June 2009 Archives

On Saturday I ran the 80 km Fidelitas Nachtlauf for the fourth year in a row. According to ultra-friend Joe Kolbel, who writes for the German race website www.marathon4you.de, Fidelitas means fidelity, reliability. And as Joe stated in his race report for this race, this race has faithfully taken place for the last 31 years and has not disappointed its fans!

The 50 mile race begins in Karlsruhe-Rüppurr, and winds northward past Karlsruhe and heads east over the foothills of the Black Forest, circling back down through Ettlingen to the south back to Rüppurr.

Having just run my first 100 km race in Ulm two weeks before, I thought some additional motivation would be in order, so I put the call out for volunteers to fill a relay team willing to accompany me during my hours of agony. The call was heard and friends Sabine, Uli, Vera and Conny responded.

Friend Conny, who is really an angel in disguise, collected Sabine, Vera and I and through her prowess managed to find a parking place almost across from the stadium where the race was to start. Sabine and I collected our start numbers and chip, and being an experienced ultra-runner, I promptly found a place to sit down. About this time I spied the before mentioned Joe and chatted with him briefly. He had his "Reporter" hat on and was snapping pictures. His report (in German) and pictures can be viewed at:

http://www.marathon4you.de/laufberichte/fidelitas-nachtlauf/fidelitas-der-kleine-bieler-bruder/983

Soon Joe was off to talk to the Ultra Elite, so Sabine and I joined Conny and Vera, as well as Walter who was also running the entire distance. The fourth member of the relay team, Uli, had arranged to meet us at the first exchange station in Grötzingen later on. We took a seat in the shade near the start of the race and chatted until it was time to line up.

Shortly before the 5:00 p.m. start we headed over towards the start. About this time my wife called Conny on her cell phone and said it was pouring down rain in Stutensee, the direction we would be running! I debated whether I should run to the car to get my rain jacket, but the time was too short, and besides it was still warm (26°C/79°F) and very humid.

Sabine and I headed towards the back of the pack and soon after we were off, making our way amidst a cheering crowd beyond the stadium and into the cool forest. We wound our way through the woods, occasionally passing people as we went. I had planned on running around a 6:30/km (10:30/mi.) pace, but I felt good and we were soon running well under that. Sabine was okay with the pace and I didn't feel like I was working too hard to maintain it so we kept moving.

We stopped quickly for some water at the first aid station, and soon after we left the forested section and turned east towards the town of Durlach. As we ran the sky grew darker and the wind picked up, but miraculously it only sprinkled lightly - the heavy rain passed us by.

We entered the outskirts of Durlach and weaved our way to the train station and the next aid station. Conny and Vera met us there and asked if we needed anything, we stopped for water and a piece of fruit, but I was fresh and eager to continue.

We left Durlach and made our way over the flatlands towards Hagsfeld, crossing over or under several highways, then through the industry area and over the Autobahn towards Grötzingen. As we left the bridge we were rewarded with another aid station, we were sweating like pigs in the humidity and welcomed every chance to drink something. We passed Joe who stopped to tank and take some pictures, then ran on.

We entered a long stretch of open fields that weaved back and forth for several miles, traversing a railroad crossing and eventually heading to Grötzingen and the first relay exchange station. This part of the course offered no shade and can be downright ugly on a hot day, but on this day the temperature was bearable and there was a breeze blowing.

In Grötzingen I bid Sabine farewell and collected Ironman Uli for the next leg of my journey. Her friend Bernd elected to join us for some "hill training" and soon we left the town and were climbing our way up one of the harder climbs of the day. This is my hill, the one I use to train on and I chugged my way upwards until I noticed Uli was redlining. We were just about to the steepest part so we stopped and walked the rest of the way upwards, no sense expending a lot of energy so early in the race.

We reached the top of the first climb and we took off again, through the woods over a series of rolling hills. After about 10-15 minutes we left the woods and ran along a plateau of open fields and then down towards the town of Jöhlingen. This is an incredibly beautiful area and this day was no different.

We ran the streets through Jöhlingen, again meeting Conny and Vera along the way, as they checked on us. I knew the next aid station was on the edge of town, followed by a good climb, so we pressed on. We paused to refuel, then ran part of the way up the hill, and then walked to the top. We again entered the forest in the direction of Wöschbach, running and walking over two camel humps to the next aid station. We stopped at the next aid station at around the 30 km point (18.5 miles), a glance at my Garmin showed that we were just over three hours, about the same as last year.

We traversed some more open fields, up and over and through some more woods, most of the hills were runnable by this time. Finally we headed down a long downhill stretch to Singen. We made our way through town and paused at the aid station at the end of town. The next major climb of the day was before us and Bernd decided to run on ahead. Uli and I ran a short distance, but soon started walking, I knew from previous years that this hill can sap your strength. Once we reached the top we set out again, a bit stiffer than before, but with renewed energy.

We headed down an equally long downhill stretch into the town of Mutschelbach, where I traded a tired Uli for a fresh Vera. After fuelling at the aid station we started the gradual climb out of town. We ran along a bike path that paralleled a county road, and then headed into the woods and towards Langensteinbach. I glanced at my Garmin as we ran passed the marathon point, around 4:25, again about the same as last year.

By this time I could tell my pace was fading and my walking interval increasing. I think Vera sensed I was weakening and was doing a good job of keeping me occupied and moving. We walked some of the short hills through the town, finally arriving at the firehouse at the edge of town where the next aid station was located. I tried to eat a bit and drank some and we walked the steeper hill leading into the forest beyond.

The long shadows of the night were upon us, but it was still light enough to run without a light. The path headed downward and we ran on, but at what felt like a snail pace. I was fighting a low point in the race, but knew sooner or later it would get better. As we passed a highway crossing Uli and Bernd appeared and cheered us on, it was a nice boost.

We headed up through the woods towards the "Tornado Stone", passing the 50K point, just under 5 ½ hours - a bit faster than last year. We walked, we ran, we kept moving, by quads were complaining but I didn't listen, and soon we were reached the plateau overlooking Ittersbach and beyond. We enjoyed the cool night air and the view before us, it was dark but you could still make out the hills of the Black Forest in the distance.

We entered Itttersbach and plodded down a steep hill into the center of town, a few scattered spectators managed a clap or a cheer, but most were settled down for the night. We climbed back out of Ittersbach and ran a single-track section to the next aid station. I decided that I was too low on energy so drank some coke and ate a piece of dry cake as we walked up the last significant climb of the day.

At the top we started running again, on towards Langenalb and the next relay exchange point. In Langenalb I took a slightly longer break and put on a dry shirt and grabbed my running vest. It was still warm, but I knew we would soon be running in a longer stretch of forest. I again drank some coke and tried to eat a sports bar, but couldn't finish it. Conny replaced Vera and we walked the gentle hill out of town. From there on it was more or less downhill or flat, we headed off into the darkness.

We started downhill along a logging path on the edge of the forest, occasionally turning on our lights to look for the small trail that would eventually lead off to the right...I missed this turn the first year I ran this race. We found the turnoff without mishap, but right after we started down the trail I found the first root and promptly fell on my face, or actually my knees, managing to scrape away a layer of skin and pride. Luckily it was mostly my pride that was damaged, and after passing the scrutinizing inspection by Conny we continued, this time with both flashlights and walking. After a short distance we entered the forest and headed towards Marxzell, in the valley below.

For the next several kilometers we ran along a logging path that surely gave the Black Forest its name, without a flashlight you had no chance, it was black as coal! After carrying my flashlight for awhile Conny took over this task I and I concentrated on getting myself ready for the last quarter of the race, a flat section that was quite runnable.

After what seemed like hours, we finally reached Marxzell and the next aid station. Conny suggested that the medic look at my bleeding knees, so I let him clean them quick and spray some antiseptic, but declined any dressings, they would only slow me down. I drank some more coke and ate a piece of bread and thought about the next 20 kilometers - I knew we had enough time for a new personal best, but I knew it wouldn't be easy. With my ability to think clearly questionable, my numbed brain must have decided to go for it, because as we left we picked up the pace!

We ran a short distance without a light, but the logging trail grew rougher, so we elected to use a light. I set my eyes on the light of a runner that was in the distance before us and we moved on, stopping every 8-10 minutes for a quick walk, but then running on. Conny remarked that we were running much faster than what I had told her we would be running at this point. She asked if it wouldn't be better to try to run a bit slower and try not to walk as much. I was running on instinct by this time and knew I had to keep moving before I ran out of gas, we pushed on.

We passed a couple aid stations, walking though, but pushing on. After what seemed like an eternity we reached Ettlingen and the swimming pool. I didn't give Conny much slack as we moved by the aid station, I was fully concentrated and afraid of stopping too long.

We ran along the streets of Ettlingen, past the military Kaserne where I was stationed in the army, and down the familiar bike trails out of town towards Rüppurr. My legs hurt, I just wanted to be done. We passed the last aid station, around 3 miles left...over the Autobahn and back into the woods.

I remarked to Conny that we need to keep a close eye on the trail markings, I got lost through here last year, but this year Conny patiently led me through. The trail seem to go on and on and on...where was Rüppurr, I was seriously wondering if they moved it...but finally we turned off the trail and we passed a soccer stadium, I knew we were close, maybe another mile.

We passed by runners that had finished, where was the entrance to the stadium? More finishers, finally the stadium, we entered on the end and headed over a grassy area to the track - just a few hundred meters. I heard a voice, I think it was mine, that said "Conny, lets go" and I took off around the track leaving Conny in bewilderment behind me. She recomposed and almost caught me by the time I crossed the finish line. I surrendered my chip and collect my medallion and finishers shirt, then collapsed on the nearest bench, done!

Conny joined me and soon Vera, Uli and Bernd found us. I got up again and walked about, congratulated Joe as he came in, tried to drink some water, but soon found my seat again. We chatted a bit, Bernd found me something more fitting to drink and I tried to relax a bit. I was overwhelmed, not only did I share a great run with friends, I also crushed my personal best by almost 24 minutes, finishing in 9:02:05...I am blessed!

I can't not express how nice it was to be able to share this experience with the members of my running club: Sabine, Uli, Vera, Conny and Bernd - you guys are the best! Conny that goes for you double, without you we couldn't have done it!

Last night I finished my fourth running of the 80 km (50 mile) Fidelitas Night Run. This time I finished in style with a new personal best of 9:02:05!

I'll try to post my report in the next day or two.

50 Miles on this Coming Saturday

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After my spontaneous half-marathon on Sunday I decided to take an extra rest day on Monday, I spent a couple quiet hours in my neglected garden.

On Saturday at 5:00 p.m., is the annual Fidelitas Night Run in Karlsruhe-Ruppurr. I will be running the 80 km (50 mile) event for the fourth year, this year accompanied by a relay team from my running club. When I signed up for this event I was already signed up for the 100 km race that I finished 10 days ago, so I decided to ask friends in the club if anyone wanted to watch me suffer through this race. Luckily I found four willing volunteers among the group that I typically run with.

I completed the first 50 miles of the recent 100 km race in 9 hours and 9 minutes. It would be nice if I could do this again on Saturday, it would be a new personal best, my current best time for the race being 9:25:56.

The weather prognosis for Saturday is looking ugly - almost 90°F with the possibility of a thunderstorm. In any case I am looking forward to Saturday, this will be the first time that I will be running with someone during an ultra, nothing like sharing misery with good company.

I think the relay team is especially well suited for the race. The first stage of the relay is relatively flat, but about half of it is over open fields that offer no shade - it can be brutal. Sabine will be running this stage, she is an experienced marathon runner. With her small frame she can handle the heat better than most in our club.

The second stage starts out right away with one of the major uphill sections of the course and just keeps getting worse. But this should be no problem for Ironman finisher Uli, she has the strength and endurance needed for this section!

The third stage also has its share of hills, and it will be dark during the latter part. This stage will be run by relay rookie Vera, but with her long legs and powerful stride I don't think she will have any problem with the run...but will she survive my bad jokes...in any case my pace is slightly slower and very consistent during this stage, we'll cruise right through it!

I am especially delighted that friend Conny will be running the last part of the relay. She is an experienced marathon runner and has paced other members of the running club for this race - I know I can depend on her during my darkest hours. This is the longest stage, 23 km (14 miles) and I will be breaking down, Conny can be gentle or a slave driver, whatever I need. In any case I need to be dead before she will let me give up - after staying up all night to run with me she won't accept anything less as an excuse!

Yesterday afternoon I ran a charity run in the neighboring town of Weingarten with friends from my running club to help raise money for Leukemia research. We planned on running ten 1.3 km loops, but ended up running 13 loops - it was a fun run for a good cause.

Later my running buddy (RB) called and asked if she could ride with me the next day to the Philippsburger Festungslauf (Fortress Run) in Philippsburg, about 20 minutes from our town. I asked her which race she was running, but she wasn't sure if she was going to run the 10K or the half-marathon, it would depend on the weather. I casually said I would run with her in either case and told her I would see her in the morning.

This morning it was raining out when I woke up, but the sky cleared and the sun was shining as I pulled up in front of RB's house. As we made our way to Philippsburg, I asked RB what she wanted to run and she said if it didn't matter to me then the half-marathon. I thought about my ongoing recovery from my 100 km race a week ago and my upcoming 50-mile race next Saturday for maybe a mega-second and said okay, let's do it.

We met some other members of our running club in front of the school where the race was to start. Two other women, Andrea and Birgit were running the half-marathon and eight were running the 10K race. We collected our start number and chatted with our friends until shortly before the start. After stopping by the car to drop off what we didn't need we lined up in the back of the pack at the start. RB wanted to run at an easy pace, so we could finish in around two hours and 15 minutes.

After a few minutes the starting signal went off and we slowly made our way forward with the other 400 +/- runners. I let RB pick the pace and we settled down for an enjoyable run. This was the first time I ran in Philippsburg, so I was looking forward to seeing something different.

Shortly before the first kilometer we caught up to Andrea, was wanted to break 2-hours with the half-marathon distance. The fact that we caught up to her was enough for me to see she was running too slow to meet her goal. RB and I kept up our slightly faster pace and Andrea stayed with us. After awhile I slowly picked up the pace a little, checking occasionally with RB if the pace was okay for her. Eventually we reached a pace that would bring Andrea to the finish line to meet her goal, the question remained if she could hold it.

The kilometers clicked away, we passed the 10K point in almost exactly an hour, I knew we would be hard pressed to finish under two hours. I again slowly increased the pace, but I could tell Andrea was pushing her limit. RB was still holding strong, but after a couple kilometers our pace drifted down again. I decided the best would be to try to hold steady and come what may. With about 15 minutes to go we left the woods where we had been running and headed over a bike path back to Philippsburg. There was almost no shade and it was getting quite hot outside, Andrea struggled to hang with us.

We kept encouraging her and gradually she picked up the pace a little as we headed back towards the school. I let the ladies in front of me as we finished on after another in 2:06:55-57. Andrea was had given it her best, you could tell she was pretty wiped out. RB was still looking strong to her credit. My legs were a little tired, but otherwise I was relaxed and felt great.

Andrea decided to go home, her couch was calling her. RB and I joined some of the others for some cake and coffee in the school. We hung around for the awards ceremony and had a good time chatting with friends. For me it was a good training run and a good time with friends that I really appreciate.

Race Report: The Ulm 100K Night Run

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As I left the stadium in Blaustein I chatted with Sascha und Brigitte from www.pheidippides.de, a German blog that I read. I have seen these two at a couple races over the years, but never spoke with them. Brigitte was also running her first 100 km race (they finished in 13 hours 15 min.). After a bit I wished them both luck and increased my pace to my desired race pace, around 6:15/km (10:05/mile).

After a few minutes we headed out of town and on a bike path in the direction of the town of Arnegg. I chose to shut my headlamp off, the bobbing lights from the other runners was more than adequate. At some point we ascended what was supposed to be one of the longer climbs, but it was so gradual that I barely noticed and ended up running the whole way up.

This race allowed the runners to use cyclist to accompany them after kilometer 10. The organizers even went a step further and organized a group of volunteers that you could "rent". A lot of runners ended up doing this and as I left the first aid station at kilometer 10 I suddenly found myself scrunched in between a mass of runners and cyclists. This sudden influx of cyclist made it difficult to keep my pace and for the next 30-40 minutes I found myself having to weave in and out between them. On more than one occasion a cyclist bumped into me, luckily without any injury. I was glad when the ranks finally thinned out and I could move more freely and settle back into an even pace.

Around kilometer 20 was the first relay exchange point, I believe in or around the Erbach Castle. I grabbed something to drink and walked long enough to empty my cups, then ran on. Shortly after this I arrived at the Donau River and followed it for awhile, eventually crossing over the river in Donaustetten, which I believe is in the State of Bavaria.

The course continued over a series of short rolling foothills, nothing major and all runnable. The course surface changed often between asphalt or concrete to forest or gravel paths. Somehow this diverse surface was friendly on the legs and broke up the monotony. The course was surprisingly well marked, arrows at every intersection, LED lights on occasion, lots of ribbons hanging everywhere - I don't believe I've ever seen such a well-marked race course!

I continued running through the night, pausing at every aid station to eat and drink, and just enjoying the solitude that night running brings. Somewhere after 30-35 km the course began to follow the Iller River, which feeds into the Donau River near Ulm. For the next hour or more the course remained relatively flat and easy to run. After following the river for awhile we veered off and entered Wiblingen Abbey, where an aid station was located. I grabbed a drink and walked, admiring the lighted structure as I went. But I still had miles to cover so I took off again and soon found myself running along the banks of the Iller River towards Ulm.

As I neared Ulm it was light enough to run without a light, which I had already been doing for the most part. The race route passed over the Iller River and followed the river on the other side to New Ulm, which is the Bavarian side of Ulm. In New Ulm we crossed over a bridge into Ulm and shortly after this reached the next relay exchange station at the 50 km, or half-way point. I looked at my Garmin, I had covered the first 50 km in 5:25, a new personal best!

I stopped long enough to eat something, but soon was on my way. The course followed a street for a minute or two, then veered off onto a bike path that followed along the Donau River.

I soon forgot my now tired legs as I witnessed the sun raising in front of me in all its glory. I was running along some kind of park or something and the first rays of the sun peeked from between the trees onto the Donau and my face. It was one of those magic moments that makes the whole race worth running!

The course continued to follow the Donau, crossing a bridge to the other side, where someone had set up their own water station for thirsty runners, then crossing back over for the last time somewhere around kilometer 60-62. From here we started heading away from the river into the town of Oberelchingen, where we had been warned there was a 20% grade climb up to the Oberelchingen Abbey awaiting us!

With the dreaded hill in front of us, I ran along a street for awhile, eventually crossing through an underpass and approaching the foot of the hill. There were several runners (and cyclist) walking up the hill, I joined them. The course weaved its way upwards, my walking pace declined, but I felt no discomfort. As I approached the top I noticed the abbey up ahead, majestically overlooking the surroundings below.

As I entered the gates of the Abbey I passed by the 65 km (40 mile) marker and stopped at the aid station shortly after this. At this point I was looking for some solid food, the fruit and cake that had been offered thus far wasn't working for me. I didn't find any potatoes that were supposed to be at the latter stations, so settled for some dry bread and salty soup broth. I ate as I walked, not wasting any time...I was still moving good but wasn't sure for how much longer. I ran on.

The terrain began to change, more rolling hills, a few steeper climbs - during the briefing they mentioned the majority of the climbs were during the second half of the race. I found myself taking more frequent walk breaks, but tried to time them with the uphill portions of the course. I must have put myself on automatic pilot by this time, I remember portions of the route, but they all jumbled together.

I know that the last relay exchange station was at kilometer 80 in the middle of the Wilhelmsburg Fortress, which was built following the Napolean Wars in the early 1800's. As I passed the 80 km, or 50 mile point, I noted my time, 9:09, another personal best! After fueling I headed out again and found myself running parallel with one of the massive fortress walls - cool!

The last 20 km (12 miles) included long stretches of fields and forest, pastures - soothing for the eyes and the soul at a time when my legs and feet were grieving...

I was running for shorter and shorter periods, sometimes only a mile at a time before taking a walk break, but I limited my walk breaks to just 1-2 minutes, then plodded on. I eventually passed the 90 km (56 miles) and soon after began running what I think was the most beautiful part of the course, the Kiesental area, with beautiful paths and forests...I tried to enjoy it as best I could, but I just wanted to get the race over with by this point.

Eventually I reached the edge of town and began to make my way towards the noise of the stadium and the finish. I was still well under 12 hours so just tried to keep running. Finally I came around a turn and saw the parking lot between the sports hall and stadium. I turned towards the stadium and made my way down the path, passing several that were walking to the showers, then turning into the stadium. Relieved I made my way around the track and over the finish line, after 11 hours 52 minutes and 2 seconds, my first 100 km event, done!

Friend Josef was waiting and shook my hand, it was so nice to see a familiar face. We walked over to get something to drink, there wasn't much left - only water or sports drink, I chose water, I couldn't stomach any more sports drink.

I chatted with Josef a bit, than headed over for a shower. After showering we decided to drive home, neither of us were hungry, despite the noontime hour. I let Josef drive home, I was tired and afraid I would dose off. Around two hours later we arrived at Josef's house, I thanked him for accompanying me and drove made the 10 minute drive home. My wife was still in school, so I crawled in bed and slept a couple hours before she came home...I was dead tired, but happy!

Subtle signs of my first 100 km race this past Friday night linger, the heavy legs, the slight pain in my left knee, the weariness...the feeling of wanting to crawl back in bed and sleep. But the euphoria of finally crossing the finish line after nearly 12 hours also burns from within, bubbling through my veins and spreading a smile on my face.

The 1st Annual Ulmer Laufnacht, translated the Ulm Night Run...almost perfectly organized, a friendly atmosphere, willing helpers, and a course whose beauty speaks for itself. As I sit and try to write about all that happened in Ulm I feel more overwhelmed than during the actual race itself...

In the middle of the afternoon on Friday I picked up my friend Josef and we made the two hour drive to Blaustein, near Ulm, which lies on the border of the States of Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria in Germany. Originally my wife was to accompany me, but she had school on Friday night and Saturday. She was worried that I wouldn't be able to drive home after the race, so I asked Josef if he wanted to travel with me and drive home the next day if necessary.

We arrived in Blaustein (translated Blue Stone) and checked Josef into the room where he was spending the night. I organized my stuff for the race and we went downstairs in the hotel and had an early dinner. Afterward we drove over to the sport hall and I picked up my race packet. Here we met another member of our running club, Walter, who was also running the 100 kilometers. We sat and chatted for awhile, until around 7:00 p.m., when I mentioned I wanted to head back to the room and take a nap before the race.

Back at the room I made a final check of my race stuff and laid down for awhile. I managed to dose off for a few minutes, but was too nervous to sleep long. The race briefing was scheduled at 9:00 p.m., two hours before the race, so I got up about a half-hour before and got dressed for the race. We arrived shortly before the briefing and joined Walter in the bleachers of the sport hall. After awhile the organizers briefed us on the location of the aid stations, safety, some changes in the course, etc..

ulmer_100k_2009_briefing.jpg

One fact that I think caught everyone's attention was that the course had 900 meters of altitude difference and not 400 meters as was listed in the race description...a large part of this in the last third of the course. Oh well, bring it on, we're here let's do it!

After the briefing I made a last toilet stop, then about 15 minutes before the start we walked over to the soccer field where the race was to begin. It was cool outside, I guess around 14°C (57°F) and it would get colder before the night was done (7°C/44°F). I was wearing ¾ length running pants, a short sleeve running shirt and a light running jacket - a bit cool for standing around, but I was confident it would suffice for the race.

At the Start the energy was enormous, music, 3 or 4 hot air balloons waiting to take off - blowing occasional flames which lit up our surroundings, nervous runners, the chatter of the crowd. I rechecked my running belt and chatted with Walter and Josef for a bit. I tried not to think about the task I had before me, 100 kilometers - 62 miles!

ulmer_100k_2009_balloon.jpg

The clock clicked down and Josef headed off to the sidelines. Walter, who has run several 100 km races and was looking to break 10 hours for this race, stayed towards the front, I headed toward the back, I figured I would need 12-13 hours. At 11:00 p.m. we counted down the last seconds and amidst a fiery display of fireworks and music we were off on our 100 kilometer journey.

ulmer_100k_2009_start.jpg

A movie clip of the start can be viewed on the race website: http://www.ulmer-100km.de/

I made it, 100 km (62 miles)! It was hard, but I stuck with it and after 11 hours 52 minutes and 20 seconds I crossed the finish line at the First Annual Ulm 100K Night Run! I'll triy to get a report together over the next couple days!

Off to my First 100K Race

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Last night I spent some time planning for my 100 km race, the Ulmer Night Run, which begins in Blaustein, near Ulm, Germany. The course, which is a 100 km loop around the region, has a couple good climbs, but nothing extreme. I believe the altitude difference is only around 1300 feet...gopher mounds for you Western USA folks ;-)

The Ulmer Night Run begins at 11:00 p.m., which is much later than the 80 km (50 mi.) Karlsruhe Fidelitas Night Run which begins at 5:00 p.m.. For me this means beginning the race at a time when I normally have the first hour (or two) of sleep behind me. I will soon find out how this will affect my performance...

This will be my first 100 km event, I am only concerned with crossing the finish line, and thus I don't have any time goals. Based on my 50 Mile finish time last year of around 9 ½ hours I guess I will need about 12-13 hours if everything goes well.

The original description of the race called for only 9 aid stations, one every 10K. However, the organizers have been busy and have revised that to include a couple more aid stations and several water points. As it now stands, and with the exception of the first 20 km (12.4 mi.), there is an aid station or water point approx. every 6-7 km (4 mi.), which means I don't need to carry so much with me.

As I mentioned the run begins at night, so I will probably need a running jacket at the beginning, and through the night. I have contemplated whether I need a drop bag along the way, but if it doesn't rain I don't think I will need one. When it warms up in the morning on Saturday I can remove my jacket and tie it around my waist. The aid stations should have adequate food and drink, plus I will be wearing my running belt with a few of my favorite sports gels, ibuprofen, calcium-magnesium tablets (to help prevent cramping), Vaseline (to combat chaffing, blisters), spare flashlight and a small bottle of drink. The weather forecast is not forecasting rain, so I doubt that I will need to leave a drop bag with a change of clothes...but I'll have the drop bag with me before the race in case it looks like rain.

From what I have read in some of the blogs from my favorite ultra-runners these preparations probably sound inadequate. However, based on my experience over the last three years at the Karlsruhe Fidelitas 50-miler, this should be entirely adequate. In Karlsruhe I do use a drop bag because the race begins in the heat of the day (5:00 p.m.), so I leave a running jacket and sometimes an extra shirt at roughly the halfway point. With the race on Friday I will be starting out with my jacket and will remove it as it grows warmer.

I plan on running the race pretty much like I run a 50-miler, i.e. maintain a consistent pace, walk the uphills, eat and drink from the beginning. I think I've trained well for the race, at least within the amount of time that I have. I know I need to remain patient and maintain my own pace.

I let you know how it goes...

I was reading this supposedly true story this morning...in any case it is something to think about:

I am a mother of three (ages 14, 12, 3) and have recently completed my college degree. The last class I had to take was Sociology. The teacher was absolutely inspiring with the qualities that I wish every human being had been graced with. Her last project of the term was called, 'Smile.'

The class was asked to go out and smile at three people and document their reactions.
I am a very friendly person and always smile at everyone and say hello anyway. So, I thought this would be a piece of cake, literally.

Soon after we were assigned the project, my husband, youngest son, and I went out to McDonald's one crisp March morning. It was just our way of sharing special playtime with our son.

We were standing in line, waiting to be served, when all of a sudden everyone around us began to back away, and then even my husband did. I did not move an inch.... an overwhelming feeling of panic welled up inside of me as I turned to see why they had moved. As I turned around I smelled a horrible 'dirty body' smell, and there standing behind me were two poor homeless men.

As I looked down at the short gentleman, close to me, he was 'smiling'. His beautiful sky blue eyes were full of God's Light as he searched for acceptance.

He said, 'Good day' as he counted the few coins he had been clutching.

The second man fumbled with his hands as he stood behind his friend. I realized the second man was mentally challenged and the blue-eyed gentleman was his salvation.

I held my tears as I stood there with them. The young lady at the counter asked him what they wanted.

He said, 'Coffee is all Miss' because that was all they could afford. (If they wanted to sit in the restaurant and warm up, they had to buy something. He just wanted to be warm).

Then I really felt it - the compulsion was so great I almost reached out and embraced the little man with the blue eyes. That is when I noticed all eyes in the restaurant were set on me, judging my every action.

I smiled and asked the young lady behind the counter to give me two more breakfast meals on a separate tray. I then walked around the corner to the table that the men had chosen as a resting spot. I put the tray on the table and laid my hand on the blue-eyed gentleman's cold hand.

He looked up at me, with tears in his eyes, and said, 'Thank you.'

I leaned over, began to pat his hand and said, 'I did not do this for you.. God is here working through me to give you hope.' I started to cry as I walked away to join my husband and son.

When I sat down my husband smiled at me and said, 'That is why God gave you to me, Honey, to give me hope.' We held hands for a moment and at that time, we knew that only because of the Grace that we had been given were we able to give. We are not church goers, but we are believers.

That day showed me the pure Light of God's sweet love.

I returned to college, on the last evening of class, with this story in hand. I turned in 'my project' and the instructor read it. Then she looked up at me and said, 'Can I share this?'

I slowly nodded as she got the attention of the class.

She began to read and that is when I knew that we as human beings and being part of God share this need to heal people and to be healed.

In my own way I had touched the people at McDonald's, my son, the instructor, and every soul that shared the classroom on the last night I spent as a college student. I graduated with one of the biggest lessons I would ever learn:

UNCONDITIONAL ACCEPTANCE.

Next time you are around people and see a need I hope you will remember to:

LOVE PEOPLE AND USE THINGS - NOT LOVE THINGS AND USE PEOPLE.

Time to relax and plan my race

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On Saturday I ran two loops on my running club trail, the first loop with three friends, the second with additional runners from the normal group that I run with. For some reason my legs were tired afterwards, despite the fact that I ran only about half of what usually run during the week.

On Sunday I relaxed and worked on some of the logistics for my 100 km event coming up on Friday evening. The weather prognosis is 9°C with rain through the night, with up to 23°C and sunny on Saturday.

I haven't decided yet weather to wear my running belt with bottle or my CamelBak backpack. There are aid stations every 10K, with 4-5 additional water point scattered in between. Compared to most longer races in Germany this is less than normal. Normally a running belt with a small bottle and some gels would be enough, but I almost think my Camelbak would be more comfortable for the longer distance.

I want to wait a few days to see what the weather will do...I'm not as fast as a lot of runners, so I need to plan that I will be on the course longer than a lot of people. When it rains then I may elect to leave a change of clothes in a drop bag at one of the stations, or at least bring a dry shirt in my backpack. We'll see what happens.

Tonight I want to run a loop with friends from my running club. On Tuesday I'll rest and on Wednesday I'm meeting RB for a run. Thursday is a holiday in Germany and Friday I'm on vacation...I need to try to sleep as much as possible, Friday will be a long day!

Ich habe am Samstag zwei Runden bei dem Lauftreff gelaufen, die erste mit drei Freunden und die zweite zusätzlich mit die normal Gruppe. Mein Beinen war auf irgendwelcher Grund müde nachher, ich finde das gar nicht Normal...eigentlich habe ich nur wenig durch die Woche gelaufen.

Am Sonntag habe ich nur ausgeruht und überlegt was ich brauche für mein 100 km lauf am Freitagabend. Die Wetterprognose ist 9°C durch die Nacht mit Regen und bis 23°C am Samstag, aber sonnig.

Ich habe mich noch nicht entscheidet ob ich will mein Laufgürtel oder Laufrücksack tragen. Verpflegungsstationen sollte jeder 10 km geben, mit 4-5 Wasserstelle zwischen. Im gleich zu die meiste langer Lauf im Deutschland ist das wenig. Ein Laufgürtel mit ein kleine Flasche und mehrere Gels wurde wahrscheinlich reichen, aber ich denke mir, dass mein Rücksacke wurde bequemer über die langer Distanz.

Ich will auch ein paar Tage warten umsehen wie das Wetter werde... ich bin nicht so schnell als viele Läufer, so ich muss rechnen das ich wurde eine längere Zeit an die Weg sein...wenn Regen ist angesagt, dann ich will entweder Trockene Kleider bei ein Verpflegungsstationen lassen, oder vielleicht mindestens ein Trockene Hemd im Rucksack mitbringen. Mal sehen...

Heute Abend ich will ein Rund mit freunden von mein Lauftreff laufen. An Dienstag ruhe mich aus und am Mittwoch laufe ich mit RB, ich freue mich! Donnerstag ist ein Feiertag, und Freitag habe ich frei...ich muss viel Schlaffen, Freitag wurde eine lange Tag sein!

I have been tapering this week, my 100 km event is coming up in exactly one week, on June 12th. I have been trying to take it easy, but life is busy. I haven't been running so much, 10 km on Tuesday, 11 km on Wednesday. On Thursday after work I went swimming, that was a nice change of pace, it's been a long time.

I have been trying to look over the race route for the Ulm 100K night run. The race begins at 11:00 p.m. and participants have up to 21 hours to finish. This will be the first time that I attempt the 62 mile distance. Based on my 80 km (50 mi.) race last year, where I finished in 9:31:41, I'm expecting to finish in 12-13 hours if everything goes well.

A map and satellite (Google) image of the route can be viewed here:

http://www.web4map.com/web4mapviewer.php?uid=49&pid=42

Here is the latest elevation profile for the race:

profile_Ulm1002.png

I'm going through the normal doubts this week, wondering if my training was adequate, wishing I ran more hills etc...but I generally this is good for me - it keeps me from taking off to fast during the beginning of a long race.

My main mission for the next week will be to try to keep daily stress to a minimum, get lots of sleep and eat healthy. I want to run about two hours on Saturday, then a couple 5 mile runs next week, that's it! Next Thursday is a holiday, and Friday (race day) I have vacation, so I hope to sleep in on both days.

Running on a beautiful summer day

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Yesterday was a beautiful day, 28°C, sunny, with blue skies...my favorite weather to run. After work I changed quickly and ran out the door. My goal was 9-10 km over open fields.

I took the field path towards the town of Staffort, then after a couple kilometers turned north towards Spock. It was truly beautiful outside, hot, but for me perfect weather.

I ran on to the Town of Spöck, passed the school, the soccer fields, then right over the fields towards Graben - eventually turning and heading back to my town.

On the way I passed the asparagus fields, the field workers were out picking asparagus...they were frying in the sun!

I reached the edge of my town around km 9, not enough with such beautiful weather, I took the railroad underpass and ran passed RB's street, then took the next underpass back towards my house. I arrived back at the house after 10.2 km, covered with sweat, but totally satisfied!

Gestern war ein sehr schöne Tag, 28°C, sonnig mit blaue Himmel...mein Lieblings Wetter zum laufen. Nach der Arbeit habe ich schnell umgezogen und aus die Tür gelaufen. Mein Ziel war 9-10 km über offenes Feld.

Ich habe die Feldweg Richtung Staffort gelaufen, und ab 1-2 km Richtung Spöck gedreht. Es war richtig herrlich außen, heiß, aber für mich perfektes Wetter.

Ich habe weiter bei die Schule im Spöck gelaufen, zum Sportplatz, und rechts über die Felder Richtung Graben - dann südlich gedreht und zurück nach mein Stadt.

An die Weg habe ich bei die Spargelfelder gelaufen, Feldarbeiter war außen und hat Spargel geholt...die hat schon geschwitzt!

Bei km 9 habe ich die grenz von mein Stadt erreicht, nicht genug bei so schönes Wetter, ich habe die Unterführung genommen und Richtung RBB gelaufen, dann die Fahrrad Unterführung zurück zu Hause gelaufen. Nach 10,2 km habe ich mein Haus erreicht, durchgeschwitzt, aber glücklich

Running, Cycling, Tapering

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Life is busy, somehow my posting is becoming sporadic at best. Let me try to catch up on the events from the weekend.

On Friday after work I suited up and headed out for a long run, the last prior to my 100 km event on June 12th. In preparation for the long run I ran intervals on Wednesday night, and a two hour run on Thursday night, this left my legs a bit tired for the long run...which provided a good training effect. I completed 31 km (19 mi.) over a good mix of mostly flat forest and asphalt paths/roads, which is similar to the surfaces for the 100 km. I took 2-3 minute walk breaks every 20-25 minutes but tried to keep the running pace a bit faster than my planned race pace. I ended up averaging around 6:15/km (10:00/mi.) for the 31 km. My legs were pretty worn out towards the end, but I was still in good enough shape to pick strawberries for an hour afterward.

On Saturday I spend 2-3 hours in the garden, then ran a loop with my running club at 5:00 p.m., at roughly 9:00/mi pace.

On Sunday I went on an 85 km (53 miles) cycling trip with six friends from my running club, including RB. The sky was a bit dark when we left, but cleared up and the sun accompanied us the rest of the way. We stopped several times along the way to admire various landmarks, for a late lunch and finally cake and coffee just before we completed our tour. It was a great day with good friends!

On Monday was a German holiday, but my wife had school, so I took a spontaneous 37 km (23 mi.) cycling trip - I wanted to go a bit further, but the storm clouds gathered and I pedalled home!

This week I am reducing my running mileage to about half of last week, to around 50 km (31 mi.). With the 100 km event just 10 days away, it is time to rest and recover before the big event.

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