sesam.hu

sesam is Péter Szilágyi, Engineering Manager at IBM Cloud, residing in Budapest, Hungary. This is his playground.

Vértes Terep Ultramaraton

This ultra distance trail race took place in Vértes, a hilly area lying some fifty kilometres off of Budapest. It was my second proper trail run event and the first that could be classified as an ultra distance. (Wikipedia says any footrace longer than the traditional marathon length of 42.195 kilometres (26.219 mi) qualifies as an ultramarathon.) The official distance was measured at 50.6 kilometres with 1245 metres of height gain. The cutoff time was set at 8 hours with additional time limits for the aid stations.

Despite the summer-like weather of the preceding days a cold spell was forecast for the race day with a possibility for rain even until the last minute. In reality the sun started to break through the clouds even before the 9 am starting time and continued to shine all day long. My tights and long-sleeve T-shirt was okay for the start but I became somewhat overheated towards the end. With the knee-high compression socks I think, in retrospect, that I could have gotten away with wearing shorts and a short-sleeved T-shirt only. To be on the safe side I even carried a jacket in my backpack.

The first nine kilometres were known to me as we’ve run the course of the half-marathon race the previous week with Fanni in order for her to be familiar with the route. It was a definite advantage to know which uphill parts were steeper and how long they lasted. Afterwards the unknown trails were a little harder to judge especially since the itinerary was missing the height profile.

Up until the halfway point the course was the same for the marathon and ultra distance runners. The split occurred at the end of the village of Várgesztes. Surprisingly there was no crew member to guide the runners at this very crucial point which caused a bit of a confusion. Even though I remembered which trail to follow some marathoner girls tried to convince me to go the other way. Also it was quite a different experience to suddenly find myself absolutely alone in the woods. Up until that point I ran surrounded by people no farther than a couple of meters in front of me and behind. Left to my own devices it became important to look for the ribbons indicating the route as I could no longer rely on simply following the herd. This was the point I put on some music, too, to battle the oppressing solitude.

I didn’t meet any other runner until the third aid station save some locals who guided me when I entered Vérteskozma and both the trail markers and the ribbons disappeared. The crew told me that despite how it looked I was in fact in the middle of the pack. It was very encouraging to hear so I soldiered on.

I lost some time after that trying to send a sign of life to Fanni but realised that there was absolutely no cellphone reception in the area. The trail continued in some kind of crevice with a slight incline. I managed to keep a steady pace and took over some others who resorted to hiking. When I reached halfway to the next aid station I also managed to place a call to ensure I was okay.

I was quite satisfied with my performance mostly taking over people either by power hiking on inclines faster than them or simply being able to keep running instead of walking. The only people who took over me were ones we’ve kept switching places with depending on the conditions.

I didn’t spend too much time at aid stations just asked for a sip of coke then had my flask refilled at first with isotonic drink then simply with water. The first three times I had some slices of salami and cheese, too, afterwards I just drank. I had four gels with me I planned to eat every ten kilometres but ended up only having two. Fanni also supplied me with a magnesium and an energy shot (carb liquid). The former I drank halfway, the latter after about 30 kilometres instead of a gel. It felt easier to digest than the jam-like gels.

Despite the magnesium shot I started to develop cramps in the back of my right thigh for the last ten kilometres. Apparently I could have stacked up a larger dose of that instead of the gels. Other than the intermittent cramps the heat bothered me the most in the end where the route went through some open areas with direct sunlight. The last few kilometres I kept glancing back because someone was advancing on me which gave me a boost so powerful I almost caught up with the person in front of me.

I finished with 6:03:44, just a little over six hours. At the time I felt satisfied, however, today the official results came and it was somewhat disheartening to realise that I ended up only 81st out of the 106 that finished. There were only twelve women but nine of them had a better time than me as well placing me 90th out of 118 altogether. There is a definite room for improvement.

New HM PR: 1:39’47”

It’s been a while I wrote about running here but the Nike sponsored blog getting closed down means this is about to change. I never stopped running; sometimes more sometimes less but I’m always out there. As a general tendency, however, I felt I’m getting slower.

And then at the annual summer marathon relay’s individual half-marathon I managed to run a new personal best. It was so surprising I didn’t even realise it at the time, only afterwards.

Granted, the conditions were perfect. Held in the middle of June this relay is usually ran in scorching heat. Last year tents had to be erected for the runners to wait under for the baton exchange. Not this time: although rain was predicted, the sky was only heavily clouded with the temperature between 15 and 20°C.

One other thing I dislike about this event is the fact that the track is only a 7 km circle, which means individual half-marathoners have to complete three laps. I’ve always found these kinds of races quite disheartening. I rather run a track with no repeats, if possible.

I have not trained specifically for this distance, neither before nor now. Usually I could finish under 1:45′, and my PB was just barely under 1:40′. Some races I ran with my dad at a comfortable 1:50’+ pace. Here’s my progression in detail:

  1. 2010 September: 1:53’23” — my very first official HM time
  2. 2011 April: 1:44’39”a very windy HM I was quite happy about
  3. 2011 September: 01:44:05a small improvement
  4. 2012 April: 1:41’54”tried to get under 100 minutes
  5. 2012 September: 1:50’14”
  6. 2013 April: 1:39’51”the now beaten PR
  7. 2015 April: 1:53’37” — accompanied my dad to his first HM
  8. 2015 September 1:53’39” — again, my dad’s (60) tempo
  9. 2015 November 1:42’31”
  10. 2016 April: 1:44’54”

Without any special training or set goal on June 12 I managed to run an official time of 1:39’47”. That means I’ve only shaved four seconds off of my PR, nevertheless I’m still quite proud and happy. It feels like I’m back in the saddle and not that old just yet.

K&H half-marathon

Apple Watch 1.0

Ottó Oláh wrote an extensive review of his (and his wife’s) experiences with the first generation Apple Watch. It’s a long but very interesting read. (If you know Hungarian, that is.)

Based on this I can see myself using an Apple Watch for several reasons.

  • A lot of notifications I receive only warrant a glance. Fishing out my ample sized iPhone 6 Plus from wherever it lies at the moment can be a hassle.
  • At work during meetings it’s much less of a distraction to look at a watch to evaluate a notification than constantly glancing at a phone.
  • I didn’t know about the navigation feature of the watch. It sounds pretty useful especially when I drive alone and can’t put the phone somewhere I can see. (Parents’ car does not have a phone holder.)
  • Being able to reply to messages using the voice recognition during a run sounds like a dream come true. Stopping and handling the phone is an unwelcome chore, and often I don’t have the luxury of running without it: I have to remain accessible.

Do I want one? A resounding yes. Will I buy one? Very unlikely. For now, at least.

Some Men Just Want To Watch The World Burn

A futókör felújításával együtt — nagy örömömre — kikerültek figyelmeztető táblák is a bringóhintózók és biciklisek részére, hogy ne használják a futóknak kialakított pályát.

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Ugyan a szöveg csak magyarul fért rájuk, így értelmezhetetlenek a járműveket nagy arányban tekerő turisták számára, a piktogrammok azért elég egyértelműek.

A táblák azonban nem lettek hosszú életűek. Valakiket nagyon zavarhattak.

Az egyiket először a Bridgestone Budaörs Félmaraton plakátjával ragasztották le, ami igazán sporteseményhez méltó viselkedés, majd összezúzták. Egy másikat pont azon a fontos szakaszon törek ki, ahol a pesti oldalon egészen összeszűkül az épületek miatt a futó- és gyalogos pálya.

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Ezen a táblán pedig, amíg kint volt, megkérték a gyalogosokat, hogy az alsó partrészt használják sétálásra, mert fent nem fért már el a gyalogút.

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Értelme amúgy lenne ezeknek a figyelmeztetéseknek, mert a bringóhintók teljes szélességben elfoglalják ezeket az utakat. Ez is épp a futópályáról ment át a gyalogútra, mire utolértem.

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A budai oldalon még csak most fejezik be a táblázást, úgyhogy talán van némi remény, hogy pótolják az időközben szétverteket is.

Szabadíts fel

Most épp úgy futottam, hogy a Japánban használt iPod adta a zenét, a véletleszerű lejátszás pedig bedobta ezt a Cabaret számot.

Öreg vagyok, ezért talán vállalható a magyar progresszív rock iránti vonzalom, így jött a Solaris, meg a Napoleon Boulevard. (És ezért van a Júlia nem akar a földön járni végén a “Ja, bocs.”)

Ez az egész a kibaszott idegengyűlölő plakátokról jutott eszembe.

Mondd, ki van soron, most kit üldözünk?
Mondd, ki lesz mostantól a mi emberünk?

Mondd, mit játsszunk el, mondd, kik is legyünk?
Mondd, mi lenne jó?

Hogy hová megyünk, mondd, mit érdekel?
Jobb, ha csöndben maradsz és nem kérdezel!

Höga Kusten Trail

Höga Kusten Trail är ett upplevelselopp som tar dig genom världsarvet Höga Kusten absoluta höjdpunkter. Du har 12 timmar på dig att ta dig 43 kilometer genom Skuleskogen, över Stampberget och Slåttdalsberget, genom Slåttdalskrevan och längst den skimrande kusten innan du avslutar genom att följa Höga Kustenleden upp för det mäktiga Skuleberget. Höga Kusten Trail passar både elitmotionärer och dig som vill jogga eller snabbvandra fram genom en storslagen miljö. Välkommen till 43 kilometer av upplevelser!

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The Next 50

Please remind me to watch this in 20 years when I’ll be 51.

That’s it, I’m famous now

Can you keep up with Ryan Hall?

At first I was like: 4’46”? I can run that fast, granted not for 42.2 kilometres, but maybe a 10k. It just looked much faster than that when people were put on the treadmill. And then I realised, it’s 4’46” per mile.

Which is 2’57” per kilometre.