Sunday, 27 January 2013

Rodgau 50km or 6P's

The purpose of this blog is to record impressions of my races while they are still fresh in my mind and I do not forget the lessons learned, as you will that is quite important. At the end of the Sparta post l outlined four conclusions, three of which were relevant to such a short race.

1) More speed is vital. One of the qualification criteria for Sparta is to be able to run one hundred kilometers in under ten and a half hours. My aim is to improved my fastest time at this distance from eleven hours plus to under ten. I have already found a training plans to improve my fifty and one hundred kilometer times. I will use these and get some good races in during the first half of next year. Getting under seventy kilograms and not using the phone so much might help as well.

2) More fuel is required. Normally I just eat what is on offer at the checkpoints, but a lot of successful guys use gels. I used to use these over ten years ago and they must have improved in that time. I believe I need to start training and using these in races to maintain the speed.

3) Better blister prevention. I can take the pain blisters OK , but anything that helps stop them has got to be good. I use Wright double skin socks, but will experiment with blister tape and toe socks to see what works best.

To address the first point I downloaded a 50km training plan from the Deutsche Ultramarathon Vereinigung (DUV) site. As I had already done a 50 km in 4:55 km I thought the jump to 4:30 would not be so hard. As I was 75 kg at Sparta in September, dropping the 5 kg four months would not be much of an issue. I also bought some GU Gels as recommended by James Elson and experimented with them. They had certainly improved in the last 10 years. The last time I tried them they were tasteless sugary goo that was impossible to swallow, now they come in all sorts of flavors. Regarding the blisters I had taken advice from loads of people and talked to the rep from Wrightsocks, at the Frankfurt Marathon Expo, who suggested a pair of Fuel socks instead of Coolmesh II model. I had also stopped smoking for over four weeks.

The Race
With all that preparation I was feeling very confident, despite the weather conditions. We have had snow and the temperature had not got above freezing in the last couple of weeks. We drove down on our very clear German roads and Chrissy kept me company until after the start. I noticed the temperature was a sunny -5, so the snow would stay solid under foot. The hall of the Rodgau Lauftreff Verein (RLT Rodgau running club) was packed as usual, as this is the first race of the DUV 50km Cup. It regularly draws the crowds and today was no different with nearly a thousand entrants. I saw a few familiar faces from the Spartathlon and some of the German ultras I have done.

The course looked clear enough and well gritted and I thought this will OK My phone was switched off and in my bag back at the hall. The race is very well organised and staffed by the members of the RLT who do an excellent job every year. Indeed it started quiet well and at 25 km I was under 2 hours 15 minutes. Now that is not fast for most of the people who might read this but for me is it very good. I was positively flying.That was when I started running into issues. The snow while thick on the good had not stayed packed and firm and was becoming more difficult to run on. It had not melted and turned to slush either. Instead the top centimeter or so converted to a soft sand like consistency that was very slippery and were sapping the energy from my legs, as I slid on every step.

I was also feeling the effects of lack of training. Yes I know I said I down loaded a training plan. But the thing is that you have to follow the plan and do the training instead of just reading it. In total instead of running 640 km since the beginning of December I had done only 186 km. Also instead of losing 5 kg since Sparta, Christmas had interfered and I had gone up 5 kg.

I tried to maintain the speed but as I went on I got slower and slower. As I tried to run faster the extra spurts only lasted a short while and hurt a lot. I was starting to feel the lactic acid build up, which I had not experienced since after DLL. The first 25 km was done in 2:13 the second in 3:15 making 5:28 in total. Nearly 30 minutes slower than my best time at this distance.
On the positive side I did not feel any blisters and I was rather shocked to see this when I took my socks off.

I contacted Wrightsocks immediately and they now recommend the Stride model to eliminate the hot spot.

In the end very disappointing., but completely my own fault.
Carrying extra weight Dhoo!
Not training Dhoo!
In fact Double Dhoo!
If you have a training plan stick to it.
If you plan to drop weight do it.
Or as the 6P's say Piss Poor Preparation Produces Pathetic Performance.

On to Pfungstadt in March.

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