Tagged ultrarunning

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Race Recap: 6h Of Aalter

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Preparation

A week has already passed, so a recap is long overdue by now!

The race itself took place in the afternoon, which I thought was great, because I could get all the sleep I wanted and do all the food intake I wanted.
So I got up around 7:30 am and started eating some oatmeal, a banana, piece of chocolate and starting drinking water water water.

6uAalterFoodCollection
The food I brought to the race myself.

My brother was going to pick me up at about 10:30 so we could get there early enough, install his stand in time and see the course beforehand.
It went over a track for about 200m, followed by a small but steep uphill, some streets in and out and ended through the building, which was a good find!
This made up for a 2km total, which I hoped to lap about 33 times.

Because of the expected warm weather an extra water/sponges stand was put out at 1km, which meant that water was provided every km, together with my own stand (manned by my brother), this ought to mean that I could be hydrated enough and beat the heat!

The Race – Part 1

The race goal was hitting 66km in 6h.
The way towards this goal was running 11k first hour, 12k 2nd hour, 11k, 12k and then see how I feel with two hours left. In the best of circumstances I would be able to run more than 66km, in worse circumstances I “only” needed 20k in two hours.

From the start my heart rate was up. “Must be the adrenaline”.
Sad thing was, after about 5km it still wasn’t where it should be. Starting around noon (sun high up) and being hot for quite some days (less oxygen) did no good to running conditions, but here I was, so no use to complain about. Just watch the heart rate and keep going!

First hour went fairly uneventful. My brother gave me all the dates I needed and provided me with mental support every lap I did.

Second hour was a “fast hour”, with the heart rate already up, I was somewhat afraid I would go above my threshold. Luckily this wasn’t the case and the hour passed good.
After this I was about to start my last “slow hour” if everything went ok, so I decided to eat a bowl of oatmeal. My biggest fear was hitting the wall, since being out and about this long was new to me. Apparently, this meant my “downfall” as well.
In the first two hours I ate a dozen of dates, some gingerbread, a “melikoek”, some salty nuts and a bowl of oatmeal.

The third hour I drank a lot and ate at a normal rate but my stomach started to acting up.
I don’t know if it was the heat, some dehydration, the nerves, the stress to my body, but my stomach acted up and I decided to switch to mainly drinking for the next “fast hour” of 12k/hour

The Race – Part 2

The first half went really well, with ~34,5km in 3h. I was 0.5km ahead of the pace I wanted and 1.5km ahead of my halfway-goal.
But then I started dropping in pace.

Everything I tried to eat I felt my stomach turning and protesting, big things were not an option at all anymore, so I stuck to sugary drinks and small bites of salty crackers, dates and pieces of gingerbread.

After the fourth hour I seemed to be climbing back from my mental setback and decided to just run it out and see where it took me. 66k was still possible, although it would be pushing myself to the limits.
Legs still felt good, breathing worked, heart rate wasn’t a lot higher compared to the start, but my head started aching and the stomach still was bad.

I couldn’t drink more than I was doing, so the I just had to work with the (minor) headache, but my stomach and the lack of food worried me more.

Halfway the fifth hour, my brother joined in to give me some mental support, this was well needed, as I needed to stop for some time at this point. It was never long, nor was I planning to DNF, but it was rough.
It felt like my body was constantly saying “stop this shenanigans and go rest. Lay in the sun and just relax!”.
But I clenched my teeth and kept going.
Sadly it was clear by now 66km was no longer an option, so I really hoped to get to minimize the damage.

The last 1.5h was clenched teeth, as less thinking as possible, taking my time to drink at the aid stations and just keep going.

For my final laps I decided to skip the aid station and just get out of it wat was possible.
At 6h they blew the whistles and I stranded at a decent 64.6km.
Glad I could stop I threw myself on the grass ๐Ÿ™‚

 

The aftermath

According to my watch I had about 1km extra, which means I didn’t follow the perfect track, but did get me closer to my desired goal.
Officially I stranded at 64.664km.
This lands me at 14th place of the 93 men, 16th of the 107 men+women.
The winner landed 73.102km, which puts my goal-shortage in perspective, seeing this 6h run already had winners of 80km and more.

It feels somewhat strange to not getting my goal, but all in all I’m happy.
There will be other races and everything is the road to the ultimate goal of 100k ๐Ÿ˜€

One week after the race I still feel tired, but the legs and body feel recuperated.
I did 2x4k last Thursday, which went so-so, that’s when I decided to wait until today for my next run.

Statistics @ 6h Aalter Strava & 6h Aalter Endomondo!

Counting Down To My 6h Race!

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Nerves are rising, mileage is dropping and I’m eating carbs carbs carbs, I guess this can only mean one thing: it’s TAPER TIME!

Monday I did a slow run from an hour and I’m planning to do the same tonight, Friday a small half hour and Saturday is game time!

6h of running a 2km lap and hoping I manage to do it at least 33 times!

Writing this down already makes my heart pound, hope Saturday I can keep the adrenaline to a minimum ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Running100kAWeek

Running 100k A Week

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In order to optimally prepare for my 6h race that’s coming up I felt I had to step up my game and run more distance per week.
Feeling comfortable with 100k a week was the goal to achieve, but never before having run 100k in one week, this was somewhat challenging.

For me it was a somewhat magical line, that’s why I want to share my experiences with you all.

Make sure you do it in enough runs

Don’t go out as a madman and keep on running until you practically collapse so you only have to do three runs for making it to 100k.
There are seven days in a week and with the rule of thumb of ‘the long run = 1/3 of your total week’ you can even have a rest day (or two) if you plan properly.
I commuted by run to work and easily could go for a 20k a day without really tapping into my family time.

Rest afterwards

Afterwards being the week after.
Especially after breaking the barrier a first time you’ll feel tired. No problem, take a calm week and go back to your comfortable week distance.

Don’t overdo your long run

Sort of covered this in the first point, but don’t go out and suddenly do a long run that’s double as long as your normal long run. Your system, joints, muscles just won’t take it…

Skip the interval/high intensity for a while

70% of my runs were in my lowest heart rate zone (~60% max heart rate), the rest was one zone higher (~70% max HR).
I steered clear of intervals and high intensity for a while, because tomorrow and the day after and the day after … I needed to go running again ๐Ÿ™‚

Listen to your body, as always!

I cannot repeat this enough in all of my “advice” posts.
Listen to your body! Always!
Pain is bad, not just an annoyance.
It’s normal to feel stiff or sore, but pain (stabbing, constant, …) pain is a clear signal that you’re not ready yet.Trim down for a while and try again.

It’s more than running alone.

Once you’re at the point of 100k a week you should know that your body benefits from more than running alone.
Clean, healthy eating and a decent amount of sleep (~+1h per week for every 10km) is paramount if you run distances and as frequent as this.

Make it your new comfort zone

This was my goal, feel comfortable running this much so it doesn’t feel like “having to”
At some point I ran 300k in three weeks and yes my body needed rest after that, but every day I went for “just another run”, which felt nice.

 

Did you break 100k a week? Was it as much planning for you as it was for me?
Or do you have another ‘mental barrier’ that you want to break in one week someday?

Evaluate

Goals For 2015: Halfway Evaluation

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Hooray July! Welcome summer!
We’re halfway through 2015, so it’s time for an overview of my goals for 2015.
3 months ago my quarterly evaluation could be better so let’s see if it’s already better.

2 ultra distances RedCross
Nope, not even one ultra yet.
At least, not in a race. Furthest training has been 46km, so technically I’ve done an ultra already, but I’d say it doesn’t count.
Next week will be my 6h race, so first one is definitely covered!

+2500km of runningRedCrosscheckmark

I have not yet covered 2500km, but I am ahead of schedule, so I’m hopeful.
I should have done 1250km by now and already covered 1476km, which meant I’ve done a whopping 1020km since April ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

Break distance record (currently ~57km) RedCross

Nay, let’s keep them fingers crossed for July 11

Break duration record (currently 5:51) RedCross
See above ๐Ÿ™‚

Nice-to-haves:

  • PB on the 5k RedCross
  • PB on the 10k RedCross
  • Marathon under 3:20 RedCross
  • Run a nice trail just to enjoy the scenery (chance is, I’ll already get this at the end of January) checkmark

I did the last one with Trail Du Mont and will do it again with Trail Des Fantomes in August.
Funny thing is that ‘PB on HM’ is not included above, but I did achieve this already this year...

 

So how are your Goals going for 2015? Will you make it or do they need some adjusting?

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™‚

100kSmall

100k In One Week!

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The commuting on foot has started last week and because of all the good weather and the “hey-it’s-new” spirit I added some extra mileage and everyday and just like that something happened that I have been dreaming of for a while now: the 100km in one week came in sight.

After Friday I was already at ~65k and I knew that Saturday I was running at least 25k at the HMS Vindictive Memorial Run. This meant coming short 10k in total.

Option 1 was adding an extra 10k to the Memorial Run.
Option 2 was running on Sunday.

As I started feeling that my body needed some rest, option 2 was soon out of the window, which meant I laced up an hour early for my race and headed out. The start was in my hometown, so I could run to the start point to get my bib.
Unfortunately, there was a queue at the bib-stand, which meant I still needed 2k after the 25k from the race.
Luckily there was an opportunity at the end to add an extra loop to my run, which I did and just like that I got to 100k in one week!

100kWeekStrava
Strava proof of my 100k week ๐Ÿ™‚

So Happy ๐Ÿ™‚

I felt more tired this week, so it’s clear my body needs adapting to higher mileage weeks, but I really would like to run some more weeks like this before I tackle another ultra…

How much do you run a week?
Do you have a “dream” distance you’d like to get to?

My Step To Ultra

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As you might have read on my blog here before I’ve run a marathon in October 2013. (Posts here, here and here, race recap here).
Seeing that the marathon is a mighty big goal, I lacked motivation once finished to continue running for a while.
I still enjoyed it, it helped me relax etc, but feeling that I had nothing to achieve gnawed at me apparently.
This went on for about four months and then I got invited to join a noncompetition trail run at half an hour drive away.
I went there with a couple of friends whom I never met before in real life, but chatted a lot online.

The run was 25km (~15.5 miles) with some nice hills and about 85% off-road. Nothing too hard, but much more enjoyable than constant asphalt.
We went out at about 5:30min/km and roughly continued at this pace the entire run.
Coming towards the finish I still felt very strong and had the feeling I was able to add a lot more distance if it were necessary.
The day after I wasn’t too sore, nothing worse than a tough interval day.

It than came to me that ultra maybe was possible.
If 25km went this easy, I felt obligated to myself to give it a shot.

We’re talking March-April 2014 here and after some looking around on the Internet I found a nice and easy 50k run at Maasmechelen at the end of June.
It consisted of 4 laps and knowing my daughter was coming (turned out to be April 15), I thought this the best for my girlfriend. This way she could come along and see me a couple of times passing without having to drive around herself.

So this meant I needed to start training.
For my marathon I hadn’t really followed a strict training plan, so I figured I wouldn’t look for one now either.

I focused on upping my mileage steadily with some stabilization now and then. Once again, being a ‘new dad’ meant I had to compromise towards my running (with pleasure off course :-), so I only had the time for 2 runs in the week and one long run in the weekend.
In the end I started with:

  • 1 run in my Zone 1 (Heart rate zones, see here…) for 70 minutes
  • 1 run in my Zone 2 for 70 minutes
  • Long run of 22km

And decided to go with:

  • 1 week adding 5 minutes to my Z1/Z2 runs
  • 5k adding (first time 3 to come at a proper distance) to my long run
  • Running the same as the week before

Rinse and repeat…

I had 12 weeks to go and managed to follow it quite strictly

50k schema
My schema

Ending with a 40k run, which was 80% of the distance made me feel confident about the race to come.

Race report coming in a later post, hope you enjoyed ๐Ÿ™‚

2015goals

Goals For 2015

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I gave it a lot of thought and decided on my running goals for 2015.
The major doubt was if I could spent as much or more time in 2015 on running, but after putting the schedules together, J. and I decided it was an option, with a peak somewhere near summer as one of the major possibilities.

So here it is, my goals for 2015:
2 ultra distances
And in these 2 I plan to take on one at least one trail, which means about 90% off-road.
This is nothing extra from 2014 per se, but more to follow ๐Ÿ™‚

+2500km of running
2500km ~= 1553miles.
2014 I’ll strand on 2274km (~1413 miles) give or take.
I planned for 2014km in 2014, and I obviously went way over.
My goal means an average of 210km (~130mi) per month, so this is no small goal.
If I run like this year and make sure I don’t have “down” months like Jan or Feb, it’s definitely possible!

Break distance record (currently ~57km)
Running further in one race or another would sure add to a nice year.

Break duration record (currently 5:51)
This goes for the duration as well.
I’m strongly doubting to run a 6hour run in 2015, if I should do this, I’ll definitely break both.

I have some nice-to-haves as well. It would be great to get these as well, but they are not really complementary to the above goals, so it would be logical if I wouldn’t get them.

  • PB on the 5k
  • PB on the 10k
  • Marathon under 3:20
  • Run a nice trail just to enjoy the scenery (chance is, I’ll already get this at the end of January)

Be sure to link me up to your goals for 2015, I’d love to read about them!