Saturday, December 31, 2005

One Last Race Report

So my last race report for the year, somehow I’m all emotional about this, it really has been a good year. I ran and ran, set PR’s, then set them again. Today was not a PR day, the weather was against it, I guess I was too. I ran a 28K/17M long run last Saturday, another approx. 1K less than that on Wednesday. I did absolutely zero speed work, and Mother Nature has been emptying here snow basket on us all week. Today was much warmer, 7C/45F, the racing trails wet, filled with snow, ice, slush, mud and puddles – it was more of a cross-country race than a 10K.

My wife and I arrived in Rheinstetten-Forchheim about an hour before the start of the Forchheim New Year's Eve 10K race, I picked up my race number and sat with my wife for a while. I was hoping that some of my co-workers would show up for the race, the race was only a few miles from work and a lot lived in the area. In the end only one woman showed up that worked in another part of the company – we knew each other from sight and exchanged greetings and talked for a bit before the race. She had a couple friends with her that she had counted on running with so I decided it was better to run on my own – they were more back of the packer’s.

So about 15 minutes before the race started I took a last walk to the toilet, did some stretching and jogged a few minutes to warm up. The Start was located on the main street in the town of about 8000, they closed it off for the race. There were just over 400 runners participating in the 10K race today and one of the most diverse crowds I’ve seen for awhile. There were the normal athletic types hovering in the front, the normal citizens like myself in the middle and towards the rear a mixture of all conceivable runners, including a group of 10 with matching T-Shirts with “Happy New Year” written in German front and back (they all ran and finished together).

I looked for my co-worker but didn’t see her in the crowd (I passed her a few minutes later, she was way up front). So anyway, before I knew it the start gun sounded and we were off. The first kilometer was rather uneventful, other than having to dodge a lot of slow runner’s who lined up in the front. I passed the 1K marker in 5:12 (8:22/M). We had been following the road for about half this distance, than turned off onto a side street that led out to the fields surrounding the town – the last few hundred meters were downhill.

Shortly after the 1K marker we turned left onto a path that led along some fields than ducked into the forest. The trail was miserable, at best we slipped and slided along, real running was almost impossible. Here I think my short legs were a distinct advantage, I passed on person after the other averaging 5:00/K (8:03/M) for kilometers 2-4.

Somewhere between kilometer 4-5 we turned again a ran along a dike (we were close to the Rhine River) – it was really icy, we were all forced to slow down. I passed the 5K point in 25:31, then I shut my stopwatch off – I decided that it was just too slippery to be worrying about my time – better to concentrate on the path and try to avoid any injury.

So I continued on the best I could for the next 4 kilometers, everyone was having trouble, some stopped and walked, other’s seem to just slow up and not worry about it anymore. Shortly before the 9K marker we had to run up a short hill, it was treacherous – why didn’t they sand it? I gingerly made my way up, slowing almost to a walk. Once I reached the top we turned onto a street which was partially clear, I picked up my pace as we passed the 9K marker.

From this point the race was through the streets of the town. The streets were partially clear, but full of mud puddles. My already wet feet where now soaked through and through, my running pants covered with mud, it was raining a drizzling rain – but I was focused.

I tried to pick up my pace as best I could, but somehow I was beat from the slipping and sliding. I tried to psych myself up for a good finish, but somehow it wasn’t working. The about 500 meters before the finish I heard my name, Birgit one of the woman that ran with our company team this past October was yelling encouragement and gave me a high-five as I ran by. This was the spark that it took to get me going. I picked up the pace, and as I rounded the last corner and the final 200 meters I broke into a sprint passing several people and almost ran over one lady who stopped and walked in the finish chute right before the finish line. The only thing that saved her was someone literally pulling her out of the way as I came charging through!

I glanced at the clock as I ran over the finish line, 52:0x, not good, but not bad considering the trail conditions. I’ll take it :-) Whoooohooo that was a hard 10K, but somehow still totally awesome. After catching my breath (I really sprinted the last part!), I grabbed a cup of warm tea to drink and wondered over to the finish to cheer in my co-worker – she showed up with her friends about 11 minutes later – totally happy to be finished, but complaining about the messy trail. Eventually our other co-worker Birgit came over and joined us and we talked for a while. Birgit was just getting over a cold so didn’t run today – she ran the race last year.

As it was raining we broke up after a few minutes and went our separate ways. I took a shower at the sports club and joined my wife just as they were handing out the awards to the elites. I was pleased to see that the 90-year old runner that frequents the local races finished the 10K today. He received an award for being the oldest runner and a standing ovation – he is my hero and an inspiration for many (he finished in 1:38:36)!

So my race stats:

Time: 52:04
Placement (overall): 202/425
Placement (age group M45): 32/54
Average pace: 5:12/K (8:23/M)

So that was 2005, a good running year, full of accomplishments! I am looking forward to what the new year brings. So let me shut-up and just say Happy New Year to each one of you!

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Swimming and other diversions

Swim Report

After a morning of errand with my wife I decided to go to the pool and swim some laps. It was an hour before lunch, I could already feel hunger pains, my stomach is still on holiday time – eat every two hours whether you need to or not.

Anyway, the pool was full, which kind of surprised me – I guess a lot of people are on vacation. In any case I knocked out about 1000 meters breast stroke. I took a short break and then tried to practice my freestyle. On the first lap I swam into two other swimmers (I’m still pulling to the right). I decided to check out the smaller pool, but it was full of kids, so I went back and swam another 100 meters breast stroke and called it a day. I at least got in some swimming.

Diet Report

I really don’t like to talk about my diet, I am so ashamed. Well not really, but I did gain 4 pounds over Christmas I can’t seem to shake them yet, there is just too many temptations around the house. The other day I had a chocolate Santa chase me around the house until I finally had to put him out of his misery by eating him ;-) I always do best with my diet when I am working, I am far away from the refrigerator and my wife has less time to cook the delicious meals like she has been this week.

Upcoming Race

Yep, Saturday is my last race for the year, a 10K New Year’s Eve run at 2 p.m. Is Jack looking for a new personal best – no absolutely not, I’m going and running for fun. The race goes right by at least a couple of my coworkers houses so I may have to stop along the way :-)

Book Report

One of my Christmas presents was a new (to me) book by John “The Penquin” Bingham called “Marathoning for Mortals”. I am a big fan of John’s Runner’s World column. I’ve only read the first couple pages, but I think it is going to be a good book, I’ll let you know.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

First Run in the SNOW!

This morning was my first opportunity to run in the snow. Not much snow compared to bloggers in the northern states and Canada, but still white and fluffy. My goal today was a medium long run of at least 20K (12M) at an easy pace. This coming Saturday is a 10K race that I want to run so I decided to get my longer run out of the way. As I just ran a 28K long run on Saturday I wanted to go easy (pace) today. I left the house about 8:00 a.m., quite late compared to most of my longer runs, but I had to clean the snow off the sidewalks in front and on the side of our house before I left. My wife had a appointment at the hairdresser, so I was covered on the home front, so I was really looking forward to my run.

The first couple kilometers went slow, there was ice built up where people had been walking. But once I headed out across the fields and into the forest there was 2-4” of virgin snow. The snow was light, fuffy, and a bit slippery, so it was easy to keep my pace down. The first 9K (5+M) were over my normal trail that I run on Monday and Wednesday nights. Shortly after the 9K point I turned off the trail and headed over a bridge that straddles the train tracks that separate my trail with the Graben Running Clubs trails.

I wound my way over the trails, running mostly in the forest. It was snowing lightly, the wind was calm and it didn’t feel cold. I passed an older jogger who seemed to be having the time of his life running over the new fallen snow. We exchanged greetings as we passed, he was all energetic and smiles – much the way I felt!

A few minutes later I passed a group of six ladies Nordic walking, they barely noticed me as I went by – they were too busy catching up on the latest gossip I guess ;-).

I wound my way on around the loop that circles the forest. I saw a deer run across the trail ahead of me – run fast friend, its still hunting season!

Eventually I came back to the start of the running club’s trails and the bridge that lead back to my trail. By this time my feet were a bit wet and starting to get cold, but just 5K to go at this point. I continued down my familiar trail, passing several people taking walks or walking their dogs. The dogs seemed to be distracted by the snow today, they left me alone for a change.

Anyway I finally made it home without incident. I ran for 2:48:47, just a couple minutes less than 28K/17M my long run on Saturday. But today my pace was slower so I probably only ran about 26-27K (16-17M). This was 20-30 minutes more than I had intended to run, but hey it was the first snow of the year :-))

Monday, December 26, 2005

First Post-Christmas Run

I hope everyone had a pleasant Christmas holiday! My company is closed this week so week are enjoying the time off.

This afternoon I headed out for a 14K/8.7M run, it was time to work off the Christmas stuffing. I started out slow, feeling kind of sluggish from all that I ate over the last couple days. But after a half hour I fell into a steady pace and made my way through the fields and forest. I pass a couple runners and some Nordic walker, I guess they were feeling the need for some movement too. We had some snow flurries today, but no accumulation. I had kind of hoped for a white Christmas, but that rarely happens where we live.

Anyway I finished my 14K run with an average pace of 5:32/K (8:54/M), quite a bit faster than I had anticipated, but very satisfying. Tomorrow we may head to the pool for some swimming, or if that falls through the maybe I will take a short run. Have a great week!

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Last Long Run for 2005!

This morning I slept a little later than I had planned finally getting up about 6:15. By 6:45 I was warmed up and out the door. Today’s schedule, 28K/17M, long run pace (about 6:00/K). The weather was clear, a slight wind, the temperature around 3C/37F, overall pretty mild. The first 7-8K were non-eventful, but then I noticed that I was getting blisters on the inside arches of BOTH feet. I had made a fatal mistake, pure cotton socks with my Brooks running shoes. This combination always produces blisters on long runs. For some reason socks made out synthetic materials are fine in combination with the Brooks. I knew then it was going to be a long run!

In any case I crossed the 11K point and the first turn around with an average pace of just under 6:00/K (9:39/M), or right on pace. By the 15K point my new blisters were killing me. Nothing to do but grit my teeth and keep running. It was light outside by now so I turned on my MP3 player and hoped that a little Toby Keith and Brooks & Dunn would help me forget about my blisters.

I crossed the 20K point at almost exactly 1:59:00, right on pace! Shortly before this point I had taken a right off my trail and was following a bike path that ran along a highway connecting a couple of neighboring towns. I was only about 10 minutes from home at this point and had all I could do to keep from heading home, my feet were killing me, every step was painful. But I sucked it up and kept moving, the constant flow of cars kept me moving – maybe I was afraid that I looked so bad that someone my stop and offer help ;-)

So I did almost a complete circle around my town, finally reaching the familiar running path that I normally run. From here I knew it was just 2K more, I cannot describe how good that sounded at that moment. I picked up the pace a little, I just wanted to get home and nurse my aching feet. I reached the last corner and just poured it on, sprinting to my house. I did a painful walk around the block to cool down. I ran for 2:50:24, or somewhere around 28-29K (17-18M) - all on asphalt paths or roads. Other than the blisters on my feet it was a good run, my pace was almost exactly on plan.

So the blisters, the left foot had a huge blister, the largest I’ve ever seen. The right foot also had a blister, but not quite so large. These hurt so bad that I decided to drain them, so disinfected a needle and went to it. When I hit the left foot blister with the needle it spray out like a waterfall, amazing, cool really :-) So after a warm bath and some brunch I was good to go. This was my last long run this year. I do have one medium long run (22-24K) scheduled before the new year.

So let me take the opportunity to wish everyone a most joyous holiday season. Don’t be afraid to indulge a little, you earned it! We can all get back to training AFTER the holidays! And make sure you spent lots of time with your family and friends that you have been neglecting all year due to your training ;-) God bless you everyone!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Last night, swim night

Swim Report

Last night I stopped at the pool on the way home from work to swim some laps. I knocked out a 1000 meters breast stroke, took a short break, then worked on my freestyle. I managed almost a 100 meters freestyle before I wore myself out, a new record. Then I did another 200 meters of slow deliberate freestyle, trying to really concentrate on the right form. I needed several breaks, but I’m getting there. I really need a freestyle course so I can learn this right, I expend entirely too much energy due to the bad form and poor breathing techinques. But I am determined to transform myself into one of the fish that I see at the swimming pool all the time.

Run Report

Saturday morning is my next long run, 28K/17M. As I need to help my wife get the house in order for guests over the holiday I want to try to hit the trail by 5:30 a.m. I’m a bit concerned about the trails freezing as it is raining this morning and they are predicting colder temperatures for tomorrow. We’ll see.

More Diet Talk

I have been talking a lot about my diet lately. What I didn’t say is that I set a mini-goal for myself this year that I would maintain my weight the last week before Christmas. Historically I gain at least 4-5 pounds before Christmas and another 5-10 during and after Christmas. This was the first year that I did not pig-out and gain weight before Christmas. Let me say that again, this is the FIRST year that I have accomplished this in my lifetime, period!

Now I’m not a Scrooge, Christmas will be celebrated with great enthusiasm, and in Germany they celebrate for two days the 25th and the 26th, so I will definitely be eating in overabundance. But come Tuesday its back to the diet with a vengeance. As of this morning I am 9 pounds away from my ultimate weight goal of 150 lbs. I am going to try really hard to get rid of those 9 lbs (and whatever I gain over Christmas) before my marathon in March.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Do you want a cookie? Ahhhh...leave me alone!

Have you ever noticed how much food seems to be laying around as Christmas nears? I mean I can’t walk around my company with out seeing a bowl of cookies, candies or whatever within arms reach. If that isn’t bad enough there are the roving co-workers that walk around sticking a box of cookies under your nose and ask if you want one or a hundred. I think most of these people have so many cookies at home that they can’t stand to see them any longer so they try to pawn them off on the poor souls at work who have the same problem. Well I have a better solution, take the cookies downtown and hand them out to all the beggars on the street stationed at almost every store looking for handouts.

And speaking of stores, I was in the supermarket the other day. It was like running an obstacle course. Do you want to try our cheese? Do you want to try our new sausage? Do you want to try our new blue bananas? Ahhhh! We should recruit these people to work the service points during the next marathon! Do you want a drink? Are you sure you don’t want a drink? You look like you need a drink. Here take a drink! No one would ever be dehydrated again, ever!

But I have learned to say no. I have actually perfected the art to where I can say no in multiple languages and with various levels of emphasis. I have even mastered which tone of voice to use on which individuals. For the kind-hearted secretary who goes out of her way to be helpful I always answer with a sweet no-thank-you; for the aggressive ex-used-car-saleslady type at the supermarket who has asked me for the third time in as many minutes if I want to try her moldy cheese I reserve my old Sergeant’s command-voice that would make my old Drill Sergeant whimper with fear. And get down and knock out 20 while you’re at it!

At home it has been fairly quiet, my wife has been too busy at work and with her English class to bake anything, so we are pretty much sweet-free at home. The beer ran out long ago, and as I am the only one that drinks it, I haven’t bought any.

My wife asked me what I wanted for Christmas dinner the other day. I told her pasta and salad. After I woke up from unconsciousness caused by a blow to the head, she informed me that we will be having turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, veggies and that’s it!

So anyway, down another pound this week, 72 kg (159 lbs.).

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Yahoo, look out I'm coming through!

Tonight was almost a repeat of last Wednesday night. I got home all fired up ready to run, so suited up and practically ran out the door, was halfway around the block before I realized that I forgot my hat and gloves. As it was kind of cool, 4C/39/F, and getting dark I ran back and got them. So resetting my watch I sped off again knocking the first half of the 14K/8.7 mile run out in 37:03, or an average pace of 5:18/K (8:31/M). By this time it was dark and I had to pick my way along a muddy path for the next 5K so I slowed down some. But as soon as hit the asphalt trail that would take me the last 2K home, I was fired up again and burned rubber all the way home, sprinting the last 100 meters to my house - in the process scaring the living daylights out of a little old lady that popped out of nowhere. Sorry lady!

My average pace for the 14K run 5:28/K (8:48/M), exactly the same pace as last Wednesday. So I’m all ready for my 28K/17M run on Saturday! Happy Holidays, don’t forget to burn some calories!

Swimming, Running Plans, and The Diet

Swim Report

Last night I stopped at the pool on the way home from work to do some swimming. First I swam a 1000 meters breast stroke. After a short breather, I swam a 100 meters freestyle (or tried), but the pool was pretty full by that time and I seem to keep veering off to the right with this stroke. I noticed that the 1.35 meter deep kids pool was empty so switched pools and tried to work on my freestyle technique. After a couple hundred meters I finally managed to swim more or less in a straight line. I still wear myself out after a short distance (say 25-50 meters) and have to take a lot of breaks. I need to learn the proper technique and breathing – I hope I can get into a freestyle class this winter (big sigh). I finished off the night with another 100 meters breast stroke at a nice relaxed pace.

Run Report

Tonight is a 14K/8.7M run on the schedule and Saturday is my long run (28K/17M). The pool is closed from the 24-26th, so I may add an extra run to my training plan. The free weights in my shed have been crying out to me lately, so I may spend some time with them this weekend.

Diet Report

This morning my weight was down to 72.5kg (160 lbs.). That translates into a loss of 7 lbs. in the last month or so. But we all know that Christmas is looming in front of us like a big pile of chocolate, so anything goes.

My mini-goal is to still weigh 160 lbs. next Wednesday. What no weight loss expectations? Well, actually I am looking at this as realistically as possible. Saturday morning is my long run, after which I am typically as hungry as a bear for at least the next 24 hours. Combine the Great Hunger with Christmas festivities and it’s an automatic DNF. So basically my diet is going to take the Rocky I role and get all beat up for a few rounds, but in the end we will still end up winning!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

It's been a good running year!

I am starting to see people blogging about their “year in review”, what they accomplished (or didn’t) etc. I have been doing this in my head for a couple weeks already, mostly in conjunction with trying to figure out new goals for 2006.

My two biggest goals for 2005 were to run my first marathon and to finally get my weight down to 70 kg (155 lbs). I also wanted to set a new PR for my other race distances. Outside of the weight loss, I accomplished all of this by the end of May. So I set some new goals, to run a mountain trail run, to set a new PR with the marathon and to run 2000 kilometers this year. I accomplished these goals by the end of October.

I still have 7 pounds to lose before I reach my 70 kg goal weight, plus I’ve set a new goal of 150 lbs., so I will carry this work over into the new year. But this doesn’t bug me in the least because when I look in the mirror I like what I see, I feel great and I know I am eating healthier than I have my whole life!

So now I only need to figure out which goals to set for 2006. The problem is that my ambitions are greater than the amount of the time that I have available. So I’m writing lists of stuff I would like to do, what I think I have time for, things I should do, things that I could do if I can squeeze more time out of my life, blah-blah, etc.

Wind + Snow + 2°C + 14K = Brrrrr

Yesterday afternoon we had some light snow flurries, enough to whiten our dreary landscape. It was a cool 2C/36F, with a biting wind that chilled one to the bone as I headed out for my 14K/8.7M run. I was about 20 minutes late getting started due to some errands that I had to do before I got home, so it was almost dark as I left.

The first 3K were across an open field, the wind cut through my thin running tights and whipped against my unprotected face. Brrrr, I was glad when I finally reached the woodline and entered the forest. I turned on my blinking armband as I started to run through the forest, its hunting season in Germany and I didn’t want anyone mistaking me for a deer in the darkness. As I ran through the forest I was waiting for the game warden or a hunter to approach me and accuse me of “scaring the animals”. If you read my post from last week you will understand what that is all about.

I felt pretty good as I whipped through the darkness. It was just light enough to make out the outline of the logging road through the forest, basically it was just a matter of staying between the two lines of trees on either side ;-)

As I completed my loop around the forest and left the tree line behind me I headed directly into the chilling wind. I about froze my tiny-hiny off by the time I reached to house, the wind can sure make a difference. I ended up running a bit faster than I planned, I averaged 5:39/K (9:06/M) - I guess I couldn't wait to get back inside :-)

My legs ache a bit this morning, I think my run took a lot more effort than normal due to the wind and cold. Tonight I am stopping at the pool on my way home from work for some laps. I hope my swimming teacher isn’t there, she always makes me nervous. For those of you who have been following my swimming, my first swim course is finished and I am now trying to get into a freestyle course. The first class for next year is full, I hope I can get into the next one. In any case I have included swimming in my training schedule for next year.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Training Through the Holidays

Other than my medium long run on Saturday this weekend was void of any training. After my run on Saturday I helped my wife clean house, than snuck out in the afternoon to do some Christmas shopping. Typically I go to the pool on Sunday after church, but we had guests over for a feast, so didn’t make it. I thought about at least running last night, but our friends didn’t leave until after 7 p.m., so I decided to just enjoy the night off.

Diet Damage Assessment

So obviously my diet was disastrous after a huge buffet on Friday night and another feast yesterday. This morning I was shocked to see that I was back up to 163 lbs, a gain of 4 lbs this week. But I’m sure a lot of this is water and disappear in the next day or two. I have 14K/8.7 mile runs on the schedule for tonight and Wednesday, and plan on going to the pool on Tuesday and perhaps Thursday or Friday. Saturday morning is my next long run, 28K/17.5 miles.

Diet Plan for Christmas

My diet plan for Christmas is to enjoy every morsel, thank you!

I have vacation for two weeks following Christmas. In my old cough potato days this would mean mega-hours kicked back on the couch watching TV, eating, snacking, playing on the PC, eating, snacking, eating, snacking and eating some more. But in my born-again life as a runner I see lots of opportunities to increase my mileage, do some quality cross-training, and generally avoid post-holiday put-on-too-much-weight depression. I have actually drawn up a plan for each day to keep me focused. I only need to clear with my better half to make sure I am not in conflict with things she would like to do. But runner's are flexible!

Have a great week!

Saturday, December 17, 2005

A 22K Medium Long Run

Last night was my company Christmas party, first a lot of long drawn out speeches by various company management, a huge buffet meal for 400+ people, and finally music was provided by a DJ for those who wanted to hang around and get bombed and/or dance the night away. I packed up and headed home shortly before 10 p.m., right before the DJ was scheduled to begin. In any case the meal was fabulous, I overstuffed like everyone else and thoroughly enjoyed myself.

This morning I was up at 5:30 a.m. and on the road by 6:15 for a medium long run. My goal was a 16-20K (10-12M) run, easy tempo, just to work my still full stomach off a little. I left my CamelBak home, figuring I would not need to drink on the way.

Anyway it was a beautiful morning, clear sky, fresh air, not too cold (43C/37F) and a full moon to light my way. I decided to avoid the asphalt trails as much as possible to day, so first headed over a 4K trail that loops around a group of fields on the edge of town, then back to my normal trail that I run a couple times a week. Once I was on this trail I ran on for about 6 more kilometers than turned off and on to a road leading to the next town, Graben. This part of the run was about 6K over open fields and a couple overpasses. The wind picked up pretty good through this section, glad I wore a windbreaker.

At the end of this part of the trail it was a short 2K home, but I felt good so took another loop through the woods over the Graben running clubs trails, then headed home. This morning was one of those days where I probably could have easily ran another 10K, but I was getting pretty thirsty so thought I should head back before I get dehydrated.

In any case I ended up running for 2:17:02, or probably around 22K/14M. Another good run, an easy long run pace and more importantly I burned up some of those mega-calories that took in last night. Have a great weekend!

Friday, December 16, 2005

Runners Who Rock

Okay, Mark is to blame for this latest meme, but it’s kind of cool so we should keep it going.

The Mission:

1. Create a post titled Runners Who Rock.
2. List three runners who rock and tell us why they rock. Make sure you provide a link to their blog!
3. Tell those three runners about the meme and tag them so they can keep it going.
4. Link to runners who rock and to the blogger who tagged you so we get a ping and can keep track of all the participants!

Now my beloved weigh-loss, trail-running, and all around running/walking pink-lady animal, Dawn would have been my first pick, as she never ceases to motivate me for the next challenge, but since she picked me I have to come up with some new names. The problem here is that I don’t think there are any at CompleteRunning who do not rock, but to narrow it down I just wrote down the first three names that popped into my head:

Dianna has always been an inspiration to me, her warm smile, her energy, her kind words, good advice and super accomplishments. She just plain rocks!

Mia is an awesome woman, need I say more. Her dedication to running, exercise and her family is to be admired and respected. The best thing about Mia though, is that she Mia is Mia, without compromise, a true Rock that runs too!

Neca always seems to have a tidbit of advice, kind word, or just seems to be on the same wavelength when I need it. Despite having days/weeks/months where all odds are against her hitting the trail, weights or whatever, she still manages to come back to it. You rock Neca, keep it up!

There are really so many others that I can name from chocolate runners to those finally running to those who take one step at a time, through the USA, Canada, UK, Italy, and the rest of the world. The list would look like the CompleteRunning directory and the reasons why they rock would all be personalized and special, as each one of them are so special! Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

An Awesome 14K Tempo Run!

Tonight was a mild 6C/43F outside when I got home so I suited up and hit my 14K/8.7M route. I was fired up and full of energy, probably from all the desserts that I ate yesterday. I decided to try to maintain a 5:30/K (8:51/M) pace, about 30 seconds faster than my planned marathon pace and just under my half-marathon race pace. I made it about half ways before total darkness set in, but flipped my headlamp on and kept my foot on the throttle. The air was fresh with a little misty rain, but it felt good as I wound my way home. My average pace for the 14K run – 5:28/K (8:48/M). All and all a motivating, invigorating, awesome run!

Tomorrow night I need to head to the pool and do some laps, as I missed last night do to other commitments. Happy training!

'Tis the season to overdose on sugar...'

Oh the Christmas season is upon us! Yesterday was an office party with lots of Scottish sweet treats from a co-worker with a generous heart. We’re talking about cakes with dripping chocolate frosting, bread puddings, truffle desserts and such that would probably make a diabetic go into a seizure or something. I tried to stay away, really I did, but I was chastised for being a party pooper, scrooge and worse, so was forced to indulge ;-)

Now I only need to run about a zillion miles to work off the ultra-zillion calories that I took in yesterday. I think my weight loss is on hold this week until further notice. Now’s your chance Jon and Jank! As Dawn continues to kick our butts with her power-diet, I think we are all going to have to attend her Diet & Training camp after the holidays.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Tagged: 5 Random Things About Me

So A. Maria over at ‘little miss runner pants’ has tagged me.

The directions are....."Write 5 random facts about yourself, and then list the names of 5 people whom you in turn infect. Also, leave a post to these people letting them know they have been infected".....

Gosh what haven’t I said about me, I’m such a blogger-mouth…

1) I had absolutely no interest in running at all while in high school, now, 28 years later I can’t get enough of it!

2) I’m a packrat, I have trouble throwing out things – you never know when you might need it. My wife is too, I think we need a bigger house :-(

3) I’m a huge CSI Miami fan – I think Horatio is cool!

4) After living in Germany for almost 16 years, I still get really, really homesick for my native New York state, especially around the holidays (like now). I would move in an instance if I had the right job prospect. My wife would need more persuasion.

5) I was once a member of a Barbershop Quartet in high school. We were terrible, but had lots of fun!

So leave a post for 5 unsuspecting Bloggers who haven’t been infected yet, how about Dianna, Thomas, Athena, Lara, and Neca.

Running, Dieting

Running Report

Last night was a mild 4C/39F as I headed out for my 14K/8.7M run. My legs were a bit stiff as I started out, but not tired like some Mondays following a long-run-weekend. After a couple kilometers my legs warmed up and I felt just find. I concentrating on keeping the pace down somewhat, trying to average roughly a 6:00/K (9:39/M) pace. The run was rather uneventful, I passed two other runners that were scurrying to finish before it was dark, but this night there were no dogs or arrogant Foresters (game wardens?) on the way. My average pace for the 14K was 5:51/K (9:25/M), my legs feel really good this morning.

Diet Report

I would like to say that I caught up with Dawn who has lost 13 lbs. in our race to lose 17 lbs. Unfortunately I am hovering around 160 lbs., which means I have only lost 7. I haven’t heard much about diets from Jank and Jon, so I imagine they are fighting their own gremlins in this department. I think Dawn is going to shut us all out really soon and will earn the gold star and our complete and humble respect. Go Dawn!

Monday, December 12, 2005

Combat Swimming

Yesterday I went to the swimming pool for swim training. I went to the smaller 25-meter pool in the neighboring town of Blankenloch, as the larger pool that I usually go to was closed this weekend. In any case the pool was full of people, mostly parents with kids. This wouldn’t be so bad if the people would be a little bit considerate and leave a lane or two for people who want to swim (and not just play). It was extremely difficult to do any laps, but I stuck it out anyway, I figured it was good training for a future Tri :-)

I swam mostly breast stroke, as I am more proficient at this than the freestyle. Every time I tried the freestyle I ended up running into people, so eventually gave up trying to practice this. I don't think there was a single lap where I didn't have to dodge another swimmer or some jerk standing in the middle of the way. My nerves were pretty much on end by the close of this session - some of the people were down right belligerent. I don’t know how many times I wish I could have whacked a couple kids (or their parents) on the side of the head when they deliberately blocked my way. I need to find another pool for my Sunday swimming.

Altogether I guess I swam around a 1000 meters, based more on my time rather than trying to keep track of all the 25m laps. At least I got in a good upper body workout for the day. Have a nice week!

Saturday, December 10, 2005

A Great 27K/17M Long Run!

This morning I was up before the break of dawn, 5:30 a.m., had a light breakfast, saddled up and hit the running trail by 6:00 for my 26K/16M long run. It was a fresh crisp -1C/30F, no wind, the stars and moon were looking down on me, I was dressed warm but not too warm. I was earlier this morning than most Saturdays, so it was still quite dark. As I left the town behind after the first kilometer, I flicked on my running headlamp. I ran the first 11K with my lamp on, it was pretty dark and there were a lot of patches of ice, mud puddles that froze over during the night.

I reached the 11K point and my turn around point in Karlsruhe, time about 68 minutes, I actually managed to keep my pace under marathon pace up to this point – first time I think :-) Shortly after this I switched off my headlamp, it was light enough for other people to see me. This morning I decided to bring my MP3 player, which I turned on at this point. So I had Toby Keith keeping me company for a while.

After a couple right turns a few hundred meters I was on my return trail. After a few kilometers I finally saw another person, a dude riding to work I think, we pass each other almost every Saturday that I run this route. He recognized me right away and said hi as he sped by, I mean how many other crazy people are out in the middle of the woods before the sun is out.

I cruised on down the asphalt path until about the 19.5K/12M point then took a right and headed down a bike path that paralleled a main road that runs by my town. I needed to add 6.5 more kilometers to my route, so I followed this path for about 10 minutes until I reached the original path that I started out on a couple hours earlier. Here I turned left and ran the 3.5K’s back to my house, then took a two kilometer loop around town to finish off my run.

I ran for 2:46:39, or a distance of around 27K/17M, which would be an average pace of 6:10/K (9:56/M), give or take a little.

In any case I met my goal of 26K, and also managed to run slightly slower than my marathon pace, which was my second goal. This time I ran 100% asphalt, and let me tell you my calves are crying. Otherwise I feel really good, lots of energy, I’m sure I could have ran quite a bit farther. No if I can just restrain myself from eating everything in the house this weekend I’ll be fine. Have a nice weekend.

P.S. I wore my new ASICS GT2100 shoes this morning – absolutely no problems, I very happy with the shoes.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Rest, rest, eat, eat.


Yesterday was a rest day, I had a eye doctor’s appointment (yep still half-blind) so decided to just chill out for the rest of the night. I will probably not do any training tonight either, as my long run is first thing in the morning at O-dark-thirty. My body is a little sore this week due to the lack of a proper recovery from the weekend HM, so I think the extra rest day is a good investment.

Calorie Overload - or Jack and the Art of Binging

We ate later than normal last night due to my eye appointment, so I was famished by the time we finally sat down for some noodles and salad. This was followed an hour later by a couple pieces of cake and some cookies (major sweet attack). I ended up eating entirely too much, so this morning I was back up 2 pounds. Frustrating, but not surprising, it will go back down in a day or two. I learned a long time ago not to worry too much about the daily fluctuations, it’s the end of the week weight that counts.

Tomorrow morning I want to fall out of bed at 5:30 a.m. so I can hit the trail by 6:00. My goal 2 hours, 40 minutes of running or roughly 26K/16M. Weather prediction - 1°C (34F) and rain. If the wind is calm it won't be too bad for this time of year.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Mr. Dog, please get off my foot!

Run Report:

It was a cool, wet 7C/46F as I hit the trail last night for my 14K/8.7M round. There was a bone-chilling wind blowing and a slight sprinkle of rain as I started over the fields. I took my route in reverse again, this seems to work better in the winter months as I make it through most of the forest portion of the route before complete darkness sets in.

My legs were kind of tired, no great surprise considering I only took one day off since the half-marathon on Saturday. I tried to keep the pace down, but as I entered the woods another runner appeared from a side trail and ran just ahead of me. He was going almost the same pace as I was and for some reason I preferred solitude last night, so I picked up the pace and left him behind. After 10-15 minutes I gradually slowed my pace down again and wound my way out of the forest onto the trail that would bring me back home. It was dark by this time and the trail was wet and muddy with large mud puddles everywhere. The moon was blocked by the rain clouds so I could barely see the puddles until I stepped in them, I hate running when my feet are soaked – after a while I could feel a blister forming on the side of my foot.

Dog on my Foot

I continued down the trail that led along the edge of the forest and all of a sudden a dude with a big dog was right there in front of me. Luckily he restrained the dog at the last minute, I could feel the dog breathing on me! But the guy continues to yell in the direction I’m runing and next thing I know a second dog was right up on me, so close that his front foot landed on mine, I could feel his mouth rub against my arm. I closed my eyes in anticipation of the dogs teeth sinking into my arm or leg, but heard the dog owner yell something in a very commanding voice which the dog finally reacted to. After checking whether I had peed my pants I continued on down the trail murmuring rather abusive words about dog owners in at least two languages. Geez!

Due to the increased adrenalin rush I pretty much flew the last 5K back to the house, which was not the best thing for my legs. My average pace for the run 5:47/K (9:19/M), which was about 30-45 seconds faster/kilometer than I had wanted to run.

This morning my legs are tired and a bit sore, so I am going to take tonight and tomorrow night off. My last swim course for this year has been postponed from this Friday to next, due to swimming pool renovations, so no swimming until Sunday. Saturday morning is my next long run, 26K/16M on the schedule.

Diet Update:

This morning I was down to 72kg (159 lbs.), yippee! Now if I can only hold this through the weekend.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Winter Street Half-Marathon Pictures

I didn't have my camera with me on Saturday at the race, but I found these pictures. The first three pictures are Grandpa Jack doing his thing. The dude in the Santa outfit (or St. Nicholas outfit as they would say in Germany) is 90 years old. He belongs to one of the local track and field clubs and has been running since he was 52 years old. The area newspaper had an article about him when he completed the Baden Half-Marathon in September (time = 3:03:04) - he is truly amazing!

1500 Miles Behind Me

Hey wow, I just noticed that I ran my 1500th mile for this year on Monday night. Yep, according to my running log I have 2415 kilometers so far this year, which is about 1,500.6114293 miles. I think I can easy meet my goal of 2500 kilometers for the year.

Marathon Training

I was fine tuning my marathon training schedule for the March 2006 marathon. This time around I am trying a slightly different approach. Instead of running four or five times a week I will run 3-4 times a week and do more cross-training, mostly swimming. Here is the basic schedule:

Monday – 14K/8.7M run
Tuesday – Swimming
Wednesday – 14K/8.7M run – race tempo or faster
Thursday – Cross-training or run
Friday – Rest
Saturday – Long run (every 2 weeks) or medium long run (e.g. 22-24K)
Sunday – Swimming

This may have to be tweaked again if I can get into a freestyle swim class in January.

My long runs will be as follows:

Dec. 10: 26K/16M (this Saturday)
Dec. 24: 28K/17M
Jan. 7: 30K/18M
Jan. 21: 32K/20M
Feb. 4: 34K/21M
Feb. 18: 36K/22M
Mar. 12: Race day

I also review my long run pace last night. I have been running most of my long runs at a pace of 15-30 seconds FASTER than my projected marathon pace (6:00/K, 9:39/M). I may need to think about slowing down just a little bit so I don't wear my body down so bad. If the weather turns nasty again this will occur naturally.

Swim Report & Another Freestyle Swim Class Available?

Swim Report:

Last night was swim night so I headed to the pool for my laps. First priority was a good upper body workout, so I swam 1000 meters breast stroke, non-stop. After a short break I tried to work on my freestyle. I swam about 75 meters before running out of breath, I really need a class so I can learn this stroke correctly. Then I swam 25 meter freestyle laps until I was tired – for a total of about 300 meters. I then swam another 100 meters breast stroke to unwind. Total distance swam: 1400+ meters.

Doing a little self-analysis I would say my breast stroke has improved immensely since I started taking the swim course 9 weeks ago. I still have a long way to go, my kick is dreadful to say the least. On the other side my endurance has really improved, at the beginning of class I could barely swim 4 laps (200 meters) without a break, last night I swam 20 laps (1000 meters) without a break and could have done a few more.

Before my class I could do a stroke that kinda resembled the freestyle, but with a breathing technique that mainly consisted of gasping for air anyway that I could. In my class we have worked about 3 nights for about 20 minutes each night on the freestyle and I at least know what the correct form should look like. I have also established a breathing method that keeps me from drowning. It will take a while before I can out swim the fish.

Freestyle Swim Class

My wife met me at the pool last night, but didn’t have her bathing suit with her, so enjoyed a cup of coffee in the café attached to the sports club while she waited for me. After finishing her coffee she decided to ask the front desk when the next freestyle course will be. If you have been following my blog you may remember I wanted to sign up for a freestyle course in January, but the course was filled in the first 30 minutes (apparently by people who don’t work and can sign up in the middle of the day).

Anyway my wife is not one to be blown off by a stupid answer so she harassed the lady at the front desk until she finally called the manager and had my wife taken away. No not really, but the lady did call the manager and he was able to tell my wife that they are considering offering a second freestyle course in January because they already have 8 people on the waiting list (they only need 7 for the course to run). They only need to find an instructor that has a free schedule.

So to make a long story short, there is still a good chance that I can take a freestyle course during the winter months.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Hero of the Week

Running Report

Yesterday was a wet, drizzly day - cool with about 8C/46F, but no wind – in other words almost perfect running weather! The only thing missing was a little sunshine.

My goal for last night was my 14K/8.7M route at a comfortable recovery pace. I decided to run my route in reverse, this would get me out of the forest before it was really dark. I quickly fell into a comfortable 6:00/K (9:39/M) pace for the first few kilometers. My legs felt a little tired and stiff, but as I warmed up I didn’t notice this so much anymore.

For the first time in several weeks I actually passed another runner as I entered the forest at around the 3K point. I recognized him to be a “hobby jogger” that I saw in the summer a couple times. He parks at the edge of the forest and takes a 3K loop through the forest, usually with a cute little white dog that follows obediently behind him. He had his dog with him last night as well, tagging along like always. We exchanged greetings as we passed each other and continued on our way.

I wound my way through the forest, passed two walkers that were scurrying through trying to get out the forest before dark. They were talking up such a storm that I startled them as I came around a slight curve upon them. We exchanged greetings and they went back to their power talking, I mean walking ;-)

It was getting quite dark as I reached the edge of the forest, where I took a right and ran along a road for about 5 minutes. I was sure to turn on my blinking armband as cars occasionally whiz along this narrow seasonal road. I was also wearing a reflective vest, this is invaluable for anyone running along roads at night!

So I finally reached my return path that took me along the edge of the same forest and through the neighboring town of Spoeck and back home. I was feeling good so gradually picked up the pace somewhat, eventually finishing my run with an average pace of 5:46/K (9:17/M), not exactly a recovery pace, but I felt good afterwards. This morning my legs are a little stiff, but otherwise I feel good.

Diet Report

After gaining 4 pounds over the weekend, which brought my weight back up to 165 lbs. as of yesterday morning, I was very careful about what I ate yesterday. As a result I was pleased to see that I was back down to 162 lbs. this morning. If I eat carefully today I may be back down to my pre-weekend weight of 161 lbs. by tomorrow morning or Wednesday. Then it will only be a matter of losing 11 lbs. to meet my goal weight.

My Hero of the Week

If you have been reading my blog for the last couple weeks you might have gathered that Jank, Jon and I have had a little competition going to see who can drop 17 lbs. first. Well we are all getting totally beat up by a super weight loss champ out of the artic north in Canada. Dawn the Pink Lady has already lost 10 lbs. in the same timeframe, which is more than all of us combined. She is my hero of the week!

Monday, December 05, 2005

Running, Swimming, Eating, Eating, Eating...

Running Report

I’m kind of stiff this morning, I guess I pushed harder than I thought during my half-marathon on Saturday. I was also standing around quite a bit yesterday at the Christmas market, this was probably not the best thing for my recovery.

Speaking of recovery, basically there isn’t going to be a “recovery period”, yesterday was it, tonight it’s back to the training schedule with a 14K/8.7M run at recovery pace. Tuesday night is swim night, Wednesday another 14K run, Friday night swimming and Saturday morning a 26K/16M run.

Swimming Report

This past Friday was my swim course (#9), our instructor decided to have us play a game. She set it up to where we would roll a dice and do laps as follows:

Roll a 1: 25 meter breast stroke
Roll a 2: 50 meter breast stroke
Roll a 3: 25 meter freestyle
Roll a 4: 50 meter freestyle
Roll a 5: 25 meter back stroke
Roll a 6: Free choice

This was kind of fun, of course the day before my half-marathon you can be sure that I was rolling 2’s and 4’s the whole night. I guess I swam about 700-800 meters all together, but I really didn’t keep track. I decided to go home after class, rather than do extra laps like I usually do. I didn’t want to wear myself out too much before my race.

I tried to sign up for the freestyle class that starts in January, the class is already full. Registration started on December 1st and the class was filled up in the first half-hour. So they added my name to the waiting list for the next class in March or April. I am really disappointed, it kind of upsets my long range plans a little.

Diet Report

Dieting was not an issue this weekend with the annual Christmas market across the street. I had expected to gain back a pound or two, but it turned out to be a major disaster, I gained 4 (four) pounds this weekend, putting me back up to 165 lbs. Of course when I think about all the junk I put in my mouth this weekend it is definitely not a surprise. Needless to say my diet is in full gear today, I want to be back down to 161 lbs. by the end of the week. I think I can do it.

Marathon Training Thoughts

Mia was wondering if I am going to decrease my cross-training and increase my running since I have officially committed myself to the Bienwald (Bee Forest) marathon in March. Originally I had planned on running only 3 days a week and cross-training 3 days a week. This was partly because of the freestyle swim course that I had planned on taking Thursday nights starting in January and partly due to the cold weather.

It appears that my swim course won’t happen until after the marathon, so I may change one cross-training day to a fourth running day. The other cross-training days will be swimming, cycling, weight training or some combination, but with at least one swim day per week.

In order to include a little variety in my training menu I plan on running a cross-country race at the end of January. After the marathon there are several cross-country and mountain runs that I would like to run, as well as at least a couple half-marathons. So I will stay active in 2006.

Tri plans have been set on the back burner until I complete my freestyle course. At this point it looks like this may be a 2007 goal, but we’ll see.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Christmas Market Pictures / Race Stats

I went over to the Christmas market across the street this morning just as they were opening up and snapped a few pictures. It rained most of the day so I’m sure the vendors were disappointed with sales today. We enjoyed walking around checking out some of the crafts.

A couple statistics from my half-marathon yesterday:

I was 18th out of 23 in my age class (M45).
I was in 116th place out of 175 runners

The male winner of the half-marathon finished in 1:14:51, winning female 1:39:56.

My time if you didn't read my post yesterday was 1:54:24.

An interesting side note. Albert Olbrechts, the 90 year runner who participates in most area 10K runs finished the 10K in 1:29:31 and ran it in a Santa Klaus outfit, complete with beard – this guy continues to amaze people of all ages. Way to go Albert!

Saturday, December 03, 2005

The Winter Street Half-Marathon Report

So I ran my seventh half-marathon today (fifth for this year). The race started at 2:30 p.m., so I had time this morning to piddle around and do a few things around the house. I had a pasta brunch at about 10:30 a.m., good fuel for the race. My wife wanted to stay home today and catch up on her stuff, so I left about 12:30 for the race, a 45 minute drive from my house.

The weather was threatening, but there was only a few sprinkles of rain. The temperature was hovering around 8C/46F, mild, a little wind, dark clouds. I arrived at the race just in time to cheer the 5K and 10K runners as they left. I picked up my start packet and chilled out in the sport hall for awhile. They had some fest tables set up and were selling the usual cake, wurst’s and stuff to drink. Most of the runs in Germany are hosted by sports clubs as a means for funding their activities.

About 15 minutes before the race I made a last pit stop then headed outside to stretch and warm up a bit. There were 175 runner’s present for the half-marathon, the smallest half-marathon that I ever ran. No matter. I lined up at the rear of the pack at the start and at promptly 2:20 p.m. we were off.

I quickly fell into a comfortable pace as we wound our way through town, over the highway splitting the town (the fire department stopped traffic for us), and finally over the Autobahn at about the 2K marker. Just before I rounded the curve which lead over the Autobahn the wife of one of my friends at work saw me and started cheering me on. They live just down the street from this curve. My friend wanted to run the 10K today, but has problems with his knee so can’t run for a couple weeks.

So motivated by a friendly face I headed over the Autobahn on a bridge used by the local farmers and headed into the Hardt Forest. The path was a worn-asphalt path and quite straight. I passed the 5K point with a time of 26:11, which is a pace of 5:14/K (8:26/M). Not bad!

Around the 5.5K point we turned around and ran back the same way we came to the start, the half-marathon was two rounds. Most of the time I was running alone, there were so few people doing the run that we really spread out. As I completed the first turn and started heading back I noticed there were at least 20-30 people behind me, some of them way back – well at least I wouldn’t be last today. Right past the turn around was a service point – all they were offering was a weak tea – no sports drink – not good – I didn’t bring anything with me!

So through the woods, back over the Autobahn, across the highway, through the town…I passed the 10K marker with a time of 53:03, for an average pace of 5:18/K (8:32/M) for the first 10K and I still felt good. So on I went a couple hundred meters forward, almost to the Start, then we did another turn around and headed out for another loop. Through the town, across the highway, over the Autobahn, through the forest.

The 15K point was approximately 500 meters before the turn around in the forest. I noted my time 1:20:26, for an average pace of 5:22/K (8:38/M) for the first 15K. I could feel that I was starting to slow down a little, but I wasn’t too concerned, this was just a training run.

I completed the turn and started heading back through the forest. There was a dude about a minute or two in front of me that I tried to pick off, but he was hoofing it, I had all I could do to keep from losing ground. So I passed the 16K marker, the 17K marker, then out of the forest, over the Autobahn, the 18K marker – I tried to stretch it out a little. My energy level was depleted, I hadn’t planned on the lack of sports drink, the unsweetened tea was worthless other than for hydration purposes.

So past the 19K marker, over the highway, past the 20K marker – I picked up the pace the best I could. The last part of the run through town seemed to take an eternity. For almost the entire run the streets were empty, other than the runners and the fire department directing traffic. No people outside cheering us on or lending support – what a disappointment!

So anyway I finally rounded the last corner and saw the Finish about 200 meters in front of me. I tried my best to sprint in, but I was running on empty, oh well it can’t always be an adrenalin-rush-watch-out-I’m-coming-through finish. There was a few people at the finish, but no cheering, what a dead bunch of people. Thanks for all the cheering guys!

My time was a respectable 1:54:24, about 6 minutes slower than my best time, but I don’t have a problem with that. I wanted to finish in under two hours, and I did that with time to spare. My average pace for the 21.1K/13.1M was 5:25/K (8:44/M).

I walked around for a little while, stretched than grabbed my bag out of the car and took advantage of the free showers in the sports clubhouse. By the time I got cleaned up and in some dry clothes I was hungry enough to eat a side of beef, so made my way to the food. All the good stuff was gone, no cake, no steaks, just a piece of spam-like meat on a roll. I ate one, drank a sports drink that I had in my bag and went home, being sure to brush the dust of my shoes as I left.

I’m putting this event on my black list. The town obviously is not interested in this event, hardly anyone even notice us as we sweated are way through town. For a half-marathon they did not offer anything along the way to reenergize, I now understand why so many people had fuel belts today – they knew the deal! The last straw was that the club ran out of food before all the participants were even back from the race. There was no reason for this as this year there was only half as many runners as last year, there should have been piles of food left over.

So anyway, as soon as I got home we walked across the street and I bee-lined to the first stand that was selling cake and had a couple pieces. This was followed by a bratwurst, a cevacici (a spicy Yugoslavian hamburger and lamb combination served rolled up in Pita bread with onions and tomatoes – yummy!), a beer and finally half of a French-Alsace Flammkuchen (kind of like a pizza but really thin with smoked ham, onions and a sour crème sauce) that I shared with my wife. That should hold me for an hour or two ;-)

Tomorrow I’m heading back over to the Christmas market and will take some pictures.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Signed UP for Marathon III today!

Yep, ignoring all the little voices in my head questioning whether I can really train for a marathon during the coldest months of the year, I took the plunge and signed up for the Bienwald Marathon in Kandel, Rheinland-Pflaz, Germany on March 12, 2006.

I already started my training a few weeks ago, but I remained uncommitted. But now I’m signed up and going to give it my best shot.

I ran the half-marathon in Kandel last year, here are some of my comments about last years race:

“Kandel, a quiet town of 9000, nestled in the state of Rhineland-Pfalz, in the southwest center of Germany. A sleepy town, with quiet shops, old timber-frame houses, surrounded by the Bienwald Forest, fields, and peace. But once a year for the past 25 years this still has been broken by the thunder of almost 2000 pairs of feet in the annual Bienwald Marathon/Half-marathon. This year [2005] was 5°C, the sun smiled down on 1183 participants of the half-marathon, 564 for the full marathon. Spirits were high as the temperature rose, the support crew motivated and the runners soared through the small town, over the fields, through the forest and back again. What a wonderful day for a run!”

Hopefully I will feel at least this good for the 2006 marathon!

Run, Run, Eat, Eat

Tomorrow’s Half-marathon

I have increased my calorie intake over the last day or two, mostly carb’s, to build up by energy base for my race tomorrow. This has resulted in gaining a pound or two, but on the other side I can actually feel the energy churning inside. If my swim instructor doesn’t wear us out too much tonight at my swim course I anticipate a good half-marathon tomorrow. I am not really looking for a PR race (PR = 1:48:12), as I need to stick to my marathon training schedule, but I still would like to finish in under two hours. The race route is flat, mostly asphalt (of course), and around 70-80% through the forest - should be fun!

Annual Christmas Market

My town is having their annual Christmas market this weekend. Last year they had 25 booths set up selling food, crafts, food, Christmas stuff and did I say food. What is cool about this market is that it is out the door, turn 45° to the left, walk for 1 minute – in other words almost directly across the street from our house. Needless to say my diet will remain on hold until Monday – but hey it can’t be all work and no fun! I will try to snap a few pictures of the market for the curious.

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