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.

Rhein-Ahr Triathlon 2018

The last league race of the season is usually in Remagen. Last season they cancelled it, but it was back on this year. We could swim even though the Rhein is really shallow at the moment.  TCEC decided to meet at 6:30am on Sunday, which meant that I was up at 5:15 (before my alarm) and out of the house and cycling in the dark by 6:05.

I had ridden my new road bike on Saturday and was pretty fast for little effort. Later in the day though I had some pretty dreadful diahorrea. No worries though, it should sort itself out.  On race morning I had slpet really badly then ate my bog standard breakfast of cornflakes and an omelette. I really didn’t feel great and couldn’t stomach the whole omelette, so I threw it away.

After losing a few more fluids, I was on my way to Mombach. We set off and were there in good time. I messed up a few things, such as forgetting a new pair of shorts for after the race, forgetting my towel and not putting my wetsuit bag in T1, meaning I couldn’t store it away as you are supposed to.

Anyway, we got the bus to the swim start this year and then got on the ferry to the middle of the Rhein. I remembered that last time I swam near the coast and took ages, this time pretty much my only goal was to swim in the middle and pick up the stream of the river as much as is possible.  We started and I worked my way to the middle. I breathe to the right and could see the kayak on my right the whole time. I didn’t swim well, I felt pretty weak, but I got out of the water after about 22:40 which was minutes faster than last time, I even saw Basti in T1, meaning I had done well.

After putting on socks, and hiding my wetsuit out of the way, I got onto the bike. I wasn’t gaining on anyone and a quick look at my power showed about 230w, pathetic.  I really just couldn’t get going, it was a fight from the start and people passed me a lot, which isn’t usually what happens. Near the end of the first loop Robert passed me and was out of sight pretty quickly!

I couldn’t hold aero position for more than a few minutes as my shoulders were aching, after finally getting to the top of the climb for a 2nd time, I was happy to be able to roll back down to T2. My average speed was 32km/h, really bad.  Not only that though, I felt like death, I really didn’t know how I would run 10k after that ride.

But 10k is what I had to run, so after a decent T2 I set off. I saw Michael coming to lap me almost immediately, I worked out that he was about 13 minutes ahead of me. Running is usually my strength, but this time I had nothing. I was being overtaken all the time and was just hoping to make it to the end.

Slowly, and I mean slowly, I ticked off the loops. I was so happy to be finished, but so disappointed with my day. It was without doubt my worst triathlon ever.  I kind of finished in a daze, light headed and feeling weak.

The others were chatting so after I had a bit to drink, I went over to them. They looked at me and I felt like it was pure pity, I had to go to the side to have a few minutes by myself to get myself together, rather than cry in the group!

I felt like shit for at least the next 45 minutes, then after having a coffee and a shower I started to feel better.  The day after as I write, I still have diahorrea and feel weak, so it seems that I was ill going into the race.

So that is the end of my 2018 triathlon season. There was the Hachenberg team sprint where I struggled on the bike and ran badly, there was Mußbach where I cycled badly, then Worms were I cycled dreadfully. There was Neuwied where I was a drop out due to health stuff and now my worst triathlon ever in Remagen. It’s been a helluva season!

Over Winter and Spring I plan to keep traithlon training, rather than just running. Actually I’d rather cycle more and run less, whilst ticking over on the swimming. I just need toget myself right though, I guess they will be planning me for the 2nd team next year, I need to get myself back fit, healthy and on form to get some points for the 1st team.

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.