ultra marathon

Großglockner Ultra-Trail 2017 (110km/6500+)

Training & Vorbereitung

Für den GGUT habe ich mich  5 Wochen vorbereitet, in dieser Zeit lief ich 500 Kilometer inkl. 4000-8000 Höhenmetern pro Woche. Meine längste Einheit während dieser Phase war 45km und 2600 Höhenmeter.
Zur Abwechslung habe ich einige Rennrad Einheiten mit eingebunden, diese waren eher im regenerativen Bereich im Rahmen von 30-60 Kilometer pro Einheit.

Pre-Race

Freitag, 22.07.2017 Kaprun.
Ich wache auf und stelle fest, dass sich irgendwas im Rückenbereich seltsam anfühlt. Ein eingeklemmter Nerv? Genau was man braucht am Morgen eines Ultra-Trails! Ich schenke ihm nicht allzuviel Beachtung und versuche mit der Foamroll ein bisschen hineinzuarbeiten. Hilft nichts. Egal, spätestens einige Stunden im Rennen werde ich mich daran wohl nicht mehr erinnern können. Nach einem ausgiebigen Frühstück, begebe ich mich mit meinem Laufzeug zur Startnummernausgabe wo ich am Ausrüstungscheck 3 Stunden aushelfe und mich um diverse Anliegen der trailrunner kümmere. Spassfaktor war gegeben, im Zelt war es aber auch laut und heiß und somit war ich froh meine Schicht beenden zu können um etwas Ruhe zu finden und um mich auf meinen Vortrag + Aufbau von Beamer und Leinwand zu kümmern. Um 21:30 war alles unter Dach und Fach, somit ein letztes Mal ins Hotel, für das Rennen umziehen nochmal 15 min. abschalten und erneut zum Start/Ziel Gelände auf dem sich schon einige hundert Menschen eingefunden haben. Die Stimmung ist relativ ruhig, eine gewisse Anspannung liegt in der Luft, nur noch wenige Minuten bis zum Start..

Der Rennverlauf

Nachtstarts habe ich besonders gern, so kam mir auch die Startzeit des GGUT um 23:00 bei trockenen Verhältnissen entgegen. Wie in allen anderen Rennen auch, war  der Start des Rennens relativ schnell, ich habe mich davon aber nicht beirren lassen und so zog das vordere Drittel des Feldes dahin. Auch am ersten uphill auf Asphalt wurde fleißig gelaufen. In der darauf folgenden singletrail Sektion reihte ich mich brav ein und folgte dem langen Zug aus Stirnlampen schweigend durch die Finsternis. Immer wieder traten Läufer aus der Reihe, da viele bereits jetzt realisierten das ihr Anfangstempo wohl zu hoch war. Am ersten CP in Ferleiten (km23) war ich jedenfalls froh das es nun mit den laufbaren, flacheren Abschnitten des GGUT erstmal vorbei war. Auf Position 20 verpflegte ich mich rasch und nahm den weiteren Weg durch das Käfertal in Richtung Alpenhauptkamm in Angriff. Der Wind frischte ordentlich auf und ich bereitete mich für den langen Aufstieg zur Pfandlscharte auf 2600 Meter vor. Essen, Trinken, ein bisschen Auflockern  während dem Laufen und auf ging es der dunklen Wand entgegen.
Einige hundert Höhenmeter über mir flackerten immer wieder Stirnlampen auf. Am Aufstieg konnte ich  zu einigen Läufern aufschließen, ich wusste das ich meine Kräfte gut einteilen muss und die Sache locker angehen sollte, also achtete ich auf meine Atmung und setzte einfach einen Fuß vor den anderen bis ich zum Flachstück am Pfandlboden, der einer überfluteten Mondlandschaft gleicht wieder einige Laufschritte machen konnte. Zu meiner Verwunderung, fühlte sich das noch sehr locker in den Beinen an. Weiter ging es die letzten paar hundert Höhenmeter über ein gefrorenes Schneefeld auf die Scharte, auf der mich die Bergrettung mitten in der Nacht anfeuernd erwartete! Ich drehte mich kurz um und bestaunte das Schauspiel von hunderten Stirnlampen die sich im Anstieg und sogar noch weit unten im Tal befanden. Die Streckenposten haben einen schönen Pfad ins das Schneefeld der Pfandlscharte gegraben und so kam ich im vollen Schein meiner Lupine Piko gut in den Downhill  Richtung Glocknerhaus. Auch hier konnte ich wieder ohne große Mühen einige Plätze gutmachen. Am Glocknerhaus war es noch immer Stockfinster, ich füllte meine Tanks in einem kurzen Stop und weiter ging es hinunter zur Staumauer und den Anstieg zur Stockerscharte. Kurz vor der Scharte wurde es langsam hell und ich konnte einige Schafe in einem steilen Hang über mir beobachten. Am Weg zur Salmhütte stellte sich dann ein gewaltiges Morgenrot in den Wolken ein, schön anzusehen aber ein Indikator für schlechtes Wetter. Auf der Salmhütte füllte ich meine Flaschen erneut und machte mich am Weg zur Pfortscharte. Der sehr steile Anstieg zur Scharte, die mit 2800 Metern den höchsten Punkt des Kurses darstellt, war gewaltig und am Himmel zogen bereits sehr dunkle Wolken auf. Oben ging starker Wind und ich nahm auch Regentropfen war. Also nichts wie hinunter vom höchsten Punkt des GGUT. Die Bergretter oben auf der Scharte sind eindeutig die mutigeren 🙂
Das Schotterfeld hinunter machte richtig Spass, doch plötzlich erhellte sich der Himmel und unter einem gewaltigen Knaller schlug irgendwo hinter mir ein Blitz ein. Der Himmel öffnete seine Pforten noch weiter, ich nahm meine Beine in die Hand und zog während ich das Schotterfeld hinunterlaufe Jacke und Handschuhe an. Hardrock feeling garantiert!


Am Lucknerhaus hielt ich kurz um meine Schuhe zu entleeren und mir die Jacke wieder auszuziehen.
Hier schloss  die führende Dame Juliette Blanchet auf, mit der ich mich auf den Weiterweg nach Kals gemacht habe. Kals liegt über der Hälfte der Strecke, hat die größte Verpflegungsstation und auch mein Dropbag wartete dort auf mich. Ebenso meine Schwester und viele Freunde des GGUT Teams. Ich fühlte mich noch immer sehr gut, aß einige Löffel Suppe, nahm meine zweite Ration Gummi/Ingwer-Bärchen aus dem Dropbag und begab mich wieder auf den Weg durch das Dorfertal und weiter über den Kalser Tauern zur Rudolfshüttte.

Hier kam mir auch Flo Grasel entgegen und begleitete mich motivierender Weiße einige Meter, danke Flo!
Flo hielt mich auch über den Rennverlauf am laufenden und zu meiner Freude war ich mittlerweile auf Platz 7. Nicht wirklich wichtig, da ich bisher mein eigenes Rennen lief und mich nicht so sehr um Stände gekümmert habe, doch so spät im Rennen mit noch einiger Kraft doch auch motivierend. Ich wusste auch das die Leute vor mir um einiges stärker sind und machte mich nicht wirklich daran aufzuholen sondern versuchte lediglich weiterhin meine pace zu laufen. Der Aufstieg zum Kalser Tauern ging relativ langsam aber stetig voran, oben angekommen lief ich die flachen Passagen und den downhill zur Rudolfshütte und somit dem vorletzten CP des GGUT. Auch dort erwartete mich schon freudig das GGUT Team inkl. meinem Vater. Ich checkte nochmal meine Vorräte, stockte um einige Hammer Gels auf und weiter ging es zum letzen Punkt auf 2600 Meter dem Kapruner Törl! Davor musste ich noch über einige sehr rutschige Blockfeld abschnitte, vorbei an vielen 50 Kilometer Läufern die auf der Strecke mit Start in Kals unterwegs waren. Der Anstieg aufs Kapruner Törl war zwar von meiner Wahrnehmung her relativ langsam, ich konnte jedoch ohne Pausen mich Meter um Meter weiter hinaufschieben. Das Panorama wirkte wie gemalt und ich erfreute mich immer wieder dem Anblick. Der Ausblick auf die Stauseen Moorboden vom Törl war einfach gewaltig, auch einige Glockner-Trail 50k Läufer waren fasziniert davon und gönnten sich eine Pause am höchsten Punkt ihrer Strecke. Sie feuerten mich an und ich stürzte mich über die Blockfelder hinunter ins Schneefeld das mich in weiterer Folge dem See entlang zum letzten CP Moserboden führte. Mittlerweile war es richtig heiß, ich hielt nur kurz im mir einige Stücke Wassermelone zu gönnen, füllte mein Wasser auf und auf ging es in die letzten 15 Kilometer vorwiegend bergab. Natürlich spürte ich meine Oberschenkel schon einigermaßen, ich konzentrierte mich allerdings mehr aufs Laufen und auf meine Schrittsetzung als auf Schmerzen und so konnte ich den manchmal endlos scheinenden downhill auch bewältigen. Einige Abschnitte vor allem die singletrails nah am Stausee erforderten nochmals vollste Konzentration da sie sich unmittelbar am Abgrund  befinden.
Auf den letzten sieben, flachen Kilometern nach Kaprun konzentrierte ich mich nur noch auf das Laufen im flachen, es galt jetzt unter keinen Umständen stehenzubleiben und in ein Gehtempo zu verfallen. Auf den letzten Metern schloss mein Teamkollege Volker Sauerzapf zu mir auf und wir teilten uns den siebten Rang in 17h 18min. Im Ziel erwartete man offensichtlich schon Juliette Blanchet was uns ebenfalls einen stimmungsvollen Empfang einbrachte. Es war einfach ein genialer Tag in den Bergen!

Der GGUT war für mich ein voller Erfolg, die Strecke bietet alles was ein anspruchsvolles Trail-Rennen braucht, vom Hochgebirge mit Schneefeldern und Gletschern bis zu flowigen singletrails  + sehr guter Atmosphäre.

Ausrüstung & Ernährung

Lupine Piko Stirnlampe, Salomon 5L Laufweste + 2x500ml Ultrasphire Flaschen, Dynafit Shirt + Short, Wrightsocks, Hoka ONE ONE MafateII Schuhe, Black Diamond Carbon Z-Poles, Julbo Brillen, Patagonia Cap, div. Buffs, OR Handschuhe;

Tailwind Nutrition Drinkmix, Salt Stick Caps,  Hammer Gels, Gummi/Ingwer – Bärchen, Oreos, Bananen, Orangen, Wassermelonen, Red Bull Cola und jede menge Wasser;

 


100 Miles of Istria 2016 Race Report

Training
I ran 1200 kilometers and 50.000 vertical meters since January 25th in preparation for the race. My biggest week was 173 kilometers with 8200m vert. The second biggest was 155 kilometers with 7100m vert. My longest training run was 70 kilometers with 3000m vert. Most runs I did where in the 25k to 50k range. I never did specific speed work or intervalls. I did some body weight training and core exercises about three times a week. In the last 2 weeks leading up to the race I stopped drinking coffee or any other caffeinated drinks and cut down time on electronic devices such as smart phones and computers.

My race mindset
I think getting away from distractions forced through computers and the internet helped a lot for a clear head on race day. I never thought further than to the next aid station for the whole race. Sometimes I had this thoughts when I am there like 40 kilometers further this and that might happen but I always could catch those thoughts and bring me back in the present moment, which was thinking just to the next cp. I believe that saved me a lot of energy. I had no mental downs throughout the entire race. I stayed positive and smiled or placed little jokes towards volunteers, runners and people along the way. I always got smiles back and that´s a huge part when it comes to staying positive for such a long race.

The day before
After my DNF at 100 Miles of Istria 2015 I decided that I want to go back and give it another try this year. So there I was back in Umag after a solid 10 weeks of training (1200km/50.000vert) from the end of January on. This time I wanted to keep everything as simple as possible beforehand so I was happy that my parents joined me on the journey and delivered me right at the front entrance of the offical race hotel. The place held all amieties you can think of so I was not distracted by doing any chores other than making the way from my room to the restaurant and back. I took a short walk to the beach front in the evening, along the tennis courts, soccer fields and closed kiosks which are about to open when holliday season starts and when I am long gone.

Race day
On race morning I met Florian, a fellow runner from Austria and first timer at the race at breakfast. We talked trail for a while and wondered how much food we should eat before. We came to the conclusion that we should not stop eating before we get tired enough for a litte pre-race nap and so we did. At noon my parents picked us up to drive us the three kilometers to town where the race bus leaves for our start destination Labin. So the race course goes from Labin back to Umag 173 Kilometers through the heart of the Istrian peninsula.

At 04:00 pm the race starts. 250 anxious runners make their way through the old town of Labin and I bet I was not the only one surprised there because of the firmly new route through town. The pace was high and I felt like on a roller coaster up and down this very narrow channels in the middle of a herd of runners. I focused on the ground to not trip over staircases leading out of buildings. After that we followed single track down to the bay and a short stretch of asphalt along the harbour. It took a bit till I was settled and wondered why everybody is going so fast at the first 6km. From the first hill we could see the Ucka Mountains raising in the distance. The sea to the right, the mountains in the front I knew this is where I want to be. By arriving at the first check point I took time to cool down my legs and head a bit, refilled my bottles and grabbed half a banana. At this point I was probaply around 40th position. There where runners behind me who did not even stop at the first cp.
I saw them again later in the race 😉

Before cp2 30k in, the sun begann to set on the horizon, I was high on on a rocky plateau out of the forest. I caught up to many runners almost effortlessly. It was not dark yet but I decided to gear up with my headlamp so I dont have to stop for that later again in the dark. I love running at night. When it gets dark I feel like a hunter chasing down lights in the distance. When approaching other runners I always take time, I try to read there strides and see how the feel. By the time arriving the climb up Vojak the highest point of the race I felt really strong uphill so I caught about 20 runners up the steep trail. I knew I should not go to hard because it is still a long way to Umag but it felt really easy. The downhill to Poklon CP3 at 42k went smooth I ran it one time before and could remember a lot from last year even it was completely in the fog back than. Arriving at Poklon I began my aid station routine which goes like two cups of coke, half a banana, one salt pill and every now and then bread with nutella. While I ate volunteers refilled my bottles.


The next section was mostly on hilly forest trails where I tried to recover a bit, so I ran, walked and ate. I felt like I am stronger in the technical sections, at least they where easier for me than the long forest roads.
The last technical section down to Buzet went very well, I ran with an Italien runner, we chatted a bit and made our way to a hall in the town center together where the cp at 89k was. The atmosphere was good, I was not too tired, we high fived and after we got our dropbags handed everyone followed his own business. I had my peronin breakfast, a change of socks, shirt and headlamp, restocked on food and out I was again towards the next cp Hum. From Buzet on, most of the technical sections are over, the climbs still steep but short and all very runable terrain. I still felt good as day broke in, ran all flats parts and small uphills and downhills. My energy on the climbs was still good but I felt my legs a bit.


My parents crewed me on the last 30 kilometers so I met them for the first time in Motovun which was great and gave my extra energy to see them there. My dad handed me the supplies I needed from my bag, mum took care of my bottles and we parted ways again. From now on I had coconut water at every cp I saw them which was super good as the day got hotter and hotter. The last cp at kilometer 157 Buje was insight, there I would see my parents for the last time till the finish in Umag. I was still in good spirtis, I felt the heat a bit but I was definitely ready for the last 13 kilometers to the finish.

The last 10k felt the hardest I would say. It was super hot on those fields and the course zigzagged on never ending dirt roads. On the last 5 Kilometers two runners past me so I finished in Umag in 13th position overall. My main goal was to finish the course in under 24 hours so I was very happy with the outcome of my first 100 mile finish.

 

Nutrition
My stomach worked solid the entire time, I mostly ate gels, bananas and some oranges. I used Tailwind (love it), water, coke(from km40) and coconut water for hydration. I had one portion of Peronin at halfway. I regularly took salt and bcaa caps during the race.

Gear
I held my gear kit pretty basic, I loved the Hokas (Challenger ATR) on the rocky terrain and wore one pair the entire race. However as the distance and heat increased the toebox was a bit too narrow for my wide feet. So my toes where not happy during the end. I changed socks once. I used the Lupine Piko headlamp during the night and a lighter one from Petzl for the second half.

 

 

 

 

 

 


100 Miles of Istria 2015 Race Report (DNF)

In 2013 I participated in the 100 km race from Buzet to Labin. When I first came across the 100 mile runners which where on the same course than us, I said to myself „never will I attampt an 100 miler on that course“.
However I signed up for the original 100 miles of Istria in Autumn 2014. Training and preparation really went well, I was able to do some ski-mountaineering and because of a really dry February and March there was some decent mountain running possible. I never got so many kilometers and vertical meters so early in the season. Well I never decided to do a 100 mile race before.
So a few days before race day, Anders, Mike (did the 65k) and I where going down to Umag, Croatia. Apartment check in, Bib number collection and grocery shopping. A short run in the afternoon as a kind of heat attaptation. Unfortunately the weather for race weekend was looking more like rain than sun.
After stepping out of the Bus in Labin (where the race started) I noticed a light drizzle and wind which felt cold. Instead of waiting outside for 45 minutes till the race starts I went straight to the restaurant across the square for a cup of tea. Other runners allready in, eating, preparing, checking headlamps and the race course. It was warm inside and the tea tasted really good. I felt calm. Just minutes before the gun went off I sneaked trough the field to get a little closer to the starting line. And off we where. I could not believe how fast others went out at the very beginning of a race that long. I was not too impressed, found a comfortable rhythm and cruised down the first downhill to Rabac. I noticed that it became really warm further down, runners in front stopped and removed their jackets. I jogged along the seafront in Rabac, out of the town and followed the marked course on dirtroads up to the mountains toward the first refreshment station at km17. It got dark, but still enough light to save batteries on the headlamp. I closed the gap between some runners in front by mostly walking uphill.

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As it got completely dark, the fog came in. Really thick fog, making a visibility of maybe 1 meter. Headlamp strong, blinded. Headlamp dim, tired eyes. I played around between those two for most of the time, remembering how technical this terrain actually was. My hopes that the fog is just along the coast where high. I closed up to more runners on the downhill into the first aid station. The fog cleared below a certain elevation.
I just filled my bottles and off I was again, climbing up a dirt road for the next section of single trail. The further up I climbed the more fog appeared again. I caught up to more runners, and after about 25km in, I was right behind Nerea Martinez. I started questioning myself:“Am I too fast“?
No matter what, I felt really great and could go a decent pace without putting too much effort in. The terrain certainly got more technical, sharp rocks in all sizes and heights all over the place, slippery from the dew, hard to see because of the fog. It did not take long till I hit my toes in full motion. From the sharpness of the pain I knew that the rock was hitting the nail hard, I had this before. Refreshment station II came in sight. Not really actually, I just noticed a bunch of headlamps gathered around a few other people. The volunteers wrote my bib number down and offered me refreshments, I filled my bottles again and continued further on the trail towards Poklon. I remembered a really technical stretch in that section from 2013 through the beech forest. Fog, night, slippery terrain and mud did not make it easier this year. My headlamp started blinking as indication I have to change batteries, which I did not immediately of course. I calculated..still more than 6 hours darkness, the first battery did after 4..what should I do If I run out of batteries before daylight? Wait somewhere till darkness disappears? What If it shuts down right now? Will I be able to change the batteries in complete dark? Will I loose orientation and wander around like in a dark room? Of course nothing of my mind made scenarios happend, at the next checkpoint there was enough light to change the battery pack without to hassle.
Rolling down the trail into Poklon was cool, I could see the yellow streetlights around the aid station through the trees and people chatting and cheering. I knew I had some pretty though terrain behind me and also the first 42km under the belt. Still in a good mood without beeing too tired. I had some segments of an orange, filled my bottles with tailwind and water and left after drinking some coke for the first time during this race. I was happy to be on easy rolling forest track where running was possible. The hours went by pretty fast, sections of technical terrain followed by more runable and forest track. Up a mountain and down and up again. At around 06:00 am I arrived in Trstenik (km 73). I remembered the place from 2013, It is a really small place but very cool place with houses built of stones and the refreshment point in a really nice driveway of one of them. I felt a bit tired from the last downhill where I noticed also the burn from a couple of blisters on my toes. I got water, more coke and left towards Buzet (halfway) after chatting with the volunteers for a while. One told my that there where only about 10 100 milers through at this point which was cool and gave me some sort of boost. Daylight broke trough the clouds, I could hear the birds singing from the trees and all in all I felt really good getting new spirits into my head. I stowed the headlamp into my pack and started marching uphill. After a while I saw somebody in front of me, from the dirt on his calfs and moving from left to right I could swear it is a 100 mile runner. Indeed it was Adam Hewey. Again I started asking myself. Am I too fast? But still I felt good without giving all my efforts on the uphill. The downhill into Buzet, which is one of the longest on the course was hard tough. About 1000 meters descent and again very technical trails. Down there my toes hurt from kicking rocks all night long. Not even really in the refreshment station I got allready my dropbag offered from on of the very attentive volounteers. Thanks!

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I really took my time here, thoughts from quitting came into my mind. Do I really want to go for another 85km? What If my toes are getting worse? Why am I doing this? I took of my shoes just sat there for minutes. Runners came in, runners went out. Some looked fresh, some looked tired. My mind said, continue! So I changed socks, got my sore toe taped, put on my trusted Cascadias and out of Buzet I was. After taking a break for about 40 minutes. I knew that the second half was not so technical anymore, also I had just 2000 meters of climbing left at this point. While pausing in Buzet, both Nerea Martinez and Adam Hewey caught up and left the aid station before me. I caught up to Nerea just a couple of kilometers later, Adam nowhere to be seen. The terrain really felt easy after the hard first half. Even with not the freshest legs I was able to run good chunks. Instead of rocks there was mud now, a lot of mud, making shoes really heavy and sticky to the ground. Rivercrossings, a pool of mud, relentless uphills through sections without trail and so on. I arrived in Hum having done roughly 100km now. The rain that started earlier got heavier now. I decided to put on my jacket, which was not the most waterproof of all. Leaving Hum I felt really cold allready, but with less than 10k to the next checkpoint I was in good spirits. Heavy winds and more cold rain, I doubted I could last long out here with no change of clothes and weather that does not look like it is improving soon. I said to myself if it is not getting better in Draguc I have to bail out. I was just shaking all over not beeing able to open my bottles or any wrappers from my supplies anymore. Luckily my brother-in-law and my sister where waiting there, which I did not know before. I got into the car and my race was over. Another time maybe.
Things learned: Adding weight in form of a proper jacket and a change of clothes will pay off in the end!
Thanks to Alen and his crew for setting up 100 miles of Istria!

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Wörthersee Trail-Maniak 57k 2013

 

Having done this event in 2012 my initial goal for coming back this year was to look how I improved as a „runner“ during one year.
Despite spending most of my time running in the mountains I somehow like this course. Its really runable and not very technical at all (from my point of view).
So Mike, Volker and myself drove to Klagenfurt, spending the night in the hostel and racing the next day.
I have no idea why it took 7hours and 44minutes to cross that finish line last year. As far as I remember I really struggled after 30k and I was not able to run anymore not even on paved flat road.
That in mind I really took it slowly this year. Mike was gone with the front pack after the start, so I ran with Volker for more than the half of the race. Before Pyramidenkogel Volker had the drive to go faster which was good for him. We ran through a hornets nest somewhere where I got stung in my elbow. Ohters had to withdraw here because they got stung in their heads.
I maintained a slower steady pace till the top of the highest point of the course. I could have done more running on the climb but I hiked because I did not want to regret it later. On the downhill I almost crashed into a barbed wired fence. I had to hit the brakes hard and both of my legs started cramping immediately form that movement. All I could do was let myself fall back into the steep slope behind me. I never had cramps during running before so I had no Idea how to handle those. It felt like someone was pulling my muscles apart. After a couple of minutes It felt better, I took a salt pill had some water and made my way down. The running was not quite the same than before. Also I was afraid that the legs starting to cramp again.

All in all I have to say that I ran pretty mellow at a medium heart rate. At the end I was 1hour and 40mins faster than last year which is ok for me. Need more time to find my strengths. Maybe next year? Who knows….

 

 

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Race Report: 100 Miles of Istria (100k)

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Earlier in the year Anders and I where writing back and forth looking for the right trailrace to participate in together.
He came up with 100 Miles of Istria which was held for the first time this year.
Since I knew Istria only from going on vacation with my parents as a child, it sounded really appealing to get to know the mountain areas spreading through the country.
So I picked up Anders and Gerald who signed up for the 100 miles distance and off we went. After spending a day at our apartment we drove down to Koromacno to pick up the bib numbers. Gerald was starting the 100 miles at 9 p.m. that day so he stayed at the finish area to catch the transfer bus to the start in Umag later. We enjoyed the nice warm weather down at the sea and later we looked for the trail which runs down from the mountains close to the finish. Later, Anders and I where driving back to the apartment, preparing for the race the next morning by looking at maps and profiles.
As always the night before the race felt like catching no sleep at all. My alarm clock woke us up at 3:20 a.m. since we had to catch the transfer bus leaving close to 5. Bus ride was kind of horrible with lots of construction work on the way to Buzet. I felt tired and somehow not too excited. We met Gerald who decided to quit here after 60km.
In Buzet around 120 runners gathered at the starting line. At 7 the race was on. Anders and I worked together from the first minute and found our pace really quick. Walking uphill, covering ground on the flats and descends. We reminded each other on not going too fast in the beginning because it is going to be a long day anyway. The terrain in the first half was already technical but ok to run in most parts. We got wonderful views along the way and where really excited to run together. Since Anders and I have not met since the end of the PCT two years ago, we had enough to talk so the time went by fast.
After 10 hours I was still wondering why there has not been a low point yet. Later in, we where thinking about a 16 hour finish time, since most of the long climbs are behind. Before we descended down to the Checkpoint at km 68, a runner from Slovenia told us we are around 10th position. This was very motivating because I had no idea where in the field we are.
What we did not expect was, that the terrain closer to the coast was getting much worse than in the beginning. Very hard to run on, especially with tired legs. A fall here would mean a serious injury. I crashed my toe into a rock once which felt like I twisted the nail of the toe. But I did not stop to look for it. Between Rabac and Labin the trail got very steep, they installed cables to make the way down possible. We had to climb over a waterfall to reach a checkpoint. A beautiful place but at this stage I was too tired to get out the camera for pictures. I really had to focus on every step I took. At the climb to Labin I felt really really tired. I knew that this point will come and I knew also how to go through and feel better again.
At the checkpoint in Labin I changed my socks again and fueled up for the last 20 km. We turned on our headlamps and off we where into the night. Twice we had to retrace our steps because we could not find the waymarkers anymore. We where ready to finish and kept pushing downhill, wondering when we will get to the dirt road which we knew from inspecting the trail the day before. After that dirtroad, we came down to the paved road, which lead us the last km into the finish in Koromacno. After close to 18 hours on our feet we where more than happy to be done and finishing 10th place overall. All in all, it was a great day and I am really happy about staying save and healthy along the way without having too many problems with fatigue or lack of motivation. The experience running through the mountains of Istria is something I dont want to miss. We endured.
Great organization and enthusiastic volunteers too!

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Race Report: Ultra Alpine Marathon Veitsch 30.06.2012 (Austria)

It was supposed to be the hottest day in June, temperatures where reaching +38°C at 9 am the temps at 2000m elevation where allready +20°C
I knew It is going to be hard.I knew the fact that I can handle the cold much better than the heat. So here I was in a pack of 120 other runners at this small village Veitsch. I made two mistakes in the first half of the race, I started way too far in front and the second was I did ran the first 18km also on the uphill.
After 21km the trail started to climb the steepest 600m of the whole course to the top of hohe Veitsch. I was really tired on the climb and felt that my right calf is going to cramp at any second. At this time I could not wear my running shirt anymore because I felt like it is keeping the heat to much at my body. My head was aching so I made my own ac wrapping the shirt around my head and soak it in water at every possibility. Worked great for my head but not for my back as the sunscreen was washed away from sweat and water long ago. At one of the checkpoints they had magnesium tablets which helped against my cramping leg. After 30km I was close to quit the race. I just was not there. My body felt not too bad but my head was saying no. I met my parents at this aid station, I sat down and spoke to them. Everybody around me suffered. Even the people who where not running. 24km left. I took my fresh filled bottle and made my way downhill knowing the hardest part is behind. The heat of midday was unbearable. I literally just moved one leg in front of the other thinking about the next step following the trail over hilly terrain. The last 5km where all downhill through a forest with the last kilometer into the village and the finish line on paved road. I was never so tired my entire life but still happy about the finish.

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Trailrunning: Ultra Trail Serra de Tramuntana Mallorca // Race Report

I started running in February 2010 and never run a typical marathon distance except a half marathon (21km) after 2 months of training. Then I found out, that running in the woods and mountains is so much more enjoyable and fun than on paved roads. In 2010 I hiked 8 days from Port d´Andratx to Pollenca. On April 28th 2012 I ran the distance of 107km with a positive 4500m gain in elevation in 18h:46min. Both where great but different experiences.

It is 23:58. I am one out of 500 runners who are waiting lined up at the start area for the clock to jump on 00:00.
They start to play „Carmina Burana“. I know something great is going to happen. I focus on my breath, click on my headlamp, the two minutes are over and the field rolls out of the village of Port d´Andratx. I try to make my strides as small and low as possible, to keep the impact on my body low. The paved road comes to an end, I follow the pack into a small dirt road. The lights around me are so bright that I switch mine completely off. I found a group of 3 who are about my pace. I know that I should not get out of breath in the first hours during the race. The road is going steeper and steeper. One of the group is slowing down. I dont understand what he was saying because it was spanish but I think he told his friends to slow down aswell because this is going to be a long race. So did I. We started to climb while turning into walking. I notice hundrets of lights around me, red blinking back lights and the beams of strong white headlamps winding up the mountain. A strong feeling surroundet me, I knew it was right to face this challange. I arrived at the top of the hill, eager to make some good effort on the downhill. The first two hours went by and I was not far away from the first aid station. There was some paved road into the village of Estellences. The guys at the checkpoint wrote down our bib numbers and showed the way into the garage which was the aid station. It was hot and humid in there. I took of my pack, refilled my bladder, had two cups of coke, half an orange and took a banana out for the upcomming section. Other runners where sitting around and taping their feet or stretching out. I was just feeling to continue as fast as possible. The field stretched out more and more and there was no one around anymore. The trail climbed and went down again, with flat stretches inbetween. The hours went by I was very confident with running through the dark from one checkpoint to the other. It was allready more than 5 hours in when I reached the town of Valdemossa. The day began to brake in, this was the first time I could recognize the scenery I allready hiked through a few years ago. I knew, up the next mountain there will be a beautiful ridge waiting and I will arrive on top just right at sunrise. I talked to some french runners on the uphill. The only people I talked to during the race. They where joking around and saying something like „this race starts at Kilometer 70“ which I believed in but I did not care because all I wanted is to cross that finish line. So I arrived at that ridge hiking fast the switchbacks up before. I spoted the long shadows of other runners stretching over the pale gray bolder fields above tree level. To the left there was just the see below a 300 meter vertical cliff drop. I knew I am not far away from the 55k mark and the halfwaypoint of the trail. There was a big downhill waiting into the village of Deja. The trail got really steep and technical winding down the mountain into beautiful olive groves and through overgrown areas covered with long blades of grass. At the checkpoint in Deja I sat down for the first time. I brought some spare socks and now over halfway the time has come to change them. The once I whore where completely soaked. I refueled by eating some big blocks of cheese and white bread. Took some oranges and bananas and off I went again. The heat of the day arrived, I was happy about some cooling winds on the exposed areas. On the way to Soller a really fast runner overtook me at the downhill. I thought going downhill at these speeds after 60km requires some serious skills. Later I found out that it was the leader of the shorter competition which started at 8am in Valdemossa.He has serious skills. I arrived in Soller during midday. It was really hot. At the aid station I just took some fruits and refilled my bladder. I could not eat the meals the had there because my appetite for cooked food was just not there. There was this big climb waiting up the canyon towards Cuber Basin. I went really slow but steady up the trail which was combinded with large stairs. More runners from the shorter distance overtook me. I ate the food I carried from the beginning on my way up. Such as Energygels, Bars and PB ride shots. I brought way too much food but I did not want to leave it behind. Up the canyon my feet where really heavy. I had to force myself into running again. Mentally I felt still very good. I knew I could do it. I was just tired and slightly dizzy from the heat. At the last Aid station in Lluc I opened that Gatorade Strip I brought last year from the States. Mixed it with cold wather and enjoyed the taste. From Lluc there where just 17km left to the finish. I knew I could do those in about 2 hours reaching the finish under my personal goal of 20 hours. The last downhill really took forever. My legs where tired and I had to be really focused not to stumble over these rocks and roots. The last 7km where flat paved road combined with some trail just a little below the road. Cars where blowing their horns from time to time cheering us. High fives where given from other runners. I just wanted to get it done. My legs felt good on the easy trail and I just ran as fast as I could these last kilometers and across that finish line. After 18h:46min I finished in 119th position out of about 300 finishers. On the next day my legs felt good and I could not wait to enter the breakfast buffet at the hotel.

My strategy to finish:

-Something I learned from long distance hiking. Split the course into small chunks. In that case running from one aid station to the other.
-Walking uphill
-Taking just small rests

My training:

Since September 2011 I never run further than 25km. I was never going further than 80km a week. More like 40-60km.
On all my trainig runns I gained 600 or more meters of elevation up and downhill.

www.umsdt.com

Gearlist:

Nathan HPL 020 Backpack + 2xMLD Hipbelt Pockets
Petzl MYO RXP Headlamp
Red backlight (road bike)
Inov-8 Buff
Northface Visor
Oakley Jawbone Glases
Haglöfs Tempo SS T-Shirt
Fuse Arms
Black Diamond Gloves
Ronhill Shorts
Compressport Quads
Salomon Calfs
Falke RU4 Socks (carried 2 pairs, changed after 55k)
Dirty Girl Gaiters
Brooks Cascadia 6
Black Diamond Z-Pole Ultra Distance
Foldable Cup
Emergency blanket
Anti Friction Stick
Ipod Nano


Before the start


Some French runners


Self