Firmenlauf 2018

I’m not going to whinge on too much about how I’m not fit and have low iron etc, so this will be an attempt at a more positive race review!

The annual Firmenlauf is early in September, last year I ran 17:08, 1 second slower than 2 years ago I believe. This year I had 18:25 in my head as a reasonable time for me, that would be about par.

We met up for the team photo as is customary, but we didn’t have any fans to look after our bags this time. We all trotted off to Thomas’s car to put them in there, but he had parked miles away! By the time we got there, it was 15 minutes before the race start, so I jogged back to the start area to go to the toilet and try to get a decent start place.

Last year I waled into the starting pen from the front and could run freely from the start. This year they wouldn’t allow that so I was stuck trying to find a way to the front. I saw a few TCEClers who invited me to jump the fence and start with them, but the steward wasn’t having it. I walked a bit further back and saw a gap, so asked the person next to the gap if I could jump over there – it was Karin from TCEC too – a weird coincidence.

So I started and got stuck in a fair amount of traffic this year, but after the first 400m it wasn’t too bad. There were some pretty aggressive girls from the Uni who were happy to push people out of their way, so I ran behind them for a while 🙂

I felt alright really, after 3km I had 11mins on the clock, so 3:40/km. I could see Jochen ahead of me (Schott were taking part for the first time), and I very slowly pulled him in. When I caught him I gave him a shout and he answered something strange about recognising my footsteps… He seemed to speed up for a while, but I soon passed him.  Near the 4km marker I passed the first woman, it was pretty obvious as all I could hear was from people on the course was – oh here comes the 1st woman – all the time!

So after the last few turns I knew I was almost done and without much of a sprint, I crossed the line in 18:05, about a minute slower than last year, but 20 seconds faster than I had predicted.

In the finish area I saw that Timo has run well and was 3rd in 16:0x, and Steffen from TRON was very close to breaking 20 minutes (he wasn’t sure, he didn’t start a watch but his gun time was 20:30 – turns out he ran 20:06)

So that was that for another year. I was still very comfortably the fastest in TRON and Biontech, especially as their fast girl didn’t run this year.  Next year sub17 – hopefully.

Rüsselcross Duathlon 2018

Don’t worry, I’m not dead! I just haven’t raced in a long while. I’ll give a bit of an update, then get on with the Rüsselcross duathlon race report.

An Update since Remagen

So Remagen was a nightmare. I mean really bad. I took a bit of time after the race to recover and get into the off season. The weather has stayed lovely through all of September, October and even now in November it’s pretty good, so I decided to ride some longer rides on the weekends and collect a few extra kms as some base for next year. That went pretty well. I did some fairly hilly rides including Feldberg and Hohe Würzel and Hausen and really enjoyed them on my new road bike.  I even did a CTF, which is a cross bike ride. I’m so bad off road that I didn’t really enjoy it too much though.

Back to Base

At the start of November, even though the weather wass still good, I decided to hit the trainer. I’ve started the TrainerRoad Sweet Spot Base Mid 1 and I’m at the end of the 2nd week now. I think I’ll do a post about it sometime.

I wanted to increase my running again, not a lot, but back to 40km or so per week. Though my fitness seems ok (not good, ok) I started feeling my piriformis and groin again as soon as I started running 3 days a week. Last week I discovered as I lay in front of the TV that I always lie on one side with my legs bent. I tried lying on the other side and it was agony! My piriformis felt very short and seems to be pulling on something that affects my groin.  I’ve been stretching it as much as possible for the last week and it seems to be loosening up, I’m fairly hopeful it will get better now.

Rüsselcross Duathlon

Anyway, to the Rüsselcross duathlon. I was fairly unaware of the Rüsselcross duathlon until Basti asked if anyone wanted his start slot. I looked it up but was too scared. Fast forward 1 week and I decided to give it a go. It is a 5km train run, 20km cross bike, then a 2.5km trail run. My bike handling skills are very limited so I was glad that the course was pretty dry and flat, though there would apparently be some sand to watch out for.

Lots of TCEClers were taking part, so we had a nice group and I had plenty of people to hang around with and chat to. One awkward moment was when I arrived and some young woman came straight up to me looking almost excited to see me asking what I was doing at a cross duathlon. Unfortunately I have no idea who she was, I didn’t even recognise her! I had to talk unspecifically for a couple of minutes, thinking she may have mistaken me for someone else before getting the hell out of there.

Start Easy

So the race. I didn’t want to push the first run too much, so from the off I settled in to a tough but manageable pace. It was 2 loops and not a difficult course at all. My GPS says it was 100m long, but I finished feeling good in 20:09. My transition wasn’t bad considering I don’t have mtb shoes, so was in normal SPD-SL shoes and cleats.

Crash Hard

I came out of T1 with the first woman in about 9th place. I decided that although her pace wasn’t too fast, I would sit in and see what the course had to offer. After a few km a teammate of hers passed us and pulled in in front of her to work as a domestique. It was perfect. I was drafting at a good pace whilst riding fairly comfortably.

 

After maybe 7km came a left turn, I was losing time on the turns due to my crapness, but catching back up on the straights. This time though there was the sand. I know you should carry speed through sand, and I needed to catch back on, so on I went. I remember my front wheel sliding, I guess I over-corrected then I was airborne!

The good thing about crashing on sand is landing on sand. I wasn’t hurt. I jumped up, got my bike, struggled with the chain for a while and got going again. It seemed like a bit group had passed me as I was struggling. Having crashed once, I was very cautious for the rest of the ride meaning that lots of people passed me. The rest of the course wasn’t so bad though. There was only one muddy part which was a bit scary on the 2nd lap for me. The 2nd time in the sand section I crawled around it on the grass. 15 seconds lost is better than a 2nd crash!

Finish Strong

So I was happy to be finally done on the bike, even though I would probably be in abut 30-35th place now. I had a good flying dismount and quickly got my shoes on, before realising that I had a chap stick in my shoe. I had to take it off my shoe again, remove the chap stick and go again, stupid.  Off I ran feeling pretty good. I overtook 3-4 people and near the end realised that I was right next to the guy I ran with on the first run – he must be a crap cross biker too!

12th Place – not so bad

He had a little sprint left so finished just ahead of me, no harm. Sprinting for 30th place wasn’t so important to me. I chatted with the TCEClers as they finished and got ready to ride home before realising that, somehow, I was 11th place (since changed to 12th) and 4th in my age group, with the sprinter being 3rd! Again, it wasn’t a big deal, I wanted to head off anyway rather that wait for a bottle of wine, but I need to fight for every spot in the future.

So that was my first cross duathlon. My runs were okay. Apparently my 2nd run was faster than my first – 3:52/km vs 3:57 – so that is decent. My bike handling skills are so bad though. Even though I crawled the 2nd lap, I was 45 seconds faster on the 2nd lap. I have to think I could ride 5 minutes faster if I could handle the bike better (and not crash), and that would have had me in about 5th place.

Future Races

I’ll have a think about doing another cross duathlon in the future, but until then I will be back on the trainer laying some base for next year. Who knows I might even swim at some point, it’s getting a bit embarrassing how little I have swum since Remagen!

I guess it won’t be as long until my next race now. I owe you a new bike post and a trainer road post, so I’ll see you soon!

Vereinsmeisterschaft 2018

I just read my post from last year about the Vereinsmeisterschaft. I ended it by saying that it had been my best season ever and that I’d be kicking on this season. Well this season has probably been my worst since getting into endurance sports properly – how the world turns!

Some background – about a month ago I’d been getting a good few weeks of training in and went for a pre-work run. I ran at 4:37/km with a low 135bpm heart rate. I was back! I hadn’t been running that much, but I was swimming a bit and cycling lots.  A few days later I felt ill. I was weak and nausious, then came the black stool, I’ve seen this story before.

I was hopeful that it was just stomach ache or so, but a couple of days later when I felt a little better, I did a test run. 4:55/km with 151bpm – bugger. I went to the doctor and had a blood test, my haemoglobin was down from 15.8 to 13.2, so I had had a bleed again.

I’ve been trying to recover, but that is easier said than done! My ferritin was already low, now I needed to recover about a litre of blood and get my ferritin up – good luck.  This all happened 3.5 weeks before Neuwied, so I decided to drop out of the race, I wouldn’t be able to compete at a decent level.  1 week after Neuwied is the Vereinsmeisterschaft, that seems like a check to see where I am in my recovery 2 weeks before Remagen.

So I was up and ready on Sunday at 7am. I hadn’t ridden my Tribike in ages, but I got ready and set off to Nieder-Olm. After about 6km I stopped and realised  -I had my bibshorts on, not my trisuit! I had to go back and get it and set off again. Time was now a little tight, but I was still there 40 minutes before the start at 9:50.

I managed a 100m warm up swim, then it was go time. My lane worked out pretty well for me in my current condition. I swam in the pace line quite easily and had a decent swim considering (no clock – don’t know the time).

In the spirit of the day, I decided to put on my socks for the bike, I need to train so don’t want blisters.  The bike started slowly but I got caught in a group of Stephan, Heiko B, Heiko M and Pascal. We got stopped by traffic a couple of times making it tough to separate out, Pascal cheats massively too, so that didn’t help break up the group!

I decided to push on the uphill towards Setzen, it’s a bit longer and steeper there, so I could give it a kick and split the group. That worked well and I was away from the group, though Stephan caught my up and passed my on the more technical part that followed.

I got off the bike having failed with my flying dismount (it’s downhill to T2, so tough to get ready to dismount). I struggled to find my shoes but then was away. Stephan was ahead of my, Heiko maybe 50m behind.

I don’t like this run route of our Vereinsmeisterschaft, it is tough and hard to find a rhythm as it is often fairly steeply uphill or downhill. It’s also a nightmare when you have blood issues, as I have no top end speed at the moment.  Stephan ran away from me and on the out and back I could see all the people ahead of me – where I should be! Heiko was holding firm behind me, maybe edging nearer to me.  With only about 500m to go, he caught me but kindly offered to run in with me rather than run away from me.

A girl was getting encouraged to pass us by the crowd, so we sped up to make sure that didn’t happen. We faked a sprint finish and crossed the line next to each other, but they read my chip first so I was ahead of him, pretty unfair!

My time was 51:26 compared to 48:59 last year (I was off form last year too, but more due to my season being over). My run time was 90 seconds slower this year over 3.8km! I’d like to have a good race at the VM some time, I just need to stay fit through the summer some time, and not get ill. I’ve not managed that so far – maybe in 2019!

Worms Triathlon 2018 – 1. RTV

The 3rd race of the season was in Worms this season, as it is in most seasons.  Unfortunately my training hasn’t been going very well, I’m not injured or anything, just struggling for motivation as I don’t have any goal races planned for this year.

After being at the Punk in Drublic festival all day on Saturday, I was a bit unprepared on Sunday morning. I had quickly packed my bag the night before, but as I cycled to the train station to meet up with the team, I realised I’d forgotten my goggles, so I had to ride back for them.

Otherwise all went to plan and we were at the start before 10am, the start time for the 1st team was 13:15!  I had had some brake problems when switching my wheels the day before, so played around a bit more with them, then I could relax before the race.

Unfortunately the water temperature was 22.0°C, the wetsuit cutoff is 21.9°C, so we would swim without wetsuits 🙁  I’ve been swimming lots in training recently and had a dream situation in my head where I come out of the water ahead of Michael and Christoph and can latch on for as long as possible on the bike, so that I don’t lose too much time, then I can run and pass Chris and Jonas on the run.

Well my dream didn’t happen! I swam ok, but had water in my goggles from the get go.  I got on some feet for the 2nd half, but when I got out of the water I saw 13:02 on my watch and saw Robert behind me in the water. Chris and Michael were gone and I wouldn’t be pulling them back on the bike!

I got going on the bike and was starting to find a rhythm. I had decided to concentrate on being aero, as I’m not that fit so I need to save watts rather than put more out!  I went round a bend after 3-4km and heard a crack. I didn’t know what it was, so continued on. A few minutes later my left arm went through my arm rest, which was broken into 2 pieces – fuck.

I had to do what I could, so I rode with the other arm in aero and my left arm on the brake caliper. It was shocking uncomfortable! A few people passed me, but once I got the hang of it, I could catch back up.  I justed wanted to get through the bike, so I didn’t push it as hard as I’d like.  I wasn’t going to pull out though, even though it wasn’t a great situation.

After nursing my bike round the last 15km or so, I managed my best flying dismount ever, mainly because I thought I wasn’t going to stop before the dismount line, so I just jumped off!  I was then onto the run.  I saw Michael and Christoph almost straight away, they were miles ahead of me.  I felt like I was running quite well though, I passed all the riders who had been around me, including number 401 who had sat about 2m behind another rider for most of the ride. I gave him some abuse as I passed him 🙂

The run was otherwise pretty uneventful. I ran fairly well and was gaining on Christoph quite a lot (I would have needed at least another 5km though!), Michael was faster than me and Robert was holding fairly steady a couple of minutes behind me.  I looked around and saw no one ahead of me or behind me, so cruised in the last part.

All in it was a pretty crappy day for me. I am fairly unfit at the moment, whereas the others are flying! I need to get motivated and train for Neuwied, otherwise a middle distance will be too much for me.  It looks like TCEC were 3rd in the league again, cementing out 3rd place position. We could come 2nd or even with some luck even win the league this year! That would be crazy and scary as the Regional league guys are monsters. The pretty much all swam 11:30 or faster!

So, now we have an 8 week break. I need to start riding and running more and hope that my swim training starts paying off. Otherwise my next race report will be much like this one…

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)

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