January 2018 in a nutshell: Lots of running, a lot of it via partial work commutes, some decent efforts on the weekends; with just a tiny bit of track work and cycling thrown in.
How to summarize an entire year in just a few paragraphs? Even if I just concentrate on track&field, trail running and cycling (which covers 95% of what this blog has been about recently), I could still fill pages.
My focus for 2017 was on trail running, both at local events and in the mountains. Trail races brought me to Southern Germany, France, Switzerland and Scotland. In 2015 and 2016, I first ran vertical kilometer races, and I expanded upon that by doing several “skyrunning” events in 2017 with distances of up to 29km with 2500m of elevation gain and loss. My longest race was 6 hours 47 minutes. I thoroughly enjoyed these races, even if some results were disappointing. No matter the time and placing, every single race I did resulted in expanding my comfort zone a little and allowed me to discover new and exciting places. In 2018, I hope to further spiral outwards and expand my comfort zone even more. I’m signed up for the Marathon du Mont-Blanc, which will be my first marathon. In the six month build-up, I hope to do several preparation races and then use the resulting fitness to tag a few more new or old locations over the summer months.
I ran a few indoor track races and one outdoor 100 meter in 2017, but the results were disappointing. I haven’t yet made up my mind on how much track work I should do in 2018, especially since our training group shrank somewhat over recent years, but I may sign up for an indoor competition in January to see if there’s any fast-twitch muscles left in my body.
2017 saw quite a few work commutes by bicycle, and I hope to expand on that in 2018; as long as it doesn’t interfere with my other training. Maybe I’ll also be able to use the resulting fitness to do a few more duathlons. I’ve done one cross duathlon each year in 2016 and 2017, and the format is an interesting challenge for me.
Overall, I did slightly less than 2000km of running (road, trails, track) and slightly over 2000m of cycling in 2017. I also walked or hiked almost 450km (which isn’t much). Elevation-wise, 2017 sits at over 53000m of elevation gain while running, and 18000m while cycling. All of those numbers should go up somewhat in 2018 if I manage to stay healthy and make good life choices with regards to my fitness, food intake and recovery.
It’s been an ongoing goal of documenting as much of my life as an “athlete” as I can. Most years, the actual execution of that goal left a lot to be desired. I feel like I made a few steps in the right direction in 2017 – I revived this blog, posted somewhat regularly on Instagram and probably took more photos during training and racing than ever. But I feel like there’s still a lot of potential for improvement.
December saw over 200km of road and trail-running, but no track&field, no cycling and no weight training whatsoever. I can see the improvement that fairly consistent running is having on my pace, but I’m still not quite where I want to be.
I’m contemplating several long-distance races in 2018, so a local 6km race today wasn’t really on my radar. But it’s cheap and it’s nearby, so why not?
November in Luxembourg is when the weather takes a turn for the worse and when daylight hours get sufficiently short so that it’s still dark before and after work; somewhat impacting my options for commuting and sports in general.
It was a lazy Saturday morning. Rain was pouring down. Either I’d drive to Mersch, 30 minutes away from home, and do a late sign-up for a 18km trail race; or I’d sit at home, complain about the weather and not get any run done. The weather was a concern, but if I managed to go out and “get it done” I figured I would not just train my muscles, but also strengthen my mental fortitude and reinforce a positive habit. So before I could change my mind, I assembled my running gear and got in the car.
October was a high-volume month bike month, with a renewed focus on track training. Since I don’t have endless time and energy something had to give, so I did less running.
Some people train for a competition, then once they’ve completed it once never toe that particular starting line again. I’m not like that. After competing at the Red Rock X-Challenge MTB/trail duathlon in 2016 (see my 2016 race report), I signed up for this year’s edition about one month in advance.
For some people, going up a mountain, traversing a narrow ridge and then descending over 1000m of elevation again is a day’s work. At Ring of Steall skyrace, I’d do that twice in less than 7 hours; going up and down over 2500m of elevation in the process, more than I’ve ever done in a single push.Continue reading
I like traveling to new locations for races. But there’s also a certain appeal to return to a race you’ve already done, and giving it another shot. Especially if said race is in scenic Scotland.
Since I’ve written quite extensively about the race in my 2016 race report, I’ll keep the writing short(er) and let the photos speak for themselves.