Frankfurt Half Marathon 2019

I’ve run Frankfurt half 3 times before, I have always set PBs there, but that wasn’t on the cards this time out! After my Berglauf a few weeks ago, I was fairly confident of running a decent time. Then I was ill for 10 days or so, not really bad but a lagging cold that I couldn’t shift. Just as that was going away, I went to TCEC track training the Wednesday before the race.

I haven’t done any speed work this year at all, and before the Half Marathon I only had 280km in my legs, not a lot in the middle of March. So off I went to the track training, where it was a bit slippy so I wore my spikes for the first time ever. I ran quite well, it was only 3x4x200m but my pace was good. Less good were my calves after the first couple of sets, I knew I would have some serious muscle ache afterwards.

And oh my god did I have muscle ache! My abs were sore from the stabi training, my hamstrings were a little tight, but I could hardly walk because of my calves, on both sides. The training was on Wednesday evening, on Friday I was really struggling but decided to try to run to stretch things out a bit. They were better when running than when I walked, but they were still pretty sore. I considered dropping out of the race.

The weather was also set to be as bad as is possible. Very windy with the wind being helpful for the first 10km, then a hinderance in the 2nd half. So all in I wasn’t expecting much going into the race. I did weigh in at 75.0kg on the day though, my lowest race weight ever 🙂

I met up with Jochen, Judith and Katha to get the train to the start, I got to the station early, so decided to have a large Starbucks coffee to get things moving. We were soon there and ready to go. There was a 1:24 pace group, I decided to run with them due to the wind, the pace should be about right for me anyway.

The start was fairly uneventful, I settling into the pace group and felt like I was running pretty easily. If I had more miles in my legs, I would definitely have gone off ahead, but I was playing it conservatively.

Between km 6-10 is on the Main river with the wind right on our backs. It was about 10°C and I felt very warm during this part. We were ticking off the kilometers nicely though, just faster than 4:00/km so that the first 10km were done in 39:40 or so.

Strangely as we started against the wind I started to feel even better. I was right on the shoulders of the pace runners in the group. That didn’t last too long though as they realised that we had slightly slowed and they kicked on after 13km. I stayed with them but the climb between 14-15km was enough for me to be dropped and meant the rest would be a solitary fight.

The out and back section was much longer than I remembered, I could see Lukas well ahead of me and Heiko, Jochen and Uli behind. I felt a slight stomach cramp after 17km and quickly realised I would need a toilet stop. After 18km I found a dixie and did what needed to be done, it wasn’t pretty.

The last few km felt very tough. I came out of the toilet right next to Heiko, but he was running faster than me. I was overtaken pretty frequently over the last few km, but I didn’t explode or anything. As I entered the stadium I could see that I would still manage a sub 1:26 time, not good but given my list of excuses, not bad.

As I met the others after the race, pretty much everyone was disappointed. Jochen ran 1:31, Sven somehow ran over 2h after running the first 8km at 4:30/km pace and Katha and Judith were both disappointed too. Strangely I was the happiest with my result of the bunch!

I knew that Frankfurt was just a warm up race for me really, Mainz in 2 months will be a much better test of form. I did learn a few things though. I have stopped drinking coffee and have had far fewer stomach issues when running. Thus drinking a big, strong coffee before a half marathon was a stupid thing to do for me! Also running with really bad muscle ache isn’t conducive to running well, my legs never felt strong, I feel like my cardio could have taken me faster, but with no spring in the legs, it was a fight.

Anyway, onwards and upwards. I will be doing more run training from now on, so hopefully my legs with get better and I can get back around the 1:20 mark for Mainz. Unfortunately I injured my calves a bit stupidly running 10x400m intervals the Wednesday after the half marathon, but otherwise I plan to get more quality in, and more miles.

Auf die Platte – Berglauf

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Everything has been going really well for me this year in training, I have lost a load of weight, am running well off very few kilometres, cycling strongly and even swimming a lot for me (3 days a week). I have been trying to not overdo things this year like I did last year, so races have been kept to a minimum, and I mean that literally, this was my first race of the year.

Something new

I want to try some new stuff, not just flat 10k races, so instead of doing the TCE 10k like last year, I signed up for an 8.1km hill run. I’ve never done anything like this before, but was looking forward to the challenge.

After a morning swim, me and Katja went to Wiesbaden and found the sign up for the race. I wasn’t expecting to know anyone there, but Basti had signed up late on so was another TCECler on the start line. Katja decided to stay indoors as we ran, as she was freezing cold!

Hilly Course

The race started at 3pm, pretty late but the weather was great for the time of year, 12°C and sunny. I had heard the course was flatish for 1km, steep for 1km, downhill for 500m then a 4-5% drag until the last few hundred metres, which would be about 25-30% up the Rodelbahn.

The race started and I fell back into about 20th place, I thought there had been quite a few good runners at the start, and it seems I’d judged them correctly! As we hit Neroberg it got steep and twisty very quickly. I decided not keep my pace manageable, I mean it was only the 2nd kilometre. I started picking off people who had started too fast, at first 1 or 2, then a few more, then a few more until I was suddenly in 4th place.

Overtaking

On the very steep downhill trail a guy passed me, but I was soon back with him as we started the long stead climb. It was more rolling than I expected, it wasn’t a constant gradient anyway. After about 4-5km I noticed that 3rd place was coming back to me, though I was running with 5th-7th right behind me.

I passed 3rd place, but someone stayed with me. I thought it would be the Waldlaufer guy who passed me on the descent earlier, but it wasn’t, it was someone else. He overtook me after 6km and I slotted in behind him. After 7km I thought his paced slowed, so I moved past but he picked it up and stuck with me.

The Rödelbahn

The final left turn onto the Rodelbahn showed the beast that lay ahead. It was just a steep dirt bank that went on for about 400m. The guy with me took off at a pace that I couldn’t follow, so I just stuck to my pace. It was tough and I did take some walking breaks, but to be honest, they weren’t much slower than running anyway.

As I got to the top, I could see that 4th was in the bag and I ran the last 100m over the finish line. The announcer said that I should smile for the cameras, I think I didn’t but the pictures show a different story.

Satisfying

It was a hard old effort, but oddly satisfying. Basti was 2nd, but 4th pace was a good result for me. Apparently the time on this course tracks very well with a flat 10k, so 37:35 for me, which I would be happy with at the moment given that I am running 20-30km easy per week.

We jogged back down to the start and found Katja, her feet were frozen and she didn’t much fancy waiting another 45 minutes for the prize giving, so I missed out of my bag of food and a waterproof bag, and we went to Hans im Glück to eat a burger instead.

Next up is Frankfurt half marathon in 2 weeks. I had pencilled in 1:25 as a goal time, but now I think a bit faster should be possible. With a good effort in the legs, I can see me going low in the 1:20s, but lets wait and see eh?

HPS San Silvestre 6km

New Years Eve Run in Gran Canaria

We were on holiday in Gran Canaria and I saw that on the 31st of December they had a New Years run. I know that I am not running very much at the moment, and I won’t do very well, but I wanted to run it anyway!  It would be 6km, starting at 5pm.

I had tried and failed to sign up online, so when we saw a sign up stall in the shopping centre, I took the plunge and signed up. It only cost 7€ and you get a T shirt, bargain! Apparently if you expect to run faster than 24 mins, you are classed as a professional and start at the front, fine by me.

Preparation/Holiday

Our holiday in Gran Canaria was really good, but I only ran once, meaning I’d only run 4 times in December going into the race! We also generally spend our days walking around in the sunshine and we climbed a local hill the day before. That’s all to say that my legs weren’t as fresh as you might imagine, given that I’d walked over 30,000 steps a day for a few days in a row.

Excuses out of the way (for now), we walked over to the start area and were there by 2pm. We found somewhere to eat and get coffee (coffee and cake is a big part of our holidays) then we headed to the start area again. We were still too early, but at least it gave me time to get my prerace stuff sorted out. That would normally be the case, but there were only about 10 toilets for 12k runners, and they didn’t have any toilet roll in them!

Starting Pro

After finally sorting that out, I was pretty thirsty, but there wasn’t anything to drink, so I would just have to deal with it.  I went into the front pen with about 45 mins left before the start. Everyone seemed to be taking it very seriously, I felt like I was the only one not doing a big warm up.  Everyone suddenly stopped warming up at 16:45, so I thought I might start, but then the mass starters were released, so to stay near the front, I’d have to line up now.

Racing Amateur

The race started on time and I felt pretty good. Lots of people started very fast, but I just wanted some wind protection. It was very windy with the first 2.5km into the wind, and the last 2.5 with the wind.  I felt like I was moving well whilst holiding enough back to finish well. After 3km my time was 11:25, almost exactly as I had expected (23:00 for 6km). The 2nd half started to bite though.

Even though the wind was on my back, I started to fade. A fast woman passed me after about 4km and a few others did too. I mean I was still passing more than I was being passed, but it still wasn’t well paced.

The time passed pretty quickly and soon enough I was on the home straight. I didn’t really sprint too much as I felt like my legs were dead, and I crossed the line in 23:07 for 103rd place.

ALV Nikolauslauf – 6km

Last weekend we went to Nice. It was really good and I did a nice warm weather run along the promenade on the Saturday before we came back on the Sunday.

Nikolauslauf

Almost as soon as I arrived home, I started feeling ill. I had a headache, felt weak and thought I was going to vom. After 24h I felt a lot better, but that’s when the diarrhoea started. That was pretty dreadful until Thursday, with everything just going straight through me.

I’d signed up for the Nikolauslauf in Gonsenheimerwald a couple of weeks ago as we were offered free start spots from ALV Mainz (Thanks!). After my week of being ill, I decided to not to the 12km, and just do the 6km instead.  My Dad was in town too, so that meant we ate Eritrean food on Friday night and drank some Feuerzangenbowle, perfect preparation for a race!

First ones there

So on Saturday we got up early and all headed to Gonsenheim. There were going to be loads of TCEClers there, so I just had to look for the yellow/blues and get my start number. When I arrived there was no yellow//blue to be seen. We were the first and it was only 30mins before the start!

Bit of trail

Anyway, the race started and it was a fast start. I wasn’t too far forward, probably about 15th place or so. I settled in to my tempt though and as quite a few kids were running, they had started fast but didn’t have the endurance. In the first few km I overtook a few, including the first woman.  I didn’t push too much, not that I could have done much more anyway. The route is mildly rolling and slightly more technical than normal for me as it on trail with lots of roots all over the place.  I could manage the little ups and downs fine, which was a good thing.

Third place

After about 5km the first woman passed me back, I hadn’t slowed down but she seemed to have another gear. I didn’t try to go with her, and couldn’t have anyway.  I was happy to overtake a guy with a GoPro on his head in the last km, before crossing the line, happy not to have to do another lap.

When I heard that I was 3rd place, I was surprised, and I was only about 12 seconds behind first! I mean the fastest 12km guys were well clear, including Lukas who won again (he always does :)). All in all it was more successful than expected.

Missed the prize giving

The Nikolauslauf prize giving was at 11:30, but I was done at 10:25, so we went to a cafe around the corner to let Katja warm up a bit. At 11:20 we went back, but the prize giving was over, they’d moved it forward because it was too cold. Facepalm.  Anyway I got my prize and we were off to go to the match in Frankfurt, which turned out to be on the day after!

I’ll be back on the trainer next week, I’m happy that my running isn’t dreadful, even when I’m hardly running. I hope it comes back 100% when I train it again net spring. 

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.

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.

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!

 

Langen TCE 10km Run – 35:51 – 10th Place

I had heard that this is a fast road 10k race from a few people, so I actually moved around my plans to fit it in! After being ill midweek and failing my intervals badly on Wednesday, my confidence wasn’t sky high, but who knows what will happen and I had signed up, so I was running for the first time in Langen.

An unnecessarily early start!

I managed to get a lift to the start with Sebi and Lukas, we set off at 8:30 for a 10am start, except that the race started at 11am!  So we had a long while to linger before the start, but as it was part of the triathlon convention, it wasn’t too bad.

Lukas ummd and ahhhd about signing up for the race. It was freezing cold, windy and cost 20€ if you sign up on the day. He eventually decided that he would run, he is fast so would have a chance to win.

Blowing in the wind

The race started with the wind and thus the start was fast. I felt pretty good and settled into a decent pace. After the first turn around, we started running into the wind. I tried to tuck in for a while but I felt like I was in the wind more than I wanted to be. After maybe 4km a few people including Sebi passed me, I should have tried to stay with them but I didn’t.

Head down and grind it out

I didn’t feel great and I had no idea what my pace was, but after 6km I saw 21mins on the clock, that is 35minute pace!  Ok I had more to do against the wind, but I was shocked (Strava disagrees with either the km marker or the time, I wasn’t on 35min pace!)  The 7.5-9km part was the worst, but Sebi wasn’t far ahead of me and I was still going ok. I thought that a PB could be on if I held it together.  The last switchback was with 700m to go, then it was a few 100m with the wind, then a sprint to the line.

Not a PB 🙁

I crossed the line in 35:51, 7 seconds slower than 2 weeks ago in Groß Gerau.  I felt disappointed as  wanted a sub 35:30 time, but it also wasn’t a nightmare.  Sebi ran a massive PB 10 seconds ahead of me and Lukas won the race in 33:16, I guess coming last from us 3 probably made it feel like a worse result than it was.

Just to make things worse, I was 4th in my age group, so went home empty handed, not that that is too important, it is always nice to win something!

And on we go

So that was that. My 10k season is probably over now. I have a half marathon in 2 weeks, until then I need to get some good mileage in and stop eating so much!  I can still dream of a 1:17 half marathon, even if a 1:19 seems more likely at the moment.

Groß-Gerau Frühjahrslauf 2018 – sub36 – PB

Fassenacht Run

It’s that time of the year again – Helau! – no that isn’t what I’m bothered about, the Groß-Gerau Frühjahrslauf is on Fastnacht Saturday every year. In 2016 I ran my current PB 10k race there, it was a bit of a shock result, but great for me in my run up to Rotterdam. Last year I bombed and ran nearly 2 minutes slower, it was a nightmare run. This year I feel like I should be able to beat my PB, and by a fair amount too. Sub36 at least. Continue reading “Groß-Gerau Frühjahrslauf 2018 – sub36 – PB”

Mörfelden Adventslauf 10km

It’s been a while since my last race hasn’t it! My dad visited 2 weeks ago, then my uncle and cousins last weekend, but this weekend is back to normal and I could try my hand at the Mörfelden Adventslauf 10km.

The run up to Mörfelden

I feel/felt like my form is great at the moment. I kicked up to just under 100km a week of running a few weeks ago, as well as doing some quality and a long run per week. The last 2 weeks have been, shall we say, a little more relaxed. Not much quality, more days off and no long runs. It’s fine, as Paris marathon is still a loooong way away, but I think my form may have slightly dipped.

Running or clubbing?

Anyway to Mörfelden. I cycled to the train station where a night club was still playing music at 07:30! Kid today eh? I got my 2 trains, then cycled to the Waldstadion, getting pretty lost on the way. I was still there at 08:50 for a 09:30 start, so all was fine. Continue reading “Mörfelden Adventslauf 10km”