NETT 2017

Bei der Durchsicht der Laufdaten der letzten Jahre ist mir aufgefallen, dass die NETT, also die NordEifelTrailTour von Stefan, echte Tradition ist. Seit 2014 gehörte er jedes Jahr mit dazu – und so war es auch gestern wieder Zeit nach Gey zu fahren um die mehr oder weniger altbekannten, mehr oder weniger vorhandenen Pfade unter die Trailschuhe zu nehmen.

Dieses Jahr war das Wetter so richtig nach Stefans Geschmack und zu siebt haben wir trotzdem einen Geschwindigkeitsrekord auf den Schlamm gezaubert. Diesmal 44 Kilometer in 6:14 h.

Stefans Video findet ihr hier!

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Das war also der vierte Streich – immer wieder NETT!

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LEO180 2017

Ok – a few more words about the last weekend. Everything started with watching dots on the live tracking page of the LEO180 2016, a short question via FB, a short registration form, some thoughts and then there is that moment when you are knocking on Maartens door. There were a lot of people already there –  all of them never seen before. And it takes only a few minutes for you to feel at home. Jokes, race experiences, pasta plus a „funny“ one hour watching and laughing about Yiannis – a nice evening. After a short night with interrupted sleep it is already 0600 Saturday morning, and nine runners are standing at a random street in the NL – packed and ready.

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From that time on everything was as it should be: Pfadsucher and VPsucher together on their way through a truely beautiful track covering a best of of the middle of nowhere parts in the heart of the NL. Nice selection. We both felt strong and had a really good pace at the first 87 km towards the only real aid. By the way – thanks for all the spots in between where we could meet and greet various selections of organizators/supporters. We had an almost daylight finish on the 87 km aid station – perfect in plan and not bad placed in the whole field.

 

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The next part of the race between km 93 and 118 is a really tough one but we made it quite ok. Everyone who have been out there knows – you just have to find a solution for this part and make sure to forget everything as soon as possible after you left this part.

Beyond that part the race, the running and everything was again really difficult for me. There were some few things adding up, but the real problem was the mind. As always. Lets make it a short story: at km 130 I decided to quit for what felt there to be countless of reasons. It was a horrible decision. Even more horrible to walk the next 9k of the race with a speed that would allow a finish. There was enough time, the usual problems were not too severe, the sun was about to say hello in 3 hours. You are asked if you really want to quit, you are asked if it is ok for you if the VPsucher continues… Sure, it is ok. And yes it is still good to be around, to watch what is not longer your race, to see them running again, to welcome most of them at the finish line. All of that is ok. But it is also tough. See them doing what should be your job. This will keep me thinking for quite a while.

At the end we had a really nice weekend. Thanks for all the fun, the support, the nice conversations, the place to sleep plus all your spirit and thoughts about ultra running.  And thanks for the invitation for next years LEO180! I will think about it. At the moment the probability of me returning is not too high – but this might change. So long – stay strong and running: Yiannis is watching you!

The list of the 5 heroes finishing the LEO180 2017 can be found here.

 

LEO180 – too far.

As I was the one for whom the LEO180 2017 was too far away from beeing doable – just a short notice: we had a nice weekend, met tons of new friends and connected with fantastic dutch, belgian and france ultrarunners. We saw really strong performances on an interesting track this weekend.

Congrats to our VPsucher – for him the LEO180 was probably not far enough ;). He might not have found as many aid stations he is used to but finished third in amazing 29h54m for 191.31 km.

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As for me – I maybe should think about the whole running stuff. At the moment I´m not in a condition to be able to endure what is coming on those runs. And if this does not change …

M&M and the whole team, supporters and runners – it was a real pleasure this weekend! Bedankt!

Face to face with LEO

The whole life is determined by the decisions one is making every day.

For example I could have decided long ago to go for a skateboard carreer. The upcoming event LEO180 could then just be one of those fancy moves everyone likes to watch in slow motion on youtube. I can perfeclty envision the setting: the sinking sun flooding the half-pipe with a golden brilliance, a 180 degree turn of the board, captured as a 4k video to share with the community… Seconds of pure perfection.

But I didn´t make that decision. If you would like to capture the real LEO180 you would need a lot of gigabyte storage on your camera, more then 30 hours of time, dozens of powerbanks and the outcome would be horrifying. Hours of pure nothingness, lonelines and meaningles suffering. And even slow motion would not help. Played with reduced speed, the rare movements would seem to stop. Together with the time. Hours of insanity.

Nevertheless it is time to get ready; to prepare for all the worst cases. There are a lot of unusual things to prepare and to take care of this time. First there is something strange with name of the race: LEO180. In all races I´ve been doing so far – a number in the race title was related to a either a distance or a time: STUNT100 (100 miles), TTdR100 (100 miles), 24h of ……… (fill in any location) and so on. But now: LEO180. We were told that the distance will be 191,31 km. I alway though the Netherelands agreed on the SI units but, well, at least we know it early enough. This really asks for the introduction of the new unit „Dutch Kilometer“ aka DuKi. 1 DuKi equals 1,06283333 SI kilometer. How handy. Reprogramming the Garmin right now :).

There are some more seriouy steps in LEO180 race preparation: checking opening times of gas stations, supermarkets etc. along the way; staring hours on the GPS-track to get a feeling for the different sections of the route; planning and preparing food, equipment and drop-back stuff – in short: race time again. A race with only two finishers in last years first edition.

One of the race director posted the documentary about Yiannis Kouros „Forever Running“ on FB. Probably to race our moral :). It is normally a nice thing to watch running videos to get into race mood. But videos about Yiannis? He is unique in history, his achievements and successes will most probably never be beaten by any runner. He is the one telling us that real ultra running starts beyond 24 hours of constant running (which meant for him 240 km on bad days and 300 km on the good ones), he is the one who beat a field of world class ultra runners although race directors let him start one hour behind everyone of them, he is the one winning the Spartathlon in 4 consecutive years with none of thoses times being beaten since then, he is the one with more than 150 world records in ultra running. He is so unhuman in his performance and in his way he interpreted running that it is impossible to take any of his advices or to make use of any of his techniques during your own runs. At the very end of this documentary he finally says something I can fully understand and agree with. Because whatever your capabilities are – at the end of a very long race in which you invested everything of your physical and mental power it is true that:

„The tragedy in our sport is that we can not celebrate our victory when the race is up. In all other sports, when the race is finished, they go to celebrate and rejoice – in our case we can not do anything. The day after the race, you feel like death itself …“

Maybe he is human in that moments.

Thanks Maarten for reminding us of what is impossible 🙂 – haven´t watched that documentary in the last month. Personally I´m really looking forward for the LEO180 challenge. Taking the last weeks into account, I don´t believe that a finish is really possible and likely for me. But you never know. However – I am really looking forward to get to know a bunch of new people, and hopefully a lot of joyful hours with the VPsucher out there!

While thinking about running long distances the picture book „Frederick“ by the Italian writer Leo Lionni comes to my mind. It is about the mouse Frederick and his friends preparing for the long and cold winter. While his friends are busy trying to collect enough food for the long winter, Frederick seems to be of no help at all – telling them he is collecting sunbeams, colors and words. The first time of the winter the mice are happy with all the food and laughing the hard times away. At the middle of the winter however, the food is empty and everyone is getting hungry, angry and sad. It is Fredericks time now. He stands up telling them stories about the warmth of the sun, the colors of the spring and happy stories about the beauty of life and the seasons. All of his friends are happy again, forgetting about all of their troubles.

Although we normally plan our food supply better then these mice – during this long hours in a race the time comes when different things are of higher importance then food and water in terms of not giving up. Do not be afraid when you see us laughing about stupid jokes, singing in the middle of the night, dancing in the middle of the nowhere – we are doing really well in these moments. Collecting stories, jokes and songs for these long hours is definitely an important part of race preparation of the VPsucher/Pfadsucher team.

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The other review!

Dear NB-team,

18 month ago I bought a pair of Fresh foam 1080 at „Wat läuft“ in Bochum, Germany. I know you never asked for a review, it is way too late and you probably don´t care. I just thought that my test period was long enough to give you a quick feedback on the performance of this shoe.

It is a really, really comfortable shoe – felt perfect on my foot from the very first step 18 month ago to the (preliminary) last step during today´s run. Except for the really high mountains, I used the shoe on all imaginable kind of terrain. And even where the terrain merged into wilderness – the performance was brilliant. Rocks, heat, water, cold, snow, mud, thorns – it is a true all rounder! Ah yes – the shoe is also good on the street :).

With a tear in my eye I decided today that it is time to use my pair of Fresh foam only on the streets from now on. I think my pair deserves some more easy tasks and kilometers.

To conclude: a really comfortable and perfect fit (at least for me) pair of running shoes. After 3000 km I noticed some weak points (see pictures below). Although the air and water in and out-flow is now way better then before – on really tough trails the foot feels a bit loose newly. But for the first 3000 km everything works perfect. You might want to think about tougher material on the heel part of the shoe?!

Thanks for the shoe – it took me along a lot of really nice runs! Heading for 4000 km now!

Strava

FAQ #1: Saison, die

Herbst(,) geil!

Saison, die: „bezeichnet einen immer wiederkehrenden Zeitabschnitt eines Jahres“ (Wiki)

Aus der Sicht eines untalentierten und einigermaßen untrainierten Hobbyläufers auf den längeren Strecken kann ich nur sagen: so etwas wie eine Saison gibt es für mich nicht. Ich unterteile das Jahr nicht geplant in Ruhe und Aktion. Vielmehr erlebe ich den Sport Laufen als eine wunderschöne Gelegenheit, alle Jahreszeiten draußen erleben zu dürfen und mit den Umständen und Schwierigkeiten die sie jeweils mit sich bringen, leben zu lernen. Die Wunder und die Schönheit der Natur finden ganzjährig statt. Das bedeutet nicht, dass es keine Phasen des ruhigeren und weniger intensiven Laufens gibt. Meist werden diese Phasen jedoch durch den Zeitpunkt und die Frequenz der längeren Wettläufe diktiert und nicht durch eine von vorneherein festgelegte Ruhephase, wie es bei einer Saisonplanung der Fall wäre. Es gilt immer das Gleichgewicht zwischen Überlastung und zu wenig Laufen zu finden und die Signale des Körpers wertzuschätzen. So bekommt man mit der Zeit ein ganz gutes Gefühl dafür, ob man in der nächsten Woche wirklich das Pensum durchziehen sollte oder es vielleicht lieber halbiert – um danach wieder frischer angreifen zu können. Nur Phasen gänzlich ohne Laufen sind selten geworden.

Aus meiner ganz persönlichen Sicht und als Läufer, der sein Wettkampftemperatur-optimum irgendwo zwischen 5 und 15°C hat, bleiben noch ein paar Liebeserklärungen an die Zeit übrug, die ungefähr jetzt so langsam beginnt. Ich möchte mal eine Lanze brechen für den Herbst, den Winter und den beginnenden Frühling. Für die Zeit, die bei anderen Sporttreibenden oft mit der Pause zwischen den Saisons übereinstimmt. Versteht mich nicht falsch: auch ich schätze den Sommer sehr. Die brennende Hitze, die langen Tage, die flirrenden Täler, die kühlen Bäche und die nasse, kühlende Kappe auf dem Kopf – aber das was jetzt kommt spielgelt soviel mehr des Ultralaufens für mich wieder, als es der Sommer vermag. Und das hat nichts damit zu tun, dass ich die zugefrorenen Trinkschläuche, die tauben Füße, die ständig nassen und kalten Füße und die beißenden Winde als besonders erstrebenswerte Dinge hervorheben möchte. Aber es kommt jetzt die Zeit, in der

die Natur sich beruhigt, runter fährt und still wird; sich der Bewuchs lichtet und am Ende nur noch ein großes Atemholen bleibt. Keine Erwartungen, keine blühenden Felder, keine Insektenschwärme – nur stilles Sein. Genau das, was ich bei langen Läufen ab einem bestimmtem Punkt auch empfinde. Im Einklang und Gleichschritt durch die weite, kalte und endlose Landschaft zu bewegen – als kleiner Punkt auf der Ebene – ist ein Gefühl welches mich fokussiert und bei mir selbst hält;

der Mond und die Sonne auf den Rauhreif bedeckten Wiesen und Feldern so wunderbar glitzern;

die große Dunkelheit kommt. Nicht, dass das per se etwas Wünschenswertes oder Tolles wäre – aber auch hier gilt: es ist ja eh fast nur noch dunkel… Das macht es einfacher zu akzeptieren. Die Nacht bricht früh und weit vor dem schlimmen Tief in der Nacht herein, so dass genug Zeit bleibt sich an das eine Übel zu gewöhnen, bevor das Zweite beginnt;

in der die Schritte wieder knirschen, sich der Elektrolythaushalt einfach kontrollieren lässt und man mit zwei Litern Wasser fast unendlich weit kommt…

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@VPsucher #1

Moin,

erinnerst du dich noch an die beiden „Pfade“ die an der mAMa-Strecke auf dem Rückweg nach dem Grenzübertritt und der Gasverteilerstation rechts ab in den Wald gingen. Wir hatten ja immer mal überlegt ob da was geht und sind ja auch einmal von der anderen Seite kommend auf der „Leckstein“-Runde in der Gegend aus dem Wald gefallen. Heute bin ich zufällig da reingestolpert nur um nach sinnlosen 20 Minuten und wenigen Metern, 20 Meter weiter wieder auf den breiten Weg zu fallen. Keine Chance. Der Bewuchs wird zu extrem in der richtigen Richtung – ich hab alles versucht. Eventuell hilft der Winter da noch nach, aber wir wollen ja auch nicht die letzten Freunde vergraulen. Und wir arbeiten ja immer 100%ig getreu dem Motto: #nononsense – das Stück ist aber #nonononsense. Bei einer eventuellen mAMa extrem-Ausgabe zum 10jährigen könnten wirs mit reinnehmen ;).

Grüße, Pfadsucher