About running with Lavaredo Ultra Trail I would write 10 different notes includes my preparation, logistical issues related to the departure of the trip and the characteristics of the same route of the Lavaredo Ultra Trail. Never the less- I will share my adventure with Lavaredo Ultra Trail into two parts – the first part of it – relationship from the run and the description of the route of LUT, in the second part I will focus on practical advice related to the arrival of the course and some words about Dolomites – so that a person could a lot easier planning a trip and the gear after reading that notes:)
By the way – Lavaredo Ultra Trail to the incredibly epic run in every inch of it’s 119-kilometer route. Really!
The idea of finishing the race began to germinate a few years ago (when I was completely unaware of something like ultrarunning), while being away for climbing in the Dolomites – Tre Cime di Lavaredo, Cinque Torri (where we run while Lavaredo Ultra Trail) and marveling at the beautiful Tofanas (Di Roses and Mezzo). A few years later I started my adventure with running and I heard somewhere about these beautiful vertical race in Dolomites – Lavaredo Ultra Trail, strangely sensed that go back 🙂
Another important fact was that I wasn’t drafted to UTMB, so we decided with friends (our “cauliflower trinity” of Sudecka 100 race, that we go this year on one big and famous race – fell on Lavaredo Ultra Trail. Inscription stated at the Valentine’s Day . Nevertheless the servers collapsed , faithfully of the kindness and incredibly friendly approach organizers – Cristina, we were able to inscript on the Lavaredo , and started planning the trip and slowly train 🙂
We come to Cortina together with Piotrek over a week before the race – in the Dolomites to practice and familiarize yourself with the route of the Lavaredo Ultra Trail. We spent the night at the campground Cortina – in exactly the same place (even the same a seat under a tree), which once while climbing trips. We have did some training along the route, rather longer than intense. 27th June at 23:00 we were at the start of the run – together with the rest of the Polish team, also met Bartek from “Pokonaj Astmę”
The weather promised to be very delicious – it did not rain, the sky was slightly overcast, so the night was going to be warm.
Before the start, the organizers have provided us with some prerace information about weather conditions on the route, There was played official “anthem” Lavaredo Ultra Trail and we started.
Start of the race
Cortina – Federavecchia The first part of the course is 3 km flat road in Cortina and the first ascent switchbacks to the lake Ghedina, we moved with Rafal very quiet pace near 6 min / km, on the ascent we walked according to the assumptions, the route we learned in training so we knew what we can expect. The first approach is about 5 km and 500 m elevation wide clearance peaceful way to pass Posporcona (1750 m), where no problem to overtake or be overtaken by others 🙂 After the ascent there began a fairly steep and technical downhill to the Fiames sheltern, here came the first difficulties – because of that we started very quietly, it was still quite a lot of people around us and the dohnhill was very slow, and it were no posibility to overtake other runners . After a few kilometers of this downhill the route was wider and we coul coincide the comfortable rhythm, after moment we arrived to the first aid point in Ospitale – he was very plentifull – full cans of red bulls, coca cola, isotonic (very thick and tasty) food of all kinds . I filled the bottle of isotonic and continued running – we have a quite a long approaches to the pass Son Forca (about 8 km and 600 m vertical elevation), where was another downhill to Federavecchia. Here he had another very plentiful and full of nutritional point.
I’ve got a colic…
Federavecchia – Rif. Auronzo (Tre Cime) Now we was waiting for another ascent, it was quite muddy and the misfortune Rafał did something with ankle, thank God he was able to continue running and he was able to continue Lavaredo Ultra Trail. We passed Misurina and from that moment we have to beat 7 km ascent to the hostel Auronzo, where was the point with food and deposite where I left a candy bar protein and delicious coconut water (thanks Ekoidea!). Despite of the persuade rest of the team – I did not take into deposit a spare shoes or clothes, maybe it was a mistake, but I found that 48 km is too short to be dress in fresh clothes / shoes – if a deposit was after the Travenases, where we passed several times through the river – I would take shoes definitely. Since February I have used Saucony Xodusy with the attitude that I will use them for Lavaredo Ultra Trail , this shoes were almost the perfect – I liked them, and what is important – very respected them and only occasionally used, I did 400 km with this pair. Unfortunately, at the last training before Lavaredo Ultra Trail in Poland – crashed up, and I decided that I run with my Dynafit Feline Ghost. Before the Rif. Auronzo I really got weak, here came one of the biggest mistakes that I made for this race – at 40 km ate the first power bar – a little too late . I felt the power drop was significant – Rafał began to leave me, I came to Auronzo and Rafał in the shelter said that he is going on and that it I ‘ll catch him up to the descent, but i didn’t. Rif. Auronzo (Tre Cime) – Cimabanche In the shelter I refuel the camelbag and ate two portions of delicious chicken soup with pasta and parmesan – something amazing that I needed! I spent there maybe 3 minutes and immadetely run wanted catch up Rafał. While coming out of the shelters I feel that it is extremely cold, luckilyI worm up t after two kilometers. Wet T-shirt is warmed, and the breathtaking sunrise motivated to follow up realizing that it was worth coming here and so much murder on training in the winter. I don’t forget the view the sunrise, in the bottom of the clouds, next to the great and majestic Tre Cime (Three Sisters), and comming in the distance big red circle warmth get hope that is getting closer to the finish. Silence all around – we could hear only their own breathing, heartbeat and stones rustle underfoot.
This feeling lasted for the first descent – it was necessary to focus on technically difficult path, now it was waiting for me 8 km and more than a kilometer vertically down – technical path full of bends – it’s what I love! Before this downhill I tried to eat a power bar or protein bar, but any bite of anything sweet in my mouth drove me nauseous and I gave up eating candy bars, I was afraid of the loosing valuable calories adopted with a delicious soup. At the downhill I took 7 runners, I felt much better-energy of the soup began to work quickly afer flew kilometers. It was already 60 km-half distance, on a half had sensational as the assumptions time – 7:40, this mean I keep a good pace to accomplish the race around 16 hours, but then I was so euphorically set – I knew that the second half of the run is much more difficult, The Malga Travenases is waiting for me, such as crossing the river, Col dei Bos and other interesting steep ascents, which we met earlier at the training before Lavaredo Ultra Trail. Descent is over and it waited for me a quiet 8-kilometer ascent into Cimabanche – all in all I wouldn’t say that it was the ascent – for me it was one of the most difficult mentally and most boring part of the Lavaredo Ultra Trail course – a boring flat 8 km on the gravel in full sun, along the road after beautiful 60 km in an incredibly beautiful mountains. Maybe for flat runners it was the part where they could catch something – I definitely lost a lot – a few guys ahead of me, including one Canadian, who summed the moment – “fuckin flat” – really-it was a fuckin flat!
Here it seriously began to appear my stomach problems- isotonic drink in camelbag made the same gag reflex as a gel or power bar. Instead of gels I was saving myself by the tablets Carbonox, snacking and sipping them quickly with waternot to feel the sweet taste in the mouth. At the point in Cimabanche I ate some almonds, dring cup cup of cola (cola fortunately I could drink with delicious) and went on.
Cimabanche-Rif. Col Gallina Here the crisis began. At the beginning of a solid approach – 5 km and 500 m up to the pass Leros, then 8 km runaway and 750 m down. At the half the downhill there was a aid point (Malga Ra Stua) . On the uphill it was very hard, I went with the Czech John, we talked about racing in the Czech Republic and Poland, but at some point I was no longer able to talk – I didn’t have the strength I told him to go ahead. Isotonic didn’t taste, every sip of camelbag was associated with wicking and an incredible disgust, but you had – it was only the 70th kilometer and still have a lot ahead of me, drinking the same water would lead to leaching of minerals, cramps and very serious trouble. Worse was the food, I had half a pack of Chemistry – 3 gels, protein candy bar and three carbonox. I could ate only carbonox, but I found a few pieces of banana which I instinctively tooke at one of the aid point – I ate them and walked away. In this ascent, I prayed my first rosary – I decided to myself that from now on every ascent I prayed the Rosary, and at the descent threw much as possible – without the rosary to focus where put my feet. Downhill was cool and pleasant, At the Dowhnill I overtook John, Canadian and two more runners. At the aid point I ate the next portion of soup with parmesan cheese and two quarters of lemon. The tables on the aid station were full of cakes with nutella and other various sweets – now when I write up my notes I would eat many cakes with nutella, but then if i saw this tables I want to vomit.
But as he said Scott Jurek – sometimes you have to… The ultra race is like in life, there are beautiful moments – such as the sunrise under the Tre Cime, amazing begin of the race with cheering fans and loud music rallying to fight, but there are also crises, problems and failures. This is how we handle depends largely on how we behave in a moment of crisis, as we behave after crushing defeat. We go down the route resigned, with the feeling of losing – or we fight, overcome the crisis and look somewhere deep – where are hidden reserves of energy that will lead us to the fame. However, it should be aware that the moment of glory always comes a crisis, each crisis has passed once .
During Lavaredo Ultra Trail my crisis was endless disgust sweet, and continuous power cut. I walked further down, downhill was quite a technical, a lot of protruding roots, stones – well, because such descent miles pass quickly and the brain is busy. I do not feel the pain , but each descent always end – this also. He end on a beautiful glade, where there was a lot of grazing cows and shepherdess, next to the large wooden cross with Jezus. It gave me a lot of encouragement, I thought to myself, “God, you were hanged on the cross and died, what is for me, 120 km, and a little hurt”.
Now was waited for me one of the toughest stages of the race. Almost 12 kilometer and little more than one kilometer vertical – climb pass Col dei Bos
After a few kilometers of ascent, I landed in familiar place from one of the training – there are connection Lavaredo Ultra Trail route and a shorter course of Cortina Trail (47 km), after few minutes I met several participants of the race. Two fatty women who was quietly moved towards a finish line. From that moment was end of “ultrarunner solitude”, I should cry every minute when I want overtook participants of the Cortina Trail. Some runners, seeing that I overtake them cried and cheered “Forza Forza Polonia” cried my name-it was amazing, an added a lot of strength and encouragement. Thanks!
Unfortunately, it also happened that some did not respond to my cries who I want to overtake. It was very inconvenient at downhills. Nothing irritates me as a waste of time at the downhill .
Somewhere around 85th kilometer in Malga Travenases where three crosses the river. At the first crossing I saw a crowd of about 30 people standing in line at the narrowest point of the river – everyone calmly and without haste drifted shoes, dumps for the bank and passed, after crossing the river carefully cleaned and dressed back shoes. At the beginning I thought it was the fans, or some indefinite point with the food or the point where mandatory equipment are checked. Seeing that runners – amused themselves, I did run up and ran across the river beside them, splashing all the purists who feared the water 🙂 I hope you were not very angry, that I made myself a kick out of them. After three crossings was another endless uphill – another pray rosary and even, a very slow rhythm uphill.
In the moments when it’s very hard, I noticed that it helps to do something with rhythm. It’s hard in life, something goes wrong, something is falling apart – nothing helps such as systematic work on something, putting up routine and rhythm with therapeutic work. The same at the race – entering into a routine catch the steady rhythm is the key to survival when it hurts and it’is hopeless.
There was another obstacle. Feet. I didn’t predict the impact of going over the river and unproven in the wet shoes on my feet. Unfortunately my Dynafity have a very thin sole, which after nearly 90 kilometers run on the same tiny stones caused injury on my feet, microstones and sand in my shoes I fell every moment. A lot of pain made water, at the moment it started incredibly hurts in the vicinity of toes, heels, sides of feet, I felt even fingerprints under the fingernails. I suspect that the pain was giving signals much much earlier, but my head was busywhile fighting with a lack of energy and fight how don’t throw up after another sip of isotonic drink. Now I felt both. On the one hand, pain in the stomach, hunger, and also a deep cut power, I suspect, that looked pretty bleak at the moment 🙂 On the other hand, I felt burning and stinging pain in the feet. On the uphills I could suffer it, but downhills I often groaned with pain. Each step was like treading on the red-hot plate, so I tried to run with the big cadence in order to minimize the contact time of the foot with the ground.
The third problem which about I haven’t written – my back were rubbed off . Although I had a very good shirt that is not tucked- my backpack wreaked havoc on my back, T uphill it was less hurt, but at the downhill, when the clamp presses for lumbar, Hell damn, it’s done too sweaty T-shirt- you can imagine how the salty sweat on sawn skin. Ouch! They were my three companions . – Burning feet – Sore stomach and continuous vomiting reflex swallow after drinkf iso and eating something sweet – Burning rubbed off back.
On the Col dei Bos pass someone gave me a sip of cola and a handful of dried apricots – you can’t imagine how it tasted!
I still ahead runers from Cortina Trail, it should be an interesting view – moaning and crooked guy who prays the rosary, and at times calls to the move. The maps showed that after the pass it was only one downhill and Col Gallina – the food. I thought it would be fun, but after a few steps, I felt again the pain on my foot. At this point, I loved the uphills – because even though the thighs there was no power, although they were heavy and steep – foot doesn’y hurt. There have been serious trouble, my tempo dropped dramatically ,
I still had a lap to result in around 17 hours, but I felt very bad.
Each beep of my Suunto Ambit was incredibly happy, – one kilometer closer to the finish line, another one again one, it was getting closer, but still far away.
At this time when some runners from Cortina Trail began to overtake me on the downhill – it was already very bad.
I run on the point with food. That one was quite different from the others. In the preceding starions I was alone, or with the most a few other runners, the entire staff at were nice and polite. Here at the point common to the Lavaredo Ultra Trail and Cortina Trail was different. Some around 100 people at que to eat, all cheerful, happy as at picnic. I drove quickly to the queue, because I hadn’t time to wait – I drank two broths with parmesan, drinked also the Red Bull – I drank a whole can, then I’m feel so dizzied and at that the impression saw our Polish “ku*wa mać”. On the side, I heard laugt – next t me stood nice girl from Slovakia, who knew the Polish language (studied in Warsaw), said that it lovely told. We were talking a while and go away. For the next point with food it was eight kilometers. Apparently nothing, but then a lot.
Rif. Col Gallina-Passo Giau To 8 kilometrów ciągnęło się w nieskończoność. Długie i strome podejście do Schroniska Avreau, pod koniec zahaczające o Cinque Torri – tutaj kilka lat temu wspinaliśmy się. Przeżyliśmy wiele wspólnych wspomnień z Wiesiem i Kasią (dzisiaj małżeństwem) i ks. Tomaszem, przeważały piękne momenty, ale też tragiczne – jak ten pod Torre Inglese, gdzie dosłownie 2 m obok nas spadł wspinacz i którego nie udało się nam uratować. Wspomnienie tej tragicznej śmierci i widok wydzierającej się zrozpaczonej żony wspinacza obok mnie towarzyszył , jak szedłem do Aurozno. Poczułem wtedy wdzięczność, że może boli i jest ciężko – ale robię w tym momencie to, co najbardziej kocham – oni już nie mogą. Zrobiło się zimno i mocno wiało, ale na szczycie przy schronisku gospodarze podawali gorącą herbatę z sokiem malinowym – ale to pyszne było! Czekał nas zbieg do Passo Giau i kolejny punkt – już ostatni.
This 8 km continuity with no end. The long and steep climb to Shelter Avreau near of the Cinque Torri – where a few years ago we climbed. We experienced a lot of memories with Wiesław, Kasia (now married) and priest Tomasz. There dominated beautiful moments, but also tragic – like the one at Torre Inglese, where climber fell next to us and who we could not rescued. The memory of this tragic death and the view of wresting the desperate wife of the climber near me was accompanied by the way as I walked to Aurozno. I felt a grateful that can doing at the moment what I love the most – they no longer can.
It got cold and strong wind was blowing, but on top – hosts from sheltern served hot tea with raspberry juice – it was delicious!
Passo Giau-meta Tutaj na punkcie pojawiło się piwo i przepyszne owoce z puszki – zjadłem cztery kubki owoców i wypiłem pół piwa i ruszyłem dalej. To już był 101 kilometr – do mety tylko 16, ale wtedy to było aż 16, albo 160 odcinków 100 metrowych. W sumie to standardowy trening. Spokojne wybieganie nie robiące wrażenia na biegaczu – ale mając w nogach 103 km – robiło wrażenie. Trasę znałem z jednego z naszych treningów – na treningu myślałem, że pobiegnę co sił w nogach, plany były na zbiegi w okolicach 4 min/km, a teraz 6 min/km wydawało się kosmicznym tempem. Podejście na Przełęcz Giau było istną Golgotą. Po wypitym piwie i owocach dostałem zgagi, ale przynajmniej przeszła ochota na wymiotowanie. Za przełęczą Giau czekał już tylko długi, 12 km zbieg do Cortiny i zwieńczenie biegu.
Here at point with food I saw beer and delicious canned fruits – I ate four cups of fruit and drank half a beer and run away. There was already 101 kilometers – to the finish line only 16, but then it was 160 parts of 100 meters distanse. I knew the route from one of training – that time, I thought that I run my quite fast, plans were that speed at downhill were around 4 min / km, but now 6 min / km pace seemed very fast. The uphill to the Giau Pass was like Golgotha. After drunk beer and fruit I got heartburn, but at least passed craving for vomiting. After pass Giau Pass it was only 12 km long downhill to Cortina .
It hurt more and more, but I knew that was the end and that I didi it. I hid sticks into the backpack and I promised myself that I will the last downhill as much as possible I run . I’ve been doing intervals – 800 m run and 200 m march as a reward. Feet were burning, my back also hurt, but I wanted to finish it as soon as possible. I passed the last shelter and nutritional point, still was one fucked downhill, very muddy and slippery – another fail that we run after competitors from the Cortina Trail – path were trampled. After a long and tiring run I finally reached the lat flat part of the race – there were less than two kilometers to the finish.
Already I could see the tower of the church in Cortina. I knew that finish time of my race is very bad – more than 18 hours, but then this doesn’t matter. It was important that I have is practically over. The last kilometer I thanked God and myself that we succeeded.
I reminded myself of all the sacrifices, not just mine, that I could start this race.
I felt deep gratitude to all who helped me to start. That Great, who in my childhood showed me the beauty of the mountains and his life inspired me to running and climbing, but also those who are in the smallest things have made their bit to the fact that I realized my passion. This all of them then I dedicated this race.
Dobiegając na metę chyba przez kilometr każdy napotkany przechodzień mi klaskał i wiwatował, a na głównym deptaku w Cortinie stały grupki kibiców i wiwatowali, dzieci przybijały piątki – a w sercu poczułem błogie uczucie satysfakcji i spełnienia. Ostatnie 200 m i spiker głośno woła przez mikrofon “Lavaredo ultrarunner from Polonia – Artuuuuuuuur Pacccjorek” – łza zakręciła się w oku, serce mocniej zabiło – poczułem się jak Kilian wygrywający UTMB. Już nawet nie bolały stopy ani plecy, brzuch się uspokoił. Zrobiłem to!
The last kilometer before the finish line everyone clapped and cheered me, and on the main pedestrian street in Cortina group of people cries- at my heart I felt blissful feeling of satisfaction and fulfillment. Latest 200 meters announcer cried through the microphone “Lavaredo ultrarunner from Polonia – Artuuuuuuuur Pacccjorek” – my heart tighter beated – I felt like a Kilian while winning UTMB. I did it!
Time is not impressive – 18 hours 30 minutes and 30 seconds. Last 60 km it was a real battle with myself. Testing of character and battle with pain. I came out victorious from it, richer by many more experiences and most of all humility.
Humility for the mountains, for my opportunities and for nature. She is always stronger than us and we will never win with it – we can only surrender to it and work together.
At the finish line I got a vest finisher, met Rafał – he broke 17 hours. We sat on the sidewalk and waited for Karolina, who broke 20 hours – a great time.
It was worth it!
And for you I have a nice video of Lavaredo Ultra Trail