Suunto Ambit 3 + Stryd – powerful combo for trail running

I have been collaborating with these two companies and I think there is a change happening with analyzing trail running training and races.

So let me run through the basics of the technology:

Suunto Ambit 3 Vertical

I have been trying out the Ambit 3 Vertical and don’t yet have a lot of experience with it. However, it seems like a small evolution of the usual smart GPS watch. I’m very happy to see focus on vertical training and this is a great watch for anyone interested in being able to easily measure their vertical training in any sport in a simple package. I emphasize the simplicity factor here, because there is so much complexity going on with the data and the User Experience (UX) of the technology today leaves quite a bit to be desired. The Vertical does a good job here and shows the vertical profile of any run on the watch screen after any run. It also shows monthly and yearly statistics of how much vertical training you have done. These key metrics are really at your fingertips.

IMG_5793.jpgIMG_5794.jpg

Here’s the elevation profile of a short 5 km run from the house up and down a mountain and back. I also get my weekly totals, which are not that impressive in this example (I average about 2,500m+ weekly). Easy.

What the Ambit 3 also does, uniquely today, but I’m sure not very long is that it allows power meters to be connected with the watch in the running mode. Historically, power meters have really only existed for cycling, but now there is a new product that does this for running and the Ambit 3 has this data available in an easy format for you.

… so that brings me to Stryd.

IMG_5790.jpg

Stryd – power meter for running

This is a ridiculously clever and seemingly simple device, but it works. What it does is that you put in your key body metrics and then the device measures your movements in 3D and calculates the power output you need to execute those. It then translates all this data into a single number: your running power. All you have to do is to wear the device using the chest strap that then also gives you HR. It’s just a little bit bigger than any normal HR sensor. There are no buttons, you just put it on, start your exercise in the Ambit 3 and go running.

IMG_5798.jpg

The Stryd sensor and belt

Why does it matter? (for a mountain trail runner)

It matters a whole lot. As a mountain-athlete, I don’t have very many meaningful numbers to go with for training and racing. What most people have available is:

-Pace – almost completely meaningless in the mountain environment as even the slightest hill throws this off

-Distance – doesn’t mean much, because you can’t really correlate the same distance on flat asphalt to mountain trains at all. You can easily spend 2-3 the time doing the same distance. Last summer, I did some 30+ minute kilometers in some technical parts in the Pyrenees and I wasn’t slacking.

-Elevation – this is a key metric, but alone it doesn’t really tell you much

-Time – doesn’t tell you how hard you went

HR – this is normally the best available measurement, combined with time. I know that 150 BPM is about my ‘ultra race pace’ and 170 BPM is my ‘road half marathon race pace’. There are many flaws in going with just this metric however: it only responds with a significant lag, which is a big deal in the mountains as terrain is always changing. Your HR goes up in the uphills, but only after a time, so you’d find out too late that you’re going too hard and by the time you find out, the hill may be over and you risk going too slow by staring at your HR. Your pacing will be off. HR is also dependent on many things like how did you sleep last night, so it doesn’t really tell you what kind of output you’re getting out of yourself.

So power gives you the metric that is far more meaningful as a single metric than any of the above for evaluating your training and pacing for races.

I did a test earlier this week, running continuously for 10km @ 3:40 / km pace to test this pace for my half marathon this Sunday. I ran the half today at this page (3:39 avg/km, 1:17:03 total).

My HR and power for the training run:

HR_training.pngPower_training.png

My HR and power for the race:

HR_race.pngPower_race.png

Otherwise all stats are comparable… pace was the same, route very similar with almost no elevation change on smooth asphalt. I think it’s showing me very expected results: in the shorter training run, I was able to put out more power at a lower HR, so I guess I was running more efficiently than in the race. In the race, I managed to keep the same pace with slightly less power output, but higher HR, so I guess I paid more for it. The only meaningful outside bias for this is that the race was a bit more windy than the training run, which could explain some of the higher HR.

The key is to analyze and interpret this data and then take appropriate action in training and races. That is not going to be exactly easy (and I’ve simplified things for this article).

I’ll just leave it there for this post, but my initial reaction to these new tools is very positive and I will start analyzing this more and incorporating it into my training. This is after a long time of training without paying too much attention to any metrics and it is very interesting.

Anyone interested in hearing more, please reach out.

 

Advertisements

What I do on Friday evevenings

Someone at work asked me how I have the time to do all this. I work quite a lot of hours, so it is sometimes difficult to fit in everything. To be honest, I have very little life outside some daily routines, like work, train, sleep.

So how do I fit it in? One of the workouts I have been planning to do for some time, in preparation for the UTMB was to do a long night run from our cabin to the highest point in Montsant (Roca Corbatera, 1,160m). I estimated it to be around 50km and 2,000 meters of vertical gain. It would take me about 6 hours to do it. I did not want to ‘waste’ a weekend night for this, so I thought that Friday after work would be the best time to do this run.

11313612_134352460260798_1950567462_n(1).jpg

Montsant, near the highest point, on another day (photo by Katri)

So, last Friday, I exited the house at 6:14 PM (about the same time as UTMB start), while there was still some light outside and I was hoping I could make it to the first village over the first set of mountains I had to cross. I didn’t quite make it there as there was a bit of trail in the forest and that was just a bit too dark to run in already. I had my first little break watching the final rays of the sun set behind the mountains. This is also where I stopped using my headphones as there are lots of wild boar around and I wanted to be able to hear them in the dark.

IMG_5777.jpg

Sunset … time to put on the headlamp

My plan was to run pretty slow and easy, take breaks and have fun. This was actually quite difficult and running slowly felt quite clumsy. In the first bigger downhill I almost fell twice and I had to stay very focused. In a race, this kind of clumsiness is usually the first warning sign that things are not going so great. Well, I was finally down the first hill and had another break here, at one of my favorite spots and I was here now at night for the first time.

IMG_5779.jpg

Chilling at my favorite waterfall

Next was a big long climb into Cornudella de Montsant and then up the steepest (and very technical) climb in Tarragona. When I got into the village, I had the hardest climb ahead of me and had spent something like 2hours and 20 minutes so far. Quick math told me that finishing in 6 hours would be a stretch, so I started planning a more efficient return route to win some time. I didn’t want to spend the entire night in the mountain and still wanted to go into the sauna before bed. The sauna was a big motivator here… 🙂

1538507_517426615089999_1586114751_n.jpg

Our sauna was calling me … (Photo by Katri)

My first headlamp gave away during the first climb, maybe 2hrs 40 minutes into the run. I had it in full setting, but still the battery life was a disappointment. I needed to stop and swap in the replacement battery and then carry on. I was a bit worried now, with no more battery reserves, so I kept the light at the minimum setting (which was perfectly fine).

It was quite a cold night, below 0 temperature and some wind at the top. I was running in full length pants the whole time and had my jacket on here and warm gloves. Still, I only spent a few seconds at the top and wanted to drop down away from the wind. I chose an easier, but much longer route down from the mountain as I didn’t want to face the technical descent in the dark being already a little tired. I think my elapsed time was something around 3:35.

IMG_5781.jpg

Ok, mandatory photo done, now back down!

The easier route was much more pleasant to run. It was very cool to look around, on a clear night with almost full moonlight. The mountains and the villages looked very pretty. There was a bit of pain in the knees and legs in the downhill, so at the bottom I took one painkiller just for convenience and to be able to run a little faster for the rest of the way (sauna was waiting).

I took a faster route back that had a nice, long continuous climb on an easy road so I could just clip away with my hiking poles. It felt like really good practice, really pushing with the sticks and keeping a good rhythm. I kept quite good pace all the way to the end really.

My final time was around 6 hrs 20 minutes, so I was home well before 1 AM and still had time to have a good sauna and relax. What was really promising was that the run didn’t feel that difficult at any point and when I got home, I wasn’t really very tired or weak. I had eaten minimally, perhaps 1 gel / bar per hour and probably spent something like 3,500-4,000 calories. I just ate enough not to totally bonk and this worked fine (take one gel / bar whenever you feel weak… you’ll first feel it in the brain, then 10 minutes later you’ll be fine again).

Here is a nice Suunto Movie about the run

Ok so I don’t spend ALL my Friday evenings this way. I have had to run a few times from the cabin to the coast (28km) because my wife had taken the car. It must be convenient to have a partner who is an ultrarunner as you can just dump them anywhere and know that they’ll find their way. Really usually on Fridays, we go out for a dinner or drinks to wrap up the week and they are dedicated to switching from work-mode to weekend-mode.

Run stats

 

 

 

 

New partner – Suunto

suuntologo

Very happy to announce a new collaboration I have with Suunto Spain. Suunto is a company with headquarters in Vantaa, Finland, about 15kms away from where I’m from. When I still lived in Finland, I used to drive past their offices on the way to school and work, every day. I was thinking that it would be damn cool to work with / for them one day. I’ve been a huge fan forever, they also make the best scuba computers and really top hardware for sports watches today. I’ve been using a Suunto Ambit since it came our as well as the Ambit 3 Peak once that was announced and I’ve been really happy with those devices. My trusty Ambits are what guide me along new trails, keep on on track in races and help plan and keep a training log.

ambit vertI’ve now had the opportunity to directly collaborate with the Ambit Product Manager in Finland and share my views of the products. Perhaps I will have a small impact on how they will develop in the future.

I’ll be writing more about these products in the future and how I specifically use them myself. For now, you can check out my Movescount account.

 

2015 Key Races Summary

2015 was a wild year in many ways and by far, the most successful in terms of athletics achievements. I did train hard and quite smart, but still some of the results were a big surprise. Below is a brief look back into what happened:

March – Ultra Trail Muntanyes de Costa Daurada, 90km, 4,500m+

This is really a home race for me, with the route passing only some kilometers away from where we live. I train on these trails on a weekly basis. However, this race has always been difficult for me, with some tough grinds to get through even the half distance version of this race. The shorter version of this race was my first mini-ultra distance race (46km) and I really struggled with energy and tough conditions, with vertical snow / sleet higher up during some of the toughest moments of that race. In 2015, despite good preparations, my difficulties continued, this time with rare stomach problems / dehydration. Something unexplained was off right from the start. I fell once before 20km and this was the first real warning sign and then after the first major aid station after 22km or so, I started having real difficulties with not being able to eat or drink and being out of energy. My racing strategy changed here, I expected this to be a normal bad patch that would get better if I just take it a bit easier. That did not really happen and I struggled on, slowly, with not being able to each much and also running out of water. At the half way point,  had to sit down for several minutes and try to get some soup into me and this helped things somewhat. I had dropped to something like 14th place, but this didn’t really matter much anymore. I continue on, feeling better and facing the biggest climb in the race. I struggled slightly, but managed to get to the top and felt a bit better in the downhill. Here I had the best moment in the race and actually started passing people. I fought my way into 7th place and probably would have been on the podium if I had managed to continue this. However, I still couldn’t eat much and I started losing energy again. My pace slowed and in the next big climb, I could hardly stay upright and had to stop and sit down several times before I made it to the top and met my support crew again. Here, I tried to eat some pasta, but managed to do so at the rate of about one piece of pasta per minute, despite waiting for 10-15 minutes to try to recover. I had done 65km, with 25 to go and without being able to properly eat, I decided to call it and drop out. Even today, I don’t fully understand what happened.

UTMCD

UTMCD Start – everything was still good

Result: DNF

May – IAU Ultra Trail World Championships, Annecy, France. 85km, 5,200m+

This was the main event of the year, representing Finland in the national team with 8 other runners was a big honor and really a highlight of all my running career so far. We’re now in the Alpes, facing a pretty tough course with really long climbs. The race started at 3 AM and we had 1,200 meters to climb over the first 21 kilometers. That means climbing, non-stop, through the first 3 hours or so of the night. When you know that in advance, it’s actually not that bad.

Team Fin

Getting ready for the opening ceremony… which was hilarious, but that’s a long story…

A big question mark going into this race was my fitness / ability / issues … with the previous race ending in a DNF, this was a big thing in my head. Retrospectively, it was much bigger of an issue than I first thought. Rather than to compete at the best of my ability, my race plan was not to end up in a catastrophic failure. The race started at a crazy pace, with people running well under 4-minute pace in the first kilometers. I stayed back with teammate Janne Hietala and we dropped almost into the last positions. I was going a bit WTF at this point. Do I really belong here?

annecy morning

Sometime in the morning, just warming up

The first climb went quite well, I was taking it really easy, but still left Janne behind at some point. I had a silly plan, starting the race with quite minimalistic shoes with the plan to change these at the first aid station at the top of the mountain. First mistake. First of all, I gained nothing with that, second, I lost a of time in this (and Janne, who stopped for about three seconds, went past me and built a gap) and third, my hands were freezing and I struggled to tie my shoelaces properly.

Things got a bit better and I caught up to Janne again, who had gotten slightly lost. We ran together for a little bit, but he was better in the technical downhills. Later on, this man from Finland, who has a highest peak of 60meters to train on, commented that “People here don’t know how to run downhills” .. I don’t know what their secret is, but I couldn’t stay with him.

After this there was a flatter section, which suited me well and I was moving good. I got to the next aid station, where I again spent several minutes, taking a long break to visit the bathroom, etc. I made a comment to the support crew that I feel good and will surely climb up in results from here.

Annecy day

Just rolling through the fields

I continue on, feeling quite ok and just taking it quite easy. I knew the next big climb was ahead and that I’d be climbing for the next 2-3 hours again. This one really challenged me and I struggled towards the end, with energy getting quite low. This extended into the downhill that followed, which I pretty much cruised down at what was quite a comfortable, but pretty slow pace.

After this, one more aid station and the final climb and downhill. Here I started to struggle quite a bit. The uphill wasn’t too bad, I was feeling rough, but I was passing people and nobody passed be here. After 70kms of running, it’s normal to feel a bit beat up. Once I got to the top, I really struggled to keep my balance and was very weak. I was really leaning into my poles and without them, probably would have fallen down the cliff. The final long downhill really, really sucked and I felt I was slower than a turtle. Some people passed me, but later I realized they were the leaders of the open race, who started on the same course a little bit after the competitors in the world champs.

struggles

Struggling at the top of the final climb. The race went around the beautiful Lake Annecy in the background. 

Final stretch into the finish line and I pretty much collapsed on the ground and stayed there for 20 minutes, just eating chips, cheese and whatever other goodies I grabbed from the aid station. I was literally laying down next to the finish line with a pile of chips next to me when another runner, a female Pro from team USA also finished, collapsed next to me saying that this looks very inviting and we shared my pile of chips together. This was really a golden moment 🙂

almost there

Almost there … somehow I managed to not look as bad as I felt

I finished in 112th position, with time of 11:07, which isn’t too bad, but I could have done better. I was running too conservative, I had an idiotic plan for the aid stations and I still didn’t manage my nutrition right. I had confidence issues from the previous race and without these, I think I would have approached the race differently. Live and learn.

finish

Get OUT of my way, I want to finish!

Result: 112th, 11:07

June: Reus-Prades-Reus, 55km, 2,500m+

This is actually not a competitive race, it’s something called a ‘caminada’ … weird concept where people hike this sort of distances, taking forever. There are always a handful of competitive runners in this event also. There are 600 participants or so, so it’s quite a big event. This was only 2 weeks after Annecy and I decided to run this the evening before and signed up the morning of the race. Annecy left me feeling a bit dissatisfied, feeling that I had left something in the tank. Not something you want to do when you’re supposed to represent your country. I almost felt like I needed to punish myself and go out and run really hard. My ‘strategy’ for this race was to really step on it from the beginning and do what I felt I should have done in Annecy. I did just that and was leading from the first moments and running really pleasingly well, despite the +30 degree heat and full sun. I was moving so fast that I surprised a couple of the aid stations by showing up so early. I was pretty confident I had built up a bit of a lead, but just kept my foot down all the way to the finish. I finished with a good time of 5:05 or so, 17 minutes ahead of the second place runner, who is a 2:40 marathoner so against that benchmark, it was a stellar result. I did exactly what I wanted to do and got a bit of a confidence boost and left the Annecy issues behind.

Result: 1st place, 5:05

August: Ultra Vandekames, 85km, 5,200m+

This race wasn’t in my plan initially. Then the president of our running club, C.E. Trail Tarraco asked me “Kai, are you doing this race” and I surprised myself too by saying “Yes”. This race has a very technical, rugged course that doesn’t really suit me at all, but is something I want to improve in. The other reason was that it started at midnight and I really like running at night. Anyway, I find myself at the start line without much preparation for this one. My only plan going into the race was to take it easy, knowing it’s a really difficult route and I wanted to for once really focus on enjoying the race without having to worry about competing. The race started in very humid and foggy, hot conditions. I started according to plan and just hung behind the leading pack of runners. I wanted to stick with them, gaining a bit of help from not having to follow the course markings and just stay with the headlamps in front of me. We got to the top of the initial climb and I was maybe in 5-6 position at the start of the downhill section. A couple of the runners were really too slow here and after staying with them for a little bit, I lost patience and went past them. I ended up in second place, with the leader not in sight. I was a bit worried that I’m going too fast because I was in such a position unexpectedly, but I was running at the pace I wanted to run, so I just kept going and expected the other guys to catch up at some point later on, which was fine for me.

vandekames favoritos

Before the race, someone made a post about the favorites. I was surprised, but pleased to be named among them, but really went into the race with zero expectations.

Maybe one third into the race, before a medium-sized climb I heard from the race director that the leader was just some minutes ahead of me. I told him that this is fine, I’m not really in a hurry and just stuck with my pace and plan. Not very long into this climb, I heard some huffing and puffing ahead and I could see that the guy in the lead was really struggling. I actually felt bad for the guy, he looked so rough and I was in great spirits, the dark, foggy night was really my element. I was now in the lead, but still kept going at my own easy pace. I did start doing things a bit more tactically though. For example, I wanted to make sure the runners behind me will not benefit from being able to just follow my light so I built a gap. Route finding was really difficult at the top of the mountains, where the fog was the worst and visibility only a couple of meters and sparse route markings and no visible trail (it was all rock). Other than this, I was just rolling through the kilometers and still not really competing.

Things changed at the halfway aid station. It was now the morning and I got better updates about the racing situation. I heard I had about 15 minutes lead. I made a proper stop at the aid station, eating some pasta, sitting around drinking and chatting with the staff for a bit. When I left, I was thinking that I’m somehow managed to work up to this lead, so it would be silly to mess that up now. This is when my plan changed from just enjoying the race to actually winning it. There was a big climb ahead and I powered into this quite hard, wanting to extend my lead to something I could then just manage for the rest of the race. When I got over the mountains and into the next town, I heard that my lead was now about 45 minutes. It’s funny how the mind works, I felt that my shoelaces were tied a bit too tight, but I also thought that I can’t afford the time to fix them and just went on with some pain in the feet.

So with 45 minutes in hand, I felt I can pretty much do what I want and even I can’t mess up that kind of a lead. I took the next section really easy, there were some really annoying thorny plants and other crap I didn’t like so I just walked a lot. At the next station, I heard that my lead is now only 25 minutes, so I panicked and picked up my pace for the next section. I knew the runner behind me well and knew that he’s a really solid, consistent runner, but that as long as I don’t melt down, I can manage the lead in my favor. “Don’t melt down” was the plan I then followed until the end.

vandefinish

I managed a good sprint through the finish line

I don’t want this to sound too easy, the race was a really tough technical one and I had to dig deep to get through it. The technical downhills at the end really challenged me. I fell once, was saved by my hiking pole, which unfortunately snapped in two, but I guess that is better than falling on my face.

vandeaftermath

I did feel pretty rough

In the end, I was really proud to win this technical race and this was a very big surprise as the terrain here doesn’t suit me at all. Some of the top racers also not starting for various reasons made it just a little bit easier to be at the top.

Result: 1st place, 12:51 (the longest race in time that I have ever done, says something about the technicality of the course)

October: Ultra Trail Serra de Montsant (UTSM), 101km, 4,200m+

Despite some really pleasant results, I actually didn’t feel that any of the ultra victories I had managed until this point were really deserved and were because of my own abilities or execution of a race. There were always some external factors, like extreme heat, top competitors dropping out, etc that left some doubts. I had won the UTSM in 2014, but this was a race with 30+ degree heat and with more than half of the competition dropping out. I felt that I was basically the fastest person who didn’t screw up their race. Not screwing up is a big part of ultra racing, so I’m happy to accept such a result, but I’d rather feel like I also deserved it because of my own abilities. So, despite the win in 2014, I felt I had something to prove to myself. I had several goals for the race, but the main one was to go under 12 hours (2014 time was 12:19), secondary goal was to just improve my time from last year and only then I would start worrying about my position in the race.

UTSM getting ready

UTSM – Getting ready and in good spirits

I started executing my plan very well, really just sticking to my own race and time, chasing the splits I had set to myself. A bunch of runners were well ahead of me early on. At the first aid station, I was slightly ahead of my planned times and everything was good. If I remember right, I was somewhere around 5-8 position, but I really didn’t care about that. I was very pleased with myself for mentally being able to focus on the main priority of executing my race plan and not chasing anyone or getting stressed about the position.

The UTSM course is quite strategic, relatively early on there is a 25km section of beautiful, slightly rolling downhill in a canyon next to a river. For an ultra-trail runner I’m pretty fast in this kind of sections, so I wanted to use this to my advantage and try to keep up a nice pace. I tried to do this now also, but didn’t actually feel that I was moving that fast, although I felt quite good.

UTSM gameface

Execution Mode: ON!

I had learned from Annecy that aid station strategy is really important, thanks to Janne’s 3-second stops. I really kept things simple and managed to execute my stops pretty much Formula 1 style (thanks also to Katri for managing things so well). After this 25km section, I was still within the times I had set for myself, although there was some confusion about the splits I had calculated (in reality, I was well ahead, but I did not know it at the time). I was slightly disappointed for not having done better as I thought I had ran faster than the year before. Slightly after an aid station, I noticed that I had dropped a glove and cursed myself for it. Just a couple of minutes after this, another runner surprised me by going past and handing me my lost glove… Again, this created some doubts in my mind .. what’s going on, I feel like I’m going fast, but my time is not so good and I have runners passing me. Anyway, I soon dropped the friendly, glove-saving guy in the next uphill.

UTSM drink

Having a little drink from the fountain (Photo by Jordi Santacana / Naturetime Events)

I remember from 2014 that my race really started at around the half way point. There is a little spring / checkpoint just before this and this is where in 2014 I learned that I was in 3rd and this year, I was in the same exact position. I heard that I was 10 minutes from the lead.

When I got to the halfway point, my friend and the aid station manager told me that I arrived at the exact same time as last year and that the leader is 10 minutes ahead of me. This was again a slight disappointment, as it confirmed that I was behind my planned times and also showed me that I’m not catching up the leader either. Again, in reality, this information was wrong and I was well ahead of my time …

UTSM aid

I really like this photo… Ultra racing is not just running. (Photo by Jordi Santacana / Naturetime Events)

One very positive sign that gave me a boost was that I felt a lot better than the year before. There was a semi-big climb after the aid station, where I had really struggled in 2014, but this time I went through this smoothly. I wanted to try to secure my secondary goal of improving my time, so I tried to keep up a good pace. I had pretty much waved goodbye to my sub-12h goal.

At every checkpoint, I heard that I was the same, frustrating 10 minutes behind the lead. I didn’t worry about that much, just tried to do what I can to catch some time to make sure I can at least finish with a better time than the year before. Then, really out of nowhere, I see a runner ahead of me. I’m wondering if he’s from a different race, or what’s going on. It turned out that he was the leader and when I got to him, I saw that he was destroyed. I felt a bit bad for him, so I gave him a little pat on the shoulder and some comforting words. After this, I turned on the turbo and sprinted past him, up the hill in the village just to make sure to send a message to him that there is no point in trying to follow. This was a great racing moment, it happened in the middle of a village and there were some spectators that took photos of it that then were spread in social media providing people watching the race a glimpse of actual racing.

UTSM climb

Near the top of the final climb, this photo was in the newspapers the next day (Photo by Jordi Santacana / Naturetime Events)

Getting into the lead then definitely gave me a big moral boost after earlier disappointments about the time. I definitely wanted to secure the lead and around km 65-70, I really felt great and ran really well for 10 or so kilometers. I then started feeling slight cramps and actually called Katri to ask for a race update. She went to work trying to figure out what kind of gap I have. I soon heard that I have at least 17 minutes of lead. This allowed me to slow down a little and manage myself a little better. The execution was really very similar to what happened in 2014, except that I was feeling a whole lot better.

I started catching up to some runners that were running some of the other distances in the same event and when most of these realized that I’m the leader of the main ultra distance, I got a lot of encouragement from everyone. In one hill, a couple of girls from Mallorca wanted to take selfies with me and they were thrilled about this. These were really great moments in the race, I was smiling a lot and had surprisingly lots of energy and this showed. One of the spectators commented in the live feeds that I just went past full of confidence of victory, with still 20kms to go. I have to say it was true, it was one of the real “runner’s high” moments.

UTSM Finish

Really one of the top moments in my life really … it was magic

The rest of the race was really just race management. Crossing the finish line was really a magical moment, I managed to do an amazing sprint with a final jump over the finish line, which ended up on a great video:

I had screwed up the split calculations and was actually well ahead of my split goals all day and tried to catch up to them. In the end, I improved my time almost 40 minutes, finishing in 11:40:20. This time, the race was also competitive and the main competitors stayed in the race and for the first time, it felt like a fully deserved victory.

Result: 1st place, 11:40:20. 

November: Transgavarres, 52km, 2,500m+ (or so)

UTSM was such a great experience that I felt like doing one more ultra this year. This one was only 2 weeks after UTSM, which didn’t leave much time to recover. However, I had done really well in the Reus-Prades-Reus with also just 2 weeks of recovery, so I thought I could pull it off. Also the route seemed really favorable for me, being quite fast and no tough climbs.

transgavarres

The trails were great, my race was not

Well, my legs were not there this day and my strategy was off again. I was in the lead until km 10 or so and actually pulled ahead of the main pack with another runner, who then told me that we should take it easy and that these guys will run very fast in the second half of the race. They did exactly this and by km 15, I could no longer follow them and by km 25, I was in total survival mode and was planning on just cruising to the finish and enjoy the trail. Even that didn’t help and I just felt like crap for the rest of the race. I did not really enjoy this experience, but I guess I must have learned something from it.

Result: 10th place, 5:25:21

That’s it for 2015. Time to take a break from training and focus on other activities and charge all systems for 2016.

Welcome to the site!

Hello World,

So finally, instead of invading other people’s sites with my stories, I’ve started my own website / blog. This site is dedicated to my personal / athletic adventures. For my work / professional side of my life, please visit our Company Website or my LinkedIn profile. For more about me, check the About Me page.

utsm_water

Photo by: Jordi Santacana / Naturetime Events

This is a channel that I will use in the future to post ramblings about trail running / mountain adventures, with occasional posts about random topics.

Thanks for stopping by.

Kai