Friday, June 16, 2006

My last longer run before race day

Yesterday was a holiday in Germany so I had a chance to do my run a little earlier than normal. I had an early lunch and left about 1 p.m. and drove to the town of Langensteinbach and parked next to the firehouse on the edge of town. One of the control points for the 80K race is located around the firehouse.

It was 32C/90F, bright, sunny, and very humid. The fire house was located at the base of my first climb for the day. I strapped on my CamelBak, warmed up a little by jogging around the small parking lot, then headed up the hill. It was a short, but steep climb, I was already sweating by the time I reached the top – darn humidity! By the top of the hill I was in the forest and the air was thick and almost stifling, I felt like I could slice it with a knife.

The route flattened out some as I continued through the forest, then started gradually climbing to the town of Ittersbach (the second hill for the day). By the fourth kilometer I started heading out over the fields, still climbing gradually. There was no wind, no shade, just sun, heat and humidity. I kept the pace down, made sure I drank a lot from my CamelBak and plodded on. At least there was lots to look at, a riding club with some teenagers practicing their horse riding, lots of bicycle riders’s, a few brave walkers and a beautiful view of the valley below as I made my way to the top of the hill and edge of Ittersbach.

As I entered Ittersbach the path almost fell out from under me, a steep downhill walk into town. I continued through town, then climbed out on the other side, my third major climb for the day. Although it was a little more gradual than my first climb it was over open fields and seemed to go on forever, I was dripping buckets of sweat by the time I reached the top. By this time I could feel the heat zapping the energy out of my soul, despite drinking regularly. I decided it was time for a walk break.

I walked down a short downhill section, it was beautiful – below me was all open fields, a couple farms and in the near distance a short hill with the town of Langenalb nestled on top. In the background were the foothills of the Black Forest, so beautiful, and of course I forgot my camera again, duh.

I did find a picture on the Internet that was taken in the same direction that I was looking, it pretty much illustrates what I saw:

I could see that the next hill was nothing to worry about, so I decided to turn around and head back, I’d been gone almost an hour. I knew the return hill climb out of Ittersbach was going to be challenging in this heat. So I started running again, first down an enjoyable downhill, then through town and then about halfway up the steep hill out of the town. The combination of the heat and humidity and the steep hill climb stole my will to continue running, I walked up to the top. I looked like a drowned river rat by the time I got to the top, I was dripping buckets of sweat. I continued to walk long enough to drink the rest of the two liters dry from my Camelbak – 5K to go and out of fluid – yikes!

I started running again, but kept the pace down. Luckily the running was easier now, first downhill then through the forest. I had only one small hill climb left, then a short downhill to my car.

Luckily, I had a couple liter-water bottles in my car, I polished the first off as I tried to cool down a little in the shade.

As I sat on the bumper of my station wagon, shirtless, still sweating like a rain forest, an older couple walked by. We exchanged greetings and as they continued on I heard the woman say to the man something about how crazy I was to be running on a day like today. I agree, but if race day is like this than I know what to expect and hopefully my body will be slightly more tolerant of the heat due to my training.

Anyway, I went somewhere around 18K/11M in about 2 hours. This was a fairly decent pace considering the heat.

On Saturday I want to run my normal 14K/8.7M route and next week a couple shorter runs. Eight days until race day!

What a pretty area, and good for you for mimicking race conditions! It sounds like a good run!
Wow, that's beautiful. You're a machine, too - no clue how you keep up the mileage...
Awesome area to run. Have a great weekend!
woo hoo! good job heat training. only 8 days!
The pictures shows the paradise but the elevation profile the hell.
Good job on your 18k.
The view is breathtaking, Jack! I chuckled about the older woman telling her husband you were crazy for running in the heat. hehe

I think we can all relate to craziness and running in the heat at some point. :)
Nice pictures:)
I can't believe the race is so soon!!! You're going to do great.
Thanks for the photos. I do my travelling vicariously through you! I can't imagine running through such beauty...and heat!
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