Zegama-Aizkorri 2014 Preview
It's only four days to go until I will start at my first race of the skyrunning world series! It is the mountain Marathon in Zegama, Spain. On the traditional 42.2 kilometers there is a total of 5472 meter incline and decline to overcome. Not exactly what one can prepare in the likes of Kent! Well I've tried to use the North Downs ridge with its 100 meter incline with a few repetitions. We will see if that did the trick ;)
There has been quite a while since my last post. Here is an update what happened in the meanwhile:
I did the Paddock Wood Half Marathon which was on the 30th of March in a time of 1:10:49. It was a very flat and fast course but I just did not feel right on the day. It was really tempting to pull out of the race after 3km because it was not only very close to my car but I also had to write a 2000 word essay within the next 24 hours. But I decided to finish the race, even though I had to take it a bit slower than I expected to. I had to let go those runners I thought I could challenge. James McMullan, Tom Collins and Anthony Jackson disappeared slowly and my speed started to drop until a few runners caught up to me. I thought it was a good idea to just hang in there so they could drag me along. I did not lead much until we reached kilometer 18. Because we started to close the gap to the aforementioned guys I tried to push hard to the finish line. It was to late to catch them and I crossed the finish line in 10th position. I was a bit disappointed with my performance but then again 1:10 for a not-so-good-day is acceptable I think.
This was just before I went to my training camp in Giverola, Spain. It feels like home to me, as it was about the 11th time I was there. The location, the food, the training and company was as always brilliant!
I did not get quite the miles in my legs I wanted but I had an amazing time with my love which made more than up for it.
Since the Easter break I was training about 10 hours per week. This is quite a lot for me but compared with my competitors from Sunday it must be very little and I am about to run a mountain Marathon! The training was generally not as hard as it could have been, but then again I am studying full time and had at least an exam or essay to hand in every week with the final exams of the year coming up in a couple of weeks.
There was a last test on Saturday with the traditional Sola-Relay in and around Zurich. I did for the first time leg 11 which was 12.3km and 400 meters up- and downhill. Because I knew it was a very close race between the first three teams I had to give everything. I wore for the first time the Scott Trail Rocket which is the lightest version of Scott Trail shoes (apart from the Race Rocker which is rather a shoe for tarmac). It was really comfortable and now I am a bit confused which shoe that I should wear on Sunday. After a few kilometers when I reached almost the highest point of the course it got flatter but I struggled a bit with the rhythm and the turnover of the legs. Thankfully this got better by time and I could push in the downhill, even though I tried to save my legs also a little bit from all the shocks. I reached Zumikon after 45 minutes and in total I was very happy with the performance. I realized pretty soon that my legs would ache the next few days after all this downhill running. However this needs to be trained as well and who knows, it might come in handy this Sunday on the last twelve kilometers to the finish line which are basically downhill. Taken in consideration this was only 300 meters downhill and another 2700 are waiting on Sunday for me, I do not want to waste a thought what my legs are gonna feel like afterwards.
Our team TV Oerlikon came less than a minute behind the winning team (after 6:55 hours) in 2nd position. I hope we can strike back next year! It was great to see so many familiar faces and to have two more Dala-horses in the collection :)
The training for this week will be to move my legs a bit without pushing to much but to keep the metabolic demand high. I have been struggling in the past with the tapering because the body was not ready anymore to get pushed to the limit.
I reconnoitred the course many times online on youtube (last years race recap with the beautiful scenery) and google earth and should be mentally prepared for whats coming. I know that I am my worst enemy by pushing to hard in the first hour. I hope I find the right mix to be able to get through without any serious downtime. I have been looking forward to this event for almost half a year when the skyrunning federation released their calender. Now its approaching really quick and I am excited to do well in this competition. At the same time I have great respect of the course and that so many things may happen on the way. The only question remaining is now which shoe I should run with! My beloved Kinabalus or the Trail Rocket?
I will let you know how it went as soon as I'm back from my adventurous trip to the basque country.
Thanks for reading!