Sunday, 14 October 2018

Failed preparation

stats of the week: run 15 km, gym 3 h
stats of the week before: gym 1 h
stats of the week before: run 25 km, cycled 260 km

Had a decent week of training with glorious weather on Majorca.

Col des Reis

Climbing Sa Calobra Road

However, this didn't help me a lot as I came back home with a stomach infection that struck me down for nearly a week. Trying to jog again I obviously had lost too many minerals during this week. My left calf muscle cramped after only 4 km of very easy jogging and it stayed tight for another 3 days. 

Now time gets short to get prepared for the New York City Marathon. Only 3 weeks left and no long jog completed so far. I think about adapted tactics. Some walking right from the beginning may let me get through the 26 miles.

Monday, 24 September 2018

Modest happiness

stats of the week: run 38 km, cycled 58 km, gym 4 h

Looks like a decent week of exercise. So it was. I took part in a local charity run where my intention was to test my projected half marathon speed of 5:10-5:15 min/K. No surprise I started faster than planned, sub 5 min, but managed to keep the 5:00 min/k pace right to the end of the 10.8 K race. That is a kind of performance I hope to develop. I am fairly happy that I obviously can still finish 10 K just under 50 min. However, that means that I lost nearly 3 min within 2 years.

 Don't worry this is my regular finish face:

Seconds later a smile is possible.

Tuesday, 18 September 2018


stats of the week: run 26 km, cycled 62 km, gym 3 h

I know I should be happy about my ability to run at the age of 65, alas I am not really happy with my performance. I think I have to get out the training book of Joe Friel again: Fast and fit at 50+.
It's somewhat crazy that I create training schedules for friends but do not train by a plan myself.

There are things that should be changed. My first try is to drink less alcohol. Red wine is reduced to weekends now.

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Travel time

stats of the week: run 51 km
stats of the week before: run 50 km, hiked 20 h
stats of the week before: run 21 km, cycled 90 km

The Achensee Run was not bad, but also not convincingly good. For the 23 km with some tricky trail parts I clocked 2:16 h, what was exactly 15 min slower than 15 years ago. My ranking was a disappointing 6th place in my age group. I don't know how other guys manage to be that fast.

Well, a week of hiking in the Dolomites might not have been the best preparation possible. But I enjoyed the mountains. This area around the "3 Zinnen" is absolutely breathtaking.

Pragser Wildsee

Surrounding Seekofel

3 Zinnen

Finally I enjoyed the Medoc Marathon at Pauillac in France, a festival for all friends of red wine. Imagine, there are 22 stops en route to taste the products of the famous Bordeaux chateaux.

Nearly all 8,000 participants are costumed. Not alone 22 tasting stops, at the finish you receive another bottle of red wine. After 5:18:55 h we were placed at the front of the pack because most runners use the time limit of 6:30 to make the most of their day.

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Podium but 18 min slower

stats of the week: run 47 km, gym 3 h

My next goal is the Achensee Run where I want to run as fast as I can. The week before the race is another hill walking week without any running. So I decided to take part in a local hilly 20K race to prepare and see my current performance level.

With an average of 5:36 min/K I was happy with my race until I noticed that 15 years ago when I did this race last time I was 18 minutes faster! 15 years, 18 minutes. Well, I think the next 15 years will make more than 18 minutes...

There were only 4 runners of my age group. 3 of them could enter the podium.

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Hot hiking

stats of the week: run 14 km, cycled 63 km, hiked 20 hours
stats of the previous week: cycled 173 km, hiked 20 hours

Due to the heat there was little exercise but almost daily high level hiking. Above 1,500 meters a.s.l. temperature was fine so we preferred to take the cable cars to reach upper levels and enjoyed the summer. We'll see how this helped my future running performance.

A brief gallery, chosen of lots of photos:

Schwemmalm, Ultental

Meraner Höhenweg 

Pircher Hut, Meraner Höhenweg 

Via ferrata Heini Holzer, Meran

On top of Großer Ifinger, 2,581m, Meran

Saturday, 4 August 2018

Success and pride

stats of the week:  run 42 km /2,800 am, cycled 125 km, hiked 12 h

I successfully finished the Suedtirol Sky Marathon at Bozen within 7 h 30 min. Very happy about my performance. The time would have placed me second - last year! This year I ended up 5th and the winner of my age group was 1.5 hours faster than me! However, I am still proud of myself. The first 20 km included a climb of 2,000 meters, that took me nearly 4 hours. So this was one of only two marathons where my second half was faster than the first half.

Sunday, 22 July 2018

Award ceremony

stats of the week: run 32 km, cycled 62 km, hill walking 17 h / 3,600 am
stats of the previous week: run 36 km, cycled 45 km, gym 2 h

I took part at the Ultner Hoefelauf today, a hilly alpine valley run in South Tyrolia. The route turned out to be much tougher than I expected from studying the profile on the map. It summed up 500 altitude meters within the 17.9 km of distance. So that meant a good part of walking on the steep terrain for me. Anyway, I was happy to finish 2nd of the 5 runners in my age group and got a present at the award ceremony.

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Happily running again

stats of the week: run 48 km, cycled 36 km

Back to running and some hill work. Right at my door step there is an altitude difference of around 50 meters. So I try to run up and down several times to get prepared for the alps. In former years I used to run up to ten ascents. I have reached just 4 now and there are only 3 weeks to the race. I am still confident to get fit enough for Bozen. I still feel to be a runner, not a cyclist.

Some Maratona photos:

(like every year I pushed up my bike along the cat's wall, still in protest about the introduction of this artificial obstacle)

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

End of cycling season

stats of the week: run 17 km, cycled 321 km
stats of the week before: run 28 km, cycled 167 km, gym 2 h

Although I have ordered a new bike I regard my this year's cycling season as closed now. I finished the middle distance at the Maratona dles Dolomites 20 minutes slower than last year. Nevertheless I am satisfied with my result. I still felt some tiredness from a long hill run midweek. Along the wonderful route around the Dolomites mountains I tried to enjoy my day and thought about to retire from this race after 10 participations now. One should know when one's time is over. I can feel this time has come.

Running is more important than cycling to me this year. I look forward very much to my next challenge, the Bozen Sky Marathon in South Tyrolia. It includes 2,800 meters of altitude difference. There is still some work to do to get fit for this day.

Photos: Cycling in the Kaiserwinkl, Austria

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Cycling season close to its end

stats of the week: run 12 km, cycled 49 km

It was a lazy and boring week of recovery. The wound from last week's downthrow is still not closed but healed so far that I was able to restart cautious running. However, the next challenge is a cycling event again, the beloved Maratona dles Dolomites, that I will take part in for the 10th time in a row. Maybe last time, we'll see.

Well, after that cycling season will be finished and I will concentrate on running for the rest of the year. Three very special marathons are on schedule: Bozen Sky, Medoc and New York.

Sunday, 10 June 2018

Risk stops fun

stats of the week: run 31 km, cycled 64 km

I felt it's time to get back to running. So I chose a trail run in the nearby hills, a challenge of half marathon distance and 540 altitude meters. Still a bit of a risk after I didn't run a longer distance than 10 km since London.

The risk turned out to be a different one. I felt happy on the course, I have always enjoyed trails. So I increased the speed on the very last steep descent, flew into the very last bend before reaching the road to the finish. Alas, I reached the road, but in full length from knee to face. Shocked and full of pain I raced the final 400 meters to the finish line, still winning my small age group of 5 runners from 65 on.

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Cycling the giant of the Provence

stats of the week: run 10 km, cycled 209 km

The Gran Fondo Mont Ventoux was a perfectly organised event for just 700 participants along a more than picturesque route. Every road crossing was blocked for us and food stations were great. We took in the legendary Mt Ventoux first and went down to Malaucene. Then there was a hilly loop around a green valley and a finally climb to Suzette to reach Beaumes de Venise and the finish line.

This great race should have deserved more cyclists. As it was Saturday and perfect weather there were more private cyclists on Mt Ventoux than those with a bib.

However it was a great day to remember. I was also happy with my performance although I was at the back of the pack. There were only 48 participants in my age group 60-66 and I finished 41st. There were also 27 cyclists of 67 years and more. Most of them were faster than me, too.

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Rough roads, tough routes

stats of the week: run 10 km, cycled 367 km

Cycling in the Piemont is tough. The roads are rough and every village is situated on the top a hill. Roads always lead through these villages therefore you take in a lot of very steep hills en route. Our average speed did not exceed 20 km/h.

The good side is that is the landscape is more than beautiful, the coffee is great and very cheap and the ice cream is best of world.

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Still running while cycling

stats of the week: run 28 km, cycled 93 km, gym 2 h

Starting the cycling holiday in Italian Piemont we discovered that a local running event took place on Friday evening. No question we had to take part. It was a short race of some 6.2 km at the hilltop village of Moncalvo. Hilltop meant the course start was at the top, then it went steeply down to the valley and steeply back to the piazza in the village.

It was a very informal race without timing and results. Luckily I studied the route map before race day so I was right en route while several runners in front of me went wrong although there was a volunteer to show the direction but he kept calm and let them go. At least half a dozen runners finished minutes behind me though they were much faster. However, it was sort of a fun run and nobody really complained.

Most impressive was a 89-year-old guy who finished just 2 minutes behind me!

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Still tired

stats of the week: run 26 km, cycled 154 km, gym 3 h

Still feeling tired and especially my running performance is dreadfully low. May be running half ill during several weeks takes its toll now.

There is not only a Boxhill in England (part of the London Ride). This is Boxberg in the heart of Germany, east of Cologne.

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Heading for next challenge

stats of the week: run 8 km, cycled 236 km, gym 2 h

It's cycling season now and I am surprised that the legs don't hesitate to rotate again. The season on the bike will be short this year because after only two bike races there are more interesting runs waiting. And I am looking forward to these events.

However, next challenge is no less than Mont Ventoux!

Thursday, 3 May 2018

65 and happy

London time: 4:46:53
Boston time: 4:32:48

I'm not certain about how to judge my double marathon week. Of course I'm happy that I was able to finish both runs.

In Boston happened what I planned to avoid absolutely. But due to the cold and wet weather the muscle pain was the worst ever I had after any marathon. Therefore it was very hard work to complete another marathon after only six days. In London I was able to run painfully for the first 30 km but then the muscles had their own finish. I walked nearly all of the remaining 12 km. So I got my medals and should be happy with this result.

The main finding of my races this year is that I am no longer able to run a sub 4 hours marathon. However, in London there were only 437 men of 65 years and older among more than 40,000 runners. I was one of them. That is why I am really happy.

Sunday, 29 April 2018

London celebrations

stats of the week: cycled 36 km, gym 1.5 h
stats of Boston-London week: run 84 km
stats of before Boston week: run 23 km

London winners 2018: The world's best ever marathon runner, Eliud Kipchoge, and perhaps the new dominat champion, Vivian Cheruiyot, who became the 4th fastest women ever at her only 2nd marathon.

The World Major Marathon winners 2018, Eliud of course, Mary Keitany, Manuela Schär and Marcel Hug of Switzerland. Eliud has collected 7 majors wins and an Olympic marathon gold medal, Mary has 6 major wins too.

The six world major marathons' race directors line up before Tower Bridge.

All four 2018 London Marathon winners: Vivian and Eliud together with David Weir (UK) and Madison De Rosario (US). David celebrated his 8th London win!

Some less known but equally happy London finishers:

Sunday, 8 April 2018

Final Countdown

stats of the week: run 49 km, cycled 131 km

I fulfilled my schedule to run 100K during the 11 days on Lanzarote. Together with 240K of hilly cycling it makes a decent holiday. I don't think I could do more for the final countdown to the Boston-London double.

It may help that I have to start at the very end of the 25,000 pack in Hopkinton. This will prevent me from beginning to fast. My plan is to keep a 6:30 min/K pace to avoid too much load to the muscles.

Scenes of Lanzarote:

Sunday, 1 April 2018

Long jog done

stats of the week: run 55 km, cycled 109 km, gym 2 h

We are lucky with the weather on Lanzarote and conditions are perfect for cycling and running. Managed to complete the long jog but only with two short walks at 25 and 27 km. Cannot really imagine to finish a marathon in two weeks. However, experience teaches that you can do more than you think. So I stick to my plans doing the double of Boston and London. There is no plan B.

Monday, 26 March 2018

Last hope for the April double

stats of the week: run 13 km, gym 3 h

Still no proper training. The muscels had to recover from the load of last Sunday. Now all my hope weighs on the 11 days I will spend on the Canarian island of Lanzarote from tomorrow on. Plans are to run around 100 K during this period with some easy cycling in between. My very last chance to get prepared for the Boston-London double!

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Nightmare with blue sky

stats of the week: run 45 km

There are things that have to happen and they do happen.

I felt quite okay on the morning of the Syltlauf. And the sky was blue. However, it was cold. Very cold for mid March: 0°c. And a very strong wind from the East.

As I knew the route it was clear that the first half of the route is not too bad. The wind was from the right side. Fairly okay, but we again and again lost the straight way, blown to the left by strong blasts.

I spotted one of my age groupers and tried to keep his pace. It was exactly the pace I planned in my dreams. Too fast today. After only 14 K I had to let him go. At half way it was clear that the second part will become a nightmare of a run for me. Many runners quitted at half way where all the hotels are. Undoubtedly this year's conditions were by far the hardest of my 9 participations.

From 24 K on it was only walk and jog for me. From now on the wind came from the front.
I got passed by hundreds. Only at the final home stretch I took my very last power to overtake the winner of age group 75...

My very disappointing time of 3:23 h made me placed 4th in M65 surprisingly. Only 11 of the 29 pre-registered M65 runners started or made it within the limit of 4 hours.

I learnt what I already knew but didn't do. Only race when you are healthy.

Sunday, 11 March 2018

Forced to taper

stats of the week: run 6 km, gym 2 h

It looks like I had started the tapering for next week's 33K-race. It have not. I was forced to stop any kind of activity by a more severe cold than last time. In fact it seemed to be the same affliction I had 3 weeks ago. My guess seems to be confirmed that I was not really fit when running last Sunday's half marathon.

As the whole weekend is booked I hope to be able to take part in the race. But I have to realise that there is no hope to go for a high performance.

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Disappointing London Big Half Weekend

stats of the week: run 42 km, gym 2 h

My first this year's London weekend was no successful one for me. 1:51:50 is not the result I hoped for. Okay, there is no lack of excuses.

Our Friday flight by Flybe to London City was cancelled just when we approached the gate. Then we had to queue for 2 hours to get a new booking for Saturday but this had Birmingham as its destination.

On Saturday we got no information by Flybe while we waited for 6 hours to finally board our flight into Birmingham. A convenient train ride brought us into London City by 9 pm.

On Sunday morning I first assisted C to collect her bib then I made my way to the orange start area that was on the South side of the river. There I had to queue for 40 minutes to receive my number (and I have to admit I pushed myself forward). Luckily I was able to drop my kitbag a second before the lorries closed.

However, I tried to follow my race schedule but felt from the first mile on that this was not my day. Legs felt okay but I had problems to breathe freely. Maybe - hopefully - I was not completely recovered from the latest cold. Otherwise I would have to face a significant backdrop of my performance. Imagine last year I was 7 minutes faster.

Just to warn you I should mention that also our Flybe flight back to Dusseldorf got cancelled what meant another delay of 4.5 hours.

By the way thanks to Tower Hotel who did not charge us for the missed night.

Sunday, 25 February 2018

Realistic challenge?

stats of the week: run 44 km, gym 4 h

I skipped the treadmill speed intervals once again as I felt that 2 half marathons within 2 weeks with a long run in between would be enough load for my body and legs.

Completed the long run at a temperature of 2°c and very cold wind and I was totally exhausted after this experience. I now start to realise that my 33 K target of sub 3 h may be too ambitious. I would have to be as fast as three years ago. You always need a challenge but this one may be too high for me.

We'll see. Next goal is sub 1:50 at the Big Half.

Thursday, 22 February 2018

Brexit Half Marathon

Got the final instructions for the Big Half London Marathon. Surprisingly there is no Expo. British residents receive their start package by postal mail. Overseas runners have to pick up their bib, chip and kitbag at race morning before the start. And they are required to present their passport!

What do organisers think how we should handle the passport during the race? It seems to be unthinkable for them to send a letter across the Channel. Perhaps this race should be called the BREXIT HALF.

Adding to this there is more unexpected inconvienence. I booked the Tower Hotel to have the start line right in front of my doorstep. Now I learnt that I have to pick up my number south of Tower Bridge but will not be allowed to cross the bridge. That means I will have to walk 2 miles to cross the river via London Bridge only to get to a point that is 300 yards away from my hotel.

I better should have a cup of tea and keep calm.