Monday, March 17, 2014

Dragon Ultra Trail - 50km

The Dragon Ultra Trail wasn't like any race I've done before. I woke up early on Saturday so that I could drive an hour away to pick up ultra marathoner Gabi K and drive the rest of the way to a town close to Bonn. Gabi and I crossed the Keufelskopf Ultratrail finish line at the same time last year for 1st place. Since then, we have kept in contact through Facebook. She has been doing really well and running a lot. Since she lives only about an hour from me, I asked her if she knew of any runs or races that I could take part in. That is when she told me about the DUT 50km that would take place on the 15th of March.

The "race" was put on by a man they call Hexer, started in a town called Bad Honnef. We all met at a youth hostel for coffee and conversation. The race began at 11am but it was really cool because there was no gun, no official time-keeping system, it was just runners, their watches and GPS devices. 

We started climbing soon after the start and even though we never reached super high elevation, the climbs were pretty steep at times. The course was beautiful and interesting. Since there were no markers to tell the runners where to go, they had to heavily rely on their GPS devices. I probably should have had a handheld GPS but since I didn't I made it a point to stay with the other runners throughout the course. I totally would have been lost if I didn't stay with the lead pack. There were times when they would pull away a little and I would rush to catch up so that I wasn't left behind. I didn't want to have to wait for the runners behind me to catch up, so I just stayed with the group of guys and Gabi. Even the Race Director Hexer got a little lost at one point. I met some very nice people along the way and since it wasn't so competitive and more of a run, we were able to talk and have a little fun. The course took us up and down all the little peaks in the area. I was happy to see a new part of Deutschland, meet lots of new ultra runners and take part in such a wonderful race!

I finished with the same group of guys that I had started with in exactly 6 hours. Thanks to Gabi, Sven, Torsten, Stefan, Birger, Fabian and Mats for being so kind and making it a great memory!

After the race, I didn't feel very well. My stomach was upset and I had a bad headache but I contribute it all to not getting enough nutrition. I drank my Tailwind the whole time but I also feel like I should have eaten something too.

RD Hexer
Me, Gabi, Aschu
Running :)
Somewhere on a Dragon's back!
:) the Rhein river

All in all it was a great day and I got to explore more of Germany!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Disappointment in Gran Canaria - My TGC race report

I went into the race knowing that it may not end the way I wanted or wished. I have been battling Plantar Fasciitis in my left foot and achilies tendinitis in my right. Leading up to the race I've taken time off. Two weeks in January, two weeks right before the race and it started to feel better. I even thought that I might actually be able to run not pain free because we all endure pain throughout the race, but somewhat injury free. 

The day before the race I picked up my bib and packet and then went back to my hotel to relax by the pool. I was careful not to get too much sun and drank plenty of water. On Friday I ate Linner (lunch/dinner) with my friend Djanina Freytag who was running the Advance trail. It was great to see her and talk about training, racing and our personal lives. Love this lady, she is so strong and sweet! After eating I went back to the hotel and set my alarm for 9pm and fell asleep for about 3 hours. When I woke up I had a slight headache so I took 800 mg of Ibphrofen. It never went away...even during my race.

We started the race at 12am on March 1st, just like the year prior, the whole town of Agate was out cheering! Initially, I thought I might be good. My feet didn't hurt but then around the 20km mark I started to feel issues, I tried to ignore them. Unfortunately, that was hard to do and my pace began to suffer. It was taking me much longer to get from checkpoint to checkpoint then I had expected. My plan was to take Ibphrofen if I started to feel pain but I couldn't because from the time I left Artenara (33km) I was vomiting and couldn't keep anything down. Everything I had eaten at the last checkpoint came back up along with anything else that was left in my stomach. I contemplated just turning around and heading back to Artenara since I was much closer to that checkpoint then the next one but I didn't. I pushed on. 

It was a little after 8am when our trail merged with the Advance trail. There were several of us from the TransGranCanaria trail running up a muddy path when we heard the Advance elites coming up behind us. We stepped aside to let them run by. They had just started their race, they looked really fresh and fast! I cheered on a few, wished Salomon athlete Philipp Reiter "good luck" and he was still relaxed enough to thank me. After the group of elites passed, I began running again but would step aside for Advanced runners as they wanted to pass. I kept looking behind me for my friend Djanina but didn't see her. Then, not long after I stopped turning around I heard my name called and felt the hug and kiss from my friend. She asked me how I was doing and I told her I hurt but that I would be cheering for her and hoped that she had a good race. 

It was two checkpoints after the merge that I had enough. I took my bib off at Teror surprisingly without much regret. Of course I hate DNFing but I felt that I was doing more damage than good to my injury. 

Hopefully now, with a little time off and cross training I will be good to go for my next race, the Iznik Ultra in Turkey. I have to remain positive and just use this experience to make me stronger! I'm really looking forward to this race :)

I did get to enjoy beautiful weather by the pool and beach. Gran Canaria is a very interesting island and has a lot of beautiful places to see. The food is yummy and the people are super friendly. I would recommend visiting this island even if it isn't to race from one end to the other!

At the Expo

Picking up my race bib and packet at the expo.

Sunset in Maspalmas :)

Start of TGC 2014

At Artenara (33km) trying to stay positive :)

:( at Teror (56km) 10 hrs DNF!