just run, one step at a time, just run" Then finaly the water station came and I knew that I was halfway. I had brought some energy gels and I had one of them at 1 hour and 30 mins and then one again at 1 hour 45 mins. The path was getting more difficult, more up and down hills and I was getting more and more sore all over. My calves started to really get tight and I could feel I was not used to steep hills like that. I actually got into that runner's high feeling about the time I had those gels. That feeling I also got at the last half-m I did. The time sort of just disappeared. I looked at my watch and then when I looked again, just a moment later, a half an hour had passed. The nature was amazing. I was running alone and I suddenly saw a young dear running near me. It looked like it was searching for it's mom. The light green leaves on the trees with the white flowers on the ground and the birds singing. I was in heaven. Even though I was hurting I felt like I could just go on and on and I kept on running. At around 2 hours and 20 mins, and with a lot more pain, I got to one more water station. I was still running but very slowly. Still focusing on just keeping on running and not stopping. The guy there asked if I was ok, I guess I looked pretty worn out, and I answered that besides the pain all over I was doing just fine. I asked him how far there was to the finish and he said that it was about 4 km. Great I thought. That's not that far. I can do that. Then my knees started to hurt. I cursed those extra km I'd run wrong and thought that if I'd just not made that mistake I'd be at the finish line now without knees that hurt. It was mostly the right knee. I tried if walking was better but then thought to myself that then I'd take forever to finish and immediately started to run again. I also concluded that if I could run some 20-21 km I could run 4 more. My willpower once again won over my common sense and sound mind and I just ran. When I got to the finish area the other runners, who already had finished but were still there, cheered on me and the speaker announced my name and number and my time as I ran over the finish line. 2:51:09 was my official time for my run that was "a bit" more than a half-marathon. I am so proud that I ran all the way only with very short walking parts where I had water or the hills were technically too difficult for me to run on (or when I was talking to the fisherman). After the run I really hurt a lot. My calves, ankles, knees, my quads, hams, back.. I sat down with another girl who had also just finished some minutes ago and we talked a lot about it all. We got a goodie bag with things to eat and drink. It was nice. We both were so happy and proud. When I left the run I had more to drink in my car. I was so thirsty. I was going to pick up Berit. She had also run a half-marathon that day. The BT Half-marathon. We both changed clothes where I picked her up and then we went out to eat afterwards. What a great day! Now some days after I'm feeling surprisingly good. My calves are still very tight, but otherwise my whole body feels great. Nothing with the knees at all (I was a little worried there.. that right knee really hurt after the run) and also nothing with my feet, ankles or hips. I guess I wasn't in that bad a shape for it after all.