Sonntag, 26. März 2017

Männedörfler Waldlauf


Es ist das erste Mal, dass ich an diesem regionalen Anlass teilgenommen habe, der auch zur Serie des Züri Lauf Cups zählt. Nachdem ich letzte Woche nicht beim Kerzerslauf wegen Oberschenkelproblem teilnehmen konnte, fühlte sich dieser nun deutlich besser an. Der Lauf führt über Waldwege durch den Ausläufer vom Pfannenstiel und ist gespickt mit vielen Steigungen, was mir natürlich entgegenkommt. Doch dieses Profil passte natürlich auch dem amtierenden Berglauf Schweizermeister Christian Mathys.




Nach dem Startschuss werden sofort die ersten 50 Höhenmeter absolviert, um dann für einige Kilometer eher bergab zu gehen. Christian Mathys schlug sogleich eine hohe Pace an und suchte schon eine Vorentscheidung über diese Kuppe. Diese 50 Höhenmeter schienen den meisten schon den Schnauf zu rauben, und da ich mich an seine Fersen krallte, waren wir gleich alleine unterwegs. Christian schien sich ziemlich wohl zu fühlen und lief sein Tempo vorne weg. Nach 2km liess ich ihn dann gewähren und verlor langsam aber sicher Meter um Meter. Nach 5 Kilometern waren es dann etwa 20 Sekunden, die uns trennten. Ich wollte nun einfach mein Rennen laufen, und doch noch eine solide Zeit ins Ziel bringen. Doch in der darauffolgenden Steigung zum höchsten Punkt schien ich plötzlich Meter um Meter an meinen Kontrahenten zu kommen. Bis Kilometer 10 kam ich auf 10 Sekunden an Christian ran, doch dann konnte er nochmals einen höheren Rhythmus anschlagen als ich und siegte mit 16 Sekunden Vorsprung.


Mit dem Rennen darf ich dennoch sehr zufrieden sein – es war die 5. Beste je gelaufene Zeit auf diesem Kurs. Trotz dem, dass ich mich nicht ganz so stark auf dem Rad fühle wie ich mir erhofft habe, kann ich nun auf meine Laufform zählen. Jetzt geht es ab ins Trainingslager nach Giverola, wo ich einmal mehr die Basis für die kommende Saison holen möchte.
Als Ausblick steht zuerst der Gürbetal Duathlon auf dem Programm, danach die Duathlon EM in Sorìa (Spanien).


Click here for results
Click here for strava

Gear used: 



English: 

For the first time, I started at the regional Männedörfler Waldlauf which counts towards the Züri-Lauf-Cup. I missed the Kerzerslauf the week before because of a quadriceps injury which has improved a lot. The race takes place next to the Pfannenstiel and is quite undulating which helps with my abilities. At the starting line, I met a few familiar faces – amongst them was Christian Mathys who is currently Swiss Champion in mountain running.


Right after the start we had to climb 50 meters from where it goes mainly downhill. Mathys quickly tried to get rid of everybody else and pushed over the top. These 50 meters seem to have taken the steam out of everybody else’s legs so I was the only one who was able to follow. After 2km I started to lose meter after meter because it was just a fraction to quick for me. After 5 km it were about 20 seconds between us. I tried to focus now on myself and have a good race. In the following uphill I seemed to get closer. With a mile left I was about 10 seconds away from Christian. But he was to strong for me on the day and won with 16 seconds ahead of me.

I am very with the race – it was the 5th best time which has ever been run on this course. Even though I don’t feel as good as I would like to on the bike I know I have solid running legs. Now I am in Giverola where I am setting the base for the rest of the season.

Next race is the Gürbetal Duathlon, followed by the Duathlon European Championships in Sorìa (ESP). 

Sonntag, 11. September 2016

The essence of the Jungfrau Marathon

What is the significance of the Jungfrau Marathon (JFM)?

The JFM is the biggest Marathon in Switzerland, some say the most beautiful Marathon in the World and maybe even the most prestigious regular mountain Marathon in the World. Apart from that, I have good contacts to the organisation and it is a great opportunity to meet a lot of good friends who come back every year to this race. There are a lot of repeaters. And it is really worth it because it is a very attractive race.

Weshalb ich immer wieder am Jungfrau Marathon (JFM) starte

Der JFM ist der grösste Marathon der Schweiz. Manche sagen, er wäre der schönste Marathon der Welt und er gehört sicher zu den prestigeträchtigsten Bergmarathons der Welt. Aber ich verbinde vielmehr mit diesem Lauf. Neben dem grandiosen Panorama und Erlebnis an sich, habe ich gute Kontakte zur Organisation und es ist immer schön, viele Freunde wieder zu treffen. Es gibt viele Wiederholungstäter, was auch für den Anlass spricht.




Race preparation

Coming off Sierre-Zinal with a strong performance I knew I had the legs for another big effort. But I felt that I probably peaked already and wasn’t sure if I could keep it up for another month. I am so happy that it worked out. I was also mentally very tired and needed two weeks off from hard trainings. Then I did with the Hoher Kasten Berglauf a short distance race. And just a couple of days before the race I climbed the Schwägalp which I did as well just a few days before Sierre-Zinal to see how my shape is. It didn’t feel as fresh anymore but I knew the legs were ready.
I was a bit anxious about my running in the flat. I didn’t do enough miles to be sure I would be ready. The point is that you use the gastrocnemius a lot different in the flat than in the mountains which could lead potentially to cramps.

Rennvorbereitung

Nach der tollen Leistung bei Sierre-Zinal war ich mir nicht sicher, ob die Beine für einen weiteren so grossen Effort reichen würden. Ich dachte, dass ich den Zenit für dieses Jahr schon erreicht habe. Ich bin sehr glücklich, dass es so geklappt hat. Ich war mental sehr müde und brauchte eine gute Pause von den intensiven Trainings. Eine erste Standortbestimmung war dann der Start beim Hoher Kasten Berglauf. Ich habe gerade auch in dieser Phase viel auf dem Rad trainiert und habe eine letzte Trainingsfahrt auf die Schwägalp gemacht – genau wie vor Sierre-Zinal. So hatte ich nochmals einen letzten Vergleich und wusste, dass ich bereit war.
Ich war aber auch besorgt, da ich relativ wenige flache Laufkilometer absolviert habe. Denn in der Fläche braucht man vor allem den Wadenmuskel Gastrocnemius ganz anders als am Berg, weshalb ich eine Überlastung und Krämpfe nicht ausschliessen konnte.




How I prepared myself mentally

The JFM is tricky. You can easily overpace in the first half and suffer on the bottom half where it counts. Before my first participation I was told that the race starts in Lauterbrunnen (26km) or maybe Wengen (30km). And you will find out if you paced yourself well after Wixi (38km). So I basically tried to stay calm on until Lauterbrunnen. 1h15min was exactly what I was aiming for on the first half. Then I could feel that the legs were ready for more so I pushed a bit more until it started to climb. On the steep parts I speed-hiked and passed already four runners until Wengen. From there it is another 12km and about 1000 meter uphill. You have to tap into your energy reserves and you will feel that it is hard on your body. I think the hardest thing about this race that you have not a single stretch where you can recover the cardiac system. Usually you have longer downhill passages where the heart rate can drop a bit but here it only goes flat, up, up & up.
I had three people who were looking after me and supplying me with drinks and gels where necessary. An important part is for me to cool down early in the race – or already before the start to cool down the core temperature. Other athletes even use cooling vests for exactly that reason. Maybe I should get one!

Meine taktischen Überlegungen

Der JFM ist relativ heikel, denn es gibt keine Erholungsmöglichkeiten bei diesem Lauf. Wenn du dich überschätzt auf der ersten Hälfte, wirst du automatisch am Ende leiden und viel Zeit verlieren. Vor meiner ersten Teilnahme wurde mir schon beigebracht, dass das Rennen in Lauterbrunnen (26km) oder Wengen (30km) anfängt und nach Wixi (38km) wird abgerechnet, ob man das Rennen richtig eingeteilt hat.
So hielt ich mich auf der ersten Hälfte zurück. Die Hälfte passierte ich in 1h15min, was genau meiner Vorgabe entsprach. Dann versuchte ich noch ein bisschen Boden gut zu machen bis zum Anstieg. Da lief ich die ganz steilen Passagen, um die Kräfte zu schonen. Und doch überholte ich bis nach Wengen schon 4 weitere Athleten. Dann geht’s noch auf 12km noch 1000 Meter bergauf. Von da wird es hart, denn während des ganzen Laufs gibt es keine längere bergab Passage, wie dies bei vielen Bergmarathons der Fall ist. Somit muss man hier gut einteilen, dass noch einige Körner bis auf die Moräne im Tank sind.
Ich hatte drei Leute, die mich stets bei den offiziellen Verpflegungsposten verpflegt haben. So konnte ich mich auf meine Produkte verlassen und hatte jeweils eine ganze Flasche Wasser zur Verfügung, um mich abzukühlen – für mich ein Schlüsselfaktor bei Langdistanzrennen, was die grösste Leistungseinbusse verursachen kann. Das fängt eigentlich auch schon vor dem Rennen an. Andere Athleten benutzen dafür Kühlwesten. Vielleicht sollte ich mir einmal eine zulegen!




I sticked to my race plan from the first meter on and let the first group go. This was a crucial moment in the race – should I hunt the first group or can I pace myself possibly losing the contact completely to the leaders. I knew there are 2:15 (Simpson) and 2:17 (Wieser) marathon runners and they are also excellent climbers. My 2:29 is nowhere close so I just sticked to my 3:25-3:30 min/km pace in the flat and passed the first half in a 1:15 time. If you gain 1 minute in the flat you can easily lose 3-4 minutes from Wixi to the finish. This race is a lot about finding your personal balance and this is true for all abilities.
Even though I was down I had all psychological advantages on my side because I had Wieser and Mekonnen always in my sight and could time the gap whereas they could only look back and estimate. I saw that they got both nervous and tried to fight off each other. I hoped at least one of them would fall back so I would manage to get a place on the podium. This happened after about 39km when I overtook Wieser. For me it was all about optimizing the end time.


Ich musste mich gleich nach dem Start entscheiden, ob ich der Spitzengruppe nachjagen möchte, oder ob ich mich ganz auf mich konzentriere, mit der Gefahr, dass ich ganz alleine laufen muss. Doch dies hat sich ausbezahlt, denn so hatte ich eine Pace, die mir entsprach und ich musste mich nicht dem Tempodiktat anderer beugen. Ich wusste, dass andere 2:15 (Simpson) und 2:17 (Wieser) Marathons laufen können. Da sind meine 2:29 doch eher bescheiden und ich wollte mich auf meine Stärken besinnen und hielt mich in der Fläche an eine 3:25-3:30 min/km pace. Eine Minute auf der ersten Hälfte zu schnell, kann sich dann schnell in einen Verlust von 3-4 Minuten auf den letzten 4 Kilometern auswirken! Man muss hier die persönliche Balance finden und das gilt für alle Läufer.

Trotz dem, dass ich hinterher lief, hatte ich die psychologischen Vorteile auf meiner Seite, da ich näher an die vor mir laufenden Athleten kam und ich diese ständig in meinem Sichtfeld hatte. Ich merkte, wie Wieser schon kurz nach Wengen nervös nach hinten schaute. Von vorne den Rückstand zu messen ist nicht einfach, ohne ständig zurück zu schauen, was einem normalerweise automatisch zurückbindet. Ich hoffte, dass sich Wieser und Mekonnen gegenseitig aufreiben, sodass ich davon profitieren kann und noch einen Athleten aufholen kann. Dies gelang mir dann auch um Kilometer 39, als ich Patrick Wieser überholen konnte. Für mich ging es während des ganzen Laufes darum, meine Endzeit zu optimieren und nicht in Spielerein verwickeln zu lassen.



The scenery

I have barely seen anything of it. I have been coming back to this race several times and know the area already pretty well so it’s nothing new. But to be honest I was constantly in a tunnel, trying to find the right mindset for every stage of the race. However, I enjoyed every moment of it and I perceive the spectators and everything that happens around me quite well – so if you cheered for me I most likely noticed it!

Die Berge und die Ambiance

Leider bekam ich davon so gut wie gar nichts mit. Einerseits kenne ich diese Region von mehreren Teilnahmen und anderen besuchen schon ziemlich gut, und andererseits war ich wieder total fokussiert auf mich, den Weg und die Rennsituation. Ich habe aber jeden Moment intensiv genossen und kann mich an viele Einzelheiten und Gesichter unterwegs erinnern, die mich angefeuert haben. Vielen Dank dafür!


What’s coming next?

For the moment we go on a holiday to Sardinia. If the body and the mind tells me that they want more there is plenty of races to do but if not I will just end the season here. I think this is often a risk factor if the body is tired but still in good shape and you squeeze everything out. I rather have a break and be fresh again both physically and mentally when I need to.

Wie geht es jetzt weiter?

Zuerst werde ich mir Ferien auf Sardinien gönnen. Wenn ich merke, dass Körper und Geist immer noch bereit sind für weitere Abenteuer gibt es viele Optionen. Wenn nicht, werde ich einfach die Saison beenden. Es ist für mich Zentral, die Signale des Körpers wahrzunehmen. Wenn man noch die letzten Reserven aus dem Körper auspresst, wenn er schon müde ist, wird er sich entsprechend langsamer davon erholen. Man muss ihm auch wieder etwas zurückgeben. Und man muss ja nicht darauf warten, verletzt zu sein, um eine Pause einzulegen. So kann ich dann auch wieder körperlich und mental frisch an einer Startlinie stehen, wenn es wieder Zeit dafür ist.


Gear used: 
Running shoes: Scott Kinabalu RC
Running top: Scott RC shirt
Glasses: Scott Spur



Mittwoch, 31. August 2016

Hoher Kasten Berglauf

This is likely to be the only short distance mountain race I will do this year. It is located in a very scenic part of the Swiss alps. Not to take anything away of any of the other parts but the Alpstein is a little gem on its own. I participated already twice in 2012 and 2013 when I cam 1st and 4th respectively. Because the course was extended by not even 100 meters the organizers called out to set a new course record. The old one (41:37) by Andrea Erni was simply to good to get beaten.

Quite a few athletes also from neighbouring countries such as Austria, Liechtenstein, Germany or even Italy were attracted by the prize purse of 1000 Swiss Francs. The only thing was - the winner takes it all. But I knew that many other good runners were such as Fabe Downs but also the 3 time winner Aemisegger and also world class athlete David Schneider attended who won in 2008. Schneider told me a week before the race that he wouldn't be in a great shape and I already thought it was time to beat him finally!

 


The Hoher Kasten Berglauf is a relatively small race with a field of about 250 runners for the main event. The atmosphere is very familial and everything very uncomplicated - just as you would expect with a local mountain run. This time the quality in the field was much higher than it is usually.
The start is on tarmac which leads After the start we were a pack of about 8 athletes who all tried to set the pace and keep it high. Soon it was David Schneider and me who were the ones leading the pack as it got smaller and smaller when only Thomas Niederegger and a heavy breathing Arnold Aemisegger were able to follow. The legs felt somewhat heavy but we pushed quite hard so what would you expect to feel.
After two kilometers there was a relatively flat part where I tried to get away from everybody for the first time. Schneider stayed close and we stayed more or less together until we reached the halfway point from where it crosses a steep meadow. Now the legs were tired and burning and I had to walk because I wasn't able to maintain the rhythm of David Schneider and so it happened that Niederegger overtook me as well. In my head I was close to give up the race. But I knew as well that this was the passage where I would be weaker than David and once we reach the road again I should have the advantage. It was a real fight in my head because I was suffering with all the lactic acid in my legs. But then again I knew that this was the reason that I was here in the first place. So I pushed through this mini-crisis.
A few minutes later on the road I had a deficit of probably 15 seconds on Schneider and Niederegger was just in between. It was great to see Thomas Rusch with friends who helped out with a bottle of cold water which was much appreciated. I could feel that I gained a few centimeters with every step and that I was able to really push on this section. This is where my strength lies when it's flowing and I can use the long reach of my legs. I know that many runners dislike this part and describe it as mentally hard but for me it's exactly the opposite.



I finally closed the gap to David Schneider just before the last steep climb started with about 100 meters vertical. I tried to stay with him but the legs were heavy and everything was burning and to my disappointment I had to let him go again. As we reached the old finish line I had 42:27 - it would have been the third best time. There were a few more steps and stairs to the new finish line where I dragged myself somewhat disappointed and I crossed it in 42:59 and 20 seconds behind David.



Retrospectively I have to say it was a good performance and David had to push himself pretty hard too. And he came recently second on the Skaala opp race just behind vertical serial winner and world champion Angermund-Vik. We both did some very good times on this course and I am pleased to get in under 43 minutes. It shows me that I am still competitive on shorter distances and that I am ready for my next challenge: the Jungfrau-Marathon!

Gear used: 
Running shoes: Scott Kinabalu RC
Running top: Scott RC shirt
Glasses: Scott Spur

Click for results
Click for strava


Montag, 15. August 2016

Sierre-Zinal – my highlight of the year!

Have you ever heared of Sierre-Zinal before? That would be a shame but one thing is for sure – it is one of the most iconic races you can do as a mountain runner. If you look at who won the editions you will find that most of the finest runners will come back year after year to see who is the champion. It has also been called “the New York marathon of mountain running” which gives you a good idea of the status of this race.

This year the elite starting list included 80 runners from all over the world. There is a long tradition of Columbians making an appearance. But there were also runners from East Africa including Mamu and Toroitich, two of the biggest names in recent years of mountain running. Otherwise multiple world champions like Wyatt (2 wins and course record) or De Gasperi (3 wins) were not missing either.

It was always a goal of mine to do this race. But because there are always so many excellent runners at the starting line you might end up quickly outside of the top 30 if you are not in the best shape. Coming after a win at the K42 of the Swissalpine with a 34 minute lead I was probably a medium fish in a very tiny pond. It was not easy to estimate how I would perform on such a big platform. I knew the big barrier is always a time of under 2:40 hours. All runners who manage to get below this mark are mentioned on their homepage which would give you a feeling of being part of a somewhat exclusive circle. But as a first-timer it is hard to tell what my potential would be.

The course can be divided into three parts. It starts in Sierre (585 masl) with a long and steep uphill to Chandolin (2000 masl). From there the race leads you on the undulating alpine trails past Hotel Weisshorn to the highest point with 2424 masl. The last 5 kilometers drop down into the town of Zinal (1675 masl). It takes a complete mountain runner to do well on this course.



Being on the bus from Zinal to Sierre I realised that I forgot my Garmin. My initial reaction was “oh shit, what’s not on strava never happened” and “I need my Garmin, I won’t know how far I am and what altitude I am at and how long it’s probably gonna take me”. It just showed me what control freaks we are so I dealt with it in my head fairly quick and had a laugh about it with my mate Daniel Green.

Waiting and warming up in the starting area I realised 20 minutes before the start that I had to do something about the heat and dry conditions. I decided to look for a fountain or a stream – anything liquid really to cool myself down. There was nothing close so I decided to go to the Rhone which was a few minutes away to fill my bottle. Even though I couldn’t drink this water it was the best thing I could have done to prevent my body to heat up more than it would anyway.

I went back into probably the fourth starting row to not get run over because most runners will overpace themselves anyway. The first kilometre was on the road and I kept myself back and found myself on the heels of Jonathan Wyatt so I thought he must know how to pace this race. After the first few bends I found my rhythm and started the pursuit of the guys who were in front of me. On the first 5 kilometres it climbs 1000 meters. Most of the steep climbs I speed-hiked up there and was just as fast as those running except the first few who started to disappear in the distance. I felt pretty good and knew the race wouldn’t start before Chandolin. It just so happened that I ran a lot with the former triathlete Cedric Fleureton. I think he tried to get away from me quite a few times but we were always within 50 meters of each other. It was not until at least half way when I learned that we were in 6th and 7th position. 


We had also two African runners around us. We passed them way before Chandolin and I almost forgot about them. When they passed us they seemed to take off on the undulating trails towards Hotel Weisshorn. But then again they were struggling too and we caught one of them and for some time I was in 5th position not far behind 4th place. I couldn’t believe that I was running in the middle of world class athletes I was really surprised – and this was only about 5 weeks after my graduation!
Well I got caught again and as I knew there must be better downhill runners around I knew I had to fight off the other competitors who were not far behind. 


I feared the worst that I would end up outside of the top 10. But somehow I managed to stay strong on the steep part downhill into Zinal. Thanks to my Scott Kinabalu shoes I had always perfect grip. My final sprint to catch Cedric ended prematurely as cramps kicked in immediately. And as I slowed down towards the finish line I realised on the last few meters that the last 5 seconds were ticking away to get a sub 2:40 time! I threw myself over the finish line in 2:39:58. I am now the 65th runner in 43 years of the race who managed to stay under 2:40! I was quite surprised by this amazing achievement! It is hard to compare this race with what I have done in the past (especially Duathlon) but I would expect this to be one of my finest results.


My target wasn’t to race for a certain place but to optimise my end time which would probably give me the best end-position. If I passed someone it had to feel natural. If you pass someone for the sake of passing him because you feel like it, you usually regret that rather sooner than later.

What did I see of the scenery? I got to tell you: absolutely nothing! What a shame that was, passing five stunning 4000+ meter peaks with glaciers and I didn’t notice anything. All my senses were just focused on how I felt, where my next foot would make contact with the ground and so on. And my missing strava upload..: I might have stayed beyond the 2:40 mark considering the distractions it would have given me and the additional weight (as the watch makes half my body weight it is quite significant! lol).

What surprised me was that I reached Ponchette in 6th position and still felt really fresh. I would have estimated that I would lose a lot more time on the top guys and would be further down in the ranks. Looking at the splits it was even my strongest section!


I am so looking forward to come back to Sierre-Zinal! If you like mountain running you absolutely have to do this one! 


Gear used: 
Running shoes: Scott Kinabalu RC
Running top: Scott RC shirt
Glasses: Scott Spur

Click here for results
Video: click here for a video from athle.ch or here more personalised (only temporary)


Sonntag, 31. Juli 2016

Can I defend my title at the K42 Swissalpine in Davos?

The Swissalpine is one of the oldest ultra distance mountain race and did a lot of pioneer work at the time. If somebody did the full distance of the Swissalpine (78km - at the time it was "just" 67km) they were perceived as not normal.

I was able to win this race last year so it is always a challenge to reclaim the title. Looking through the starting list I wasn't able to find someone who should be able to beat me but with so many international athletes at the starting line it's hard to tell about their potentials. I thought I did quite well last year so I was hoping for a similar time this year.

We have been invited by the organizer to spend the night before the race in the Intercontinental Hotel in Davos which was a nice treat! We really loved it and appreciated it. After a good breakfast I packed everything and left Davos and my love by train towards Bergün where I would start my race. Before such a long race I only get my heart rate up a little bit and make sure my muscles would be ready, but otherwise don't waist to much energy and make sure you're cooled down as good as you can.




As usual on these occasions I started determined the first few hundred meters on the road. I had already a little gap between me and the next runners so I expected to get not to much of a competition. But I was motivated to do well on this course as I wanted to beat my time from last year (3:33:52) or maybe even the course record of Bundi (3:30:06) which seemed to be quite far away. After the initial lap back to Bergün (1383 masl) our course merged with the full distance runners and I was already ahead of last years pace and I used the momentum up this slight uphill of Val Tuors which leads eventually up to the Keschhütte (2632 masl).

Because it was such a hot day I was carrying a sponge with me most of the course. I used every fountain to cool myself down as much as I could and really appreciated the support I got along the course. It was great to have the runners of the full distance because you never feel alone that way and I was able to overtake one after another. This was great for my own motivation but probably not always easy for them but I tried to encourage every runner. I met also a few old friends on the steep uphill part which gave me every time a good boost.




To my surprise I reached the "king of the mountain" point already four minutes faster than the year before. This KOM was again presented by #perskindol on the Keschhütte. This was quite a difference to last year and I felt still really good especially mentally because I knew most of the climbing was done. When you cross over towards the Sertigpass you get to the aid station Sartiv where they had a shower installed only a few meters off the direct path of the course. The volunteers guided me towards it but instead I grabbed a couple of cups filled with water which I threw over my had to cool down a bit more and said "kä Ziit" - meaning "no time". I overheared one of them saying - he seems to be on a mission.




Indeed I was on a mission with the course record in front of my eyes. I climbed the last couple of hundred meters to the Sertig Pass which is the highest point of the course. From there it goes downhill over rocky paths, afterwards more lose gravel single trails until you reach the gravel road. I throw myself down there and I felt that I was much more under control than the year before at this point. Everything seemed to be easier, even though I was going stronger. From the Sertig Dörfli on I had a biker who would lead me to the finish line and warn other runners when I was coming from behind so I could pass them without any problem. This was a great help because I didn't get any delay or would use to many resources to pass someone.

On the trail towards Davos are many bends and turns with roots so I had to be very careful where to step but the biker always motivated and I had something in front of me I could follow. I was more than happy to reach Davos without any major problems (ok I have currently 3 black toenails but appart from that no aches or pain). I crossed the finish line after 3:26:23 which is 7:30 minutes fast than last year. I am really happy with this result. The second runner had a deficit of more than 33 minutes - I think I should have received their price money too!

  



It was an amazing race day with hot but perfect and sunny conditions. Now we will head to the Val Bregaglia for a few days where I can hopefully get some good recovery and prepare for probably the most competitive race in the world - Sierre to Zinal. There I will see what my shape is really worth and it is very hard to make any predictions.


Gear used: 
Running shoes: Scott Kinabalu RC
Running shorts: Scott Trail Run Split shorts
Running top: Scott RC shirt
Glasses: Scott Spur

Click for results
Click for strava
Videos at Sertig Dörfli and finish line

Donnerstag, 28. Juli 2016

What an amazing day at the Eigerultratrail E35

It was my first competition as a qualified Osteopath! It took me a long time to realize that I have now actually finished my studies and that I can leave this now behind me and it's time for a new chapter.

I was finally able to train again and plan what is left of the year. The first race was the Eigerultratrail. After my disastrous run at the Skymarathon in Livigno I had to make up for it. So I decided to start over the new designed distance of the E35 with 35km and 2500m of ascent and descent.


It was the first time I had to carry a bag with me during a competition with all sorts of luggage like an emergency blanket, a phone or a whistle. Well at least it didn't weigh to much and I had the opportunity to use my Scott bag and carry my own drinks.

Right from the start in Burglauenen I started determined but with respect of the whole course. Quickly I was a few steps ahead of the first persuer - Adrian Brennwald. The first uphill towards Wengen was quite long through a forest followed by a downhill into the lovely town of Wengen. From there it went quite steep and straight up to the Männlichen (1000 meters up). Because the distance between athletes was relatively short I could see Adrian and knew how far I was in front. But there was no other contender in sight.


 

The course went on and crossed the Kleine Scheidegg. A few kilometers were even on the same trail as the Jungfrau marathon when we climbed the moraine of the Eigergletscher. From the Eigergletscher we took a trail that led us underneath the famous north face of the Eiger. On this trail there was still some snow which fell a couple of days earlier. It was actually quite icy why I had to stay quite cautious and didn't risk to much on this segment. From there was a long downhill segment back down towards Grindelwald. But the organizers thought it would be more interesting if we had to conquer another "little" climb to a marble quarry. From there it was only 2 kilometers downhill and after a last short but steep climb (it is a killer climb really!) to the finish. I had a lead of exactly 6 minutes in Grindelwald and crossed the finish line after 3:33 hours.


When I was on top of the Männlichen I had a comfortable lead and I knew I should win this race if nothing happens like a bad move or I would run out of energy. I took all the PowerBar Gels I had with me and refilled the bottles during the aid stations so I stayed hydrated and cooled myself down with cold water. I enjoyed every moment - maybe sometimes a bit to much because I thought when I had to carry a phone all the way I could take a "few" pictures on the way of all those stunning views.

And it was a good test for my prototype shoes from Scott to see if the grip was good and I have to say in all those conditions from running on tarmac (also downhill), snow & ice on the trails to gravel and rocks I was always comfortable and able to push on. There are quite a few interesting amendments so stay tuned for next years editions!!


My next race is the K42 of the Swissalpine Marathon where I won last year. This is another great race with a lot of tradition. 


Gear used:
Shoes: Scott Supertrac RC (2017)
Backbag: Scott Trail Summit 16
Sunglasses: Scott Spur

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Click here for strava

Mittwoch, 27. April 2016

Swiss Duathlon Champion!

That was well unexpected! I still can't quite believe it to have won my very first national title. So often I have been the runner-up. And it is more of a coincident that I was at the starting line in the first place. I have not finished a Duathlon in Switzerland for four years. In the end it was really my love Sandra who persuaded me to get on a plane home and start at this race as a bonus - you never know what happens.
So I arrived on Thursday in Switzerland, spent Friday in the Alpstein (quite a gem in the Alps) and had a wonderful time. For Sunday we looked at the starting list and we saw that there was a good chance for me to reach a good position in this field as some of the possible rivals just competed at the Ironman in South Africa and would be missing.




Sunday came and the weather got colder and colder and in St.Gallen there was even some snow. Luckily the weather forecast predicted no precipitation for the time of the race - be this rain or snow. It was great to see so many familiar faces and it felt as if I was never away. It was still dry when I installed my bike in the transition area but all of a sudden and about 20 minutes before the start another cloud passed and the wind and snow was everything else than what I wanted. I was hoping it was as quickly over as it came but you never know. I didn't change any of my clothing choices and if you take a closer look at the starting line its the fat bloke with most layers on - or the other way round ;)


Everybody was wearing at least something more than I did. At least I was wearing a short sleave shirt, gloves and a headband which saved me a little bit. Other than that I thought its the same for everybody and its over in less than an hour - what could possibly go wrong?

The race consisted of a 4km run/ 17km bike/ 4km run. Once the gun went Felix Köhler started the first few hundred meters rather quick trying to put some distance right away between him and everybody else. After the first kilometer we were on our own and we both did some work to get away from the rest. This was in the best of my interests as I knew I wouldn't be the fastest cyclist. I had to realize this again this year in the training camp that I have quite a disadvantage in the flat. However when it comes to hills, that's where my strengths lie. Unfortunately the whole course including the runs had probably under 50 meters of incline so it was flat as a pancake. 


I had a couple of seconds advantage before the transition area and was the first out. I positioned my bike slightly different than everybody else which gave me a bit of an advantage (professional secret). In the meantime the snow stopped but the roads were really wet. Out on the bike I thought Köhler would be right with me but I never looked back and just pedaled. After a few kilometers he passed me and it was clear he wanted to make a move so I had to shift a few gears up. I was hanging in there but I felt it would be hard. He pushed around the tight corners and because of the wet conditions and the fact that I was riding this bike for the second time this year I decided not to risk to much. If he would have been a Swiss athlete I would have given everything to stay with him but then again if I would have stayed with him I was taking the risk of hitting the wall. On the second bike lap of two I was still on my own and I knew that I should be able to close a potential handicap from now on if somebody comes from behind. I tried not to get irritated by the fact that one of the brakes was actually touching the wheel more or less constantly..

It was my teammate Martin Bader who first appeared next to me but then again he was another foreigner and as I was looking back I saw a whole bunch of athletes coming which were potentially drafting. Towards the end of the bike split Andy Sutz overtook us and tried to break away. It was clearly not his day because he should have been with Köhler and me after the first run. However, he didn't get away from the group and as the pace got higher we came closer on Köhler. 

Just before we entered the transition area I took a zip of my drink but was unable to put the bottle back because my fingers were numb. So I threw it away and I started to realize that it would be difficult to open my helmet in the transition area. I entered it on 5th position, placed my bike in the rack and tried to undo my helmet - without success. Alright i got into my running shoes and tried it again - again no luck I just didn't had the right control over my fingers and the gloves made it even worse to feel for button to undo the helmet. Instead of losing more time (this only took a few seconds but it feels like eternity) I decided to run out with my helmet still on taking the risk of finishing with it. I soon managed to get rid of it and a volunteer was kind enough to look after it. 




I was now in 3rd position overall with Köhler about 20 seconds ahead and Bader right in front of me. While I was passing Bader quite soon I wasn't able to make any ground on Köhler. All I wanted was to finish with a solid run and not getting into trouble with a potential sprint finish. On the last kilometer I realized that I was just about the be Swiss Champion for the first time. I have thought about the title throughout the whole race and all went according to my plans.
I have won medals at Swiss Championships in Duathlon, Half Marathon, Marathon and mountain running but never Gold. And here it was! I have to add that I am well aware that it hasn't been that easy for a very long time to gain this gold medal. However, it's not my fault other athletes weren't present and I am super happy to take the title. 

Now remains the question, am I going to do other Duathlons? As the national champion that's what you would expect. Unfortunately I will be very busy finishing my studies in June - just when the world championships are so this is not really an option. And after I finish my Osteopathy studies it is time to hit the mountains!




Gear used: 
Running Shoes: Scott Palani RC
Cycling shoes: Scott Tri Carbon Shoe
Cycling helmet: Scott Vanish
Sunglasses: Scott Spur

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Click for Videos1 & Video2 of the event