Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Rostock Firmenlauf

Today was the Firmenlauf.. firms race basically, a team race over 7km. The course is 2 x 3.5 km loops up and down Rostocks waterfront. It was an absolutely scorcher of a day, 27 C but really humid, I'd been out for 7 miles at lunch so spent all afternoon drinking water, trying to rehydrate.

I was running for City Sports, the local sports shop in a mixed team, organised by Carsten, one of my regular training partners, and Marie from the gym and another girl.

With Paul and Ts'otleho running 3rd was going to be as good as it got, we set off at 3:30 min k's and I felt comfortable, a few came with us but after a 3 k we were on our own and eventually they pulled away to finish in 22:50, I finished 3rd in 24:10, with Carsten 4th. We won the mixed and Paul and Tsotlehos team won the mens team event.

I held 5:25 for the first two miles and felt fine, but the last 2.4 miles were 5:50 or a tad slower, the heat and humidity really affected us all.

City sports provided us with a nice vest, bag and nice socks for the running the event which was nice of them.

Our running group filled 5 of the top 6 so it was a good show. We finished with a swim in the river. I saw 4 people collapsed after the race, it was pretty brutal conditions, but with 500 runners in that heat it was probably to be expected.


Event website:

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Heide trail running

A core part of our training in Rostock is the Rostocker Heide, a huge forest which spans for miles just outside of the city. The forest has a wealth of fantastic wide trails, some sandy, some soily, some grass, some metalled. With the costal setting we often have strong winds but the forest provides us protection from the wind, shelter from the sun (so bad it can even affect our GPS signals) and soft trails to get the miles in.

At least twice a week Ts'otleho, Carsten and I run in the forest, normally Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings for 20-30 km runs; following an easy 2 miles we then pick up the pace and normally run 6:10-6:20 minute miles for the various loops that we now have sorted. Just excellent training. The first time in there with Ts'otleho we averaged 4:00 minute k's (about 6:30 min miles) and it killed me, and today we averaged 3:52 (6:18 min miles), the aim is by Berlin we're covering the same loop at an average of 3:45 min km (6:02 min miles).. we'll see.. great running in the group and we're getting the miles in.

Today was the first day of week 6 of a 6 week block of structured 90-100 mile weeks before I start the two week taper to the World Trail Running Champs (with the standard drop of 70% and 40% load over the final 2 weeks, maintaining sharp work), it always feels hard work but its been 90 miles with a lot of quality, so I should expect to feel fairly battered.

Strava link for today's run is in the RH column, only 20k today but pace built throughout, the others have Hamburg Half Marathon next Sunday - Ts'otleho is aiming for sub 65 minutes, and it's only a week after Chojnik Marathon for me, so a shorter hard session suited.

Photos from a recent recce of new areas of the Heide.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

GB selection

My aims this year were run sub 7:25 in the 100k and target GB selection.

I've probably missed out on the GB selection for the 100k but submitted my resume to be selected for the GB team for the IAU World Trail Running Championsips in Llanrwst, North Wales. A 75 km race with 2000m+ of ascent

Its now been confirmed that I've made the GB team for the event.

Hence Chojnik. And hence high miles again.. the weeks have been spent running 90-100 miles a week and I'm feeling good for it, 2 more high miles weeks then start the taper for the event on July 6th.

After that Berlin Marathon will dominate my planning.

I have a regular weeks training now, this is:

Monday steady 10 miler,
Tuesday, 12 km in a group, 8 km at 6:20 min miles, 4k at 5:20 min miles
Wednesday, 20km 6:20 min miles in the forest
Thursday: track session.. km reps.. 2 k’s that sort of thing
Friday: 10 mile trail run, hilly trail loop.
Saturday: 15 mile trail run or race
Sunday: If no race 16-20 mile trail, 6:30 min mile pace.

Chojnik Marathon

Plans have changed a lot this year and I wanted to find a good long hilly run as training for an upcoming event. Searching the web I found a mention of a new mountain race in Poland, in the Krkonose Mountains, called Chojnik marathon, 46km, 2200m ascent.

I drove down Friday after work, getting there around 11pm, at first I couldnt find the village, then I struggled to find the race HQ.. eventually I saw the start line and parked up, spending the night in my tent in 2 foot high grass.

The race started at 9 and it was a lovely sunny morning, from 6 am I was lay out on my thermarest sleeping and reading my book, relaxing ready for the race. I felt tired but I'm in a 6 week block of 90-100 mile weeks so that was expected. The start is always daunting at new events, you are trying to work out who's a threat and everyone looked scarily fit..

I always keep to myself before a race and don't really get caught up in the hype and bullshit at the start line, as the pre-race briefing was in Polish I skipped that.. it turns out he was explaining the course was different to the one advertised and the one on the map I printed out... I ran with a bumbag, we had to carry a phone and ID because of the border. There was 5 food stops, now 4, with plenty of fruit and drinks at each one.

The start was fairly quick, I sat in third an two guys went ahead, it climbed pretty quick and I felt good, it was a few minutes up then a quick descent, where I dropped a place and then a steep climb where I got my place back, already I'd noticed my descending was shite. On the next flat section I caught the lead pair and we ran together up the first major climb of 1000m. The two opened up a gap, but I felt good, comfortable but didn't want to push too hard. The hill must have been about 10% gradient, very runnable, some steeper sections. Despite not having run on a hill in months I felt good climbing and this continued all day.

The temps had now dropped and thunder filled the skies. In the forest it was muggy so I was topless for most of the race.

I followed the two as we climbed over a col, into the Czech republic and a long 3 mile traverse with a final short climb to the highest point on the race, around 1450m elevation. In the cloud I could no longer see the leaders but when I popped out they were gone. From the vantage point i could see a good few km and noone was in sight.. I thought I'd slowed but it turned out they'd missed the turn.

The route was flagged, but only sporadically, but all major turns were flagged, but often only once, so if you missed one you were gone. On this long descent I lost quite a bit of time but I was careful not to get injured. We then entered a technical river bed, covered in moss, wet rocks, roots, it was awful. Soon enough, as I expected I heard foot steps as the lad behind caught me as we approached the third food stop. I soon opened up a gap and as we ascended the 2nd major climb I opened up a good gap which was my aim as I knew he'd catch me but I felt confident if I could stay in touch I'd get him on the final climb to the hill top finish at Chojnik Castle.

This second climb, in the pic below, was steep, walking steep, but we climbed fast, the map showed we had a short traverse then descend right.. as it was the new route went  the other way along the ridge, and then down left after a good few K more.. I was a bit thrown here and at the next col, unsure of the route waietd for the lad in second, as I now realised we decending the way up, which wasn't on the map I had.. this was the new route. The long 3 mile descent was very quick but non-technical so we ran together to food stop 4 and for another few km. Then on the latter climbs I really started to push and he fell back. It was then a final quick descent before a short steep climb to the castle, even at the end I felt strong on the climbs so that was pleasing. Getting the win in 4:11.. I reckon sub 4 would be comfortable if I'd have known the route, running a race blind is a gamble.

Great race, well organised, nice prizes, full support and for an on the day price of 160 zloty, around 35 quid, its quite reasonable.

Photos below of the race and finish off the race Facebook page.