Friday, July 4, 2008

Doing it in Denmark

So here I sit in my hotel in Copenhagen. I had to fly one of our aircraft to Denmark last weekend to return it to it lease holder, the Maersk company. You may have seen the ships or shipping containers with this name on it. They are large conglomerate that has business in many areas.

The flight went pretty good, only a few minor glitches. We went from Portland to Rockford, IL per company request. Plane broke so we had to fly to Toronto to get it fixed and spend the night. The next day we flew to Goose Bay, Labrador to refuel. Then on to Keflavik, Iceland and then the final leg on into Copenhagen. We had to make the numerous fuel stops due to some limitations on our aircraft. We had to fly lower than normal so we burned more gas. Got into Copenhagen just after midnight on Sunday night/Monday morning.

We were supposed to do a test flight early in the week but here I sit on Friday and we may (20% chance) fly today. Either way we head home on SAS on Saturday. It has been a good trip except for all the waiting around.

I met with the Maersk pilots early in the week as we discussed when the Test Flight would occur. Through our discussion one of the pilots realized that I was a runner. He then invited me to run in a 10k race here in Copenhagen on Wednesday night. I was surprised but of course said yes. I have not run a 10k in about 3 years maybe? I was a bit nervous because 10k's hurt! All that heavy breathing and such. Ultra/Marathon running is so much easier as you are much more relaxed in your pace.

Well on Wednesday night I had to run 2 miles to the start of the race. They had a huge crowd of many thousands running a 1.5k kids run, a 5k and a 10k race. The race is at a park on the Baltic Sea. We would run through the park on a bike path then on another path that went along the beach. The weather was perfect with temperature around 70 and a light breeze. I met Lars a few minutes after the start of the 5k and he had graciously purchased my race entry for me. I could tell Lars was a "fastee" but he was quite modest.

We lined up at the start and I took my usual position of last. They had just over 800 runners in the 10k so it was a big race. It was chip timed so I was in no hurry to get in the front crowd. The first mile was pretty crowded but I could pass on the sides of the bike path. I tried not to go out too fast but this was a 10k so you didn't have much time to warm up. I ran the first mile at 7:55 which pleasantly surprised me. By now my lungs were burning but my legs felt great. I kept pushing the pace whenever I felt like I was slowing down by telling myself this will only hurt for a short while. My goal was to break 50 minutes but I wasn't sure if I could do it.

We did two loops on this 5k course which was flat as a pancake except for a few small inclines on some bridges we crossed. The Danes all slowed down on the bridges as this country is Florida like flat. I kept looking at my Garmin and I was running mid to upper 7 minute pace, which was awesome for me. I expected 8+ after the first few miles as I never train for speed anymore.

I crossed the finish in 49:09 which put a big smile on my face. A 7:50 pace was great to see for this Fat Boyee, but it sure hurt doing it. I ended up 321 out of 801 entrants which makes me darn happy. Most my Ultra's I am in the bottom 20% of finishers, marathons I am in the middle somewhere. I think this is because in Ultra's we are running with such exceptional athletes most of the time,(which I am not!) where as in a 10k you get allot of "weekend warriors".

I met Lars and he verified my prediction of him as he ran in :43 minutes, a 6:50 pace or so. We then proceeded to get our German sausage on a bun and water. I met Lars' family and parents. Every one spoke great English which makes it so nice. In Denmark I have found almost everyone speaks English, most I have seen in travels. We chatted for 20 minutes or so then I ran walked back to my hotel at the airport. It was fun to have a run at night midweek. Lars said this is very common in Denmark. Maybe we in the US should have more of these in the summer? That way you can do other things on the weekend rather than doing a race?

Well I have a great view of the Baltic Sea and Copenhagen from my 7th floor room. I have taken pictures but I do not have the cord to download them to my computer so I will do that when I get home. Kind of bummed I am missing the Sauvie Island Marathon today but that is OK because I have had a great experience here in Copenhagen this week. SOB is next weekend and I hope I am ready for it. I will be surprised if all the snow is off the course. Could make for an interesting run.

Oh one last note. Went to the Absolute Ice Bar last night. The whole bar is made of Swedish river ice. You pay $30 to get in and they give you a Parka as its 25 degrees inside. Drinks are in glasses made from river ice! Too much fun!


Backofpack said...

Sounds like a great trip Bret! I'm going out to run a 4 mile race today - hoping to go easy to save it up for Sunday's marathon. The shorter ones just lure you in sometimes!

Sarah said...

Nice job on the 10k! The Danes are supposed to be some of the happiest/most content people. Glad you are enjoying your trip! We're going to be at the Grey Rock 50k in WA next weekend. Maybe we'll catch up at PCT?