We’re in Zoldo. Forno di Zoldo. It’s strange to be back here. What started as just an idea, is going to be reality in less than 57 hours. I’m going to run the 55 kilometers race at the Dolomiti Extreme Trail (DXT).
Last year we were here in Zoldo as well. I ran the 11 kilometers race. I couldn’t run further in those days. When we parked our car, the day before the race, to pick up my bib number, a volunteer told Sara the 55 kilometer race is the most beautiful race they have. I joked that if I would do okay on the 11, I would come back for the 55.
I did okay, but I never thought I would be able to run 55. I mean, even now I’ve only been running for 2 years. Plus, I live in the Netherlands, a flat country. Yet, here I am, in the mountains to run 55 kilometers, including 3.800 meters of altitude.
Before last year’s run I had done twice 17,5 kilometers. Never further. After that run I slowly increased my distance.
- 19 kilometers June 20, 2022 in Sirolo (Italy).
- 21,5 kilometers July 2nd in Bibione.
- 23 kilometers July 24 in Leende at the Leenderheide Trail.
- 24 kilometers at the Steamtrail in Dieren, August 20.
- 27 kilometers in training, October 22.
- 32 kilometers, December 2 at the Brabantse Kluis Trail.
- 37 kilometers, December 24, in training.
That last training session convinced me I was ready to run a trail marathon. So February 11 I ran the Run Forest Run Ommerland trail; a 44,5 kilometer race. A month later, March 18, I ran my first ultra; the Endurance Life Sussex Ultra of 53 kilometers. So far that is my longest race.
The altitude is a different story. I tried to get some meters in, but as I said, I live in a flat country. With 600 meters the DXT last year was by far the most altitude I had done. But:
- June 20, in Sirolo, I did 814 meters in training.
- September 18 I did 774 meters during the Three Mealls Trail Race.
- November 13 I managed to climb 558 meters at the Alfa Bear Trail.
- January 22 I climbed 793 meters in the snow at the Houffa Trail.
Still nothing compared to the 3.800 I have to run this coming Saturday. That’s why Sara and I went to Spa, in Belgium to train, followed by a few more races abroad:
- February 26, I climbed 1.118 meters in total in Spa.
- March 18, at the Sussex Ultra, we had to climb 1.600 meters.
- April 24, the Might Marathon, in Belgium: 1.059 meters.
- May 13, EYRI25 at Ultra Trail Snowdonia: 1.356 meters.
Biggest challenge ever
I would have loved to do at least one training session with 2.500 meters of altitude, but I had no clue how to fit it in my schedule. So the altitude is going to be the big challenge this Saturday. Although, the whole race is going to be one big challenge, as I’ve never run this far, nor climbed this high. Let’s see how it goes.