Mußbach Sprint Triathlon 2018 – 1.RTV

One week after the first league race of the season, came the second league race of the reason! This time it was an individual triathlon, so it would be balls to the wall from start to finish, though it was last week for me anyway!

Recceing the Course

I decided to travel to Neustadt on Saturday so that I could see the course and sleep a bit later on Sunday, we would have to be there by 7am.  Neustadt isn’t a very interesting town and I also couldn’t sleep very well due to a hot hotel room without air conditioning.  At least seeing the course worked out well.  It is quite hilly, with 1 big climb from km4-7, then a steep short downhill followed by a 160° turn. A few km later in the valley, the road is badly broken up and shaky as hell, then we would be back onto open roads to battle to the end of the route through traffic.

Early Start

So I was awake at 5:30am after a few fire engines went past, luckily they had their sirens on full, otherwise drivers on the empty roads wouldn’t know to move out of the way… I ate and checked out of my hotel and picked up our 17 starter bags for the 1st, 2nd, masters and women’s teams.  Soon enough everyone else arrived and we chatted about how the bike would go.

Swim training not paying off!

It was a 500m pool swim with 7 starters per lane. The masters and women started about an hour before us, then the 2nd team started 20 minutes before us and finally it was our turn at 9:35am.  I have been swimming lots recently so had hoped to stay on Christoph’s feet, but I didn’t manage it.  I was soon in 7th and last place in the lane, but could swim with 6th place.  I overtook him after about 300m and got out of the water after 8:20, so basically exactly the pace I would expect if I wasn’t doing a swim block…

Hilly Bike

I ran to my bike and saw that everyone else was gone, I knew that already though. They were pretty much all together after the swim, about 50m ahead of me (45s). I got on the bike and set off, I passed more often than I was passed and on the big climb could see a TCEC rider ahead of me. I knew it wouldn’t be Basti or Michael and probably not Christoph, so would have to be Peter. It was Peter and I caught him right at the top of the climb and moved ahead.

Lovely Asphalt!

The valley wasn’t so bad at speed, the bad road surface also felt better than it had the day before.  The traffic was very annoying though, cars were trundling along and blocking the road, then stopping at roundabouts just in front of me, it was annoying.

Hilly Run

Anyway I got into T2 and was told to park my bike the other way around. I had parked as I always do, with the aerobars pointing in, but I had to swap it around costing me a few seconds. Peter arrived in T2 and was next to me, he isn’t a bad runner so I was slightly worried that he’d catch me.

start and end of the run

The course goes straight uphill after 400m then rolls until the turn around, then it is largely downhill on the way back. I saw that Basti was 1km ahead of me, then Michael behind him, and Christoph was also well clear of me, I wouldn’t be catching him today. I could also see that Peter was falling behind, so I would at least not be our Streichergebnis (the person who doesn’t count in the results).

The downhill was fun, especially the steep last part. I bounded down at full speed, even though it was hurting my feet. I passed one last person, but couldn’t get the guy just ahead of me in the stadium.

Better than last time, still not good!

I finished, it was a better effort than last week from me, but to be so far behind Christoph and Michael having been with them last season is obviously not ideal.  I saw in the results that I lost almost all of my time on the bike, that was slightly surprising to me, but I guess shows that I need to ride my TT bike much more from now on.

Overall it was a decent day for TCEC. Basti was 4th in the league and Michael 12th. I think we were 3rd in the team results, so better than last week. It’s not going to be easy this year, lots of teams are starting with better athletes, for example Boris Stein who is a top Ironman pro started in our league. That’s just crazy, he was 10 minutes faster than me!

So now there is 3 weeks until Worms. I hope my swimming training pays off by then and my TT bike riding should be better too. If I’m not going to be the Streichergebnis, I will have to beat most probably one of Jonas or Christoph. That isn’t looking like being an easy task at the moment!

With no races planned until then, that will probably be my next post, I’ll try to get some better photos next time!  See you then!

 

Hachenberg Löwentriathlon Team Sprint 2018

The long awaited start to the 2018 RTV season had finally arrived. It was a team sprint, so 750m swim, 20km bike, 5km run but with 5 people in the team, on road bikes and the 4th man over the finish line counts. Oh sorry did I say 4th man? I mean 3rd man! We had assumed it was the 4th man that counts, but found out 1h before the race that actually the 3rd man counts.

I had ‘won’ my place in the team by the skin of my teeth, basically because Peter’s far superior swim (11:45 over 800m) couldn’t be fully utilized as Chrisoph and Michael are much slower than he is (12:50 over 800m), so he’d have to wait for them, then quite possible get dropped on the bike.

Our ‘pack leader’ Sebi decided to suggest to our team that they leave me behind in the water if I fall behind, and that they could cycle as a 4 man team. This pissed me off quite a lot. I wasn’t there to swim 750m and be left to suck my thumb for the rest of the race.  The team rejected his suggestion and we had decided to wait for me in T1.

preparing for the race (with cake!)

The race started with 2 teams running into the lake, then the next 2 teams started 1 minute later. We would start at 16:01, 1 minute after the first 2 teams.  I got a good start using the John Newsome ‘leave on 2’ tactic! I was soon into my stride/stroke and was swimming on Basti’s feet pretty well.  My fear was that they would swim away from me at pace, but actually they didn’t get away from me at all. After the turn around, which was surrounded by very thick weeds, I actually felt good and started moving ahead of Christoph. I got out of the water about 5-10 seconds before him, so they couldn’t have left me behind of they’d wanted to 🙂

warm up loop

After a slow T1, we started on the bike course. We had expected a pan flat course, but had done a loop as warm up and it was far from flat!  We set off like a bat out of hell and I was worried, I couldn’t keep up this pace!  Luckily Christoph couldn’t either, so they slowed to let us catch back on.  The first loop was tough for me, it was just too fast.  The 2nd loop was tough, but better, I was keeping pace. On the 3rd loop I felt strong, I could even start doing my pulls at the front, probably as no one else really wanted to by that point!

After destroying ourselves on the bike for 30 minutes, I did not feel like running a fast 5km. I messed up my transition badly. I pushed my bike by the stem and lost control hitting it against my knee and drawing a little blood. Jonas decided he wasn’t going to run, he’d worked hard on the bike. Christoph was ahead of me heading out onto the run course. I hoped that he would be strong and I could drop out, but after a few hundred metres it was clear, I was our 3rd best runner on the day, and I would have to suffer.

Basti and Michael pushed me most of the way round. The course was rolling and all not on asphalt. It was also hot and humid, far from my favourite conditions.  I felt like I would vomit after 2-3km but I didn’t and could keep my fairly crappy pace going for the full 5km. The last few hundred metres were purgatory, but Michael especially was so strong, it felt a bit like I was Jonny Brownlee being carried by Alistair in Cozumel at times!

We crossed the line with a 20:20 run split, ever so shit! I need to start running properly again, otherwise I won’t be having any good races like last season.

Our team finished 6th from 12, but some of teams had dropped down some top athletes from higher teams for the first race of the year, so although it wasn’t a great result, it wasn’t a disgrace either. We were in the main pack, a small improvement would have had us near the front.

So on we go. The next race is in 8 days in Mußbach.  It’s a 500m pool swim, 18km hilly and technical bike, then a 5km technical run. Why can’t we just have a nice flat race??

Mainz Marathon Staffel 2018

Marathon Staffel

In Autumn last year, I thought it’d be cool to make a TCEC staffel team for the Mainz Marathon.  I saw that the winning time in 2017 was 2:45, with some decent runners, we should be able to better that!  I asked around and got good answers. Heiko, Stephan and Michael would run with me. That would be a 2:3x team.

A little later Michael had to drop out as he would be away, but Sebi took his place so we didn’t lose any time.  A couple of weeks before the race, Sebi dropped out, but Basti stepped in, another good substitution.  The day before the race Heiko dropped out and I had used up my pool of sub 38min 10k runners, but luckily Uli would run for us. He is nearer to a 40min runner, but would help us out in a jam.

10km from 13km-23km

I have been having my troubles recently, as were well documented in my Paris Marathon blog. I was diagnosed with low ferritin (21 – much higher than expected) so I have been on iron and am feeling better but still not good. Unfortunately I got upgraded from the 3rd staffel leg that was 8km route, to the 10k route, as Uli would take the 8km.

So having signed on on Saturday, we were good to go on Sunday. We met for the TCEC team photo and Stephan took to the start line.  For some reason Basti didn’t have his TCEC gear on. He has been in TCEC for ages and we were a TCEC team, an odd decision.

I rented a bike and rode to my staffel change area area. The toilets were surprisingly full considering the race was already underway!  I watched the leaders come through, then Raoul shortly afterwards, then some guys I recognise from races, but Stephan wasn’t there yet.  A couple of minutes later than expected, he came into sight and I got ready for the change over.

Enjoying the start

I set off a bit worried, but didn’t know if I could run fast!  I settled into a 3:45 pace which I was happy about, and I supposed that as I was overtaking people, I must be running faster than Stephan had been.  It was fun with the crowd there and I slapped some hands and waved Helau so the kids.  I was soon through the old town and feeling good.  Then I saw the 16km sign, I had only run 3km!

Wormserstrasse (the out and back) isn’t so bad when you are fairly fresh. I saw lots of familiar faces. The TCEC family that cheer at the turn are there every year, I don’t know who they are, but they are perfectly positioned and make me smile every year.  I kept on overtaking people who were struggling near the end of the half marathon, but at least they were nearly finished after 20km. I had to pass the finish line and go 2km further, over the bridge to the staffel change point in Kastel.

Stephan ran next to me on the bridge for about 3m, the photographer caugh that moment well!

It got a bit quiet after the half marathoners were done.  I passed the half marathon line in 1:22:xx, slower than my time alone last year.  I saw Stephan on the bridge and asked what position we were in. 5th, bugger.  Over the bridge against the wind was tough, but it is short so done with fairly quickly. Soon enough I was over and found Uli at the change point. I had run 10.3km with an average of 3:51/km, not good, but not dreadful either.

Team Finish – 5th Place

I walked back to Stephan and Carola (his wife) to get my bag and watch Uli run by, before getting another bike and heading off to the 3rd staffel change area.  I only just caught up with Uli as he tagged Basti in.  We made our way back to the finish area.

Everything got a bit muddled, so we didn’t have a staffel team finish, but we did meet at the finish line.  I enjoyed my cake and alcohol free shandy and we sat around and enjoyed the sun.  Raoul won the Hochschulemeisterschaft again (this time for the marathon) and was the first German finisher, so we had to wait a while for his prize giving.

All in it was a fun day. I enjoy Mainz marathon weekend, even if I don’t run too well. I hope some time to run a good race there, 2019 would be ideal, though I don’t think I’ll ever do the full marathon in Mainz, it looks pretty lonely out there after km 21.

Rund um Frankfurt/Eschborn

Last week I was at home and saw a whatsapp message in the TCEC group, Marco had won a start place for the Skoda Rund um Frankfurt bike race, but he had already signed up. He was offering his place to whoever wanted it, I jumped at the chance!

So after signing up and signing on the day before in Eschborn, I was on the start line on May 1st, a bank holiday here in Germany.  The race was only 100km long and had 1 big hill and a few little ramps, but nothing crazy.  My cycling isn’t great at the moment, I still feel generally pretty crappy, but I have been getting some miles in, so I thought I’d do alright.

6am is no time to get up on a bank holiday, but to catch the train at 7:13 from Kastel, it was necessary.  I met up with Marco there, he’d accidently paced odd shoes (from different pairs) so was a bit bemused.  We got to the start and headed to the VIP area. Marco had also got us VIP entry, so we could park our bikes, leave our bags and eat/drink as much as we pleased, not bad!

The race started at 8:45. At 8:45 we had only just found out L block! We were in the slowest and last to start block as we were both first timers.  By about 9:20 or so we could actually set off.  I expected the roads to be packed and to be stuck in traffic, but actually the roads were wide as h*ck so traffic was rarely an issue.

I jumped into a few passing group, my average was up at about 40km/h but that was with the wind.  When we turned back into the wind the pace started to relent and the need to stay in a group was increased.  After a fairly uneventful first 45km, I hit the lower slopes of Feldberg.  It is an 11km climb, but not steep at 5% average.

I twiddles my way up the climb, passing people by the hundred.  I didn’t feel like I was redlining it and was comfortable. It gets a bit steeper at the top, but not for long and not too bad.  Then started the decent.

I am not a good descender, but I try!  Lots of people passed me on the way down, but I got down in decent order for me.  Almost before I knew that we were down, we hit a 2.2km climb. This was a bit steeper, but still fine. Someone in the crowd had a strange wind up whooping machine, it was hella annoying!  I was pleased to be just passing through.

The decent continued with only a brief restbite for a steep cobbled road with was a funny shock to the system!  I managed to get back into some groups and for a while we made good time.  After about 85km the tunr off came for the 90km race, or your could go on and do the full 100km version. I was amazed at how many people took the 90km way out!  It’s only 10km and 1 steep ass hill difference!

So to Mammolshain, home of the Mammolshainer Stich.  The total climb was about 2.5km, but the bad bit was only about 200m somewhere in the middle. I got out of the saddle, but decided to see if I could spin sitting down. I could, so I cruised to the top of the steepest bit being careful not to sprint, the climb didn’t end here!

When the climb actually did end, it was all downhill or flat to the end. The last few km clicked away in a decent group and except for there being no sign to say that we had to turn to the finish right at the end, it was all easy going.

I crossed the line in 3h15m with a 30.6km/h average.  Not great by anymeans, but okay.

Mais non, Paris – Paris marathon 2018

Before Race Day

After a few nice days in Paris in 2 nice hotels (1 with the worst carpet in the world!) I had arranged to meet Has to sign up to the marathon at 14:30 on the Friday before the race. I handed in my ‘medical certificate’ and got my start number. I wasn’t ready for the race, but I would be running it anyway!

As you can read, the last month before the Paris marathon has been a nightmare, a constant mix of being overtrained, ill, allergic and injured. That’s not ideal for getting ready for a marathon. My heart rate has been constantly high for a while now, at rest and while running. My hope was that after enough rest, my body would somehow digest the training that I’d done, recover and spit out my fitness returns. Well if it was going to do that, it was waiting until the last minute to do it! I was still feeling like crap 6 days before the race, when my last real run before the marathon.

I knew that 2h50 was possible if everything came together, but if not then I would be miles off with my recent form/health. I would go out at 2h50 pace anyway and see what happens. Who knows, maybe I’d feel ok!

Me and Has next to the straw filled toilets! (and the Arc de Triomphe)

Continue reading “Mais non, Paris – Paris marathon 2018”

Mais Oui, Paris – Weeks 13+14 – 2 weeks of very little

For the first time for about 3-4 weeks I am feeling slightly better about things now. I have severely cut back my running in the hope of getting myself right for Paris Marathon. Now it is the last 2 week, so I will do my threshold intervals on Tuesday and Thursday, then the work is done!

Monday:

I cycled to swim training, swam for 1h15 – about 3000m – and cycled home. I was in the slow lane, which was a good thing! I did one harder 400m pull set, which was in 7minutes flat. I am trying to actually kick properly in when doing breaststroke, I hope that makes me slightly less slow!

Tuesday:

Back to the 1817 track after work. As it is the school holidays it was pretty empty at the track (not many kids playing football), so I switched directions for each interval. I wanted to do 6km at T pace again, as I felt fine I split it into a 3-2-1. My heart rate was much lower than it has been, and I did the last km in 3:33 without going all out.  This was much more like a session I would expect to have than those from last week. I think that is a good sign that I am recovering!

Wednesday:

I should have swum before work, but I wanted to sleep (I didn’t sleep well). I had a nap after work, which was stupid because I then couldn’t fall asleep at night.. Rest day

Thursday:

6km T, I just did 6x1km as I wasn’t feeling great. All were about 3:40/km but felt far harder than they should have.

Friday:

Off

Saturday:

After hearing that Sebi and Peter were looking for a 3rd person to swim, I decided to go along and try a longer work out. I wanted to do a 90 minute swim, but they wanted to leave after about 60mins so I did what I could until then.  I think it was 3400m, a lot for me. I slightly extended my cycling home so that it was 20km or so, I would have liked a bit more actually, but it was fine for the day.

Sunday:

off

Monday:

I went for little 7km run just as a leg shake out. Now I will admit that I probably ran faster than I should have, but my heart rate was sky high from the start. Against the wind I was in the mid 150s when doing an easy pace.  It came back down a little with the wind behind me, but my piriformis hurt, the whole back of my right leg ached, and my heart rate was high. I started to consider not starting in Paris.

I cycled to the pool later anyway as it was Easter Monday and I could swim at 5pm instead of 8pm. It was a decent session, if only 1h again. The lane was pretty empty, but when Konrad is there it always shows me how much slower I am than I need to be!

Tuesday:

I had planned on doing some M paced intervals, but after the nightmare of yesterday, I rested. I feel like I am allergic to something, or have a long lingering cold. (I got my German B2 test results – I got 90.5 from 100 for a very good grade, quite happy with that!)

Wednesday:

Because of the French trains striking, one of our connections wasn’t available, so we had to get to Karlsruhe in a different way. We managed it but then saw that our train to Paris was cancelled. We scuried to try to get a slow train to Strasbourg, but missed it s were stuck in Karlsruhe. Or so we thought, because suddenly they announced that a replacement train would go instead. It was said to be on time, but actually was 1h40 late!  So we didn’t get to Paris until fairly late on Wednesday evening.

Thursday:

Tourist day in Paris – up the Eiffel Tower

Friday:

Another walking day around Paris

Saturday:

I ran for 15 minutes on the treadmill in the hotel, I did some slightly up paced stuff and felt ok, maybe I had recovered in time??

Sunday:

Marathon

Mais Oui, Paris – Week 12 – Slowly Recovering?

Lets not dwell on how shit my training is going, lets just see how this week goes.

Monday:

I had only gotten home at 1am from England the night before, so was tired. My hips are still tight and sore, I guess they won’t feel great when I am working them out as much as possible!  I was going to go on the trainer for an hour, but wasn’t feeling it so rested.

Tuesday:

I went to 1817 after work and tried another 3x2km T. I could actually run my T pace of about 3:42/km more comfortably today. I did the 3 intervals fine, with a poopmergency only coming on after about 5.6km, so I could hold it for the last 400m before going to the (open today) toilets.  I feel like it wasn’t great running today, but also not dreadful, certainly much better than Friday.

I cycled to kastel and then home after the run for another 30mins or so of work. In the evening I tried 1 leg hip bridges for the first time, I had muscle ache in my hamstrings the days after!

Wednesday:

I went to the weight training session of TV Hechtsheim. They have really old equipment, but they have the main bases covered. They also have a stepper, an eliptical, spinning bikes and a treadmill. I did a round of the leg based machines, then did 6 minutes on the stepper. I felt better after doing the workout than I did before.

Thursday:

My hips felt better than they have, it is mainly a slightly nagging right hip flexor now, with my piriformis still be noticable on occasion. Anyway I went to do my now standard 3x2km T session after work.  Everything was fine, my HR was lower than in the last couple of sessions, but I felt short of breath. I managed my times (7:25 or so for 2km) without pushing too hard.

Friday:

Rest

Saturday:

I wanted to do an easy run, I haven’t done any for a while so I thought it would be worth testing myself on a nice easy loop. TCEC were meeting at 10am at Römisches Theater, so I thought I’d join in.  After a few km of warm up, I met up with the group and we set off. I could feel by glutes were a little sore and my heart rate was higher than it should be, but otherwise the run was fine. Actually I enjoyed it as it was just about 90 minutes of chatting about triathlon and other crap whilst having a nice easy, scenic jog.  When we got back to the start I had exactly 20km on the watch, that’d do for the day.

Later after going into town with Katja, I went to TBB to try my first T26 swim workout.  I know you should do the A workout, then if you swim twice a week you should do A-A, then A-A-B, then A-A-B-C, but I felt like the A sessions look a bit big for me, they are generally 4500m or so, comfortably my longest swim ever!

So I picked a B swim. It started off all good, lots of snorkel work until I actually was looking forward to taking it off. Then came some speed. It was 8x50m at 85%, which was fine, but then came another 8x75m at 85%. The last of which took me over 3000m for the session. I swam the easy 150m in the plan, then I should have repeated the 8x75m + 150m easy, but I was done!  My times were only going in one direction if I carried on.  So I did 3150m, a long workout for me, but a shortened B workout in T26 world!

Sunday:

The weather was nice, 10°C and sunny with little wind. I took my chance to actually cycle!  I know that I can’t or shouldn’t just jump on and do 100km, I also didn’t have time, so I just rode an easy 1h20 or so. It was nice to be out in the sun and my legs felt better than expected, though I don’t know if I’d manage 3h+ right now.  I did about 35km on the cross bike all in.

Overview:

Well it isn’t exactly how I envisaged my marathon training going!  I ran 3 times for a total of about 37km, but I did 2 (easy) sessions and a longer run, so it could have been worse. With a swim and a bike and a gym session it wasn’t the nightmare that last week was.

I feel like I am having a bit of hayfever at the moment. I have fairly constant headaches after exercise and am a bit snotty and can feel that my breath is hot. I don’t want to sound too positive, but if that clears up and I start Paris feeling healthy, it might not be a nightmare, there were a few ifs there though.

Next week I want to do my last sessions on Tuesday and Thursday, I will bike and swim on Monday. It is easter weekend after that, I’d like another swim and maybe a longer bike and another 20km+ run. I don’t want to overdo it with less than 2 weeks until Paris, but in a 4 week taper I should be able to do a bit more!

 

Mais Oui, Paris – Week 11 – my oh my.

So after deciding that all was not well in my marathon prep, I really switched things up this week.

Monday:

NO RUNNING! I cycled to the pool in the evening and swam for 1h15, then cycled home in the pouring rain. I didn’t love being the slowest swimmer in the fast lane, but it is what it is. Less rain would have also been nice.

I did lots of adductor/abductor work at home using a band and a chair!  I will be working on hip strength lots before Paris now. My Piriformis feels much better already, but my groin is still not great.

Tuesday:

Rest Day – Goethe Test in Frankfurt and I want to rest anyway, so no training at all.

Wednesday:

Straight after work I cycled to the 1817 track and did some fast intervals. After only 800m warm up, I started my first of 8x600m repeats. With confidence low, I wanted to do 2:02/600m intervals with a 2min 200m walk pause, but I set off too fast so the first was 1:57. The next was too fast too, and the next and the next! I decided to just keep them faster than 2:00 for my 8 reps, which I managed fairly comfortably. After a 1km warm down I was done, 7.8km total according to strava, 8km actually.

Thursday

Nothing

Friday:

I was flying to England in the evening, so I took a break from work mid-afternoon to go and do some intervals. I thought I’d do some threshold stuff instead of going overboard with VO2 max work.  I ran to 1817 and started off. I felt pretty crap from the get go. I was keeping up 3:45/km just about. I did 2x2km in 7:30 but then I really needed to go to the toilet.  I ran to the uni, did some biiig business, then headed back to do another 2km.  I felt crap and my heart rate was high, it was just a nightmare.

Saturday:

I was in England for my Mum’s 60th birthday. It was about -4°C and snowing a bit, the wind was the bad bit though!  I had planned to run, but given that my hips weren’t feeling great and I felt like I had a bit of a cold, I binned it.

Sunday:

After everyone left my in Stamford, I went to the pool. It was about as bad as I could have feared. It was a leisure pool that was not at all meant for swimmers. It was full of kids, there was no swimming lane and the pool wasn’t even rectangular. I swam as best I could for 35 minutes before getting sick of it all and leaving.

Overview:

Lots of schedules would have this as my biggest training week, instead I ran twice for a total of about 18km, though I did swim 1.5 times and cycle once.  My hips don’t feel good, it feels like I have groin pain on both sides, sometimes right, sometimes left.  I think it is just the piriformis messing everything up.

Next week I will hope that things get better, they can hardly get worse!  I would like to get a slight inverse taper in, so if next week it easy, then 1 good week before a last week of tapering. Who knows, I just need to keep doing my hip exercises and taking my iron, I can’t do much more.

 

Mais Oui, Paris – Week 10 – Time for a rethink

I don’t think it is a great sign when you wake up on Monday morning cursing your alarm clock and feeling incredibly tired, you stand up, your butt hurts (glutes) and your hips are tight as hell, well that is how I started week 10 on my road to Paris!

Monday: AM:

Given the above, I just trotted to work. I took a new route that is a bit more off road. It was quite nice to run somewhere new before work and the weather was nice for once!  I ran it fairly directly and the route was 5.8km, I could extend that pretty easily though.

PM: I took a similar route back home. I felt like I ran ok, I mean I felt like absolute crap, almost dizzy at times and just generally weak, but I assumed I would run at 4:50/km or so. After picking up the pace at the end just for shits and giggles, so was shocked to see a 5:13/km average! I guess the new route which was on trail was a bit uneven and bumpy, I guess I slowed my pace more than I thought on that bit.

We have some 5-HTP tablets lying around as I’d bought them to help Katja sleep ages ago, but she never took them. For some reason I decided to take one on Monday evening. Wow I felt a lot better very quickly!  I still didn’t sleep very well, but I felt a noticeable improvement in mood and, as you will see, my pace improved a bit over the next few days.

Tuesday: AM:

I woke up again feeling very tired, but better than yesterday. I did all my stretches and foam rolling last night, so my muscles were a bit looser- I ran my old route to work but wasn’t plodding as much as I have been. It was 6.8km at a 4:42/km average, good for early morning running for me.

PM: I ran a longer route home over Laubenheimer höhe. It was actually a really good run, I felt quite strong and felt like doing a bit more. I ran 14km at 4:40/km, a good 2nd run for the day.

Wednesday:

I went to the track after work in my Zoom flys and ready to do some work. The track was fucking closed again!  I set off to the poop loop like last week to do a tempo run instead. I felt quite good, even though it was windy. The tempo part was about 5.2km in 20 minutes, setting a Strava CR on my Poop Loop segment (at last). I actually kept the pace pretty high after the tempo was over so I finished the run with 16.3km at 4:22/km and only a 140bpm average heart rate, pretty good!

Thursday:

I was starting to think about my half marathon on Sunday, so decided to do easy doubles on Thursday and Friday. I did 7km to work and 7.4km home, both nice and easy.

Friday:

Friday was much the same as Thursday except I ran 8.5km on the way home instead of 7.4km. All very easy and felt fine.

Saturday:

I took a rest day from running, but decided to swim in Mombach in the afternoon. I did my now fairly standard set of 400m in, 3x300m snorkel and flippers, 100 easy, 8x50m alignment drills, 10x50m sprints with 50m easy recovery, 100 out. That is 2900m there, it might have been 2800m, I can’t remember exactly but I feel like I am swimming not that badly considering how little time I am spending in the water!

Sunday

I had spoken to Jochen about going to Kandel with him to run the half marathon there instead of in Frankfurt. I felt fairly unconfident and got a fairly average time of 1:20:50. It could have been worse, but it should have been better if I want to run 2:45 in Paris. The race report is here:

Time for a change.

I keep banging my head against this high mileage training thing, but I feel like I am digging myself into a hole and am getting slower, not faster. A 1:20:50 is equivilent to a 36:33 10k, so that is 45 seconds slower than 5 weeks ago in Groß-Gerau.

So, here is my plan. I am cutting out a LOT of my mileage from now on. I will try to ride some easy kms and swim a bit more, but the main goal is to be fresh and fit for my running intervals. My butt (piriformis) hurts quite a lot at the moment, but if that settles down I will try to do Tuesday/Thursday intervals, otherwise I will do Wednesday only this week and next week hit my 2 a week interval sessions.

I will take my iron tablets every day from now until Paris, my levels could be falling and I haven’t been taking them religiously for a while now. There is time to recover from a slight fall before Paris.

I also think I will be targetting 2:48 for Paris, rather than 2:45. If all goes well on the day I can try to speed up, but I don’t want to split 39 minutes for the first 10k and blow up, better to split about 40 and feel good.

I am feeling pretty depressed about training, but optimistic that I can save this training cycle. We’ll see how the next weeks go, freshening up my legs and getting rid of this nagging hip/butt injury is top of my priority list now though.

Bienwald Kandel Halbmarathon 2018 – 1:20:50

Where to run?

I had planned to run Frankfurt half marathon, it was sold out but had 500 places for people to sign up on the day. To be sure of getting one of those places, I would have to get there at 7am, 3 hours before the 10am start time.  I saw on Saturday on facebook that Jochen was driving straight from Mainz to Kandel to run a half marathon there on Sunday. He was setting off at 8am. I could leave the house 2 hours later, save a few euro and run a new course for me, that seemed like enough reasons for me to run there!

Low confidence

I was not confident going into this one, but needed to see where I am at.  The course should be flat and the weather was perfect for running, little wind and about 9 degrees and cloudy.  Who knows, maybe I’d surprise myself and run a PB!

Running cheap

We arrived a bit later than planned and I only had 15 minutes to sign up. I saw Stephan Jung and asked him where to sign up. He said that a friend of his had signed up but wouldn’t run, so I could take him place!  I decided to get my name on the startlist by paying 5€ to swap start places. So I ran for 5€, not bad, especially with getting a T-shirt!

There weren’t enough toilets at the start. I mean not even nearly enough. I managed to go once, but would have liked another opportunity. Anyway, I was nervous on the start line but got a clean start and got into a rhythm. I seemed to be running at 3:45-3:47 pace and feeling ok. I managed to lose my energy gel after about 4km. It wouldn’t stay in my shorts, I adjusted it a few times, but eventually it fell… annoying.

That 5km marker!

At the 5km marker someone was reading out the times. He read 19:30 as I ran past, WHAT!! I though I would be there at 18:45 or so. I was very depressed and worked out that I was on 1:22 pace or so, but that is after 5km, this could get ugly.  After 7km I confirmed my shitty pace by seeing 26:xx on my watch, but then I looked again a few seconds later and realised it read 24:xx, confusing.

The one marker I felt like I could trust was the 10k marker, it had a timing mat so should be accurate, I crossed at 37:52, actually pretty solid especially considering I wasn’t feeling too good and was worried that my time would be about 40mins after 10k.

Hurting on the way back

There is a massive out and back in Kandel, it is about 5k out and 5k back. It is bullet straight and boring as hell!  I passed a triathlete I recognised from Langen after about 13km, just before the turn around.  There were 2 women ahead of me, that is fairly rare nowadays, they were fast.

I kept on at it though my pace was unspectacular. My 1:19:30 time that might have been possible after 10k, wasn’t going to happen. I was running largely alone and was seeing a lot of 3:50-3:55/km on my watch instead of the required 3:45/km.  The last few km were more interesting than the out and back, I passed the 2nd woman, but was also passed by a few guys. I would say I kicked on to the end, but it was definetely more going out with a whimper than a bang!

Sub 1:20 – not today 🙁

There is 300m on the track at the end, I got into the stadium with 1:19:40 or so on the clock. It really sucked to miss 1:20, I should be cruising that now, I needed to keep on it to get a sub 1:21 though. I managed to get over the line in 1:20:50 – shit.

Jochen had another dreadful race for him, he got into the stadium looking like death, and he ran a 1:32 or so, he is a better runner than that, I hope he finds out what’s wrong sooner rather than later.

Operation Save Paris

As for me, I feel like I have over-reached. I did my biggest week ever last week, I had a fairly big week with week. My piriformis is hurting when I sit and it can’t be helping when I run. I have 4 weeks until Paris, so I think I will aggressively taper my mileage now, but keep up/increase the quality until the last week. I hope I can save my Paris performance, if I don’t PB (and I’m not ill), then I am done with marathons, you have that in writing Katja!