I must admit that investment banking and training for ultra-marathons are not the most ideal symbiosis of two passions. However, since both activities give me a lot of joy and pleasure, it is about making the best out of the given situation and combining the two as good as I can. So, if I am not coming home too late at night, then I like to wake up early and do my running sessions (mostly around one hour of high intensity or interval training) before work. My core and strength training I mostly do in between or after work in the evening, while at the weekend I am logging my long runs.

Two months after I ran the Frankfurt Half Marathon, this weekend I went to Mainz to compete in the so-called Guttenberg Half Marathon. While I had obviously heard about Mainz before, little did I know that it is such a beautiful historic city.

After I had confirmed my Half Marathon personal best in Frankfurt a few weeks ago, this time I aimed to beat my record and stay under 1:30 hours. As I have said before, though I cannot stick to weekly training regime as much as I like to, I felt more confident in my body than back in March.  It was a beautiful day. The sun was shinning bright and there were no clouds to be seen on the sky. To be honest, it was almost too hot for running. The race started at 9:30 and lead the field of runners down a wide open road. There was no congestion and I was able to find my rhythm very early into the race. 

The course was amazing. It was flat and lead across the cobbled roads of this wonderful historic city center of Mainz.  The streets were filled with thousands of spectators and numerous brass bands, which created an outstanding atmosphere. I have been running all types of races over the last three years, but I have to say that Mainz must have been the best in terms of atmosphere. There was literally not one section without a supporter cheering on his or her family, friends and strangers like me. It was truly beautiful and turned this event into a real success.

Though the atmosphere and organisation of an event like this play a major role, at the end of the day, I still have to complete the course. And, surprise, surprise, I was able to beat my personal best by around one minute. The stop clock stopped at 1:33:13 hours. I am still three minutes away from a sub 1:30, yet my split times looked promising, especially towards the end of the race. According to the official timing, it took me 29:19 minutes to complete the first 6,3 kilometres. The next split came around ten kilometres later at the 16,95 km mark, which I completed in 48:07 minutes, before running the final 4-ish kilometres in 15:48 minutes. I know for most of you this is nitty gritty stuff, but what I found interesting is that my pace actually increased from 4:40 min/km to 4:30 min/km and then 3:52 min/km for the last stint.  

We are a little less than four months away from the start of Ultra-Trail Du Mont Blanc. In one month, I will be running the Wiesbaden Ultra Marathon and then I plan to travel to the Austrian Alps over the weekends for some technical altitude training and to cover some vertical meters.