So I did it.
I finished the race I wrote as fantasy goal 10 years ago. Did not seem realistic at the time, but 4 years ago when I got my first UTMB points, the wish to really try, grew to an unstoppable force. Actually finishing it showed that one never should give up on fantasy goals.
But now what..... ?
The last years have been about learning to run long distances in mountains, collecting the required UTMB points and moving my borders. Now I achieved my goal, so what to do next ?
Of course I could try to get into UTMB again and repeat it. But the weather made it magical this year. I just need to close my eyes and I can see many parts of the course, the support and get that silly smile on my face again.
So repeating it in 2016 is likely going to be a disappointment. I could go further, trying Tor de Geants (300 km) or similar, but that gets a bit too extreme for me (right now at least :-)). Going back to running marathons, and ultras on the road? Hmm, does not sound too interesting.... so mountains it is and not further. Then there is only one thing left: going faster (enjoyment is of course always a goal but it is more fun to challenge oneself at the same time).
Faster in mountains is a hard thing to measure, as every race is different, but here the International Trail Running Association (ITRA) scores come in handy. The scores represent how well one is doing compared to the best runners in the world (so one can say Kilian Jornet, who would get a score of 1000). Now my scores have been awfully stable, except for my CCC where the weather was simply terrible. So goal is basically to put a score in this list better than 471.
That gives me a goal, but now what race to go for?
Should be in Europe, even though Mount Fuji is high on my list. Browsing through the race calendar on the UTMB page, I throw out 90% of the races based on distance or height meters. It is kind of funny that one first discovers what one wants when one browses through race candidates: in my case I seem to want something between 100-200 km with more than 5000 D+. For the remaining 10% of the races I go to the race's webpage and see if my heart starts beating faster based on what I see. That happens a couple of times and when I open the webpage from Dolomiti Extreme Trail (DXT), a 103 km course with a little more than 7 km D+, I am sure I want to try that one. Seems as technical as the most technical race I have run (Royal Ultra Sky Marathon), but then twice as long. And I love the Dolomites, so in the weekend of June 10th 2016 I will make a weekend trip to North Italy for some wellness :-).
Training has started with running a wintercross series (vvcc.dk) of just 8 kms where I have the ambition to finish in the top 10. After 2 of the 4 races I am number 8 :-). After that we quickly move my training to longer distances. My training can be followed in more detail on strava (see link somewhere on the right side)