Thursday, June 30, 2005

Hill Run and Stress

As I came home from work yesterday afternoon it was ONLY 32C/90F, so I decided to ride my scooter from home to Weingarten where our garden is located (11K) and run my hill route (~14K/8.7M).

I was a bit stiff as I started out, probably because I didn’t take any recovery days after my race on Sunday (you’re right Jon). But once I warmed up and got the 12 minute hill climb out of the way I fell into my groove and the rest of the run felt good. It was still terribly humid, having rained the whole morning, I really felt this the last 15 minutes as I returned to the garden club through the wetlands (moor). It felt like all the air was being sucked out of me or something, I had to slow it down a little.

It is interesting to note that a couple miles of my hill route were the same route used for the 80K run this past weekend. That means the 80K run is not only long, but also over some pretty good hills – file under training notes for the 80K Night Run 2006.

Summary of Last Night's Training:

1 set 15 pushups, 1 set 25 sit-ups;
14K/8.7M run; total time 1:25:49 - hill training.
1 set 15 pushups, 1 set 25 sit-ups;
Cool down.
Conditions: 16:35; 32C/90F, hazy, humid!
Feeling after training: Tired, but muscles okay.

Wake-up weight this morning: 74.5 kg/164 lbs
Weight lost since 01/01/2005: 5.5 kg/12 lbs
Goal weight by the end of June: 74 kg/163 lbs
Goal weight by Christmas: 70 kg/154 lbs
 My Hill Route

My 14K/8.7M Hill Route

Other Ramblings

I have not been sleeping well the last couple weeks, a combination of the heat and the fact that my wife’s job contract ends on July 15th. This is really starting to wear me down, I have trouble concentrating at work (too hot in my office as it is) and since last night it is starting to effect my running. I was pretty well wiped out by the time I finished my run last night (first time in awhile, I've been running strong). Luckily it rained again last night, which cooled it down right before I tried to sleep, I feel better today. The next several days are supposed to cool down some more, thank goodness!

My wife also called earlier this morning from work, she is getting a new two year contract in another office (by Social Services) starting in the middle of August, so she will only be unemployed for 4-5 weeks. I guess we can keep our house a little longer :-)

I hope things will settle down a little now, it’s hard to concentrate on training (and work) when you head is too full!

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Rain! Tour de France

Yes finally, a little rain, and with it slightly cooler temperatures. It was only 22C/72F at 6 a.m. this morning. It is kind of sticky today - really humid, my arms are sticking to the desk as I write

Last night I did my weight training, I guess it was up to almost 40C/104F in the shed. Outside temperature was 35C/95F, but there was a slight wind which made it more bearable when I did my 3K jog after WT. In any case by the time I was done I looked like I had just taken a shower with my clothes on!

Tonight I am debating whether to drive to Weingarten (where our garden club is located) and run my ~14K/8.7M hill trail, or stay home and run my normal 14K route. I guess it will depend on the weather, if its raining I don’t like to take my scooter out on the roads, too much traffic, and half the people seem to be blind when it rains!

Summary of Last Night's Training:

1 set 15 pushups, 1 set 25 sit-ups;
1 set of weight training (WT) exercises;
1 set 15 pushups, 1 set 25 sit-ups;
3K run (17:49)
1 set 15 pushups, 1 set 25 sit-ups;
Cool down.
Conditions: 16:15; 35C/95F, sunny and hot.
Feeling after training: Legs a bit sore, I was working the lower body a bit during WT.

Wake-up weight this morning: 75 kg/165 lbs (back down to where it was last week)

Other Ramblings

The Tour de France is coming to our area! On July 8th stage 7 of the route will end up near Karlsruhe, about 10 minutes from my office. My company is closing in the afternoon to allow people to view the event. Cool!

Did you know that Blogger has a new image tool? Of course I had to "play" with the new tool, here is a picture of my 3K and 14K/8.7M running routes, more or less (from, click on the images to zoom):

And my 14K/8.7M route:

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Rest and Recovery after a Race?

Normally I take a few days off after a race. For example after the marathon I did not run for 8 days, and for most of my half-marathons I took at least 3-4 days off. Generally following a 10K race I will wait a day or two to run. That said, I admit that I didn’t do that following Sunday’s race, rather I ran my 14K/8.7M run last night (Monday).

There were a couple reasons that I decided to blow off the “rest after a race rule”:

1. Thursday was my weight training day, whereas I only jogged 3K/2M afterwards; Friday and Saturday I did not run at all.
2. My race was Sunday morning and I ran on Monday night – there was almost a day of rest in there somewhere.
3. I felt so good after the race on Sunday that I really did not feel like I needed a day of rest. Okay, maybe that’s a weak excuse, but it’s mine ;=)

I did TRY to take my run last night a little slower than normal, in effect a “recovery run.” Temperatures were up to 35C/95F by the time I got home and suited up. Taking an extra swig of water for good luck (I drank 2 liters during the afternoon) I headed out the door and tried really hard to stick with a 6:15/K (10:04/M) pace. The first 3K/2M are in the open sun, on a mostly asphalt path, it was fitfully hot! I finished the first 1K in 5:29, the 2nd by 11:01. I managed to slow down to about 6:00/K (9:39/M) for a kilometer, but as soon as I hit the wood line of the forest I felt the coolness and took off again, eventually finishing my 14K/8.7M run in 1:19:09, which is an average pace of 5:39/K (9:06/M). So I guess I messed up that recovery run...

I felt comfortably tired after the run, normally I am no so tired after running this distance, so I did notice that I had run a race on Sunday. However, this morning I feel great, no pains, no cramps, no problems.

I would recommend that most people take a break after a race. I think my body is used to higher mileage, so for a 10K race I don’t need much time to recover.

Either that or it’s so hot this week that my brain is fried (very possible, it’s supposed to reach 36C/97F today). I envy those that have nice cool offices to work in. My office has no air conditioning, not shade trees outside helping to keep the afternoon sun contained, no it is just plain hot after about 11 a.m. Yesterday was almost 29C/85F in my office and it still is not the middle of the summer yet. Blah!

Summary of Last Night's Training:

1 set 15 pushups, 1 set 25 sit-ups;
14K/8.7M run; total time 1:19:09
1 set 15 pushups, 1 set 25 sit-ups;
Cool down.
Conditions: 16:15; 35C/95F, sunny, hot!
Feeling after training: Comfortably tired!

Wake-up weight this morning: 75.5 kg/166 lbs
Weight lost since 01/01/2005: 4.5 kg/10 lbs
Goal weight by the end of June: 74 kg/163 lbs
Goal weight by Christmas: 70 kg/154 lbs

Monday, June 27, 2005

Updated Marathon II Training Plan

Marathon II Training Plan Posted by Hello

I was looking over my training plan again and made a few adjustments based on some tentative races that I want to squeeze in.

Wednesday will generally be a 14K/8.7M hill climbing run, maybe even hill repeats if the weather would cool down some.

My first marathon in May was a "to finish" marathon. The marathon on September 18th will be a time-goal marathon, my goal being to finish in 4:30:00-4:45:00. Actually I should be running a lot more in order to meet this goal, but I just don't have more time to invest. We'll see what happens.

Other Ramblings:

I have a 28K/17.4M long run coming up next Saturday morning. There is also a 10K run on Sunday morning at 9 a.m. I am trying to decide which I should do. The 10K is a local run put on by the Graben Running Club, I run part of the same route on my long runs. It would be a good chance to meet more of the club, maybe I can find someone or a group to run with once in a while. On the other side it is important that I do my long run. Tough decision...maybe I can do both!

Official Spessart 10K Race Results

The race results from yesterdays 10K were finally posted on the Internet this morning. My official time 50:02, eleven seconds slower than my PR, not bad considering I wasn’t even trying to go so fast. Anyway I was 19th out of 52 runners, amazing considering I spent most of the first 6K behind the pack. I caught most of them on the uphill, my hill training most be doing some good! There was also 17 walkers that completed the 10K.

The winner, a young whipper-snapper of 20 years old finished in 38:10. The second place runner was a full 1:13 behind him at 39:23! The youngest runner (17) finished in 43:49. The oldest runner (90) finished in last place with a time of 1:22:59. Yes you read that right Ninety (90) years old!! We saw him later getting in his car and driving home. He is my new idol!

The fastest walker finished in 1:12:34, the last in 1:58:00.

Other Ramblings:

Despite my totally satisfying 10K run on Sunday, I actually was a lazy slacker this weekend. Yes, I put off running my 14K/8.7M run on Saturday morning so I could go on a 13K/8M bicycle ride with my wife. I also wanted to get an early start on fixing a window on the front of the house and a few other “chores” that needed to be done. I thought that I would do it later in the day. But as most home improvement projects go, it took longer to finish than expected, was frustrating, required an extra trip to the building supply store etc., the result, no run. Bad Jack.

Yesterday is normally my weight training day. But after the run I had a good nap, we went to the garden until 8 p.m., no training – bad Jack!

I also gained a couple pounds this weekend (is that possible!).

But tonight is another 14K/8.7M training run, tomorrow another weight lifting session, life goes weekend is a 28K/17.4M long run - payback!

How was your weekend?

Sunday, June 26, 2005

80K Fidelitas Night Run Results

This year’s 80K Fidelitas Nacthlauf (Night Run) again sparked lots of interest among running circles in Karlsruhe, Germany and the surrounding area. This year 660 ultra-runners participated in the event, 160 as individual participants, the rest in 125 four-person relay teams (each running 20K).


112 out of 160 individuals finished.

Fastest Individual: 6:13:09

122 teams out of 125

Fastest team: 5:39:09

I am seriously considering organizing a team for next year, anybody want to join me?

10K Spessart Folks Run Report

If you want to read the same report with pictures click here.

Today was the 12th Annual Spessarter Volkslauf (Folks Run) in the village of Spessart, Town of Ettlingen, Germany. Spessart is a small town of about 2500 people, located a few kilometers from Ettlingen, Germany. The event is organized around the annual four day sports festival, which offers several sporting events from the town's many sports clubs. The Spessart Lauftreff (Running Club) group organized the 10K run (with walking), 1.5K young peoples run, and 300 meter kiddies (under 8) run.

This running was particularly appealing to me as it offered a couple good hill climbs, it is a local event (no crowds) and it was only a half hour from the house. We arrived about an hour early, which turned out to be totally unnecessary, they weren't even set up yet. I was able to check in though, the check-in desk being “manned” by a pretty young lady about my daughter’s age was collecting the fee and passing out numbers. I noticed that she greeted the runners with a warm smile and kind words, not always the case at some of these events, and definitely a good reflection for the club.

My wife and I took a seat at one of the benches and watched the other runners slowly trickle in. I group from the Spessart Running Club was sitting at the table behind us and were talking about the 80K run that took place last night, they said a few people in their club took place in the 4-man team event. One was still going to run the 10K this morning, even though he hadn't slept all night (I don't know if I am that crazy).

The temperature was about 26C/78F, humid, and partly cloudy. The sun came out just as we started to run, so it started warming up really fast. At least it wasn't raining!
About 9:15 I made my way to the bathrooms, no waiting, I think this was a first! I did a light warm up and made my way to the Start line. I had expected a couple hundred people, we had maybe 50, including a group of 10-12 Nordic walkers. The run was scheduled to start at 9:30, but due to technical difficulties it was almost 9:40 before we started.

No starting pistol, just a simple "Ready, Get Set, GO!!

We ran once around the soccer field before leaving the sports area, then across the street and into the forest. The first half of the run was almost all flat or downhill. I passed the 1K marker in 4:29 (7:13/mile), the second in 9:13 (4:37/K, 7:25M), and the 5K half-way marker in 24:29 (4:54/K, 7:53M).

I knew that the second half of the run was a lot of uphill climbs, so after about the 4th kilometer I started slowing down slightly to conserve energy. The group that I was following went on ahead without me. At the 6K marker there was a water stop, I slowed and poured a cup of water on my head and shoulders, man was that cold! Soon after this we started going up, and up, and up...I maintained a steady pace, passed the 7K marker, my hill training in the last couple weeks was paying off today. One by one I started catching people, several of them walking by this time. We past the crest of one hill and went down for maybe 2 minutes, a few that I passed came jogging by. Then around a corner and there was this menacing looking hill in front of my eyes, with runners strung along the way.

I stuck it in mule gear and gave some gas, up and up and up. I re-passed a few, passed a couple new ones, passed the 8K marker, up and up and up, passed the 9K marker, and up and up...finally we reached the crest of the hill and popped almost immediately out of the forest. The town was right in front of me, the sports club to the left of the town, less than 1K to go.

As the trail turned quickly to asphalt I latched onto one of the Sperrart Running Club dudes and tried to hang with him. We quickly wound our way through the streets leading to the sports club and the finish, I was feeling good, a little tired, but still good. The dude I was following was giving me the run of my life, finally leaving me in the dust as we took the last turn and entered the soccer field once again. Then with the finish in site I did my best to sprint the last few hundred meters.

My unofficial finish, based on my stopwatch was 50:03, which is 12 seconds more than my PR (49:51). So close, well I will have to wait for the official results, maybe its a little closer...

The run totally fulfilled my training goal for today, which was to get in a race with some hill climbs. I had no intention of setting a new PR today, so stopped looking at my watch after the halfway point. Too bad, I was really motivated today!

Friday, June 24, 2005

80K Race in Karlsruhe this Weekend

Yes the 80K/50M Fidelitas Nachtlauf (Fidelitas Night Run) starts tomorrow (Saturday) at 5 p.m. in Karlsruhe, the larger city in my area, but NO I am not seriously considering it this year. I don't know if I could ever find enough TIME to train for something like that.

The run (walking is also offered) is a timed event, you have 16 hours to pass through 16 control points. The course is mostly asphalt, roads, or hard-packed paths through the forest. Difference in elevation from the lowest to highest point, about 310 meters (1000+ feet). Last year there were over 600 participants. The course record is 5 hours and 23 minutes.

The race starts on Saturday and finishes 16 hours later on Sunday. Here is a breakdown of the control points, the idea is that you have to pass through the control points before the clock time indicated:

Control Number – Distance Marker – Clock Time
Start – 0K – 17:00
1 – 4.8K – 17:40
2 – 8.9K – 18:38
3 – 13.7K – 19:40
4 – 18.3K – 20:24
5 – 24.93K – 21:48
6 – 30.13K – 22:55
7 – 35.96K – 00:05
8 – 38.84K – 00:40
9 – 44.77K – 01:50
10 – 49.23K – 02:48
11 – 51.42K – 03:37
12 – 56.31K – 04:17
13 – 61.33K – 05:16
14 – 64.69K – 05:56
15 – 68.13K – 06:40
16 – 72.42K – 07:30
Finish – 80K – 08:45

If you fail to cross one of the control points before the designated times, you are disqualified.

I would really like to do this run, just to see if I can. That said I have to ask myself how do you train for something like this? More importantly, how do you find TIME to train for something like this? I am already investing more time than I should in my running and exercising, I question if I will even have TIME for a marathon next year.

I thought about doing a 50K walk tomorrow, but I have a couple things to fix around the house, so I think this weekend I will just run a 10K race on Sunday...

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Weekend Planning

Normally this weekend I have a 14K/8.7M run on my training schedule for Saturday and weight training on Sunday.

But of course this Saturday/Sunday is the annual 80KM run in my area, so the newspapers are full of stories about it and running in general. For Jack this means I’m getting that nervous racing twitch…gosh its been almost two weeks since I ran a race…

But I’m in luck there are numerous possibilities if I cannot contain my enthusiasm. A 10K from the same starting line as the 80K run (did this last year) or a 10K run on Sunday featuring some a couple good hill climbs. And if I really get the shakes there is a 50K WALK in the Black Forest about an hour’s drive from us.

The weather bug is saying temperatures between 30-33C (86-92F), hot, humid, slight chance of rain. This will probably ground my wife during the daytime.

The 50K WALK would kill most of Sunday...

The 10K on Saturday is at 17:15, the hottest part of the day...

The 10K on Sunday is 9:30 a.m., very doable. There is also a sports fest going on at the same time, my wife could chill out while I do my thing...

I could also do my normal training...


I love choices:-)

Five Rules for Running in the Heat

Yesterday was another hot day in Germany, not quite as bad as the beginning of the week, but still 31C/88F. I had several people ask me if I still run in “this heat”. Of course is my standard answer, why not? In the military I ran in temperatures up to 45C/113F, it is possible if you are correctly acclimatized.

I do not recommend running a race in the heat of the day if you have trained exclusively in the cool of the morning or night. I’ve been running my normal 14K/8.7M runs at almost the same time of the day (4:30 p.m.) for over 2 years in all weather conditions. I also follow the “Five Rules for Running in the Heat”:

Five Rules for Running in the Heat

1. Dress lightly: Wear clothes that are light in color, lightweight and breath (vents or mesh). Don’t forget the sunscreen.
2. Avoid things with dehydrating effects: Caffeine, alcohol, antihistamines, and antidepressants can all have a dehydrating effect.
3. Start with a full tank: Top off your fluid stores with sports drink an hour before you head out. If running at night, drink throughout the day to maintain hydration. Sports drinks beat water because most contain glucose and sodium which increase your water absorption rate and replace the electrolytes you lose in sweat. If going on a long run bring liquids with you or stash along the way.
4. Be flexible: Don’t do long runs or higher-intensity runs during the heat of the day. At least find a shady route and run slower than normal.
5. Keep track of your weight. Weigh in before and after the run. Rehydrate according to the amount you lose when your run. Bob Cooper (Running World) recommends rehydrating with 16 to 24 ounces of sports drink for every pound of body weight you lose during exercise.

It is still challenging as temperatures rise, but I have not experienced any heat related problems thus far.

I have a half-marathon coming up on July 16th, starting at 5 p.m. – last year it was “only” 28C/83F so it wasn’t too bad, the year before was 35C/95F – thus I am trying to get used to running up hills in this temperature range.

Yesterday I drank approximately 2 liters of water in the afternoon (until the pee was clear), had a sports bar about an hour before the run and a few sips of water right before running.

I ran the hill route which begins at our garden club and can be broken down as follows:

- 4 minutes across an open field (asphalt road) to a forest/swamp.
- 9 minutes through shaded forest (gravel/dirt trail).
- 5 minutes across an open field (cobblestone/asphalt path).
- 12 minute steep hill climb on a shaded asphalt road.
- 30 minutes up and down rolling hills gravel/dirt trail through shaded forest way.
- 7 minute downhill (gravel/dirt/asphalt) – mostly shaded.
- 6 minutes across an open field (dirt/asphalt path).
- 9 minutes through shaded forest (gravel/dirt trail).
- 4 minutes across an open field (asphalt road) back to start.

Normally I would circle around and do a few hill repeats, but I have my limits in this heat.

Summary of Last Night's Training:

1 set 15 pushups, 1 set 25 sit-ups;
14K/8.7M run; total time 1:25:10 - hill training.
1 set 15 pushups, 1 set 25 sit-ups;
Cool down.
Conditions: 16:45; 31C/88F, sunny, hot!
Feeling after training: Good!

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Crosstraining and New Running Shoes

Last night was cross-training night, 1 hour of walking (through stores) with my wife;), then my weight training. Day before yesterday was hot, yesterday was scorching, 36C/97F, sunny, blue skies and now breeze at all! Today is supposed to be even hotter! Blah!

After a round of shopping with my wife in mostly non-air conditioned stores, we had a light dinner and, after a few sharp objections from my wife, I did my weight training. As I mentioned the other day I do my training in the upper part of our shed, right under the un-insolated roof. I’m sure it was well over 40C/105F at 6 p.m. last night, did I mention we don’t have any windows up there! It was stifling, I’m sure my form suffered and I did my sit-ups and push-ups downstairs! My wife gave me one of her (are you nuts) looks as I came down the stairs, totally drenched and dripping with sweat (hey who needs a sauna!). Anyway after a stretch and my PU and SU’s I put my running shoes on and did a quick 3K run. As I was leaving I noticed my wife was looking up the phone number for the nut house in the telephone book ;-)...

Summary of Last Night's Training:

1 set 15 pushups, 1 set 25 sit-ups;
1 set of weight training (WT) exercises;
1 set 15 pushups, 1 set 25 sit-ups;
3K run (18:15)
1 set 15 pushups, 1 set 25 sit-ups;
Cool down.
Conditions: 16:30; 36C/97F, sunny.
Feeling after training: Good.

Wake-up weight this morning: 75 kg/165 lbs

New Running Shoes Story:

My favorite sports store is having a sale this week on everything in stock in preparation for an expansion of their store. My wife and I took advantage of this and picked up a couple things. My wife was looking at the cycling shorts, I, of course, went straight to the running shoes. Having already run over 1100K/683M this year it is almost time to retire a pair of running shoes or two (I have four pairs). I brought one of my well worn pairs with me, along with a pair of running socks that I normally wear. I told the salesman working in the department that I am training for a marathon and asked him if he was a runner (yes, he ran his first marathon last year).

So feeling confident that he at least knew the difference between running shoes and tennis shoes, I showed him my old pair of Addidas shoes, mentioned that I have had good luck with the brand thus far and would prefer to stay with the brand. Unfortunately, the only Addidas he had left in my size were for severe overpronator’s, whereas I have more neutral feet.

So we went through a round of different shoes, Asics, Brooks, blah-blah. I was a little disappointed that they had dismantled the treadmills to make more room for their sale, so I could only jog around the store a little (talk about strange looks:-). I finally settled on a pair of Brooks Radius 05 with HydroFlow, Substance 257 and Cush-Pod technologies, whatever they are. For me they felt comfortable, seemed to have amble support, good padding – but not spongy, had good ventilation around the top of the toes and were wide enough (I have smaller, but wide feet). I have read that the upper padding on the Radius line shoes rides a little high on the ankles with some people, but it felt fine for me. I saved about 30 Euro / $36 US, not bad.

Other ramblings:

I was surfing through some of my favorite websites last night, came across the German Wandering Club page. There is a Marathon WALK and 50K WALK this weekend in the Black Forest about an hour from us. I started getting a nervous twitch in my mind, should I...

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Jack's BBQ Tips: Grilled Seasoned Potatoes

We had beautiful weather last weekend, so I was experimenting with some new specialties for the grill. The following dish is healthy, has carbo's, is relatively low-calorie and just tastes fantastic:

Jack’s Grilled Seasoned Potatoes

2 medium to large potatoes (peeled or unpeeled)
2 sprigs of fresh garlic
1 large onion
1 large green pepper
1 large red pepper
olive oil
2 sprigs of thyme(or rosemary)

Servings: 2

You will need two pieces of Aluminum foil large enough to seal in half of the above ingredients.

Slice the potato into thin slices. Chop the garlic and onions into small pieces. Core and cut the peppers into thin slices (I like to cut them in rings). Using a cooking brush or the back of a spoon, generously oil the middle of each piece of foil with the olive oil. Cover an area large enough to set the sliced potatoes on (this will keep them from sticking). On each of the pieces of foil place one of the sliced potatoes. Salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle half of the chopped garlic and onions on each foil of potatoes. Sprinkle a little olive oil on top, then place a sprig of thyme on top. Seal the foil tightly, being careful not to mess up your creation.

Place the foil packets carefully on a hot grill. If using charcoal or wood ashes, place the packets directly on the coals. Turn the foil packets every minute or two. After around 5 minutes (depending on how hot your fire is) start checking the potatoes every couple minutes to see if they are tender. You can do this by gently prying back the foil of one packet. Be careful not to burn your fingers! The food is done when the potatoes are no longer hard. To serve open the foil and dump your creation on a plate, at this point it does not matter how pretty it looks because it is so hot it will burn you if you hold onto it too long.


1. Use fresh zucchini instead of potatoes. Prepare everything the same way. Turn the packet a little more often and reduce cooking time. For best results stop cooking before the zucchini gets too mushy. A little firmness is good!

2. Have leftover steak, bratwurst etc. from lunch? Chop it up and throw it in!

Jack’s Tips:

1. Make sure your partner and anyone you come in contact with for the rest of the day also eats this dish, otherwise the garlic will keep them away from you.

2. If you are not worried about calories serve the potato version with sour cream sprinkled with a little chive.

Too Hot for Me!

Yesterday was a brutal day, 6 a.m. already 18C/65F and humid, by 1 p.m. 33C/92F! My non-air conditioned office was a sweat box, past lunch you could pretty much forget about doing any work that requires high concentration. Blah!

On the other side I had concentrated on drinking a lot of water throughout the day. By the time I got home, suited up, warmed up and out the door (4:30 p.m.) I was well hydrated and ready for my 14K/8.7M run. Other than the heat it was a beautiful day for a run, the humidity had decreased somewhat, at least that. The first 30 minutes of my route is over open asphalt and gravel trails, with no shade, brutal! Once I got into the forest it was somewhat better, but felt kind of sticky. Despite the heat I was trucking right along, finishing in 1:18:30, which is a 5:36/K (9:01/M) pace. For me this is my half-marathon pace. I was really starting to feel the heat as I popped out of the woods and ran the last 20 minutes over gravel and asphalt paths, again in the middle of fields, and no shade. I was pretty pooped by the time I got home, but a little time in my cool living room and a liter of water and I was good to go.

I am trying to get used to the heat, as my half-marathon is coming up in July. I ran this HM last year, it was 28C/83F, but the year before was 35C/95F. The course has some killer hills by the way.

Summary of Last Night's Training:

1 set 15 pushups, 1 set 25 sit-ups;
14K/8.7M run; total time 1:18:30;
1 set 15 pushups, 1 set 25 sit-ups;
Cool down.
Conditions: 16:15; 33C/92F, sunny, beautiful!
Feeling after training: Thirsty, hot!

Diet Stats:

No change - 75kg/165lbs

Monday, June 20, 2005

Cross-Training on a Hot Summer Day

Yesterday, as the temperature climbed to 30C/86F by 11:00 a.m. my wife announced that it was too hot and that she was going to stay inside. She set about doing her homework for her English class and I decided to take my mountain bike and check the distance of my long run that I made on Saturday. It took about an hour and a half to cover the 27K/16.7M, I was in no hurry, and the forest was still cool and fresh. I passed numerous people out for a bike ride, I guess they all wanted to escape the midday heat. As usual I forgot to charge the batteries for my digital camera, so no pictures again, maybe next time.

My wife had a nice lunch ready by the time I got back: tossed salad with olives and feta cheese, carrot salad, tomato salad, and wurst salad (stripes of bologna and cheese with oil and vinegar). Good eats for a hot day.

At 17:30 I did my weight training. I do my workout in the upper part of our shed, which is un-insulated and right under the roof, so gets rather HOT! As it was still 32C/90F outside, I would guess it most have been close to 38C/100F under the roof. In any case it was miserable doing my workout, I could hardly hang onto the weights do to perspiration. Whew!

I actually maintained my weight through the weekend, typically I gain a pound or two.

Summary of Last Night's Training:

1 set 15 pushups, 1 set 25 sit-ups;
1 set of weight training (WT) exercises;
1 set 15 pushups, 1 set 25 sit-ups;
3K run (18:29)
1 set 15 pushups, 1 set 25 sit-ups;
Cool down.
Conditions: 16:30; 32C/90F, sunny.
Feeling after training: Tired due to heat.

Wake-up weight this morning: 75 kg/165 lbs
Weight lost since 01/01/2005: 5 kg/11 lbs
Goal weight by the end of June: 74 kg/163 lbs
Goal weight by Christmas: 70 kg/154 lbs

Other ramblings:

I decided to stay clear of the biker fest this weekend, call me boring, but I decided that drinking large quantities of beer was not the best thing for my training program or reputation. I guess the “before” picture that I posted a couple days ago got to me. It reminded me how far I have come and how quickly I can go back down that road if I don’t make quality decisions. So just call me a bore, I don’t care;-)

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Long Run Without Breaks!

Saturday morning was my long run. I was up at 6 a.m., had a light breakfast, warmed up and hit the trail. When I left the house at about 6:30 a.m. it was already 24C/75F and humid. I mean the air was so thick that I felt like I could move it out of the way with my arms, kind of like swimming. After the first mile I was already dripping with sweat. I tried to keep my pace moderate, it was not a day for a fast pace.

The first 9K/5.5M was over my familiar route that I run several times a week, I averaged about 6:15/K (10:03/M). Instead of heading home I went west over the neighboring town of Graben’s Running Club trails. I didn’t see too many runners or walkers out, I guess it was too warm and humid for them:-) I wound my way over one of the forest trails that I was familiar with, eventually turning south onto a new trail. This new trail headed south for maybe 15-20 minutes, with the trail surface varying from forest trail to gravel and finally to asphalt. I passed a soccer club, the continued on for a few more minutes, eventually reaching a highway. I recognized this as one that heads back to my town so turned left. This was approximately the 16K/10M point. I was still feeling very good, I had been drinking regularily from my CamelBak, so saw no reason to take a break.

I ran for just a minute or so and found the northerly trail that leads back to the Graben Running Club starting point. So I wound my way back to this point, then over a road and railroad bridge, continuing on until I connected to my normal trail once again.

I knew once I was back on my trail I had about 5.5K/3.5M to go. I wasn’t exactly sure how far I had gone, as I had slowed my pace somewhat due to the heat and humidity.

Anyway I finished my run with a time of 2:48:15. I took NO BREAKS. The only stop I made was for maybe 30 seconds to pee. As I had eaten a lot the night before and had a good breakfast I didn’t feel the need for any sports bar, so I eliminated these stops. I had my CamelBak backpack with 2 liters of diluted sports drink which I started sipping regularily after about 30 minutes.

My legs were rather stiff the last 20-30 minutes of the run, but otherwise I experienced no negative effects from NOT taking any walking breaks. A good stretch after the run was all I needed to get rid of this stiffness.

As I was not sure of the total distance that I ran, today I measured the route with my bicycle: 26.6K/16.5M. And because I took a couple detours to find the right trail home while I was running, I will call it a 27K run.

So 27K/16.7M without any breaks – totally satisfying. This pretty much answers the question FOR ME whether I should take walking breaks or not. I think I am far enough ahead with my fitness that I don’t need too. Of course as my long runs increase (and the heat and humidity of summer) I may change my mind. We’ll see!

Summary of Saturday Morning’s Training:

1 set 15 pushups, 1 set 25 sit-ups;
27K/8.7M run; total time 2:48:15 – long running.
1 set 15 pushups, 1 set 25 sit-ups;
Cool down.
Conditions: 6:15; 24C/75F, humid!
Feeling after training: Legs tired, but otherwise good!

Friday, June 17, 2005

No Need for Words...

 Posted by Hello

To walk or not to walk, that is the question!

Actually it really is quite a good question. I spent some time last night surfing, reading blogs, articles etc. on the subject. Opinions vary greatly. I did come up with a few consistent ideas that surfaced during my “research”. So loving lists I have started one:

The decision whether to include walking breaks on long runs depends on:

1. The level of fitness one has.
2. Whether one learned to do this from the beginning or not.
3. How quickly one wants to recover from a long run.
4. The goal that a person has, e.g. do I want to “just finish” or “win” a race.
5. The number and level of injury that a person has had (e.g. “walking wounded” can still train with walk breaks).
6. The weather.
7. How you trained.
8. The general attitude about “running” a race. Some people feel they “have to” run the entire race to be called, e.g. a marathon runner.
9. Whether you believe Galloway’s claims or not.

I am sure there are numerous other reasons whether to walk or not to walk, this list is just a few that I noticed.

I think the biggy for me is point 7. Other than stopping to pee or eat a sports bar I generally didn’t use walking breaks during my marathon training. However during my marathon I DID use walk breaks of 10-30 seconds beginning at the 5K point and almost every 2.5K/1.6M after this for at least the first 2/3 of the marathon (after that I took more and longer breaks because of serious leg cramps).

I think for me it was a big mistake to take so many walk breaks when I wasn’t used to doing this. I broke one of the 10 Commandments of Running, “Thou Shalt Not Try New Running Techniques During a Marathon!”

Back a couple years ago when I weighed 102 kg/225 lbs (Jan. 2003) I COULDN’T run more than a few minutes without taking a walking break (or crawling break). I basically ran/walked for the first couple weeks/months until I could at least run 10-15 minutes without stopping. Then I gave up the walk breaks and just ran as far as I could until I died (hopefully in front of the house door). Now I can routinely run at least the half-marathon distance without any walking breaks.

FOR ME I have pretty much decided that I want to try to RUN my next marathon, if possible without any walking breaks, and this is how I will train. If during my training I discover that I don’t yet have this kind of endurance (or mental fortitude) than I guess I will take some walk breaks, but first when I can't run any further.

Being a person who doesn’t like to just mouth my actions, tomorrow morning is my long run (26K/16M), we’ll see what happens. It will be a grand test, weather expectations are 32C/90F with high humidity. This morning was 20C/68F at 6:00 a.m. so I am going to try to be on the run by 7:00 a.m., whereas I will return before it gets TOO hot!

Summary of Last Night's Training:

1 set 15 pushups, 1 set 25 sit-ups;
1 set of weight training (WT) exercises;
1 set 15 pushups, 1 set 25 sit-ups;
3K run (19:19)
1 set 15 pushups, 1 set 25 sit-ups;
Cool down.
Conditions: 16:30; 27C/80F, sunny.
Feeling after training: Shoulders a bit sore – I increased the weight I am working out with.

Wake-up weight this morning: 75 kg/165 lbs
Weight lost since 01/01/2005: 5 kg/11 lbs
Goal weight by the end of June: 74 kg/163 lbs
Goal weight by Christmas: 70 kg/154 lbs

Other ramblings:

This weekend is the annual MC White Horses festival (Motorradtreffen) in Weingarten, the town where our garden is located. The MC White Horses are the local motorcycle club and they know how to party! The fest grounds are about a 5 minute walk from our garden so we generally go there to eat at least once. This is not a "Hells Angel", rowdy biker fest, most of the "bikers" are normal citizens who let their hair down once a year. The club has a good reputation of dealling with the occasional troublemaker quickly and quietly, either sending them to pack their bags (many pitch their tents on the lawn next to the fest tent) or to the jail across the street.

I generally try to stay away from the fest at night as I have a lot of old beer-drinking friends in this town who would just love to get "the crazy American" plastered (pretty easy to do, I rarely drink anymore). There is a very good R&R band that plays most every year, which generally stimulates everyone to drink even more, so generally I try to stay away from this scene in order to maintain at least a little self-respect :-]

p.s. This would however be a great place for a RBF get-together! Bring your tent and sleeping bag!

The MC White Horses Motorcycle Fest 2004 Posted by Hello

The "camping area" Posted by Hello

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Poll: Taking Walk Breaks During a Long Run?

I have been reading Galloway’s Book of Running...he is a big promoter on taking “walk breaks” on long runs.

I was wondering:

1. How many of you take walk breaks on long runs.
2. Do you think this is a good way to complete a race?
3. Do you know/think that you can really complete a race as fast or faster when you take walk breaks, as Galloway claims?

During my first marathon I took walking breaks (15-30 secs.) at every drink stand, which occured every 2.5K/1.6M beginning at the 5K marker. During my training long runs I took a maximum of 2-3 walk breaks, usually to eat a sports bar. After reading some of Scott Douglas's remarks I wonder if the walk breaks during my first marathon were the CAUSE of my severe muscle cramps, particularily in the hamstring muscles? Of course taking walk breaks when I hadn't trained taking walk breaks was probably a mistake in itself.

My Training Last Night:

Yesterday when I got home from work the sun was shining, the sky blue, temperature about 27C/80F so I decided to take my scooter to the garden (11K/7M) and do some hill running. I tried a new route from the garden to the beginning of the stretch of hills that I wanted to run, it turned out to be almost exactly 3K/1.9M, mostly through the forest bordering the local moor. A week or two ago I turned left and went up the hill, last night I turned right. Wow, what a climb, for almost 12 minutes I wound my way up this truly brutal stretch of asphalt road that led to a (now unused) landfill. I think I was closer to walking than running as I finally made it over the crest. Awesome! I loved it! What a workout!

Anyway I continued on running up and down a series of rolling hills with trail conditions ranging from logging roads to (probably) wildlife paths. I just love running through the forest, particularly when there are hills involved. Anyway I eventually decided I should find a way down from the mountain, as I was starting to feel the results of my workout. This ended up becoming an adventure in orienteering (or disorientation), minus the map and compass. I really had no idea how the trails went, so had to trust my sense of direction. Luckily this is pretty good, I basically headed down (logical) in the general direction that I figured would get me back to the garden. I popped out of the wood line at the bottom of the mountain about 300 meters (1000 feet) from the trail that I took up the mountain. Not bad!

I headed along a couple fields that I knew would bring me back along the moor and to the garden. I ended up running almost 1 ½ hours so I would guess this would be around 14K/8.7M, the distance that I usually run. I was comfortably tired and just feeling just totally satisfied after my hill workout.

Summary of Last Night's Training:

1 set 15 pushups, 1 set 25 sit-ups;
14K/8.7M run; total time 1:28:10 - hill training.
1 set 15 pushups, 1 set 25 sit-ups;
Cool down.
Conditions: 16:15; 27C/80F, sunny, beautiful!
Feeling after training: Excellent!

Diet Stats:

Wake-up weight this morning: 75 kg/165 lbs
Weight lost since 01/01/2005: 5 kg/11 lbs
Goal weight by the end of June: 74 kg/163 lbs
Goal weight by Christmas: 70 kg/154 lbs

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Weight Training Continues

Last night I added a couple pounds of weight to my dumbbells and started doing 2 sets of exercises. Although I am still using baby poundage, try to tell that to my aching arms and shoulders.

Anybody out there work with free weights at home (e.g. bar and dumbbells)? What kind of weight did you start out with?

Summary of Last Night's Training:

1 set 15 pushups, 1 set 25 sit-ups;
1 set of weight training (WT) exercises;
1 set 15 pushups, 1 set 25 sit-ups;
2nd set of weight training (WT) exercises;
3K run (18:39)
1K walk (cool down)
1 set 15 pushups, 1 set 25 sit-ups;
Cool down.
Conditions: 16:30; 23C/74F, rainy.
Feeling after training: Upper body tired, first time doing 2 sets of WT exercises.

Other ramblings:

Did you hear about the RBF fest at Las Vegas in December? Great idea! Gee, I have to get y’all over here for the Baden Marathon/Half-Marathon. Stay an extra week or two and y’all can hit the Octoberfest too! I could run a lottery to see who gets our guestroom, or maybe build bunk beds in the shed for those seeking budget accommodations ;-)

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Signed up for my Half-Marathon in July!

Last night was just beautiful weather, 27C/80F, sunny, clear blue skies – I couldn’t wait to suit up and hit the trail. My goal was six minutes per kilometer for the 14K/8.7M loop, I averaged 5:39K/9:06M. I was sweating like a pig at a pig roast by the time I got back. Good training though, the weather man is predicting 33C/91F on Saturday when I have to do my 26K/16M long run. Yuck!

After showering and eating I drove the scooter to the garden and pulled weeds for a couple hours. I also picked about a pint (and ate a pint;) of fresh Strawberries, they are so sweet and yummy!

On the way home I was amazed to see so many people out jogging, walking and biking. I think jogging and Nordic walking are “in” right now. Cool!

Summary of Last Night's Training:

1 set 15 pushups, 1 set 25 sit-ups;
14K/8.7M run; total time 1:19:10.
1 set 15 pushups, 1 set 25 sit-ups;
Cool down.
Conditions: 16:15; 27C/80F, sunny, beautiful!
Feeling after training: Good!

Diet Stats:

Wake-up weight this morning: 76kg/167.5lbs
Weight lost since 01/01/2005: 4kg/8.8lbs
Goal weight by the end of June: 74kg/163lbs
Goal weight by Christmas: 70kg/154lbs

Other ponderings:

The fest across the street from us is finally over with. This is good news for my diet and my sleep. Last night I was up late because they had fireworks, of course half the town walked, biked or drove by our house on the way home afterwards. No one got the idea to be QUIET, like maybe some people need to get up at 5 a.m. and need to SLEEP!

Surprisingly I didn’t gain any weight over the weekend. When I think about all that I shoveled into the mouth this weekend this is truly AMAZING!

I signed up for the Buehlertal Half-Marathon (July 16) yesterday. I ran this race last year as my first HM, probably not a race most people would start with, it has a couple killer hills. The course is beautiful though, at least half gravel-covered forest trails. Hundseck, the town that hosts the event, is located on the main road that winds through the Black Forest. I will definitely have to bring my camera on this one.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Pictures of the Ettlingen 10K Run

The dude in my office had his cellphone with digital camera with him at the run the other day. I also found a few pictures of the City of Ettlingen. I combined the pictures with my race description and published them here.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

A Fast Recovery Run / Market Festival

The hardest thing for me after a race is to get my training pace back to normal. Typically I try to do my training runs at 6:00/K (9:39/M), recovery runs about a half minute slower per kilometer. Today was my first run after the 10K race on Friday night. My legs are still tight, not as bad as yesterday when I did my weight training, but still tight.

I started out pretty good, at just about exactly my training pace, maintaining this for at least the first 5K. But the sun was shining, it was still fairly cool outside despite being noon, in other words ideal running weather. I kept picking up the pace, then I would catch myself and try to slow down again…I did this several times until I just found a pace that was comfortable and didn’t worry about it anymore.

I had wanted to run 21K (12M) today, but I need to run tomorrow night too, so decided to run my 14K (8.7M) route. I ended up finishing in 1:20:45, which figures out to 5:46/K (9:17/M), not exactly what I would call a recovery run. My legs are reminding me of this in the moment, they are sore. Tomorrow night I need to keep it slow, I have to get the legs in shape for my 26K long run next Saturday.

Market Festival 2005:

We have a market festival across the street from our house this weekend. There are about 20 stands set up with different clubs from the town selling food, beer and what have you. There are also about 10 crafts stands set up. Woodworkers, basketmakers, pottery, all kinds of stuff to buy. We walked around a while this afternoon, the sun is shining, a perfect day. I took a few pictures with my digital camera, you can view them by clicking here.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Race Report: Ettlinger Altstadtlauf 2005

I have a new recipe for ending a long hard week at work, set a new PR! Yep that’s right, nothing better than to apply all that built up stress for something constructive. To be honest I didn’t wake up yesterday and say to myself “today I’m going to try to set a new personal record”. No, it was more like how am I going to get everything done today.

Luckily running fever is contagious. A couple dudes from my work, one from my office, the other across the hall, were also signed up for the race. Both of them had also done the Baden Mile (8.88889K) run on the “company team” and they were all fired up for this run. I mean for them this was “the race” of the year, 10K! It’s kind of hard NOT to get motivated when you heard their enthusiasm. Anyway by the time I headed home from work I was ready to rock!

So let me stop for a moment and talk about the City of Ettlingen , where the race was held. Ettlingen, a 1250 year old city with a population of about 38,000 people, is often referred to as the door of the Black Forest. Lots of old timber-frame houses, a small palace, numerous site seeing objects, overall a great place for a city run! Ettlingen is of special importance to me, I spent 3 ½ years of my military career stationed on the edge of this city, I am very familiar with the area where the race is held and look forward to running up and down the same streets that I did as a soldier. If nothing else I know how “hard” the streets are, lots of cobblestones, holes, obstacles etc.

So the Altstadtlauf (old town race) was scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m., I got home about 4:00, my wife (who only works a half day on Friday’s) had pasta on the table, so I ate a light meal, laid out my running stuff, then tried to relax for a while on the couch. We headed out for the town of Ettlingen about 6:00 p.m., realizing from having made the run last year that we should try to get there an hour early because of rush hour traffic and because parking is always a problem. As anticipated we got caught up in a traffic jam, crawled through the town finally reaching a parking lot about a 10 minute walk from the Start.

I left my wife to wander around the various vendors and food stands at the Start and I went and collected my starter kit. At this race this was a T-Shirt and a Start number with some type of barcode embedded in the number. I found my wife gave her my T-Shirt and warm-up jacket, and being as it was about 30 minutes before the race, made a last pit stop at the toilets, then warmed up. When I finished I headed to the Start line.

The start was actually on the way to the Finish, so the kid racers who were participating in a 1000M or 3.3K race were still coming in. They got a lot of support as the 900+ 10K racers were standing around waiting for them to finish so we could start. The race actually started 5 minutes late because the kids took a bit longer than anticipated. But it was great watching the little pee-wee racers giving their all on what was probably for most of them a first race. Awesome!

Note from Jack’s book of running tips: Cheering other racers before starting your own race is a great way to get the adrenaline flowing! Clapping, jumping up and down, and generally making a lot of noise will get your blood pumping, and leave you totally primed to DO IT, YEAH!

So about 7:35 the last of the pre-teen racers went by and we quickly lined up on the street at the Start. After a relatively short time the countdown was heard, …4, 3, 2, 1, pistol shot…then nothing. Being in the middle of the pack of 925 racers, I think I just stood there for an eternity before I could finally start waddling forwards, but then all of a sudden everyone surged forward! It was kind of like a wave that reaches it’s peak then slams down on the beach, I mean you could almost hear some of the runner’s burning rubber as they accelerated. I got caught up in the rush for a minute or so, but caught myself and shifted back down a little, I didn’t want to burn myself out in the beginning.

We ran down a straight road for about 500-600 meters, past a residential section, past the swimming pool, past the soccer field, into the industrial section of town. Just before the 1K point the track narrowed as we switched from the street onto a wide sidewalk, then onto a service road that eventually snaked between two factories. At the beginning of this service road was the 1K marker, I checked my watch 5:20, not bad for the first kilometer (8:35/mile).

So on down the dirt-covered service road we went, for maybe 300 meters, then we turned left through a gate to a factory, over a parking lot, out the gate on the other side, past a pretty lady with a tambourine banging out enthusiasm and cheering at the top of her lungs. Man if she can do that with such enthusiasm then I can pour on the steam! I shifted up a notch trying to bring my pace to under 5:00/K (8:03/M).

Back onto a street, left turn onto a highway. I know this street, it connects to the main street in Ettlingen. Back past the factories (on the other side), the soccer field. Aahh the 2K marker, 10:21, a little faster, still not fast enough. System check, legs good, heart still not overworked, breathing calm, pick up the speed just a little…

We entered the residential section again, here was some major crowd participation, the weather was good, lots of people out cheering. Yep, come on Jack keep the head up, don’t forget to smile! Another ½ kilometer, lots of timber-frame houses, we were near the center of town. The street changed from asphalt to cobblestone, we turned left again, across a small bridge, through the old city gates into the old market area of Ettlingen, this is the part of town that is supposed to be 1250+ years old, almost all timber-frame building, all so beautifully maintained, shop on the bottom, apartments on top, I love this town!

People everywhere, from the shops, the windows, the beer cafes, lots of cheering, the fat Italian cook, complete with apron and spaghetti sauce standing outside his restaurant giving support. A couple trying to get him to run with us – he laughs with his belly bouncing.

Another left turn, wow look at all the people, both sides of the street are lined with cheering masses of all ages! I see the start banner, people everywhere, I look for my wife, too many people! I pass under the start, end of the first round (time 16:38) – how far are we now?

So back down the straight road, past the residential section, the swimming pool, the soccer field…the 4K marker, what’s my time 20:06, oh yeah looking good, pace strong and comfortable, PR possible!

Into the industrial section, onto the service road, left turn, through the gate, across the parking lot, through the gate – the tambourine lady has been joined by a dude with a drum, she is still cheering at the top of her lungs – bless her heart. Come on legs do your thing, we’re gonna do it!

Left onto the road, past the factories, soccer field, swimming pool, houses – I missed the 5K marker somewhere. Keep pushing, move those legs. I hooked onto a dude with a baseball cap that was running just a bit faster than my pace and let him draw me along, gosh he looks like he is out for a Sunday stroll, not even breathing hard. I stuck to him like glue, sometimes running beside him, sometimes dropping behind when he speeded up, but I stuck!

The cheering crowds again, ahh the 6K marker, 30:08, keep pushing, move! Left run, over the bridge, through the gates, through the crowded market square, the jolly cook is still out there, but looking kind of tired. Run! Another left, more cheering, the Start banner coming up again. Through it, totally focused now, I will break my PR tonight!

Just a short lap now, down the straight road, past the residential section, the swimming pool, left right before the swimming pool, down a small road, across a bridge, left, we’re heading back. The dude with the baseball cap starts speeding up, we head back onto the highway, I pass him, he passes me…past the swimming pool, past the houses, the 8K marker – 39:59. Hold the pace, keep the legs moving, my lungs start complaining, sending little messages to my brain, “We need to talk about this!” The brain wisely ignores this whining, sends a message to the legs, “You need to pick up the pace, let’s do it!”

Push, push, push, run, run, run, my breathing is getting fast, gosh I’m not used to running so fast. “Shut up, don’t think about this, the legs are fine, what are you complaining about!” Hey dude in the baseball cap, where are you going, I think he hit the turbo – oh the 9K marker, time to do it. Concentrate, don’t look at your watch, push, you are a machine, push, faster. Left turn, over the bridge, through the gate, through the market area.

The baseball cap dude is way ahead, got to catch him, come on legs you have GOT to move faster, left turn, okay this is it the last 500 meters. PUSH! The brain is just going nuts, sending signals everywhere, “Remember this is it, it’s make or break it time folks, we may never be this close to a PR again!” I see the Start banner, my lungs feel like they are going to burst, come on, just a couple hundred meters, push, under the banner, right turn, there’s the finish – remember those kids you cheered for, their determination, sprint dam it!

Done, hit the stop watch, air I need air, huff, puff, air, puff, puff, wow, gosh, whew, air. Got to walk, puff, puff. Air, I need a drink. Ahhh tea, drink, drink. Okay do I dare look at my watch, I close my eyes, look, open one 49:53! ALL RIGHT, I DID IT. Oops spilled my tea. Ahhh, here comes my wife, she said 49:51 official time! She watched me finish, awesome, sweaty kiss for her.

OH YEAH a new 10K PR!! And what is even more sweet, I broke the 50 minute barrier! It took eleven 10K runs, but I finally did it. WOW! I’m all choked up. WOW!

Anyway I grabbed some more tea and rejoined my wife watching the runners come in. The dude from across the hall at my company finished right behind me, 50:13 (last year he smoked me!). His wife ran too, finished in 1:01:46, a new PR for her too – ALL RIGHT!

The dude from my office was slower this year, 59:45. It is noteworthy to mention that he 7 years younger than I am and did not train “at all” for the Baden Mile, and ran only once for twice to train for this race. He is in good physical shape as he is renovating his house from top to bottom, but has no time to train. Imagine what he can do if he trained, an animal! I looked around for the dude with the baseball cap, but didn't see him again, I wanted to thank him for pulling me along!

We eventually headed over to the beer stand and had a couple rounds, enjoying our victories and making plans for the next joint adventure. Racing is great, sharing the finish with friends is even better!

Today my legs are tired, but no pain, no cramps. And my “under-50” PR is a sweet victory. So how is your weekend going!

Friday, June 10, 2005

Midnight Race Results

As Mia so accurately predicted: A new PR in the 10K - 49:51! What can I say I just couldn't resist;) Not bad for having just run a marathon three weeks ago, my wife is only worried that my ego doesn't fit through the door anymore! I'll give a full race report whenever I crawl out of bed tomorrow.

Thanks for believing in me Mia!

Blood, Blonds, Breakfast, and Billy Boy

With my 10K race coming up tonight I decided to take last night off. Of course this doesn’t mean that I kicked my feet up in front of the TV, no first I went to the garden, cut the grass, pulled weeds, flirted with our garden neighbors wife (she’s 78 and still beautiful) and then went home and kicked my feet up. My wife had a hard day at work, so came home, ate, crawled onto the couch, gave me her “don’t bug me or I will kill you look”, pulled the blanket over her head and went to sleep. When I came back from the garden she was still asleep and basically held this position until I called it an early night and went to bed. This morning she was back to her normal self, the sleep worked wonders.

I was at the doctor’s this morning for blood test and EKG, I have to call on Monday for the results. I asked about a stress test (running on the treadmill) and was informed I would need to make an appointment with a sports medicine specialist. Okaaay.

The worst part of having the appointment this morning is that I wasn’t allowed to eat or drink before the appointment. Jack without coffee and breakfast is not a pleasant scene. Luckily the nurse that drew blood was pretty, blond and had a smile that caused my blood pressure to surge. For a few short moments I forgot all about being hungry and immensely enjoyed getting stuck with a needle and having my blood drawn. “What done already, are you sure you don’t need a pint!” “Wait, wait don’t go…the blood is much better in my other arm…” ;-)

Anyway after my appointment I was in dire need of breakfast and a cup of coffee, so I stopped at the bakery/coffee shop in the same part of town and had a cup of coffee and a couple super sweet go-immediately-into-sugar-overdose danish. So after a tank full of caffeine and a zillion new calories I drove on to work hoping that something is wrong with me so I can see the blond again next week (no not really).

10K Race Strategy

My goal tonight is to finish in under 60 minutes. Wait, wait, wait, Jack yesterday you said you want to at least beat last year’s time of 54:36...yes I said that. I probably still will, but last night while pulling weeds I decided that tonight is not the time to try to break PR’s because I have officially started my Marathon II training and do not need to be stressing the muscles out. I want to run at least 21KM on Sunday – that means tonight I am going to TRY to just go and run for fun. Any of you who know me by now, will believe me just about as much as we all believed Bill Clinton when he said he didn’t inhale!

"When I was in England, I experimented with marijuana a time or two, and I didn't like it. I didn't inhale and never tried it again." –Bill Clinton

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Marathon II Training

I was looking over my training plan for the next marathon in September last night. I first thought about following about the same plan as the last marathon, running 14K/8.7M every other day and a long run every second Saturday.

With my new interest in weight training (WT) I am thinking more in this direction:
Monday: 14K/8.7M fast run at near marathon pace
Tuesday: WT plus 10-15 min. jog
Wednesday: 14K/8.7M run with some hill climbing.
Thursday: WT plus 10-15 min. jog
Friday: Rest
Saturday: Long run or 18K/11.2M run.
Sunday: WT plus cross-training or 5-10K run.

This works out to between 52-68K (32-42M) a week, depending on the length of the long run. This is a couple KM more per week than what I was running while training for the first marathon, but not a significant change.

My goal for Marathon II is 4:30! I am hoping that my added WT will improve my overall muscle fitness and leave me in better condition before race day. I would love to get up to 80-90K (50-56M) a week, but my wife would throw a fit! Based on several of my half-marathon times I do believe that I could run a marathon in 4 hours or less if I could invest more time for training. However, between my family, job and other hobbies I can’t foresee this happening any time soon.

This kind of leads me back down the road to Marathon I. I finished, which in itself was a major accomplishment which I am overjoyed that I could experience in my lifetime.

My original plan for this year was to run my first marathon in September (not May), following an almost 32 week training cycle. The Mannheim marathon (in May) was a mostly impulsive decision probably made while experiencing a running high or something. Yes I finished, but I know that I cut a lot of corners in my training to get there. For all practical purposes I consolidated 32 weeks training into 17, technically possible, but it just did not work quite as well as I thought it would.

It is interesting for me to note that I finished my long runs as planned (except for the one problem run). However I didn’t finish strong, in other words they pretty much wiped me out. When I think about it this should have been a good indicator to SLOW DOWN during my marathon.

Anyway I am trying to build up my endurance somehow over the next few months so that I am running stronger. My theory is that by running one of my 14K runs a week at near marathon pace (6:00K/9:39M) and incorporating some hill climbs with my second 14K run I can gradually build my endurance. More mileage would probably help more, but time is a major problem.

Well we’ll see what happens, stay tuned!

10K Race Training

After another busy day at work I was ready for a nice run by the time I got home last night. I considered taking my roller to our garden club so I could run my hill route again, but the storm clouds were rolling in and I frankly don’t like to drive my roller in the rain. My legs were also a bit tired from my rather fast paced 14K/8.7M run on Monday night (or my WT?). In any case with my 10K race coming up tomorrow night (Friday) I decided to run my 9.2K/5.7M route. I had planned on running at a nice easy 6:15-6:30K/10:04-10:28M pace, but as usual I pushed it. I averaged a 5:25K/8:43M pace and felt really good about it!

Tomorrow night at 7:30 is a 10K run in Ettlingen, an old historical town right next to the city of Karlsruhe. I am meeting a few (3-5) of my coworkers at the start. Last year it started pouring down rain right after we finished the run, so we didn’t stick around for the festivities. This year we are hoping we can at least get a beer in after the race. I read in the newspaper this morning that about a thousand participants are expected and that there will be live music.

The route consists of 3 laps around the older part of the city, with all the old timber-frame houses and such. It’s a nice scenic route, but the streets are brutal, 2.3K asphalt and about 1K cobblestone with each lap. My legs hurt for days after last year’s race. My race goal is to break last years time of 54:36 (5:28/K or 8:46M). The way I have been training this week I should be able to do this with one leg tied behind my back. A new PR would be nice, but trying to break 50:35 on these hard streets is just asking for injury, so this is not a priority!

Summary of Last Night's Training:

1 set 15 pushups, 1 set 25 sit-ups;
9.2K/5.7M run; total time 0:49:52.
1 set 15 pushups, 1 set 25 sit-ups;
Cool down.
Conditions: 16:15; 17C/63F, humid, windy, dark clouds (rained soon after).
Feeling after training: Legs tired, but emotionally high!

Diet Stats:

No change from yesterday.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Yesterday I had a rather productive day at work, finishing a couple proofreading projects, got a good start on translating a presentation for one of the applications dudes and even had time to work on my own technical manuals! This boosted the moral somewhat. The highlight of the day was getting home and doing my weight training, I’m really starting to enjoy this. I’ve been taking a 2K run right after this, it seems to loosen everything up a little. Yesterday I left my watch at home and just let my body set the pace – all in all a very satisfying workout. This was reflected in my sleep, I slept a good 7 hours and feel very refreshed this morning. Good thing, I have mountains of work to move this week!

Summary of Last Night's Training:

1 set 15 pushups, 1 set 25 sit-ups;
1 set of weight training (WT) exercises;
1 set 15 pushups, 1 set 25 sit-ups;
2K run (left the stopwatch home!)
1K walk (cool down)
1 set 15 pushups, 1 set 25 sit-ups;
Cool down.
Conditions: 16:30; 17C/63F, cloudy.
Feeling after training: Very good.

Diet Stats:

Wake-up weight this morning: 76kg/167.5lbs
Weight lost since 01/01/2005: 4kg/8.8lbs
Goal weight by the end of June: 74kg/163lbs
Goal weight by Christmas: 70kg/154lbs

Other ramblings:

Did you hear about the jogger that was killed by a bear in Canmore Alberta, Canada? Frolicking Filly mentioned it to me yesterday, today it appeared in the German newspaper. Kind of overshadow's the problems I have with ocassional agressive dogs...

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Stressful Week Ahead

I have a lot of stress from work this week due to looming deadlines. I had a hard time getting to sleep last night do to thinking about this and a zillion other things. I slept maybe 4 1/2 hours, compared to my normal 7+. This is making it difficult to stay on my diet. Even the running didn't help so much last night.

On Friday night I am running a 10K race. I am going to treat this as a fun run as I don't want to tear up my body too much. There are a couple 10K runs in October-November where I can try to work on a new PR, but first I want to get my half-marathon (July) and marathon out of the way (September).

Summary of Last Night's Training:

1 set 15 pushups, 1 set 25 sit-ups;
14K/8.7M run; first 10K in 54:03, total time 1:16:57.
1 set 15 pushups, 1 set 25 sit-ups;
Cool down.
Conditions: 16:15; 17C/63F, humid, windy, dark clouds (rained soon after).
Feeling after training: Body really good, soul still down.

Diet Stats:

No change from yesterday.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Two Deaths by Stuttgart Half-marathon

My wife (of course) saw this right away in the newspaper this morning.

Translated and summarized:

"The high festive, record-breaking participation in the Stuttgart Newspaper Run was overshadowed by the death of two runners, 28 and 42 years old, who collapsed near the end of the Stuttgart Halfmarathon course yesterday (Sunday). In both cases they were rushed to the hospital where doctors tried unsuccesfully to revive them. At least one of them had a cold or other illness on race day. Further investigation is under way."

Kind of scary...

Of course this is new ammo for my wife who is paranoid anyway about my running - I had to promise her that I would have another medical check-up before my marathon in September. I'm also not allowed to race with a cold anymore...

p.s. Appointment already made for Friday morning.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Running Stat Update / Mindful Ponderings

Not much going on in the run department today. I completed my third weight training day, love it! I tried to concentrate on doing the exercises correctly...needs a little more work.

Congrats to all of those who raced this weekend!

Summary of Today's Training:

1 set 15 pushups, 1 set 25 sit-ups;
1 set of weight training (WT) exercises;
1 set 15 pushups, 1 set 25 sit-ups;
2K run (10:49 minutes)
1K walk (cool down)
1 set 15 pushups, 1 set 25 sit-ups;
Cool down.
Conditions: 15:30; 22C/71F, cloudy, slight wind.
Feeling after training: Great.

Diet Stats:

Oops, gained a pound since the long run yesterday!

Mileage Stats:

Total mileage this week: 51K/32M
Total mileage in May: 148K/98M
Total mileage this month to date: 40K/25M
Total mileage this year to date: 1013K/630M
Total Race mileage this year to date: 111K/69M (1x20K run, 2xHM, 1xM, 1x8.88889K)

Other Pondering Thoughts

For those of you who think you didn't finish your last race fast enough be sure to read John Bingham's No Need for Speed - Racing the Gremlins (yeah I read it)!

Here is a couple bits to get the gist of it:

"Ever hear a little voice in your head? Be honest. It doesn't mean you're crazy. Well, it might mean you're crazy depending on what the little voice is telling you."

"The Gremlin tells you that no matter how much you've improved your life or your running, you still have a long way to go."

"Gremlins are everywhere, at every pace. They tell a novice runner that pain is weakness leaving the body. They tell runners that an injury is no reason to walk off a race course."

"The next time you find yourself questioning your performance, ask yourself whose voice it is that you're hearing in your head. Are you hearing a supportive voice? If not, it's the voice of your Gremlin."

Saturday, June 04, 2005

First Long Run after Marathon Recovery

Yesterday (Friday) was my rest day, my only exercise was a 30 minute walk during lunch with a co-worker.

This morning I got up early, had a small breakfast, then hit the trail. When I started out I really wasn’t sure if my body was recovered enough for a longer run, so I brought my CamelBak and a couple sports bars and just headed out. I completed the first 10K in 60:03, almost exactly what my planned “marathon pace” for September is. I was still feeling really good, everything was working like a well oiled machine, so I kept going. I slowed down a little bit and ran the next 10K in about 66:00. Towards the end of this stretch my legs were starting to get a little tight so I turned and headed home. The total distance that I ran was about 24K/15M, in 2:29:54, which is an average pace of 6:15/K (10:02/M). My legs are kind of sore, but no problems with cramps, pain or anything like this. I think it was just about the right distance to start up my long runs again. We’ll see in two weeks when I try 26K/16.1M!

Summary of Today’s Training:

1 set 15 pushups, 1 set 25 sit-ups;
24K/15M run (1x 1min. pee break and 1x 1min. walking break to eat sports bar).
1 set 15 pushups, 1 set 25 sit-ups;
Cool down.
Conditions: 07:00; 22C/71F, humid, partly sunny, no wind.
Feeling after training: Legs very tired, but no cramps, pain or other surprises.

Diet Stats:

Still stuck on 76K/167.5lbs..

Friday, June 03, 2005

Poll: Should we run a race to win or just for fun?

With only two weight training (WT) sessions behind me I am already discovering that this is the missing link in my overall fitness program. Despite the low weight that I use my muscles still let me know the next morning that I have treated them with some strenuous exercise that was previously almost foreign. I like the way the body feels after going through my routine, the tightness of various muscle groups etc. Maybe it’s just newbie enthusiasm, but I feel totally energized by this new addition to my fitness program.

Summary of Last Night's Training:

1 set 15 pushups, 1 set 25 sit-ups;
1 set of weight training (WT) exercises;
1 set 15 pushups, 1 set 25 sit-ups;
2K run (11:53 minutes)
1K walk (cool down)
1 set 15 pushups, 1 set 25 sit-ups;
Cool down.
Conditions: 16:30; 27C/80F, warm, sunny, slight wind.
Feeling after training: Legs not as sore as first WT session.

Diet Stats:

No change from yesterday.

Other Ponderings:

I was talking to a gent in my garden club the other day, who I discovered is a former marathon runner (4x). At 67 years old he no longer has ambitions for such long races, so limits himself to a few select 10K each year. What was interesting is that he said he was never a competitive runner, that is he was always content to just run for the fun of it, he never worried about how long it took to cross the finish line. That said, he ran his first marathon at age 49 in 3:39:00! I mentioned that I needed quite a bit longer than he did for my first. His reply was that he had been running for 10 years before this so was pretty fit. He added that he probably could have finished in 3:15:00 or less if he had really wanted too...hmmmm...okaaaay!

So what do you think about this, should we always run races as a race (e.g. as fast as possible) or should we just run a race for the sheer joy of running? Or, as an example, how would you feel if you ran a 10K in 60 minutes when you know you could do it in 50 on a bad day?

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Just Want to Say Thanks Again!

For those of you who followed my marathon cause, I just want to say thanks again for your support. It was hard, it was emotional, it was a life experience that I will treasure!

I am a bit of a perfectionist, so my first reaction was "I didn't meet my time goal!" But now that my head is clear, I remember that my goal was to finish not to meet any time goal! Somewhere between my last long run and the marathon I got obsessed with the idea that I had to finish within a certain time, which basically backfired.

Today I am taking a minute to pat myself on the back and say "You did it man, mission accomplished!"

Head for the Hills

I live in an area where the only “hill” is the utility bridge that passes over the local highway. Based on my experience in the military, I know that running hills is an excellent way to build endurance. This is particularly relevant for my next major run, a half-marathon in the Black Forest on July 15th. I ran this HM last year (2:06:24), the run consists of two loops along a trail containing a couple heartbreaking climbs.

As many of you know we belong to a garden club in a town approximately 11K/7M from where we live. Standing in our garden I see a nice stretch of hills on the other side of the town, part of which are used for vineyards by the local wine-producers. Anyway last night I took my scooter to the garden, suited up and literally headed for the hills.

After running about 15 minutes over the fields and through the woods I reached the base of the “mountain” and started my ascent. The steep, forest covered, partially asphalt trail wound it’s way upwards in what ended up being a brutal 12 minute 22 second climb. I loved it! The best part was at the top, it seems the local sports club has set up an exercise trail where you run along and approximately every 200 meters stop at an exercise station and do whatever the sign shows (e.g. chin-ups, push-ups, sit-ups, various balancing etc.). Of course the first station that I saw at the top of the hill was the chin-up bar, so I had to try it (not easy after the hill climb). Anyway, the top of the hill ended up being a plateau of sorts with lots of little hills where you can run up and down till your hearts content. I sailed around for awhile then headed back to the garden, running altogether about 75 minutes. What a challenging and rewarding run. After running on the flat land for more than two years, I just ate this trail up!

The elevation difference from the base of the mountain to the top of my major climb was of about 100 meters (328 feet). The elevation difference for the HM in July is 65 meters (213 feet). In any case this trail will provide some excellent training for my HM.

Naturally my legs are a bit sore this morning, validating the quality of hill running. I also had a bug fly directly into my eye as I was coming down the hill last night - this morning my eye is still a bit red and sore.

Summary of Last Night's Training:

1 set 15 pushups, 1 set 25 sit-ups;
~12K/7.5M run, including 12 minute hill climb, 20 minutes of rolling hills, 11 minute downhill.
1 set 15 pushups, 1 set 25 sit-ups;
Cool down.
Conditions: 16:45; 24C/75F, warm, sunny, no wind.
Feeling after training: Legs like lead, but totally satisfied.

Diet Stats:

No change from yesterday.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

At Peace with my Diet & Training

The Diet seems to be working in the moment, I am really concentrating on what’s going in the mouth. No secret formulas, just reduced quantities of healthy eats. It’s not easy, but I’m trying to be rock steady here!

My shoulders ache worse today than the day after my first weight training. After reviewing my “training plan” with my better half I decided that I should try to do my weight training on Tuesday's and Thursday's and Sunday's.

Last Night's Training:

1 set 15 pushups, 1 set 25 situps;
9.2K run, including 2 x 1KM intervals at 10K pace
1 set 15 pushups, 1 set 25 situps;
Cooldown & stretched.

Feeling after training: Inspired, satisfied! Muscles felt like they had a good workout, but no aches or pains.

Diet Stats:

Wake-up weight this morning: 76kg/167.5lbs
Weight lost since 01/01/2005: 4kg/8.8lbs
Goal weight by the end of June: 74kg/163lbs
Goal weight by Christmas: 70kg/154lbs

Other ramblings:

After talking with various experienced runners that I know I have come to the conclusion that there is not any single reason why I had such painful muscle cramps (or spasms) during the second half of my marathon.

My own personal feeling is that I got over eager and went out too fast for my state of health (had a cold), the weather (humid), and overall limited marathon training. Instead of running to “finish” I ran to break a time limit (4:15-4:30).

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