Monday 14 August 2017

The big dirty 37k

Pretty amazing race today, as I'm heading out for the last and longest run of my training before the M-Day.

According to most training plans, it's not wise to run more than 32k when preparing for a marathon. In the end, you are not better prepared and you take more risks of getting injured. I agree with that, but only if you see the marathon as the ultimate goal, a race where you'll give all you have before resting for a few weeks.

In my case, I want the marathon to be just another step on my way to the ultra, and I consider it a long run... Just a bit longer and harder than usual! I intend to keep on running and prepare for a 50k, after a reasonable amount of rest. I am therefore pushing the distance, as I have done until now, following a stepped progression. It's a big step after my 30k and 34k, let's see how it goes.

It's a sunny and windy Sunday, I feel rested and ready. I prepared a nice route that shall bring me up to and along the lake, a variation of my 34k. The path through the forest is delightful. I'm completely alone. Good pace and steady heart rate below 150bpm. I reached the lake after an easy 18k. This time I didn't forget the extra tree shirt, really enjoyable to slip in a fresh one while the other dries on the backpack.

I know the lake banks pretty well, peaceful place full of young couples lazing around and old people sunbathing naked... Better keep your eyes on the trail! The sand makes my progression a bit trickier. I resist the urge to dive into the fresh water. Maybe next time if I don't forget the towel!

Damn it, it's Sunday, stores are closed... I do a break at the train station to buy overpriced water from the machines. Once filled up, I'm heading home. 21k, still 16 to go! My legs start hurting. As said before, my foot seems completely healed, but my calves are not happy! I loose myself in new areas. 
I hit the wall as usual around 30k. I am more than convinced that it's a nutrition issue. At the end of the race, I will have burned more than 2500 calories (enough to fuel a woman's body for a full day). I NEED to catch-up and refuel my body on the go. The 28-32k segment is intense and painful. I do a long stop, forcing myself to eat and drink. 

I feel better already and I cover the last 5k slowly, heartbeat now stuck at 170bpm, which means that I am now running on carbs. This is not good, as my carbs levels are probably dangerously low and my brain feed on them only. If I push the distance without refuelling, I will end up with cramps and my body will refuse to go any further.

I arrive at the train station after a bit more than 37km and 4:40 on the road. Not only is this run the second longest in distance of my life, but it's also the longest in time, as I did 4:17 at my first marathon. I'm exhausted but I'm sure that I could cover the remaining 5k. But that's for the big day in 4 weeks! Because now it's resting time. Bring on the taper madness :)

A few thought I had on the way, to improve my runs:

  • My backpack is way too heavy. It's not really made for running and it's about 3kg once I fill it up with 1,5L of water, food and spare clothing. I'm carrying too much weight around and I have sore shoulder muscles at the end. I'm planning to ask Santa for a super light running backpack. 
  • I'm still working on the ideal (and cheap) drink. I added electrolytes lately but I feel that proteins are a must too.
  • As said, I need to bring real food and high-calories snacks on the road: peanut butter sandwich, avocado, potatoes in olive oil, or the like. Two power bars and a banana surely are not enough to refuel on the way.
  • Finally, I feel that my calves are the first thing to give up on me. I need to train them everyday, skipping rope should help. I'll try it after my vacation.

Monday 7 August 2017

Easy 25k to get some rest

"You shall get some rest, for any long run will bring a longer one."
- wisdom saying I just made up

This week I'm trying to rest! After my 34k  and before running longer, I need a few days off, to cool down body and soul. I ran a small 6k on Thursday and I'm planning about 24k for this Saturday.
Sunny and windy day as I like them. Still exploring the area between Hoppegarten and Müggelsee, im heading there at a steady 7'00 pace. I feel better than a week ago, my heartbeat stabilises at 150bpm. No pain in my feet, it's amazing to see how it improved in the last long runs, to almost disappear completely.

Om nom nom

No difficulty on the road. I'm starting to know these new trails pretty well... But I still get lost or need to go back sometimes! A bit of rain on my way back. I score a 2h27' at the marathon, I'm improving!
I'm finishing with a bit more than 25k at my watch, nice run overall. I feel ready for next week, when I'm planning to finish a 36 or 38k. This will be my last long run before tapering during the last 3 weeks up to the marathon. In one month I will be officially a 2-times marathoner =)

Thursday 3 August 2017

34km straight to Müggelsee

It's a sunny day, let's head straight to the lake!

It's been a while since I'm planning to run up to Müggelsee lake again. I know it well for running a few times in the area, around the lake and I even reached it from home three years ago. But at that time I took the fastest way and followed roads, whereas I want to trail run up there this time.
I didn't do it recently, as it is quite far from home, about 17km away, if I stick to trails. But this time I feel ready to cross and explore the 30's!

The day is perfect, sunny and windy, no storm threatening like last time. I have been feeling tired the whole week and I ran twice already, so I'm thinking it's going to be no piece of cake... Packed with water and food, I hit the road. I simplified my route to take the shortest way through the forest.
As feared (but also as usual) I feel tired straight from the beginning. Heartbeat is over 150, my legs feel heavy. I go really easy, waiting for my body to warm up. I realise it's a very hot day and I forgot to put suncream... Fortunately I'm mostly running in the forest. After the first 5km, I feel better already.

A long straight route through the forest carries me to the lake. For the first time I'm able to breathe deeply and slow down my heartbeat below 160. I guess the air in the forest is pure and loaded with oxygen. Another good reason to keep away from cars and roads!

I reach the lake shortly after 14km. What a view, I can't get tired of it! Everyone is sunbathing, drinking cocktails and eating ice cream... While I need to turn around and head back home already ;(


After as short break to buy some drinks and food, I'm on my way back. I can feel in my legs that the break was actually a bit to long. It's damn hard to restart the engine! 

I'm following a slightly different route, very green and exotic, I love it. Still passing by the shooting range, I can't say that I'm completely reassured and I speed up the pace. About pace, I'm averaging a bit over 7:20, because of my break. I don't mind, I just wanna finish.

I hit the wall around 30km. I feel suddenly tired, my heartbeat rises over 170 and doesn't calm down, even when I walk. Heavy legs, ankles hurting, short breath. I also have belly aches after eating my two cliff bars, which may be a bit hard to digest. Still 4km to go, I know I can finish but I'm not sure I could run much further. Damn marathon so close but still unreachable!

I cover the last kilometers at a very slow pace, happy to be done. I'm running out of water, I drank the full 3L I had in the backpack. I think 1L/10km really is a minimum and I shouldn't drink less than this, especially with this weather. Apart from that, nothing to complain. I'm all tan because I was running topless most of the time. Better not forget the suncream next time, I need a pick-up list on my door! I notice some chafing occurred in by back and I have a square of red burning skin where the backpack is sliding. I need a better one, but that's for another time!

Overall a new amazing victory and long distance record. Note that I didn't mention my foot until now! That's because I barely felt any discomfort there the whole time. I'm really close to a full recovery. See you soon for new exciting adventures :)