Friday, December 30, 2011

Brocken-Challenge Training III

With what will likely be my last post for the year 2011 and the last opportunity to get in a good training run
in preparation for the Brocken-Challenge I decided to try a new route today. And what a route it turned out to be! I hitched a ride out to Tuebingen and started my training route where we had started the Tuebingen Nikolauslauf and headed into the Naturpark Schönbuch traveling north. What a great place to run! Trails are mixed surface: dirt, gravel, and very little hard ball. The terrain is amazing flowing largely through the forest over rolling hills. The perfect environment to do a little training for running in the Harz. Plans for 2012 include much more exploration of the Naturpark Schönbuch.

Perfect training conditions for preparation for running in the Nationalpark Harz on 11 February 2012.

All the best in 2012!!!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Salomon Running Season 2011

Super video from Salomon that wraps up the 2011 ultra racing season:

Brocken-Challenge Training II

Now that's what I call the perfect training environment for the Brocken-Challenge!
Bummer it's all melted and turned to rain...

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Brocken-Challenge Training

It's finally snowed here... Not exactly the perfect training environment for the Brocken, but at least it's a start. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow...

Friday, December 16, 2011

UTMB 2012 Registration

Registration for the 2012 Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc opened today and runs until 9 January. I signed up this morning. Now the nail biting begins. The race field is limited to 2300 runners. The UTMB organizers reported this evening that 1800 people had preregistered. So I think we can anticipate a lottery occurring on 20 January.

So while we're waiting... A bit of motivation:

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Slow Week

You know the story... Rough week at work; Birthdays to plan for; and Christmas is right around the corner. This past week I collided with all of those and more. No excuse, but it wound up being a slow running week. I am however into some different things in the coming week and hope to get a couple of good ones in!

Have you seen either the Benefits of Giving web site or the I<3 to run FB page? Both are pretty cool from a web perspective. I<3 to run is a motivational page over on FB that is a lot of fun to follow. Benefits of Giving is even cooler in that it serves as a fundraising platform that enables individuals to raise funds for a nonprofit organization of their choice. Very cool stuff!

Even though it was a slow week this past week I did get a nice 13KM in this morning. Weather conditions were perfect (right at freezing and no precipitation).

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Nikolauslauf Tübingen 9 DEC 2012

The 2012 Nikolauslauf Tübingen was a super event!
This year saw us run with no snow, but weather conditions were great
for a cross-country half marathon. Thankfully the real rain and storm that blew in this evening waited until later in the afternoon.

Our hats go off to Nikolauslauf Tübingen organization team and all of the amazing volunteers that supported the race. We were a bit apprehensive about the size of the race field (3000 registered runners) after running the training run back in November. The race organizers did a fantastic job logistically and organizationally
during the run up to the race with constant updates to their web site and pre-race activities (final race check in, race start up, etc.). Staggering the start between three different groups (runners indicate their best half at registration and are then placed into an appropriate starting block) spread the field just far enough out
that we never felt crowded over the course of the race.

The race course is a fast yet challenging course that runs north of Tübingen and includes two cycles around the course (second cycle does a dog leg to the east of the original course and then rejoins the original course). The course itself borders the southern side of the Naturpark Schönbuch and shares much of its beauty and nature.

At the starting line just prior to the gun.

The Nikolauslauf Tübingen course is a mix of country and farm roads, mixed trail and forest paths. This view is from the backside of the course just prior to the second to last nice hill (if hills can be nice).

The statics are still rolling in, but it looks as if of the original 3000 registered racers 2448 finished the race - a record for this event.

An all round super race that sells out very quickly. Registration is super easy and relatively inexpensive (21 Euro in 2011 which provided registration, a finisher tee-shirt and a good series of support stations along the course) via the
Nikolauslauf Tübingen web page. If you're interested in running this great event, watch the web site starting in September. Registration opens and closes quickly as this is a very popular local winter race event.

We hope to be along for the fun in 2012!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Trail rocks...

Spent a lovely Thanksgiving Weekend in the
Bayerischer Wald. Some years back we had been there
to ski, but I'd never run there. It's a fantastic place with limitless trails
and hills. Hope to make it back again sometime soon...

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Nikolauslauf Training Run

13 November 2011...

A perfect day for the gear-up run for the Nikolauslauf!
Temperatures hovered around 4 - 5C, other than the fog, it was perfect running weather.

Although this event was not an "official" event more than 600 runners took part.
The course was not supposed to be marked (it was) and there was to be no organizational support (there was).

Our hat is off to the entire Post-SV Tübingen Team.

We look forward to the main event on 4 DEC.

Thursday, November 3, 2011


Number 18 of Chris Kostman's 70 Things is spot on...

Watch the sunrise at least once a month. Don't just be
up and about while it happens; actually watch it.


Saturday, October 29, 2011

In the News... Nikolauslauf Tübingen Probelauf: Sonntag 13 November 2011

Hey - this too is cool!

Next race for 2011 is the Nikolauslauf Tübingen on 4 December 2011. The cool news is that you get two races in one. The race organizers have set up a "test run" on 13 November over the original course. Can't wait to check out the course.

Keep on running...

Thüringen ULTRA 2011 Video

It took a while to get here, but Mayk Hirschfeld has put together yet another great video of the Thüringen ULTRA... I'm already fired up about the TU 2012!

Thueringenultra 2011 from Mayk Hirschfeld on Vimeo.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Alb Marathon

It's Saturday, 22 October 2011 a perfect day for the 21st edition of the Alb Marathon. More to follow within my race report. For now some impressions...

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Why...

This video from Team Salomon shares UTMB perspectives and much more. It get's very close to the "why" of why I run ultras and trail... Spectacular!

The Seasons

are a changing...

I love this time of year. The mornings are cool and the days generally sunny. Looks like we're headed into a nice fall here.

Did my first run "commute" to work yesterday following the train-up for the UTMB and in preparation for the Alb Marathon and had an amazing time. I already miss the early morning sunlight which is fading day-by-day as we approach October, but do love the crisp morning air and the sunrises. Simply amazing!

I'm going to approach my train-up for the Alb Marathon a little differently than I have the other races I've run this year. I've developed a plan that rotates speed weeks with high-mileage weeks. Speed weeks will focus on hill work and 5 - 8KM fartlek rotations, while mileage weeks will include a minimum 13KM run with a weekly set of 25KM runs. During the week of 3 Oct I plan to get in two (Tuesday and Thursday) two-a-day 25KM runs. Essentially, back and forth to work.

Am a bit concerned about the compressed time line between when I started my train-up and the race, but am resting on the base of mileage and workouts I've gotten since my surgery in late February. I'm curious as to how the mix of speed work and mileage will play out over the 50KM Alb Marathon course.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Did a nice 10KM this morning on the way to getting ready for the next race and a new year of racing. The season is changing... We're headed into what I hope is a colorful fall.

Put on your boots. Let's go for a run.

BTW - Registration for the 2012 UTMB opens on 16 DEC!

Saturday, September 10, 2011


I'm there... In that training and motivation valley following a race or other event. After the UTMB 2011 I spent the first week walking (my quads were like jello). This second week I've run only three times.

Time to get motivated again as the Alb Marathon is right around the corner on 22 OCT. I've spent the last couple of days debating if I'm going to run it or not. Following this morning's run and the incredible weather we're having today I'm in. As tradition holds this will be my last major race of this year's race season.

Am off for a walk.... Head in the right direction!

Sunday, August 7, 2011


Had a lovely run yesterday morning around the Phaffensee. But would you believe it, my dang left calf is screwed again. This time the pain is on the exterior of the calf, where the week before last it was focused largely on the interior of the calf. I'm not certain what's going on. Is it stretching? Warm up or cool down? Two weeks ago I thought it was related to my increased use of my Vibram Five Fingers, but I have not worn them in two weeks and have really concentrated on stretching. I'm becoming seriously worried that I'm not getting in the mileage I need leading up to the race... Crap!!!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Straight Up

Had a good week this past week going into the final for the UTMB. Got a couple of good "Jim Brown" runs in. Am getting nervous that I've not done enough of those jokers....

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Moving from Red to Green

Well, after five days of almost complete rest my calf is no longer painful. Went for a short run/walk yesterday and had a nice long hour long walk this evening. Have mixed this up with stretching and icing each evening. Don't like using meds and stopped taking them on Thursday last week.

Although I missed out on a power week I hope to get things back on track this coming week and over the remaining couple of weeks before the UTMB goes on 26 August. Yes!

Thursday, July 28, 2011


Now I've gone and done it...

This was supposed to be a power week with a lot of miles run gearing up for the race in August. I had originally planned to get in 140KM. Wouldn't you know that while running to work (25KM) on Tuesday I strained my dang calf. So here we are wondering if this is injury is from overuse, lack of core strength or what.

At the end of the day I now have to back way off of my training and take some time off to let this thing heal. You can imagine my worries. We're a month away from the UTMB and I feel like I've got a lot of training to do.


Sunday, July 24, 2011

UTMB Prep July II

I know, I'm bouncing around all over the place this month (smile)...

Two great articles on ultrarunning fueling and nutrition in general:

"A Refresher Nutrition Course for Ultrarunners" at Ultrarunning Magazine.

"A Plea for Eating With a Purpose" at AdventureCORPS.

UTMB Prep July

I just re-read Mike Mason's post on The Path Less Traveled regarding his UTMB Adventure of 2008 and am getting a bit nervous about my planning for the race and particularly the focus and extent of my training and readiness for the 2011 UTMB.

There is so much to accomplish and prepare for and so little time. Did I make a mistake in running the TU 100 Miler? Mike's experience says yes. Have I done enough long runs to build the appropriate base? I am not convinced that I've done enough hill and mountain work to get ready for the elevation change that is found in the UTMB.

At this juncture I have what I have and can only continue to build upon that. I've put together a five week plan that peaks the first week in August with a planned 156KMs for that week. I plan to include a number of two-a-days and night events. I will taper starting the week of 15 August and include carbo-loading all that week.

Logistically, I'm looking at the following to get me to Chamonix and the race. I plan to leave home early on the morning of 24 August to drive to Chamonix. Although perhaps not the best course of action, I will be camping at the same camp grounds we stayed in last year. I'm a bit apprehensive about camping based on my past post-race physical condition. We're going to see how that goes and if I can drive back home on Monday 29 August. Getting to Chamonix on Wednesday will allow me time to ensure I have a camping spot, integrate into the environment and check-in for the race. In the next couple of days I'll be posting my logistics package and plan for the camp and race itself. A couple of concerns include my race plan and logistics support plan.

Until then I'm drawing motivation from Bernie Conradt's 2009 UTMB experience. "Feel it, Fight it, Finish it!"

Saturday, July 23, 2011


The July 2011 Issue of Runner's World is a special issue entitled "Outrunning Cancer". With my "special interest" in cancer I read it cover to cover yesterday. Surprisingly great stuff! I was especially inspired by Curt Pesmen's article "Still Running" and David Willey's observations about the marathoner that had taped the following on the back of her shirt while knocking out a run:


Nicely said!

Austin Texas

I'm inspired, excited and finally relieved that there are
still actually some pretty cool places to run in the US.
(Sorry friends, I've been disappointed having to run on the
road competing with cars and some of the
idiots that drive them.)

Just got back from Austin Texas where I had the opportunity
to run around Lady Bird Johnson Lake. The place is a runner's
paradise with a myriad of different routes including a nice 16KM.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Running pits my mind against my body. It is about being in touch; in touch with the outdoors where few dare. It is about experiencing what the body can do and the mind will allow. It is about being alive...

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day

"When You Go Home, Tell Them of Us and Say,
For Their Tomorrow, We Gave Our Today."

This morning's beautiful 10KM trail run was dedicated
to Aaron, Todd, Mike, Don, Eugen and many others.
Comrades in arms, friends, and family...

You will always be remembered.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Web of Life

Chief Seattle of the Suquamish Tribe of Northwestern America shared this with us... "Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself." Take time to celebrate the web - get out in it - give something back.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Grand Raid Dentelles Race Report

OK... A bit of a start on the long overdue race report from the Grand Raids Dentelles Ventoux. My apologies up front as I weave and wobble here...

The 2011 Grand Raid took place 14 - 15 May; starting and finishing in Gigondas, France. Gigondas is an amazing Provincial village in the Vaucluse department in the Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azure region of France. Gigondas lies at the foot of the Dentelles de Montmirail mountains.

The Grand Raid Dentelles is a charity event hosted by the Rotary Club and Inner Wheel of Orange. The race benefits the treatment and study of Glycogenosis (Pompe's, Gierke's and McArdle diseases). I've participated in or been associated with the Grand Raid since 2009 and must say that each year it simply get's better! The Rotary Club, Inner Wheel and associated race volunteers are an amazing group. My thanks go out to them for their hard work planning and hosting this event. A special thanks goes out to the ladies at Brantes and Les Rissas; you all are wonderful! Texan first - always!

As I think I've mentioned here, this was my first race following my colonoscopy for colon cancer in February 2011. That said, yes I was scared to death of racing, much less of attempting a race of this magnitude with cancer and following my surgical recovery. You might imagine the worry, concern and thoughts that persisted at least until kilometer 93...

As a runner each time I go into a race I'm nervous. This time around I faced a different kind of fear based largely on the unknowns associated with colon cancer, my surgery, my physical state and my body's ability to endure and survive. Each step of this race included a deliberate decision on my part to continue. These decisions included: visiting with a number of doctor's well prior to the race to ensure that I was on a good recovery track. I completed a physical in April and visited with a surgeon friend to assess where I was prior to making the journey to Provence. I may seem foolish at times, but I am no fool - visit with your doctor if you're considering racing any distance following or during treatment for any type of cancer. Some of my "silly" decisions going into The Raid included signing in for the race; not participating in the race briefing or pre-race dinner (just in case I wanted to back out); setting my alarm for 0230 in the morning; getting out of bed and getting to the start line (you get the picture). I incorporated a deliberate decision process throughout the event that would include a review of my physical and mental state at each check point. This decision process is one of the lessons I took away from The Grand Raid and I will incorporate it in future races.

I still consider myself a junior ultrarunner. Running races like this is much like racing a car - you have to have a plan or you either loose time or fail to complete. Framed around my physical condition and medical history I decided that prior to entering a race check point I would evaluate where I was physically and mentally and would have a plan for what I was going to do at that check point (dump trash, refill water and food, rest or call it quits). This framework provided me with a psychological means of assuring that I was on track both physically and mentally and it saved time over the course of the race. I assure you that I was prepared to drop from the race at the sign of any undo physical complication related to my surgery, GI track, or simply the lack of endurance to finish based on the above.

Some race specific issues and lessons learned as we draw closer to this year's goal of completing the UTMB include:

Much like the UTMB course, the Grand Raid is a mountainous, semi-technical course. Starting on the first of many "hills" it leaves Gigondas and proceeds through check points at Lac du Paty (18KM), Comb Curnier (30KM), Sommet du Mont Ventoux (39KM, 1912M), Brantes (54KM), Veaux (68KM), Les Rissas (73KM), Malaucene (80KM), Saint Amand (91KM) and Gigondas (100KM). The associated elevation change of The Raid is 5215 meters over the length of the course. Much of the route is over undeveloped farm, hiking and technical trail. There is a lovely "break" between Brantes and Veaux. Unlike my brute force effort in 2009 I mixed my progress over the race course between a slow mountain jog (25 minutes running/5 minute walk breaks), Nordic Walking with poles and brute force climing and descending. This technique paid huge dividends.

My UTMB training and ultrarunning lessons included...

I imagine the UTMB course to be very similar to that of The Grand Raid with long ascents and descents that simply crush your quads. Based on the physical work associated with The Raid I plan to increase the amount of time I'm spending in the gym to three times a week; working both upper and lower body.

Over the course of The Raid the weather turned on us three times with thunder storms and a lot of rain. This combined with the onset of limited visibility and nightfall revealed to me that I've got to run more at night and under trying atmospheric conditions. I plan to adjust my long runs to include periods that force me to run tired and run in the dark... I look to get up early and run a 20 - 25KM route; spend the day working; come home in the evening to spend it with the family; and after they go to bed and darkness has set in take off for another 20 - 25KM run. I also plan to throw a couple of midnight runs in to that I'm going out in the dead of night and tired. During The Raid I was reminded of how psychologically hard darkness can be on you.

I am still working on my race execution diet...

In addition to some of the fruits, soups and chips available at check points during The Raid I consumed 16 energy bars, 20 energy gels, 2 Succeed Tablets, and almost 9 liters of Gatorade, Hammer and Succeed beverages. All of the sugar/sweetness associated with fruits and energy food can be a real challenge. I forced myself to eat a solid or gel on an hourly basis; rotating between the two. I limited the amount of caffeine I was using prior to going into the race. I didn't stop drinking my two cups of coffee in the morning, but I do not drink soft drinks at all. I incorporated caffeinated gels with every other gel I was using and switched completely to caffeinated gels starting at Veaux. I stopped using caffeine at kilometer 90. Overall I consumed almost 10,000 calories over the course of the 19:15:36 it took me to complete this race.

I was curious (yes a bit worried) about the impact of my racing diet on my GI track particularly given the GI issues I had following my surgery. My key to success remains the consumption of a well rounded diet. I have not shifted to a strictly vegetarian diet, but do however consume primarily colorful vegetables. I followed my insane race diet up with a meal including a salad, cheese, bread and lots of water. My next meal included a delicious post race pizza! I can happily report that I had no major GI changes or problems following the race.

Well, there you have it - some refined impressions from the 2011 Grand Raid Dentelles Ventoux. For more information on the course itself visit Steppenhahn and my report from 2009.

The Grand Raid is a great race! It is one that has drawn me closer to it because of it's personality and flair and the reward I found there as a cancer survivor. Asked if I'd do it again the answer will remain, always - HELL YES!

American Boy

Take me on a trip, I'd like to go some day
Take me to New York, I'd love to see LA
I really want to come kick it with you
You'll be my American Boy, American Boy...

The check point at kilometer 73 (Les Rissas) of the
Grand Raid simply rocks. It is a great surprise for runners to come up yet another hill to first hear and then see the party that is going on here.

When I got into Les Rissas one of the guys I was
running with mentioned to the race volunteers that I was American. With this news now out on the table the ladies switched their music to Estelle's
"American Boy" and started dancing.
It was a hoot for everyone in the rest stop. It would have been great to have had time to stop, have a couple of cocktails and danced a bit,
but there was a race on...

Race volunteers rock! Without them there would be no race.

Grand Raid Dentelles Ventoux

The Dentelles are Simply an Amazing Place

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Back in the Saddle

I'm back... I'm back in the saddle again... Ridin' into town alone by the light of the moon. I'm looking for ol Sukie Jones. She crazy horse saloon. Barkeep gimme a drink...

For anyone that follows this blog or for that matter cares - my apologies for being gone for so long. Life and all of it's joys have kept me occupied the last few months.

So why the post and why the Aerosmith lick above? Well dear reader I just finished my first 100KM mountain marathon following my colon cancer surgery back in February and I feel good! Feel like I'm back in the saddle again.

I ran the Trail Grand Raid Dentelles Ventoux, 13 - 14 May 11 and it rocked. To get to the bottom first - I bested my 2009 race time this year by almost three hours. Figure that's what a couple of years of running and a little motivation will do for you. Much of the event I was concerned about my surgery, the C word and it's impact on my endurance. From the outset I set out with the simple goal of making it to each aid station and as necessary I would drop from the race. Although there were the typical aches and pains that go with racing through the "hills" of Provence I felt great and have regained my ultrarunning confidence.

I'll post some pictures and additional thoughts on this event over the next couple of days and try to come here move often to share my thoughts on running with cancer and ultra running in general

Off to listen to a bit more Aerosmith...

Sunday, March 13, 2011

A Short Detour

Well... Here we are; still enjoying the glow of the 2011 Brocken-Challenge, yet some time and an interesting turn of events have occurred which can be best described as a short detour on this my running journey.

Just after completing the Brocken-Challenge, on 14 February to be exact, I found out that I have colon cancer. You might imagine the myriad of emotions and thoughts that came with this news. "What? This can't be possible! I just completed an 80K winter ultramarathon and am at the top of my game conditionally and emotionally." I was looking forward to a series of races and training events each month of 2011 with the UTMB as the capstone. Aside from the fact that colon cancer is a life changing event. Damn...

I was in the hospital for a cancer staging work up and colon resection surgery from 18 - 28 February. If interested give me shout and I'll tell you the details of this experience. Up front the doctors and medical staff were fantastic. That said, we had beautiful weather the entire time I was in the hospital and I felt like I was in jail. Not able to run and with an uncertain future. After driving the staff crazy I finally got out on 28 February to return home to continue convalescing, to learn more about this illness and to find out when/if I can start running again. (More on this a bit later.)

My higher has smiled on me... Following surgery and cancer staging I learned that I have a T2N0M0 cancer rating. The tumor and its adjacent tissue have been removed; there is no cancer activity in lymphatic nodes; and the cancer has not spread to any of my other significant organs. With this status the Tumor Board has determined that I do not require chemotherapy at this point. Instead, I've been turned back over to my Gastrointestinal Doctor for post colon resection care and monitoring. Statistically, I am looking at a 90% full recovery up to five years. If we can get beyond the five year mark I stand a darn good chance of being completely healed of this cancer.

So where does this leave me...? I'm still working on the holistic part of that question, but from a running perspective... I am still shooting for the UTMB in 2011. My surgeon told me that tumors like the one I had don't like athletes; they don't like runners and they don't like endurance runners. All good news because I don't intend on creating a decent relationship between myself and any further tumors. Time to piss them off!

I have canceled my races in March and April in order to heal and then train. The next big event is in mid-May and the Grand Raid! I've been spending the last week walking. I transitioned to Nordic Walking yesterday and put in a seven kilometer course yesterday and a mixed jogging/walking 10KM today. Things are looking up!

It's funny... There is a wealth of information on colon cancer and other cancers and the medical approach to each on the web. I have been unable to find any information on colon resection surgery and cancer care and running. If anyone knows of any (e.g., web, books, studies) give me a holler. Time to put the word out.

A word to the wise... Colon cancer is completely avoidable! If you're over forty, or have colon cancer in your family see your doctor and get checked out.

So there we have it... Me and this short detour. Let's see where it takes us...

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Brocken-Challenge 2011 Images

A couple of early images from
the Brocken-Challenge 2011

Brocken Challenge 2011 - What a Blast!

2011 and my third Brocken-Challenge (BC), and like the previous two, 2011's BC was a blast!

The Brocken-Challenge is a winter charity ultramarathon of approximately 81 – 85KM with a positive change of 2200 meters in altitude that takes place between the city of
Göttingen and the Brocken Summit in the Harz Mountains. Proceeds from the B-C benefit primarily the Hospiz an der Lutter ( and several other charitable charities.

After the adventure of BC 2010 I was uncertain if I was going to take part in 2011. My doubt hinged largely on the roller coaster of changes that were published by the organizers of the BC over the course of 2010. Beyond a couple of tweaks in the rules and requirements the largest of which was the new requirement to walk 10KM off of the Brocken summit which didn’t bother me, the question of the registration cost was the central issue. In September 2010 the organization team Ausdauersport für Menschlichkeit e.V., (ASFM) published that the registration cost for 2011 would be 200 Euro! I read this news with much dismay. Although the registration costs completely benefit charity, 200 Euro was simply beyond my 2011 race budget. Given this expense I decided not to participate in 2011. Many concerns and comments were shared by many other BC runners and fans on the BC web site and via e-mail. Fortunately in November 2011 the ASFM decided to lower the registration price to 85 Euro (~1 Euro per Kilometer). Based on this change I decided to sign up.

Registration for the BC 2011 opened on 1 December. The field of 150 was full after fifteen days. This is important to note, particularly if you’re interested in taking the Challenge as the ASFM limit the starter field to 125 - 150 runners. Limiting the number of runners is critical based simply on the logistics of the race. I prefer this small field as it results in a much more personal and friendly race.

This year I traveled to Göttingen on Friday, 11 FEB to participate in the pre-race orientation, see some running friends and get organized for the Challenge. Like the last couple of years I billeted in the Jugendherberge Göttingen ( which given its location, cost and atmosphere is perfect for the event.

The BC offers a number of options for overnighting and meals with the focus centered on the Hainholzhof am Kehr (Bismarckstr, Göttingen). Here you can overnight either in the Jägerhaus, or the adjacent riding hall. The Jägerhaus sponsors an excellent Pasta Party the evening before the race.

Race day starts at 0500 at the Hainholzhof am Kehr with breakfast and final check in activities. Once everyone has completed their final sign in, Markus starts the Challenge with his traditional “Brocken-Challenge 2011, here we go…” and the race begins at 0600.

Environmental conditions for 2011 were significantly different from those of 2010. This year the weather was as if spring had sprung for at least the first half of the route. Temperatures were projected to be chilly with a slight chance of rain and winds out of the south. As we progressed over the route the wind shifted to a wind out of the east and brought with it frigid temperatures. I was glad that I had invested in a pair of snow cleats. At Oderbrucke (73.9KM) snow and ice became more and more significant and it was super to have the cleats along to maintain a good pace and sure footing. As we approached the summit the temperatures dropped significantly and a snow storm rolled in at 1700.

In the event you missed my report of 2010 you should note the following:

The Brocken finds itself in Germany’s largest national park, the Harz National Park. The Gipfel (summit) is located in a raw sub-alpine environment. It is characterized as follows: fog over 300 days a year, covered in ice 100 days out of the year, snow covered 176 days out of the year, 85 days out of the year are below 0 °C with temperatures dipping down as low as −28 °C. The highest measured winds were recorded at 263 KPH (164 MPH). As you might imagine, the Brocken Gipfel offers its own unique twist to the BC.

Like the last couple of years the highlights of the BC remain for me the efforts of the organizers and the race volunteers. I have not experienced such a great group of volunteers and helpers. This year I’d like to highlight Juliette Mallison that throws a great pre-race breakfast and then rushes to set a buffet like no other at station six (Lausebuche) and the lady riders that host station five at Jagdkopf. My hat is off to you all – thanks for your support and great attitude!

Unlike last year I don’t recall a significant low point this year. Although I started the race slightly demotivated, as the sun came up and I settled into the day’s affair my spirits rose with each kilometer. I set a personal best at the BC this year completing the race in 10:28 and well before it got dark. Doing so afforded me the opportunity to get a couple of quick, albeit wind and snow blown snapshots on the gipfel.

If you’re looking for a super adventure, a reason to contribute to several great charity organizations and a well organized ultra to start off your season you should consider the Brocken-Challenge.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Keltisch 30KM

Ran a nice 30KM today!
Aside from the lovely environment, the weather, and my trusty
iPod the hardest part of today's run was getting bored.

What do you do while out running a long run to avoid
getting bored? Boredom can be a real challenge
for me when heading out on a multi-hour run.

I did run past this great Celtic Burial Site. I've been
walking and running in these woods since 2004 and
have never stopped to take a look at what the
historical marker says. Today I did...