Forstenrieder Half Marathon 2022

It’s only 15 days until my marathon now! The last week and a half of training has been tough, last weekend was a double long run weekend, followed by a 39 min 10k on Tuesday as a tempo run, I am feeling tired, not helped by the fact that Zak the Dog has started waking me up at 6am everyday -little shit!

Today I had a 26km marathon pace run in the plan, so I decided to run the Forstenrieder Half Marathon to keep things interesting. It also happened to be pretty warm, about 18°C and unbroken sunshine, though we’d be running in the forest, so should have plenty of shade (incorrect!).

I got to the start at 11:45 for a 1pm start, though I planned to run from 12:30 so I could do 2km warm up followed by 5km at race pace before the start. I was slightly worried about wearing my Alphaflys as the course was 1/3 on trail, but did it anyway…

Alex of the Roche Road Runners team said he would try to run with me at 4:00/km, until he couldn’t anymore, I thought he’d manage the whole thing at that pace after running a 2h53 marathon in Autumn last year.

I did the first 6.8km and it felt easy, my GPS was all over the place though, so I decided to manually monitor my pace by clicking whenever I passed a km marker in the race. I got back to the start with about 3 mins to spare and could start right at the front, all good.

So off we went and Alex was a bit fast, the 1st km was in 3:47, then a 3:50, well at least we banked some time! We soon settled to just below 4:00/km pace and started to see what the course had to offer. There was quite a lot of trail, it wasn’t technical, but often a bit off camber, I hate that. There were also plenty of stones, but that is nitpicking a bit.

I also had the feeling that we were going slightly uphill from km 5-12, then it started going slightly down again, which was good. I remember a 38:50 split at 10km, way too fast and it was starting to feel a little tougher than I’d like.

After 15km, we were back on asphalt and going downhill and I kind of drifted ahead of Alex and the other guy I was running with, I did consider slowing down, but I think my pace was fine, they were struggling. So I kicked on alone until the end, in the last 2-3km, there were the slower 10k runners on course, so I could see lots of other runners and try to cheer people on, but I get the idea people just feel offended when they get overtaken by someone clapping them on!

Soon enough I was on the home straight and crossed the line and stopped my watch in exactly 1h23:00, only to realise I had to run 25m more to the real finish line! After stopping I had a little dizziness, which was less than ideal, but it subsided in 30 seconds or so, I think it was an above marathon pace effort though.

Looking happy at the end!

I binned my warm down, leaving me with 28km with 26km at above marathon pace on the day, not bad. I could have gone faster, but 16km more at that pace would be very tough, luckily Zurich will be cooler (8:15am start), flatter and all on tarmac, I’ll also be running slower than 1h23 half marathon pace, I’ll do exactly 4:00/km pace.

Alex finished 50 seconds behind me, happy with his run having predicted he’d struggle to break 1h30. My Alphaflys seemed to take a bit of damage during the race, along with my feet. I had a very odd blister on the bottom of my foot and my big toe nails hurt, at least I have plenty of time to recover anyway.

So next weekend is the Tour of Flanders 144km sportive, then it’s go time, Zurich marathon in sub 2h50, I think I can do it! I know I can do it!

I might blog them both, unless they go very badly that is 🙂

Ottobeuren 10k 2022

I haven’t done a race since February 2020! How crazy is that? Well today was my only full effort race in the run up to Zurich marathon, so I was hoping that it’d be a goody.

I set off at 8:40 for the 100km drive to Ottobeuren, I had to get my number by 10, even though the race doesn’t start until 11:05. I’d weighed in at 79.5kg, weight loss hasn’t really happened for me this year, but nerves probably led to another couple of kg being gone before the start of the race 😀

I talked to a guy on the start line, he reckoned he would run 1:20 for the HM, but it is hilly so he wasn’t sure. I didn’t know it was supposed to be hilly! We set off and a lot of people were ahead of me from the get go, I looked at my watch on the back straight (it starts with 300m on the track) and it said 3:15/km, they were fast, I wasn’t slow.

So I settled into a pace and the first km beeped at 3:29, wow, crazy fast. The next km was in 3:31 but I felt very controlled and started overtaking a few people, the next couple of km went the same, just over 3:30/km, I started dreaming of a PB. I passed the guy who told me it was hilly after 3km of very flat (actually slight downhill) running and said – not very hilly so far!

I imagined an out and back course, so each flat km meant 2 flat km to me, until at the turnaround at 4.5km all was going great, I slightly missed the turn losing a few seconds but nothing serious. The turnaround being at 4.5km did make me think that something was wrong, but I didn’t know what exactly.

After about 5km there was a turn off the asphalt track, I thought it was for the HM runners, but it wasn’t, it was for all of us, I lost another couple of seconds. Then we started to climb. I’m not talking about crazy mountains here, but there were some fairly steep slopes, and the asphalt was gone and we were on a bit muddy trail instead.

I had been passed by 2 people on this part of the course and my next km was in 4:00, poo. The trail part was all fairly tough but soon we dropped back down to the asphalt and had 2km left to go.

This was when I realised that the first few km had been slightly downhill, so it wasn’t too easy on the way back, but I still was managing 3:45/km pace, so was doing okay. Soon enough the track was in view and I just had 300m or so to go. I could hear someone trying to pass me, but I think he was running the HM, so probably thought better of it when I started accelerating at the end.

So I crossed the line in 37:09 (official time). I had thought before the race that I would be between 36-38:00, with 37:00 being about par. On a flat asphalt course, I would have run 36:30 pretty certainly, that would give me a sub 2:49 marathon, and I really think I will run sub 2:50. I’m not at my fastest ever right now, but I feel more undertrained than overtrained, so should be getting fitter before the marathon, rather than burning out as I usually do.

I had a great time doing my first race for years. I drove home singing along loudly to music in the car, it was almost like COVID never happened!

So now I have a double long run weekend next weekend, then a 26km at marathon pace the weekend after (Forstenrieder HM – but not racing) then the Tour of Flanders, then Zurich. I’m looking forward to it all – well maybe not the double long run weekend!