Danmark fra Larkollen

mandag 5. juli 2010

Thuringen Ultra, 100 km, 3.7.10-Race report

Writing this race report a couple of days after I have nothing but good memories from the race. It's a very scenic race that encouters the terrain of Thuringen Wald(forrest) in the heart of Germany. The race consists of one loop starting in Frottstadt and finishing the same place after 100 km in the woods. Mostly on trails, but also on gravel roads and some minor part on asphalt pavement. We started out early-4 a.m-and that was a good move. The heat had been at levels of +30 degrees celsius and it was good to start in a bit chilly atmosphere in the morning. Up to about 10 a.m. the woods shielded the participants from the worst heat. After that, from the second checkpoint at Seligenthal(51 km) we were fully exposed to the heat. The race was very well organized. The markings, support during the race and the atmosphere was excellent. The first part of the course-some 15 km was even marked with read lights in order to help navigating in the early morning. I didn't experience one problem finding the way through the course. The race is apparently appreciated by the locals. When some 15 km was left of the race I saw that many had, on own intitiative, placed out water in order for the participants to refresh themselves. There were also a lot cheering and supportive coments all along the race-both from the participants and from the locals.
The race is divided into four parts. That's because it enables the arranger to facilitate for an additional relay-run. The first part is from the start in Frottstadt to Ruhlaer Skihutte(24km / 15,06 miles). The next place is Floh-Seligenthal(51km / 31,63 miles) . Further on we have Finsterbergen(74 km / 46,33 miles) and finally the finish at Frottstadt(100km / 62,1 miles). The course is pretty demanding-consisting of 2.150 metres of verticals(7.053ft). The race has a total of 17 aid stations with supplies of water and food.
My strategy was to run the flats and decends, and walk the uphills. It was kind of good to start running that early(4 a.m.)-allthough I was sceptical at first. It was about 4 km(2,5 miles) on small roads before we entered the deep of the woods in the morning mist. I felt good running. Having entered the forrest we soon startet to encounter a long ascend up to the first point(Ruhlaer Skihutte). I felt really fit and only had to walk at very steep ascends. I logged in at Ruhlaer Skihutte after 2h 41 56s-an average of 6,46m/km(10,4 min/miles), after gaining a total of 705 m(2.313ft) from the start in Frottstadt.
The second part-from Ruhlaer Skihutte to Floh Seligenthal went also pretty well-though not as well as the first part. The course descends a little right after the beginning, but then start to ascend to the highest point of the part after 35,8km(22,2miles) with an elevation of 778m(2.553ft). After that it's pretty levelled for 1,6km(1mile) and then it descends rapidly down to the second timing point-Floh Seligenthal to 375m(1.232ft). That descend was pretty long-almost 15km(10 miles). I thought it would never end, but knowing pretty well that we were ascending rapidly afterwards I kept the pace as high as I could in order to keep my pace-schedule of 8,0m/km(12,87m/miles). During the last part of the downhill I started to feel some pains in both my knees. This particular pain is familiar to me. It normally appears after I've had a long period of training and races. It normally disappears after a period with no training at all, but I had the remaining half of the run left. Clearly I had to establish a strategy to cope with this for the rest of the race. That was to cool down my feet at regular intervals with water for the rest of the race. The pain didn't disappear, but it only got a bit worse-it was berable. However, I logged in at Seligenthal after 5h 59m 16s. Elevation here is 375m(1.232ft) and the average pace in total now was 7,04m/km(11,3m/miles). Elevation gained from last checkpoint was 457m(1.499ft). I was still within my pace limit, but I had a monstrous ascend to encounter on the third part.
Well then, after some minutes due to natures call and some supplies, I was eager to get going again and not lose to much time on the checkpoint. Shortly after I was encountering the ascend. It kept going until 57,82km(35,93 miless) and peaked at an elevation of 741,3m(2.432ft)-an ascend of 366,3m(1.200ft). I thought it never would end and just managed to run minor parts of it. Right afterwards it was straight downhill to 442m(1.450ft) after 65,4km(40,65 miles). For the first time I experienced problems with running continually down the descends. I had to break it up with small walking parts. My quads were giving me some problems. The pain in my knees were pretty stable as it had been since the second part. I was still determined to finish within my goal of 14h. My strategy to do that was to move forwards with an average pace of no more than 8m/km(12,9m/miles). After some ups and downs I arrived at Finsterbergen-the third check point-situated 74km(46,33miles) out in the race at 9h 33m 59s. After leaving the second point I'd gained an elevation of 637,9m(2.093ft). Average pace so far in total was 7,76m/km(12,5 m/miles). I was a great comfort to realise that I was still ahead of my schedule.
I didn't stay long at Finsterbergen and soon went out for the last part of the race. After 1,6 km of ascend the part pikes at 585,5m(1.921ft). After that it's pretty much downhill. Right then I didn't think that was much of an advantage as both my legs and quads were hurting. However, I'd figured out that in worst case I could powerwalk this race in, but I wanted the time to be as good as possible. I clearly had a better pace than Kristins Runde two weeks ago(the same distance was passed on 10h 42m 38s-50m 55s shorter). The last part of the fourth part-some 16km(10 miles) is out in the fields with no cover for the sun. I managed to run and power walk about half each, but this was the part with my lowest pace, 9,37m/km(15,08m/miles).
It was with a feeling of true accomplishment that I broke the finish line after 13h 26m 44 s-over thirty minutes before my target time, with an average pace of 8,07m/km(12,99m/miles).
Why 14h? Well, it's the qualification time for Western States Endurance Run, and now I'm able to approach that event with an applicant for the lottery.

Some technicals:

Split data:

1. First check point-Ruhlaer Skihutte, after 24 km(15,06 miles):
Total time: 2h 41m 56s
Average pace in total: 6,77m/km(10,89m/miles)
Elevation gained in total: 705m (2.313ft)

2. Second check point-Floh Seligenthal, after 51km(31,63 miles):
Total time: 5h 59m 16s(3h 17m 20s)
Average pace in total: 7,04m/km(11,33m/miles) / (7,33m/km(11,8m/miles))
Elevation gained in total: 1.161,9m(3.812ft) ( 457m(1.499ft))

3. Third check point-Finsterbergen, after 74km(46,33 miles):
Total time: 9h 33m 59s(3h 34m 43s)
Average pace in total: 7,76m/km(12,49m/miles) / (8,9m/km(14,3m/miles))
Elevation gained in total: 1.799,8m(5.905ft) ( 637,9m(2.093ft))
4. Finish line-Frottstadt, after 100km(62,1 miles):
Total time: 13h 26m 44s(3h 52m 45s)
Average pace in total: 8,07m/km(12,99m/miles) / (9,37m/km(15,08m/miles))
Elevation gained in total: 2.186,3m(7.173ft) ( 386,5m(1.268ft))

Total result:
I came in 7th in the category(W40), some 30% after the winner. There were 12 finishers.
Overall I came in 12th of 23 finishers, some 30 % after the winner.
Full results here:

Calories: 6.233kcal

The Garmin logfile can be found at:

Video from the race:

Thueringenultra 2010 from Mayk Hirschfeld on Vimeo.

Average heart rate:  135(173).

-Water: I had lots of water. I would estimate about 10l. I had three peing breaks and two other breaks due to natures call.
-Energy: I used the arranger's supplies with Iso-drink and Coca Cola. i had an intake of 2l of each. In addition I had two bananas and some salty biscuits.
-Total energy intake: ..later..

-Clothes: I ran in short tights and a singlet. They're both from GORE and were excellent as always.
-Shoes: Montrail Masochist. Just wonderful! Doesn't like to much asphalt pavement, but wonderful on the tracks and gravel roads.
-GPS-watch, GF 205: The watch let me know after 11h 45 m that battery was low, but I decided to let it run without bothering to follow instructions on the watch to "enter". The whole race was logged.
-Heart rate watch, Polar S725X: Values were pretty narrowed. I guess the battery capacity is low on the heart-rate monitor. Not representative at all.

Mental part:
It is vital to have a strategy in advance. It is also extremely important to break the race into bits. I consentrated on moving from one check point to the next, from one aid-station to the next and from 1 km to the next. All along I was trying to keep as relaxed as possible, consentraiting on maintaining a good technique. I'd experienced a tension in my elbows during Kristins Runde and this time I let my arms hang straight down in a relaxed manner during parts of the descends. It worked out well. I didnt' experience any similar problems. It was a pretty though race with all the ascends and descends, but I was never in doubt on wether I should finish or not. The question was before or after the targeted finish time. I was truly happy right after crossing the finish line. I haven't felt like that since Kristins Runde. It's worth running just to get that feeling again!
In addition I get a feeling of true pleasure when running through such beautiful terrain as this course was. I know I'm having a great time when time and space just disappears and I'm just being present right there, running. There is no better time in life than that!

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