*** UTDS plus 2020 ***

Time for a little adventure next weekend to finally kickoff ultra-running after this period of social distancing and closed borders. It will be a pleasure to be able to meet this group of extraordinary runners and to finally be able to go back to a nice patch of Belgium: the Ardennes.

We chose the UTDS (Ultra Tour des Sources) a permanent market Extratrail route with a few „improvements“ to include some beautiful parts the original UTDS track avoids for whatever reasons. The final distance is around 100 Miles with approx. 5000 m D+ and the scenery will be stunning.

We will start at 0800 „sharp“ on Saturday 04.07.2020 and as we like to bore you to death there will be a live tracking. To bore you even more there will be only one dot as we will stick together as a group. ONE. DOT. It may be the purest and most intense Legends Tracking experience you will have in your entire life so make sure to enjoy every second. There you go:

http://battleofthebulge.legendstracking.com/

Duivelse Uitdaging #1 and #2

If you dance with the devil you should not be afraid to burn your fingers

The Devil and someone else

This was #1:

51 days for 666 km

This was #2:

44 days for 666 km

In total I lost 79 days of my life to this bullshit. 79 days for 1332 km means 16.86 km/d. Not too bad at all. Although it was sometimes fun and I am easily motivated by stupid things it was also a challenge. I learned the hard way what it means to just ignore all arguments and just get things done. No matter what nice things could have been the alternatives. No matter how much I hated it sometimes to not just run as long as I wanted but to run as long as it was needed to cross out the next distance of that funny lists. I encountered it with a new mental strategy. You start a run of lets say 33.30 km and you force yourself to think of something nice the first 28 km of the run. By that you really forget that you are running and by this basically just „wait“ until its over. To endure is a big part of endurance. And this is no coincidence. The last 5 km you enjoy your short run. Now I am afraid of that point in future I will use this strategy in a real race.

But lets forget about this. Thanks Maarten for the fun. Enough is enough and done is done. I am so tired of checking an Excel sheet before I start a run, so tired of starting the run with putting a distance goal on the watch (does it even works without entering something there?) and so tired of not being „allowed“ to just run as long as I want. It was a good mental exercise but it is time to say goodbye.

I am going back to where I belong. Into the woods, into the void and into the endlessness. Hoping to meet a few people out there to run some tracks together and to come back destroyed but with tons of nice stories to tell.

Stop. That. Distancing.

***Please don’t get me wrong: stay safe, go outside, don’t touch each other, keep 1.5 m distance and stay Corona-negative!***

Please? Asking for my friends. Everyone is now talking about distance – its everywhere in the news. Let me tell you: this is not good for my friends. They have been ok in the past and before this virus started. A bunch of totally normal LSD (Long Slow Distances) runners. But now? They are being pushed from all that distance-talking:

  • they create sheet after sheet full of nonsense running challenges – soon they will be lost in these columns and rows forever
  • they are being asked by their family members: who are you and what´s that smell?
  • some of them even started to run in loops again and again
  • some consider LSD is not enough and go for long-distance-inline-skating or other extreme sports
  • some wake up in the morning and think it is a normal thing to start the a day with a marathon
  • some open their weekly Strava stats and wonder why this number has 3 digits and a 2 in the front
  • some even say they are haunted by the Devil himself

Please. Give them the races back. And the group runs. The above simply can’t be the new normal – my friends will not be able to stop running soon. Forever running – imagine. No one wants that. This is something for the professionals.

Enough of funny challenges – enough of entering numbers in sheets. Where are the races/runs that punch us in the faces and allow us to rest the week before (and call it tapering) and the weeks after (and call it resting)? We need them back! ASAP!

Some of my friends would – as a first step – also being ok with banning all Germans from running. But let’s ignore them for now. Some are also asking to get the winter back. Waist-deep ice-cold water, snow and mud is what they want. Let’s ignore those too for now.

When I got tired, I slept. When I got hungry, I ate. When I had to go, you know, I went.
And so, you just ran?
Yeah.

Forrest Gump

50 Miles of Beverau

Ach, das war doch mal nett. Für die Duivelse Uitdaging Challenge von Marek Vis fehlten unter anderem noch die 80 km und damit die längste Distanz. In Zeiten der Kontaktbeschränkungen und des Alleinelaufens kam spontan die Idee: warum nicht auf die Beverau-Runde zurückgreifen und den Lauffreunden Bescheid geben? Für alle gut erreichbar gelegen, angenehme Länge und meist breite Wege. Da fällt das Abstand halten leicht und wenn nicht alle gleichzeitig kommen würden? Lange genug würde ich ja unterwegs sein. Gesagt getan. Kurz durchgerechnet sollten entweder 30 oder 31 dieser ca. 2,65 km langen Runde für die 80 km reichen (je nach GPS-Verhalten). 9-10 Stunden sollten es tun.

Die Geschichte der Runde ist schnell erzählt. Sie startet offiziell an einem der Treffpunkte des LTB Aachen, welcher zugleich auch der Start des mAMa ist. Das Schöne an der Runde ist: es gibt nur eine Straßenquerung, sie ist nicht zu kurz, beleuchtet und daher ideal zum Rundendrehen. Die Geschichte, dass H und L auf dieser Runde schonmal Marathon gelaufen sind ist schon so alt, dass es mittlerweile einer Legende gleicht. Wie kann man auch so verrückt sein auf einer Stadtrunde immer im Kreis Marathon laufen. Also wirklich…

Gestartet bin ich um 0516. Merkwürdigerweise allein. Ab 7 Uhr wurde es dann aber deutlich lebhafter. Die ersten 3 Gäste trafen ein. In zwei Pärchen ging es dann in beiden Richtungen auf die Strecke. Nach jeder Runde wurde der Partner gewechselt. Speed-Dating. Oder so. Um halb 9 warteten schon die nächsten beiden Gäste und es ging in Dreierformation für 3 Runden auf die Strecke. Anschließend haben mich meine beiden Jungs für zwei Runden begleitet (gut, den einen musste ich schieben) – abgelöst von L auf dem Rad. Genau eine Runde nach der ersten Radbegleitung folgte direkt die Nächste! Perfekt. Das Wetter wollte wohl auch zur Abwechslung beitragen und stellte kurz auf Unwetter. Wir standen eine Weile frierend im Tunnel unter der Bahnstrecke aber H hatte mir extra Wassermelone mitgebracht – wunderbar. Die Sonne kehrte zurück und der Endspurt rückte näher. Der VPsucher kam mit J. kurz vorbei um „Hallo“ zu sagen und zum Zieleinlauf gab es dann nochmal Gäste! Ein sehr kurzweiliger Lauf, wenn auch ein wenig anstrengend. 30 Runden reichen für 80 km – für die 50 Meilen fehlten noch 400 m, also nochmal kurz hin und her an Start/Ziel. 9h49m – passt. Die 50 Meilen von Beverau sind abgehakt.

Vielen Dank für all die Gäste auf dieser kleinen Beverau-Corona-Party – schön euch alle wiedergesehen zu haben. Wo machen wir denn die noch fehlenden 70 km nächstes Wochenende? 😀

Coronavirus Challenges

Duivelse Uitdaging by Marek Vis:

Start: 21 maart 2020
Finish: 19 mei 2020

  • 30 verschillende afstanden met een totaal afstand van 666k dienen gelopen te worden op 30 verschillende dagen binnen 60 dagen.
  • Maximaal 1 afstand per dag telt, dus je bent op zijn vroegst in 30 dagen klaar
  • De afstand hoeft niet exact gelopen te worden, meer mag ook, minder uiteraard niet
  • De afstanden mogen in willekeurige volgorde gelopen worden
  • Het dient een doorlopende activiteit te zijn op een dag
  • Het dient een loop activiteit zijn, hardlopen, rennen, hiken, wandelen, nordicwalking, het mag allemaal
  • Google Tabelle
001007013019040
002008014020045
003009015021050
004010016025060
005011017030070
006012018035080
0
Done. 51 days for 666 km. Nice idea – required some mental strength at the end to get it done.

Duivelse Uitdaging #2 by Marek Vis:

  • Wederom 666k
  • Start data (wordt mogelijk nog uitgebreid) 25 april, 2 mei, 9 mei, 16 mei, 23 mei, 30 mei
  • Elke kleur staat voor een reeks
  • Elke reeks dien je in aaneengesloten dagen te lopen (dag is van 0.00 – 23.59)
  • Als een reeks onderbroken wordt door een rustdag, telt deze niet mee en vervallen de eerdere dagen van de reeks
  • Per dag, telt er maximaal 1 activiteit. Elke afstand mag maximaal uit 1 activiteit bestaan
  • De reeks ‚3x Dubbel‘ dient gelopen te worden in de volgorde 6.66, 13.32, 26.64, 53.28- De volgorde van de reeksen mag je zelf bepalen
  • Google Tabelle
6.666.666.666.666.666.666.66
13.3213.3213.3213.3213.32
19.9819.9819.9819.9819.98
26.6426.6426.6426.64
6.6613.3226.6453.28
33.3033.3033.30
39.9639.96
66.60
Done. 44 days for 666 km. Stupid. Really.

Höhenmeter-Challenge: Schinder-Trail Corona SkyRun 66.700 HM in 111 Tagen

Start: 23.03.2020
Finish: 11.07.2020
Auswertung

WhoDoneTodo
Pfadsucher3633 HM63067 HM
VPSucher4244 SHM62456 SHM

Does it matter after all?

Throwback January 2020. Hautes Fagnes. The idiots doing a night training session.

It is cold, dark, the track is watery and slippery – no other human knows our exact location (and we are sometimes not too sure about it ourselves). We are together and yet alone. Lost in the Belgium winter – driven by a indescribable force. Again out there while we should be at home sleeping. Witnessed only by the stars and a few creatures hidden in the bushes around. Immense tiny dots on that earth. Unnoticed but still moving.

In the aftermath of that run an E-Mail flow circled through our E-Mail postboxes with the nice title: „In case you really think it matters what you do…“

The only other content of that E-Mail was a link to a YT-video with a time-lapse animation with some predictions about the end of the universe within the next trillions of years…

Sometimes – while running out there – the vastness, the emptiness, the cold and the dark finally closes the grip around you. It is like trying to resist against the final destiny of becoming some forever frozen atoms in an expanding universal vastness waiting for the end of time. Determined to try to fight this destiny and yet sure that ultimately there will be no way out. Immensely enjoying the company of the fellowship of runners and feeling a strong bond within the group.

But: will it make a difference? Does it all matter after all?

No.

How could it.

No. Coke.

48h after my own finish at the Montane Legends Trail LT250 I could not resist. The body felt somewhat ok already – at least ok enough to get into the car. I mean what would you have done? They were still out there and fighting. M&M during their epic and at the end successful LT500 journey. Around 360k into the race they for sure would be up for a good joke.

This was the one and only chance for my revenge. The revenge for the LEO180 2018 situation where they promised me coke at the car after 100 miles of running and a demanding night and where there was no coke at the end. No. Coke. Someone in the car emptied it already. Desperation. Hopelessness.

I underestimated the weather a bit and was lucky that the snow allowed me to reach the closest point on track. As any aid other then applauding is strictly forbidden at Legends Trails I brought a prepared empty coke bottle for them. How nice is this. I hobbled 300 m onto the course and positioned the coke bottle:

Legendary No-Coke!

You may say: how mean is this now. There was of course nothing mean about it. It was more about bringing some extra motivation to them for the pain ahead and showing some respect for the already conquered distance. And there they were. Fighting but moving – full of snow and yet determined.

M&M around KM364 at LT500

A quick hello, a few words. A new No-Coke-Foto. And off they were. Time to drive home again. Congrats guys – amazing race! And thanks for all the tales about the Legends Trail back in the days. I finally decided to not hate you any longer for this!

Legends Trail Packing List

The LT Facebook group is full of packing lists, gear discussions, plans, weather forecasts and lots of pros and cons about every little details of the upcoming Legends Trail. With only one week to go this is probably normal and shows how excited everyone is. 500 or 250 km in the Ardennes ask for the best preparation possible. Lots of hours out there in a terrain with no mercy lay ahead of all of us. All is well.

I am also in the middle of planning the content of both backpack and drop back. Both shouldn’t be too heavy but need to contain everything one can imagine to be prepared for every situation possible. While reading all the posts I have the feeling I could have or maybe should have done more efforts on the packing list and maybe on training too. My plan is to take the following „things“ with me:

  • The memories of both dislike and attraction back in November 2017 during the LEO180 pre-race dinner. M&M told us about the Legends Trail and on that very moment I thought: Never. Ever. 250k in the Ardennes – one must be mental to even try it. Later that evening we watched Yiannis running while drinking beer – a remarkable evening. Full of doubts on what may lay ahead.
  • That memories of the feelings 50k before the LEO180 2017 finish. Broken and cold. DNFing. Far too weak to run far enough.
  • The feelings of deep relieve and joy during the TTdR 230 2018. Amazing feeling to finish that race. The moments 5k before the end – during the final countdown – where I was sure that it will become reality. These moments will remain unforgotten.
  • The memories of that moment 50k before the finish line during LEO180 2018. Broken and cold again. And with a damaged foot. And alone. 500 reasons why it would be only normal and totally ok to quit. But there was something pushing. It was neither the non-existing coke (no-coke-face-moment-of-my-life) nor the comfortable warmth in the „In den Bockenreyder“ restaurant 30k before the finish. While sitting there and cooling my hurting foot I discovered something strange. I somehow did not want to give up my second place. It felt like an effort way too high to bear, but after what felt like years: the finish was there.
  • The memories of 2019s Great Escape and Bello Gallico together with M.. The stunning Ardennes, the ups and the downs, the wining and arguing. The moments in pouring, ice-cold rain with no shelter and the decision that the only chance to not freeze to death is to run a little faster… Wonderful finishes!
  • The shining memories of LEO180 2019 together with VPsucher. Lots of doubts in between, lots of lessons on how to not sleep outside, a gruelling race against the time and that moment of a LEO180 finish together!
  • The memories of countless hours out there with VPsucher striving through the nothingness. Following nonsense GPX instructions. Often confronted with dead ends and a quite resisting nature. But always determined to enjoy and to discover.
  • The memories of countless sunrises after nights full of running. The astonishing feeling of energy coming from somewhere back into the body. After hours of darkness – hope and faith returning with each and everyone of these sunrises. The amazing changing colors during that hours…
  • The memories of countless and sleepless nights out there. Lonely dots under trillions of stars. Sometimes with a moon so shiny that we could turn out the lights and watch our shadows flying over the silver earth.

You may think this will not matter and will certainly not help during the race. I have the feeling that those feelings, memories and colors will not ease the effort in any way, will not provide shelter and comfort and will not protect me from the out there. But they may be the friends and company I wish to have and they should remind me that it – maybe – can be done. That there may be that shiny moment of crossing the finish line.

NRW 2020 – Zwischenstand

Wow. 2020 ist die NRW (No Rest for the Wicked)-Challenge mal so richtig groß geworden. Es ist eine Freude den Teilnehmern bei Ihren Anstrengungen zuzuschauen, sich selbst den Regeln zu unterwerfen und uns quasi alle zusammen daran zu machen, die 24 Stunden des Tages und die 7 Wochentage voll zu machen.

Ganze 12 Teilnehmer gibt es dieses Jahr und die Daumen sind gedrückt. Weitere 19 Tage bleiben um es zu schaffen – es bleibt also spannend.

Schon jetzt sei gesagt, dass wir das im Februar 2021 wiederholen wollen – es ist doch einfach zu spaßig. Wer schon jetzt Interesse anmelden mag, der möge das über den Blog tun. Alle Teilnehmer aus 2020 werden aber sowieso für 2021 erneut eingeladen.

Den Zwischenstand gibt es hier: NRW 2020 – raus mit Euch, die Zeit läuft!