Early start of the day. Very early, because this Saturday is actually already starting Friday night. Why? Because at 0.00 o’clock the registration for the Dolomiti Extreme Trail 2023 opens and I want to run the 55 kilometers ultra race.
It was June 12 this year that I decided to run the 55 kilometers ultra Dolomiti Extreme Trail in 2023. Probably the moment I passed the finish line of the 11 kilometers race.
Most beautiful one
Or maybe even before that, when we parked the car, and Sara started to chat with one of the volunteers of the race in the car park. The guy said that of all the races, 103, 72, 55, 22 and 11, the 55 kilometers is the most beautiful one, as it has the most diverse scenery and best views.
55 sounded crazy by that time. Especially with my ankles, and the simple fact that I had never run in real mountains. Yes, I had done a trail race in the Ardennes, but to give you an idea; the highest point in the Ardennes is Signal de Botrange at 694 meters. The highest point of the Dolomites is Marmolada at 3.343 meters.
Full of energy
The 22 kilometers sounded more like something I could do, one day. Yet, when I finished my race that day, I already had the idea I could have done the 22 as well. The climbing, 614 meters of altitude, was hard at times. Especially the steep parts. At the same time, when I finished I was still full of energy.
There is something crazy, or maybe better said amazing, about running in the mountains. Physically it’s hard, but mentally it’s energizing. It’s the silence, it’s the diversity in scenery. One moment you’re in between trees, the next moment you’re on top of the mountain, with breathtaking views.
Maybe it was the euphoria, maybe it was the adrenaline still pumping through my veins, but when I passed the finish I just thought: ‘I want to come back here and run the 55 kilometers’. Or maybe I just didn’t had enough, because I finished the 11 kilometers and 615 altitude meters in 1 hour and 35 minutes. That was too short for a day in the mountains.
Yes I know, the wise thing is to run the 22 kilometers next year, and maybe the year after the 55 kilometers. Depending if I can do the 22. But often I’m not wise. Too often my enthusiasm wins it from my wisdom. So I signed up for the 55 kilometers. There is only one problem: I have never run or walked 55 kilometers. But he, problems are there to be solved, and I have 8,5 months to solve this problem. That sounds like a nice challenge.