Sunday, 26 March 2006

Down to emergency programme - 27 days to go

week's balance scheduled: 60K (38m) / done: 33K (21m)

By now my training schedule is really reduced to an emergency programme. I am miles behind even my downsized version. On Wednesday I joined the 10m fun run along the dykes of the Isle of Sylt. Enjoyed it, and the foot seemed to be happy. But the following morning things looked different. The ankle was again hurting like hell. Made me cancel all running for the next three days. Well, back home today I was able to complete the usual club workout of again 10 miles. We will see how the world looks tomorrow morning. As a precaution I made excessive use of my friend, the icebag.

However, I take all these set-backs with a somewhat even-tempered manner. My only target is to keep the current level of fitness and to concentrate on the oncoming race highlights at Berlin and London. If the ankle tolerates I will cautiously try a speed workout on the treadmill on Tuesday. And that's it for next Sunday when I aim to finish the Berlin half marathon well below 1:40 hours.

Done this race there will be another 3 weeks to go until the London. Might be the foot will force me to have more rest days, but it should be possible to put in just one long run of 20 miles. And this will do for London to enable me to finish.

After all some signs of spring time have arrived here. Yesterday in the North of Germany we still passed snow covered fields. At home in the West today we enjoy 18°c (64.4 F).

Received the London Marathon Magazine yesterday, containing my registration letter. At first glimpse I couldn't find any major changes compared to last year. Apart from the new official photo company which seems to offer more photos from more places. And Orange has stepped out as a sponsor which means there is no SMS service provided.

Monday, 20 March 2006

Finally put in a long run - 33 days to go

week's balance scheduled: 62K (39m) / done: 59K (37m)

At last I managed to put the first proper long run in the box. It is sort of a shame that I had to use the famous Syltlauf as a training workout. The Syltlauf is a traditional race of 33.3K (21m) along the most northern German island, called Sylt, from its southern tip all the way to the north end. On the way you run along the prom of the main town, then it is a long trot through a outstanding beautiful countryside, a small stretch of dunes with the North Sea to left and right.

Most regard the race as outstanding difficult. But it is not the route profile what makes it different. The main obstacle is the weather. Temperatures and wind can increase the fun noticeably. This time it was mostly friendly. The wind came mainly from the left, in the more strenuous part it even helped from the back, and only on short stretches we had the wind right from the front (then it worked as a real brake). And the day was not too warm, 2-4° celsius (around 37F).

On the final stage through dunes country

Together with fellow runner Rolf I started cautiously according to the time target of 3 hrs 15 minutes which is an average speed of nearly 6min/K (9:15min/mile). Already after half an hour my foot send some painful signals, suddenly and sharp. This happened twice or three times later again, luckily always it disappeared after a few minutes completely and didn't come back after the race. The foot still worries me, but as long as it allows a race like today I am confident to be able to finish the London Marathon, too.

Before half way Rolf disappeared for a pit stop and I only met him again behind the finish line. After two thirds of the race I still felt strong and started to make my way forward. During the final 10K I estimated a positive overtaking rate of 100:0. To do so I only needed to keep the pace resp. a slight speedup. At last I finished after 3 hrs 02 mins and placed just within the first half of the pack (245th of 563 men, 41st of 85 M50s).

looking much more relaxed than last Sunday

This year saw the 25th occurrence of the Syltlauf. It is extremly popular and the 800 limited numbers are always sold out 10 months in advance. Now it is in great danger to be abandoned because several volunteers - 25 years older now - are tired of the work. But there is still hope that new helpful people will step in and keep this great race going. The decision is to be announced for May.

There will also take place a nice fun run on the island on Wednesday which I certainly do join. Report to be found here.

Happy running

Thursday, 16 March 2006

Back to wintry Germany - 38 days to go

week's balance scheduled: 77K (48m) / done: 54K (34m)
BMI: 22.6

Men's 50-54 Winner's CupBreaking news: "Recent Sunday the International Pafos Half Marathon on Cyprus produced a stunning result. Germany's senior athlet Uli Sauer of Witten on the Ruhr - so far known only to long time insiders - won his age group by the impressive lead of more than 2 minutes. The self-confidently started banker Harry G. of Hameln (GER) was left as runner-up. He denied any kind of disappointment."

It was like winning a lottery prize. Luckily the time I clocked was not mentioned during the award ceremony. At the simultaneously run half marathon at home I would have finished with a less respectable 16th place in my age group. On Cyprus I chose the right distance of three offered races and proudly received a cup 14 inches high.

Uli and Harry at the ceremony
I wrote a race report but it is just in German I regret. But have a look at the photos published.

The more important message is that my foot coped with the race's burden. So I look forward to running the Syltlauf on next Sunday. It's a race of 33K (21m) from the southern to the northern tip of Germany's most fashionable North Sea island. Sadly this race which has been held for 25 years will be the last one as the organizers unavoidably got 25 years older and are tired to continue their good work. The race is limited to 800 runners and was already sold out at May last year. I did it twice before, in 2002 and 2004, and I am determined to be part of it when it will be buried. Syltlauf website

Again I chose a Hotel providing WLAN broadband so I will be able to keep you updated. Watch this space on late Monday evening.

Keep running

PS many thanks for your encouraging comments and emails

Sunday, 5 March 2006

Keeping cool - 48 days to go

week's balance scheduled: 44K (28m), done: 18K (11m)
BMI 22.6

"The start is here, and there is the finish.
In between one has to run."

That is how the unforgotten Emil Zatopek described our sport. Nowadays the Czech Olympic champion would probably be surprised standing in a high street book shop looking at the shelf containing the running books. Especially in Germany: An Amazon search for "Running" (German: Laufen) shows 589 findings, and "Marathon" another 143.

You see, one can make some more words around our hobby. And some even make a profession of it. Like Herbert Steffny, who is a popular German runner, now in his fifties. He finished 3rd at the European Championships and 3rd at the New York Marathon. He is a master of biology but today he makes his living by writing books about running, TV commentator, offering seminars for middle-of-the-pack-runners and managers.

Tomorrow one of his seminars will take place on Cyprus and I will be part of it. One main appeal is the Mediterranean weather (65°F), but I also hope to learn a bit more about running and how to stay fit for the next 20 years. The week will be finished by taking part at the Pafos marathon, which offers a Half Marathon and a 10K run, too.

Anyway, I am anxious to see if the plane will leave on schedule. Munich where I have a stopover tomorrow morning has got 20 inches of snow today and 90 per cent of the flights were cancelled.

I still have the problem with my ancle what made me cancel nearly the whole training this week. Daily electric and ultrasonic therapy didn't make a big difference. Now I hope that the seminar group will not run too much so I will be able to cope with it. I really feel I should have a whole week off to cure the problem. But I am committed to help during the seminar and to lead one the running groups. And I have entered the Half Marathon while Herbert is the 10K titleholder and wants to defend. We are in the same age group so I paid attention to choose the other distance.

Well, the hotel provides WLAN broadband so I can update the blog by midweek.

Have a nice week running

Herbert Steffny website
Nachruf Emil Zatopek (1922-2000)
Hotel Coral Beach

Finish at Pafos Marathon