June 2007 Archives

Training Plan for the Next Marathon


Last night was a rest night, no training. I really didn’t have time anyway after working for 10-1/2 hours. After dinner I was thinking about lifting some weights when I heard my wife yell from the home office something about our printer blowing up. So I spent about two hours fooling around with this before I got it working, by that time it was time to go to bed…forced recovery is not a bad thing.

In just over three weeks (July 22) is my next race event, a trail marathon in the Black Forest. The race course is relatively gentle, mostly unpaved logging roads, the hardest part of the course being the long gradual uphill climb over the second half of the marathon.

Obviously with only three weeks until the race I can’t do too much to train for the event. The Plan is to take it easy for another 4-5 days with some shorter runs, mixed with some cross-training. In the time remaining I want to try to get in 2 longer runs, probably one 2-1/2 hour and one 3+ hour run, both on my hilly route in Weingarten. I don’t plan on tapering for the race, other then reducing mileage the 5-6 days before the race.

My goal will be to try to break 4-1/2 hours (a PR for me), but this will depend a lot on the weather. If it is too hot I will need to downgrade my goal considerably, as I will be running the hillier second half of the race in the midday heat.

We’ll see what happens anyway, have a nice weekend!

A Shorter Run with my Running Club

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Last night I decided I was recovered enough to run with my running club. I got home late from work so just had enough time to change and rush to the trail head arriving a few minutes before we started running (6 p.m.). It was a mild 21C/70F outside, partly cloudy, but at least no rain. I chatted with some of the runners before we headed out.

I started out with the normal group that I ran with, but with the intention of dropping back if they started running too fast. Two from the group ran on ahead but the rest of the group didn’t seem to be in any real hurry. I stayed with them for roughly 5K, then took a shortcut back to the trailhead, 8K/5M was enough running during my recovery week. One of the group turned off with me, he has been having some groin problems and it was painful for him to run. We ran at an easy pace back to the parking lot. I stayed around and chatted with various members of the group as they arrived back at the trailhead, it was nice catching up on the latest news.

This morning my legs are in pretty good shape, I don’t think I have ever felt so good, so quickly after a long race. I want to go for another shorter run on Friday night, probably 8K/5M at an easy pace. On Saturday I plan on driving to Weingarten and running my hilly route for an hour or two.

Have a nice day.

Signed up for Next Marathon


I know, I know, the mud on my running shoes hasn't even dried off yet and here I am signing up for a marathon that is 3-1/2 weeks away (July 22)...

Check out the course profile, that ought to be fun, right!

If you look at the pictures from last years race you might understand why, only two kilometers of asphalt, the rest is forest baby!

First a few race stat’s from Saturday’s 50-miler:

Finish time: 9:25:56
I was 41st out of 73 in my age group (M40 – this includes ages 40-49, I’m almost 48)
I was 94th out of 178 overall.

Average pace: 7:04/K (11:23/M)
Marathon time (26.2M): approx. 4:37:00

Last year I finished in 10:19:09, was 89/129 overall and 38/50 in my age group. That’s a pretty satisfying improvement don’t you think!

I went for an easy swim last night, covering around 700 meters before I grew lazy and wimped out. It was raining outside, so naturally the pool was full of kids that killed my nerves – at least I stayed off the couch :-)

My legs feel really good this morning, I want to run a small loop with my running club tonight. Hopefully I can keep my ego at bay and remain humble about my race. I’ve already received a couple congratulatory e-mails from a couple running club friends. Oh, I also called Walter a couple nights ago, he is the one from my running club who DNFed the race on Saturday due to knee problems. He is feeling better but has sworn off any longer races for the rest of the year. He hopes his knees will improve so he can run the race next year, he’s a fighter I think he’ll be there!

This weekend (Sunday) I am volunteering at my running clubs (LT TSV Graben) 5K/10K race, the Asparagus Lauf (run). I will be manning one of the water points and trying to spur the runners on! I’m looking forward to it, this will be my first time volunteering :-) Here's a copy of the poster for the race, isn't the running asparagus cool ;-)

Pictures of the Fidelitas Night Run


The following group of pictures is from last years race, but the course was the same so you can at least get the idea of part of the course.

The first kilometer, circling back around in front of the clubhouse:

Running through the Odenwald Forest - around kilometer 3:

The Durlach aid station around kilometer 9.5 (in front of main train station):

Running along the fields between Durlach and Hagsfeld - around kilometer 12 (7.5 miles):

The fields looking toward the hills behind Grotzingen (the first hills that I ran) - around kilometer 15:

Waiting for the train at kilometer 16 (10 miles):

The first relay change station in Grotzingen - around kilometer 18.5 (11 miles):

The first big hill outside Grotzingen - kilometer 20 (12 miles). So up...

...and up...

...and up...

...and up...

and finally around kilometer 24 (15 miles)...

...we started running down towards Johlingen.

A well deserved break in Johlingen - around kilometer 27.5 (17 miles):

Up the hill by Woschbach in the direction of Singen - around kilometer 30 (18.5 miles):

Over the next hill towards Singen:

The hill before Singen - around kilometer 35 (22 miles):

Running down into Mutschelbach around kiometer 39 (24 miles - right after I bid my friend Walter goodbye):

An Easy Recovery Run

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Thank you for all your kind comments concerning my race, it really means a lot to me!

I spent a rather uncomfortable day at work yesterday, seemingly getting stiffer by the minute sitting at my desk. I took a walk with my co-worker during lunch which helped me make through the afternoon.

As I rode home on the train from work I debated whether to run a recovery run or wait another day. I guess I did a damage-assessment of sorts, reviewing the various aches and pains left from my 50-mile race. I came to the conclusion that the only real concern was my sore joints behind the knees and my incredible stiff legs.

I decided to risk a short run, so suited up and headed out into the rain. I started out real slow, basically a shuffle, and gradually increased the pace slightly as the tightness in the legs faded. I kept the pace slow and ended up running 7K/4.3M in around 48 minutes, a real easy recovery pace.

This morning my legs felt much better, I hope my day at work will be more pleasant. After work I plan on stopping at the swimming pool for some laps, I need to work off some of the access calories I’ve been stuffing in my mouth since Sunday.

Fidelitas Nachtlauf 2007 Race Report

On Saturday I participated in the 29th annual Fidelitas Nachtlauf (Night Run) in Karlsruhe-Ruppur, Germany. The 80K (50 mile) race traverses some of the most beautiful areas of the northern Black Forest. The race begins at 5 p.m. and for most runners this means several hours of running in the dark.

I tried to sleep as long as possible on Saturday morning, as I knew it would be awhile before I would feel the comfort of my pillow again. Last year I finished the race in 10:19, almost 3:30 in the morning and could sleep first at noon the next day. My wife drove me to the race, arriving about an hour before the start. I collected my race number and we milled around with the other runners for awhile. I kept my eyes open for Walter, from my running club who was also running the event. He finally found us about a half hour before the race and sat with us for awhile.

About 10 minutes before the race I said goodbye to my wife and made a last trip to the toilet before lining up with Walter at the start. Walter is a faster runner than I so we agreed that we should run our own races. He also has had some knee problems in the last couple months, so wasn’t even sure if he could hold out for the whole race. The weather had been changing between sun and rain almost the entire day, and just as the race started the sun disappeared and the rain came down! On the positive side, last weeks 90+F temperatures had been replaced with a cool 20C/68F!

As the start pistol went off Walter and I wished either other luck and he took off at a faster pace. I fell into a comfortable pace more towards the back of the pack and was on my way. The first few minutes we wound around the block and passed the front of the soccer stadium. The rain was falling gently, but this did not stop our fans from giving us a proper sendoff!

We wound our way into the forest in the direction of the next town, Durlach. The race course did not have any kilometer markers, runners had to rely on their knowledge of the race map. Unfortunately, I hadn’t look at the course map for a couple weeks so drew a blank when I tried to remember the kilometer stand at of the aid stations. I passed through the first aid station in around 30 minutes, so I guessed (correctly) that this was around the 5K point, which meant I was running around a 6:00/K (9:39/M) pace. In any case the pace felt comfortable so I kept it up.

I continued on, the forest trails were replaced with asphalt bike paths, then sidewalks as we made our way through Durlach. I knew the second aid station was around the 10K point and I reached this in almost exactly an hour. I passed this point in 1:06:00 during last years race, so was already ahead. We still had another 8K/5M before we reached the first hill, so I remember debating whether to slow down a little, but felt fine so kept going at the current pace. Up to this point I also skipped my planned walking breaks, slowing down only long enough to drink at the aid stations.

The course headed out of town and over several bike paths, through the town of Hagsfeld, then over open fields to Grotzingen. Midway through is a train crossing and I neared this the crossing guards came down and I found myself standing there waiting for the train to go through - I made use of the time and found a friendly bush. After about 3-4 minutes the crossing guards went up and the 12-15 runners that had by this time assembled could continue on.

In Grotzingen the relay teams switch out and there was a huge crowd assembled. I stopped long enough at the aid stationed to down a gel and some sports drink then headed up the first hill climb of the day. This was “my hill”, the one I train on during my long runs and I knew how to conqueror it while expending the least amount of energy. I ran the first part, then switched to powerwalking on a couple steeper sections. I knew the top of the hill was roughly the 20K point, I reached this in rough 2:15:00, despite walking part of the hill.

The rain had disappeared by this time and as I ran over the familiar trails through the forest towards Johlingen the sun came out and I could shed my rain jacket. Over the next 10K the course went over a series of up and downhills and through a few small town, Johlingen, Woschbach and finally down into Singen, the larger town in the area. I had abandoned my run/walk strategy and was running all the flat, downhill and gentler uphills sections. As I left Singen I stopped at the aid station located there (KM 34) and ate a slice of bread, piece of dry cake and part of banana. I knew in a couple minutes I would be walking up the next hill so decided to tank up.

The hill out of Singen is one of the longer, steeper hills and this is where I caught up Walter from my running club. He had just reached the top of the hill and had started running again, but I had no trouble catching him – I knew he was in trouble. I ran with him for a few minutes and he said his knew was hurting really bad after the last long downhill into Singen and he was running with pain. With almost 45K/28M to go, he doubted that he could go too much further. He told me to go on he would only hold me back, and after much debate he started walking and I took the cue and went on. I never saw him again and his name was not on the finishers list, I guess he had to drop…sorry Walter.

I continued downhill into the next town, Mutschelbach and the second change station for the relay runners – again lots of people lending encouragement. I stopped here last year and fixed my feet, this year I grabbed some food and kept going. The hill out of town was gradual and I kept running, eventually passing the marathon point in around 4:37:00, 33 minutes ahead of last year and only eight minutes shy of my current marathon PR! Although I tried not to think about it, it was somewhere along the next couple kilometers that I decided that I needed to keep the pace going as long as I couple, despite the risk of burning out before I reach the finish line.

At the 46K/29M aid station in Langensteinbach I had my drop bag and as I arrived here I quickly collected this and put on a dry running shirt and a dry running jacket. I checked my feet quick, collected my lights, grabbed a bite to eat and was again on my way after about 5-6 minutes. As I climbed the hill out of Langensteinbach it again started to sprinkle rain for a bit, but soon let up, the last time that rain would try to dampen our spirits during the night. Last year it was already dark as I wound my way through this thick forest section, this year I managed without a flashlight, it was still light enough.

I continued to run the flat and downhills sections, switching to waking on a couple of the uphills. I was hungry for a PR so kept moving – uphill to the town of Ittersbach, down the brutal downhill into town, then up the other side to Langenalb. From Langenalb it was pretty much a 22K/14M downhill/flat course to the finish. I also knew this was mentally the toughest section as almost half of it was thick forest where your vision was limited to reach of the headlamp.

I started down the 4K/2.5M long forested downhill from Langenalb to Marxzell. As I reached Marxzell I passed the house of a friend that I work with and his lights were still on. He told me the day before to stop by when I came through if it wasn’t too late, but I had a PR to set and kept running. Upon reaching the aid station shortly after this I grabbed a cup of water and walked through, then again started running again. I knew I had roughly 18K/11M to go and that the aid stations were roughly 4K/2.5M apart for the remainder of the race. My legs were sore, my stomach was sour, but I ignored these discomforts and ploughed ahead.

I managed to reach the next aid station without stopping to walk, my stomach felt sick so I drank some coke as I walked through the station. I started running again and managed to run most of the way to the next aid station. I stopped to walk for about a minute, rounded a curve and saw the next aid station and again started running. My stomach felt a little better from burping up a lot of gas as I ran, so I again drank some at this aid station. I walked for a minute, then again picked up the pace – the aid station had said 12K/7.5M to go – I knew if I could keep running I would easily set a new PR, now it was only a question of by how much!

I ran for 10 minutes, took a quick walk break as the forest trail headed slightly uphill, then ran on. My stomach had settled down a bit, or perhaps I just ignored it in my quest to reach the finish line. I began seeing light from the town of Ettlingen and knew I had less than 10K to go. The last aid station had mentioned that when I reach the aid station by the swimming pool in Ettlingen it was only 8K to the finish line, so when I finally entered Ettlingen and reached the pool I slowed down just long enough for them to write down my number and to drink a glass of water.

I continued on through the streets of Ettlingen, where I was stationed for 3 years while in the army. I knew every curve and bump of the race route from here on and let the ghosts of the past accompany me as I ran by my old Kaserne (military post).

With less than 5K to go I experienced a wicked cramp in my right leg, but I walked it out and was able to start running again in a short time. By this time I knew I was well under a 10 hour finish and even had a chance for a sub-9:30. I put this out of my mind and just kept putting one foot in front of the other.

I approached the last aid station, and paused only for them to write my number down, I was having the race of my life and no time! I wound my way through a dark forest section, feeling a developing blister on my right foot as I found every stone on the path. I sucked it in and kept going, my light seemed to be fading, but I knew I only had a short way to go. Finally I popped out of the forest and could see the light of the soccer stadium in the distance. I ignored my pain, my weariness and just kept running…crossing a grassy stretch onto the track, just a couple hundred meters…I did my best to “sprint” over the finish line...done.

I knew I had beaten my old time by a wide margin, but was unprepared for my finishing time…9:25:56… a new PR by 53 minutes and 13 seconds, I was in shock!

A pretty young lass (actually a Red Cross volunteer) put a medal around my neck and I hobbled around the track one more time for my victory round. My legs, particularly my knees were shot from the pounding they received. I tried to stretch a little, finally giving up and plopping down on a bench with a couple other runners.

After a few minutes I hobbled up the long staircase (9 steps) to the clubhouse, ordered a beer and called my wife at home to come and get me. As I waited I sat in sight of the finish line so I could cheer the runners in as they arrived. After about 40 minutes my sleepy wife appeared and we made our way home. After a cool shower and some warm food I finally dozed off for awhile. We had to get up at 8:30 this morning to pick up my drop bag. I stayed away for the rest of the morning, but took a 3 hour nap this afternoon.

I feel much better than I did last year after my first 50 mile race. I had a couple nasty blisters on a couple toes on both feet, and some major chaffing under both arms. My knees are bit sore and my legs stiff, but stairways don’t stop me.

Needless to say I am totally content with my run, have proved to myself that when conditions are right that I can push it and come out on top. Wow!

I have a few pictures to post, I’ll try to get these prepared in the next couple days.

After a rainy start, the weather broke and I had the race of my life, finishing in 9:25:36, a PR by over 53 minutes!

I'll try to get the race report written today or tomorrow.

Ready to Rock & Roll


On Saturday I will be running my second 50-mile (80KM) race in Karlsruhe-Ruppur, Germany. The 29th annual Fidelitas Nachtlauf (Night Run) is one of the oldest ultras in Germany. The race can be run individually or as part of a 4-member relay team. Last year I believe there were 700 participants, including around 200 individual runners - the race last year was my inaugural 50-miler.

The course winds its way through the Northern Black Forest region, is made up of 60% asphalt/40% gravel & forest trails, with 16 aid/control points along the way. Participants are required to pass each control point within a specified cutoff time, but the cutoff is pretty liberal, most could almost powerwalk the course. The time limit for the race is 16 hours, the course record being 5 hours 23 minutes. The race begins at 5 p.m. and for most runners this means part of the race will be run through the night (thus the name of the race).

For me this is a local race, the start being a 30-minute drive from my house. I run part of the course when I do my long runs.

Last year it was a hot 33C/92F and sunny at the beginning of the race, this year it looks like it will be in the mid-70's (F) and rainy. In any case my tapering over the last 1-1/2 weeks has left me filled with energy and ready to get started on my next 50-mile journey!

Last night I went for an easy 5-mile run as the sun beat down and the temperature climbed to 33C/92F. My legs felt good, my feet fine, the heat didn’t bother me and I wish I could have run farther (I’m tapering).

The current weather prediction for Saturday’s 50-mile (80K) race is cloudy and around 24C/75F. There is a chance of rain, but it is still too early too accurately predict this. In any case I really hope it stays this cool for the race, last year’s 93F was a bit too warm.

My race goals and strategy remain very similar to last year as my training this year was almost identical. However the cooler weather may have a significant impact and I may still cross the finish line well ahead of last year’s time (10:19).

As usual I have three goals depending on what kind of day I’m having:

Bad day goal: Finish under 12 hours.
Good day goal: Finish under 10-1/2 hours.
Race of my life goal: Finish under 10 hours.


In any case, most of the first 20K of the race are flat and runable, I only need to remember not to go out too fast. I would like to be under 2:15:00 for this portion of the race.

The middle portion of the race (20-60K) is the meat of the race with the bulk of the up and downhill climbs, anyone that survives this pretty much has the race in the bag. Last year I passed the marathon point (42K) at around 5:10:00, this year 5-hours would be nice.

The last 20K are pretty much downhill or flat, however last year I lost a lot of time at the aid stations through this section – I can potentially reduce my race time if I can get in and out of the aids stations during the second half of the race, and particularly this last section.

I think the hardest part of the race last year was right at dark (around 46K) to around the 62K point. The combination of running in the dark, climbing hills and still knowing there was such a long way to go nibbles away at ones resolve. The most remember-able section was the last 10K when I started smelling victory and knew I was going to make it (last year was my first 50-miler).

Tapering, Race Prep


I took a night off from training last night and did pretty much nothing at all. After dinner I did the dishes and sat and read a book as my wife was doing her homework. It’s a strange feeling doing nothing.

Race Preparations

I was pimping my drop bag list last night while riding home on the train. It is still too early for a dependable weather prediction, but it appears like it isn’t going to be nearly as hot as last year. Last year it was 33C/92F and sunny at the beginning of the race, this year it could be as low as 23C/74F and cloudy. My prediction is somewhere in the middle. In any case I have a couple lists started depending on temperatures and whether it rains.

The 50-mile race has an aid station roughly every 5K, with water, sports drink, cola and assorted things to eat. So I really don't need to carry much with me. I plan on wearing my butt pack with a small (1/2 liter) bottle and a pouch for little things (salt tabs, gels, headlamp, etc.). I will also use a small drop bag at roughly the 30-mile point with a running jacket, spare light and some more gels for the night. This combination worked well last year so no reason to change it.

On Saturday I went for a 14K/8.7M run. I hadn’t run for two days and had a high level of energy, but my legs were stiff as I started out. I took it easy at the beginning and gradually my legs felt better I could pick up the pace.

Sunday afternoon I went for a hilly 7-mile run, running one of the steeper hills on the 50-mile route. I had a strange pain in the tendon area of my right foot and also my right hamstring was a little sore. This has me very concerned with the 50-mile race less then a week away. I spent some extra time stretching after the run and this morning the pain had pretty much disappeared. I have no explanation for the pain, I wish I knew what is causing this.

I am going to move my planned 5-mile run from Monday to Tuesday night and see if a day of rest will help. Maybe I'm just getting paranoid before my race...

Swim Night and Tapering


It was over 90°F outside when I stopped at the pool for some laps after work yesterday. Nothing like a 1000 meter swim in the comparatively cool waters of a pool to refresh you.

The tapering this week is beginning to work its magic, despite an extra hectic week at work. All the little aches and soreness from the hard weeks of training are disappearing and my energy level is recharging. A week from tomorrow (Saturday) is my 50-mile race and I am looking forward to the challenge.

I am going to keep the mileage down up until the race, probably just a 10-mile run this weekend and a couple 5-mile runs during the week. Hopefully this will leave me fresh for race day. Have a nice weekend.

I Regret...


I was listening to a Podcast the other day that was talking, among other things, about how we can all control many areas of our daily life if we would just learn to make a decision to do or not do something and stick with it. The example that was used was interesting enough, weight control, e.g. each one of us can decide each day what we shove into our mouth. Anyone who has tried to lose or maintain their weight knows this is not easy, and the speaker noted this. The next point is that when we make a wrong decision we shouldn’t dwell in a sea of regret (e.g. I wish I didn’t eat that piece of cake, I wish I didn’t pig out,…), but rather admit that we slipped up and try to do it right the next time. The Podcast went on to say that many people set almost impossible goals or time limits for reaching goals and end up beating themselves up when they find themselves not reaching the goal or not reaching a goal in the timeframe they expected. In the weight control example this often results in weight gain due to frustration.

I was thinking about this on the train going to work this morning and applied it to my running. I have some pretty ambitious goals, the immediate being the 50-miler next weekend, and I found myself “regretting” that I didn’t train harder and generally worrying that I wasn’t prepared. I have come to the conclusion that, rather than wasting mental energy regretting what I may not have done, I should take on a positive attitude and concentrate on what I did to and have confidence that I “can do”, e.g. have a good race.

On the same token I was thinking about how often “I regret” not starting running much earlier in my life – I often think to myself just think what you could have accomplished if you started running 10, 20, 30 years ago…but you know what, in this respect what I didn’t do in the past should not be an influence on what I am trying to do today. Sometimes I am too hard on myself and need to relax and just try to enjoy myself out on the race course – if I discover that my training was indeed inadequate then at least I will know this for the next time. Most important is that we place a little more trust in ourselves and our training, when the mileage is in the bank then we should be able to do what we trained for. But like weight control, we have to get into the right frame of mind and leave the I regret’s behind. Just my thoughts anyway...

It was a warm 30C/86F outside as I suited up and ran a 9K/5.5M loop after work yesterday. I’m tapering now for the 80K/50M race on June 23rd, so I tried to maintain an even 9 minute/mile pace. My legs were still a little tired from the past couple 50-mile weeks that I have been running, so I slowed down a bit towards the end, but that’s okay.

Fidelitas 80K/50M Race – Training Review

I was comparing my training from last year to this year’s training plan for the 50-miler.

  • The mileage has been very similar, around 45-50 miles/week, but this year my pace has been slower for most training runs.

  • Last year I ran a marathon in April and a 50K in May, this year I ran the same races plus a marathon in March.

  • Last year I also ran several (7) shorter races compared to this year’s 3.

Overall I would say that I feel more tired out and less prepared this time around. This probably has more to do with my mental attitude, which is not top fit due to carrying more baggage this year (e.g. wife’s unemployment etc.).

So with my 50-miler coming up in a week and a half this has left me fighting little pings of doubt that seem to be surfacing. In comparison, last year I was hyped up with adrenalin and couldn’t wait to line up at the start for my first 50-miler.

I know deep down that I did the training and can go the distance if I stick to the game plan on race day. In the meantime I need to try to clear my head from the worries of everyday life and somehow get focused. Running an ultra is very mental, your thoughts can make you or break you.

Running, Cycling and Tapering

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On Saturday I went for an easy 16K/10M recovery run during the heat of the day. It was around 28C/84F and humid as I started out. About halfway around the sun disappeared and the first rain drops began to fall, but this turned out to be a false alarm and the sun came back out.

My legs felt surprisingly good a day after my long run on Friday, but I kept the pace down and took my time anyway, I've put in a lot of mileage lately.

This afternoon (Sunday) I went for an almost 40K/25M bike ride circling around the many town in the area. I stuck to the paved bike paths and try to stay in the sun as much as possible - good heat training for my 50-miler. It was pretty mild today, in the low 80's (F) so I guess it didn't help that much. Actually it was a beautiful day for a bike ride, as was evidenced by the dozens and dozens of people that I passed. Have a great Sunday!

What to do when you're tapering...

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Lara over at Running In Place provided me with a way to fill in some time now that I'm tapering...MyHeritage has a face recognition toy on their site that spits out which celebrity you look like...I mean my resemblance to these stars is perfectly clear, right?!

Last Long Run before Race Day

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Thursday was another holiday in Germany, I went for about a 22 mile bike ride in the afternoon heat, including about 10K of the 50-mile race route that I will be running on June 23.

Friday I had a day vacation so decided to get in my last long run before tapering. The 50-mile race starts at 5 p.m., when the temperatures are still at their highest. I waited until after lunch when the temperatures were pushing past 90F and drove to Langensteinbach where I planned to run a 10-mile hilly section of the race route and back. This section was mostly asphalt and about 80% out in the open, e.g. no shade. My CamelBak (3-liters) was filled with sports drink and I had been hydrating all morning.

I started immediately with a short hill climb which brought me into one of the few shady sections of the route.


This only lasted about 10 minutes and then I was out on the hot asphalt bike paths.


I kept the pace down and ran the first 9 miles, including all the hills, in about 1-1/2 hours. I ended up taking a wrong turn and got off the race route. I didn’t notice it until about a half mile later - I backtracked and got on course again.

My turnaround point was at the bottom of a long hill and the trek up this grueling hill in the heat of the day sapped a great deal of energy. I took a short walk break on top and ate a sports bar, ate some Pringles and snapped a couple pictures. I remember thinking to myself that I was glad that I would be running downhill and in the night during the race.


I continued on the way, walking a couple steeper hills, and generally not rushing things. With 5K and an empty CamelBak I kept my eyes forward and focused on the closing the distance to my car. I finally arrived at my car after about three hours and 24 minutes, acceptable considering the head and hills.


I had a liter of water in my car, almost hot by now (parking lot was not shaded), but at least wet. The car was like an oven, I opened all the doors and tried to stretch a couple minutes. This didn’t last long, with the temperature soaring over 90F and the sun beating down on the asphalt parking lot, I got in the car and drove home.


I ran somewhere around 30 kilometers, roughly 19 miles, over one of the hilly portions of the 50-mile race route. I also did this during the heat of the day, which closely resembles the conditions that I expect on race day. I did not feel as good as I hoped after the run, I ended up having to crash on the couch for a half-hour after showering and eating. I hope two weeks of tapering will leave me a bit more rested for the race.

Last night I did a short upper body workout with free weights, mixed with some push-ups, sit-ups and assisted pull-ups. I also did some domestic cross-training, i.e. housework, allowing my wife time to study. My right foot feels pretty good except when I walk up and down stairs. I am going for an easy run tonight and see how it feels – if it still is quirky then I will postponed Thursday’s planned long run until Saturday.

We have another holiday on Thursday and Friday I’m taking a day vacation, I love living in Germany sometimes…

A 15K Training Run


After work yesterday I headed out for a run. I was planning on running two hours, but my right foot was still feeling a bit sore when I walked on uneven surfaces, so I cut the run back to one and a half hours and stuck pretty much to soft flat trails. My foot has been sore off and on since Saturday, I must have either twisted it slightly during my long run on Friday night, or maybe aggravated it on the hilly asphalt route that I ran. In any case I’m going to take tonight off and see if it is any better by Wednesday night. I was going to run my last long run Wednesday night or Thursday morning, but may postpone this until the weekend. Sometimes the best of plans need to be changed on the fly.

Racing throught the summer


Today is the beginning of my last hard week of training for the 50-miler on June 23. I have around 55 miles on the schedule for the week including a long run of up to 4 hours, plus a couple two hour runs. My right foot still does not feel 100%, I think I may have twisted the ankle slightly or pulled a muscle. During my run yesterday (14K/8.7M) it only bothered a bit at the beginning until I warmed up. In any case I am going to closely monitor this and downgrade my runs if need be. With less then three weeks left I don’t need to be pushing too hard, I already have enough mileage in the bank.

Looking ahead (again)

As I mentioned a couple posts ago I already have several races planned for the next several months. I originally wanted to run a 100K this year, but this won’t happen, so I am going to try to run a marathon (or further) a month until I’ve decided I’ve had enough (don’t you love clear goals ;-) I have three in three months behind me and my 50-miler will be 4/4.

  • In July I am looking at two marathon options, either on July 7 or July 22.

  • For August I have a marathon planned on the 26th.

  • In September I am already signed up for the 25th annual Baden marathon in Karlsruhe on September 16.

  • Finally, I am about a click away from signing up for either a 50K or 50M run on October 6. In my mind I am already at the start, I only need to solve a few logistical questions on this one…it requires a little more travelling.

All of these events will be run, as opposed to raced, I am more interested in holding up for the next consecutive race then setting records. In any case I am going to remain flexible and will skip an event if I feel my body needs a break. In order of priority I would say the ultra in October has rock star status.

I suppose after October I will slow down for awhile and let the body rest up for 2008. I said something like this to my wife this week…her reply…”What’s wrong, couldn’t you find any events for November and December?”…how did she know…

A Strong 20-Mile Training Run


On Friday after work I drove 30 minutes to the town of Johlingen which is one of the town’s along the route of my 50-mile run on June 23. I then ran a 32K/20M loop out and back over some of the hillier portions of the race course.

It was a cool 12C/54 when I set out on the run about 5 p.m. and had warmed up to 16C/61F by the time I finished (according to a nearby bank). With the exception of a couple breaks to answer the call of nature I ran straight through completing the run in just over 3-1/2 hours. I wore my CamelBak filled with sports drink and ate a couple sports bars and some Pringles along the way. My right foot felt a bit sore on the last half of the run, I think from the several downhill stretches - the route was about 70% asphalt. My energy level was good, I felt like I could have gone much further. Considering this part of the race course contains the most hill climbing the run was a good confidence builder!

On Saturday morning my right food was still sore, I was wondering if I may have twisted it slightly, but by Saturday night I didn’t seem to notice it any more.

This afternoon (Sunday) I went for a 14K/8.6M recovery run. For the first 15-20 minutes my right foot was a bit sore again, but once I hit the dirt trail sections I didn’t even think about it again. I ended up running the second half of the run at almost a minute faster (per kilometer) pace then the first, so I guess my foot wasn’t so bad. I finished the week with a total of 84K/52M, the highest mileage week so far this year.

I have another hard week of training, then about two weeks to taper until race day. My race plan is mostly the same as last year, the only difference is that I want to really keep the pace down in the beginning with the hope that this will keep me running more the last 15 miles of the race which is really run-able.

Have a great Sunday!

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