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.

Friday, 4 August 2006

Rest and Rain

Tuesday: Bike Tour, 65K, 3:10 hrs
Wednesday: nearly rest, Bike Stroll, 15K
Thursday: rest, gym at the hotel, 1:30 hrs

Shoreline restaurant in historic building
at Swiss banks of Lake Constan

I don't want to peculate that I spent 3 days at my sisters home. Conveniently she lives in Eriskirch near Lake Constance which is a popular holiday area and one of the most popular biking routes in Europe. I was happy to do two bike tours on Monday and Tuesday. If you like have a look at the small photo gallery of Monday's tour.

On Wednesday I moved to Oberstdorf, a touristic center in the Allgäu which is - for me - the most beautiful part of Germany. Unfortunately the place is also the one with the most rainfall. What it is proving right now. I booked a Klettersteig Tour for Saturday and already cancelled it again. Tomorrow I will be travelling home and my Summer in the Alps will be over.

Did some shopping on the way and bought a pair of heavy mountain boots suitable for very big heights and very low temperature. Luckily I found a shop in Kempten storing them. In flat Northern Germany where I live it is impossible to buy proper equipment for climbing. This buy is part of my preparation for the next trip: The Summer in the Alps will be followed by the Autumn in the Himalayas. Start will be on Sept 28. So it is 8 weeks at home now. I wonder if Angelika will be able to stand this.

Tuesday, 1 August 2006

Swiss Alpine Marathon

The Swiss Alpine Marathon at Davos has been a classic running event since 1986. The main distances are 78K and 42K, framed by other competitions with shorter routes, a separate team event and walks.

Davos is a famous center for skiing. It might be pretty when covered with deep snow but in summer it is just an ugly town surrounded by steep hills which are artificially designed for winter sports. There is no obvious reason why Davos has the same price level as London City. It is comprehensible that the town has to set up big events to draw visitors in summer.

However, once you leave the town and enter the neighboured valleys you easily recognise that Engadin is one of the most beautiful areas of the Alps: steep georges, green alps, rocky tops.

The marathon is a perfectly organised event with every comfort you can think of. The photo shows the start of the 78K race at 8am in Davos. The strong little lady wearing the green shirt and black shorts is Lizzy Hawker from England. She not only won the race 37 minutes ahead of the second lady, Lizzy smashed the course record by 15 minutes and finished after 6:30:12 with just 4 men ahead of her .

It was my first visit to an ultra distance race. This special species of runner seems to suffer from distinctive self-confidence what is not always likeable. But seeing them approaching the finish line one is tempted to try the long distance oneself.

The start of the 42K race takes place in the beautiful village of Bergün (1365m) at 11.30 am. The 78K runners have already covered around 35K when they reach Bergün and from here on the routes of both races are mostly the same.

The next section is a long and arduous ascent to Kesch Hut at 2638m.

High at Kesch Hut it is foggy, wet and very cold.
I am happy about the immediate steep descent of 300m...

... into a lonely valley called Val Funtauna.

Then it is another steep ascent to ...

Scaletta pass at 2606m ...

... and steeply down again to the alm Dürrboden at 2007m.

Finally a very long valley back to Davos.

It seems I have lost some weight en route.

London Marathon 2007

August 1 always is the start of the new Flora London Marathon season. Did you notice that I sent out the first 2007 newsletter last week?

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