Sunday, June 11, 2006

A 3:50:00 Long Run and a 20K Run/Walk

Where does the weekend go?

Saturday morning I was up at 4 a.m., left the house at 4:30 and was running in the neighboring town of Weingarten by 4:50. It was already 17C/63F as I started up the first hill. I had wanted to drive another 30 minutes to a different town (Singen) that is along the 80K course, but I had to be back by 9:00 a.m. so that we could drive to the Black Forest for a wedding reception. So I decided to redo the stretch that I ran last Saturday, plus an extra 5-10K, depending on how much time I had.

I felt pretty good has I headed over the hill, the rolling hills on top and down the other side of the mountain into the town of Johlingen in the next valley. To save time I didn’t take any walk breaks, but just kept moving. As I headed up the second major climb I paused at the top to eat a gel and walk for two minutes, this was somewhere around the 1½ hour point.

Twenty minutes later I finished the last of the rolling hills on top of the second mountain and found my self on a plateau overlooking the fields and town of Singen below. I had planned on running to Singen, but I was already 1:53:00 on the way and I needed to turn around and head back.

So on back the way I came, through Johlingen and up the hill on the other side. Last week this hill climbing out of town reduced me to a walk. This week I ran the whole length and continued on another 10 minutes before finally taking a walk break to eat another gel and a sports bar. This time I walked maybe 4 minutes. But then I was off again, back over the rolling hills and down the mountain. I arrived at my car with a time of 3:50:18. After walking a few minutes to cool down, I stretched a little then hurried home. I walked in the door at 8:59, whew that was close.

It was a good run, I guess I ran close to 32K/20M including several pretty good hill climbs. It is also important to mention that I only took about a third of the normal walk breaks that I do.



Sunday

My wife wanted to study this afternoon so ended up with some extra training time. Normally I go swimming around lunch time, but as it has been getting quite warm lately I thought I should spend some time outside in the heat. I decided to check out a 10K stretch of the 80K route – from Singen to Langensteinbach. As I had just ran 20 miles yesterday and my race is less than 2 weeks away I decided that I should walk it – which I figured would take about 3 hours.

After lunch I got out my shorts and tank top, running shoes and drink belt and drove to Singen (about 30 minutes away). I found a shady park place near the soccer stadium on the edge of town and got ready to walk. It was already around 27C/81F, sunny, warm and beautiful. From the stadium I spent a couple minutes looking for the right trail using a topographic map that I downloaded from the race website.

After finding the trail I walked for a couple minutes, then the trail turned and started climbing. I decided to run to the top of the hill. Seven minutes later I reached the top and switched back to walking. The climb was steep for the first minute or two, but then became more gradual – nothing to worry about during the race.

The downhill portion ended in the town of Mutschelbach and I walked through the town and started a gradual ascent as I left the town. The race route follows an asphalt bike path paralleling the main road for about 2K before turning left than right onto a trail through the forest. This trail in turn leads to the next town.

So backing up a bit, the walk through Mutschelbach and on to the forest trail was open, no shade, so I got the acclimation training that I was seeking. I guess it was in the mid-80’s (30C) by this time.

One I turned onto the forest trail it was about 1K (half mile) to the next town Langensteinbach. The name of the town translates loosely into “a long stoney stream”, and the town was exactly this, a long cobblestoned street snaking its way up the valley. I walked for 2K before reaching the edge of town.

By this time I had going for about 1:20:00. The next hill was still about 20-30 minutes away, which would mean I would be coming home much later than I had told my wife. I decided to turn around and head back.

After walking back through Langensteinbach and reaching the forest trail, I decided to jog for a few minutes. It felt so good that I ended up running most of the way back to my car. I ended up walking maybe 14K8/M and running at least 6K/4M – something like that anyway.

More important was that it gave me 2 hours 15 minutes outside in the heat of the day. As we have had a really cool spring it is important that I get used to the heat before the race. It is supposed to remain quite warm at least for the next 4-5 days. It is very likely that we will also have temperatures around 30C/86F for the race as well.

Comments:
So true, it takes a good two weeks to get adjusted to the heat! Be careful.
 
Great job on the running! The heat can be SUCH a factor! Have a great weekend!
 
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