Tagged race recap

BearTrailHeight

Race Recap: 56k Bear Trail (Voeren)

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As I’m always up for a new challenge, I decided it was time for an ultra trail run after my 50k road race.

Browsing around my eye fell on ‘The Bear Trail’.
A trailrun which said to be +90% off road with a distance of 56km (~34.7 miles) and 1200m of elevation (~3937 feet).
I finished my 50k race at the end of June and this was up at the end of October, which meant I had a small 4 months to get ready.

My main preparation existed of running on the beach and trying to find some hilly surfaces around my house (which I didn’t…)

Although I didn’t feel fully prepared, I did wake up excited at race day.
Yet again the race was at a +2h drive from home, which I drove solo.
I almost found a partner for the race, but because of an injury in the end I was alone.

It was typical Belgian October weather, slight drizzle and not too warm. Excellent ultra run weather if you ask me, only problem was that the week before it had rained plenty.
The speech before the start was very straightforward: “Do not count on staying clean, after 1mile you will be muddy head to toe”.
They didn’t lie…
When the gun went off I started out at a decent pace, especially since the first .5 mile was around a soccer field and on asphalt, after that we dove straight into the forest and went downhill.
All fun and games until we arrived at the lowest point. Giant puddles of water and mud were waiting for us.

BearTrailSingleTrail
A nice single trail

At first I tried to avoid them, but I gave this up fast. It just wasn’t possible…
The climbs were heavy and instead of being rewarded by a nice downhill speed run, it was sometimes double as heavy going down, because before you knew it, you slided down instead of running.

I think I ended up on my butt about three times during the entire course.
But I had fun. I was warm enough and the sights were magnificent!

BearTrailSight
Nice sight eh

Running alone for almost 6h can be mentally challenging and I had my share of “why am I doing this again”-thoughts, yet running alone has the advantage you can do it all at your own pace.

After about 60% of the race everyone started walking up the hills and I still managed a slow jog most of the time. Having someone with me at this point would have slowed me down and it’s the long uphills that are mentally toughest for me.

I finished in just under 6h (5:51:43), which is more than nice for an ultratrail debut if you ask me. This meant for a 26th place out of 94.
Bear Trail Voeren – October 27, 2014 – 56k – 05:51:41 – StravaEndomondo – 26/94 (PDF link)
So happy yet again! ๐Ÿ˜€

BearTrailCompilation
Compilation of my run ๐Ÿ™‚

Thank you for reading my report! ๐Ÿ™‚

HalfMarathonLierBrotherAndMe

Race Recap: Half Marathon Lier

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My second half marathon ever and first half marathon as a pacer. As written before, my brother wanted to run a 90min half marathon and asked me to pace him.
Weather conditions weren’t a great help, actually far from it…

Weather Forecast 20150330
Hour by hour forecast Past Sunday

The Half marathon consisted of 2 laps.
With wind from the southwest this meant we would get strong headwind halfway through the lap, make a turn of about 180ยฐ and have the wind in our backs.

RouteHalfMarathon
The route of the half marathon

So after a 1.5 hour drive, a 20min wait and a 15min warm-up we felt ready to start.
With around 500 contestants it wasn’t a “fighting-for-your-spot” situation at the starting line, but after one round at the track we bottlenecked into twists and turns in Lier center, which meant watching out for other runners’ heels etc.
All in all not the best route they could lay out in my opinion, but we made the best off it.

We needed a 4:16min/km pace on average, but with all the turns it was hard to run consistent.
After about 3km we noticed we set out too fast, but with a 4:12 average we surely did not burn ourselves out at the start.

After the city centre came the feared part with head wind.
It was brutal… I tried to catch as much wind as possible, so my brother could keep fresh, but our timing dropped to about 4:30. Luckily it was only 2 kilometers.
After that we made the turn (up a small hill D:) and had the wind in our backs.
Time to breath, fill the longs, take a sip of water, recuperate and make up for lost seconds.
All the way to the half way point the wind didn’t really bother us anymore, so high hopes to finish strong later.

Second lap went the same way. First part “too fast”, but I knew we would need the seconds later on, so it was no luxury.
The windy part was worse than the first time, strong gusts were added and a heavy pouring as well, so I was really glad when we could leave it behind.
Once we had the wind in our backs it was time to recuperate again, but I could see that my brother’s energy was draining.
It was time to get everything out of him that I could get out of him!

The last kilometer he was struggling a lot, so I kept motivating him, because I knew it would be a close call.
Breathing heavily we went over the finish line in 1:30:19 according to official timing.
Our watch said 1:29:58 so my brother was happy. And he happy = me happy.

I had some juice left, which makes me really happy with my current form.
Pacing at “high velocity” isn’t the easiest thing I’ve ever done, but it was fun!

Me and my brother
Me and my brother
finishHM
Together over the finish line

Height_Profile_Trail_Du_Mont

Race recap: Trail Du Mont 25-01-2015

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For more details about the race itself, see my previous post. In short: the race was 30km (~19mi) with 780m ascension.

I set out to this race with a ‘tough training’ in mind, but I got more than I bargained for…

Trail_Du_Mont_Muddy_Shoes
Muddy underground…

It was muddy and when the mud stopped, there was more mud.
Naah, I’m exaggerating now, but there sure were bits that were really bad as you can see above.

But let me get back a bit. There were more people at the start than an average trail, but there was a solo part (30k) and a duo part (20k) and they both started at the same time.
I felt good at the start, despite the fact that I had one hell of a work-week.

Trail_Du_Mont_Start
Me at the left, don’t I look well-rested ๐Ÿ˜‰

The start was downhill, so when the gun went off, a lot of speeders set out almost tumbling over each other.
Still convinced I was going for a tough training I let a lot of people pass me and searched my own pace.
After a good 3km (~2mi) we headed in the forest and that’s where the mud started.
At first it was fu, but soon we got out at a single track with still an awful lot of people (solo & duo still together at this point), which meant almost everyone was walking here. I got a bit annoyed because I was here to run, but seeing the steep hills in front of me I got it why the walking had started.

Trail_Du_Mont_Muddy_Hill
This is one of the less steep, more muddy forest parts…

The forest part was roughly 4km (~2,5 miles) and after that I already had sore quads.
Not sure if it would be as fun as anticipated I saw only nice fields in front of me.
The next 16km (~10 miles) went actually quite uneventful, because I just found a nice pace and kept on going while enjoying the view.

Trail_Du_Mont_Garmin_Overview
A bit dark, but up at the hills, the view was nice!
Trail_Du_Mont_Nice_Road
Simple and nice!

The last part was the heaviest, because at about 4km (~2.5 mi) before the end we got into the forest again and it was a repetition of the first part.
Steep muddy hills which got you slipping down the path. Luckily there wasn’t so many people as in the first part, so I got to running when I wanted.
The very end was an ascent of about 15% and once up there, it was just running towards the finish.

Trail_Du_Mont_Garmin_TimeDistance
Time and distance
Trail_Du_Mont_Garmin_Pace
Average pace and speed

In the end I finished 55th out of 253, so all in all it was a very nice race!
Trail_Du_Mont_ResultatFinal_30