Sunday, February 3, 2013

Rodgau 50km Ultra Marathon

My good friend Joachim had told me about his race. He made it sound so inviting…. “It is 10x round a 5km course and it is always bloody cold!”. People that know me know just how much I love the cold…. Not. Anyway as the weather had been really warm, only -1 I thought it would be great and should be fun. I would use the event as some nice training and it is always great to get a good 50km under your belt nice and early. 

As the time got closer to the event it also got colder! Rodgau seemed to get slammed with cold and snow. The weather predicted -7 for race day! I had a couple of easy days leading up to the event and because I was going to ran as part of a 3 person team,  I wanted to run well. The weather is what scared me, and I don’t like the cold. 

The night before the race was great I met Joachim for a fast beer (maybe I wouldn’t recommend this before an “A” race) and talked about the next day. In the morning I met  Joachim and we headed off to the race.  It was a wonderful -5 with a lot of ice and snow. The car park was dangerous and a number of runners fell over just getting their numbers. 

Once we got to the start we realized just how hard the day was going to be. It was bloody cold and the 5km loop had a lot of snow on it, made up from 1.5km road and 3.5 off road farm track. The 1.5km road was clear of snow and you could run at a good pace. Of course after the first 500m on the road was the only aid station, so that meant by getting a drink or food you would waste that nice part of the course. Then the 3.5km was on snow.  Not nice hard compact snow.  No, 3-6cm of non-grip  snow.  They had every km marked which was great! And my Garmin was agreeing most of the time with where the markers were. 

So the run down - I had wanted to do an average of 5min/km and run a consistent pace for the race. I was running a little faster than this and feeling good for the first 25km. I had hoped that a hard paced track would form and in a couple of short places it did, but the problem became passing people. I started too far back in the field and passing on the snow was hard, and after the start of my 3rd lap I started to lap runners. It took a lot of energy to run past in the deepest snow, and even harder when people were running in groups. Still it was a great work out. The second half got hard! The track was more mushed up and I was passing runners more often. I found it harder and harder to keep my speed up in the snow and then taking on food and drinks I lost some time on the road section. I found in the snow trying to run faster just meant losing even more grip and not ending up much faster. On the road I was easily under 4:50min/km pace, just in the snow conditions I couldn’t keep my efficiency high enough. Still from my fastest lap to my slowest I lost about 3.5mins, which was in the snow and walking while drinking in the aid station. 

I had aimed for a 4:10:00 and feel that with my current condition I could have been faster than that if the course wasn’t snowy. I think I lost at least 10mins in the snow over the 50km. And I think from most runners there they would have agreed with that sort of time loss. So I did 4:14:31 (netto) and for the day was happy with that. That made 5:05ish min/km. I am happy with the way my training is shaping up and with it being so very cold was very pleased to have a nice HOT shower at the end. I came 49th overall, 12th in my age group and we were 3rd in the team event. 734 started the event and only 449 finished. That shows just how hard the conditions were. The Team was from the ELT Grossheubach and was made up of Ulrich Amborn, Joachim Kempf and Me. Well done boys!

The Organizers did a great job! Everything was marked and they did their best on a very cold hard day! The helpers were fantastic and to stand in that cold all day, I have so much respect for them.
I am sure I will be on the start line again next year! It was a good race!

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