Back to Training

Over the weekend my running club sponsored our annual 5/10K race, so I volunteered much of my time helping to setup and working at the water point. Instead of running on Saturday I elected to carry the rest of building supplies left over from our house renovation, from the attic into the shed. This required 40-50 trips up and down two flights of stairs under heavy load.

On Monday I picked up the training again, running 18 km (11.2 mi) with a 6:23 min/km (10:17 min/mi) pace. It was incredibly humid when I ran, by the time I was done I felt like I had run twice as far.

Last night I ran 12 km (7.5 mi) at a slightly easier pace, enjoying a nice forested trail nearby. It was raining gently as I ran, a nice change to the hot, humid weather we have had lately.

My next big race is the Wolff Sports Ultra Trail in Feucht, Germany on August 23rd. This race is an approximately 85 km trail race through a mostly forested area, just south of Nuremberg. This will be the race debut, so details are sketchy, but did find a Trailer video on Youtube:

I have pretty much decided to run the Hornisgrinde Marathon on July 20th, instead of the Bretten Night52 Ultra the day before. Both are hilly courses, but I am concerned that the 52 km race will wear me down too much and I won’t be able to continue training.

Running in New York

Ever since my fateful attempt to complete the Canandaigua 50 in 2007 I have wanted a rematch, but it just hasn’t worked out, either my training was sufficient or the vacation timetable didn’t fit. This year is no exception, my condition is the worse than it was in 2007. This is unfortunate as this year I am flying alone to visit my family in Upstate New York, so time wise it would have worked out.

The good news is if you have the desire there is always a plan B! The Adirondack Marathon in Schroon Lake, NY is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful marathon courses in the state. On September 28, I will be there to make my own assessment. Of course Jack would not be Jack if there was not a catch to this adventure…apparently the course is supposed to be a bit hilly…

The race starts on Main Street (Route 9) in the town of Schroon and heads north. Runners will complete one full loop around Schroon Lake on paved roadways (except for one half-mile stretch of gravel road in mile 3). The first four miles are rolling or flat. Miles 4-12 feature short, but steep hills along a two-lane country road on the east side of the lake. Miles 13-18 are flat, along the east shore. Then, there are long, gentle hills on Route 9, leading north to the finish in the town of Schroon.

Adirondack Marathon Elevation Profile

Adirondack Marathon Elevation Profile

…maybe I should start doing some hill training after all.

Last Nights Training: 8K (5mi.) run easy recovery pace.

Recovery Week

The body is healing nicely from the race last weekend. I had a lot of chafing from the wet clothing coming in contact with various areas of the body, the worst being the waistline on my backside. In most cases applying Vaseline before a race prevents this, but due to the wet conditions this eventually became ineffective, and I did not bring any with me to reapply.

I went for a short recovery run last night, an easy 6K (3.7 mi), just enough to loosen up the muscles a bit. Tonight I want to run the short loop (8K/5mi) with my running club, than probably do cross-training until the weekend.

I mentioned in my last few posts that my training was hardly adequate to run a good race. In my peak years (2008-2010), I was running 80-100 kilometers per week for 5-6 months prior to this race, with at least 10-12 hilly long runs and almost weekly speed training. This year, in comparison, I averaged 50-60 per week with no hilly long runs and not speed training. The only hilly runs I did this year prior to the race were two other hilly ultras. My last training long run was in April, since then the only distance runs I did were 3 ultras, including the two hilly ones.

When I consider the training that I have done this year, plus the fact that I am 7-8 kilograms heavy than normal, my race results for this year have not been so bad. In any case it shows me that I only get what I am willing to put into it, e.g. mediocre training = mediocre results.

I of course have race plans for the rest of the summer, my target race is a 90K trail race at the end of August. My thoughts now are how to best use the approximately 7 weeks of training that I have until the event. There are a couple trail marathons this month that could provide useful training opportunities, or I could also return to my hilly training trails and start pounding the quads back into shape.

Another race behind me

Last night was my 61st marathon or more, an 80 km (50 mi) race, the Fidelitas Night Run. Despite very humid conditions, lots of rain, and thoughts of quitting, I finished with a time of 11:19:00, my second slowest time for this race overall. I’ll try to get a report up in the next day or two.

A bit of pre-race jitters

For the first time in many years I find myself getting pre-race jitters over the 80K race on Saturday night. Really there is no logical reason for this, I have run the race 7 times previously, and it will be my 61st marathon or more, I should have no apprehension whatsoever. But I do, much like a student who failed to properly prepare for an exam.

Confidence is gained through solid training, and that is exactly where the problem lies, I have trained, but the training I did was minimal, around 50-60 kilometers a week with no hill or speed training. Based on my race experience, and performance thus far this year, I am pretty confident that I will complete the race, but I know it will not be easy and that I need to run a very smart race to prevent failure.

As is true with almost every race, I already have my sights on the NEXT race, or series of races as the case may be:
• July 12 – Bärenfels 63K Trail in Neubrücke, Germany
• July 19 –Night52 Ultra (52K) in Bretten, Germany
• August 23 – Wolff Sports 90K Ultra Trail in Nürnberg, Germany
• September 14 – Pfälzer Forest Marathon in Pirmasens, Germany
And, if all works out:
• September 28 – The Adirondack Marathon in Schroon Lake, NY, USA

Last night’s training: Rest day

Looking back

Last night I had nice run with RB, she got home later than normal from work, so we ran a shorter loop. I ran the long way around town to her house to add a couple kilometers, so at least got my planned mileage in (10K). Yesterday was one of the warmest days we have had this year, around 27°C. We really felt this during the run, as we aren’t acclimatized to the “heat” yet. Fortunately it is supposed to cool down again before my race next Wednesday, not that it really matters, the race starts at 9 p.m.!

Next month marks the 10th anniversary that I have been running races. My first race was the Baden Mile, an 8.88889 km run around the city of Karlsruhe here in Germany. I owe my “running career” to the prompting from one of my coworkers who talked me into running with the company team that participates in this event each year. I haven’t run the event for a few years, but to mark my 10th anniversary of running races I signed up and will run the Baden Mile on May 11th as part of our company team.

Next year will be the 10th year that I have been running marathons and to commemorate the occasion I am thinking about rerunning the first marathon that I ran, which was in Mannheim, Germany.

Times have changed since then, I was rereading my blog entries from 2005 last night, it is quite amusing (now) how much anxiety I went through the final weeks before my first marathon.

Next week I plan on running a 12-hour race, but about the only anxiety that I really have is if I get off work in time to make it to the event before the race starts (we have a late meeting at work). I do wish that I was better prepared, two years ago I ran the race with expectations of running a 100+ kilometers, but a storm knocked out the power after 4 ½ hours and they had to cancel the race. This year I know I will need to have a really good day just to reach 80 kilometers (50 mi), but I will give it my best anyway.

Running Club Night

Last night I ran the 11.2 km (7 mi) loop with my running club. Usually I run with my Running Buddy (RB), but she had to work late, so I ran with Conny and Crew (CC). We ran the first couple kilometers at around 6:00 min/km (9:39/mi), a minute faster than I run with RB, but fine for me. At around km 3 a couple of the CC group started running intervals, but I stayed back with 2 remaining members, with my 12-hour race a week away, there is no need to overdo it.

At the 5K point the two ladies I was running with broke off and took the shorter running trail back, and I picked up the pace some and eventually caught the rest of the CC group as they slowed between intervals. Shortly after they took off on another 800 meter interval and I figured I wouldn’t see them again until after the run. Much to my surprise they stopped and walked after the interval, so I again caught up and passed them, and remained ahead until the end of the run. I ended up with a faster than normal run, but managed to avoid blowing out my legs a week before race day.

I plan on running 2-3 more times before the race, probably the same distance as last night. Over the weekend I need to try to rest and catch up on my sleep, this will do more good than more mileage.

Running and Bicycling over Easter

I hope everyone had a pleasant Easter weekend. Easter in Germany means for most a 4-day weekend. I began tapering for my next marathon, so had time for other activities, including cleaning out the garden and shed. On Sunday we had a really great afternoon and evening at friends of ours, the weekend goes by entirely too fast, regardless of how long it is.

I ran a couple shorter runs on Friday and Saturday, Saturday with my running club. On Monday I went on an 80 km (50 mi) bicycle trip with friends from the running club. The weather was typical spring weather, a mixture of sun, wind, and even a few drops of rain towards the end. Our destination was lunch at the winery Bitzel in Winden, in the Rhineland-Palatinate region of Germany. The trip went without incident, the food was excellent, and the mood festive.

Bitzels in Winden

This week I will continue my taper for the 12-hour run on April 30, running 10-12 km a couple times to keep the muscles loose and the weight down.

Running toward Easter

After two days of rest I laced up and ran 16 km (10 mi) last night. Our spring weather took a dip yesterday, it was only 9°C, compared to 20°C+ on Saturday. As I headed out I realized right away that I was under dressed in my long sleeve shirt and running shorts, the wind chilled me to the bone, I wasted no time getting over the fields and into the protection of the forest behind. By this time I already had 4 km behind me, at a speed that I hadn’t planned on, so decided to keep the pace going. I finished my 16 km (10 mi) run in about 1 ½ hours, around 8-10 minutes faster than I have been running this distance lately, very satisfying to say the least.

Tonight I want to run with RB, she has to work later than normal, so can’t make it to our running club run, so I offered to wait for her and we can run from our village. On Thursday I plan on another 16 km run, but will probably keep the pace down a bit. With my 12 hour event in two weeks I need to think about tapering a bit, or at least not destroying my legs by running faster than I’m used to lately.

This weekend is Easter weekend, which means in Germany that we have Friday and Monday free. I am trying to plan my running so that I am not running on Easter Sunday, as we are invited for afternoon coffee and afterwards dinner at some friends. I am also hoping to go on a bicycle trip on Friday or Monday with some friends from my running club, but the weather is not looking promising.

Nuremberg, long run, and upcoming 12-hour race

Last week I spent a few days in Nuremberg at a training course for work, but brought my running shoes with me to keep the training going. I stayed at a hotel on the outskirts of the city, so within minutes I was able to run on the numerous bicycle and farm paths connecting the fields.

On Friday I took the day off and drove back from Nuremberg after taking care of some errands. I was home by noon, and as the day was sunny and bright, decided to get in my long run. I had 32 km (20 mi) on the plan, which I accomplished in 3 hours and 32 minutes, a bit slower than planned, but not by much.

On Saturday evening I ran with my running club, we ran a new 10K course that we will be using for the annual 10K Asparagus Run that we put on at the beginning of July. Most of the club members weren’t familiar with the route, so we want to run it once or twice so we can direct the participants on race day.

In 2 ½ weeks is my next race, the Salinenlauf (Saline Run), a 12 hour event held in the town of Bad Dürkheim in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. Bad Dürkheim is a spa town in the Rhine-Neckar urban agglomeration (Wikipedia). The course is 693 meters long, running oblong around the Graduation tower in the center of town.

Race Course Saline Run 2014

A graduation tower is a structure used in the production of salt which removes water from a saline solution by evaporation, increasing its concentration of mineral salts. Graduation towers can be found in a number of spa towns, primarily in Germany but also Poland and Austria. The mineral-rich water droplets in the air are regarded as having beneficial health effects similar to that of breathing in sea air.

I attempted this race two years ago, but around 4 ½ hours into the race a storm knocked out the power and the race was cancelled, frustrating to say the least. Strangely enough I couldn’t interest any of my running club to join me for the run, I guess the health benefits of running in the salty air are outweighed by the fear dying of boredom from running around in circles for 12 hours. But I’m going to give it my best anyway, besides it’s a good way to make new friends.