Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Why are you scaring my animals?

Today seemed to be one of those days that I should have stayed in bed. A small sampling:

- My train was late.
- The engineer that I finally have an appointment with after waiting for 4 months called and said he is stuck in Switzerland for the rest of this week so postponed until next year. This delays an important project another 2 months at least. I’m already getting flak.
- The cleaning lady was vacuuming the floor and snagged my keyboard cable causing my PC to reboot – I lost an hours work because I didn’t bother saving it for that long.
- I tried to enter my data on the CompleteRunning map and screwed up the longitude and latitude, twice (sorry Mark).
- I fought with a new webpage menu design for four hours trying to find a bug, I still haven’t found it.
- My streetcar was late, I almost missed my train home.

I finally made it home, suited up and went running thinking it can only get better now. I ran a terrific first 10K, felt totally awesome, than the local Forester comes driving up to me in the forest and yells at me for having my little blinking arm band on while I ran. His reason – I am scaring the animals! You notice that I said that he DROVE UP TO ME, like with lights on, high-beam’s mind you, radio blaring and YELLS at me for disturbing the animals in the forest with my little tiny, smaller than Christmas lights, blinking red lamps on my arm band. Now the train tracks are about 300 meters from where we were standing, trains run through every 20-30 minutes with their lights on. Five hundred meters from this point there is a major road construction going on where they are working 24 hours a day with their bulldozers and other heavy machines, and he complains about my little blinking red lights on my arm band scaring HIS animals...where was he when all the unleashed dogs were trying to bite me in this same forest the whole year long...grrrrRRR!

I feel better now, thank you!

I still finished my 14K/8.7M run in 1:16:17, which was a pace of 5:27/K (8:46/M).

Swim Training and Half-marathon Race Strategy

Swim Training

Last night I stopped at the pool on the way home to do some cross-training. First on the agenda was to work my upper body so - a 1000 meters of breast stroke – no breaks. This took about 40 minutes if I counted my laps correctly. How’s my form? Well, it still makes my swim instructor cringe, and she went as far as to say I am not a breast stroke swimmer, I should concentrate on learning the freestyle. It’s still a good upper body workout.

So next I did (or tried) 2 x 50 meter freestyle. As I am still attempting to learn this, I only managed the first 50 meters without a break and about half of the next 50 meter lap, then finishing with the breast stroke to catch my breath.

As the pool got pretty full by this time I decided to do 6 x 50 meters, whereas I swam 25 meters freestyle and the remaining 25 meters of each lap breast stroke. I was pretty worn out after doing this so I decided to call it a night, I have a race on Saturday.

I am slowly starting to figure out the freestyle breathing, at least when I really concentrate. My swimming instructor walked by as I was leaving and made the comment that I keep my arms almost completely straight, I need to learn to bend them – the way I do it wastes an awful lot of energy. I can vouch for that! She said will work with me on the proper technique in our class on Friday night. Oh please do!!

Weekend Half-marathon

Saturday at 14:20 is my last half-marathon for this year. The weather prediction is a mild 7C/45F, slightly breezy and lots of rain. As long as its not icy or pouring rain, no problem!

My race strategy and goal - have fun! In other words just run for me, no PR’s, no pressure, just run, have fun, maybe even leave my stopwatch home :-) I want to try to avoid a long recovery time after this race, I am in the midst of marathon training and don't want downtime.


My weight is hovering at 73 Kg/161 lbs. - I don't know if I will lose any this week, I need to carbo-load for my race on Saturday. I generally tend to eat like a bear coming out of hybernation after a race too, so Jon and Jank have a chance this week!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Marathon Training: Latest Ponderings

I was just looking at McMillan’s Running calculator. I entered my best half-marathon time of 1:48:12) which resulted in a proposed marathon finish time of 3:48:12 which is almost 45 minutes faster than my best marathon time.

Based on this HM time I should be running my long runs at an average pace between 5:44 to 6:21 per kilometer (9:13 to 10:13 per mile), which I do. I’ve been averaging around 6:00/K (9:39/M) or faster.

The average pace for my two marathons was 7:22/K (11:51/M) and 6:30/K (10:27). The average training pace for these marathons was 6:30/K and around 5:45/K, or in other words much faster than my actual marathon pace. With my last marathon I ran long runs up to 36K/22M twice, so an extra 6+ kilometers should have been a piece of cake.

This leaves me kind of puzzled and wondering why. Am I lacking endurance? Do I get nervous at races? Is it because I start too fast? Am I tapering too much? Too little? ??

So anyway this is what is running through my head as I get deeper into my Marathon III training.

When I was driving to work this morning I was pondering what my goal time for the marathon in March should be. I ran the half-marathon on the same course this past March with a time of 1:58:52, which was reasonable considering the lousy winter weather on that day. So I am going to plan on running in 4 hours and see if I can climb this mountain when I get to it. As I will be running less weekly mileage than with my past two marathons, I think I can apply for Superhero status if I pull it off.

Monday, November 28, 2005

A Strong Run in the Rain!

Tonight was my normal 14K/8.7M run on the schedule. It was slightly warmer today at 4:30 p.m. when I hit the trail, 4C/39F, breezy and with a drizzling rain. I eased into a comfortable pace finishing the first 4K/2.5M with an average pace of 5:31/K (8:53/M). After that it was too dark to see my watch so I just ran how I felt. I could just make out the outline of the trail as I ran along the edge of the forest from KM4 to about KM6, then it was just a matter of staying between the two tree lines as I turned and ran through the forest. I do have a cheap running lamp that I bring along, but I haven’t used it yet, other than to try it out once. I guess I am saving it for the next dog, wild animal, ghost or goblin that leaps out in front of me ;-)

Anyway for the last 3-4 kilometers I was running against the wind, and of course it started raining harder by then (like always?), so I was pretty soaked by the time I got back. On the other hand it wasn’t really so cold so it didn’t really bother me. I did do my cooldown and stretching inside, no since catching a cold at this stage of training. My average pace tonight for the 14K run was a respectable 5:39/K (9:06/M). It amazes me how much difference a few degrees temperature (and a couple thousand extra calories from the weekend) can make. I feel like I could almost go another round – well almost :-) I feel good anyway.

Tomorrow night I need to practice my freestyle at the pool. I was looking at a new (to me) book “The Swim Coaching Bible” by Dick Hannula and Nort Thornton, last night. They said one of the secrets of developing a good freestyle-style is to learn to relax and breath correctly. Along with this was a tip that a lot of beginners try to swim the freestyle way to fast, resulting in beating themselves to death within just a few minutes. Yep, that’s me! So tomorrow night I want to try it slow, I mean like slow motion, yeah sloooooow moooootioooon.

Of course if swimming is anything like my running it just won’t happen. Speaking of which I have found a revolutionary way of slowing down my long runs! Yes after punishing myself for most of the year by running my long runs too fast, I have found the solution: Running on icy roads at sub-freezing temperatures. It works, believe me!

Sunday Swim Day

Yesterday afternoon I went to the swimming pool to do some laps. I went to the smaller pool (25 meter) in the neighboring town of Blankenloch. The pool was really full, with lots of kids playing in the water, which made it quite difficult to do laps. I practiced my freestyle as best I could, but finally gave up and worked on my breast stroke. I seemed to have an overall lack of energy (or motivation?) yesterday so quit after about 900-1000 meters.

My long run on Saturday went well as I mentioned in my last report. My new Asics GT2100 running shoes are great. I wore them to work on Friday to try to break them in a little bit at least, then wore them on my long run – no blisters, no aches, pains or annoyances.

I noticed that I was more worn out yesterday than normal. I am blaming this on my diet - it is really difficult to diet and train for a marathon. I expect as my long runs increase that my diet will gradually fizzle out, due to my body’s increased demand for energy. I gained a pound this weekend, which is normal as my body seeks to refuel after a long run. My weight should be back to the pre-weekend level (161 lbs.) by tomorrow.

This week I have two 14K/8.7M runs planned, tonight and Wednesday. Tuesday night I want to swim again and Friday is my swim course. On Saturday afternoon I am scheduled to run a half-marathon as a training run. The latest weather reports are not good, it is very likely that we will have a winter storm by the end of the week. If the roads are anything like they were this past Saturday than the race may be cancelled. Plan B is a 21K/13M run on my normal trails.

Have a good week!

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Endurance Swim Training and Running on Ice


Last night was swim class #8, our instructor split the six of us into two groups. Three in our group are still having a lot of trouble with the breast stroke, so the teacher spent most of the night trying to bring them up to speed. The other three of us got a special assignment, some endurance training. The instructor gave us a list of various combinations of 50M laps to perform, for example 25M freestyle/25M breast stroke, 25M freestyle kick on our back/25M breast stroke, and so on for a total of 600 meters. I was the only one to complete all of these before the end of the class, the other two ran out of steam. All in all it was a good workout! I swam another 400 meters breast stroke after class to complete my 1000 meter goal for the night.

At the end of the class the instructor told me that she talked with the trainer that trains the triathlon group – they have a couple night where they train, I only need to show up when I want to start training. Cool! The instructor also said I should take the freestyle course before I participate, there is a course starting in January. Too cool!

Finally she also told me straight out that I am not a natural breast stroke swimmer, but I show promise as a freestyle swimmer due to my strong kick and endurance. She went on to say I need to start concentrating on the freestyle, especially the breathing. So I have work to do!


I was up at 6 a.m. and on the run by 6:30 this morning. I had a 24K/15M run on the schedule, the temperature was -2C/28F, the roads and bike paths were icy and treacherous, I was wearing my new running shoes and my new running pants. What could stop me! The icy conditions played in my favor, forcing me to keep my 6:00/K (9:39/M) pace. It was cold, but I was dressed for it. The first half hour was particularly dangerous because it was still dark out, I gingerly picked my way along the bike trail towards Karlsruhe. As I neared the city it was noticeably warmer, the paths were dry and I had some relief. I crossed the 10K point with a time of 59:06, which was right on pace, but kind of surprising considering the trail conditions.

Just after the 11K point I took a right, then after a couple hundred meters another right which put me on the return trail. I was feeling good, was already working on emptying the sport drink in my CamelBak and the new Asics GT2100’s were feeling good. Nothing like breaking in new shoes with a 15M run!

By the 20K/12M point my legs were getting a little tired, a combination of the asphalt path and slippery conditions (the trail was icy again after about the 13K point). But rather than wimping out and taking a walk break like I did on my last long run, I picked up the pace determined to have a good run today. After a few minutes I settled back into my 6:00/K pace and kept it up until I got home, taking an extra lap around the block for good measure. My pace for the 24K/15M run was 5:58/K (9:36/M), almost exactly the time I had planned on!

I am well pleased with both my new Asics shoes and the running pants. Have a great weekend!

Friday, November 25, 2005

A Shoe Shopping Excursion

I had a rather non-traditional Thanksgiving dinner last night: a baked Sauerkraut & Spaetzle casserole and a green salad. I even splurged and had a danish that my wife picked up for the occasion. The food tasted great, but alas it did not replace what I really dreamed of, turkey with all the trimmings. Luckily Mia had some extra turkey, pumpkin pie and sweet potatoes for me, so I feel better ;-)

On the way home from work last night I took the streetcar to my wife’s work and we walked down the street to the new shopping mall in Karlsruhe. I needed a new pair of running shoes, so we took our time and looked through all the sports shops. Finally I went to Runner’s Point, the same place I bought my shoes last time. Their prices are slightly higher, but they offer personal consulting by semi-expert sales people. The marathon-running dude that was there last time had the night off, so I had to deal with his Nordic-walking coworker. She did seem to know her running shoes.

The salesperson went through a round of questions with me, how much I ran, what kind of surfaces, was I training for any events etc. to get a feel for what I was looking for. I showed her an old pair of my running shoes that I had brought along and she was able to quickly spot where I landed with my feet (heels). Then she had me take off my shoes and socks and run on the dreadmill. She filmed my running for a minute or so and then we took a look together. She noted that I do land on my heels, but not as directly as some runners. She also noted that my ankle bends just slightly outwards when I land. This is also revealed in the wear pattern of my old shoes. Her recommendation was a shoe with added support to try to help keep the ankle aligned and with thicker heel support. This was not a revelation for me, but I was satisfied that she reached the same conclusion.

I tried on several pairs, running with each one on the dreadmill. Finally, much to the relief of the salesperson and my wife, who were waiting with varying levels of patience, I settled on the Asics Gel GT2100.

These new shoes offer the following features (the most no one has ever heard of):

- Impact Guidance System (sound cool huh!)
- Two-piece SpEVA- middle sole
- Personal Heel Fit
- DUOTRUSS System (no idea)
- DUOMAX Support Element (I think that is the heel padding)
- Visible GEL Cushioning System in the rear foot area (I see lots of padding, but no GEL?)
- Twist GEL Cushioning System in the forward foot area (it is flexible)
- SpEVA-55° Lasting (I think that has something to do with the tread)

Anyway here is a picture of the new babies:

While we were there I looked at cold weather running pants and tights. I was a bit shocked at the price of the thermo running tights (around $60 US). I tried on a couple pairs, they felt light and fit well. My wife must have been in a Christmas mood, as she picked out a pair and told me this was my Christmas present along with the shoes. So I can’t wait to hit the trail tomorrow morning with my new running “friends”!

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving, Diet Status, and Shoe Shopping

First of all Happy Thanksgiving to all those in the U.S.A., somebody please eat a piece of turkey for me, and maybe a little stuffing! Of course they don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in Germany, so I will be lucky if anybody wishes me Happy Thanksgiving. My wife does have a turkey in the freezer and will probably prepare it this weekend when she has more time.


My weight this morning was 73kg, about 161 lbs., I hope that I can still say that on Monday morning. On the positive side I have lost 6 lbs. so far this month, 11 lbs. to go to meet my goal (68kg/150lbs.).

Now 6 lbs. is quite a bit in one month, especially after already losing 24kg (53 lbs.) over the last couple years. I am trying to go slowly to help avoid losing too much muscle, but I can imagine that I will sacrifice some before I’m done. Once I have finished my marathon in March I want to concentrate more on my weight training.

Running Shoes

I have five pairs of running shoes with the following recorded mileage:

Pair 1: 1183K/735M
Pair 2: 1212K/753/M
Pair 3: 690K/428M
Pair 4: 380K/236M (my racing shoes)
Pair 5: 230K/143M

The first two pairs are ready for the garbage can, I wear them only during the pouring rain when I know the trains are going to be extremely muddy. The third pair has also seen it’s better days. Pair 4 I reserve for races, but I don’t know if I should wear them for my next marathon or not.

So tonight I am going shoe shopping. There are three sports shops in Karlsruhe that offer good running shoes and I want to check out all of them (they are all in the same mall). I have one of my worn pairs of running shoes with me, which clearly show where I wear the shoes out the most, my wife has agreed that this can be my early Christmas present, so I have a green light.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Stressful Day = Good Day for a Run!

Following a stressful day at work I was ready to hit the running trail by the time I got home tonight. So with 4C/39F temperatures, storm clouds looming and a brisk wind I headed out on my 14K/8.7M run. I was kind of warn out from my work day and diet, so I decided to wear my MP3 player, this always causes me to run faster.

I finished the first 4K/2.5M with an average pace of 5:22/K (8:39/M). For the rest of the way it was too dark to see my watch. I cruised along at a pretty good pace until around the 3K, where I ran out of steam – I’m still not eating enough I guess. In any case I slowed down a little, I was running against the wind, my energy level was low. My average pace for the 14K run tonight was 5:37/K (9:03/M) – I’m completely satisfied with this time.

Tomorrow night is a rest night, Friday swim class and Saturday morning my long run. I have 24K/15M on the schedule. I want to try to slow the pace down a little, maybe a 6:15/K (10:04/M) pace.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Jackaquaman Training!

Tonight was swim night. I started with the breaststroke, 1000 meters, non-stop – new record for me. After a short pause I did another 200 meters with emphasis on correct form. I then tried my best effort of the freestyle, after 50 meters I was gasping for breath – I need lots of work on the breathing technique. I tried another lap (50 meters), but after about halfway ran out of steam and finished with the breaststroke.

I decided I need to practice the basic freestyle kick and arm movements, so I switched over to the smaller “kiddie” pool which was almost empty and practiced a bit. I tire really quickly, most like due to horrible form. When I first started the breaststroke I couldn’t go so far either, I just need lots of practice.

After a while I went back to the main pool and managed almost 70 meters with the freestyle stroke before gasping for air. So I decided that was enough for tonight, did another 100 meters breaststroke and headed home.

Total distance swam 1500 meters plus! All in all pretty successful Jackaquaman training!

p.s. My swimming teacher was all eyes tonight, but this time she chose to leave me along, or may I sent the right Jackaquaman signals and she got the message;-) If you read last Tuesday's report she was trying to "help me" and I didn't meet my swimming goal for the night.

It’s the little things...

...that let you know that your diet and exercise program are working:

- Your spouse tells you no longer have any “meat on the bones”.
- Your spouse can put her arms around you.
- You have to wear a belt to keep your pants from falling off.
- You have to buy clothes because nothing fits anymore (too big).
- You can finally wear that old leather jacket that hasn’t fit for 15 years.
- Your nickname at work becomes “a little less of ”.
- Those 5 pushups you did every morning are now 25 and seem easy.
- You rarely worry about how far your runs are, rather how FAST.
- Your spouse keeps telling you to slow down when you take a walk together.

My weight this morning 73.5kg (162 lbs.). Now if I can only hold it until the end of the weekend.

This weeks sports schedule:
Monday (done): 14K/8.7M run (tempo)
Tuesday (tonight): 1000+ meter swimming
Wednesday: 14K/8.7M run (easy pace)
Thursday: Rest
Friday: Swim course
Satuday: 24K/15M long run
Sunday: 1000+ meter swimming

Monday, November 21, 2005

Faster than a speeding bullet...

Well, almost, but as if to answer my mind’s doubts about marathon training over the next few months, my body delivered a good pace tonight on my 14K/8.7M run. With the temperature hovering around 3C/37F I headed out at 4:30 p.m., the wind was still, there were a few sprinkles in the air, the trails were wet from the rain that had fallen throughout the day. I took it easy the first kilometer, covering the distance in 5:50 (9:23/M pace). I felt pretty good so picked up the pace. My average pace for the first 7K/4.35M was 5:23/K (8:40/M). I still felt pretty good so I kept pushing, eventually finishing with an average pace of 5:29/K (8:50/M) for the 14K/8.7M. This was my fastest pace since the middle of October.

As I was doing some cross-training tonight (read doing the dishes;-) I was thinking about what was different. A couple factors may have had some influence:

- I had a good nights sleep last night (8 ½ hours).
- I have increased my daily calorie intake over the past 5 days (as compared to the two weeks previous to this time).
- I had a good day at work.

I also tried a new running outfit. The last week or two I have been bulking up with cotton jogging pants and jacket. The main disadvantage of these once I start sweating the clothes get sticky and heavy. Tonight I tried some new layer combinations:

Layer one: CoolMax underwear, 100% polyester long underwear pants, and a CoolMax running shirt on top. This was followed by thin CoolMax running tights and a thin cotton turtleneck shirt. Finally I wore a lightweight 100% polyester bicycle jacket. Oh, I also wore a CoolMax hat and some thin cotton gloves. I hope running shoes and socks are obvious.

This combination was much lighter, and with the exception of the cotton shirt was all wicking material. My skin stayed much dryer than with most other combinations that I have tried, plus, with the exception of the cotton shirt, the clothes did not absorb all the sweat that I lost but rather wicked most of it out to evaporate. The main thing was that this was much more comfortable and easier to run in. I also felt warmer than with any other outfit that I have tried to date.

Next run I may try leaving the cotton shirt at home and see if I stay warm enough. I only need to find something to keep my neck warm – maybe a thin scarf or something.

As Christmas nears I added thermo running tights or winter running pants (no cotton) to my wish list. The thermo-tghts seem to be the popular running pants of choice in Germany, my coworker swears by them – light weight, CoolMax material, keeps the legs warm enough as long as you keep moving.

Lots to Think About in the Training Arena


Yesterday I took a quick ride with my bicycle to measure a new 24K/15M route that I want to used for my "medium-long" run training. About 22 of these kilometers are on asphalt, not my favorite surface, but necessary to prepare me for the all-asphalt surfaced marathon.

Marathon Training

Speaking of marathon training, I am hearing a lot of negative voices inside my head lately when I have been doing my training runs. Somehow the combination of colder weather, increased cross-training, dieting and increased workload at work is leaving me less motivated than I should be in my second official week of marathon training. I need to snap out of this “marathon depression” soon or just throw in the towel and find a Fall marathon. The latter thought is sounding way to good in the moment so I need to seriously think about what my priorities are over the next few months.

We have a new Director of Marketing and Communications at work who is very ambitious, wants to change a lot, and soon. Part of his plan calls for our entire Website to be reworked, which will effect me and my free time. It is entirely possible that I will need to postpone my marathon anyway, based on this new stress factor. If my wife is supportive of a late-fall marathon, I don’t have a problem with this. Stay-tuned.


There is a freestyle swimming class coming up in January, I have to decide soon if I am going to participate. This class would be important for any future Tri plans. Two of the people in my present class have already said they are taking the class and are trying to talk me into it. Hard to say no, so I probably will just do it.


I managed to hold my weight at 74kg (163 lbs.) until Saturday. Yesterday my wife cooked a great meal which totally blew my diet out of the water so this morning I was not too surprised when I was up a pound at 74.5kg (164 lbs.). But for the next three days I am reducing my calories again so am not overly concerned about this pound. Actually I still lost a pound last week, so I am right on schedule.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Swim, Run, Swim, Bike, Brrr...

It has been a busy couple days so I am a bit behind in my posting.

On Thursday I got stuck in a meeting and didn’t make it home until almost 8 p.m., too late to stop at the swimming pool, so I declared it a rest day.

On Friday was my swim course, I showed up early and swam about 400 meters to “warm-up”. During the first half of the 45 minute class the instructor has us work on the breast stroke, trying to point out the main problems that we still have. She said I was doing much better, have picked up speed and my form is almost acceptable, just keep working on the kick. The second have of the class we worked on the crawl, or freestyle. After a little initial practice with the kick and arm movements we spend a while working on breathing. Our class was so motivated that the course ended up running about 20 minutes longer before the teacher noticed that it was time to quit. I would guess that all together I swam about 1000-1200 meters, a good workout!

Yesterday I waited until mid-afternoon to do my run, taking advantage of the sunny weather. It was still only about 4C/39F as I suited up, warmed-up, and headed out the door. The sun was brilliant, no wind, I love this weather. My goal was 16K/10M, so I took my usual 14K route and added an extra loop around a field on the way back. Average pace for the 16K/10M was 5:55/K (9:32/M) a good pace for this time of year.

Today I went to the swimming pool after church, swimming about an hour – I would guess around 1100-1200 meters, I lost track again. I went to the pool in Blankenloch, the next town south of us. Their pool is only about half the size of the pool where I take my swimming lessons, so I have to do a lot more laps – harder to keep track. I should time how long I need to swim a lap so I can just go by the total time.

My wife is working on her homework for an English class that she is taking, so I am thinking about slipping out for an hour and measure a new running path with my bicycle. It’s only 2C/36F outside, so it will be a chilly ride. At least it hasn’t snowed in our area yet – an advantage of living in the lowlands.

Have a nice Sunday!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Running, Swimming, Biking, Dieting


I was looking at my training log last night, one more run and I will be over 2400K for the year (so far), that’s almost 1500 miles! My goal for this year was 2500K, I’ll have that easily by the end of the November. This weekend I have a 16K/10M run on the training plan. After this weekend I will alternate long runs and medium runs. The medium runs will range from 18-24K (11-15M), the long runs will start at 24K (15M) and end at probably 36K(22.4M). I want to get in at least four runs over 30K (18.6M) before my marathon in March. That’s the plan, now it’s only a question of whether I can accomplish all this during the winter, e.g. Jack vs. The Winter.


I have to work late today so have my car, which means I have another opportunity to stop at the swimming pool on the way home. I am determined to get in the 500 meters that I didn’t on Tuesday night when my swimming teacher distracted me. If the pool is not too busy and I have my rhythm I will try to get in a total of 1000-1200 meters. Friday night is swim class #7, Teacher has already warned me that I will be practicing my breaststroke kick the first half of the 45 minute session. The second half of the class will be freestyle instruction. Glad I don’t have a long run on Saturday morning.


This weekend I want to mark out a new 24K/15M route for my “medium” long runs. This is a good opportunity to get in some biking. Did I say we are expecting snow this weekend.


My diet is going well, I was 74kg (163 lbs.) this morning. That means I've lost two pounds this week, I need to increase my calorie intake slightly. It has been my experience that if I lose more than a pound or two a week I end up going on a wild eating binge and gain it all back plus a couple pounds. So slow, slow, slow down.

I also find that my normal 14K/8.7M training runs are a good monitor as to whether I am eating enough. When the calorie intake is too low I crash and burn about 10K’s out (like last night). So for the next 3-4 days I will increase my calorie intake by maybe 300-500 calories (I don’t count calories, so I am only guessing). My goal for the rest of the week is basically to hold my weight at the current level until Monday, then reduce the calories again to lose the next pound. This method seems to work for me. It does require a lot of concentrated eating in order to get enough energy for my training. There is really no room for “junk” calories.

Last Words

I still haven’t made it upstairs in the shed to do weight training, this is definitely my lazy side.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

A Comfortable 14K Training Run

Tonight was a more bearable 8C/46F at 4:30 p.m. when I headed out for my 14K/8.7M run. The trails were wet and muddy from the drizzling rain that we had most of the day, but the sky was clearing as I started out. The only negative weather factor was a stiff breeze which really cooled things down.

My legs were kind of stiff from all the kicking exercises at the pool last night, so I kept the pace down, no dire need to hurry tonight. By the 10K point I could really feel that my energy was depleted, I need to increase my calorie intake somewhat. I finished the run tonight with an average pace of 6:04/K (9:46/M), a few second more than I had anticipated, but acceptable.

Weather reports for the weekend are looking nasty, freezing temperatures, icy rain, maybe snow in some areas - all in all a normal November weekend. Saturday I only have 16K/10M on the schedule - should be a piece of cake!

My Swimming Teacher is a Tyrant

As most of you know who read my blog regularly I am taking a beginner’s swimming course. I could swim before but never learned the right technique which met all the little grandmother’s would speed by me in the pool.

Anyway I went to the pool last night to practice my breaststroke and the freestyle before my class on Friday night. I swam maybe 3 meters before my swimming teacher comes over and stops me to complain about the way I was kicking. Now I usually need a lap or two before I settle into the right form, so she kind of blew my mind. Now she knows that I am trying really hard to learn the technique that she is teaching us so I guess she decided that she would make me her pet project during her break before her next class started.

Next thing I know she hands me a Styrofoam swimming pad and has me start doing some kicking drills. First the freestyle kick for about 5 minutes, then the breaststroke kick. The latter has always been a problem for me and last night was no exception. So she has me kicking away for a good 10 minutes before the good lord finally showed mercy and her next class showed up.

Now I appreciate the personal training and I know it helped, but somehow I was not in the mood for this last night. I wanted to swim about 1200 meters breaststroke to work the upper body. After all the kicking drills I settled for about 700 meters and went home because I was getting really hungry. The kicking drills expended a lot of energy!

So what is the point of all this whining, there isn’t any, but I feel better thank you. Actually the drills showed me last night that my breaststroke kick is not doing much for me. When I use the Styrofoam pad and kick without any arm movement I do not go forwards at all. Even after 10 minutes I barely made any progress. Teacher said it takes time, but once I can do the kick right I will really notice the difference in my breaststroke swimming.

I have only two things left to say: I hope the freestyle goes better than this and I am glad I have a run on the schedule tonight.

p.s. To be fair to my swim teacher who is so dedicated, I understand now why you enjoy teaching the little kids so much – just get them in the water and they swim – no bad habits to break. Sigh...

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Winter is Relative

Mark reminded me in a comment to my last post that we really don’t have cold winters where I live in Germany.

I was born and raised in Upstate New York, near Utica. Our winters there were usually cold and were almost always accompanied by blowing and drifting snow from moderate to heavy wind. This area receives “lake effect snow” from Lake Ontario. Utica receives moderately heavy snowfall with an annual average just over 100 inches. The lowest recorded temperature -34F (-37C) degrees occurred on February 9, 1934. The coldest temperature that I remember was -26F (-32C) degrees which occurred in 1979 (I remember this because my car battery FROZE).

Now I live in one of the warmest parts of Germany (near Karlsruhe) where the coldest recorded temperature was -25C (-13F). The coldest temperature that I have experienced here in the last 15 years I believe was -15C (+5F). My German wife said it used to get a lot colder when she was a kid, so I guess I’ve been lucky.

So I can almost hear Mark up there in Canada snickering when I’m whining about how cold it is and it isn’t even below freezing yet. He probably still running around in his shorts and T-shirt!

Just call me a New Yorker gone soft. But all you northern USA and Canadian folks are more than welcome to come and run with me any time your toes get cold, don’t forget to bring your shorts and T-shirt, but I’ll keep my parka thank you ;-) Better yet we can all go run with David in Florida!!


Yesterday I lost the pound that I put on over the weekend, so I’m back down to 165. This week’s eating will closely resemble what I ate yesterday (see post).

Now most of you who have trained for a longer race AND have tried to lose weight know how hard this is. Our bodies demand a higher caloric intake to provide energy for all that running and cross-training. For the next 4 months or so I am going to take a serious look at the quantity and quality of food intake in the hopes of finding the ideal diet that will allow me to meet my weight goal while still providing enough energy to meet my training requirements. I should also add, without sacrificing my health.

In any case I know I need to increase caloric intake, particularly in the form of carbohydrates, at least the two days prior to and at least one day following a long run. I think it is also important that I spread my caloric intake over 5 smaller meals rather than 3 large. The biggest factor will be watching what I stuff into my mouth. The calories need to come from food of high nutritional value, not empty calories. So all those Christmas cakes, candies, chocolate, rich sauces, alcohol and anything else that tastes good are not on the list.

Running & Exercise

I am feeling really great this morning, the run last night seemed to be just the right speed, no aches and pains this morning. Tonight I want to go to the swimming pool on my way home and crank out about 1000 meters in laps (breast stroke).

Monday, November 14, 2005

14K Run, Winter Outfits, What I ate Today.

After work tonight I headed out at about 16:30 for a 14K/8.7M run at a moderate tempo. The temperature was hovering around 7°C/45°F, but with a chilly breeze, so I guess the wind chill factor was around freezing. I quickly fell into a comfortable pace, not too fast, but not slouching either. Tonight was a full moon so I could pretty much keep up the pace even when the sun disappeared. I finished my run with an average pace of 5:50/K (9:23/M) and felt really good afterwards.

Dressing for Winter Running

After my run on Saturday where I froze the last half of the run I have been rethinking my winter training outfit. I have been wearing a polyester turtle-neck shirt, with a Cool-Max short-sleeve running shirt and a running jacket over this on top. For pants I have been wearing 65% cotton/35% polyester running pants and of course my shoes, socks and a knit hat. I have been having serious problems with chaffing, especially from the running pants so I tried something different. Tonight I wore my Cool-Max running shorts under the running pants, and wore the Cool-Max shirt next to the skin followed by a long-sleeve cotton shirt and a cotton hooded sweater that I could unzip when I got too warm. No more chaffing problems and the Cool-Max seemed to wick away the sweat so I wasn’t freezing by the time I finish running!


Let’s not talk about the weekend, I gained a pound – up to 166 lbs. But the good news is that I ran tonight and have been back on my diet all day.

So let’s see what Jack ate today.

Breakfast (5:15 a.m.): 1 cup of coffee (diet sweetner = ds), 1 bowl of granola with low-fat milk, 1 glass tomato juice (~ 8 oz.).
Snack (9:00 a.m.): 1 cup of coffee (ds), 1 large apple.
Lunch (12:00 a.m.): 1 cup of coffee (ds) , 1 banana, 1 large apple.
Dinner (6:15 p.m.): 1 piece of rabbit (really!), spaghetti with tomato sauce, green salad with 1 tbs. low-cal dressing. 1 glass tomato juice. (I know it is a strange combination, but my wife has school tonight, I cleaned up the leftovers from the weekend).

I also drank about 2-3 liters of water so far today. I’ll probably have at least another liter before the night is done.

That’s it for today. Oh, I also take a multi-vitamin every morning and a calcium/magnesium tablet three times a day (recommended dose).

How NOT to Diet

I contemplated going to the swimming pool yesterday, but my creaking joints talked me into just taking the day off. Good for my joints, bad for my diet. After doing really well all week on my diet, I totally blew it on the weekend, I’m up a pound. Oh well, back to work!

I sat around yesterday a bit perplexed at how the cold weather and swimming have zapped my energy and left my muscles feeling as old as I am. I ran a couple 24K runs in October when it was warmer (and when I was doing less swimming) and felt great afterwards.

But then I thought a little harder about my week - I averaged about 1200 calories a day Monday – Friday. That is about 1000-1500 calories less per day than I have been eating lately. I ran 14K/8.7M on Monday and Wednesday, swam 1200 meters on Tuesday and around 800-1000 meters on Friday night. Saturday morning I had around a 300 calorie breakfast and went on a wet, cold almost 27K/17M run.

Duh, is it any wonder I didn’t have an optimal run, I was starving to death! Of course than I pigged out the rest of the day and Sunday, so am basically starting all over again today. In any case I am adjusting my caloric intake for this week, better to lose weight more slowly anyway.

Got any Italian blood flowing in the veins, or just appreciate the culture? Be sure to check out one of CompleteRunning’s newer members Stefano from Italy at „Run with the Black Knight“. Stefano just completed a fabulous half-marathon and is training for the Rome Marathon.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Swim Class #6 and A Cold Long Run

On Friday night was my 6th swimming class. Our teacher spent half the class having us swim 25 meter laps so she could evaluate and correct errors in our breast stroke. For the second half of the class she had us practice the freestyle kick and backstroke. For the remaining four classes she wants to concentrate on the freestyle. She remarked that most of us are far enough ahead with the breaststroke, at least the basic technique, that we can continue to refine it on our own. I estimated that I swam approximately 800-1000 meters during and after the class.

Yesterday morning I set out at 6:30 a.m. for my first long run for Marathon III. It was a brisk 3C/37F as I headed out the door for my planned 22K/13.6M run. I finished the first two kilometers in about 6:00/K (9:39/M) which was the pace I had planned on. For the next 9K it was too dark to see my watch so I could only guesstimate what my speed was. The 11K point was almost under a street lamp so I could read my watch 1:03:57, or 5:49/K (9:21/M), a little bit too fast, but bearable.

From the 11K marker I ran another minute or two until I reached the main roads that rings around the city of Karlsruhe (where I ran the marathon in September), and took a right. Rather than taking the next right and starting back I stayed on the path and took the second right (Linkenheimer Alley) which I wanted to try out. I was hoping this street would be entirely asphalt, unlike the Grabener Alley which I usual took on my return leg of the run. I was never on this new path so I was not sure where I would end up exactly, nor was I sure of the length and kilometer breakdown.

In any case I started down this path until I finally reached a canal that I always cross over. I estimate I had traveled almost 19K/12M by this time. Unfortunately this is where the asphalt trail ended! So I turned right and headed along a gravel path in the direction of my old running trail that more or less paralleled the asphalt path that I had just left. After a couple kilometers I finally arrived at this path and took a left and started heading towards home.

I estimate that I passed the 22K point somewhere between the canal and a highway which I normally cross. I knew that I was still 4-5 kilometers from home and what was worse is that I was surprisingly worn out by this time, my legs were really tired. I stopped and walked long enough to eat a sport bar and drink some sports drink (I had my CamelBak). I was cold and my legs hurt worse than ever, so ran again. I took a couple more shore walk breaks over the next few kilometers, until I reached the edge of my town, then jogged the last kilometer in. I was soaked from sweating and cold, really cold. I covered somewhere between 26-27K (16-17M).

I am fairly confident that I ran my planned 22K with an average pace of 6:00/K (9:39/M). I am kind of shaken that I had so much leg pain after that point though. I think the swimming course just 11 hours before my long run had a lot to do with this, as did the cold foggy weather, and my strict diet that I had been following all week.

If I didn't learn anything else yesterday I learned that training for a marathon during the winter is going to be rough. January and February are going to be especially challenging! On the other side if the winter is too brutal I can alway postpone Marathon III until later on in the year, it doesn't HAVE to be on March 12th. I want to control my marathoning, not have it control me!

Friday, November 11, 2005

There’s a New Competition in Town

Just when you thought you heard it all on RBF, a new competition enters the picture. Yep, Bill (Jank) mentioned yesterday that one of his goals for the next few months is to drop his weight 17 lbs. from 167 to 150, which is ideal for a 5’7” type.

Now I am also a 5’7” type who weighed 167 lbs. last week (I’ve lost 2 since then) and who is also working for the day when I weigh 150 lbs.

So I challenged Bill to a duel, the first one to hit 150 lbs. gets a gold star! Bill accepted this challenge, so the battle is on. Hopefully this will motivate each other to reach our goals! In any case I hope this little friendly "competition" is just what I need to get a jumpstart on my diet. I think all of Bill's goals are totally doable, and I wish him luck. The best is when we both get our gold stars on the same day! Maybe Jon can help us celebrate with a low-cal version of his Truffels (is there such a thing).

Anybody else need to lose 17 lbs. that wants to submit an application! Stay-tuned to the RBF, where all the exciting things in life are HAPPENING!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Signed up for HM today!

I signed up for the 23rd Annual International Winter Street Run (Winterstraßenlauf) in Ettlingen-Bruchhausen (Germany) during lunch today. They are offering a 5K, 10K and HM on December 3, 2005. I signed up for the HM of course, I am a glutton for punishment :-)

I am not doing any special training for this run, I have been maintaining my normal running over the last 6-7 weeks, that’s enough. My cold weather running is always slower than the rest of the year so I am just going to enjoy this one. The race also sets between two long runs, a 24K the weekend before and a 26K the weekend after, so I have to keep it slow to avoid needing a long recovery time.

A Cold 14K Training Run

Last night I set out on my 14K/8.7M run with sunny blue skies and a mild 11C/52F temperature. I completed the first 10K with a nice quick tempo pace of 5:30/K (8:51/M), or roughly my half-marathon pace. As it was getting quite dark by this time I naturally slowed down a little bit after this eventually finishing with an average pace of 5:39/K (9:06/M) for the total distance, a nice quick training pace for this time of year.

I have a couple notes and/or comments about this run:

- There was approximately a 5°C (9°F) drop in temperature from start to finish.
- I wore long Cool-Max running tights, it was too cold by the end of the run, I need to wear thicker training pants.
- My legs were sore later in the evening and this morning. I haven’t decided if this is from being too cold or from the slightly faster speed. It could also be the 1000+ meter swim on Tuesday.
- I need to seriously consider a running lamp, I have a hard time seeing branches and other obstacles on my running path after dark.

Tonight is a rest night, no training. Tomorrow night is Breaststroke Swim Class #6 and early Saturday morning is my first long run for Marathon III (22K/13.6M).

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Marathon III Training Notes: Long Runs on Asphalt

With my first two marathons I had major leg muscle malfunctions by approximately the 32K/20M point, despite having run successfully up to 36K/22.4M in training. Since my first marathon I have been convinced that it has a lot to do with the asphalt/concrete running surface that most marathon routes consist of in my area.

With my first marathon I ran my long runs on surfaces consisting of approximately 20% asphalt and 80% dirt/crushed stone or forest paths. For the second marathon I ran about 60-70% asphalt and the rest on softer surfaces. With the latter marathon I actually made it further before my legs started hurting like crazy, and pretty much avoided the cramps that occurred with the first marathon.

Another interesting note is that I wore the same Adidas running shoes for both marathons. These are a pair that I reserve only for my races. I looked last night I have over 410K/255M miles on these shoes JUST from racing. I also know that I wore them for at least one of my longer long runs during each marathon training phase, plus I wore them some to break them in before I started racing with them. One of the reasons that I reserve them for races is that they are lighter weight than my other running shoes, which is great for 10K and HM, but I am beginning to think they do not offer adequate support for marathon running.

For marathon III two major adjustments will be made:

- I am going to get some new running shoes.
- I am going to run all my long runs on 100% asphalt trails (my other runs will be on softer surfaces).

I spent some time on Google Earth last night and mapped out my long runs, from 22K/13.6M to 36K/22.2M. As far as I know these are all asphalt bike trails. There is one stretch that I am not sure about that I will cover on my 22K run on Saturday morning.

If this doesn’t help, I swear marathon IV will be a trail marathon!

1000+ meter Swim

Last night was swim night, I had the car yesterday so I went directly to the pool after work. It was kind of busy the first15-20 minutes, but after awhile it thinned out and I didn’t have to dodge people quite so much while doing my laps. I tried not to think so much about all the technique remarks that my swim coach has been giving me and just did my own variation of the breaststroke. This was not too easy because my swim coach walked by about a zillion times while I was swimming. She had a kid’s swim class yesterday. I’m sure I will hear a couple comments on Friday about my form.

I swam either a 1000 or 1100 meters, somewhere along the way I spaced out and am not sure about my lap count. Probably one of those times that I felt my swim coaches stare, looked up and saw her standing watching me. The first 500 meters I swam without a break, a new record for me (it took around 21 minutes, is that good?).

I wanted to swim more but the palms of my hands started aching, the first time this has happened. I also had a few cramps in my feet, a problem which I was able to correct by adjusting the way I bent or moved my feet. Probably a form problem.

I think my kick is slowly improving. I figured out that the way my kicks is totally different than the more modern breaststroke method that my swim coach has been teaching. And her method is different from the real modern method that I see a lot of the swim team at the pool doing and have researched on the Internet. No wonder I have been so confused.

I bought a used copy of “The Swim Coaches Bible” by I forget who, from Amazon. It was also highly recommended for people learning to swim. I noticed that my form is very similar to the form described in the book, so I can’t be too wrong.

Friday night’s swim course will be interesting!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

To be elite or not to be elite, that is the question!

To be elite or not to be elite that is the question? Actually this question never came to mind in regards to my running. I never had the inclination to be an elite runner, nor do I have the time, genes, family support, job, or money to do so.

So where does that leave me? I’m a hobby runner and proud of it. I run for me - my health, my nerves, my enjoyment, my weight control. I race because I enjoy it, the other racers, the environment and it motivates me to run more. This is not to say that I am a sloth and don’t try to beat my time at most races. But I am not above racing just to run, e.g. with no other goal than to cross the finish line. I went from couch to marathon in less than two years, I'm satisfied, I just want to enjoy the ride for awhile!

This is the attitude that I have as I begin my next marathon journey. Someday I want to break the 4-hour barrier, but I know this will take more time and energy than I can/want to commit myself to over the next few months. So I am just going to enjoy the training, the running and see how close it brings me to this goal. I still may have a good day and thrust myself over the finish line in under-4, I’ll know at about the 36K marker.

In any case I decided to post my tentative training schedule. I say tentative because life is full of roadblocks, so I have to be flexible.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Marathon III Training - Day 1

So tonight was my first training run for Marathon III, 17 weeks, 6 days to go ;-) It was a cool 13C/55F as I left the house about 16:25, and a crisp 9C/48F when I returned 1:23:50 later. I ran the first 7K of the 14K/8.7M run with an average pace of 5:33/K (8:56/M). That was about the last time that I could see the time on my stop watch, it was getting too dark after this point. I finished the second half of the run with an average pace of 6:17/K (10:07/M). The colder temperatures and darkness slow me down considerably.

We all love dog stories, I have for you tonight. Shortly after the halfway point I turned right and started cruising down the path. This part was in the forest and the sun had retreated behind the tree line. I could still see a little ways in front of me and what I saw was a person walking three very large white (or light) dogs. I also saw another person coming from the other direction with two large black (dark at least) dogs. What I couldn’t see was any leashes (it was too dark for that) and the next thing I heard was all of the dogs barking, growling and generally trying to tear each other apart, mixed with a couple owners yelling at the dogs and each other.

So I did what any good Jack would do:

Jack be nimble
Jack be quck
Jack jumped onto another path and beat track outta there!

I mean how stupid could these dog owners be? Even I could see what was going to happen, and I was a hundred meters behind them, yikes!

Anyway I may have run a little more than 14K as it took a little while to get back on my path as I ended up in the middle of the woods and it was really dark there! Luckily I have good orientation in the woods, even at night – a result of many years of night training in the military (in the days before night vision goggles became standard equipment).

I remember a lieutenant that I used to drive around the first year I was in the army that couldn’t find his way around in the daytime – at night when we drove around with reduced lights (blackout drive) he was downright dangerous:

“Sir, I think we just drove off the post”!
“No soldier, I’m sure we are on the right road!”
“But sir, I just saw some cows!”
“Are you trying to correct me soldier?”
“Ahh sir, there’s a barn and a farmhouse...”
“Just turn around, do you know where we are?”
“Yes sir, I live in the trailor park just down the road from here!”
“Then find a way back to the right road before someone sees us!”

Hehe, this really happened by the way, while I was at Ft. Knox, Kentucky in the early 1980’s :-)

Gosh it feels good to be training for something again!

Marathon III Planning

Last night I sat down and went over my Marathon III training schedule. With my first marathon I used a 14-day training schedule where basically ran every other day, restarting the cycle every two weeks. With my second marathon I generally ran 16K/10M on Monday and Wednesdays, did weight training followed by a 3-5K run on Tuesday and Thursdays, with a long run every second Saturday. On the Saturdays when I wasn’t running long I ran a 20-24K “medium-long run”.

For my upcoming marathon, which will probably be the Bienwald Marathon (Bee Forest Marathon) on March 12, 2006, I am going to try to get by with 3 runs a week along with some cross-training. I plan on running 14K/8.7M on Monday and Wednesdays (the nights my wife has evening classes) and a run on Saturday morning. Every second Saturday will be a long run with the alternating weekends filled in with either a race or a 24K/15M “medium-long” run.

I still have 5 more swimming classes which means the next 5 Friday nights will be swimming. My class will end just as my long runs start really picking up. After that I will probably continue to swim at least once a week, probably on Thursdays. I will also squeeze in some weight training each week and maybe some bike riding on warm weekends.

The following table compares the total kilometers ran per week with what I have proposed for next years marathon. The total mileage lies somewhere in the middle of the first two marathons.

This week is the first week of training or week 18 shown in the accompanying table. Thus I am running 14K/8.7 miles tonight and Wednesday, followed by a 22K/13.6M run on Saturday.

There are a few reasons why I am reducing the number of days I run per week and the total mileage:

- Most of the training will be done in the dark and/or in cold and potentially bad weather.
- I didn’t schedule enough recovery time while training for Marathon II.
- I want to make my running activities less obvious to my wife.
- Work will be gobbling up more of my time over the next few months.
- This will be my third marathon in 10 months, I need to be careful not to overdo it.
- I’m not getting any younger.
- Marathon III is all about finishing strong, not about setting a new personal best! (Someone please remind me of this fact on race day:-)

I am also going to try to limit my racing prior to the marathon. More races means more recovery time. And since I always cheat my body as far as recovery time goes the only solution is to race less. I am committed to a half-marathon on December 3, 2005 that I am running with some friends, but this is programmed into my training schedule and will count as a training run. Any other races will also be slower training runs (please somebody remind me when I say I’m going to do a race!).

Sunday, November 06, 2005

A Good Swim and My Neighbor's Shed on Fire

Today started out as a nice quiet Sunday, after attending church I went to the swimming pool and swam about 600 meters. I got home about 1 p.m., my wife was fixing lunch so I sat and read the paper. About 1:30 p.m. we heard the fire whistle from the fire department down the street and around the corner from us. As the trucks pulled out the station my wife made the remark that they sounded like they were headed our way.

So I look out the front door the truck stops at the hydrant on the corner in front of our house, I run to the back door and into the small yard in back of our house. I notice right away that there is smoke billing out of the windows from my neighbors shed across the street, so run back inside and grab my camera. I snapped the top picture as the firemen were setting up their hoses. The shed is between the two houses in the top picture, almost entirely covered by smoke the lower picture is from the other side of the house. To give you an idea of how much smoke was present – it was a very bright sunny day with blue skies – this is pretty much blocked by the smoke.

Anyway the fire department was quick to get the fire under control and there doesn’t seem to be too much damage - at least visible from outside. A fireman told me that no one was hurt. The police saw me snapping pictures so took my name and telephone number and asked me to put the pictures on a CD-ROM in case the fire inspector needs to look at them.

The fire department waited around until about 3:30 p.m. until the chief declared that any danger of a new fire was past, so now the neighbourhood is quite except for the occasional “curious tourist” checking out where the fire was.

So my wife is taking a nap on the couch and I have one eye on the New York Marathon which is on the Euro-Sport channel today. I wonder how Jank (Bill) is doing right now?

Tomorrow it's back to work and back to marathon training!

Saturday, November 05, 2005

A Swift 16K Run; Tentative March Marathon Plans

A busy day today - this morning I sanded down and prepared an olden wooden chair for refinishing this morning. After lunch I went with my wife to a flea market this afternoon, came home put the first coat of finish on the chair, cleaned up the garage, then went running.

As I headed out on my run I knew that it would be dark before I finished so I decided to run my 14K/8.7M route in reverse. When I run the route in this direction the last 6-7K are either on the edge of the forest or across fields so I can take advantage of the moonlight. Tonight was 16K/10M on my training schedule so I did an extra loop around the last field before returning – this was fairly close to 16K anyway. If it was indeed 16K then my pace was 5:33/K (8:56/M).

I felt good tonight, lots of energy! I think this was a result of loading up on pasta the last few meals. My muscles were a little tired as I finished, but in a positive way.

Yesterday I brought up the subject of running a marathon in 2006 with my wife. We have postponed our vacation to my parents in New York until 2007, so I could theoretically run anytime next year. Now this year I trained from January to October which I know really killed my wife’s nerves. So I offered that I run my marathon in March then run a FEW shorter races the rest of the year. I could see that this appealed to my wife but she refused to commit without thinking it over.

In any case in order to run a marathon on March 12th I need to start my training on Monday (18 weeks prior). If for any reason this marathon doesn’t work out at least I will have a good base for whenever I do in 2006. I also am running a half-marathon on December 3rd, so a few long runs will be a good thing!

Friday, November 04, 2005

Dragging a Tired, Aching Body 14K

This morning I was up at 5:00 a.m. to wake my wife up (she never hears the alarm) but every muscle in my body seemed to ache, so I rolled over and went back to sleep. I wanted to do an early morning run, but settled for a late morning run. Yesterday I was moving furniture, including the washer and dryer, this morning I felt like I was a hundred years old.

I headed out on my 14K/8.7M trail, starting slowly then picking up the pace. My muscles resisted, whined and did all they could to interfere. I pushed, trying to convince myself that it was all in my mind. I ran the first 7K (4.35M) with an average pace of 5:27/K (8:46/M), but it took a tremendous amount of effort – I felt like I was running a 10K race. By KM9 I was running out of gas, I only had some water for breakfast right before the run. I fought the urge to slow down, I was determined to keep my tempo going, I had enough easy runs the past week. The last 10-15 minutes were miserable, I was continuously fighting to keep my pace going, my muscles ached, and it started to rain.

After what seemed like an eternity I finally made it home and boy was I glad! My average pace for the 14K was 5:38/K (9:03/M), a little slower than I had wanted, but considering my strenuous home improvement activities this week, acceptable.

I decided to wimp out and not do my 10K race tomorrow. There are enough other races this year, I think I will spend tomorrow afternoon doing something with my wife.

I took another look at my training schedule last night, if I want to run the marathon on March 12, I have to start training NEXT WEEK! This is one of the factors that prompted me to skip the race tomorrow.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

A Morning Swim

This is definitely a working vacation this, not for my company, no just things around the house that I neglected all year because I was running. This morning I was up at 5:30 getting around so I could have our car at the dealer by 7:00. Time for the 100K inspection, oil change and winter tires. Luckily I have a rental car so I am not stranded, but I had to run a few errands for my wife, then stopped at the swimming pool and swam about 700 meters. My kick needs lots of work, you would all laugh yourselves silly if you watched me.

I have a 10K race on my calendar for Saturday, but I haven’t signed up for it yet. At this point I am not sure I am going to run it, there is still a lot of things I would like to get done this week around the house. Once I get back to work next week it is going to be really hectic until the end of the year, so it’s important that I get the “home-work” out of the way this week.

I started reading a few blogs this morning, but am way behind. I have come to the conclusion that when I am on vacation the time goes by twice as fast as when I work. I never seem to get everything done that I would like, whether it be work or play. Well, I have to go paint a wall – a little upper body exercise ;-)

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Does Home Improvement Work Count as Crosstraining?

I’m on vacation this week, but no sunny beaches for this boy. No I spent the last couple days mixing concrete (by hand), plastering and generally working like a dog in an effort to repair a concrete wall in our laundry room. This office jockey is not used to this work and my body is pretty beat up. I was going to run Monday night but ended up working into the night finishing the concrete work. So I thought I would run last night, but same story – working until 8 p.m.

So this morning my wife went back to work and I decided I needed to stretch my aching leg muscles, so I hit the trail. The first 15 minutes was pure agony, talk about aching muscles, but once I got everything loosened up a bit I fell into a comfortable pace and completed my 14K/8.7M route. No speed records this morning, a nice easy 5:57/K (9:35/M) pace.

So now I have to shower, eat some breakfast then drive to our local home improvement store and pick up some more material. Then its back to work on the laundry room. I hope I can finish up early enough to head to the swimming pool tonight, I want to practice my swimming before I forget how.

Have a good week.

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