How not to run Midnattsloppet

Midnattsloppet is a yearly night-time 10km race in Sweden, taking place in multiple cities including Stockholm. I’ve been signed up for months. It was yesterday. Let me tell you about it.

I have only eaten lunch and a honeycomb, preparing my stomach for the run.

I’m standing in line for the porta-potties at what I think is the Zinkensdamm Arena. I glance at my entry level Garmin GPS watch nervously - I have 20 minutes to pee and get to my start position. I don’t know where that is. I know the general direction, but I have no idea how far away it is. The place is packed, the line is long, and by the time I finally get to use the toilet I have five minutes to get there.

So I run in the direction all the people are going towards what I hope is starting area 3A. I ask a few people for directions along the way and finally one race assistant says “They’ve just left”. Crap! I missed my start group! My only choice appears to now be to merge with start group 3B as they approach the starting line. What I later realize is that by “They’ve just left” the assistant didn’t mean they actually _started the race - _they’ve just left to approach the starting line. I proceeded to kick myself knowing that if I had just rushed up quickly to the front of group 3B I would’ve started with the appropriate group! Would this effect my timing? I don’t know…I don’t even know what the target time for group 3B is (likely the same as 3A, just starting five minutes later).

I then wait for my GPS watch to find my location in order to be able to keep track of my distance and pace. It proceeds to be stuck with a full “Finding Location” bar until something like halfway through. Coupled with what appears to have been some broken distance markers along the route (or maybe I just didn’t see them), I have no fricking clue how far we’ve gone. I know I’m passing people with what appear to be 3A and 2C wristbands, but I keep getting stuck in the throng and feel slow and there’s no way to tell.

Anyway, I’m trying to count the rubber km checkpoint things on the road and estimate that I’m just approaching the 8th kilometre. This is going to be tough. I’m saving up a bit of steam for the last push and getting ready when…wait…is that the finish line? I don’t quite believe it at first, thinking “Ok, maybe this is actually the 9th and not the 8th km and they put up a fancy kilometre marker  to keep people motivated to run that last one” but no. I see people stopping up ahead. I realize that I’ve counted the distance all wrong. This sucks. This sucks because I know I just ran my slowest 10km in recent memory (52 minutes 10 seconds according to the results page), since I didn’t make that last push at the end** thinking I had two more kilometres to go**!

As a result I’m not tired at all. I jog to get my stupid finisher’s medal and banana knowing that I didn’t do my best. Well, at least I finished.

For the record, all the troubles I had were my fault. The race itself seemed very well organized aside from what appeared to be some broken distance markers (and I’m not even sure that they were broken, maybe I just didn’t notice them).

Midnattsloppet

Crap.

But at least the honeycomb was delicious.

Honeycomb

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