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.