TransGranCanaria ’16 ENG

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Transgrancanaria (TGC) for me is one of the most impressive ultra-trail races with unique environment and amazing landscape crossing of the island. I have to admit, the course with brutal and relentless 8 vertical kilometers climbing under night darkness and day heat is really difficult. I’m really happy, that there were even 12 runners from Lithuania in this first Ultra-Trail World Tour Series race. Of course the biggest applause goes to Gediminas Grinius for his 2nd place fight.

This year I took amazingly high 8th place with 14h 30min when last year I spend 18h 33min in TGC. I knew many strong elite trail runners were coming to island, that’s why my aim was to be in the top twenty, and my dream – top ten. All the 125 km to finish line were full of emotions, fighting with myself and other experiences – briefly about all that in this post.

Put me on the front line!

 We arrived at the start zone one hour before the start. After espresso in local cafe I smudged my feet with warming oil and tried to find the best possible place at the starting line. After shoot for the start I speeded up and before the first climbing I was in the top five. The last year I lost a lot of time in the first part, because it was so difficult to overtake slower runners in narrow mountain path at night.  So this year’s strategy really worked, and from the beginning I ran on my own pace.

After first hour of climbing I started to not feel my feet. I guess the blood couldn’t reach my feet because of swollen calf with warming oil and compression socks. I started to panic and my thoughts were about cutting of this race. Gediminas with others leaders left me behind, while I was just jogging with my wooden feet. Fortunately after the second stage I started to control my feet.

Can you become a winner, if you have never even tried to fight?

My running towards the point 6 was just a tragedy. From the 5th position I fell to 19th. Before the third stage I started to walk. This was the price of my fast start, I thought. It’s funny to remember, when after third point I decided to sit down on a stone and relax for a while. Fortunately the local dog appeared from somewhere and begun aggressively barking. I had to make myself to run. That was probably the longest 3 kilometres on my whole race (it took 35 min.). My pace has slowed and many runners easily overtook me. I couldn’t find motivation in myself until I received a SMS message from my friend abut cutting the race. Come on! For me it was such a strong initiative to fight till the end: not for myself, for our country, to show others that we are not only daring to take off, but also pull up!

Not for myself. I'm fighting for my national honour.

 It was something amazing to see Roque Nublo peak with the first sun, to feel waking up mountains with fog – there was so much natural energy around me! I started to push myself towards the Mars canyon. On my way I met Bryon Powel (iRunFar) who wore a T-shirt with the Lithuanian national symbols. Dammit, he was my inspiration! I will always give my final step for the national honour!

Photo credit: Gintarė Grinė
If not now, then when?

 I overtook a few groups of leaders while they were moving towards Roque Nublo. On the top of the mountain I was in the top ten. So in the second part of the race my aim was not to lose my dream. Between 90 and 100 km I tried to catch one runner, but he was really strong in down hilling. I came a few seconds after him in point at 106 km and less than minute after Jonas Buud   (the winner of IAU 100 km. road world ch.). I spent too much time at that point while these guys didn’t even stop and run further. That was my huge mistake.

Have your own goal. Think how you do this and keep moving forward!

I had my own plan how to finish TGC. A week before the start I was exploring Gran Canaria, tried a few parts of the track, that‘s why on my number I wrote my expected time for each stage. All race I tried to reach my goal step by step, point to point. This tactic worked!

Thanks to my team, partners and friends. Thank you all for being next to me! It was a real adventure!