Most of the races I've run have been pretty flat, the hilliest being the Bossendorf Volkslauf and that only had 175 Hm (+175, -175) but i have my sights set on an ultra marathon with 800 Hm this autumn. The teutolauf with its 600 Hm was the ideal race to use in my preparation. It is also held on a Saturday which would mean i could use Sunday to do Back 2 Back (B2B) Long runs.
The week leading into the race i had reduced my millage, partly in response to a cold i was recovering from partly to prepare for a hard weekend. I began Carbo loading on Thursday and had friday as a total rest day. Friday was also the day when i tried to sit down and figure out what sort of time would be possible. I looked at the results from the previous year. I knew i wouldnt be up to the same level of performance as in Münster, so i decided to be cautious and set a goal of 2:15 which is an average pace around 4:45/km
Saturday morning i woke up to crystal clear skies and a forcast that said it would be 14°c. Absolutely perfect racing weather. Breakfast was my now almost traditional porridge, with banana and walnuts topped with milk and honey. The good thing about the 13:50 start was that breakfast was at a decent time of the day.
I positioned myself about 10 meters back from the start line, meaning there was probably about 100 runners ahead of me. The start shot went and we were off. The race started out pretty flat for the first 4.5km as we worked our way along the base of the hills. I slotted in behind a guy wearing an ultra marathon finishers shirt and we picked up a few places after the first 2k as the typical people who had started too fast found their own rhythems. Then we turned left and started to climb... and climb... and climb. I had changed down a gear reducing my stride length, changing my breathing but i was working pretty hard. Eventually the hill got so steep that i decided to switch over to power walking, so with hands on my knees i clambered up the hill.
I was pretty much the only one that switched to walking, but over that section i only lost perhapes 5m on the guy ahead who kept running. But it gave me the opportunity to get my breathing back under control. Once we hit the top we followed the ridge of the hills, there was a mix of short downhill sections and easy uphills. The tracks through here were wide and covered in gravel, so very easy to run.
Eventually we started the first major decent, and i let gravity assist staying up on my toes and leaning down the hill rather than sitting back on my heels. Then all you have to do is concentrate on turning your legs over fast enough. I discovered that compared to the guys around me im a pretty decent decender. I picked up a number of places. We came to the bottom at around km 11 where i took my first gel. then headed through a really nice park before the next steep incline.
This one was stright up the hill, it started off with steps and then continued with a single file track. All of the runners around me walked this ascent. At the top we followed the ridge, this section was much more technical, lots of tree roots making foot placement a little tricky, It was also made up of lots of little dips and lumps. I got passed by half a dozen guys that were clearly a little more used to running on such a technical surface.
Eventually we came out onto some ashphalt country roads, and headed back down into the valley, once again my decent helped me pull back a number of the guys that had passed me, I had passed and been passed by guy with the ultra marathon shirt several times during the race. we reached km 20 and i took my second gel before the final ascent.
The last ascent was broken up into several smaller climbs with one really steep section at the end. the combination of smaller ascents meant that all the guys id put distance on on the downhill had caught back up to me when we got to the final steep section, where we were all once again chose to walk. Once we got to the top we had a mostly flat couple of Km before the final descent.
Once again i let loose and was able to make up a number of places, but by then my ribs and the sides of my torso was starting to hurt a little from the descending. During all the descents i was on the line but still felt in control. At the bottom we had 2km to go, it was the first time i looked at the garmin with an eye towards what time i was going to run...It showed 2:07.. 2:08 and i realised that the 2:15 i had targeted was still a possibility, so i dug in and tried to run the last 2km hard...
I picked out runners ahead and tried to close the gap, it worked on a couple, but then thee was a slight rise before the last 300m to the line... and Mr Ultra marathon shirt pulled past me again... i tried to go with him, but he had too much left in the tank, I did manage to pick it up a little in the final 50m where the spectators were lined up and corssed the line with a 2:15:36 showing on the clock.
The chip nett time turned out to be 2:15:24 putting me in 72nd place overall from 871 runners, and 11th from 73 in the M35 Age Class. I am very happy with the result. The event was great, the organisation good, and the post race refreshment was alcohol free beer.