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.


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.


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?

MyFitnessPal – Diet

For a good few years now I have wanted to get my weight down. It’s a bit of a longer story than that, so I will start from the beginning.

I was often a bit overweight as a kid, not obese but a bit chubby. I got back to a normal weight by the time I was 16-18, but after starting Uni, I started to put on a bit more.

After Uni, I was always a bit big, like 90KG, not ideal but not too crazy either. I was cycling in the summers and playing Softball and Cricket and Football in the winter. When I moved to Germany I stopped playing sports as I didn’t know anyone here and couldn’t speak the language, so Pizza was my friend and I started to balloon!

My turning point was buying some bathroom scales in 2011/2012, I weighed 106KG – obese. I started a low carb/ketogenic diet and got down to 90KG over the next few months. I started playing football again and cycling in the summer.

In 2013 I rode La Marmotte and wanted to get down to 80KG for the race, I just about managed it, but I was soon back up to 87KG in the winter. Since I started training properly and year round, I have settled more into a 77-82KG range, 77KG with more effort, usually in spring and then drifting back up to 80-82KG in the autumn/winter.

I have had the goal of getting down to 75KG for years now, but I never manage it! For Mainz Half Marathon in 2017 I had a big blip day and was 75.5KG, but the day before and the day after I was 77KG-ish. This year I decided to track what I eat, try to improve my nutrition and finally crack the 75KG barrier.

I started with MyFitnessPal in December, I immediately saw that I ate much more than I thought! For example I would eat 133g of oats, with 50g sultanas and 300mls 3.8% fat milk. That comes to about 835kcal, but I would think nothing of eating that with an omelette or toast or something.

I had to learn portion control. I looked at my ‘standard’ breakfast. For years I had eaten 4 eggs, milk, cheese and leberwurst for breakfast. That is about 750kcals (which is okay) but only 8g of carbs, 57g of fat and 47g of protein. To fuel myself for my workouts, I need more carbs, and although I don’t think fat in itself is bad, 70% fat for breakfast is high!

gI switched to 75g oats, 25g sultanas, 180mls 1.5% milk and 25g protein powder, that is 76g of carbs, 10 of fat and 40g of protein. That is 200kcals fewer, but has good carbs, little sugar, almost as much protein and most of the fat is gone.

I have been pretty religious about MyFitnessPal since I started, even on holiday I would try to write everything in, even if I overshot my daily target by 1,000kcals or more, it’s better to know if you ask me.

My weight has been steadily falling, I started at about 81KG, but soon got to 79, then 78, 77 and 76KG. It was still early February, so I moved my goals from 0.5KG weight loss per week down to 0.2KG. I think my base metabolic rate might be higher than the app thinks though, as I usually overshoot my expected weight loss!

Yesterday I was 75.6KG, that seemed like a steady weight for me, I certainly wasn’t dehydrated, but then today I was 74.7KG! Ok I think I was a bit dehydrated today, but I still cracked it. I changed my settings to maintain and will carry on (actually expecting to keep on losing if I eat for maintenance). I actually weighed in at 73.9KG the day after Frankfurt half marathon, that was pretty crazy, but I think 75KG is my actual weight at the moment.

I feel very good at this weight, my belly is very noticeably smaller and I am noticing definition where there wasn’t any before.

TrainerRoad Sweet Spot Base 2 Mid

After completing Sweet Spot Base I before Christmas, I had tested my FTP at 330w. I felt that that was too high, so after 2 weeks mainly off over Christmas, I set my FTP to 310w and started the Sweet Spot Base 2.

The first week started off fairly easily with 4 Sweet Spot workouts planned with one easier session during the week. I pretty stupidly decided to run for 15km on Saturday before my harder 90min session, so swapped it for the easier Sunday session (which also felt very hard). The problem was that on Sunday my legs were toast, so I switched from the planned 90 minute Kaweah to the easier and shorter 60 minute Kawaeh -2.

That led me to see that I was pushing it too hard for early January, so I decided to cut back on my weekend running and skip the easy midweek ride. That should make it possible to complete the plan.

Sweet Spot Base 2 has VO2 intervals on Tuesday evenings. I don’t have much experience with them, but the first week was fine with 14×30 seconds at 120% FTP repeated 3 times. The intervals weren’t long enough to bite and my trainer often shortens intervals by 3 seconds anyway, so it was all pretty easy. The next week was 6×1 minute at 120% 3 times. It was a bit tougher but fine.


The next week was 3x2mins 3 times. The 2 minutes were 45 seconds at 120%, then slowly reducing to 110% until the end of the interval (see above – Mills). I found those tough. I couldn’t help but look forward to the last weeks intervals, 6x3mins at 120% with dread. I didn’t think I could do them, but when it came to it, I lived with the pain for the 18 minutes and could grit it out. Phew!

The weekends are really tough if you ask me. The harder 90 minute session on Saturday is usually hard, but doable, but that leaves me a bit cooked for Sunday, when I have 2 hours of ever increasing amounts of Sweet Spot to do! Due to being a bit under the weather in week 4, I had to skip the harder Saturday over/unders, but otherwise I managed everything in the plan.

I will point out that I once managed my full weekend rides and bricked it with a 7km run, that was pretty good! The only other brick I managed was after a shortened Sunday ride (due to illness).

Week 5 is just nasty! It starts with the aformentioned 6x3mins at 120%, then has 4x10mins at FTP, on Saturday is 6×10 minutes just below FTP, but with 30 second bursts above FTP (Laconte – that was the hardest session I have done), followed by 3x30mins at sweet spot on Sunday in a 2h session. I’m writing this on the following Monday and my legs are toast!

Laconte – ouch. I even had to pause and have a longer break between the last 2 10 minute intervals

Just as a by the way, I did ease my FTP up throughout the plan, after 1 week I moved it to 315w, then 11 days later to 320w. A couple of days later I went to 325w before finally settling at 330w as my last Ramp test had given for the last couple of weeks.

So now I am planning on doing my recovery week (hopefully some outdoors, weather permitting), then starting the Base Half Distance triathlon plan mid. Now that looks a lot easier than Sweet Spot Base II, I don’t see anything as nasty as Laconte in there, in fact it looks easier than sweet spot base I, so maybe I can start to run and swim more to be ready for the season.

The next plan will start with a Ramp Test again – my result was …. 342w!

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.


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.

TrainerRoad Sweet Spot Base I Mid

At the end of 2016 I bought myself a Wahoo Kickr Snap so that I could train in winter for Roth. I used it occasionally, but pretty soon the weather got better and the trainer started collecting dust.

Winter Training

As this season was such a nightmare, I think I could do with laying some base for next year nice and early. My cycling was realy weak this year, it used to be my strength, but this season I would frequently lose minutes to Michael, Basti and Christoph.


So I decided to start on the Trainer Road Sweet Spot base plan. There are three levels- low, mid and high. The low only has 3 workouts per week, which seems like it would be too little for me. The mid has 5 which might be a little too much and the high has 6, definitely too much.

I decided on the mid, thinking that I could always skip the easy ride if I want. The next step is the FTP test. I know that there is an 8 minute test and a 20 minute test, both of which aren’t much fun, but now TrainerRoad has a Ramp Test which it uses to quickly find your FTP.  The Ramp Test kicks up quite a few watts every minute until you can’t go on anymore. My FTP was set at 325 from last time I had used Trainer Road, so I left it there. After not very long I was done, and my FTP was said to be 282w, a bit disappointing but not too surprising.

One weird thing was how the test showed up on Strava

It showed me not hitting the blue bar watts, although I was in Erg mode with powermatch. I decided to switch off powermatch after that so that I could rely on the Kickr Snap, even if it is wrong it should be consistent.

The Workouts

The first workouts didn’t feel too taxing, so much so that I decided to start eeking up my percentage for each ride until I found my level. After really struggling with a weekend 90 minute over/under ride at 105%, I was happy to set my FTP at 292w.

I’m not finding riding on the trainer too bad surprisingly. I thought it’d be incredibly boring, but even the 90min rides are ok if you always have something to do. During the easy parts I do 2-3 minutes in aero with 1 minute rests, whereas when it’s more difficult, I just try to survive, or do the cadence drills that the software suggests.

Illness strikes

After 4 weeks of the plan, I was going to Nice for the weekend, I had rearranged the plan so that I would ride before leaving on Thursday, and do the hardest workout of the week (the over/unders of McAdie +1) on Sunday. I’d increased my FTP to 301w after feeling like the workouts were getting a bit too easy. But when I got home on Sunday, I suddenly felt really ill, so training was called off.

I was ill until Thursday, but on Friday my Dad came to town for the weekend, so I decided to take off until Monday, meaning I had 10 days off the bike.  I jumped back into the final hard week of the plan and though the first couple weren’t great, I managed everything with my 301FTP.

This is the last scheduled workout of the plan, it’s called Galena and it sucks! it’s not that hard, but it is 90mins long and has 3×20 minutes at sweet spot. It is mentally draining, normally I have breaks or some change in effort to make it more interesting, but damn Galena is boring!

Strangely the 2nd last hard workout was this one: Palisade. It’s also 90 mins long, but it wasn’t too bad at all! The intensity is higher than Galena, but you can split it up into sections and something is happening quite often. I’m starting to think that indoor training is 90% pyschological!

Anyway, I should have had 1 easy week left in the plan, but due to me missing a week, and the easy week looking incredibly boring, I switched in a sweetspot week, along with McAdie that I had missed after Nice

McAdie was tough, 4×12 mins with 1 minute under FTP, followed by 2 minute over FTP, 4 times in a row. I managed it ok though. The next day, and the final day of my amended plan, I decided to do Carson +2.

The final workouts

I have done Carson a few times, it is 6×5-7-minute intervals between 88-94% FTP totaling 36 minutes of Sweet Spot work. Carson +2 is 90 minutes long though instead of 60 and had 9×5-7 minutes instead of 6.  With tired legs from McAdie, it was a real fight to finish it, I was even ready to bail out after 1h, but managed to talk myself out of it!

So that was Sweet Spot Base I Mid. It’s 80% fairly easy/manageable, with the over/unders sometimes being hard as hell. I’ll start on Sweet Spot Base II Mid after Christmas, that looks like it starts sprinkling of VO2max stuff, which should be interesting!

So the only thing left to do now is the Ramp Test again. I had a 282w FTP before the training plan, and afterwards… 330w! I think that’s a bit high, but wow!

Swim Block 2018

So yesterday we had our swim test to decide the teams for the season in TCEC. Basti and Peter swam about 11:45 for 800m. Michael and Christoph swam about 12:50. I swam 13:30.

Now that is pretty much what I expected I would swim, ideally it would have been 15 seconds quicker, but 1:41 per 100m in a 50m pool is about my standard at the moment. Actually looking at it, it was slightly faster my best 1000m pace from last year, so really good for me historically.

The thing is though, it isn’t good enough! I need to be getting out of the water with Christoph and Michael at least, otherwise I’ll have to fight like a dog on the bike to be near the front for the run.

I am considering doing a swim block to try to knock off my 5 seconds/100m deficit in quick time. It fits well too as the tri season starts in 10 days, but the Freibad (outdoor pool) season starts on Saturday 19th of May. That means I have much better access to a 50m pool during the week.

So what would a swim block for me entail? Well Monday and Thursday are the team swims, so they would stay. If I could swim at least 5 days a week, for 16km or more total, that should be a pretty good kick in the right direction, shouldn’t it?

I’m going to see if I actually get my ass in gear and do this, if I do, this will be published along with some results. I have my baseline of 13:30 for 800m. I want to be able to swim at least 12:30 for 800m, that is 1:34/100m. I seem to benefit more than most from wearing a wetsuit, so I think if I swim 12:30 in the pool, I’d be getting out of the water with or ahead of the main RTV group in open water.

Week 1: 14-20 May

It’s kind of week zero, but whatever. My weeks total was about 15km over 4.5 swims, easily my biggest swim week ever.

Week 2: 21-27 May

Swam 750m in 13 minutes in openwater in Hachenberg, it seems like it was long though.

Longest swim ever, 3900m, miscounted or I would have done 4k! So I did just over 16k in 6 swims this week, not bad with a race in the middle.

Week 3: 28 May – 03 June

5 swims for a total of 16km again.

Week 4: 04 June – 10 June

5 swims for a total of 17km! Was a good swimming week.

Week 5: 11 June – 17 June

Just 2 swims – one shorter one before my seminar and one longer one on Thursday evening after work at TBB. Lets call it a down week!

Week 6: 18 June – 24 June

800m test in 12:58 on the Monday. 5 swims this week.


Writing 6 months later, I have decided to publish this after all! I kept swimming for a while after stopping writing here. In week 7 (25 June- 01 July) I swam 4 times, week 8 (02 July – 08 July) only twice but good long swims, week 9 (09 July – 15 July) 3 long swims. I was definitely starting to slack off on the swimming in week 10 (16 – 22 July) where I only swam once.

Then I got ill with my stomach bleed again, so I swam once, twice and once in the next 3 weeks, all for less than 1h. I actually remember the swim where in retrospect, I noticed that I was ill.

I felt really weak in Mombach in the Freibad, I thought that I’d overdone it in the gym the day before. Then on the 24th, I felt like shit and went home early from work. I took the 25th off and that was that, I had had another stomach bleed.

So here I am in January, 12 pools swims done since the 23rd of July! It’s time to get started again, 6mins for 400m is a goal I’d love to hit in 2019, lets hope it works out better than my swim block in 2018.

I did swim 78 times in the pool in 2018, only down from 84 times in 2017 when I was actually fit and training for Roth.


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.


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. 

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!

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.