Mad Fox Ultra 2017 official video
Mad Fox Ultra Trail Run. Why did I get involved in this?
I have never run trails, only one cross for 5 km and many small races on asphalt. Until this fall, running 15 kilometers was the height of my skill. But on December 10, I mastered the first Russian winter and my first personal 40 km trail race.
Our correspondent Anna Burenkova on the MadFox race track
Organizers of the first Russian winter trail Mad Fox Ultra Trail are positioning their competition as a race for real extreme lovers, for those people who are ready for ringing silence, endless white fields and cold winter winds throughout the distance. To overcome the route K30 (~ 35 km on the official track, in fact, it turned out 40 km), initially six hours were given. The race is completely autonomous, that is, you need to foresee and put in your backpack everything that may be needed at a distance, including food and water, because you cannot refuel at checkpoints.
Volunteers strictly monitor the runners' ammunition: be sure you need to wear thermal underwear, warm socks for running, a heat-resistant windstopper jacket, winter running shoes with a hard protector, a hat and gloves, take with you a drinking system for one liter of water or isotonic, a supply of food in the form of gels and bars for 1500 kcal, a life blanket , whistle, compass, race map, mobile phone with the organizer's number.
How to prepare for the race?
My relationship with running has always been difficult. But in the fall I was invited to the running club Mikkeller Running Club (MRC) Moscow , and I started my running history from scratch. Training from 10 km - I endured and ran, although earlier to withstand 10 km in competitions seemed an incredible achievement. Then I was offered to run 18 km, during which I wanted to die rather than run: my legs did not move, my whole body was languishing, my heart and sides were pricking. But as soon as I forgot the unpleasant sensations, I again went to the same distance. It turned out that in October I completed a training volume of 60 km, and in November - 126 km. But I didn't even think about a huge trail, my plans were, if possible, to find a 10 km slot to go to see Rostov Veliky, where Mad Fox Ultra Trail was held.
My friends and teammates thought for me. Once I went out with a company for a run around the city, I wanted to arrange my first half marathon, but I was not allowed to stop after the 21st km. Friends helped me to endure another 9000 meters of my personal hell: my calves were seized with convulsions, my heart was pounding in my temples, my breathing could not be controlled, and fatiguewas so strong that I wanted to lie down on the sidewalk and never run again in my life. When this nightmare ended, I was shocked by my own capabilities (I ran 30 km at a time!) And the kind of patient and kind people around me. If I had gone home after the planned half marathon, I would not have decided on a longer distance soon. And so my friends taught me to whine less, to endure and not be afraid of long distances.
They began to persuade me to run Mad Fox Ultra K30 in Rostov with the whole team MRC Moscow ... Of course, I refused. What I had: two months of training two or three times a week, the only long 30-kilometer run that was so difficult, and a team of motivational kickers who tirelessly pushed me into this madness. And there was no experience, no equipment, no knowledge of what to take with you and how to run. I resisted for a week, the cons outweighed. But one morning I woke up with the thought: Why, in fact, not? It will be difficult - I will get off at one of the two checkpoints. I will run - I will be proud of myself.
Determined and with the purchased slot for the race, I continued training. And then the periosteum of my left leg began to hurt, and two weeks before the race and I need to run a test long distance with all the equipment. It is not in my rules to retreat, especially from what I am afraid to do: once I got involved, there is no turning back. It is better to deceive yourself and everyone around that everything is in order, and google frantically what painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs exist and how long they last.
Let's go to the start
If the decision to buy a slot it was not easy, how I suffered mentally, waiting for the start. Repeatedly I dreamed that I was running and lost in the forest, sleeping in a horse and eating roots, or that I stumbled unsuccessfully, I fell and I had an open fracture, and hungry animals came running to the smell of blood. In reality, the fears were not so stupid, but I think I managed to get tired of everyone with endless questions and the expression of anguish and fear on my face. Arriving in Rostov the day before the stratum, I plunged headlong into work, because I had to, and it was somehow distracting. The teammates rejoiced at the opportunity to get together in such a large company, and my head did not leave anxious thoughts about the possible and impossible on the upcoming trail. In the evening, I once again checked my pre-assembled backpack, dined with pasta to store carbohydrates in my body, and tried to go to bed early.
At 6 am the alarm went off. I didn't get enough sleep, my body was numb - usually in this state I give myself another 15 minutes to lie down and come to my senses, but it was scary to be late or not to come to the race at all. First of all, she anesthetized the periosteum: 600 mg of ibuprofen in powder form by mouth, Ibuprofen gel in place of pain, another Tempalgin tablet, to be sure. Get dressed, have breakfast, check again. We leave.
Departure is delayed for half an hour - a miscalculation by the organizerin. Initially, the track was supposed to pass on the ice of the Rostov Lake Nero, but the water did not have time to freeze enough to withstand more than a thousand runners, so all the participants had to be taken to the starting point of the reserve track, to the village of Godenovo, and not everyone had enough seats in the buses. p>
While they drove us for 40 minutes, I didn't want to run anywhere. Soon the start, but I still did not understand why I needed all this. I hate arguments from the category and why not, it's accepted, then you yourself will say thank you, because everything else, these are not arguments at all. You always need to find an answer to an exciting question, and I argue until I lose my pulse, especially when it comes to me personally. But now I am approaching the starting frame, and there is still no answer to the question why! Before my eyes, everything merged together because of the snow, white sky and fog, which erased the horizon line.
On the track
I agreed to run with my teammate, because the result is not important for both of us, but if only to get to the finish line. The first 2 km we ran very slowly, sometimes we took a step: the path is narrow, only 30 centimeters, and there are more than 800 of us, and we did not have time to stretch out the distance. And then we stopped completely at a two-meter river, which did not even think to freeze (the air temperature during the race was 0 ... -1 ° С). The organizers built bridges made of planks, which were drowned in cold water in the middle of the river. While the crowd pressed me towards the crossing, I held on to my companion, but we got to the other side separately. I couldn't catch up with her anymore, and I was left alone with the distance.
At the fifth kilometer, I heard a group of teammates behind me. To the question: Annette, how are you?, I just hissed through clenched teeth: Everything is very bad - Nothing, six more times, the same amount - and the finish. I asked the guys to do this race, including me, and let them go ahead, stepping from the path into the snowdrift. Everything, however, was not very good: I ran only a seventh of the announced distance and no longer felt my legs from the ankle to the toes. Changing running technique or speed didn't help. I took a step, cherishing the hope that now everything will go away and I can again feel the movement of my toes, I will run further. And if not, then I would have to get off, I would only know how: doctors provide assistance at the start, finish and checkpoints at 16.5 km and 23.5 km, and I walk through the snowdrifts only at the 6th kilometer and chew frozen carbohydrate gel ... Since there is no pain, only a feeling of complete absence of a foot, I decided not to give up, the notorious Do or die worked, turned on the music and hobbled on. Somewhere on the eighth kilometer my leg let go, I accelerated and even overtook several people.
Many trail runners choose races for the beauty of the track. On the segment before the first checkpoint, the views, however, fascinated: white fields gave way to forests with snow-covered trees, black rivers, which had to jump over so as not to get your feet wet, and most importantly, the absence of a crowd of people. Most of all I liked not to see anyone around, only a path, snowdrifts and a forest. The organizing team paved a route through several villages and beautiful abandoned churches - the views were very reminiscent of Balabanov's film I also want it, that's why the impression intensified and rather drove from these places.
Before I could get tired, I ran 16 km and came to the first checkpoint. While I was drinking tea, I wrote in the running club chat that everything is not so bad, I am not leaving the race, I am not dying of pain, so I continue to run. A couple of days before the race, I studied the K30 map and wondered why there is only 7 km between checkpoints, although there are more than twice more before the first and after the second segment? I found the answer empirically: it was a very difficult 7 km. It seemed that all the difficult terrain was concentrated in this area, the narrowest paths and large mud puddles were also here, and when I got into the thickets of bushes and whipped my whole face and legs with rods, I wanted to howl. But that's not all, there were ravines ahead, on which we had to dive down, then take off up the slope. A couple of kilometers before the checkpoint I was overtaken by the leader of the K70 race, and they started only 1.5 hours earlier than us, but 30 km from our starting point - it was a blow to self-esteem.
Second checkpoint, 23, 5 km. I am very tired, I can feel every joint of my legs and shoulders aching. No gels, isotonic or energy drinks want to help, and it seems that I am completely behind my teammates. Imagine my surprise when I met them at the tables with tea! And I still run nothing like that)), - I wrote in the chat and, as they say, jinxed. Further running was a continuous series of torments. You overtake, get into some swamps, try to keep your speed, but while you run the entire flooded path, falling ankle-deep in a mess of snow, water, earth, clay and grass, you are exhausted and go to step. Then you are overtaken by the same ones whom you walked a hundred meters back. And so it repeats an endless number of times, and around the monotonous whiteness of the fields.
At the 28th km, I got tired of everything, even the music stopped saving. Probably, if there was an opportunity, then I would have retired. But there is nowhere: nature is around, the highway is far away. The question again came up in my head, why did I get involved in this ?, despair and self-loathing prevailed - I took a step. After several minutes of intense struggle with fatigue and anger at the whole world, I noticed a girl next to me, who was holding next to me for several kilometers. We met and held on to each other almost to the very finish. Together we decided when to go for a run, and when to go, and together we pleaded with the universe so that the map recorded in my phone would coincide with reality. During the chatter, we did not even notice how we lost sight ofat the markings of the track, and followed the other runners, winding the extra kilometer.
The moment when something went wrong
When a line of 10 walking people stretches in front of you, it clearly happened something is not right: we came to the most swampy place on the track! My feet got wet right away, no Gore-Tex membrane saved me from water. The wind that got up in the afternoon cooled our ardor 100%. Overtaking - you will lose your last strength, walking with everyone is cold, but you have to.
Having overcome the swamps, I checked the map again and happily announced that we had 4 km left to the finish line. And after a hundred meters I met a photographer who shouted to everyone that it was almost 7 km to the finish line! A red veil covered my eyes, I wanted to find organizers who called to run K30, but it turned out K40, and demand to move the finish line to where I was. Then they ran in silence, more and more often moving to a step, tears came from the hopelessness of the situation.
Approximately 36 km of the distance we reached the asphalt. Hooray, the trail will be gone! But there is still almost 4 km to the finish line. Fighting girlfriend, who supported the remnants of strength in me, began to lag far behind. I felt sorry for her, and I returned, slowed down, tried to cheer up. We ate and walked. The icy gusts of wind rang in your ears and chilled shoulder blades cramped - you have to run to the end, there is not much left! I literally stretched out my hand to the girl and tried to drag her for about 300 meters until I was exhausted myself. The last kilometer was the hardest, not only because the body was languishing, and from the motivation I just wanted to lie down, but also because I had to leave my partner - my strength was at the limit.
I saw the finish line in front of me, how they were met athletes, how they rejoice at medals, tea, porridge, a locker room with warm clothes, but I was absolutely indifferent. 6 hours 3 minutes 50 seconds! They put a medal on my neck, which means that the time, as well as the distance, was increased, I managed to close the finish line. Only when my teammate met me and hugged me, congratulating me on overcoming the track, I realized that everything was over. And I never found the answer to the question why! Anger at the whole world, especially for the distance increased by 5 km, did not allow to enjoy the moment. There was no need for any medal, I wanted to go back in time and not register for this stupid trail, not go to any Rostov ...
After the trail
A few hours later, when I warmed up and a little I came to my senses, my friends convinced me that I was a hero, because I ran all 40 km, although it was declared 35 km, I remained safe and sound, and this despite the fact that before the start I ran for two months and prepared for the race for only three weeks.
It's been a week since Mad Fox Ultra Trail. I rested, I treat the periosteum, I don't run a lot yet. I still cannot decide whether I would agree to participate in these competitions again. But, after weighing all the pros and cons, I got the idea to train myself even more.2nd distance: run a trail, for example, 50 km, and do not forget about the marathon. What for? I do not know. Perhaps, only in relation to running, I resigned myself to the answer: Why not ?.