Recently in Race Planning & Analyzing Category

My next race for the year is coming up on May 8, the Stromberg Extreme Run, a 54 km ultra with at least 1200 meters of elevation gain. Normally this run would be just right for me, I love hills - but the 6 hour 45 minutes time limit has me worried.

For starters, I still have back issues that I have posted about over the last year, the physical therapy has not done much to help. Due to this and an extremely busy workload at work, I have been only running about 60% of the mileage compared to the last couple years in this timeframe. I have also not been pushing as hard during the training as I usually do, partly because I started training two months later than usual and I haven't reached my normal level yet, and partly because I am trying to be careful so my back doesn't get worse.

The 6-hour race that I completed was encouraging, my core fitness is still pretty good, I think the main problem I am facing is time, there are only 3-4 weekends left for long run training. My friend Birgit, who ran the 100-miler last year with me, is also running the race in May with her husband. From my point of view, they are in much better shape for the race, I have my doubts that I will be able to keep up with them - but with ultras you never can tell.

In any case I am going to try to run as many hills as my body will put up with over the next couple weeks, at quick look at the elevation profile will let you know why:

strecke-profil.gif

Race Website (in German): http://kirbachtallauf.de/

World Down Syndrome Day Marathon

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Yesterday I completed my first race of the year, the 6-Hour World Down Syndrome Day Marathon in Fürth, Germany. The helpers, visitors, spectators, other runners, supporters were fantastic and highly motivating. In particular the courage and determination shown by the many runners with Down Syndrome spurred me on to complete an unexpected 51.293 km (31.87 mi.)! I will try to get a race report together this week.

Gestern war mein erste Wettkampf dieses Jahr, der Welt Down Syndrom Tag Marathon - 6 Stundenlauf in Fürth. Die Helfer, Besucher, Zuschauer, andere Läufer, Unterstützer und besonderes die viel Läufer mit Down Syndrom hat mich hoch motiviert, ich habe ein unerwartete 51, 293 km gelaufen! Ich wurde diese Woche versuchen ein Beriech zu schreiben.

My first race this weekend...

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My first race event is coming up this weekend, I am woefully prepared, and I find myself wondering what I was thinking of when I signed up. In any case the 6-hour Worlds Down Syndrome Benefit race is for a good cause, so I will see it through. The race will be held in Fuerth, Germany on Sunday, March 20, not far from where my wife's aunt used to live. My wife will have a chance to visit friends in the city while I making my rounds.

The organizers posted a Google image of the course, a 1.3152 km loop. To complete a marathon I have to run 32 loops plus 106.36 meters. Events include the 6-hour main event, a marathon, a half-marathon and a 1-hour volks-run.

Streckenplan_WDST_Marathon_2011.jpg

My biggest fear is going stir-crazy running so many loops on an asphalt and concrete sidewalk, where the only scenery is 500 other crazy runners with the same problem. In any case it is something totally new in my running world, variety is the spice of life.

I will let you know how it goes.

Still Training Away

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I have been extremely busy at work lately, so something had to give, thus the lack of blog posts. I have managed to squeeze in 3-4 days training a week, with about 2/3 of the mileage on the weekend. This past Saturday I intended on running a 22 km run with two friends who are peaking with their marathon training, I felt good and decided to run the 20 miles with them, I made it through, was sore for a day, but am encouraged by the run.

I am signed up for a few races now, a 6-hour race in March, a 54 km run in May and a marathon in Fürth, Germany on June 5th. The 6-hour race is more of an opportunity run, we will in Fürth in Bayern on that weekend and there just happened to be a run a few streets away. The 54 km run in May will be a bigger challenge, the run has 1250 meters of elevation gain and a time limit of 6 hours and 45 minutes. In June its back to Bayern for hopefully a halfway decent marathon time. This coming weekend I will start my weekly long runs over the hills of nearby Weingarten, I will need to frequent these trails if I want to have any hope of completing the challenging run in May. I post more on that in the coming weeks.

Happy New Year everyone, I hope you are off to a great new running, cycling, swimming or whatever year. After getting over the initial shock from looking at the bathroom scales on January 1st, I started the first week of 2011 by cutting calories, the food over the holidays was apparently way too good. I already have the first pound gone and know that as I increase my training the pounds that accumulated will (eventually) disappear, but it is still no fun at all.

We have had a lot of snow the last few weeks, the streets and trails are icy and filled with snow. I have been doing mostly shorter runs, usually between 7-10 miles, about three times a week. I really have no need for longer runs at this point, I plan on taking a rest year this year, which from my perspective means I will only run a couple marathons and maybe a 50K. I may try for a faster 10K in the spring, after training for ultras for a couple years I need to work on my speed.

Off to the 100 Mile Races

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Typically tapering weeks allow me to catch up things that have been neglected during the high mileage weeks leading up to a race. This time around I have been so busy at work that I haven't gotten much of anything done on my "catch-up" list of things to do.

Unfortunately my blog posting has suffered the most, I still owe a race report from the Pirmasens Marathon from September 12th. Since then I also ran a half-marathon with RB, where does the time go. This week I am concentrating on organizing my drop bags and other requirements for my 100 Mile race on Saturday, this has top priority as you can imagine. Tonight Birgit, who is running the race with me, and I are meeting friends Bernd and Uli for dinner, they will be crewing us for part of the race.

If you have ever read a 100 Mile race report from the many runners who run and blog about this distance, you will usual hear about the wonderful support they receive from their crews and pacers. Crews in Germany are extremely rare, most runners rely on aid from the many aid stations at races, and perhaps the one or two drop bags that are allowed to be left at selected aid stations. Pacers are also rare and, as far as I know, not even allowed.

There is no mention of crews and pacers in the race description for the KuSuH 100 mile trail race that I am participating in this weekend, I think it is just assumed that runners will make use of course aid stations and drop bags, i.e. will not use outside resources. Birgit and I have trained for a self-supported race, i.e. relying only on what we can carry and deposit at the two drop bag sites along the course. There are 9 aid stations along the course that will offer water, isotonic drinks, fruit, bread, cake and other treats, but these are 8-11 miles apart, so we will at least need to carry something to drink. We both decided on CamelBak backpacks and have trained with them over the last several months.

Our friends Bernd and Uli have also offered to help out, probably in the form of meeting us once or twice to replenish whatever supplies or gear we may need, and some much needed moral support!

Birgit and I have planned from the beginning on running the entire event together. If you are familiar with longer ultra races you probably realize that anything can happen along the way, one of us may not be able to continue. We really haven't talked about a plan B, but we both know each other well and if one of us is capable of continuing and the other not, we would deposit the remains of the other in the capable hands of attendants of the next aid station and continue on. Hopefully this will not be necessary, we are both very optimistic that we will complete the event, we have the experience, we have trained hard and conditions look favourable on race day.

As we line up at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday morning for the first annual KuSuH 100 Mile Trail Race, a couple thoughts from Winston Churchill will accompany our journey:

"This is no time for ease and comfort. It is time to dare and endure."
"If you are going through hell, keep going."
"Continuous effort - not strength or intelligence - is the key to unlocking our potential."
"Never, never, never give up."

I'll let you know how it goes.

KuSuH 100 Mile Trail Elevation Profile

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The following figure is the approximate elevation profile of my upcoming 100 Mile Trail race in Oberderdingen, Germany. The profile was made by piecing together our training runs that we made on the trail, plus filling in the gaps using the course description and maps. The profile was generated in Google Earth and scaled for easier viewing, but offers a pretty good idea of what we have before us.

kusuh_profile.jpg

The lowest point of the course is 168 meters (551 feet) and the highest 474 meters (1555 feet). This is not a lot of difference, but as you can see from the profile the course continuously climbs up and down throughout the 100 miles, there are very few level sections that offer recovery.

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