Saturday, 30 December 2006

Another week on the back seat of life

training stats
mo 12/25 - sa 12/30: rest, pause, break, nothing, nil, none, naught, not a yard (damned!)


This is the situation when a blog really makes sense as its purpose is to draw the surfers' attention and post pathetic lines asking everybody to pity (as long as there is no chance to impress anybody).

I have to cancel my start at the
New Year's Eve Race. The flu is nearly gone but seamlessly followed by a sinusitis. I would be crazy enough to ignore all this but my knee is not. I now have to believe what I use to tell those who send emails asking for advice: There are always better times to come. New year, new run.

As I won't stand it to sit at home when my friends are running the race where I have taken part for 12 consecutive years, I will go and take some photos of happy runners and congratulate them at the finish line (don't be confused finding my name in the results - a friend will use my number).

All the very best for 2007 - keep on running. Thanks for reading and coming again. Hope to see you in London for the best of all marathons.

Monday, 25 December 2006

Body Inventory

Training stats
th-su 12/21-24:
rest (ill)
we 12/20: easy slow jog, 10K, 1:12 hrs
tu 12/19: indoor bike, 1 hr

Sorry, folks, a sudden and severe flu caught me on Wednesday evening and I am not yet fully recovered. My hope is that the knee pain is only a side-effect of the flu and I will be able to run again when I feel well again.

Next year will be my last year in age group M50. You might have noticed that race fields in M55 are significantly smaller than in M50. I reckon that most of the disappeared runners didn't give up their sport optionally. And I wonder how long I will be able to keep to the roads and paths.

These thoughts let me make an inventory of my orthopedic challenges most of which are typical for runners. I start at the feet:

1. Flatfoot: Pain in the forefoot esp. on long road runs. Helped by orthotics and training foot muscels
2. Peroneus tendon strained: Pain on the outer side of the ankle, mainly caused by overpronating when running on uneven ground. Helped by orthotics and taping.
3. Runner's knees: Pain at the patella's back side caused by too much pressure on the cartilage. Helped by training the thigh muscles, taking gelatin and glucosamin, bandage, icing.
4. Arthrosis at both hips: Diagnosed by doc but no current problems. Pain infrequently after very long runs.
5. Tennis elbow: Strained tendons caused by overstress. Helped by couples of injections from time to time without success. Luckily I don't need the arm neither for running nor for making a living. Otherwise I would face a very big problem.
6. Shoulder tendon strained: No cause known, but very painful. Helped by surgery. Successfully so far.

Is this a typical list for a 53-year-old male? I console myself by realizing that most people sitting in doctors' waiting rooms don't do any sports. Luckily I have no organic problems and all vital and nice-to-have functions are working sufficiently.

But perhaps I should change my targets from running PBs to keep on running.

PS The German version of my Nepal Trekking Report is on line now. English one still to come.

Monday, 18 December 2006

Not a full come back

training stats
mo 12/18: gym easy, 1 hr
su 12/17: hilly run, 16K, 1:35 hrs
sa 12/16: rest
fr 12/15: run, 10.5K, 1:00 hrs
th 12/14: rest
we 12/13: run, 11K, 1:01 hrs

I apologize for not posting during last week. Most time sitting in front of the computer I was busy with updating the regional race calender for next year ( and worked on my Nepal travel report. The German version will be ready to go on line before Christmas and I hope to complete an English version until new year's eve.

I tried to restrict the number of photos but there will be still 178 ones to be seen. Hope some of the visitors will make it through all 7 pages.

Regarding my training stats I have to admit that I am not back to a mileage level I would be happy with. The calf strain is gone but I am still struggling with the knee problem. It is the first time for years that I am not able to run at my very best on
New Year's Eve race. The 15K race from Westfalian town Werl to Soest celebrates its 25th anniversary thereof 18 which I took part in. It is a duty to run and I will do it even with a hurting knee.

Tuesday, 12 December 2006

Survived the Race

tu 12/12: medical checkup, indoor bike 300 watt
mo 12/11: gym, easy workout, 1 hr
su 12/10: race, 10.5K, 0:44:04 hrs (+3K warm-up)
sa 12/09: rest

Race day was a great day for sports in our town. Nearly one thousand runners, most of them school boys and girls, took part at what is called "
Wittener Weihnachtslauf" meaning Christmas Run. The main event was crowned by some professional runners turning up. There were two German champions and one runner-up who took the lead in the race as a matter of course.

Further back in the middle of the pack I was on my way. Luckily the calf was free of pain just in time. As this is the local event where one has to show up I refused to serve as a pacemaker. I wanted to go as fast as I could. The decision to run on my own might lead to future regret: My two favourite running mates allied themselves and ran together. And how they did it! Both finished third in their age category and got an award. Now they know that they can do better on their own - no male needed any more.

Meanwhile I struggled along the 6 laps through our city. Finally it was great fun to sprint the last part, fighting with three fellow runners for the better place in the middle of field. The only drawback was: One of them was 12 years older than me, the other even 21!

This is how it looks when I am struggling. Don't worry, I did my medical check today and the doc allowed me to keep on running like this.

But he diagnosed a cholesterol level of very high risk. What means I will have to refrain from every kind of sweets until the next check. I should better have done the test after christmas!

Friday, 8 December 2006

Homage to Katie

training stats
fr 12/08: easy jog, 6K, 100m, 0:35 hrs
su 12/03 to th 12/07: rest

Wednesday eve we were out to meet Katie Melua on one of her few performances in Germany. Today and tomorrow she is in Amsterdam and then it's Paris.

Wednesday it was Oberhausen. I didn't know the place before. This "König-Pilsener-Arena" was a disappointment. The venue is fine for sports events or noisy big rock groups but it is totally unsuitable for a single little lady singing love songs.

The next disappointment happened at 8pm when Katie's concert was supposed to start. A group called The Stories appeared and wasted half an hour of our time. They were from Swansea in Wales what could have helped but it didn't. The next half hour was just waiting. Shortly after 9pm - the audience startet to get impatient - Katie on her own appeared on stage. And it didn't take to the end of her first song that she had caught the whole of the audience including me being totally in love. You might reckon that an old guy like me is resistant to this kind of emotions which should have gone long since. But I found myself being close to tears several times this evening. Maybe cos all is that long ago ;-) I enjoyed the whole of the 100 minutes Katie was singing. And I would have loved to hear her performing in a concert hall.

Calf news is good news. I stopped any kind of sports for a whole week and tried to jog easily this morning. There is still a small ball to be felt in the muscle but jogging was fine today. So I will try to take part in next Sunday's race. Certainly I am not in the state to go for a presentable result but it is the local event and sort of duty to be there.

Saturday, 2 December 2006

Things that happen

sa 12/02: rest (race cancelled)
fr 12/01: gym 2 hrs

These things happen. And when it has happened you have to come to grips with it. I have to admit I struggle to get along with what happened yesterday.

I have been using the leg extension machine since I started to go to the gym about 8 years ago. Never happened anything like this. I didn't put on too much weight I think. I just lifted the weight with one leg only, that might have been the fault. At the moment I moved to leave the machine I strained my calf muscle severely. Very soon I knew that I was in trouble. I tried to stretch the muscle but this only worsened the situation.

Saturday morning it was still as bad as the day before. There was no question that I would have to cancel the race I had looked forward to being part of it. Even more I doubt that I will be fit for next Sunday's race which will take place in my home town Witten.

The good news is that J ran a really good race. Without the help of a pacemaker she started cautiously and felt strong during the final part of the course. The result was that she finished one minute faster than last year. Very well done, J.

Race photo gallery

Thursday, 30 November 2006

The knee and other collapses

Th 11/30: forced to rest
We 11/29: flat run, 10K, 0:52 hrs
Tu 11/28: gym, 2 hrs
Mo 11/27: easy run, 7K, 0:40 hrs

The knee is still causing problems and restricted my mileage significantly. It's not the common pain I usually suffer at the kneecap's cartilage. It seems to be the patella tendon. The evil thing is that I don't notice anything during everyday life but after running for a couple of minutes the pain starts.

I have offered J to work as her pacemaker at Saturday's race. So I won't have to go for top speed. We will aim for 44 mins finishing the flat route of 9.6K which is a tempo of around 4:35 min/K.

You might remember J is the lady who collapsed at the 8K race in August. What I didn't report here, she also collapsed after 39K at the Frankfurt Marathon 5 weeks ago. Now she is desperate to get to the finish of her next race. Luckily I am an experienced expert in holding back fast ladies who tend to run away too fast. But J is a formidable policewoman and a tough gal. I will need all my assertiveness to slow her down.

The race will probably ruin my knee for at least another week but I love the event and want to be part of it.

Monday, 27 November 2006

A word about the Flora London Marathon entry procedure

I don't have to underline that I love the London Marathon. Since my first participation in 2000 I have returned every year and don't think about aborting this habit.

So I feel being entitled to complain about the procedure we have to undergo annually. The FLM's entry system really looks out-dated. This even more when regarding the London Marathon in a line with the other 4 World Marathon Majors (NYC, Chicago, Boston, Berlin).

All the others provide online entry and updated online information long since. While FLM still teases its applicants by forcing them to send forms and cheques. Then we have to wait for nearly 2 months to receive the ballot's result by conventional mail. The organisers stubbornly make a secret of their drawing system.

For overseas applicants it is even worse. There is a separate ballot for overseas runners but nowhere any official description of the procedure can be found. Overseas applicants have to pay the triple price of British applicants. Success rate of the overseas drawing is close to zero.

At least overseas runners have the chance to book a guaranteed place via a licensed travel agency. But numbers are very limited. E.g. Germany gets 300 places. Compare with the NYC marathon where Germans get 3000 numbers. To get to the point: NYC has 50% overseas runners, London has 7.5%!

Therefore I won't call London a World Marathon Major, it is still a British Marathon as long as this kind of entry policy is maintained.

By the way: I just discovered if you search for "london marathon" at you will get 2.2m results and my website is ranked number 1. Ahead of the official one which is number 2! :-)
At and it is still the other way round but I am working on it.

Sunday, 26 November 2006

Shoes sorted out - knee to be kept

su 26/11: hilly run, 16K, 310m, 1:23 hrs
sa 25/11: gym, 2 hrs

Went to the gym yesterday to work on my sixpack (sorry, no photo) although B claimed that it has not to be improved but I don't believe her. Well, the other reason was that I booked a preventive medical checkup for next friday. Two years ago I managed to reach 300 watts on the indoor bike. I desperately want to retry this to prove that I don't grow older. I would be disappointed by a lower performance. So I thought it to be a good idea to train for it. I made it up to 225 watts without being exhausted what was okay. Will try again Monday or Tuesday.

The knee still causes problems. It hurt during the first 15 mins of today's run, then it was fine and the outcome was the second fastest run along this route this year. I really felt strong and relaxed. Afterwards I treated the knee by placing the icebag on it. But didn't notice that it got leaky (the icebag) and messed the carpet wickedly.

Marathon in New York City also means shopping in New York City. I could not resist to buy two pairs of running shoes (beside lots of running cloths). Therefore I had to clear my stock now and sorted out 5 pairs:

I have to admit they look quite usable but most are more than 3 years old and worn out.

Not that I wouldn't have a choice now:

There are still 8 pairs waiting to be carried out and see nature.

Friday, 24 November 2006

A cautious week

training stats
Fr 24/11: run, 8K, flat, 0:46 hrs
Th 23/11: hilly fartlek run, 8K, 150m, 0:42 hrs
We 22/11: slow run, 8.5K, 0:51 hrs
Tu 21/11: gym, 1.5 hrs
Mo 20/11: slow run, 7K, 0:40 hrs
Su 19/11: hilly run, 16K, 300m, 1:32 hrs
Sa 18/11: rest
Fr 17/11: hilly run, 11K, 200m, 1:05 hrs

The stats might look impressive at first but on a second view you will notice that the daily runs were rather short. I cancelled my start at Saturday's race in Hagen-Hohenlimburg due to light problems with my right knee. I would love to run there but the oncoming races next month are even more important to me, so I avoid the risk to worsen the injury.

Always being prepared for this kind of common cases I store a couple of ice bags in the freezer. Most times this treatment is enough to get back on the road.

By the way - if you like to have a look - I published a small non-runner's gallery of New York City photos.
And I promise to start the work on the Nepal report shortly.

Thursday, 16 November 2006

Business as usual

thu 11/16/2006: hilly run, 13K, 200m, 1:08 hrs
tue 11/14/2006: flat run, 13.5K, 1:15 hrs
mon 11/13/2006: gym 2 hrs + sauna

sun 11/12/2006: easy jog, 8.5K, 0:52 hrs

After a late season packed with major highlights I am now back to normal and glad that my legs don't moan. I treated them to a whole week of full rest after the NYC marathon and came back cauteously.

Today I regretted that I didn't take the camera with me as it was such a beautiful sunny and warm autumn day. It was a real pleasure to move through the coloured local woods and enjoy the sun.

Already feeling enterprising again I entered 4 local races to be done until the end of the year. All of them are distances between 9K and 15K. In previous years I always trained hard to look good in these events cos many local contenders take part. Most years I had to pay the price later on when I failed to get fit for the following London Marathon. Therefore I committed myself to take it easy this time. But I have to admit I start feeling tingly again ...

By the way: For a final view back you might like to see my NYC marathon race report.

Friday, 10 November 2006

This town is worth it

Basically I am not a friend of big cities and the crowds. New York City is a different thing. I love to see the people, how they move through the town's gorges like nobody is watching them. And they are right. Nobody takes notice. Apart from German tourists, I have to admit.

Verrazzano Narrows: The bridge the world's runners are dreaming of.

Brooklyn Bridge: Popular running route.

Miss Liberty: Guarding the sky.

Looking thoughtfully: The face of Miss Freedom.

Mirror of the sun: Manhattan Midtown.

Lighted: New Jersey Skyline.

Red Hat at night: Empire State Building.

Officially documented: The pair of happiness and success.

Wednesday, 8 November 2006

Still Dreaming

Just another document of last Sunday's perfect race:

Bettina's PB is 3:45 hrs. Regarding the hard route of the NYC marathon I recommended to aim for 4:15 and that was the pace I tried to set off from Verrazano bridge. The first mile was too slow due to the mass start, but from then on we were on time and I constantly had to fight to hold back Bettina who every now and then tried to increase the speed.

These are the impressive 5K-Splits: 31:47 - 29:33 - 29:54 - 29:34 - 29:43 - 28:35 - 29:03 - 28:24. The fastest 5K we ran between 35 and 40, and the second half was more than 5 minutes faster than the first half.

It was not easy to stay alongside Bettina. Her motto was: "Whenever I see a big buttock in front of me I have to overtake it." And there were hundreds of them! For 25K I tried to slow her down. Then I gradually noticed how strong she was and let her go her pace. Once this acuminated to her question: "Are you still there?" Several times I had to sprint a short slalom to catch up with her.

We had great fun especially when cheered by the crowds who easily spotted the big name signs we were wearing at the front of our t-shirts. This was the scene at mile 25 in Central Park:

It was my 16th maraton but the first one with a faster 2nd half. Therefore I would call it the most successful one and it was certainly the most beautiful one.

Monday, 6 November 2006

NY NY - BETTINA was part of it

This photo was taken at mile 23. No need to say any more.

Result: 4:08:19
First half: 2:06:59
Second half: 2:01: 20 (!)
A perfect race on a perfect day. Endurance smiling record. Bettina has undoubtedly qualified as my favourite running mate - sorry, gals ;-)

Friday, 3 November 2006

If you can make it there ...

... you'll make it anywhere. (Frank Sinatra)

kind regards from NYC, Manhattan, 108W 24th Street.

On Tuesday when we arrived it was Halloween Evening. Streets were crowded with costumed people all in a very good mood. It is like a German Carneval, albeit with a very different kind of music.

Thursday afternoon we were out to Central Park for a jog along the last mile of the marathon. We tried the finish for a first time.

Our travel agency has engaged two famous coaches for us. Herbert Steffny (mid) was 3rd in NY 1984 and won a bronze medal at European Championships. Wolgang Münzel (right) was an international marathon and fell runner, German fell running champion, and now he is the national fell running coach of the German team.

Fred Lebow, founder of New York Road Running Club and the New York City Marathon.

Columbus Circle at the South West corner of Central Park. It gets dark quite early now, around 5.15pm.

See you soon, watch my race number 12233 on Sunday. I hope to run alongside Bettina whose number is F2824.

Saturday, 28 October 2006

Unlucky Rehearsal

Sa 28/10/06 easy race, 10K/51min
Fr 27/10/06 gym, 1.5 hrs
Th 26/10/06 easy jogs, 8.5K/48min and 6.5K/46min

As there was a popular 10K race in our neighbour town Bochum today, we - NYC running mate B. and me - decided to go for an easy test run one week before New York. To cut a long story short: I won't call the outcome a complete success.

Even the weather fitted in: It was raining all the time. The route was full of puddles and muddy in places. We thought about finishing within less than 50 mins, but after two of six laps B. started to feel slightly unwell and we preferred to slow down. The run was supposed to be a training workout anyway, so this didn't matter. What me really annoyed was that my left thigh hardened like hell. Obviously it wasn't fully recovered from the long run last Tuesday. This week's mileage of more than 60K appeared to be too much after 3 weeks without running.

I will now throw in lots of magnesium and it looks like I should avoid any running until marathon day. Another one - like the majority of my 15 marathons - which I will start without proper preparation. So far I was able to finish each one - hope this will endure next Sunday.

Tuesday, 24 October 2006

Peak Gallery

21/10/06 Sat - Run 10K 0:57 hrs
23/10/06 Mo - Slow Jog 8K 0:47 hrs
24/10/06 Tu - Long Run 30K 3:02 hrs

When climbing Island Peak I took just my small camera with me. This day's photos can be looked up in a
simple gallery. Mind the blue of the sky!

Next Tuesday I will be off for the New York City Marathon 2006. So today I was happy to be able to do a final long run of 30K after the total pause of 3 weeks without running. High level trekking seems to have kept me fit enough.

The only pity is that - after 3 healthy weeks in Nepal - I caught a diarrhea at home! German food obviously is the harder challenge.

Tuesday, 17 October 2006

Short Success Report


this is the final stage of our trekking around the highest mountains of the world. I am back to the village of Lukla, 2800m, from where tomorrow early in the morning a very small plane will take us back to Kathmandu.

All worked out as planned, the tour was a total success. I remained healthy, albeit most fellows were not so lucky. We were able to see all the scheduled highlights such as Everest Base Camp, 5300m, climbed Kala Pattar, 5545m, and Chukhung Ri, 5546m. Certainly the top adventure was to climb Island Peak, 6189m. Six of our group of 9 trekkers made it to the top, including me! I would call this day the most emotional and remarkable day of all my outdoor life. I am so proud :-)

I took about 700 photos so far and will certainly publish a selection at my website. It will take some weeks to get this completed and I will point out it here when published.

More at the following weekend when I will be home again.

Best wishes from Nepal,

Sunday, 1 October 2006

Quick sign of life

I am sitting in an internet cafe in namche bazar, 3450m, nepal, clouds are down to earth and give me time to drop a short posting.

Trekking in Nepal is not at all a kind of adventure. Pathes are done up like in the English Lake District and lodges and restaurants can be found all the way. shops in the remotest mountain villages offer any kind of sweets, soft drinks, Nepalese beer and the food is excellent.

The monsun has just finished, the weather is fine in the mornings but not settled enough to provide completely fine days. Hopefully this will develop during the oncouming days.

I dont think there will be any internet access at the higher villages. So dont expect any further reports during next fortnight.

Hope to see you soon again.

Wednesday, 27 September 2006

Off to Nepal

I know this is a hard cut. During last week I had no spare energy to blog. Organising our
charity run took all of what I had to put in. Luckily the event was a success. We had the same high level of entries as last year - 646 - despite the new and strong other events which appeared on the same day unfortunately. I was really happy with the outcome. Total revenues summed up to 5300 Euros which was a bit less than last year but still the second best we had in 6 years.

photo above: Waiting for the start of the kids' race

The other positive result is that I lost 2.5 kilogrammes of weight during the last week which was the most dramatic one I had for decades of years. My weight is now down to 65.3 kilos which is a Body Mass Index of 21.3 and definately alright for a veteran runner. And it is just the weight level which I hoped to reach after 3 weeks of trekking in Nepal for what I am heading tomorrow. Plane will take off early in the morning from Düsseldorf to Vienna for changing to the long flight to Kathmandu. I am afraid there will probably be no chance to blog during the following 3 weeks. There is an internet cafe said to exist at Namche Bazar - the central trekking mountain village - but I don't know if there will be enough time available to do more than the most urgent emails.

I will trek the most touristic route to the popular viewing top of Kala Pattar, to Everest base camp and - if really really lucky - to the top of Island Peak at 6200 m. Hope to take a good number of photos and show you later. I won't call this trip the world's least adventure but it is still fairly exciting for me.

Hope you will come back here to see if I will be still alive at end of October. Best wishes, take care and keep running.


Tuesday, 19 September 2006

My Racing Stable

Thursday: long slow jog, 28K, 2:55 hrs
Friday: gym, 1 hr
Saturday: rest
Sunday: race, 8.4K, 36:20 min
Monday: rest
Tuesday: long hilly run, 25K, 450m, 2:31 hrs

I am really sorry about being late with my posting. It was a busy weekend with racing and photographing and a lot of website work as there were so many races to report. Additionally the work to prepare next Sunday's charity run is increasing. Nearly 300 entries are in now. I am slightly pessimistic whether we will reach last year's numbers when we had more than 600. There are 3 other events in the area which is a pity especially because two of them have moved to our date.

Last Sunday's relay race was a great event and an ambitious day for me. There were nearly 200 teams of 5 runners each. I started as the 4th runner of my team, took about 500 photos during the event and - most exciting - I appeared with sort of my own racing stable. There were two teams running with the name of my website This strange habit started 3 years ago. A large group of unaffiliated runners trained for a local marathon. To make searching the results easier they thought about a fake club name which should include our town's name. They finally got the idea to use my website's name. And this idea still keeps alive. Every now and then one can find athletes running for I even started to encourage this by selling car stickers and t-shirts. It is a really surprising process.

Meanwhile you might be familiar with my race look. I was disappointed by my time which was 1:15 min slower than last year. Some others argued that the distance was too long this year. Hopefully they are right.

And this is the Dream Team of my racing stable.
They finished 3rd and got a cup again (as they did last year).

Wednesday, 13 September 2006

Increasing Nervousness

Monday: rest
Tuesday: am gym 1:30 hrs, pm easy bike tour 48K, 400m, 2:30 hrs
Wednesday: easy bike tour, 61K, 450m, 2:55 hrs

I published
500 photos of last Sunday's race in Wetter on the Ruhr and produced a simple DVD for the organiser. When handing it over yesterday the following dialogue developed:

Organiser: "Your photos are really great. High quality."
Me: "Oh, thank you, most of them were taken by my wife Angelika."
Organiser: (short pause) "Well, a lot depends on the quality of the camera."

By the way: He doesn't know Angelika. And he probably doesn't know that the professional photographer of the local newspaper is a woman.

Only 10 days to go until the
race will take place which I organise myself (with the help of many others, of course). Suddenly getting nervous I got the idea that our route might get blocked by woodcutters. I decided to have a look at the route and went around by bike.

The race starts at the hospital in Herdecke, but most of the route is within the woods of Wetter.
Wetter's most famous sun is Friedrich Harkort. He was a highly successful industrial mercantilist and at the beginning of the 19th century he built up the first ironworks in the area.
Logically the town has not only a "Harkort Street", it also has a Harkort School, the local hill is called Harkort Mountain, on the hill there stands the Harkort Tower, the reservoir is the Harkort Lake and the local sports club is the Turngemeinde Harkort. It would have been easier to call the town "Harkort Town".

Above: Our race passes the Harkort estate.

The runners climb Harkort Mountain and have a view to Harkort Tower.

What do you guess who owns the woods?

I have to add that our race is not called "Harkort Race" but "Sterntaler-Lauf" as the charity we are running for is the Sterntaler eV.

PS. You might ask for J. She is fine again.

Monday, 11 September 2006

Sunny Race Day Overshadowed

Friday: gym, 1:30 hrs
Saturday: slow jog, 10K, flat, 1:06 hrs
Sunday: race, 8K, hilly, 37:33 min

Today was a beautiful day with a cloudless sky. Temperatures perfect for spectators and race organisers, but rather high for running. After all my orthopaedic gouts I looked forward to being back to racing but did not expect to be fast.

Photo above: Taking water after the second of 8 laps. The course was not easy. Every lap had a height difference of about 40 meters.

Photo above: Passing the finish line after 6 of 8 laps. The yellow doors are a special way of metering the time. An electronic chip is built in everyone's running number to send the signal.

Don't worry about the way I am looking. That's my normal expression when trying to run hard. I finished after 37:33 mins what was about 30 seconds slower than last year. This was okay as it is little more than the usual age caused decline. I was particularly happy that my foot didn't moan about the burden.

When I was waiting for my friends to reach the finish suddenly the nice part of the day terminated. Everybody around was shocked to see my friend J - you remember: the nice blond lady I love to run with - collapsing a few yards in front of the finish line. She had to be carried to the First Aid Station and was transferred to hospital later. As I heard she is better now but has to stay in the hospital overnight and undergo more checkups tomorrow. We all hope it was just a temporarily weakness of her cardiovascular system. She had a cold last week and took up the hard training probably too early. Being an experienced and highly successful competitive sculler she is able to push her body to its very limit. A bit too far today.

I will visit her tomorrow morning and hope to see her well again.

Thursday, 7 September 2006

Long and Fast

Monday: rest
Tuesday: rest
Wednesday: easy run, 10K, flat, 58min
Thursday: long run, 24K, flat, 2:11min

Apparently my hamstring problem was just a strong kind of muscle soreness. The pain was completely gone until Wednesday albeit it forced me to rest totally on Monday and Tuesday. After a test run on Wednesday I agreed to go for a long jog with friends U and J today.

You might remember J is the nice blond lady I love to run with - ignoring the fact that her high pace is not adequat to my training plans and my current performance. Last time I ran with her I caught a foot injury.

J.'s electronic pacemaker said SLOWER right from the beginning but we felt alright and my heartrate was below 120bps so I didn't complain wholeheartedly and we only joked about our speed and who of us will be the fastest at next Sunday's 8K race.

But finally our long run escalated on the last mile when we forced the pace up to 4:15min/K (6:50min/mile) and an increased heartrate of 147 bps which is my level for a 10K race. We finished our workout after 2:11 hrs for 24K (15m).

I wonder about the injuries I will have caught this time. Will see tomorrow morning. However there is a saying for people of my age: If you wake up in the morning and nothing is hurting you are probably dead. Regarding this I am certainly VERY alive.

Don't worry, Sabine, I only thought about retiring from the annual onion relay race, not from the London Marathon. Admittedly my average weekly mileage this year is the lowest since 1999 but I still hope there will come better times and more miles.

Sunday, 3 September 2006

Moaning Again

Thursday: fartlek run, 15K, 300m, 1:25 hrs
Friday: bike, 114K, 560m, 4:17 hrs
Saturday: onion relay race, 5x600m, team time 11:59 min
Sunday: slow jog, 5K, 35 min

The combination of a long bike ride on Friday followed by the tough short race on Saturday eve turned out to be too much for my left hamstring. During the night it started to hurt like hell. It feels like usual aching muscles but I fear it is sort of a more severe harm. Sore muscles normally hurt most on the second day following the event. This time it started a couple of hours after the race. Okay, if it is worse tomorrow the theory will be verified.

The relay race was as tough as it was always in recent years. I went off a bit more cautious than last year but on the final part my muscles were the limiting fact more than the breathing.

Most of the competitors were much younger than me. I was impressed how fast they were although carrying the load of 10 kilogrammes. I think I would be able to keep up with most of them at a 10 miles or half marathon race. But a sprint of 600 meters is not the most convenient distance for a veteran runner. Maybe I should think about retiring before next year's team is being recruited.

Wednesday, 30 August 2006

Next Event Approaching

Monday: rest
Tuesday: gym, 1:30 hrs
Wednesday: bike, 35K, 300m, 1:25 hrs / run, 11K, 150m, 1:03 hrs

This is how I was looking when taking part in our local fun run event last year. It doesn't really look like fun, does it? I have to admit I hate the race for being so exhausting but I love it for the fun before and after the pain.

The event is called the "Zwiebelsackträgerstaffellauf". The attempt of a translation may sound like: Onions Bag Relay Race.

The distance for everyone of the five runners of a team is just 800 meters. The first half of it is a slight ascent and then it is turning and back down. The bag's weight is 10 kilogrammes. I very much remember my first participation when I was so worn out that I felt down just after crossing the finish line. You see - it is really great fun. 22 teams in different classes have signed in for the race on Saturday evening in the town's shopping mall. My predominant target is to finish safe and sound.

Sunday, 27 August 2006

Looking Forward to Racing Again

Friday: gym, 1:30 hrs
Saturday: bike, 60K, 690m, 2:20 hrs
Sunday: hilly run, 16K, 310m, 1:25 hrs

I now hope that I will soon not only be photographing runners but racing myself again. Today's workout was fast, hilly and without any orthopaedic problems. There are a couple of short races which I look forward to. An 8K on Sept 10 and a marathon relay race with 8.4K for each runner on Sept 17. I also hope to do a few longer training runs to build up already for the NYC marathon.

Yesterday I watched the match of my favourite football club VfL Bochum vs Cottbus. I got the ticket as a present otherwise I wouldn't have thought about going there as it was a meeting of underdogs. A week ago VfL played Bayern Munich and everybody who wanted to get a ticket for this match was forced to buy the underdogs' ticket, too. The match was even worse than I expected it to be. My team seems to be the worst the club has had since decades. VfL has now lost any of the three matches so far and anything but relegating to second league again will be a surprise.

8K Race Wetter Marathon Relay Sprockhövel VfL Bochum

Thursday, 24 August 2006

Close to Come Back

Tuesday: gym, 1:30 hrs
Wednesday: bike, 107K, 610m, 4:05 hrs
Thursday: very easy jog, 10K, 1:13 hrs

New orthotics again. I have been using orthotics while running for about 20 years but these are the best I ever had. They are firm enough to support the foot and they are soft enough to give some cushioning. And most important they fit perfectly. I brought my running shoes when ordering the orthotics. What I did several times in the past, but this time the shop man agreed to take them and customize the orthotics to fit into the shoes.

I don't think that the new ones give more support for the forefoot that the older ones. As the foot seems to be okay again I don't bother.

I also bought a booklet showing some foot exercises. More about this later.

Monday, 21 August 2006

Marathon Poodle

Saturday: gym, 1.5 hrs
Sunday: rest

Monday: easy hilly jog, 7.5K, 44 min

Oskar is our local long distance dog. He has finished about a dozen marathons. This is how he was looking when finishing yesterday's very rainy half marathon. He is still relaxed, isn't he?

Certainly I would have preferred to take part in the race but I also enjoyed to take photos of nearly everybody of the 600 runners. I always thought I would stop the website work if I weren't able to run any more. But yesterday I learnt that it is great fun to meet all the people even without running. However, I hope to keep running for some more years.

The good news is that I did a first easy jog today without major problems. But did my legs hurt afterwards! It was just for a fortnight that I couldn't run but the muscels seem to have forgotten how to cope with.

Saturday, 19 August 2006

Foot Story

Thursday: rest
Friday: bike ride, 57K, 440m, 2:17 hrs

Yesterday I learnt that that the problems I have with my right forefoot are called splayfoot which is the most common deformation of the foot. I saw the doctor who cures my elbow (let's say he tries to). He recommended to order new orthotics and his opinion was that injections are not indicated because they wouldn't solve the original problem.

The picture shows a healthy foot to the left. Did you know that one should carry all the body's weight just on the outer toes? My foot actually looks like the one the right. Obviously the toes number 2, 3 and 4 have to fight for more space what causes some pain in the runner's foot. And the sole of the middle part of the forefoot is not used to contact the ground and reacts by developing weals.

Investigating the internet for ways of treatment I found the most promising suggestion to do some foot gym regularly.

However, today I was happy to be able to do a nice little bike ride in the sunshine. I have missed this. I even allowed myself to have a big dish of ice cream on the way. Always by-passed the scales during last week I have to admit. Hope to start running again on Monday.

Wednesday, 16 August 2006

Still Hurting

Monday: rest
Tuesday: rest
Wednesday: gym 2 hrs

Got my forefoot x-rayed on Monday morning after I realised that there was no improvement. The good news is that the bones are okay. The radiography didn't show any sign of fatigue fracture. I would have been amazed if there was broken anything. I never had any kind of fracture so far.

The doctor agreed to set a cortisone injection after I told him that I already tried to cure it with ice, salves and diclofenac tablets. The bad news is that he set the injection at the wrong place. The most important point with cortisone is that it has to be placed exactly where the inflammation is. It seems to be a matter of millimetres. Of course it was my own fault. The patient has to tell the doctor where it is hurting. But sometimes this isn't easy. I think I will have to get another injection next week.

By the way: I have added an English sitemap to my website.

Sunday, 13 August 2006

Doomed to Spectate

Friday: gym 2hrs
Saturday: rest
Sunday: rest (still injured)

It was a hard day for me as I was doomed to watch the bike race in the city of Bochum while some friends of mine were taking part. So I was glad there were more friends to meet beside the route to encourage those who did the race.

The hobby biker's route consisted of 4 laps with 15K each. The professionals rode later on the same route but did 12 laps. My hometown Bochum is quite hilly and there were even two special finishes for a climbing classification.

Before the pro race the teams were presented. This is team Davitamon-Lotto with its most famous rider Robbie Mc Ewen (far left) who won this year's sprint classification (green shirt) at the Tour de France. Seeing him live on stage one wonders how small and slim he actually is. But the Australian has the strongest legs within the peloton. He gives the impression that he always works hard to keep his image as a tough guy.

With the loss of Jan Ullrich now Jens Voigt of Team CSC is everybody's darling. He won a Tour de France stage this year and he recently won the Tour of Germany. He won a one-day-race yesterday and consequently he also won the race in Bochum today. Being interviewed before the race he argued: "I just have to steer my bike, everything else goes automatically." He was right once more.

There were thousands of spectators along the route and it was sort of a party with some sports to view every 20 minutes when the riders had done another lap. They were fast like hell and I counted that they cover two laps while I would be able to do one.

The bad news today is that my foot injury has not improved significantly. I think I will have to see the doctor this week to get the foot x-rayed.

Today's hyperlinks: Sparkassen-Giro Bochum Robbie McEwen Jens Voigt

Thursday, 10 August 2006

Enforced Pause

Monday: gym, 2 hrs
Tuesday: hilly run, 16K, 300m, 1:31 hrs
Wednesday: rest (injured)
Thursday: gym, 2 hrs

Today's message is: If you feel you need a rest don't run even if your mate is a lovely blond lady waiting to run with you.

I couldn't resist on Tuesday although I knew that the run would worsen my new foot injury. So things came as they had to come. My right forefoot is swollen and I will have to rest for at least a week and next Sunday's bike race is to be cancelled.

The unlucky event happened when I bought my new mountain boots:

I tried on a pair which was far too small for my feet and very narrow. Obviously my forefoot got injured and a light inflammation developed when exercising later. Hopefully it will be cured within a week. (I took a photo of my feet but regarded it not to be presentable.)

This year's New York Marathon will be an experiment as I intend to run it without proper training. The month before the race I will spend 3 weeks walking at high altitude in Nepal. Without any running. I will just have time to do a couple of jogs after coming home and then it will be off again for NY. I hope staying at high altitude (4000-5500 m) will help to get fit enough to finish the marathon.

Sunday, 6 August 2006

Back Home - Checking Mail

Friday: Bike Tour, 67K, 1086m, 3:20 hrs
Saturday: Rest (travel)
Sunday: Hilly Run, 16K, 300m, 1:27 hrs

Here I am back home again but there is still a small final photo gallery of my last bike tour around Mount Piesenstein near Oberstdorf in Alpine Germany. Dramatic countryside, but a cold and wet day.

I found an exciting letter in the mail:

Being a dedicated supporter of the London Marathon I have to admit that the New York City Marathon offers a much better service for their runners. Overseas runners are allowed to qualify for the entry. As a M50 veteran I only had to finish a half marathon within 1:40 hrs or a marathon within 3:30. In London qualification is open only to British residents and a M50 veteran has to run a marathon in less than 3:15.

NY cares for overseas runners and tries hard to attract foreign runners to the race. These efforts result in a rate of 40% overseas runners. Compare the overseas rate of the London Marathon! 2006 it was exactly 7.5 %. But maybe this is just the reason why I love the London: It is a British race.

Moreover NY has a fun run with free breakfast on Saturday, a free pasta party and after race party, a free certificate and a free result list. There is online entry possible and online acceptance information availabe. On race day there is online tracking and a free email service with split times every 5K. Injured runners can postpone their start for as many years as they like. One can get the impression that runners are treated like clients in NY and like suppliants in London. I wonder that - since there is an institution like the 5 Major Marathons - a benchmark should be launched which they all will have to fulfil.