Kärnten Laufklassiker @Home
Some might know that I’ve been trying to run at least one marathon per month for a few years now. In 2020, the plan so far looked like this:
- January 5th: Wesel Marathon
- February 16th: Nicosia Marathon
- March 29th: Freiburg Marathon
- April 19th: Hamburg Marathon
- April 25th: Harz Querung Ultramarathon
- May 15th to 17th: Kärnten Laufklassiker
While Wesel and Nicosia happened before the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, everything else has been cancelled. But you can always run at home. For example, I ran last year’s Hamburg Marathon course on this year’s official date, alone. Twice. So, as of April, I’m on point in my self-imposed challenge. One marathon per month of the year.
Now it’s May, and the race I had signed up for and was looking forward to very much, has come. Or rather, not come. RUN Kärnten, right within one of the most picturesque areas of Austria, has been postponed to May 2021. The special thing about this challenge is that it’s not just one race, but three, held on consecutive days from Friday to Sunday.
- Friday, 15th: 12 kilometer Hüttenlauf, 390 meters of vertical gain
- Saturday, 16th: 45 kilometer Nockbergmarathon, 1,900 meters of vertical gain
- Sunday, 17th: 19 kilometer Hochrindltrail, 700 meters of vertical gain
In 2018, two years ago, I participated in a similar event, which was in fact organized by the same company. Also three runs, also very hilly and beautiful, also in a nice part of Austria. That time, I chose to only do the main event race, Kaisermarathon. It was one of the top five marathons of all time for me, maybe even top contender. So tough but so great. The nature was just breath-taking. Also, sharing that with my marathon buddy Jürgen was fun. So we had both anticipated having a pretty race and signed up for this Nockbergmarathon weekend. He for the main event marathon, I myself for the whole deal, this time.
But then, Corona happened. So we all stayed home.
But no one is stopping us from running in our area, yet. So I decided to just go ahead with running those three races on the specific race days. Same length, but a very different elevation situation. Regarding my declined fitness, that played into my cards. I don’t think I would have had it in me at this stage to complete the original races at this point, so Hamburg’s flatness plays into my cards here.
Day 1: Hüttenlauf
What’s the route? At the moment, I feel a bit decision depleted. So I made it simple. Around the block until 12 kilometers are done.
So far, so good. Decent effort, 5:30 minutes per kilometer on Strava, fastest last one, heartrate fine. Nothing special, feeling well afterwards. Carboloading now, preparation for the long one tomorrow.
Day 2: Nockbergmarathon
Again, a suitable route needs to be found. As I live close by the Elbe river, I have had hundreds of runs along it and right now am a bit fatigued of it. But we have more water in this city, for example, the Alster river. It’s been a while since I last did a proper lap around this 7.3 kilometer lake look-alike, so why not. My friend Rasmus came along and we shared the first three laps.
We’re hovering between 5:30 and 5:45 minutes per kilometer and are having a drinking break every time we pass the parked car. The length of the lap is well suited for this. I felt reminded of the time I did a marathon consisting of Alster laps before, together with Peter Thompson, the crazy Brit. I accompanied him on his mission to do 44 European country marathons on 44 consecutive days. So obviously he wanted to keep it simple as well and removed decisions regarding the course.
Rasmus ran back home after about half of my run. The weather kept being perfect for this.
I didn’t feel like this got boring, though. Turning inwards is a necessary thing to do for me from time to time, and also listening to a bit of music while not being disturbed was nice.
During the last lap I ran into my brother-in-law, Philipp, him being on his own Alster lap. He was pushing my little niece in a jogger stroller, who was slightly indifferent to the occasion. We had a chat and met again on the opposite side of the lake. Little Leonie had fallen asleep by now. Too boring for her.
Fatigue hit but I mostly kept it under 6 minutes per kilometer. Good enough. 45 kilometers reached after 4:30:56 hours, including five drinking breaks at the car.
Day 3: Hochrindltrail
This is supposed to be a trail race of 19 kilometers with 700 meters of elevation gain. If that race would have taken place today, it might have taking me six hours I would estimate. But so, here on the flat Hamburg grounds, I could just do a few more loops around another block in the neighborhood, while being accompanied and supported by the daughters. Granted, I would have really liked to see those Austrian mountains and enjoy the course, but this is a lot easier to be honest.
The legs were stiff and I had a few blisters from yesterday, but after a bit of willpower flexing that’s all forgotten.
Ten kilometers in, it got easier and I got faster.
Time goes by, one foot in front of the other, and at some point, 19 kilometers are reached.
Three days, 76 kilometers. But instead of 3,000 meters of elevation gain, I reached the respectable sum of 344 meters (44, 197, 103). Woah! 😉
A good weekend. Time to celebrate.