Now the time has come! Tomorrow I’ll do my first ultra-run. I’ll attempt to run 55 kilometers (approximately 35 miles) from the North Sea to the Baltic Sea. From shore to shore. This will be the biggest running challenge of my life thus far. It might be the biggest challenge to my body and mind.
The furthest distance I ever ran was 42 kilometers during the Minority Marathon in Flensburg, Germany in 2005. This marathon was definitely the most painful sports experience in my life because I was not well prepared. I started to train about three months earlier and the longest distance I ran during that time wasn’t even half a marathon. I believed that if I can make it to the half marathon mark of 21 kilometers the other half of the race will probably be mind over matter. Well, that day I found out that this thought was pretty naïve and only partly true. I mean, I finished the race because I forced myself but at the same time I realized that my “training” was just pathetic. I still remember the moment when I passed the 24k mark. My legs were already tired and I felt that I was only a few steps away from actual pain. I thought “Why can’t the numbers be switched? 42 kilometers instead of 24 kilometers! Then this idiotic idea to run a marathon would be finally over”. I didn’t have to wait long for the pain. It started just a few kilometers later at the 30k mark. Here I thought “Why the hell am I doing this? Just go home” but at the same time I thought “Okay…you made it this far…from here it’s only another 12k”. And this was the point where my initial thought was right, from here it was pure willingness to finish this race. I still don’t know how I did it but what I do remember was this amazing feeling when I crossed the finish line. In this moment, I didn’t know if I should laugh because I was extremely happy that I finished the race but at the same time I just wanted to cry due to pure pain in my legs. In the end, it was a mixture of both feelings and the next day I could barely walk.
After making this painful experience I swore to myself that I’ll never do such a long run in my life again. And here I am now. Tomorrow I’m attempting to run the width of my home state Schleswig-Holstein. It’s probably the narrowest part of the state but still 55 kilometers which makes it 13k more than the marathon distance.
I think this time I’m more prepared than 13 years ago. I started to run again about one year ago. Just in the past six months I ran more than 1,000 kilometers to increase my endurance. I also worked on my musculature and stability to avoid injuries throughout this challenge. This is something that I didn’t do at all in 2005.
Nevertheless, I had to deal with some aches and pains during my training. Due to that, I even had to postpone this challenge. I wanted to do this run one week earlier but it was just impossible. My left knee had another agenda to this challenge than I did. I really hope that we’ll be on the same team tomorrow!
This time I have a running strategy. My plan is to run for 25 minutes, then walk or rest for five minutes and then start over again. The idea of this strategy is to get along with my power as long as possible (ideally until the end), to avoid cramps or injuries but also to drink enough to stay hydrated. I also didn’t have a strategy 13 years ago. I simply started to run as fast as I could and I did quite well until the half marathon mark where I arrived approximately 1.75 hours. At that point I thought “Wow…Chris…you’re really good at this! You’ll finish this race in pretty good time if you just keep running like this”. Well, you already know how well that worked out. So let’s see how that strategy is gonna work out.
Right now I wonder if I trained enough for this challenge or if it’s going to be another painful experience. I’m quite nervous to find out. And who knows…maybe it’s just a matter of my mind. If you also want to find out, here are the three ways how to do so:
1. Instagram - On here I’ll give regular updates throughout the run so simply connect with me or search for #NBSUltra.
2. Runtastic - This app will give you live information about my position.
3. On the road - Places I’ll come through are: Dagebüll Mole (Start), Dagebüll Kirche, Maasbüll, Risum, Leck, Sprakebüll, Bärenshöft, Schafflund, Wallsbüll, Unaften, Handewitt, Villekula Flensburg, Hafenspitze Flensburg (Finish). So just watch out for me!
Last but not least, some people say that I’m crazy attempting to do such a long run. Maybe I am!? Who knows!? However, I believe that I can accomplish this challenge and also, I’m not only doing this for myself, I’m doing this for a charitable cause. With this run I’m trying to raise money for the Villekula project in Flensburg. Villekula is a gardening project which allows kids to learn about the whole process of how to garden, harvest and prepare healthy meals. Unfortunately, this project currently doesn't have any direct access to water which makes their work more than challenging. So if you also think that I’m crazy or you believe that I can accomplish this challenge, please make a small donation to them. All donations will be used to build a fountain on the Villekula land. Here you can find Villekulas’ bank information. Purpose (Verwendungszweck) for a donation should be "Brunnnen NBSUltra". Cheers!
Click here to find out more about Chris.