Monday, February 28, 2005

1000 Miles or Bust

I was just looking at a few statistics to date:

Total kilometers ran: 286 (~177 miles)
Total kilometers ran in competition: 20
Number of days ran: 21
Weight lost: 3 kilogram (goal = 10) or 6.6 lbs (goal = 22 lbs)

If I stick with my current training plan, I only have to run another 1600K (~995 miles) before my marathon in September. No biggy right, just one foot in front of the other!

Minus 14 Degrees and Counting

This morning was for this ny-kid-who-has-lived-too-long-away COLD! -14°C (~5°F) I mean it was -10°F (-23°C) by my parents in Upstate NY last week, so to them this is T-shirt weather. But I haven’t lived there for 20+ years, I admit it, I’ve gotten soft. But my yankee blood is still proud of the fact that I didn’t see a single runner out yesterday, I was the ONLY one. I may be a softy, but I WAS OUT THERE!! Okay I got the macho thing over with - sometimes it just has to come out.

I signed up for the Bienwald Half-marathon yesterday ( in Kandel, Germany. The Bienwald (tranlated bee forest) is located in Rheinland-Pfalz, about 20 minutes southeast of Landau and maybe 30-40 minutes southwest from Heidelberg. There is a 2000-runner limit, so I thought I should sign up before it’s too late – I noticed there were already about 1300 runners signed up, 516 for the marathon, 777 for the half-m. My co-worker who wanted to run, but has a leg injury (bummer) said this is a fast track, mostly asphalt, flat, flat and flat. So I guess I’ll waddle in about 700th place. No biggy, at 45 years old the competition is high (in Germany at least), half of those in the upper 10% are in my age bracket and have been running for a 100 million years or so.

My better half is going with me, moral support is good, she has already made plans to meet with a friend of her’s, Eva, who lives about 15 minutes from the sport hall. Man, two cheerleaders – well not really, I think they didn’t even notice I was gone on my last 20K race – as I came back in the sport hall Eva asked me when the race starts. Ugh-o-gosh!

The Run from Artic Hell

I woke up today to 7 inches of new snow, so did about an hour of cross-training (read shoveling snow). The snow was light and powdery, easy to shovel, easy to drift. I decided to wait until the afternoon to run, the sun was shining so I figured the snow would melt down a bit. But NOOO mother nature had other plans, the temperature remained below freezing, the wind picked up and drifts started doing their thing.

Anyway about 14:00 (2 p.m. for you non-veteran types), I geared up and hit the trail. The first 2-3K’s weren’t too bad, I clung to the road as much as possible. But then phase one of the run from hell reared its ugly head as I had to run along a 2K path between two fields. I think I would have had better luck running across the fields, because my path (or where I think the path was) was filled with 8+ inches of snow and drifts up to 2 feet deep. Normally when it is so cold the snow freezes a bit and it’s not too bad - but not todayyy - NOOO the snow was soft, I spun, I slipped, the wind beat me into a pulp, I froze - I wondered why the hell I was out there anyway. By then I had reached the edge of the woods - it was somewhat better for about 10 minutes as I the trail followed the border of the trees. The wind was coming from the other side of the forest, so the snow hadn’t piled up so bad – it was only about 6-8 inches deep. But then as the path wound into the forest I ran into phase two of this hellish run. It seems a couple farmers thought it would be super cool to pull the neighborhood kids on theirs sleds through the woods, great idea, right? That’s what you think - my running trail was filled with clumps of snow, drift-filled ruts, ice and hardly a flat surface anywhere. I had to fight my way through this mess for almost 40 minutes, finally popping out of the woods on a drift-filled trail, this time full in the wind. Man, talk about de-motivation plus. I passed a couple tromping through the snow, he was taking pictures, she had the video camera – did I tell you we normally don’t get so much snow? Anyway they were documenting it. I couldn’t help but wonder if they got a shot of the insane runner who was fighting snow drifts, wind and sub-freezing temperatures – RUNNIN G mind you, on a day when most people stayed home and snuggled up with a cup of hot chocolate. Anyway I finally made it home, happy to have the run from hell over with, feeling more like I ran 20K, than 12. My better-half must have seen me coming, she opened the door, kind of shook her head probably wondering why she married such an insane-crazy-person, and broke a couple icicles off my hat (really!). By this time the sun was hiding - I guess it was too cold - my better-half said something about 27°F and dropping.

But you know what, after a hot bath, a hot chocolate and a hot meal I felt pretty good. I mean in the old days I would have sat and watched TV, drank hot chocolate, ate every thing out of the fridge, slept, ate and generally put on a couple pounds. Today I did something for the old bod, and feel pretty good about it too - I only hope it warms up a bit before my half-marathon in two weeks! AUgh!

Friday, February 25, 2005

Training for my second HALF

Training for second half-marathon, completed on September 19, 2004
(in kilometers unless otherwise stated)

Training for half-marathon September 2004 Posted by Hello

My second half-marathon was on a very flat course in Karlsruhe, Germany, with 19°C (66°F) and windy (time = 1:56:31). Except for the gusts of wind this was pure joy!

By the way, my training consisted of running, running, and running. No cross-training, other than a dozen push-ups, sit-ups and assorted stretching before and after the runs.

How I trained for my first HALF

Yesterday was a non-running day, I generally run every second day. I was looking over my running log from last year. The following tables show the distance that I put in when training for my two half-marathons in 2004.

Training for my first half-marathon, completed on July 17, 2004
(in kilometers unless otherwise stated)

Training for half-marathon July 2004 Posted by Hello

The 10K runs were all races, the 21K were the half-marathons if you didn’t figure it out by now.

My first half-marathon was up and down the mountains in the Black Forest, with 28°C (83°F) and sunny, not the smartest move, but I enjoyed the hell out of it (time = 2:06:24).

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Not my trail, but similar conditions. Posted by Hello

Did I say we have snow?

Did I say we have snow? For you northerners in the U.S.A. and Canada what we’ve got’s ain’t nothin’ - I know, I’m originally from central N.Y. State. But for living in the warmest part of Germany we have snow, the most this area has received in over 60 years (at least according to my in-laws).

I ran about 12K (87 minutes) last night, it took about 6 minutes longer than normal, I had to wade through up to 8 inches of snow on my trail. The worst was getting to the trail, well I mean with all the kids, sleds, mommies, poppies, doggies and idioties tracking up and down the way the first 2K turned into a sheet of ice. Anyone know where I can get studded running shoes? I think it was about 28°F last night by the time I got back from my run, the last couple K’s were getting interesting as it was snowing the whole time and I could no longer see what was under the snow. I made it back anyway, no broken bones, no major spills, wet feet - not good for my cold. Did I say we have snow?

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Snow, Snow and Snow

I have discovered a great new cross-training activity, shoveling snow. It offers great arm and back movement, provides resistance and requires many repetitions. We had a nice blanket of about 6 inches of snow yesterday morning. I just love getting up at 4:45 in the morning to cross-train (I have to catch my train to work at 6). It's a good thing that I like to cross-train, because we are expecting even MORE snow.

Last Saturday we had a couple inches of snow on the ground, this was really not a major problem to run in. Last night the trail was covered with 6-8 inches of snow, ice, snowbanks, branches, kids, sleds, dog-poo (the owners didn't want to get snow on their shoes - so let their dogs poop on MY path), and so on.

I ran my 12K, but returned home cold, wet, and p-o-mad at the lazy-dog-owners-who-let-their-dogs-poop-on-MY-path. Where's my shoe brush?

Yeah cold, wet, and this morning K-chooo - my first cold for the season.


Saturday, February 19, 2005

2 1/2 Hours of Bliss

Today my better half conveniently (for me) had an appointment at the hair fixer-upper, so I started my run at 7:30 A.M. I ran my 12K trail, where at some point I split off and followed the local running club’s (Graben) route for over an hour, eventually returning to finish my original route. I took a minute break at the 35 minute point to water my favorite tree and another break at the same point coming back (~1:35) for a sport drink fix. Total time 2 hours 29 minutes. Legs were a bit heavy, but otherwise the run went very well. I am guessing I ran about 24K and I think I could have gone another 5-6 without any major difficulty.

It was snowing most of the way, I had trouble with snow in the eyes. On the other side the snow cushioned the path significantly, I think this helped the running. I concentrated on running a slow comfortable pace, probably about 6:30+/K.

I actually made it back home before my better half, had time to do the dishes (as she requested) and made sure that I complemented on her new hair fix (okay it really did look nice - allright). Whew, the things a guy has to do to keep the peace.

Blissful Jack

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Nasty Weather for a Run!

Today was really nasty weather-wise, a light snow stirred up with a little wind. The result was snow in the eyes the whole way. I’m glad the days are gradually getting longer, at least I made it back before it was too dark. I started slow and really tried to concentrate on an even pace. I was rewarded by knocking a couple minutes off my normal run. I even had energy for a final burst of speed. I felt really good afterwards.

The weather has chilled, my wife's view on running has not changed, but she has chilled out about it. Does anyone else out there ever have to deal with this?


Monday, February 14, 2005

Happy Valentines's Day Massacre

Happy Valentines Day … welllll… not really. Still too many negative vibes from the home front. I tried to have an calm discussion about my running plans for the year with my better half, it is obvious she sets no priority on my running. I am definitely egoistic about the whole thing, which doesn’t help, but if I am going to do this marathon thing I will have to walk over glass about the whole thing as far as my better half goes. And being a, what up to now seems to be the trend, typical runner wanting to go the whole way (i.e. marathon) we have this dire need to talk to someone about it and generally share our experience. Not easy when the one I bond with does not want to necessarily hear it and certainly not to the extent and frequency that I want to express myself.

Anyway my dearest has an acute fear that I will go overboard with my training, have a heart attack, die and leave her alone with the house payments. In my egoistic way I considered offering to increase my life insurance but wisely listened to the warning buzzers going off in my head that said this would not be the appropriate thing to say in the moment and would only bury me deeper. Whewee…

Anyway tonight I ran my 12K route tonight, 80 minutes flat. Temp. 34°F.


p.s. Yes I tried the chocolates and flowers!

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Training or Overtraining

I signed up for the Baden Marathon in Karlsruhe, Germany in September a couple weeks ago.

In preparation for the marathon I planned on running four times a week:

Run 1: 12K
Run 2: 16K
Run 3: 12K
Run 4: 16K or every two weeks a longer run (up to 32K)

Now I am starting to question whether the 12-16-12-16+ is going to be too much. This week I have been tired, although I have been eating more for lunch. I have been trying to get my wife to make more pasta and have concentrated on eating healthier foods in general, but she works fulltime too, so does not always have time cook.

Anyway this has left me in a bit of an emotional rut, my better half has at best "barely tolerated" my running habit. Increased demands, e.g. special diet, may lead to a general lack of support from my better half. So I guess I need to learn to cook more than hot water. From my ego-selfishcentered-standpoint this would of course mean less time to run!!

I may have to seriously reconsider my training plan if this develops further. Worst case I may have to get by with running three times a week 2x12K and a long run. Is this enough?


Friday, February 11, 2005

Fun in the mud, or this little piggy went running

Despite a steady, gentle rain I ran 16K last night, my 12K course plus 4. The 4 I added by running about 2K down the Graben (town next to mine) Running Club trail and back. The path Y'd of so I took a left turn ended up in lots of mud – I guess they are felling trees on this part of the trail. Feeling piggish I made a mental note to run to the right next time. I was about 30-40 minutes late getting started with my run last night which met that I finished in the dark. I had anticipated this, so ran the course in reverse which provides more moonlight on the way back. The trails were pretty slick from the mud and rain, but I took it slow.

I was tired when I finished the run, but not totally kaputt. I guess I still feel the 20K race from last Sunday. I need to be careful about overtraining the week after longer races. I’m not exactly sure when I am going to squeeze in the 12 and 16K runs that I have planned this weekend. I am trying to get my wife involved in this planning to keep her from getting sick of the whole idea (or more than she is already).

Today I met with some co-workers to plan the Badischemeile, a 8.8889K run in the city nearby, that our company participated in the last couple years. We want to participate in this run plus a 10K run in October. We decided it is a bit soon to do a half-marathon, not enough people crazy enough to do it - yet!


Thursday, February 10, 2005

Running Log: Wednesday Feb. 9, 2005

I am feeling a little tired today, probably a result of eating too little. My legs are stiff, still trying to get used to my increased running (4x a week instead of 3). I plan on picking up the distance a little this week, alternating 12K and 16K for a total of 56K. We’ll see how that goes. Every two weeks I want to increase my long run by 2K (I just did a 20K race on Sunday). I have to decide really quick if I am going to run the Mannheim marathon in May. It makes a difference on how far my long runs are.

I’ve been reading and interesting blog at, about a woman who went from flab to marathon in one year – good reading. She emphasizes how hard it is to keep a ‘slow’ pace during training. I noticed this evening that I speeded up considerable to catch up to two runners that popped out of the forest ahead of me. I felt it this morning. Dum-dum.


Tuesday, February 08, 2005

20K Run Rheinzabern, Germany February 6, 2005

20K Rheinzabern, Germany
Ah a nice day for a run, 26°F, partly sunny, streets clear, 1180 jogging partners. Can it get any better than this? I ran my 20 in 1:52:41, placing 900th out of 1181. This is really bad for my statistics, normally I place somewhere in the middle. It just goes to show you, only real runners run when it's cold!

If you didn't figure it out I'm the lumbering gray whale, number 412. What never saw a whale run, heh-heh now you have.


Sunday, February 06, 2005

About me

Hi Everybody,

I have been reading a lot of running blogs lately and thought I would start writing down my thoughts. I started running a couple years ago to lose weight. More accurately I started lumbering like an elephant down the street, 210 lbs of raw flab. I think I only wiped out three kids and the little old lady next door. The lady would have lived but I stumbled and fell on her on the way back.

Anyway... two years later I have lost about 40 lbs, have run two half-marathons, 12 10K runs , a 20 K run and have a couple thousand miles of training behind me. I am still slow, the neighborhood kids still snicker when I lumber by, but I bet I can burn anyone of them on a long run. Heh!!

My goals this year, lose that last 15 lbs to meet my "dream" weight and run my first marathon. I'm not terribly fussy about the order, accomplishing either one will help me meet the other goal.

I have been reading up on various marathon training programs, which I will probably talk about on occasion, along with my normal bickering, moaning and complaining about anything that seems worthwhile at the moment.

So sit back and let's get started.


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