Race Report – Landskronberglauf – Wingertscup

Part two of my stupidly planned two post-Ironman races was on Sunday in Oppenheim.  It is part of the Wingertscup, and I wanted to run it as a back up race, in case I am injured, ill or busy for one of the last two races of the year ( I need 4 results from the 6 races to be in the final leaderboard)  In the morning I was in Worms supporting Katja in her half marathon, where she ran a big 5 minute PB and won her age group too!  We waited after the race until she got her prizes, then had to quickly leave to get to my race for 15:30.  I had put the 'address' into google maps and 'Turnacker' came up with an address somewhere not far from the station in Oppenheim, on the Rhein side.  We got to the station at 14:50 and went to the Turnacker, except that wasn't where the race was.  After some descriptive chat about where the run is, we were told that it is on the other side of town.  It was 15:10 at this point and Katja's legs were tightening up nicely!

She couldn't run up the steep hill and stairs, so I decided to go on up the hill to the race alone, though it was a forlorn effort given that it was 15:20 by the time we got back to the station.  I went as fast as I could and found a restaurant with some people parking.  I asked if a race was being, or had been, held there? They said there was, but pointed me towards some trees, apparently I had to go through the forest to get to the run.  I arrived at the start sweating like a pig at 15:28, but as so many people had had problems finding it, they had moved the start to 16:00!  Lucky me!

The route was a bit unclear, even though they had drawn a nice map!

I had seen that the guy that always wins was there, along with the guy who was 1 place behind me in Wallertheim (the challenger).  After a name call of every runner on the start line, we eventually started at about 16:10.  Immediately 3 people went ahead, but that was all, the fastest, the challenger, and a girl.  The girl fell off the pace after about 800m, leaving 2 ahead of me.  They were running together about 5m ahead of me.  I felt in control and was hoping that the challenger would over-do it trying to get away from me, and blow near the end.  Just after the first lap, they started to edge away from me, I couldn't do much about it.

At the turn on the 2nd loop, I saw that 4th place was actually only about 50m behind me, so 3rd wasn't in the bag yet.  At the turn on the 3rd and final loop he was maybe 15m further back, and 1st and 2nd were well gone, so I thought 3rd was mine barring a blow up.  I didn't blow up, and cruised in 3rd place in 40:07.

My heart rate was sky high again, I think my body really needs a break after the ironman.  I can't usually run a 10k with a 181bpm average, but I did it today!  I am happy I did the race, for 4€ I got 3rd place, a medal and a bottle of wine, so I can't complain!  I can complain about waiting over an hour and a half for the awards though!  I actually had to leave just before they finally got to doing the podium, otherwise I would be stuck there for an hour before my next train arrived.

Now I will take at least a week off, then a week or two of just very easy running, then I will try to pick it up a bit.  I want to get some form going for Zornheim in late October, and really be on it for Ebersheim to try for the win.

Zornheim should be my next post in the blog, unless someone persuades me to do some stupid run in the meantime!

Have a good one!

Race Report – Firmenlauf

I wasn't sure that I would run in the 5km firmenlauf after last Sunday's Iron distance Tri, but I was feeling pretty good by Tuesday and the run wasn't until Thursday evening, so I decided to give it a go.

The course is a good one through the middle of Mainz. Last year I was still really anemic, but a 4.85km course helped my secure a sub20 minute time, running 19:40 or so. I fancied that this year I could get about 18mins on that course.

There were 7000 people signed up for the fun, including about 15 from TRON, where I work. We had our team photos and they went to the back to get in position, I decided to push to near the front, otherwise the first 2km would be a write off. I started about 10m from the start line, but there were still lots of slow people starting ahead of me. The gun went off and the first 200m were difficult with so many people going slowly, luckily I got through the masses quickly and could run my tempo. After maybe 800m I saw Arne, who wasn't sure he would make it to the race, but apparently walked into the starting shoot from the front just before the start, so was on the start line when it started.

The race was pretty uneventful, I felt controlled and was constantly passing people up until 4km or so. The course was a little changed from last year, adding an extra loop near Romisches Theater. Soon enough I was on the long home straight. I decided not to sprint it in, as the home straight is probably 600m+ long, so that is a quick way to blow up! The TRON supporters were on the right hand side of the road and cheered my on as I passed by, I crossed the line in 19mins on my GPS, but also 5.18km due to the extra loop.

I was pretty happy with how I ran, even if the time was a bit slower than I had hoped. I was pleased to find out I was 20th from 7000 entrants, so I must have done something right. I was feeling fine after the race, so got my alcohol free beers and went to cheer on the other runners.

I was pretty amazed when I saw my heart rate that I had touched 191, my all time highest HR ever recorded!  I guess I was pushing quite hard then, though it really didn't feel tougher than other runs I have done where my HR is 180 max..

I feel like I have recovered well from Köln, even though I have some bruising on my arms and shoulders. My saddle area is still not great, but getting better by the day. I will most probably run the 10km in Oppenheim on Sunday as part of Wingerts Cup, then a week or 2 of near complete rest, then I will kick off training again. Near term goals are going to be running related, but I want to try to keep up a bit of cycling and keep on swimming as much as I can.

I think this blog in future will be for occasional updates and for race reports. The week by week minutiae will be dropped, though I can still look back at what I did this year to look for future improvements.  I might try to do some more product review stuff, like the shoes I try out etc, but I don't try out too much new stuff, so that would be pretty sporadic at best.

Wallertheim 10k Race

This was part 2 of the Wingertscup for me, it wasn't a big goal for me, but I did fancy trying to get a decent time and hopefully gauge my running fitness, which I expect to have tailed off quite a bit since Bonn marathon.

I cycled over to Wallertheim against a fairly unfriendly head-wind, it was about 27.5km to Wallertheim, and I arrived in good time.  I didn't warm up much, but was ready with 100 or so others at the start line at 3pm.  It was quite warm, but I hadn't thought it was too bad.  The race started and as always everyone sprinted off like idiots!  I looked at my GPS after 30 seconds or so and saw 3:20/km, far far too fast.  I settled into my pace and fell into a group with a few people ahead of us.  Soon enough the group slowed down and after about 2.5km I had left them behind.  The route was 'flat' but wasn't pan flat, more like always slightly up or slightly down.  It went in a small loop through the town around lots of tight turns, before going on a long out and back on the way back to the start line.  Each loop was 5km, so we would do it all twice.

As I approached the turn around I counted about 4 ahead of me.  I could also see that lots of people who had been in the group with me were falling way back.  Running back into town was directly with the wind, and it was absolutely boiling hot, very uncomfortable.  I could see that only 3 were ahead of me who were doing the 10k after the first 5k loop was finished.  I was only a few metres behind 3rd place too (see above photo), so I thought I had a good chance of the podium if I didn't fall apart.

The 2nd loop was just hot.  I think the humidity was the main problem.  I had looked at my heart rate after about 2km and had seen that it was 180, even though I felt very comfortable at the pace.  I wasn't really able to get my heart rate down, so I would guess it was from the heat.  I ran just behind third place for the next few km, at the turnaround I had caught him, but as we turned with the wind again, I was starting to boil again and he moved a bit ahead.  I had counted that it was 20 seconds after the turn before I passed the next runner, so that meant I had a 40 second gap, I should be ok unless I almost stop!  The gap stretched to 3rd place and I kind of gave up the ghost.  At the time I felt like a bit of a loser, as I felt like I should run faster, but I just couldn't in the heat.

The last 500m or so were the home straight, I started to pick up the pace and got close to 3rd, but couldn't do enough to pass him, so finished 4th place in 39:49.  I was very disappointed with the time, but I really do think that in a cold race I would have been a lot faster.  4th place isn't bad though, the same as last time!  So my 2 results are done and dusted, I need to do 2 more from the next 3.  I am not sure if I will do Oppenheim as it is 1 week after my Ironman, we will see.

End of week 20 – Mannheim relay marathon and 4iiii FTP questions!

On Monday me and Katja went for a 11.2km run.  It was really humid and there were so many bloody flies, it wasn’t a very enjoyable run but was 11.2km at 5:27/km at 122HR.  A quite easy start to the week.

Tuesday I rode with my new powermeter for the first time.  I had written a bit about that already, so won’t go over it again.  It was blowing a gale though, as it always seems to be at the moment!

On Wednesday I ran with Katja again, it wasn’t so horrible weather, but hella windy, which also wasn’t ideal.  When we were done with the 11.5km loop, I cycled to the swimming pool for a swim.  More accurately, I cycled 8km towards the swimming pool, before realising that I didn’t have my goggles.  I know already from experience that without goggle, I am screwed as no one brings 2 pairs, and the pool doesn’t sell/rent or lend any out, so pretty pissed off with myself, I cycled home. Continue reading “End of week 20 – Mannheim relay marathon and 4iiii FTP questions!”

Backeslauf – Wingerts Cup

So today was Backeslauf day, my first run in the Wingertscup this year.
It's a 14.3km run, with an advertised 274m of climbing, meaning it is hella hilly in my book!

Framersheim is 26km away from where I live, so I decided to cycle to and from the race. Katja kindly joined me as support, but had to take the bus there.

When I arrived I was bit bit taken aback. The first few km were supposed to be flat to slightly uphill, but I could see that from metre 1 it started climbing at about 2-3%. I quickly started to reassess my goal and decided that 1h would actually be a good achievement!

When the race was about to start, I realised that we started in the other direction, so in fact it was flat then slightly uphill, phew! I ran with about 7 people in front of me, but the leader was well ahead after not very long. I felt like it was going to be a hard day. After about 4km, it was going ok, but I knew the steep stuff was yet to come. I had passed a couple of people by the time we hit the hill, but although it wasn't easy, it wasn't too bad really. It was maybe 4% for 2km, then flattened out before descending, also not so steep to start with, then finally getting steeper near the end.

The route wasn't the smoothest in the world, with lots of gravel and dirt tracks, but that didn't seem to cost too much time, and no ankles were turned, not by me anyway! After the first loop, which didn't go right back to the start, rather about half way down the hill before re-climbing it, I was feeling in the zone. Knowing that the last 4km were pretty much downhill meant I was looking at the 8km marker thinking I was nearly finished! A guy had been less than 50m behind me on the decent of the first loop, but seemed to burn out on the 2nd climb. I went up it at my pace, then knew I could just roll down the hill to the end. There was one small shock, which was the steepest section of the day with about 1km to go, but it was only 100m at most. Then straight back to descending.

I had hoped 58m would be possible, with 2.3km to run I had 8:20 in hand, with 0.6km to go I had 2m, which seemed like it would be hard to do to me, given that a 90s 400m is going some for me, but the downhill helped all the way to the end and I skipped over the line in 57:40.

I thought I had counted 5 ahead of me, but as there was also a 1 loop race at the same time, I couldn't be too sure. Katja thought I was either 3rd or 4th. I waited an age to find out the results, but eventually found that I was 4th, so didn't win any bread and wine 🙁

I really enjoyed the race, a long downhill to end the race meant that I felt ok as I crossed the line, even if my heart rate was 184! My average HR was 176, which is a hard day at the office for me, so I think I paced it pretty well.

I happened to run into a colleague of mine Ronald just before the start who was running too, he also beat his goal time, so it was a successful day all-round!

Race Report – Bonn Marathon – Goal Achieved (kind of)

So the big day was upon me, I had travelled up to Bonn on the Saturday and spent a bit too much time wondering around, but had a nice day.  I wasn't feeling overly stressed, mainly because Katja was stressed enough for the both of us! I got up and ate some bread and cereal bars for breakfast, not much else was available.  Katja’s half marathon started at 8:30 or 8:45, it wasn't really clear, but it meant we were up at 6am and ate breakfast well in advance of the race.

We went to the start area, it was really cold but sunny.  I was well wrapped up and watched as Katja started the race, I went to the bridge that is about 600m into the race and watched her come back over it at the 8km mark, and then saw her again at about 9.5km.  As the HM started late, it was already 9:55 when I had seen her a second time, so I went to check in my bag and get ready.  I decided for a minimalist warm up, mainly just wanting to be sure I was done with the toilet and have a very short jog.

I got to the front of the race corral by 10:20, the 3h pacers were basically at the very front of the race, barring the few Africans who were there.  The race started and I had no issues with people around me, so tucked into the 3h group where I intended to stay.  After only 2km I noticed that I had to pee, I wasn't desperate, but I needed to go.  I decided to run a bit more before going, so that no 2nd stop would be needed.  I stopped, peed and started off in pursuit of the group.  I caught them back up after maybe 1.5km, maybe a bit too quick but not a crazy sprint either.

The group running skills of people was pretty bad, lots of trips and one guy was swinging his elbows everywhere and hit me about 5 times, later after he hit someone else the person he hit got really annoyed and shouted at him.  A 3rd person had a chat with him, and he immediately apologised profusely.  5 minutes later elbows man hit into me, so I moved to the side, where he followed and hit me again, I said "come on man! FFS" or words to that effect, then realised that he had a disability, not good…

After 10km we were almost perfectly on pace, so I stopped checking my watch.  my heart rate started rising over the next 10km, which was worrying to me, but I still felt good.  After 20km I realised that we were way ahead of 3h pace, the 3h group went through the half in 1:28:30, I went through in 1:28:45 having noticed and slowed my pace.  I was happy to have a cushion, but worried that it could be too fast..

After 24km I noticed that I would need a portaloo, this wasn't a simple run to a tree problem.  I got to the drinks station at 25km and quickly got everything done and started off again.  It cost me very little time, maybe 15-20 seconds, and I could run in comfort to the end.  I finally got to see Katja after 29km on the bridge, she looked very worried, but i reassured her that everything was ok, it was going to be close, but it was ok.  I reckoned I had about 50 seconds "lead" over a 3h pace at that point, though I wasn't gaining anymore, I wasn't losing too much either.

In retrospect and looking at Strava, the next 6km are where it all went wrong.  It felt hard and it had warmed up quite a bit.  I didn't have any idea of my pace, expect for the KM markers but at this point all I could work out was that it was really tight.  In the last 5km I gave up the ghost of getting a sub3 about 10 times, each time then thinking of how much I wanted it and surging on.  I had decided that I could do the last 1.2km in 5 minutes, but faster would be a push. I came around the corner to see the 41km sign and passed it with about 4:45 to spare for a 3h run.  Again my head dropped, but I knew I had to give it my all. A slight downhill made me think I might do it, but the km dragged on until eventually I could see the finishing line ahead of me and my watch read 2:59:45.  The finishing line as more than 15 seconds away though, so with the crowd screaming me on, I crossed the line in 3:00:15.

I wrote at the start of the year that a London good for age time of 3:05 was the goal, but it hasn't been my real goal for quite some time.  It was so close that I could only laugh after the race, that is laugh and almost cry from the pain of my legs!

My excuses:
1) Strava shows my running time as 2:59:33, without the toilet stops I would have broken 3, almost no doubt.
2) The 3h pacers went out 90 seconds fast, in fact they ran the 11.1km between 10km and 21.1km about 75 seconds fast.  It doesn't sound a lot, but I am 95% sure that if they had run an even race, I would have broken 3h with or without toilet breaks.
3) It was a touch warm in the 2nd half of the race. I don't know why they start the marathon at 10:30am, thus ending at 13:30ish for me, but the last few km were getting pretty warm, especially as there was not a cloud in the sky.  I think on a cloudy day I would probably have run sub3.

It doesn't matter now anyway.  I can hopefully run London next year off real marathon training and I am sure I will smash 3h, I want to be looking more at 2:50 really.  Now the next part of my training season starts, cycling season.

Race Report – Rheinzabern OsterLauf (Half Marathon)

Right I haven’t updated for last week but I ran a half marathon today so will do my race report and get back on track with the regular updates tomorrow!

Jochen has been planning the Rheinzabern Osterlauf for a while, but it is a long way from home for me, and he wasn’t going to come back to Mainz after, so I was going to give it a miss… until on Thursday he changed his plans and offered a ride there and back, so I was on for a last tune up race before Bonn!

Last year I ran the 10km in Rheinzabern, I was really happy with a 39:56, a new PB, but things have moved on a bit since then. My aim for the half marathon was a 1:23:00 or better, as that would mean that my half marathon time is as good as my 10k time, and both would predict a way faster than 3h marathon, my big pre-season goal. I did also hope for a top 10 finish, but that was very dependent on who turned up..

So we signed in and did very little warm up. The weather was cold, about 4 Celsius and raining, good race weather in my opinion. With only 300 runners in the field, there was little traffic, so I wasn’t held up at all. The first k I was actively trying to run slower, but I passed the KM marker after 3:47, too fast. Jochen had planned to hang on as long as possible, as he wanted to run as fast as possible, with 1:25 being a goal time. He stayed just behind me as I tapped out km after km in just under 4:00/km pace. After 6km I was feeling great and the wind was behind me and without really trying I accelerated to 3:45 pace.

That was when Jochen dropped behind and I started moving through the field. There is a cross-back after about 9km and I counted that the first 8 were well clear, then came 2 groups of about 10, then me. I was pretty sure of catching the 2nd group, but the first would be tougher. 2km later I was into the 2nd group, which had started to splinter. A guy in red was going off the front, but I caught and passed him by 12km. There were a few people falling back from the first group but not enough yet, and man in red was hanging on behind me. I had gone through 10k in 38:42 and then 15km in 58:04, so the pace was consistent and good. After 17km I caught 2 more with man in red still behind me, then came the 2nd cross back (its a 2 loop race). I counted 11 ahead of me, all pretty well clear too, so top 10 was out, but sub 1:22 was looking good. It was only after the 19km marker that I really started to feel the pace and it hurt.

The last 2.1km were purgatory, I knew that any decent pace would get me my goal, but I think the man in red passing me hit me mentally, even though I had expected it to happen. I saw that no one was behind me, so I could just do what I could do, and see what happens. Through 20km I worked out (possibly incorrectly) that a 3:45km would get me a 1:21:30, I fancied that and was even mumbling 1:21:30 with each breath! but Through 21km in 1:21:25 I realised that wasn’t happening but I ran in a self-timed 1:21:49, great!

I got a cup of tea and saw Jochen sprint in a 1:24:58 (somehow rounded up to 1:25:00 by someone!), to round off a very successful day. The results were soon posted and I was 13th overall, and 3rd in my age group 🙂 So I got a little easter basket for my effort, which was nice.

So there is not much more to say – don’t F up the last 2 weeks to Bonn, and run and even paced 2:59! Vdot says I can do a 2:50:45, so 2:59 should be easy… right!

Race Report – Frankfurt Half Marathon

I have been ill this week, my lungs haven't been happy and I have been getting muscle ache from normal work outs, on Thursday as I gave up on my intervals after 3 of the planned 7km repeats, I was not confident.

On race morning I was feeling much better and my PB seemed on again. My PB is 1:27:35 but my recent 10k races suggest that should be destroyed! I woke up at 6:15am ate my omelette and porridge and left the house at 7:20. Pre-race 'preparations' went well and I got to the start line a few mins early.  There was a 1:24 pace group which looked interesting to me, but after 2km in 7:50 I was still behind the 1:29 pace group!

I soon passed them and settled into a 3:55/km tempo which was fast for me, but felt comfortable and my HR was in a good zone.  After what I thought was 5km I checked the GPS and saw 7km were done, another good sign.  The ks ticked away and soon I was at 15km in 59:30, flying.  The one incline of the day followed, I had been just behind the 1:24 group almost all the way, but after the hill I decided to push on ahead of them. The overpass next to Commerzbank Arena was the last tough bit and the long run round the stadium was quickly done.

The last 50m are in the stadium I gave a little sprint and stopped my watch – 1:23:40 about a 4 minute PB and 6 minutes better than last year!

All in all, it went well. My average HR of 169 is lower than normal, and I think that fully fit I might have had a few more seconds off my time, but I'm not complaining! This run sets me up nicely for a sub3 attempt in Bonn in 6 weeks time, that would be awesome!

It is also my second goal of the season reached, I think the 5k time goal is a sitting duck now!

Week review to come, but this was easily the highlight!

Rodgau 10km Race Report – Year goal number 1 completed!

Race day = Race report!

Build up was just a normal day, slept well, ate omelette and porridge (not together) for breakfast, then went into town for a bagel and Kona coffee (cue jokes about that being the closest I will ever get to Kona) before meeting Jochen to go to Rodgau.  Judith kindly came with us today as support.  I knew that there are lots of fast runners who do Rodgau 10km, so my PB wouldn't get me near the top 20, but that meant there would always be people to run with, which is a good thing.

It was really cold, so I put off getting ready until 25 mins before the start, then 'prepared myself' for the race adequately, and warmed up.  We were quite a few people back from the start line, the usual idiots were pushing to the front, even though they will quickly fall to the back.  That made the first 400m a bit annoying as I tried to overtake the rolling roadblocks.  After 600m or so I was pretty much free, with Jochen behind me I couldn't see how he had negotiated the traffic.  The course seemed to have occasional slight downhills, but never any uphills, I know that is impossible but that is how it was!

The first 4km felt pretty easy, I didn't have HR and ave pace showing on my watch, as it was all in a forest, so I expected that to be wrong anyway.  Looking at the time and the KM markers, I saw that I was at about 3:50/km pace, which is faster than PB pace, but slower than 38min pace.  In Rüsselsheim, I felt like it would be hard to keep my pace up after 4km, in Rodgau it felt easy.  After 5km my time was exactly 19 mins, and I mean exactly! I had noticed though that the slight breeze had been against us in the first half, and should, thus, be behind us in the second half, bonus!

I continued passing people, whilst not once being overtaken myself.  The next km was in 3:46, wow, that means I am faster than 38 min pace by quite a bit, and still feeling good!  the same happened in the next km and the next, all of a sudden 37:30 seemed on the cards, if a stretch. After 8km I saw 30:04 on my watch, I could run almost 4min/km for the last 2 and still break 38!  At this point I was aware that there were some gastro-intestinal issues on the horizon, but I had seriously decided that with my black running tights on, I wasn't going to miss my PB for anything, and I mean anything! Luckily it didn't come to that, but it was a serious fear for a few minutes there!

Finally in the last km I caught a small group of guys and a girl ahead of them.  It crossed my mind that I could just follow them for the last few hundred metres and be happy with my time, but memories of missing 3rd in my age group in Rüsselsheim spurred me on, so I sprinted on by.  With 100m to go I passed the woman in front of them, maybe she was the first woman I thought, that would be good, not to be chicked in a good field.  I sprinted in and stopped my watch at 37:22, unbelievable!  A 3:30 last km and my first goal of the year not only reached, but destroyed! I gasped for air but got it together enough to watch Jochen run in a 38:45, a good run and a big PB for him (it's only his 2nd 10km and the first went far worse than it should have).

The one slight disappointment was when the results came out.  I had seen that they had little silver running shoes as prizes in the age groups, after my race I had thought I had a chance of one of the 5 in my age group, but I soon saw that I was 9th and would have needed a 34:48 to get 5th!
I was 48th overall, but bugger it, I can't help others being dead fast!  I saw that the woman I passed at the end was the 2nd woman, only 20 seconds behind the 1st woman, so close.

A 50cent honey waffle and coffee were perfect after-race nourishment before heading back to Mainz for a swim.

With no more 10km races on the horizon, this PB might stand for a while.  The next planned race is Frankfurt half in 4 weeks, sub-1:25 looks very likely now along with ticking goal 2 off the list 🙂


Lindensee 10k

First race of the year, a 10k race in Rüsselsheim. I managed to rope Jochen into racing with me, he hasn’t run too much in the last few weeks but claims good form for his first 10k race ever!

After getting warmed up and 'emptied' I was ready to go. The start was a bit fast, a first look at the watch showed 3:30/km and Jochen was still ahead of me! After about 1km the pace settled and I moved past him and through the field. I seemed to be having to push a bit to keep my 3:50 pace up and my HR was up around 178… too high.

After about 4km there was a sharp turn where I could see that the footsteps behind me weren't Jochen, because he had fallen about 30m behind.  I pushed on in a small group, 2 of whom then passed me, one a bit too quick, the other perfect to follow. After 6km I saw 23mins on the watch, only 16mins or so left, that's why 10ks are good!
The last few k clicked down without too much excitement. I passed someone like he had a flat tyre with 1km left, the guy I had followed for ages didn't seem to want me to pass, and I don't think he was in my age group, so I didn't fight too much (it turned out he was in my age group and it was a fight for 2nd!). The end was starting to hurt, but a quick look at the watch showed 38:36, a 70 second PB!!


Jochen managed a 40:25 or so, he was very disappointed. It's the first time I have beaten him, and hopefully not the last 🙂

I'm not planning anymore races until Frankfurt half marathon in 6 weeks. Today's time predicts a 1:25:10 half, the first goal of the season is within reach.