Sunday, October 09, 2005

Brandenkopf Mountain Run Race Report

My little bitty old 10K race was nothing compared to the excitement from all the HM and M happening this weekend. Congratulations everybody!

Short version of race report: I ran my first mountain trail run, it kicked my butt, I would do it again!

The Details:

We left Saturday after lunch and drove to the town of Zell am Harmersbach where the race was held, this is about an hour and half from our town. We checked into the hotel and hurried over to the sport center just in time to see the start of the German Mountain Running Championship which ran on Saturday. There were about 90 men and 50 women competing for the German Championship in their respective class. The people are the best mountain runners in Europe, awesome, made me feel real humble in their presence.

We had a quiet dinner at the hotel and tried to get to bed early. I had a restless sleep; my wife was not sleeping very soundly due to a bad cold, so I kept waking up too.

In any case we here up at 7 a.m. this morning, took care of things, had a good breakfast and checked out about 9:45. My race was scheduled to start at 11:00 so we packed up the car and headed over to the sport club where the event was held.

Basically my condition before the race was clogged sinuses, runny nose, tired legs (probably from the running and swimming on Friday night) and kind of tired. My wife made the suggestion that I don’t run. Hmmm, nah, I’ll just go slowly!

Anyway at 11:00 a.m. 292 runners headed over the start line. The first kilometer was relatively flat, leading out of town and over the fields. I past the 1K marker at 5:05 (8:11/M pace). Then we started slowing running up some gentle hills leading to the forest. I pasted the 2K marker at 10:49, a pace of 5:41/K (9:09/M). From about the 2.5K point to about the 4.5K point we climbed about 250 meters in elevation, the longest and steepest climb on the course. This totally kicked my butt! By the time I made it to the flat stretch at the end of this climb I was walking. My nose was running like a waterfall, I was coughing up weird green looking stuff and my legs felt like I should have been done already.

From this point on the race course alternated between 1K stretches of more or less flat parts followed immediately by at least a kilometer long hill climb. I passed the 5K marker in about 33 minutes, not bad considering. To make a long story short I managed to keep moving on the gentler parts of the course, but fought for every meter of hill climb to the finish line.

My final time 1:15:44. As I never ran a mountain run before I have nothing to compare it too. I finished 250th out of 292 runners, I actually thought I was last as I crossed the finish line.

All and all I found the run to be a tremendous learning experience. I made up a short list:

- The common cold can wreck havoc on your conditioning during a normal run, during a mountain run it will beat you to death!
- Do not, under any circumstances, start out too fast with a mountain run – it will break you!
- The hills that I train on are anthills in comparison to what I ran today!
- Mountain run, at least the competitive ones available in Germany should not be taken lightly; a special training program is required to be competitive.

I have a tremendous respect for the runner’s that I saw today. It was very obvious who was an experienced mountain runner and who was not. These people are fit! Base on the starting list most of the runners came town with lots of opportunity for mountain training! I was one of the few from a flat region.

I definitely want to do another mountain run, but next time I know I need to devote some time to building up my stamina.

We took lots of pictures, I will try to post them in the next day or two.

You conquered the hills! Congrats!

You are a brave man for taking on such a challenge!

(and P.S. if you are coughing up green stuff, that might mean you have more than just a cold. Possibly an infection. Might want to look in to that!)
So now you are running mountains??? Way to go Jack. You continue to surprise me! Thanks for all the supportive comments...I'm still icing and resting...but really loving that I finished. You should be so proud this this new effort, too!!
Awesome stuff. I don't run mountains but I do love trail runs. Great job Jack!
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