Saturday, July 30, 2005

A Very Satisfying Long Run!

I’m really not big on birthdays, I do appreciate it when someone says happy birthday to me (thanks guys!). Some families have big parties, fork out lots of money, make a big to do. My birthday started out by getting up at 5:45 a.m., having a small breakfast, suiting up and hitting the trail for my long run at 6:15.

My goal was to run three and a half hours or about 32K/20M at approximately a 6:15/K (10:04/M) pace or slower. On Thursday it was 36C/97F, this morning my first birthday present was a temperature of 18C/65F, a gentle refreshing breeze, and overcast skies – ideal running weather!

I took the same route as my run last Saturday. This approx. 32K/20M route consists of:

- A 1K run through town.
- An almost perfectly straight 11K/7M asphalt-covered bike path to the City of Karlsruhe;
- A right turn;
- Another right turn;
- A 13K/8M long almost perfectly straight, asphalt-covered bike path back and past my town;
- A 3K/2M winding gravel-covered path circling back to my normal running trail;
- Approx. a 5K/3.1M gravel or asphalt-covered trail back home.

As I have said at the end of all my runs on these asphalt trails – I hate asphalt. By the first turn around (11K) my legs were already painful from the pounding. I did my best to ignore this and keep going. My pace was good 6:00/K (9:39/M), marathon tempo. I was able to maintain this almost to the second for the first 25K/15.5M. This was my mini goal as I need to maintain at least this speed next Saturday for my 25K race!

After the 25K point I slowed down some, my legs were throbbing from running the first 24K on pure asphalt and concrete trails. I was thankful when this finally gave way to gravel. As I finally reached my familiar running trail and the last 5K back home I was thinking how well the run was going so far. Other than the now-familiar-pain in my legs from running on asphalt I had no problems at all, the ankle was fine, energy level good, no complaints.

As I rounded the last corner I noticed my time was 3:15:00, so took an extra loop around a neighboring field, eventually ending my run at 3:20:01. I am fairly confident that I ran at least 32K/20M or more, but I cut the run 10 minutes short of my 3:30 goal. Oh well, I have a longer race next weekend.

I am very satisfied with my run today. My pace was very consistent, I didn't take any breaks other than one to play doggie and water a tree. I still had energy after the run, I didn't have to collapse on the couch for a nap. I am hoping that the pain in my legs from running the hard trails will dissipate on the next couple long runs. This is really the only factor that I need to consider at this point.

After the run I walked for about 10 minutes in the hope that this would keep my legs from cramping so fast. I then stretched, lay on the living room floor for awhile with my legs elevated on a chair for 10 minutes, then soaked in a cool bath for awhile. My legs felt pretty good after this. My wife prepared a pancake breakfast in the meantime and I was able to do some post carbo-loading.

Now, about 5 hours after finishing my run, my legs are sore, but I am getting around okay. My neighbor stopped by a couple hours ago and asked if my wife could print out a couple signs for his Small Animal Club’s yearly festival. He raises rabbits (for meat) and is the club president. When he came back an hour later to pick up the signs he surprised me with a Black Forest Cake (lots of cherries, chocolate, whipped cream with cherry schnapps) for my birthday. His wife has her own bake shop in their shed. She is baking hundreds of rolls for the festival. We are going over later for some grilled chicken and a couple pints!

Tomorrow I may skip my weight training again, I need recovery time before my race next Saturday. Next week I am on vacation, a little quality time with the missus.

Have a nice weekend!

Friday, July 29, 2005

Long Run Tomorrow

Tomorrows my birthday (46) and to celebrate I'm going to get up at 6 a.m. and run 3-1/2 hours - about 32K/20M! If this sounds crazy it fits to my last few days at work, trying to get the desk cleared off before vacation next week.

I skipped weight training last night, with 36C/97F temperatures I figured an extra days rest would be more effective. Today is my rest day.

Have a nice weekend:)

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Running on the Heat Wave

When I got home from work yesterday it was a miserable 34C/93F, hot AND humid! Blah…

Having been brain damaged from a couple summers on the coast of southern Georgia, where temperatures reached as high as 42C/108F (recorded) and as high as 46C/115F (unofficial) in some of the tanks that I used to repair while in the army, I suited up, warmed up and headed out the door.

Now one thing I learned while in the military is that when it’s hot and humid you have to slow things down. So with this in mind I tried (really hard) to maintain a 6:15/K (10:04) tempo. I did pretty good the first 5K, which was all over open fields, no shade, asphalt or gravel paths. Whatever brain cells that didn’t dissolve in Georgia dissipated during this first 5K. I was really thankful when I finally reached the wood line, it was almost like running into the refrigerator. By this time I was running in kind of a daze, daydreaming about a tall cool drink probably.

I kept picking up the pace for the next 8K, then slowed down during the last 3K when I again headed out over open fields. By the 14K/8.7M point I was so pooped from the heat that didn't even have to think about slowing down, it just came naturally. My average pace for the 16K/10M run: 5:54/K (9:30/M). Fast considering the heat, but 10 seconds slower per kilometer than I have been training lately.

In any case I was soaked with sweat and my running shirt had white salt streams marking the major sweat zones. My wife made the comment, something to the effect of, “Normal people don’t go running in this heat!” I’m not normal, I’m a marathon runner ;-)

My legs were pretty tired, I think that this had a little bit to do with not bringing any water with me. Last summer I regularly ran 14K/8.7M runs without bringing any replacement liquids with me. This summer’s 16K/10M route is in the red zone by this heat, over an hour and a half of running without refueling is pushing the limit. I may need to start wearing the CamelBak if the heat wave continues.

In any case Saturday is a long run, my goal is 3½ hours, which is about 30-32K (18-20M). Rain is expected and temperatures are only supposed to reach 25C/77F, so it should be a bit more bearable, especially at 6:30 a.m. when I start out.

Today temperatures are expected to reach 37C/99F, so I may just skip my weight training (with 3K jog) and just take an extra day of rest.

p.s. The heat is good for my diet. My weight was down to 74kg (163lbs) right after my marathon in May, but shot up to 76kg (167.5lbs) soon after. I have been hovering at this weight ever since until this past week. I finally have it back down to 74kg. With all the running I have planned for the next 5 weeks I hope I can at least keep it there this time. On the other side 70kg (155lbs) would be nice.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Legs Better; Weight Training During M-Training?

My legs are feeling better this morning, still a little soreness and my ankle still has a twinge of pain when I walk down stairs. This pain started a week ago last Monday after I twisted my ankle while stumbling over a piece of wood in my workshop. Of course it didn’t bother me right after this so I did my 14K/8.7M run that night. It was first later in the evening when I walked upstairs that the fun started. I’m speculating that my hilly half-marathon from the same weekend also played a part in this injury.

In any case I did part of my weight training last night (just upper body exercises) than did a really slow jog for about 3K/2M. The first few minutes my legs, especially my right thigh were really sore, but once I warmed up I didn’t notice it anymore. Other than the first few minutes of each run over the past week I really have not had a problem with my ankle as far as running goes. The ankle is really stiff when I start out, sometimes I would even get a twinge of pain if I took too long of a stride, but any discomfort would subside once I warmed up. Freaky!

I have a 16K/10M hill run on my schedule for tonight, but think I will take my normal flat route to reduce strain on the ankle. I am more concerned about my 30K/18.6M long run on Saturday. I will probably drop my weight training (and jog) on Thursday night and take an extra day rest.

Spouse Training

After reading some of the comments from you wonderful guys, I see that juggling training schedules with mates is as fastidious as any other part of race training. Some have it easier than others - count your blessings!

I made it a point to sit down and spend a little time with my wife when I got home last night, just to remind her that I am interested. Usually I suit up and do my weight training right away. From this conversation I was able to gleam a few things for my to-do list that would gain favor from my spouse. After running a few errands, I sat down for a meal of my wife’s delicious (yep, I made sure she know’s this) zucchini-lasagna, then went in the shed for some cross-training. This consisted of scraping and sanding rust off our cargo-trailer getting it ready for painting. I think it was somehow satisfying for my wife to see me all dirty and sweaty from a little honest work, rather than just from running!

Finally about 7 p.m. I suited up and did my weight training. I asked my wife tenderly if she would like to accompany me on her bike when I jog, but she already had her feet propped up on the couch so declined.

To Weight Train or Not To Weight Train (during M-training)

A while back Jon was asking if I would keep doing my weight training during my peak marathon training period. At that time I assumed that I would be able to continue, as I really don’t workout with much weight. However, as I emerge into this timeframe I foresee that I may indeed need to decrease the number of WT sessions and maybe even put off WT until after the marathon. My almost (July 30th) 46 year old body just doesn’t seem to recover quickly enough.

For those of you who participate in regular weight training, what has been your experience when preparing for a race? Have you had to stop or make adjustments? I know I have read that one should not do any weight training the last week or two before a major race (e.g. HM, M).

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Oh my legs...

I woke up this morning with a running hangover, I ran my 16K/10M run last night, the first 12K with a pace of 5:27/K (8:47/M). This morning my legs feel like my head would if I found the bottom of a tequila bottle. I have made the transition from overeating when I’m stressed out to overrunning, makes me want to cuss.

In any case I finally gained control over my emotions by the 12K point and slowed my tempo way down, too late - the damage was already done. My legs are tired and sore today and a constant reminder that I have to deal with some issues in my life.

Thank you to those who commented concerning my rather dark post yesterday, I appreciate you guys! My wife is going through a low in the moment and I haven’t found the right secret formula to help her much yet. In any case I am not making any plans for my vacation next week, I mentioned to my wife that we will do whatever she was a notion to do. Somehow I have to find a way to open the windows and let a little fresh air in on her situation.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Confessions of an Obsessive Runner

Yesterday afternoon my wife feel asleep on the couch so I went through my weight training routine, then went for a jog. The temperature was a mild 26C/79F so I decided to go an extra lap, 6K/3.7M, but at a reasonable slow pace (6:01/K, 9:40/M). I felt good after the run, not aches or pains. When I returned my wife was awake and I received the greeting "What, you were out running again?"

What’s gnawing at the back of my head?

Whenever my grandfather had some problem bugging him he would say that he had something “Gnawing at the back of his head.” Well lately I have had something gnawing at the back of my head like a woodpecker.

Sometime or other in the Spring I asked if any of you with non-running spouses/friends have any trouble with them supporting your “sport”. I mentioned that my wife is not necessarily overjoyed with my new found passion, only tolerant. To her credit she stood by me for all my half-marathons and marathon this year, keeping the water bottle full.

But my wife is currently home now until she starts a new job on August 15. She has a lot more time to think, and lately she has been thinking that my running is currently taking up entirely too much of my time. And after reading my training plan for the next two months this weekend the little comments started popping up: “Are you going to have any time for me?” “I hope you’re not planning to run any more marathons this year!” “You know you haven’t helped me around the house so much lately!”

Now any of you who have followed my running so far this year know I am totally obsessed with running. Running has become in intricate part of my life, I rarely have any problem getting out the door, I have more of a problem trying to rein myself in so I don’t over-train. I also take my running to extremes, most people I know run only a couple races a year. I’ve already run 8 races this year including 3 half-marathons and a marathon.

I have tried to compromise with my wife, I spent less time in the garden this year (we used to never have weeds!), I didn’t go in my woodworking shop very often, I tried to spend some time cooking, cleaning or ironing - little things to keep the missus happy. Well, since my wife has been home (3 weeks) I have been slacking up, no cooking, no ironing, too many nights in the workshop. My wife used to have school Monday and Wednesday nights, so she really didn’t notice how long my runs took on those nights, but now it is summer break. Add the fact that my training is REALLY intensifying over the next 5 weeks and you have the makings of a dilemma.

Now for all but the blind (and the obsessed) it is clear that I am overdoing it a bit with the racing this year. I originally had only planned on the one marathon in September, but couldn’t wait so ran one in May. So I guess you can say I have been asking for trouble.

So in any case I am pondering how I can keep the peace for the next 8 weeks until my marathon. I’ve come up with the following strategy:
- Take a week vacation next week and try to spend some quality time with my wife. Whatever she wants to do is fine with me. I will try to schedule my training around her schedule.
- Lock my workshop door and let my woodworking hobby go for awhile.
- Make a conscious effort to stop talking, reading or referring to running in any shape or form in front of my wife.
- Make a conscious effort to do those chores around the house that my wife is so fond of me doing.
- Don’t make any more race plans for the rest of the year (this is the hardest).

My last resort, break-glass-in-case-of-fire antidote is to axe my training by half and just run the half-marathon in September. The very thought of this is gut-wrenching, but my sweety is that important!

How do you guys find balance with your training and families? Or is this not a problem for you?

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Asphalt is still not my friend.

Yesterday morning I woke up at 06:00, ate a light breakfast, suited up, stretched and headed out the door about 06:30. My goal was 22K/13.7M of asphalt trail at my proposed marathon pace, which is about 6:00/K (9:39/M).

The weather was ideal, 16C/61F and cool. It was still kind of humid, but not as bad as recent days. My ankle seemed to be fine, but my legs were pretty stiff, despite a day of rest on Friday.

After winding through town for about 1K, I took what my boss fondly calls “the most boring trail in Germany,” a straight out and straight back, asphalt-covered trail from my town (Stutensee-Friedrichstal) to the nearby city of Karlsruhe and back again. No arguments with my boss, I chose this trail just for this reason – part of training for a marathon is to train the mind as well as the body. My theory is if I can keep my mind occupied over this straightaway, then the marathon trail will be a piece of cake!

But the main reason I picked this route is that it is 100% concrete or asphalt trails. As early as the halfway point my legs were begging for mercy, hard streets are not my friend. The asphalt portions of the trail (80%) were the worst, they had crowned middles (sloping downwards on both sides from the middle) for draining the water off quickly when it rains. This trail is brutal on the legs. By around the 15K (9M) point my legs were sore from the pounding. I trudged on trying my best to ignore this, I knew it was nothing serious and I tried to remind myself that was the main reason I took this trail.

I was glad when I finally crossed the final highway and headed back into my town, my ankle was feeling a little weird again – no pain per se, but something not right. Having measured the trail with my bicycle on Thursday night I was able to monitor my pace at several points. I did a fairly good job maintaining my 6:00/K (9:39/M) pace, finishing the 22K/13.7M medium-long run in 2:09:09. This works out to an average pace of 5:52/K (9:27/M).

My legs were sore, really sore, worse than my 30K/18.6M long run a couple weeks ago. I tried to work in my woodworking shop later in the morning, but found myself having to sit down a lot, my legs were that sore.

There are a couple fairly logical reasons why my legs were probably kaput:

1. No extra days of rest after my half-marathon race last weekend.
2. An increase in overall running mileage this week.
3. I wore my new Brooks Radius running shoes for the first time on a longer run.
4. All of the above.

Continuing my self-evaluation, there are a couple other potential influences on my overall running this week:

1. I had at least 4 nights of inadequate sleep this week.
2. My diet is out of whack this week = junk!
3. I twisted my ankle last Monday.
4. I’m currently experiencing a total meltdown in my time management scheduling.

Today my legs are better, I want to do my weight training, followed by a short jog this evening. I am curious how I will feel after this.

Marathon Ponderings:

Taking a quick look at my spreadsheet I have 5 intensive weeks of marathon training before the door, followed by 3 weeks of tapering. Eight weeks until the marathon (Sept. 18)!

Next weekend is a 30K/18.6 long run on the schedule (July 30, my birthday), followed by:

- A 25K (15.5M) race on August 6;
- A 32K (19.9M) long run on August 13;
- A 22K (13.7M) medium long run on August 20;
- A 34K (21.1M) long run on August 27;
- A 22K (13.7M) medium long run on September 3;
- Tapering until marathon on September 18.

If I survive this than the marathon should go smoothly. This is particularly important for me, as I don’t know if I can find enough time to train at such intensity next year.

Friday, July 22, 2005

25K Bike Ride, Ankle Improving!

A busy, busy day ahead of me so have to keep this short (finally?). Last night I did the upper body portions of my weight training, trying to avoid any undo stress on my right ankle. Rather than going for a jog afterwards, I took a 24K/15M bike ride on my mountain bike (average speed 25 km/h). I basically marked out a 22K/13.6M medium-long-run for Saturday. No problem with the right ankle.

This morning my ankle is much better, I could even climb the stairs at the train station without experiencing any pain. I need to keep an eye on it though. Today is a rest day, not training! Tomorrow morning, 0600 – medium long run!

Thursday, July 21, 2005

New 16K Route; New Pain in Ankle!

Last night I added about 2K to my 14K/8.7M route, bringing the distance up to about 16K/10M. I finished the first 8K with a pace of 5:38/K (9:04/M). At this point I turned off my normal trail and took an extra loop on one corner so can only guesstimate on the rest of the run. I ran a total of 1:35:25 in any case, it probably was slightly further than 16K. I want to check this out with my bicycle this weekend.

I am trying to bring my mileage up to about 64K/40M per week for a normal week and 75K/46M on a long run week (every 2nd).

In comparison, with the training for my first marathon in May I ran an average of 56K/35M per week during a normal week and up to 63K/39M on long run week.

I'm hoping the added mileage will help me hold up during the second half of the marathon in September.

Monday I tripped over a piece of wood in my workshop and twisted my ankle some. It didn’t bother me on my run that night, but the last couple days I have had pain when I walk up and down stairs. Tuesday night I didn’t notice any pain when I ran (27 min.), so I tried it again last night. No pain when I run, I don’t even notice anything out of the ordinary. It only seems to be when I walk up and down stairs. Strange! In any case I think I will just do my upper body weight training tonight and not run. Tomorrow (Friday) is rest day so I can stay off my feet a little more. I would like to do a medium run 22K/13.6M Saturday morning, but if the ankle still seems to be sore than I will cut this down, or maybe even not run :-0

I am getting my weight back under control, I gained a couple pounds last weekend on our mini-vacation. One more pound and I’ll be back where I left off last Thursday. Long sigh!

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Signed up for 25K Race Last Night

I signed up for the 25K (15.5M) Bellheimer Summer Nights Run (Sommernachtslauf) last night. This race is held on August 6th in Bellheim, Rhineland-Pfalz, about 40 minutes from where we live. This race is considered one of the milestones for the Baden Marathon in September. If you recall this is the second marathon that I am training for this year.

There are a couple things that make this run special:

1. It’s slightly longer than a half-marathon.

2. It starts at 7:30 p.m. (when it’s cooler)

3. It has a time limit:

- You have to complete the first 12K in 1:15:00 – 6:15/K (10:04/M) average pace
- You have to complete the first 19K in 2:00:00 – 6:19/K (10:10/M) average pace
- You have to finish the 25K in less than 2:30:00 – 6:00/K (9:39/M) average pace

If you don’t pass the 12K and 19K point in the allocated time, you are removed from the race.

4. The entire race is on roads or asphalt-covered trails.

5. The race is slightly larger than a lot of the area races, approx. 1500 runner's are expected.

So basically you have to average 6:00/K (9:39) for the entire 25K. In theory this is no problem for me, I just ran my half-marathon with an average pace of 5:27/K (8:47/M), but if I have a bad day anything could happen.

Here is a picture of the race route:

If you read my race report from this past weekend you might have noticed that I said that another runner was staying at the Bed & Breakfast on Saturday. He ran his first marathon on Sunday in Hundseck. He mentioned that he was from Mannheim, so I was able to check the results and figured out his name. Through Google I found his homepage and signed his guestbook. I ended up getting an e-mail from him. He said he is planning to run at Bellheim too, so maybe we will bump into each other again. Cool!

Summary of Last’s Nights Training

I did my weight training last night for the first time in a week. My muscles are sore this morning as a result. I jogged almost 5K after the workout, trying to loosen up some. My right ankle is sore for some reason, I feel it especially when I go up and down stairs. I have to keep an eye on this.

Tonight I had planned on running my 14K hill route, but with my ankle being a little strange I think I will run my normal 14K route in case the ankle starts freaking out on me (lots of shortcuts back home). I imagine the muscles in the ankle are worn out still, I really didn’t give them much of a rest after my HM this past weekend.

Next week I want to increase my 14K (8.7 miles) routes to 16K (10 miles) in order to meet my training goals (e.g. mileage).

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

As I lay in bed counting race mile markers...

I didn’t sleep well last night, too much on my mind. Yep, I was laying in bed last night, counting race mile (KM) markers, trying to fall asleep and of course thinking about everything in the world. Here is a sampling:

1. Work - Around this time of year it starts getting really busy at work, the engineers clean off their desks getting ready for vacations, which normally means I am getting something to edit, proofread, or handle in some way, shape or form. This is my job, I’m not complaining about doing the work, I just wish they wouldn’t wait until the last minute and all feed me at once. I go through this every summer and again around Christmas, whine, whine and more whining.

2. Mom – For those new to my blog mom fell and broker her hip earlier this year and was laid up for awhile. She’s home now, getting around with help of a walker, and going to therapy twice a week to get the walking muscles back in shape. I worry about her a lot, at 77 she has had her share of problems.

3. Wifey – My wife is officially unemployed now. Although she has been promised a new position starting August 15th, she doesn’t have a contract yet. We are kind of nervous about this, the unemployment rate in Germany is going through the ceiling.

4. My Kids – Most of you probably don’t know that I am a father of 3 and grandfather of 2. My kids live in NY in the same region as their mother (my first wife) and they have their share of problems. I am terribly frustrated that I can’t do so much in the moment to help them.

5. Running – What? Running stressful? In a way yes, I feel like I am not doing enough of it (okay superman!). I think I’m doing pretty good with my running this year, breaking PR’s, putting in long mileage etc. But I am a bit paranoid about falling on my face again in September when I run my second marathon (M-II). During my first marathon I confirmed that I really am mere mortal and can have a bad race too! As a result I am trying to be more aggressive with my training so that M-II day will be less of a shock.

6. Woodworking - One of my other hobbies. I spent several hours building a router table yesterday - a design that should have taken several days. It ended up looking really lousy, even for this novice. I wish I had more time for this hobby (and patience).

7. Diet - After last weekend let's not talk about this:(

8. Time – I work too much, I train too much, I have too many hobbies. I need to spend more time with my wife, I need to run more, I need to sleep more, I need to catch up on a 101 other tasks. I vote for 36 hour days!

I’m not depressed or going nuts (yet), but I'm frustrated because I constantly have to juggle the schedule around to fit everything in. This past weekend was the first time in a long while where I just threw everything in the corner and didn’t worry about it for a few days. Most of the weekend was good quality time with my wife, totally necessary and desirable. But last night I lay in bed, feeling guilty about all the things in the corner...

Am I weird or do you go through phases like this too?

Monday, July 18, 2005

Marathon II Training Review

I skipped my weight training yesterday, figuring it was not the best idea the day after my half-marathon. I’m feeling fat and lazy as a result…blah!

I took a day vacation today so decided to do my run this morning. I left the house at about 7 a.m. taking my 14K/8.7M trail. I tried to take it really easy, but still averaged 6:00/K (9:40/M), not exactly a recovery pace. My legs were pretty stiff, but once I got warmed up the run went pretty well. I didn’t have my usual level of energy, but that’s understandable considering I just ran a hilly half-marathon.

Marathon II Training Review

I was reviewing my training schedule for my second marathon on September 18th (Baden Marathon). Next week I need to really start putting on the mileage. As with my first marathon I will be following a 14 day schedule:

1 – 16K/10M
2 – 3K/2M (WT)
3 – 16K/10M (hill route)
4 – 3K/2M (WT)
5 – Rest
6 – Medium run (22K/13.7M)
7 – 3K/2M (WT)
8 – 16K/10M
9 – 3K/2M (WT)
10 – 16K/10M (hill route)
11 – 3K/2M (WT)
12 – Rest
13 – Long run (30K/18.6M – 34K/21.1M)
14 – 3K/2M (WT) or Rest

This works out to about 64K/40M the first week, and up to 75K/47M on the long run week. If I can maintain this schedule, this will mean about a 25% increase in mileage over my first marathon training.

Tapering will start around the first of September, my marathon goal is a time of 4:30:00. That is an average pace of 6:24/K (10:18/M), normally I should be able to do this. Of course I thought that last time...

I plan on continuing to run my hill trail on Wednesday, and do all my long runs on at least 80% asphalt roads. The Baden Marathon in September is almost all concrete or asphalt roads. At least it's flat!

Other Ponderings:

I was just figuring out my average pace for the HM last Saturday, 5:27/K (8:47/M), pretty good considering the hill climbs. I think the hill trail that I have been taking on Wednesday nights really paid off, my breathing increased only slightly on the uphill grades. I really didn’t notice it so much.

The Hornisgrinde Marathon in Buehlertal was yesterday, 271 finishers, the best time 2:47:xx. The Start was in front of the tents that I posted yesterday. It is a different route than the half-marathon – down hill the first half, than uphill, the last 10K being a major hill climb. Hmm sounds like fun!

I am strongly considering running this marathon next year!

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Race Report Honisgrinde Half-Marathon July 16, 2005

On Saturday I ran the Buehlertal-Hundseck Honisgrinde Half-Marathon for the second year. Last year I ran the race as my first ever HM, with a time of 2:06:24. Race conditions last year were 28C/83F, sunny and warm.

The weather this year is part of my story and had some effect on my finish time. The short story is that this year I set a new personal route record, cutting off 11 minutes from my old record. This was still not good enough for a new HM personal record, but this was not one of my goals anyway for this race. Anyway the following text is my story, long-winded (I guess I didn’t run hard enough), so pour a cup of coffee, pull up a chair and bear with me.

My story begins on Friday, the day before the race. My wife and I decided to go a day early and stay overnight at a bed and breakfast in Buehlertal. When we made reservations the owners mentioned that we should show up at lunch time, or after 6 p.m. at night, as they had a working farm and would otherwise would be in the fields. So we decided to arrive at lunch time so that we could use the afternoon to play tourist. We arrived at the “Sonnenhof” (Sunny Farm) just before 12:00 and caught the farm wife preparing lunch for her husband. The farm house had a large upstairs with 8 rooms (with baths) that the family rented out to tourist in the summer and skiers in the winter.

We got settled in, had a picnic lunch that we brought with us and decided to check out the town and area. We drove the kilometer to the downtown area and checked out the local shops for a while, eventually stopping by the local tourist information center to see what was offered in the area. We noticed that one of the main attractions seemed to be a waterfall, which was conveniently on the way to Hundseck where my race was being held on Saturday. I wanted to check out the Start area for my half-marathon (HM) anyway, so we decided to stop and look at the waterfall.

This turned into the first adventure that we experienced on this trip. The waterfall was not on the main road, but about a 20 minute walk over rather hilly terrain. My wife felt up to it (despite the 32C/90F temperature) so we parked at a parking lot above the waterfall and hiked down to the falls. Having visited Niagara Falls at least a dozen times, I guess I had rather high expectations. The “waterfall” was actually a mountain stream that wound its way down to the valley below, we did not find anything larger than maybe a meter drop at any one time. We are still wondering if we missed the falls somewhere. The walk back just about killed my wife, as it was all uphill. I enjoyed it as it loosened up the muscles for the next day.

Wandering in Hundseck
Anyway once we got back to the car and got some oxygen for my wife we drove on to Hundseck to check out the Start line.

Hundseck is a local ski area, the tents where the start packets were be handed out were supposed to be located in a parking lot behind the ski lodge (left side of left picture above). Being the day before the race, I guess they didn’t set them up yet. The right picture above is a view down the mountain towards Buehlertal. The tents were still not set up, so we drove farther up the mountain to the next ski lodge and had some cake and coffee. After relaxing a while, we headed back down to Buehlertal and our room. My wife took a nap and I went for a short walk and took some pictures of the “farm”. The owner had 8 milk cows, numerous goats and some chickens. Not much compared to North American standards – it was obvious that they made most of their money from tourists.

Back on the Farm
After I returned we decided to go out for dinner at a restaurant that we had noticed nearby. I had a Black Forest specialty, beef, pork and lamb chunks with noodles and sauce, salad and for desert ice cream with a hot raspberry sauce. Yum-yum!

The next day we had a delicious farmers breakfast with fresh rolls and bread, homemade butter, jam and some Black Forest ham slices. The race was at 5 p.m. so we had a relaxing day just sitting on the large balcony and relaxing. About 3 p.m. we headed back up the mountain to Hundseck.

The tents were there this time, so I checked in, got my start number, used the port-a-potty and sat with my wife in the tent for awhile. The parking lots filled quickly, we were glad that we had showed up early.

When we arrived it was sunny and hot, temperatures being over 34C/93F! Then the storm clouds started rolling in. I the Black Forest this happens quickly and the storms here can be quite devastating. About 45 minutes before the start, as the thunder and lightning drew closer, the organizers announced that the race may need to be postponed if the storm gets too close, they would let us know. 10 minutes later the rain came down in buckets, I mean I have never experienced such a hard rain in Germany. Everyone huddled in the main tent and waited for the verdict.

Waiting out the rain
Despite the severe rain, the storm was short-lived and after another 10 minutes it dissipated, the sun came out and the organizers announced that the race was on. The Start was located about 1.6K/1M from the tent, so I joined the other and headed off in this direction at a slow jog to warm up a bit. Despite the rain, it was still sweltering hot, you could actually see the steam rising from the roads. We made it back into the woods were the Start line was located and barely got there and into place when the starting shot went off.

The first kilometer snaked its way back over the same narrow trail that we had just walked. There really was not a chance to get off to a fast start, as close to 400 runners attempted to squeeze along a logging trail. I passed the first kilometer (KM1) marker in 6:08 (9:52/mile), not bad considering. I was in no hurry, I knew what was waiting around the corner. We popped out of the woods, ran by the FINISH and made our way back towards the parking lots.

Coming up to the road by the parking lot we made a quick left and started climbing.

Around the corner and up the hill
Up we went, for almost 1.5K/1M, this is where my hill training really paid off, I actually PICKED UP MY PACE going up this stretch, averaging 5:30/K (8:51/M) for KM2 and KM3. I passed a lot of people, some who actually stopped to walk this early in the race. Just past KM3 it started slowly leveling out, I felt good at the pace I was going so kept going. KM4 passed by, 22:01, oh-ho, too fast, I slowed down just a touch. By KM5 and the first drink station I was running a steady 5:30/K (8:51/M). The next challenging part of the race came up, a very long stretch (4-5K) of gradual upgrade, hardly noticeable until your energy is zapped! I new this stretch from last year so concentrated on maintaining my pace. By approximately KM10 we past the original start, my time was 54:xx at this point, I had lost a minute somewhere, but that was okay.

So back down a little hill, then back up, past the finish and off to the parking lots, the beginning of the second round. Around the curve, my wife snapped a picture (see picture above on the left. I am the runner in dark clothes on the left).

Back up the hill – I started passing people again – thank my hill training!! I gained back my last minute by the time I reached the top, I settled down to my 5:30/K pace again. I grabbed an energy drink at the approx. 15KM marker (original 5KM marker) and started up the gradual upgrade. My legs were getting sore, but I knew this was nothing to worry about and kept up the pace. I managed to maintain my 5:30 pace right up to KM19, in which case I picked up the pace slightly. By the time I past the 20KM marker I was getting low on energy. My legs felt okay though and I pushed on the best I could. The last kilometer was up a gentle slope, but by this time it felt like the big mountain again. I was breathing heavier as I past the 21KM marker, I new the finish was just around the corner, I could hear the people cheering. I did my best to sprint around the corner and over the finish. My wife snapped a picture.

Jack the finisher
I was pooped, but proud, I knew I had beat my time from last year by a good 10 minutes. I jogged on for a few hundred meters than turned around and jogged back to the finish to get a drink and my finisher T-Shirt. I told my wife to go on ahead back to the tent and I drank a cup of water and jogged the kilometer over to the tent. I walked around a couple minutes, stretched a minute or two, than joined my wife. The weather was still warm and clear so we had some food and hung around until the results were posted. My time 1:55:03, eleven minutes, twenty-one seconds faster than last year. About one and a half minutes slower than my HM record. Considering the humidity, heat and trail, still a really good time! I’m totally happy!!

I was 224th our of 381 finishers, 36th in my age group (57 finishers). The winner finished in 1:17:37 (26 years old). The winning female finished in 1:30:47 (41 years old).

About 8 p.m. we made our way back to the “farm”, I showered and we sat on the balcony until dark. What a nice day.

This morning I was able to wish one of the other guests at the Bed & Breakfast good luck on his race, he is running the Honisgrinde Marathon today, his first. What is interesting is that he lives in Mannheim, where I ran my first marathon. Small world!

All and all we had a really great weekend, I hope y’all had fun too!

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Signing Off

Another hot day, the radio said something about 33C/92F outside. Blah!

On the positive side I have vacation tomorrow (Friday) and Monday. Tomorrow we are leaving early and driving to Buehlertal which is about 10 minutes away from the Start of my half-marathon on Saturday (in Buehlertal-Hundseck). We will be staying until Sunday at a vacation apartment at some kind of farm, details to be learned upon arrival. I assume the owners are farmers who rent some of their rooms out to tourists. They have a webpage ad which showed a picture of the house and mentioned a couple tidbits like they make (and sell) their own butter and Schnapps. I borrowed a picture of their house:

I bought a spare set of batteries for our digital camera and have everything charged up, so I hope I can get some good pictures.

They also mentioned in their ad that they are a 10 minute drive from several popular ski slopes – did I mention that I will be running up the side of one of these! In any case we are counting on a couple relaxing days in a really beautiful area on the edge of the Black Forest. No computers, no telephone, no diet, hopefully a couple good restaurants in the area.

In any case I will try to get at least my race report together on Sunday. As I will be on "vacation" I have no plans for my race other than crossing the finish line. I may even leave my watch at home and just let my legs decide how fast they want to go! Have a nice weekend!!

A Hot Hill Run

Yesterday was hot 32C/90F! After sitting in my non-air conditioned office the whole day I was pretty worn out by the time I got home. I downed an energy bar and a glass of water, suited up and drove to our garden in the neighboring town of Weingarten with my wife. Leaving my wife to enjoy the shady terrace I stretched and set out to conquer the hills looming in the distance. The first 15 minutes of running were primarily through the forest so it was still fairly tolerable. But as soon as I popped out of the tree line and started across the fields I really felt the heat. In the 5 short minutes it took me to reach the bottom of the first hill I was already drenched in sweat. Whew! But determined to complete my run I shifted into low gear and started the 12 minute climb up the first “hill”. This part of the trail is a winding asphalt road that leads to the top of the mountain where there used to be a landfill. By the time I reached the top I was sweating like Niagara Falls and was REALLY glad that the trail leveled out. Despite the road being in the shade, it was still brain-numbing hot!

The rest of the run went a little better, the secondary hills were child’s play compared to the first one. I had really wanted to circle around and run the big hill twice, it would have been good practice for my HM on Saturday, but it was just too hot.

I tried a new trail off the hill, thinking it would bring me back to the original trail that I took upwards, but it ended up twisting off in another direction. I think it was actually a shorter trail than I usually take because I arrived back at the garden about 6 minutes earlier than normal. I can’t believe that I ran FASTER in that heat. I thought about taking another loop around the fields, but the sun was beating my brain into a pulp, and I recalled that I wanted to mow the lawn in the garden, e.g. a little cross-training :-)

Summary of Last Night’s Training:

1 set 15 pushups, 1 set 25 sit-ups;
About 14K/8.7M hilly run; total time 1:20:39
1 set 15 push-ups, 1 set 25 sit-ups;
Cool down.
Conditions: 16:00; 32C/90F, sunny!
Feeling after training: Muscles sore.

Wake-up weight this morning: 74 kg/163 lbs
Weight lost since 01/01/2005: 6 kg/13 lbs
Goal weight by the end of July: 73 kg/161 lbs
Goal weight by Christmas: 70 kg/154 lbs

Other Ramblings:

Saturday is my third half-marathon for this year. I ran the Buehlertal Half-Marathon last year (it was my first HM), it is located in the foothills of the Black Forest on highway 500, which is one of the main roads connecting the various towns. Buehlertal (pictured below) is located in a lower valley below the actual HM route. The Start is in Buehlertal-Hundseck, a village in the Buehlertal township. In the picture Hundseck is in the mountains in the background.

As I mentioned I ran the HM last year (2:06:24), it is not an easy course. If you refer to the profile of the race that I posted a few days ago, you will notice a long hill climb. This is one of those hills that (to use a popular commercial slogan) “Separates the men from the boys!” Last year I was totally wasted after the run, I almost passed out while waiting in line for some food. Okay it was 28C/83F that day and they only had one water point set up, I was a bit dehydrated.

This year it is supposed to be up to 33C/92F, so I need to concentrate more on survival then setting any speed records. I know this is a trail that one shouldn’t fool around too much with.

That said...

When I woke up this morning I had an incredible urge to skip the HM on Saturday and run the full marathon on Sunday! Maybe the sun did fry my brain yesterday, I don’t know, but I woke up this morning with this thought in my head and was actually going over this possibility as I rode to work on the train. But after the first cup of coffee at work sanity returned and I remembered that my wife wants to head home early on Sunday before it’s too hot. My tired legs also reminded me that I have trained really hard this week and have not tapered for a marathon. And finally I decided that 3 marathons in one year is just a little bit too ambitious. I probably could add that my wife would probably kill me too, if the marathon didn't ;)

In any case I have added this marathon to my list of possibilities for next year!

I have noticed that I always seem to get these terrrfic, totally motivating thoughts right before a longer race. I think it has something to do with trying to hype myself up for race day. Strange...

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

More Hot Weather; Simple Marathon II Strategy

The weather is warming up really fast again, today is sunny and hot, temperatures should reach 32C/90F again. No thanks!

Last night I did my now routine weight training, followed by a short run around the block (~3K/2M).

To be honest I am not emphasizing the weight training as much as I probably should be in the moment, I guess it’s a combination of a general lack of time and fear of injury. I have noticed some good overall toning of the muscles, so I think I am still benefiting from my limited workouts, but I am not going to increase weight or reps much until after my marathon in September.

To be equally honest I am actually thinking of replacing one of my 3 weight training days with a 4th “run” day to increase my mileage.

My first marathon goal was to “finish”. The goal for my second marathon is to finish “strong” (notice that I didn’t say fast). My new strategy is simple:

Run forty-two six-minute kilometer runs, then sprint over the finish line! Or to apply it to the Yankee standard, run twenty-six 9:39-minute miles then sprint over the finish line!

Gee, makes it almost sound easy! Hear that Jon!


Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Tour de France Pics

One of the dudes in my office came through with a couple pictures of last Friday's (8th) Tour de France in our area. The first picture is the Karlsruhe finish line about four hours before the finish. The second is a picture of the main group flying (60 KPH) through Rastatt, a town about a half hours south of Karlsruhe. Anybody see Lance or Jan?

Running Good, Dieting Good!

As I mentioned yesterday I will be running a half-marathon over hill and dale in the Black Forest on Saturday. In order to keep my mileage up in preparation for my second marathon in September, while at the same time provide for a couple taper days and rest days for this weekend I am cramming a lot of running in over a short time. Saturday was a 10K race, Sunday a 14K/8.7M run, last night the same, tonight my weight training with a jog, Wednesday a 14K/8.7M hill run and Thursday weight training with a jog.

So how am I holding up without a rest after my race and an accelerated running schedule? Actually pretty well. My legs are feeling it to be sure, but other than general soreness and some stiffness I can’t complain. No new aches or pains. Another plus is that I have brought my weight back down to 74kg/163lbs without any serious dieting. Now if only I can hold it there or lose a little more!

Anyway, as I stepped of the train last night the clouds opened up and drenched me by the time I walked home (6 minutes). I was greeted with a “You’re not running in this weather are you?” from my wife as I walked in the door (looking like a wet cat). Being a disciplined runner I didn’t let this throw me and preceded to suit up and warm up.

As I stepped out the door the rain stopped (a sign?), but gosh was it humid out! I made the mistake of wearing a running jacket, anticipating more rain. After a few more minutes the sun came out in full force and turned the trail into a sauna, with steam rising even as the raindrops continued to fall from the trees. I was drenched from inside out by the time I finished my 14K/8.7M run.

When I first started running I was really stiff from the lack of recovery time over the last couple days, but after 20-30 minutes the oil started working and I loosened up pretty well. The temperature shot up from 23C/73F to 27C/80F in the relatively short time that I was out running. The rapid weather change and super high humidity about wiped me out, I was glad when I finally reached the house. I averaged 5:42/K (9:10/M), a bit faster than I had planned on.

This morning my legs are a bit tired, but I actually feel better than yesterday morning. Tonight is weight training night, probably followed by a 3K jog around the block. Tomorrow night I want to run my hill trail (14K/8.7M) one more time before my race on Saturday.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Last Nights Training and Upcoming HM Notes

Typically after a 10K race I like to take a day or two off to rest the stressed muscles resulting from running much faster than I am accustomed to. But next Saturday is a rather aggressive (read hilly) half-marathon that I will probably need a few days to recover from. So in order to meet my training mileage I have to squeeze in three 14K/8.7M runs in this week. I would prefer to have two days of relative rest before the half-marathon, so I decided to do both my weight training and a run last night.

Now I would not recommend this for most people. I mean, training the day after a fast 10K race really taxes the muscles and believe me I feel it this morning.

In any case I did a light version of my weight training, skipping any that worked the lower body. I then set out on a relatively slow recovery run, concentrating on maintaining a 6:00/K (9:39/M) pace. I did remarkably well, finishing my 14K/8.7M in 1:24:09, which is a 6:01/K (9:40/M) pace.

This is the pace I want to run my next marathon in September.

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;
14K/8.7M run; total time 1:24:09
1 set 15 push-ups, 1 set 25 sit-ups;
Cool down.
Conditions: 16:00; 27C/81F, sunny!
Feeling after training: Muscles really sore and stiff.

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 July: 73 kg/161 lbs
Goal weight by Christmas: 70 kg/154 lbs

Other Ramblings:

Next Saturday (16th) I have a rather aggressive (read hilly) half-marathon in Buehlertal-Hundseck in the Black Forest planned. I want to run the race at a much slower pace than normal, partly due to the terrain and partly due to the fact that I have some VERY long training runs coming up over the next 6 weeks. This weekend is also supposed to warm up into the 90’s (F) again, so slow-slow-slow. My goal pace for the HM will be about 6:15/K(10:00/M), or about 45 seconds/K slower than normal.

The half marathon starts at an elevation of 875 meters (2870 feet) and climbs rapidly up to 940 meters (3083 feet), a difference of 65 meters (213 feet). There are also a couple smaller climbs. The course consists of two laps, so participants have to climb these hills twice. Pretty aggressive for this flat-lander.

Here is a view from last year's race:

Anyone want to join me?

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Race Report Stutensee-Buechig 10K – New PR

I spent most of Saturday morning standing on the hard concrete floor in my workshop at home, fooling with my second hobby, woodworking. But after lunch I stretched out on the couch and let the legs rest.

At about 16:30 we piled in the car and headed over to Stutensee-Buechig, about 20 minutes from us. The 1000m kids run, 5K and 10K runs were sponsored by the local sports club in Buechig. They had a tent set up with fest tables and benches and were selling the normal steaks, bratwurst, cake, coffee, and other liquid refreshments that are typical of these local festivals.

The 1000m kids run was just starting as I picked up my start number (#7). I sat with my wife a while, until about a half hour before the start of the 10K race. I than made my way to the toilet, than watched the 5K racers cross the finish for a few minutes. After a bit of stretching I ran around the block a couple times, then headed for the Start line. My wife met me over there and took a couple pictures.

After a couple minutes I took my place in the middle of the runners and waited for the start. I was pretty relaxed, I guess I’ve done so many 10K runs now, that I don’t get nervous like I used to.

I remember thinking about whether to go for a new record or not. The weather was perfect, sunny, but not too warm, relatively low humidity, no wind. I felt good, not having run since Wednesday.

My thoughts were interrupted with the final countdown, 3, 2, 1…GO!

I got off to a surprising fast start despite the masses of people (over 400). For some reason 3 or 4 people fell after about 10 meters, I saw at least one clutching her leg after someone stepped on her, I bet that hurt. I managed to weave around another one that tripped in front of me, a couple people caught her at the same time, she was able to continue.

We did a quick loop around town, I crossed the 1K marker with a time of 4:48 (7:43/M), not bad. We passed near the Start again, than headed out of town over the open fields. It was pretty warm along this stretch. At the edge of the fields was the 2K marker, my time 9:20 (pace = 4:40/K, 7:31/M). I was starting to breath pretty hard so tried to slow down just a little to conserve my energy. A minute later we entered the cool forest, this was a relief. I was following a couple that looked like the same pair that I followed during one of my half-marathons this spring. Small world! I passed the 3K marker with a time of 14:20 (pace = 4:47/K, 7:41/M). I pretty much maintained this pace through the 4K, 5K and 6K markers.

The packed dirt forest trails were narrow, about three people could run abreast. By the 7K marker I could feel myself slowing down a little, I concentrated on maintaining my pace. I passed the 8K marker at about 39 minutes, still under 5:00/K (8:00/M). By now I knew I could break my PR if I could just maintain this pace. A couple minutes later we popped out of the wood line, went around a curve and crossed the 9K marker. Ignoring my watch I tried to pick up the pace, passing a few that were running out of steam. A minute or two later, as we neared the edge of the town, I broke into a full run, passing people right and left.

I knew exactly where the finish was, having checked it out before the race. I sprinted around the last corner and spotted the crowd at the finish. I flew over the finish line so fast that I almost ran over a small woman that came to a quick stop to have her barcode scanned. Two guys at the finish actually grabbed my arms to slow me down. I would have squashed her for sure;) Hitting my stopwatch as my barcode was scanned, I walked forward trying to catch my breath, whew what a run!!

I sneaked a peek at my watch 49:15, all right, a new PR!

I walked up and down the street a couple minutes until I loosened up, than grabbed a few cups of water that was being offered at the finish. Once I felt relaxed again I made my way over to the fest tent to meet my wife.

I was hoping that my wife had taken a few pictures, but apparently the battery was low, so she only got a couple at the start. I was hungry after my run so ordered a steak sandwich and a beer. About that time some friends of ours that live in the race town arrived so they sat with us for a few hours. This was totally cool!

Anyway my official time was 49:12, a new PR, 39 seconds faster than my previous record. I was 205th out of 458 runners, 34th in my age group.

What is really cool is that I really improved over my time last year, which was 51:08.

So how was your weekend?

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Rainy Day Run

It is a really busy week at work, with the Tour de France coming, Friday is basically a lost day so I am trying to cram 5 days work into 4. Yesterday was my wife’s last day of work, she is now officially unemployed. She has been promised a job beginning August 15 with the local Social Services office, but hasn’t seen a contract yet (very important in Germany). Wifey is really down in the moment, poor girl!

Anyway by the time I got home last night we were both totally stressed out. We handled it each in our own little way, my wife curled up on the couch and put out her “do not bug me” sign. I suited up, stretched and headed out to therapy road. As I headed out of town the sun peeked out from behind the dark rain clouds, turning the wet landscape into a sauna (24C/75F outside). I was sweating profusely before I finished the first kilometer, but it didn't bug me. I could almost feel the stress leaving me as I pounded the ground into submission. I was moving right along finishing the first 2K/1.2M in 11:01, a pace of 5:30/K (8:51/M).

The sun ducked behind the clouds as I approached the wood line (3K) and it was just a matter of seconds before I felt the first raindrop. By about kilometer 4 it started pouring buckets, so I picked up the pace. The trail along and through the woods was really wet and slippery, with massive mud puddles to dodge, and fallen tree branches (we had a good storm the night before). I loved it! Somewhere along the way I forgot all about my hard day, my wife’s troubles and just enjoyed the pouring rain, the puddle dodging and the fast tempo!

I finished my 14K training run in an unprecedented 1:13:16, an average pace of 5:14/K (8:25/M). This is almost my 10K RACE pace!

What is for me even more amazing is that I felt good afterwards! Today I still feel good, no cramps, no pain, my legs don’t even feel tired.

I am looking forward to my 10K race on Saturday, I may not set a new PR, but if I still feel as good as right now I’m sure going to have a good time trying :-)

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

The Survey Says...

How about a little running survey? – This originated from Brent, but Dawn tagged me:

1. What is your favorite long run pace?
6:00/Kilometer (9:39/Mile). At least this is what I strive for. Slower would be better, but I always seem to speedup. This pace is a happy medium.

2. What is your favorite (or typical) pre-run meal?
A bowl of muesli cereal, a glass of tomato juice and a cup of coffee. This approximately ½ to 1 hour before I run a long run. For a race I eat about two hours beforehand.

3. What was the distance of your first ever, official race? (This isn't a contest, I'm just curious).

4. Do you typically run in groups or run alone?
Run alone.

5. Name one or two NEW running experiences (occurring within the past year), that you have grown the most from.
a) The Hornisgrinde Half-Marathon last July (2004)
b) The Mannheim Marathon in May of this year.

These were the first HM and M - you just don't forget things like that! These changed my life!!

6. What is your least favorite structure to run on/over?
Asphalt or concrete streets!

Your turn (don’t let Brent down, this is the first time he’s ever started a survey!):


Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Pictures of Peter and Paul Festival

I published all my Peter and Paul Festival pictures at Yahoo last night. Click on the albumn "Peter and Paul Festival 2005"

Here is a sample:

Faster than the Falling Rain

Last night was a cool 21C/70F, with dark thunderstorm clouds floating in as I suited up and headed out the door. I ran my 14K/8.7M run, tried to keep a reasonable pace, a bit faster than “recovery speed” but not too fast either. I guess I kind of let my legs decide. As I came out of the forest (see the link on the right for my “14K running route”) the wind was picking up and running became more challenging has I headed directly into this madness. I figured I’d get soaked about anytime then. I heard the thunder in the distance and could just picture myself getting zapped as I ran across the open fields towards home. I guess this helped motivate my pace, I finished in 1:21:00, which is an average pace of about 5:47/K (9:19/M). As I ran the first 10K at a much slower pace this means I probably ran the last 4K in around 5:00/K (8:00/M). I made it home just as the first large drops of rain started coming down. Two minutes later we had a downpour, with marble sized hail, the whole works!

Summary of Last Night’s Training:

1 set 15 push-ups, 1 set 25 sit-ups;
Approx. 14K/8.7M run; total time 1:21:00 – long run.
1 set 15 push-ups, 1 set 25 sit-ups;
Cool down.
Conditions: 06:35; 21C/70F, hazy, humid!
Feeling after training: Good.

Other Ramblings:

I was looking over the route that the Tour de France takes through our area, I think it will be almost impossible to try to get close enough for pictures. The newspapers are reporting that several hundred thousand spectators are expected, more than a hundred thousand at the finish line for the day. Based on the expected schedule, with luck a spectator can expect to see the lead participants for about 1-2 seconds and all of the participants will probably be through in a few short minutes. Traffic is expected to be disrupted for hours, including public transportation. Hmm, I am strongly considering staying home and painting my garage door. Am I a party-pooper or what?

Monday, July 04, 2005

My 30K/18.6M Long Run

Here is the approximate route that I ran on Saturday morning. I started in Stutensee and ran south than circled my way back to Stutensee again.

A Day Off

After my 30K/18.6M long run on Saturday I allowed myself an extra rest day yesterday, no training. But rather than sit on the couch we decided to go to the Peter and Paul Festival in Bretten, Germany, which is about a half hour drive from where we live.

The Peter and Paul Fest is a celebration of the town’s history with concentration on the Middle Ages time period. The four day event includes several reenactment projects, including various battles, a parade and a handworker village from that period of time. The participants actually spend the weekend “living” like they did in the Middle Ages, most spending the entire weekend in tents in the streets and parks of Bretten, eating food cooked in open fires, wearing clothes from the time period etc. For an old history buff like myself, I love going to this fest!

I took pictures of the various village scenes, I hope to post them on my website in the next few days. We didn’t see any of the “battles” as they were on Friday and Saturday. Maybe next year!

Happy Fourth of July to all the U.S.A RBFers'

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Asphalt is not my Friend

This morning was my long run, up at 6 a.m., a quick breakfast, warm-up and out the door by 6:35. It was a cool 17C/63F, with a slight drizzling rain and a gentle breeze. I ran through the middle of town to the other side (south) and crossed the main road to the 12K/7.5M asphalt trail that leads to Karlsruhe (the larger city in our area). As I had not noted the kilometer breakdown with my bicycle beforehand I could only guess at my speed. I suppose I was running 6:00-6:15/K (9:45-10:15/M). It was almost perfect running weather, not too hot, not too cold. The entire route to Karlsruhe is a forest path, and dead straight, you can always see at least a mile ahead of you – not for everyone! I used it as a good mind drill, trying to keep my mind from going nuts. I rather enjoyed it, no cars (except when I had to cross three small highways), hardly anyone out except for a couple other crazy runners:)

It took me over an hour to get to Karlsruhe, I was in no hurry. From there I took a right hand turn, ran three minutes, then took another right and started heading back on a parallel asphalt trail.

It is interesting to note that these two trails are the main bicycle trails between the smaller towns, so are in excellent condition, flat and perfect for bike riding. Unfortunately, the asphalt trails were already bothering me after the first hour. The first thing I thought of was THE HARD ROAD IS WHAT CAUSED SO MUCH TROUBLE DURING MY MARATHON.

So on I went heading more or less back in the same direction, but at a 5° angle from the first trail. All of the original roads and trails in Karlsruhe fan out from the Palace in that city. I have a satellite picture of today’s route at work, that I will try to post Monday.

At about 2:09:00 I crossed the last highway which runs by my town, but rather than heading back I went on towards the Graben Running Club trails where I usually do my long runs. My legs already felt like I had just run a marathon, the asphalt was killing me. Now I am almost sure this was a major factor in my first marathon troubles.

Luckily the trail turned to gravel and forest trails, after awhile my legs started feeling a little better. I wound my way back towards home, really pooped, and my legs just killing me. I walked around for about 10 minutes, trying to get some of the stiffness out. I could barely walk up the steps into the house, I seriously considered asking my wife to untie my shoes, because I could hardly bend over I was so stiff.

Anyway I ran 3:09:55, I would guess around 30K/18.6M. No walk breaks today, not even one!

Unless a miracle happens overnight I have cancelled my 10K race for tomorrow, I need recovery time. I imagine my legs will be okay in a day or two, I just need to relax a little.

That said, may go over to the next town where it’s being held and cheer the runner’s on, my wife’s cousin may be running the 5K. On the other side there are street festivals all over our area this weekend, including one with some mega cool reenactments and stuff. We may just head out to that (there goes my diet too:-)

Have a nice weekend, happy running!

Summary of This Mornings Training:

1 set 15 push-ups, 1 set 25 sit-ups;
Approx. 30K/18.6M run; total time 1:25:49 – long run.
1 set 15 push-ups, 1 set 25 sit-ups;
Cool down.
Conditions: 06:35; 27C/63F, hazy, humid!
Feeling after training: Muscles really sore and stiff.

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 July: 73 kg/161 lbs
Goal weight by Christmas: 70 kg/154 lbs

Friday, July 01, 2005

Cooler Weather - Finally!

Yesterday was a reasonable 28C/82F, partly rainy day. My office was finally cooler, I wasn’t so wiped out as I have been lately. As I did my weight training last night I noticed that I didn’t have as much energy as normal, probably a result of a lot of running lately and too little sleep (due to the heat and stress). Today is my recovery day, so I plan on avoiding any exercise and will try to stay off my feet as much as possible.

Tomorrow morning is my long run. I plan on getting up at 6 a.m. and try to be out the door by 6:30 or 7:00. I plan on running 3 hours, or about 28-29K/17-18M. I am trying a totally new route that I mapped out with Google Earth ( – awesome program you gotta try this!). It will be interesting how I do, as I will have a hard time knowing for sure what kind of pace I will be running. I didn’t mark out the KM markers beforehand with my bicycle like I usually do. At best I will be guesstimating. On the other side this will be a good exercise in “listening to my body”.

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;
12K/7.5M bicycle ride (slow, leisurely with wifey)
Conditions: 16:15; 28C/82F, sunny and hot.
Feeling after training: Good.

Wake-up weight this morning: 75 kg/165 lbs (didn’t make my 74 kg goal weight :(

Other Ramblings:

I’m getting all excited about the upcoming 15K Boilermaker run in Utica, NY on July 10th. Two of our esteemed RBFers will be participating, Flying Downhill Lara and Mountain Goat Molly. I grew up in the area and worked several years in and around Utica. Although I never ran the Boilermaker I know the area really well and I can almost visualize myself running up and down the streets. My heart will go with them!

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