Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Summer Training Plan

So here I am, the morning after my first ever weight training. Despite the wimpy newbie weight I used, my muscles still had a workout, I feel sore in new and interesting places!

My wife was at her English class last night so I spent a little time thinking about how to train for my next marathon (Marathon II) in September. With Marathon I, I basically followed a 14 day cycle that usually went like this:

Day - Training
M – 14K/8.7M
T – Rest
W – 14K/8.7M
T – Rest
F – 14K/8.7M
S – Rest
S – 14K/8.7M
M – Rest
T – 14K/8.7M
W – Rest
T – 14K/8.7M
F – Rest
S – Long Run
S - Rest

You might notice that I didn’t list any cross training (XT), that’s because there wasn’t any!

For Marathon II, I am thinking a little different:

M – 9K/5.5M
T – WT
W – 14K/8.7M
T – 9K/5.5M + WT
F – Rest
S – 14K/8.7M
S – 9K/5.5M or XT + WT
M – 9K/5.5M
T – WT
W – 14K/8.7M
T – 9K/5.5M + WT
F – Rest
S – Long Run
S – Rest or XT + WT

WT=Weight Training; XT=Cross Training (swimming, bicycling etc.).

I’m not quite sure how this is going to work. I have the feeling that I will have some serious time management issues here, especially from my wife’s point of view!

My two main goals are to run 4 or 5 times a week (but with some shorter runs than my previous training plan) and to add 3 days of weight training. I may substitute some speed or interval training for some of the shorter runs.

Diet Stats:

Wake-up weight this morning: 76.5kg/168lbs
Weight lost since 01/01/2005: 3.5kg/7.7lbs
Goal weight by the end of June: 74kg/163lbs
Goal weight by Christmas: 70kg/154lbs

Happy running!

Monday, May 30, 2005

First Day of New Diet + Multiple Cross-training

Today marks the first day that I am getting off my butt and trying to get back on my diet. For months I have been eating for energy to do my marathon training. For the next 3-4 weeks I am keeping the length of my long runs down, that means prime time to lose some pounds.

Weight on January 1st: 80kg/176lbs
Wake-up weight this morning: 77kg/169lbs
Goal weight by the end of June: 74kg/163lbs
Goal weight by Christmas: 70kg/154lbs

I did my first set of weight training exercises when I came home tonight.

I warmed up, then did a set of 15 push-ups and 25 sit-ups.

Being a total newbie to any weight training I used light dumbbells and did 15 repetitions of the following:

Bench press
Single-arm row
Leg raise & knee-to-chest
Wall push-up
Shoulder press
Bicep curl
Side bend
Tricep kickback
Abdominal curl-up
Abdominal knees-to-chest (ouch!)
Lower-back extension
Reverse lunge
Balancing exercises (almost fell on my face)

I concentrated mostly on learning the correct form, not as easy as you’d thunk! Feeling macho I finished with 2 sets of 10 squats with the barbell and 20kg.

I finished with 15 push-ups and 15 sit-ups.

I biked 7.2K/4.5M as fast as I could pedal my mountain bike (note: strong headwind most of the way).

I jogged 2K/1.3M

I finished with 15 more push-ups and 15 sit-ups.

I cooled down and stretched.

I would appreciate any critic here.

What Drives Us?

If you have read my blog for any length of time you know that I am always evaluating, revaluating and reminiscing on past race performance. For me this is a mechanism for self-improvement - learning and improving from ones own mistakes. I usually take this too much to heart and am generally to self-critical. I read this on “Running in Place” this morning:

“Our mistakes don’t make or break us - if we’re lucky, they simply reveal who we really are, what we’re really made of.” ~ Donn Moomaw

This kind of jumped out at me and has left me thinking that I should lighten up and start getting back to my roots on running: Run for fun and run for fitness. I have been getting entirely too serious about running lately and have neglected both the fun and the (total) fitness aspect. My weigh loss has also reached a stand still.

So as I recover from my marathon I am trying to get back to my core reasons for running: weight loss, fitness, fun. What’s driving you these days?

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Running Again!

First a note: I have posted the Mannheim Marathon pictures that I have on my website. I hope I can find more as time goes on. I will also be adding training information, feedback and other information as I organize this.

I wanted to do my first run last night, but with temperatures reaching 35C/95F and staying there until 8 p.m. I decided to wait until this morning. I did ride my bicycle to the garden and back (23K/14M). I also spent about 4 hours weeding in the midday sun. My wife (who drove the air-conditioned car) reminded me a couple times (from her lounge chair in the shade) that I was the only crazy person out in the hot sun working at 95F. Hmmm, I enjoyed it. And my sunburn really isn’t tooo bad;-)

This morning at 7 a.m., with the temperature already reaching 27C/80F I ran 9.3K/5.8M, at a nice easy pace. My legs were really stiff, but I didn’t notice any pain or cramps.

I am evaluating my running plan for Marathon II in September. I am starting to think that I need to do most of my long runs at marathon pace and on asphalt. While training for my first marathon (Marathon I) I ran most of my long runs at a 6:30/K (10:35/M) pace or slower. Then I tried running Marathon I at an average pace of 6:10/K (9:58/M), but with a couple under 5:38/K (9:03/M). Add a few other facts like warmer temperatures, high humidity, rain, wind, hard road surface (as opposed to 60% trail), and that it was a night race (my long runs were early morning) and you have a recipe for too fast of a pace for conditions. My wall came way too early!

So a couple more weeks of relative easy running, then back to serious training for Marathon II (September 18th).

A couple other notes:

Mom – My mom is still in the hospital after breaking her hip. She has reoccurring fever, so the doctors are delaying her release until they find the cause and stabilize this. Otherwise she is doing well, can walk with help with a walker and has high spirits. My dad is also doing well, an older brother is staying with him and between the two of them (and a few casseroles from the church ladies) they are not starving.

Weight training – Slow start, it’s been too hot (good excuse) and I haven’t worked out a routine yet.

Swimming – Also a slow start, the heat wave is making going to the pool to do laps unpractical, the pool is just too crowded. I will have to try different times to find out when the pool is not so full.

Tomorrow – Back to work, vacation was nice! Work means breaks and lunch hours, which means I have time to catch up on Blogging. Sorry I have been neglecting y’all!

Friday, May 27, 2005

Cross Training

I still haven’t run yet since the marathon, but plan to go on a run tomorrow. My legs feel really good, but I guess I will find out after the first run.

In the meantime I have been doing some cross training. On Wednesday I road about 25K/15.5M with my mountain bike and did a few laps at the public pool. I wanted to swim some more but with temperatures exceeding 27C/81F the pool filled up with kids. About the second time I banged heads I quit.

Yesterday I rode about 23K/14M and started fooling around with my weights.

Today I want to take a longer walk. The weather is so nice it is hard to stay in side, I couldn’t have asked for better weather for my vacation! Tomorrow the first pictures for the Mannheim marathon are supposed to be released. I am anxious to see what is available. I have set up the shell on my website that I mentioned in my last post. I will start posting pictures as they come. That is if I can drag myself inside long enough, it is supposed to be up to 32C/90F the next couple days. Summer is here!

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Link Check

Does anyone have a problem accessing the following link?


If it works okay for everyone I can start publishing my marathon pictures hear.


Moving On

Race day is history, the old body is in recovery phase. So what’s next for Stanley “Jack” Niles, marathon finisher?

I have a couple definite goals in mind:

1. Reach my ideal weight. My doctor seems to think my ideal weight is between 68-70 kg (149-150 lbs). I’m 67 inches tall (170 cm). One Body Mass Index (BMI) calculator that I use indicates that I should bring my weight down to about 70 Kg (155 lbs). This is my goal. As my current weight is 77 kg (170 lbs), I need to lose 7 kg (15 lbs) to reach this goal.

2. Start a weight training program. Here I’m a virgin, I’ve never had the pleasure. I would like to join a gym, get started on a personal training plan etc. Just to get in the door at a fitness center in my area cost’s about $80 a month. My wife is getting laid off work in July so this is not an option at this time. Plan B: I ordered a book called “Weight Training at Home” by Tony Gallagher. A real beginner’s book, pictures, tips the whole works. Yesterday we purchased a pretty solid looking barbell, a couple good dumbbells, and some steel weights - all interchangeable. I can purchase more weights as needed.

I would welcome any “Weight Training for Dummies” advice here!

3. I want to improve my swimming. I am a self-taught swimmer. I can do laps in my crude generic paddle. If my wife finds work right away I may invest in some swimming lessons. Otherwise, watch out here I come. In any case I think it is a good idea to incorporate at least one day of swimming into my training program.

4. I want to work routine bicycling into my overall fitness program.

5. I want a new PR in September when I run the Baden Marathon!

Actually it would be more accurate to list most of these as objectives of my ultimate goal of achieving total body fitness. Oh whatever, I have lots of work ahead of me anyway.

Yesterday was a beautiful sunny day, I spent 3 hours in the garden cutting the grass, pulling weeds etc. I also took a 30 minute walk, including about a 5 minute jog. The jog reminded me that my legs still are not ready for any real stress. Take it easy Jack!

Today it is supposed to warm up to 27C/80F, its is already sunny with blue skies. Gorgeous! I am thinking about riding my bicycle to the garden (11K/7M).

p.s. I have developed the pictures that my wife took before the marathon. Pictures of the marathon itself will be available around May 28th from a company that was contracted for this. I only need to find an easier way to post these.

Oops! Corrected facts!

I goofed on the number of overall finisher’s for the Mannheim marathon 2005. The website listed the men and women in two separate lists. Here are the corrected figures:

Total number signed up for marathon: 2847
Total number that finished marathon (within 5:30 time limit):2238 (1916 men and 322 women)
Total that did not finish (DNF) within the time limit (or at all): 609

Note that the marathon had a 5:30 time limit, after this time limit the clock was shut off. It is still possible that some of the 609 participants did in fact finish, it was just not recorded.

The local newspapers were reporting that no new records were set this year due to the high humidity factor. I'll go along with that.

Here are the winners:


1. John Rotich (Kenya) 2:19:34
2. Gamachu Roba (Ethiopia) 2:21:13
3. Aleksandar Aleksandrov (Bulgaria) 2:30:06


1. Rymiana Panovska (Bulgaria) 3:00:06
2. Marion Hebding (Germany) 3:05:08
3. Julia Alter (Germany) 3:09:00

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

A few Statistics from "The Marathon"

Total number signed up for marathon: 2847
Total number that finished marathon (within 5:30 time limit):1916
Total that did not finish (DNF) within the time limit (or at all): 931

My ranking 1842/1916

My time for first half of marathon: 2:12:17
Average pace for first half: 6:16/K (10:05/M)

My time for second half of marathon: 2:58:39
Average pace for second half: 8:28/K (13:38/M)

My time for marathon: 5:10:56
Average pace for marathon: 7:22/K (11:51/M)

Considering how much I walked (or think that I walked) I am a bit amazed that I still averaged 8:28/K (13:38/M) the second half, I thought it was a lot slower.

I also am amazed at how many DNF - can this be true? I wonder...

Big Bad Toe and Ponderings

Thank you everyone for the words of encouragement, I honestly have needed this the last couple days. My wife hung my “finisher” medal on the side of my computer monitor to remind me that I am her finisher, that I didn’t quit when the going got touch. Kind of leaves me choked up somehow…

I tried to sleep longer this morning, but the big toe on my right foot was hurting. So I got up and checked it out, it looked kind of funny, a little white, really strange. I thought maybe I had an ingrown toenail or something so started to trim the side away a bit. Hallelujah with a high-C! It seems I had a most amazingly blister under the big toenail, and when the clippers hit that a big burst of water, blood and whatever came gushing forth accompanied by such a wave of pain...oh yeah I’m awake now. I bandaged it up but its still throbbing – yee gosh. What did Dianna say about getting blisters in new and interesting places during a marathon…yep!

The sun is shining it is supposed to reach 24C/75F today. I want to go out in the garden and start pulling weeds, I’ve neglected this task the last couple weeks. I may go for a walk later on too, I am getting pretty stiff.

Other than my big toe I am feeling surprisingly good, there is a little soreness in my legs, but no pain. I stretched a little bit last night and could really feel the muscles that were giving me so much trouble on Saturday night, they were tender.

I have been looking through my running books and doing a little surfing trying to find a logical reason for my trouble on Saturday. I feel it is important to try to find the root of the problem so that I can adjust my training or marathon strategy for future events.

I like lists, so I am starting one. Here are a few things that I came up with that either I might have done wrong, or could have had an effect on my performance (no particular order):

- Maybe my cold was more established than I realized.
- I wasn’t used to running so late at night.
- The humidity was high.
- I wasn’t used to running on the hard streets.
- Maybe I ran the first half too fast for weather/body conditions.
- Maybe I didn’t stretch sufficiently before the race.
- Maybe I had a calcium/magnesium deficiency.

In any case I am researching this in the interest of improving my training program for the next marathon, which is in September. A couple things that I have already decided to change or implement:

- Add some weight training.
- Add some hill training.
- Do my long runs on mostly asphalt or roads.
- Decrease my shorter runs somewhat, increase my long runs up to almost marathon distance.
- Add some planned cross-training (weight training, swimming, biking).
- Gradually increase the speed of some of my long runs to almost marathon tempo.

I probably don’t have time to implement everything completely, as my next marathon is on September 18th, but I will concentrate on improving strength, endurance, and overall fitness.

I live in a pancake flat area, the only “hill” that I have within practical running distance is a bridge over the highway – sandbox stuff! But, when I am at our garden club, which is 11K/7M from our house there is an entire Vineyard on the hills of that town about 3K/2M from our garden. I only have to bring my running stuff when I go to the garden and head for the hills;-)

The top picture is the dual-start of the Mannheim marathon 2005. I am on the right side somewhere. The bottom picture is the finish line (on the left side in the top picture). Posted by Hello

Monday, May 23, 2005

Marathon I

May 21, 2005, a day that I will not likely forget for anytime soon. It was a day that went from high hopes to near crushing defeat to a humble victory. This is my story.

As I waited for the hour of my premiere as marathon runner on Saturday I remember thinking that I had done everything by the book. I tapered, I ate right, I got the nerves under control, I slept well a couple nights before the race. I even managed to get 6 hours sleep the night before the race – I felt ready to take on the marathon.

Where the mind goes the body should follow, right? As I mentioned in one of my earlier posts last week, one dude in my office was sneezing, wheezing and coughing the whole day last Wednesday. Add a little fever, runny nose, headache, body ache, whatever else and you have me today. The first symptoms started showing there ugly head on Saturday morning, but I still felt good…

We arrived in Mannheim about 12:45, checked into our hotel, then headed across the street to pick up my start packet. My wife went on to the shopping district, I went back to the hotel. After laying out everything for the race I laid down and tried to take a nap. About 3:00 p.m. I got up and ate a sandwich that I had brought along. I drank water up until about an hour before the race.

About a half hour before the start we left the hotel and made our way over to the Start. I stretched a little, jogged around the block, received my good luck kiss from my sweety and lined up in the 4:30 starter block. I felt good, at this point there were no indicators that trouble was on the way.

There were 2847 runners signed up for the marathon, 484 for the rollerblade half-marathon, 2800 for the 4-person team marathon, and 70 for the wheelchair/hand bike marathon.

I didn’t hear the starting pistol, the crowd's cheering was overwhelming, it was powerful! I set my stopwatch as I crossed over the start, surprisingly it only took about 2 minutes this time. Actually it was a dual start from two parallel streets that gradually merged after the first kilometer. I ran the first 2-3 kilometers in 6:15/K (10:00/M), just what I had planned on. I felt good, I tried to keep my pace under control. The first service point was at 5K (3.1M), I grabbed a cup of sport drink and walked long enough to drink it. I picked up the pace to about 6:00/K (9:39/M). Beginning at the 7.5/K (4.7M) marker there were water points every 5K, so we could drink every 2.5K (1.5M).

It had rained most of Saturday morning, was nice outside until about an hour into my marathon. The temperature at noon was 24C/75F, 19C/66 at the start of the race, and 16C/60 by midnight. The air was thick and humid…at about the 10-11K point it started raining slightly, just a drizzle, but one that continued off and on for the rest of the race.

I kept up my 6:00/K pace, walking through most of the service and water points to drink a sports drink or water. I think I ran through two without drinking because I heard sloshing in my stomach (textbook stuff). I crossed the 21.1K (13.1 M) chip scanner at 2:12:17 (official time). I was still running strong at this point.

It is interesting to note that there was a tremendous turnout of people to cheer us on, almost the entire route was lined with people, especially in the center of the towns we passed through. Our first names were printed on the start numbers, so I heard my name constantly throughout the night. This was to be an important fact as time went on.

At about the 22K/13.6M point I first saw the bridge looming in the distance. The bridge in front of me (actually two bridges) can only be described as a bridge from hell. Based on the kilometer markers the span was over two kilometers (1.2 miles) with steep (for this flatlander) entrance and exit ramps. We were running directly into the wind and on the bridge you felt the full force of the gusts. Halfway up I paused and walked. After a minute or two it started leveling out so I started running again. I noted that I would see the bridge again, as the return runners were coming back on the other side (oh God).

It was shortly after the bridge (~24K/15M) that I got the first leg cramp, in the calf of the right leg – kind of like a Charlie horse, so painful that I had to walk it out. I walked for a minute or so that slowly started running again. A couple minutes later I reached the 25K/15.5M service point and grabbed a sports drink and a sports bar. I walked long enough to finish these than continued on. Three or four minutes later, the painful cramp again, this time in the hamstring muscle of the right leg as well. It hurt so much I had to walk again. I walked a minute or so until the pain subsided, than continued running. My legs were getting really stiff at this point. I remember passing the 26K/16.1M marker, went around a corner and then got such a spasm of pain in the both calves and the right hamstring muscles, that I just about fell over. I painfully walked it out, stopped and tried to stretch the legs some, than tried to run again.

From the bridge we went from Mannheim into the neighboring town of Ludwigshafen. At about the 26K point we turned off the road that came down from the bridge and went on a long nervey straight away that went about 5 K’s out then came back on almost the same streets. You could see the returning runners almost the entire distance. I remember thinking at one point what kind of sick person thought of this?

I made it through the 27K/16.7M marker and was continuously getting hit with new bouts of cramps every few hundred meters (1/4 mile). The cramps (or spasms?) were so painful that I had to stop and walk each time until the pain subsided. A couple times I felt kind of dizzy and another I thought I was going to throw-up. I reached the 30K/18.6M service area and drank a sports drink and ate a banana. I stopped and explained my problem to the fine people at the Red Cross tent. They questioned if I had been drinking enough (I had), then took a couple minutes and massaged my legs. They suggested that if the pain persists that I should quit. No way!

I left the tent determined to keep going, I started off at a slow jog, but soon had to succumb to the cramps again. I started playing with different strides; I figured out right away that when I stretched out my stride it almost immediately resulted in pain. So I took small steps, this got me to the 32K/19.9M maker. By this time I was totally exhausted, the fight with the stiffness, the pain – my nerves were shot. My mind had left long before this, I was somehow in a daze, my race plan was no more, survival was the new game in town.

By now I was on the return leg of the straightaway from hell (maybe 33K/20.5M maker), I noticed the ranks were getting mighty thin now. Would I be last? I recall a little voice inside of me saying last is not least, stay brave, keep going, one step at a time!

The route turned off the straightaway onto some dark street, you could only see a short distance in front of you (it was raining again). I was running maybe 3-4 minutes, than walking 1-2 minutes. I had figured out by this time that if I keep my legs fairly straight I wasn’t getting cramps so often. I passed by a marker, no here was the 33K/20.5M marker. I felt like I was the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz, running with my legs stiffened, I must have been a funny sight.

I past a runner who was using rather colorful language to describe the fact that we hadn’t reached the %%& bridge yet, the weather sucks, and cursed the first newborn of whoever planned this route…maybe I wasn’t in the worst of shape here.

My legs were like lead, but I wasn’t cramping up so much anymore. I kept going, keeping my pace down, concentrating on not bending the legs too much…I started running uphill…the bridge thank God! This bridge went on and on and on…at least I wasn’t alone, there were a few runners around me. I tried to keep pace with one runner, but he started walking, I made it almost a whole kilometer without stopping to walk...down the exit ramp…a service point. I tried to eat a sports bar but couldn’t swallow it, so I ate half a banana and drank a coke. I started running again 7.2K, less than 5 miles – I have to finish this – I glanced at my watch oh already four hours thirty-six minutes.

Back into the city of Mannheim, I remember feeling incredibly nauseous, than dizzy, I walked for a minute or two, than forwards! The 36K/22.3 marker. Forwards. Hey I know this street the shopping district, but we still have 6K/3.7M? Okay right turn, where are we going now, ohh a big crowd ahead, don’t stop running. A whole line of kids wanting high-fives, slap, slap, a few more steps. Walk a little, run a little.

By this time I was in some kind of daze, I only remember running and walking, running and walking. Then I heard my name “What, somebody called my name?” Oh yeah its written on my number. “What did they yell, keep going! I’ll try. I’m doing it.” The 38K/23.6 marker, where was the 37? I missed it somewhere. Back to the shopping district, right turn, we’re heading towards the finish, I can hear the band. Walk, run, run, walk, run. We ran through the start (the finish was on the parallel street), the 39K/24.2M marker, still 3.2K’s (2 miles).

I started passing people, here one, there one. Gosh is this hard. I had to walk again, my legs hurt! I ran again, a man and woman in matching blue running shirts were in front of me. I latched onto them, they ran maybe 5 minutes, than walked – I walked. They ran, I ran. The 40K marker…they ran, I ran, they walked, I walked. We passed a few, a few passed us. I felt dizzy, I walked. I caught up to the blue team at the 41K marker. They ran, I ran, they walked, I walked. They ran, I ran, they walked, I ran…the water tower, the finish. I kept going, my legs hurt…I see the Finish…I ran faster…I…I…I finished!

I stumbled forward, tears in my eyes (as are now as I write), someone slipped a “Finisher” medal over my head. I stumbled forward, the room started spinning, hey wait I’m not in a room. I grabbed the corner of the fence to steady myself, a Red Cross worker appeared…he asked if I was okay…I don’t know what I told him…he called a couple dudes and they brought a stretcher…I laid down…oh this felt good. They carried me in the first aid tent. I told the EMT dude that I was feeling dizzy, but that it would pass in a minute. Obviously he didn’t believe me, he checked my pulse, blood pressure…90/60…kinda low! He had me lay down again, covered me with a blanket, got some water for me…thank you, thank you.

After a couple minutes the doctor came over. She asked if my blood pressure is normally low. Having really no idea, I told her that, also about my severe leg cramps, and about the first signs of a cold. She checked my blood pressure again, it was a bit higher. She told the EMT dude to check it again in 10 minutes, he did 90/70. He called the doctor back, she released me.

I made my way out of the tent, up a couple steps (ouch!) to the service area. I tried to eat a banana, yuck! I drank some sports drink, than limped over to the T-Shirt area to pick up my T-shirt. All out! “We’ll have to mail you one”. “Do we have your address?” Yeah, I think so…yes.

I wandered out towards the aid station and the exit, down the steps (OUCH!). Through the exit – ahh there is my wife, thank God. She only needed one look and knew that I had had trouble. She asked me if I was okay, I told her I was by the doctor – she only said we should go back to the hotel, it was getting cold and starting to rain.

I wanted finish in 4:15-4:30. I finished in 5:10:56. I FINISHED!

I keep telling myself that I finished, but I am disappointed, sad, confused – I had a lot of things happening to my body that didn’t occur doing training, that I don’t understand the reason for. The leg cramps – I’ve had cramps before, but nothing like the pain that I experienced during the marathon. I am trying to discover a reason for this. I drank at almost every station, except for a couple where I could hear distinct sloshing. Was it my oncoming cold? The humidity? Did I start too fast?

I am trying to tell myself that I at least finished, true, but I don’t feel fulfilled somehow. Maybe I’m just worn out, sick, tired…

But one thing is clear, there will be a rematch! Jack vs. Marathon II.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

I Finished!

I Finished

Despite some serious problems with severe leg cramps and low blood pressure, the latter of which landed me a bed at the first aid station after the race, I finished!

The first half I finished in a respectable 2:10:17 (according to my watch), but about 15-20 minutes later I started having such leg cramps that by the 30 KM marker I could only walk. I walked/jogged/crawled? the rest of the way finishing (somehow) in 5:10:56. A very disappointing time, but I know I can be happy that I finished at all.

I’ll tell you more about it tomorrow.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Tonight's the Night

After getting home at 1:15 a.m., I had a restless sleep until about 8 a.m. I layed in bed for a while and went through my packing list, things to do before the race, race strategy and a hundred zillion other things for about an hour.

My wonderful coworker G. sat in our small office Wednesday and sneezed and coughed the whole day long. I was paranoid the whole time that I would catch it. The last two days, no problem, this morning Ka-chooo - sore throat, stuffed nose, a little sinus discomfort. Why does this have to happen to me? Whining never got me anywhere - at least I don't have fever and am still in the early stages of a cold. The run is still a go! I only have to REALLY watch my speed and not try to set any records.

The weather, let's see (open window, stick head outside), rain - nothing gentle about, pouring rain in the moment. Adjusted prediction (from the weather service) around race time, temperatures around 24C/75F, 80% chance of rain (wow big surprise:)

In my running bag is enough clothing to survive everything outside of sub-zero weather so I only have to see what the weather is doing about a half-hour before the race.

The race starts at 6:15 p.m (12:15 EST = lunch time). Somebody eat some pasta for me!

Other than a couple minor discomforts, e.g. a new cold and rain, I am feeling really good. I had a couple really long nights sleep the last couple nights, in anticipation of less sleep last night, so feel good!

I will be thinking about all of you tonight, thank's for the support! Wish me luck!!

Look for my first post on the race around noon on Sunday (Easter Standard Time).

Friday, May 20, 2005

Stick Caught

Here is the stick, caught from Bev, who caught it from Mark, who caught from Marie, who caught it from Edana, who caught it from Cesca,.. now complete:

You are stuck inside Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, which book do you want to be?

Here I have to wimp out because I’m not familiar with Fahrenheit 451, I’m currently reading "Galloway’s Book on Running", so I guess I take that along to finish it (am I boring you;).

Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character?

Being over forty-five I fall for almost every female character fictional or non-fictional. Ha! I think the gal that started it all though was Scarlet in "Gone With the Wind", the novel.

The last book you bought is?
Actually I have five books that just arrived from Amazon: 1) The Galloway book mentioned above; 2) "The Runner’s Handbook", by Bob Glover; 3) "Programmed to Run", by Thomas S. Miller; 4) The "Veneering Handbook", by Ian Hosker (I do have another hobby); and for those special moments: 5) "Introduction to Superconductivity", by Michel Tinkham.

The last book you read was?
"Illuminati", by Dan Brown (my first German fiction book that I have read!). Well written, nice plot, with a liiiittle bit of "too much to be true" details. Near the end it almost became a Hollywood movie, but thank God, Dan managed to maintain himself and came back with a super twist in the plot. The female character was hot!

What are you currently reading?

I’m currently reading Galloway’s Book on Running. I think most of you know this book, so I won’t bore you. I highly recommend it (so far) for those of you who haven’t. I am also thumbing my way through "The Complete Illustrated Guide to Furniture & Cabinet Construction", by Andy Rae. I have time next week to ruin some wood.

Five books you would take to a deserted island?

1. The Bible – the source of my inner strength.
2. The "U.S. Army Survival Manual", by Department of the Army HQ Staff. You need this book with you at all times when you are out there. It contains all kinds of life saving information that is invaluable if something bad were to happen to you out in the wilderness.
3. "Back To Basics", by Reader’s Digest. This how-to, user-friendly guide teaches self-sufficiency-covering all of life's essentials: shelter; alternative energy sources; growing and preserving food; home crafts; directions for making herbal remedies; and even home-grown entertainment.
4. "Guide to Self-Sufficiency", by John Seymour. John Seymour explains absolutely every skill you could possibly need for a self-sufficient lifestyle: gardening, animal husbandry, plowing with horse, brewing beer, making butter, blacksmithing, hunting, cooking, smoking, fishing, making clothes...EVERYTHING.
5. "Country Woodcraft", by Drew Langsner. How to make furniture from branches, trees, DRIFTWOOD, etc. Got be comfortable ya-know!

Okay, I’m a survival nut, I admit it

Okay, stick-throwing time. I toss it to ....Mia. I wanna hear what you read, Mia!

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Still Relaxing

Kind of quiet around the house, I'm not used to this, my sweety has to work. It is a beautiful day outside, about 70-75°F, sunny, gentle breeze. I'm reading Jeff Galloway's Book of Runnning (2nd Edition). Interesting, I've done a lot of things right in my training.

I fixed some noodles for lunch to go with some chicken and sauce that my wife made last night, then took a 45 minute easy WALK around the fields on the edge of my village. I even left my stop-watch home;) How relaxing, and of course Jeff wrote that an easy walk is better for recovery than sleeping on the couch (my second choice).

A quick look at www.marathonmannheim.de reveals that it is about 2 days, 2 hours, and 16 minutes until the start of my marathon - that's cool - I'm ready to do it!.

Relaxing 101

After a rather stressful 12 hour work day yesterday I finally made it home. I went on a short 35 minute run. My sweety already had her feet up on the couch by this time and I couldn’t pry her off to accompany me with her bicycle – that’s okay after my long day a run alone helped me to calm down.

So now I have two relax days before my marathon on Saturday. My main goals are to get lots of sleep, eat healthy, and stay off the feet as much as possible.

I managed to sleep almost 11 hours, I think that’s a new PR for me ;-)

Now I catching up on some e-mail, blog reading etc. I ordered a beginner’s book on weight lifting and body toning from Amazon. As part of my post-marathon training I want to move more in a total body fitness direction.

Mom update: I called my dear mom yesterday, she is doing good. She had a rough Tuesday after having a negative reaction to one of her medications, but the doctor has corrected this, gave her a pint of blood to boost her strenght, so she was feeling better yesterday. They got her on her feet a couple times and are trying to teach her to walk with help of a “Walker” to support herself. Once her strength has improved they will move her to a local nursing home, where she will go through “Rehab”. If all goes well she should be home by the middle to end of June.

Weather prognosis for Saturday: Summer is going to fall on us all at once, Saturday is supposed to be around 25-27°C/80°F+, sunny in the morning changing to thunderstorms in the evening = high humidity and maybe windy. My marathon starts at 6:15 p.m. so I am not thrilled with this at all. I would have preferred 15°C/60°F. But I’ve trained in just about any weather imaginable, so I only have to figure out what to wear.

I’m still not nervous about my marathon yet, I’ve done a pretty good job on isolating it in my thinking so far. But with two days home I’m sure doubting Thomas will start whispering in my ear again, especially Saturday morning. I'll probably read Dianna's blog again about her marathon experience, somehow this always incourages me.

I feel good this morning, I have a little creaking in my shoulders, from sitting at my desk too long yesterday. I feel fat, because I gained 2-3 lbs the last two weeks, and just haven’t been running so much. My legs are surprisingly tight, I thought they would be loose and well rested, but they feel the opposite. But the short run last night was almost effortless, I hardly felt like I had gotten started and I was done, I guess this is a good sign.

Thank you everyone for your many words of encouragement, this means so much to me!!!!!!!!! Happy running.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Just Chill'in Out

I took a walk around town with my wife tonight, the air was fresh, just after a gentle rain. We still walk hand in hand after 17 years of marriage - kind of romantic really. Tomorrow night I want to run for maybe 45 minutes. My wife said if the weather is nice she might ride her bicycle and go with me. Wow! This will probably be my last run before Saturday, unless I go for a mile or two jog on Friday.

One more stressful day of work, then I am taking Thursday and Friday off, I want to do a little light work in the garden and just relax a little. Friday night we are going with our good friend Barbara (my blond Barbie angel) to an open air musical called ABBA Fever. A local theatre group is presenting dance and songs originating from the group ABBA (think Dancing Queen). This will be a later night, but we can sleep in on Saturday. We don’t need to leave for Mannheim until about 11:30 a.m.

All in all I am pretty relaxed about the run on Saturday. I am trying to watch what I eat this week - not too much, lots of carb’s and fluids. I am also trying to get to sleep a little earlier each night, I think lots of sleep is good this week. I suppose I will start getting nervous as marathon day draws near, but for now it’s cool.

Happy running!

Monday, May 16, 2005

Mom Update

I finally got hold of both my mom (at the hospital) and my dad (at home) both are doing well. My mom sounds really good, she was even joking with the physical therapist that he has to get her in shape so she can run with me on Saturday. Gosh you have to admire those tough old farmer wives! Anyway it looks like a week in the hospital, a week of rehab. and then maybe home. I have an older brother that's staying with my father for awhie, so if one of them can figure out how to cook they will be okay.

Thanks for caring!

I just finished a 45 minute run, half-marathon pace. I still feel good enough to go on a long run!

Anyway, I'm ready to rock & roll on Saturday. I only work two days this week, then two days of being lazy. Friday night we're going to an outdoor theather for a musical, this will be a good distraction.

Kind of down today.

My mom, 77, fell and broke her hip a few days ago. I just heard about it this morning, one of my brothers in NY finally remembered to contact me. She had a rough couple days, due to a high heart beat rate, but is in stable condition now. My father (84) is hanging in there. Whew!

I went on a nice easy 10K bycycle ride yesterday and a 30 minute walk with my wife. In a little while I want to go out for a 45 minute run, I desperately need some fresh air.

Happy running!

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Rock Steady

Last night I went for a 14K/8.7M run. The weather was warm (22C/71F) and humid with overcast skies. I concentrated on maintaining a 6 minute KM, and finished the run in 1:23:21, which is a pace of 5:57/K (9:35/M).

This is my proposed pace for the marathon – which should get me over the finish safely in under 4 ½ hours. I’ve already made my mind up that I have nothing to prove to anyone but myself, so I am going to run at a comfortable pace and finish – this will not be a record breaking thing – just me against the 42K/26M. I’m already signed up for my second marathon in September, that will be about PR stuff.

My motto for the marathon: Rock steady and drive on!

I think I am pretty much over the taper madness, now I’m entering my discipline phase, a frame of mind that I try to draw upon when I have a mountain to move. Basically I am walking down the long hallway and closing the door on all the thoughts, activities etc. that don’t need to be open right now.

I am also trying to keep my mind active with high concentration activities, anything to keep me from dwelling on my mission to come. Yesterday for example I spent half the day updating my genealogy website. Today I cooked lunch for my sweety – homemade meatballs, sauce, and noodles (forgot to buy spaghetti), and green salad. Tomorrow is another holiday (I love it), so probably will bar-b-que.

Blogger seems to be blocking people from viewing blogs on occasion is anyone having trouble with this? I’ve tried it from several PC’s and don’t seem to be having any trouble, but they all go through the same provider.

Happy running!

Friday, May 13, 2005

Much Too Much Time on My Hands

Yeah me again. I'm sitting at my work desk during lunch break trying not to think about running. I checked the Internet to see when the pool in my area is open the week following my marathon, read all my regular blogs etc. Then I took a look at Dianna’s (Running Chick) posts for the weeks prior to her marathon - some good tidbit's in there! She made a good point that one shouldn't read about "other" marathon training programs during tapering - a "classic" rookie mistake. I almost fell into this trap last weekend, but the little golden angel in my left ear (let's call her Barbie) told me that I would regret it. Barbie saved the day. The week before the marathon is not the time to be analyzing my mistakes. I mean Thomas is already giving me enough trouble – I just hope Barbie is a tall blond Amazon chick that can beat Thomas into pulp before we’re done here.

But anyway, Dianna talks about feeling great on the run’s during taper time. I can really relate to that. I am better rested, have more energy, and get out there and kick butt on my runs. I only ran 32K/21M last week, about half of what I ran my final training week. This week I’ll probably get in about the same, and next week about half of that. In other words less mileage, but with somewhat greater intensity. I ran about 10K last night in about 55 minutes, which is a pace of 5:30/K (8:51/M), roughly my half-kilometer race pace. But I felt really good afterward, ready to go another round :-)

For some reason reading Dianna's pages have calmed down the butterflies for the time being. It really is reassuring to know that I’m not the only one who has gone through “taper madness”. Thanks Dianna, you’ve helped me more than you probably realized!

Taper Madness

I am sooooo relieved…Running Chick has clarified everything! I’m not losing my mind… it’s only taper madness descending upon me. I mean even my wife and coworker's have been giving me strange looks the last couple weeks, like I’m even stranger than normal or something. Nope, it’s just taper madness.

So what’s that? Well for me it has a lot to do with paranoia, forget Friday the 13th, that ain’t nothin’, wait to you start tapering, oooh yeah!

A couple examples are always good:

- We are having problems with our car, it likes to die at traffic lights - so had it in the shop yesterday - no luck still doing it – my first thought – Lord I hope the car doesn’t die on the way to the marathon next week!

- I went running last night – great 10K run by the way – but every time I passed a dog I went way around – I was sooo afraid of getting bit one-week-before-my-marathon!

- I have been catching myself avoiding obstacles as I walk for fear of tripping and injuring myself!

- I am totally paranoid about what I eat in the moment, is it too much, too little, too fatty, blah-blah-blah.

- I rethink my marathon strategy about 60 times a second at all hours of the day and night.

- I am already worried that I will forget to bring something to the marathon.

Other associated problems/symptoms:

- I can’t sit still for more than five minutes at a time.

- I feel obsessively guilty about not training hard in the moment.

- My running muscles flex when I see a jogger.

- I am totally obsessed with stretching.

- I am checking the weather report excessively (current prognosis 20C/70F, 60% chance of rain on May 21st, 80% air humidity).

- I actually don’t talk about running with my wife, friends and coworkers (I mean this is just NOT normal).

- I keep posting the marathon countdown (8 days 5 hours 44 minutes 37 seconds).

- I have regressed back to my “Upstate NY dry humor” (you have to have experienced this to understand this one ;-)

- My blog reports are getting weirder as the days progress.

In conclusion - although I am still as busy as ever getting on with daily life I feel like I have lots of extra time because I’m not running so much.

So here I am singing the tapering blues, but I have to admit that I am starting to feel stronger each day. It is becoming obvious that my body is rejuvenating all those torn muscles, sore bones and whatever else that loosened up after running all those miles. I actually get little bursts of power in my step when I walk around, not like the stumbling I did while recovering from long runs. Now if I can only get the loose screw in the head fixed;-)

Happy running!

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Baden Mile Pictures?

There still doesn't seem to be any pictures available from this years Baden Mile Run, so here is one from last year.

On the Lighter Side

I heard these on the train this morning:

What are Calories?

They are little animals that make your clothes tighter at night!

Why do men find women with makeup, leather and rubber erotic?

Because they smell like a new car!

Hmmm...is there some truth to this...

Tonight I get to run, I can't wait!!!

Today it is supposed to warm up to 20C/68F, and by Saturday they are predicting 24C/75F. By Sunday it's supposed to start raining and will probably continue for a couple days. They only offer a five day forecast in our area, so I have to wait until Monday or Tuesday to see what the weather will be for the 21st. Yes, I'm starting to obsessively check the weather Jon

I have my marathon strategy all figured out:

Start slow,
drink, run, repeat...
Last 10K:
Think pink, orange, chocolate, ny, scooter, ironman, shiznit, finally, weighty, one-step-at-a-time thoughts and kick Thomas's butt!!

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Thomas, Butterflies, and Beautiful Women

It’s no big secret that training for a marathon takes a heavy toll on the body, always trying to make the body go a little bit further, a little bit faster and so on. But it is also a big mind game, especially from the side controlling the emotions. When I started my blog I figured I might as well talk about some of those crazy emotional roller coasters that I ride along the way too.

I took another night off from running tonight, so was out weeding the garden. Although the sun was shining it was still kind of chilly tonight, so the garden club was almost empty. So with no one to talk to my mind started drifting off across the fields, I made a couple note:

Do any of you know Thomas? You know, that little dude that sits behind your right ear before race day and says thing like: “You didn’t train enough!” “You’re too fat to run a marathon!” “You’re too slow!” or whatever. Thomas is a child of satan that tries to steal your peace and confidence – don’t turn your back on him!

Now I know ya’ll know about butterflies, those pesky little things related to Thomas that seem to continuously churn up meals and keep you awake at night as the race nears. I’ve heard of some people who lost their butterflies right before a race because they were so nervous – so make a note to keep your mouth closed right before a race, or at least stay away from people.

Beautiful women, what do they have to do with pre-race stress? Glad you asked – as I was riding my scooter to the garden and back tonight I saw at least 10-15 beautiful female joggers out doing their thing. I mean even on the running trails that I use – now how come I never see any of these when I’m out training. Nooo, they must have all heard that drooling Jack is tapering so think it’s safe to come out now ;-)

Well, actually I don’t drool (unless I drink too much?). The weather is warmer now, the people want to squeeze into the swimwear…blah-blah. What I really want to say is that I feel guilty that I’m not out running. Somehow it just doesn’t feel right not being out there pounding the ground 60K/40M+ a week.

But we all have heard tapering is vital to finishing strong! It's all about kicking Thomas's butt, without losing your butterflies, so afterwards you can wow those beautiful (wo)men!

Somebody do an extra lap for me please!

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Tapering: Week Two

I went on a 14K/8.7M run last night, at an easy pace of about 6:13/K (10:00/M). My legs were still cramped up like crazy from my fast run on Saturday. This morning they feel better, but still are not 100%. I think I will wait a couple days before I run again.

Here is my tentative training plan up to marathon day:

Monday (May 9): 14K/8.7M
Thursday (May 12): 8K/5M
Saturday (May 14): 14K/8.7M
Monday (May 16): 8K/5M
Wednesday (May 18): 8K/5M
Friday (May 20): 10-15 minute jog
Saturday (May 21): Marathon

Marathon countdown: 11 days 11 hours 11 minutes

Monday, May 09, 2005

Baden Mile 2005

Saturday was a nice cool 10C/50F day, windy, rainy, and wet! Out of the 70 people signed up from my company, 57 showed up and completed the 8.88889K run/walk. I picked up my starting number and T-shirt at 10 a.m., 5 hours before the start of the race. This was cool as there were no lines, an important point to consider as there were over 3000 participants signed up for the main run. I returned home, ate, and slept for an hour. About 1:30 p.m. I drove to Karlsruhe and left my car near the finish line, taking the street car to the center of the city where the start was located. My company wanted to meet 20 minutes before the run for a group picture, but this idea soon dissolved due to the mass of people. About 15 minutes before the race I loosened up, ran about 10 minutes and made my way as close to the front of the start as possible.

The crowd at the start was extremely hyped up, probably because the wind chill factor was close to freezing so they were trying to stay warm. I probably had about 200 people in front of meet when the gun went off. I have never experienced such an aggressive start as this day, people were pushing shoving and being downright rude! It was obvious that the majority are not regular long distant runners. Within the first 5 minutes I probably passed half of these idiots. I started out too fast, mostly to keep from getting trampled by the mob. I ran the first KM in 4:38, which is a 7:27/mile, the second in 4:40. I then slowed down to about 5:00/K (8:00/mile) until the last couple kilometers. I finished in 43:44 which translates into a pace of 4:55/K (7:55/M). I was the 560th runner in a sea of 2451.

As I mentioned the first kilometer was a mad dash, after about 5-10 minutes I started passing hordes of people who had burned themselves out. We ran by the palace, then back to a parallel street that follows the main shopping district in the city. From there we crossed a pedestrian bridge that crossed over the main street splitting the Centrum with the more residential section of town, eventually passing within one street of the old American military housing (hey Susan!). In this part of town there were lots of people (especially kids) out cheering us on. As it rained the whole time you have to admire these people! We eventually took a left and starting circling around to the last stretch of the U-shaped course. This came up quick - around a large building, under the main street again and boom on an asphalt path that winds to the finish line. This path went on for about 15 minutes, just about to the finish line – you could hear the cheering crowds – but then took a sharp left and went all the way around the outside of the stadium before coming in the other side – then we still had a ¾ lap to complete. I knew this from last year, but you could hear the disappointment from some who thought they were almost finished when they saw the stadium.

I held a constant tempo the last 6+ kilometers, picking it up slightly the last few minutes. But I was really beat by the time I crossed the finish, I definitely am not used to running so fast! But 10 minutes later I was recovered looking for food, while most of my buddies were looking like they were ready for a nap.

I discovered we have a few marathon runners in the company, you could tell, they were the ones looking fit soon after the race! We also have some fast runners, one finished in 18th place with a time of 32:58, another in 34th place with a time of 34:04. My boss beat me by 3 minutes, even though I matched his time from last year. With the exception of two everyone who ran last year improved their times this year.

I am really happy with my time, I had not planned on running so fast. I still have muscle cramps – worse than when I ran the 30+ long runs. Tonight I want to do a recovery run and try to loosen up a little.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

The Baden Mile - first results!

It rained, it was winday, it rained, it rained, it rained.

I had the idea to run the 8.88889 K in 47 minutes - the result - well - it rained, the wind was stong, I got carried away, I ran the race in 43:44, quite an improvement over last year's time of 51.21. My legs are sore, but my soul is feasting on this small victory.

I hope you guys had a nice run this weekend!

Friday, May 06, 2005

Just Being Lazy

Yesterday (Thursday) was a holiday in Germany, today my company was closed so I had some time to chill out. My wife is visiting an aunt in Nuremberg, so the house is too quiet. I took a 30K/18M ride on my mountain bike through the neighboring forests. This was great until it started pouring rain. I skidded in the mud going around an obstacle and banged my left hip - it's kind of sore today. I slept in today, caught up on my reading, made some homemade meatballs for lunch etc. It rained almost the whole day, we even had hail at one point.

Tomorrow at 3 p.m. is my 8.8889K Baden Mile run. The weather, you guessed it, more rain!! I'm curious how many people from my company show up? I am looking forward to the run anyway, I didn't run the last couple days so feel rusty. After the run my company participants are meeting at a beer garden for a little liquid refreshment. As this is not too far from the train station my wife is going to meet me there tomorrow.

Anyone else racing this weekend?

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Taper Time

So how is my first week of tapering going? Thirty-two marathon veteran Bob Cooper said it best:

“Tapering, or cutting way back on your mileage before a marathon, can be a tough thing for runners to do. It's akin to driving on the left side of the road in England: You know you need to do it, but it just doesn't feel right.“

You got that right Bob!

I am kind of worried about my diet in the moment, I have already gained a couple pounds since my long run on Saturday. Of course our big anniversary pig-out last night has a lot to do with that. I’ve been reading a bit about tapering on the Internet. Most “experts” seem to say that one should eat about 60% carb’s during the tapering weeks. I’ve been eating a lot more meat than normal the last few days, but I think this was good after the long run – the body needs to rebuild itself. I need to cut back a little bit on the caloric intake over the next couple weeks.

Most articles that I read also seem to say that the tapering should consist of reducing mileage while maintaining intensity. So far so good with that. Tonight is my second “taper” run, I’m think about doing about 10-12K’s at about my planned marathon pace (6:00/K – 9:39/M). Tomorrow night I may do a 5K run at about 5:30/K (8:51/M) in preparation for my Baden Mile run on Saturday.

My goal for Saturday’s race is 8.88889K’s in 47 minutes. I know I can run faster, but I am kind of hesitant about running too fast during taper time.

Happy Running!

Recovering from a Large Meal

We had a great night last night, I took my wife to a new restaurant that we heard about, the Andreasbraeu (Andreas Brewery). The Andreasbraeu has a large restaurant, beer garden, great steaks and their own in-house brewery. Their apple strudel is out of this world. We’re talking major calorie input here!

Tonight sweety has school so I want to run for an hour to work off some of those calories.

The Andreas Brewery has a pretty cool Webpage at http://www.andreasbraeu.de/ - Click on Html-Seiten or Flash-Seiten (if you have a Flash player) to enter. The site is in German, but you can probably figure out a lot of it.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Thought Download

My legs are kind of sore for some reason today, I guess I'm not used to the faster pace that I ran last night. Funny, I ran 32+K's(20+ miles) on Saturday and was fine afterward, but ran 9K/5M last night and am all stiff and sore. Maybe I strech my step out more when I run faster??

A few people on the company "team" for the Baden Mile Run on Saturday have already backed out. One has a knee injury (from soccer), another has the flu - acceptable. Two others are whining, "I didn't have time to train!" "The weather was bad!" Blah-blah." - My reply you signed up, the company paid your fee, you got the company T-shirt - WALK IT! I know one of these is getting a really hard time from the other people in his office - he plays soccer every week so is in good enough shape. Maybe they will shame him into it:-)

Well my better half and I have been married 17 years today, quite an accomplishment in today's world. I hope we make it a couple hundred years more, I have a great wife, even though she doesn't understand my need to run ;-)

I think I'm going to have to adjust my diet over the next couple weeks, I've already gained a pound. One or two before the marathon is almost expected (do to decreased mileage), but I don't want to carry any extra weight on that day.

Marathon countdown: 18 days 8 hours 45 minutes - CAN'T WAIT!!!

Monday, May 02, 2005

A Nice 9K Tempo Run

By the time I got home today it was 31C/88F and the horizon was turning gray. As we are expecting thunderstorms tonight I decided to shorten my run somewhat. So rather than my 14 slow easy K’s (8.7 miles) I decide to run about 9-10 at a faster pace. So after about a 5 minute jog, I started out at about a 5:30/K (about 8:50/mile) pace. I guess my almost two days of rest must of helped, cause I finished the first 5K’s in 26:10, which figures out to 5:14/K (8:25/mile). As it was getting pretty humid out I decided to slow it down a bit before I pull a muscle or something. I finished the last 4K’s at about the same amount of time. I guess this was good training for my 8.88889K Baden Mile race on Saturday.

Statistics are fun, here are a few facts:

Monthly totals:
Jan. 105K/65M
Feb. 200K/124M
Mar. 245K/152M
Apr. 275K/171M

Year to date: 825K/513M

Happy running:-)

Weekend Relaxing

I had a nice warm bath after my long run on Saturday, a big lunch, then we headed out to our garden in the neighboring town for the day. By this time the sun was high in the sky and temperatures were rising, eventually reaching 30C/86F. It was an absolutely gorgeous day. Despite the high mileage session that morning I felt good enough to push the lawnmower, so got that out of the way. Inspired by the beautiful weather I loosened up the beds that I had dug for the potatoes and set them in the ground. By this time I was hungry again – it’s amazing how hungry you are after running for over 3 ½ hours. So I fired up the grill and torched some potatoes, steaks and bratwurst’s. Saturday was “forget about the diet day”, so without further ado we feasted on the fixings, including a couple good salads that my wife had prepared. At some point after this I took a nap, the day’s activities finally catching up to me. We eventually stayed till about 8 p.m.

Yesterday was beautiful day part II, another day of 30C/86F temperatures and sunshine. Other than an after-lunch walk we spend the day relaxing (read – being lazy) in the garden. Of course my definition of relaxing is pulling weeds in the garden, so I did this for a couple hours. Of course with the blue sky’s and sunshine I took the opportunity to work on this year’s sunburn – of course having a hair style very similar to Mark’s this can be painful – ouch ;-)

Tonight my wife is at her English class, so I will probably run a slow easy 14K/8.7M. Ditto on Wednesday. Thursday is a holiday and Friday my company is closed so I have to cram 5 days of work into three. Saturday I’m participating with 69 other people from my company in the Baden Mile race (8.88889 K). It is supposed to cool back down and rain most of the week and weekend. Fine by me – but my coworkers are already complaining about it – the wimps!

I found a “Trail Running” magazine in the train station bookstore this morning on the way to work – can’t wait to take a look at it. Happy running!

Marathon notes: Countdown - 19 day 8 hours 39 minutes. The Mannheim marathon is a “city” course, in other words through the streets and trails around Mannheim and surrounding towns. According to the description of the route it is all paved (concrete, asphalt or cobblestone). Not my favorite surface, I’m sure my legs will let me know how unhappy they are about this after 42.2 K’s.

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