Thursday, 28 June 2007

Run with an Obstacle

training stats
Th 28/06: rest
We 27/06: hilly run, 19K, 1:49 hrs
Tu 26/06: easy jog, 10K, 1:02 hrs
Mo 25/06: gym, 2 hrs

Yesterday I once again joined the Rapid Stags Group to have a special workout to get fit for our Zugspitzlauf. The Ruhrgebiet may sound to you as being a flat area but actually the hills along the Ruhr valley offer some convenient heights. The area East of Witten is called the Ardey Gebirge which might be sort of overstatement but it is hilly indeed.

Our lap through the local woods added up to more than 500 meters of ascent. And descent of course. But the route was not just steep. It was the effect of gale Kyrill what slowed us down.

As we ran up the SW ridge of Arenberg - highest point of Witten at 269m - we faced dozens of fallen trees and had to scramble over the trunks and to by-pass some jackstraw staples (photo: Wiki).

Arriving at the carpark some of us noticed scratches and wounds at their bloody calves. Anyway, considering the route profile it was a tough workout for me which let me opt for total rest today.

Sunday, 24 June 2007

Rail and Bike

Training stats
Su 24/06: hilly run, 16K, 1:29 hrs
Sa 23/06: easy bike tour, 85K, 4:26 hrs
Fr 22/06: gym 1.5 hrs
weeks total: run 40K, bike 85K, gym 2 sessions

Yesterday we took our bikes and entered a train to the village of Finnentrop in the Sauerland, a low and woody mountain range which can conveniently be reached within one hour by rail. Recently a new bike route has been opened, a fairly flat lap of 85K mostly following disused railway lines. It is not known very well yet and not as popular as the likewise new Ruhrtalradweg we originally planned to do. We had to change our plans since my friends still belong to working class people and one of them wasn't able to get a day off. So we sticked to a one-day-trip and we were lucky with our choice.

Photo below: Bikers have to pass the former railway tunnel "K├╝ckelheimer Tunnel". Its length is 689 meter and it is a bats reserve. Therefore it is closed in winter to save the animals. We were happy to see that there is electric light inside.

Hundreds of thousands of trees had been struck by spring storms earlier this year. Woodworkers still have to clear most of the woods. Stored trunks can be seen all along the route.

The route is called the Sauerland Radring. However, we had to shorten our lap since we lost too much time for eating, drinking and eating again. I guess my calory balance of the day out finally was not a success.

Thursday, 21 June 2007

Rushing with the Stags

training stats

Th 21/06: rest
We 20/06: fast hilly run, 16K, 1:22 hrs
Tu 19/06: slow jog, 8K, 0:51 hrs
Mo 18/06: gym 1.5 hrs

I had not joined the Wednesday running group since last summer. I call these guys the "rapid stags group".

We had to discuss and plan our trip to the
Zugspitzlauf, the hill run up to the top of Germany's highest mountain. Therefore I joined the stags and tried to stay with them as long as my legs allowed. I made it to half way, and after 10K I still clocked 48min what is competitive level speed for me.

Reasonably I preferred to relax today feeling that my muscles are asking for rest.

The Zugspitze peaks at 2,968m (around 9,700 feet). The run starts in the Austrian village of Ehrwald at 900m, the distance is 16K and overall height difference to the finish is 2,100m. Last year it took me 3:04 hrs - with 26 min needed for the final kilometer. I still dream to make it inside 3 hours. But I will have to be superfit to achieve this aim. Finally I am one year older than last year.

Sunday, 17 June 2007

Thanks to the Lord

training stats

su 17/06: hilly run, 16K, 1:31 hrs
th 14/06: indoor endurance mix, 1 hr
we 13/06: gym, 1.5 hrs

End of this month I will have completed the second year of my early retirement. I still regard the recent two years as the very best time I ever had in my life. Every morning I wake up I send my honest thanks to Lord John Browne, Baron of Madingley, former CEO of British Petroleum (see photo) whose high level decision lead to the very low level where I was sent home being paid for doing nothing. Ironically, John has retired, too, meanwhile - obviously earlier than than he wanted to, but I reckon he will now be able to enjoy his freedom together with his gay friend, Jeff Chevalier.

I always aimed to make the very best of my retirement and was looking forward to it. Now I can say it is even far more exciting than I ever dreamt of. I don't have a gay friend I have to determine and noticably less money to spend than Mr Browne. My income is down to 72.5% I received before. However, my freedom has more than doubled and the money I get for staying off the office is still more than most people get paid for working their ass off.

Thanks again, Lord Browne, I am sure the two of us are making the best of it we can.

Tuesday, 12 June 2007

The documents

Obviously this photo was taken during the first of two laps, after about 9K. Considerately there was no photographer at this place during second lap when certainly I was no longer able to smile.

Still moving in style.

Far into second lap, after around 34K. No pain, no gain.

Bathing on the roads.

Smiling coolness after Olympic finish.


Distance Total....Split Speed Place
5 K......0.24.42..24.42 4.56/k 1900
10.38 K..0.51.30..26.47 4.58/k 1876
15 K.....1.15.25..23.55 5.10/k 1765
20 K.....1.41.29..26.03 5.12/k 1782
Half Mar.1.46.59...5.29 4.59/k 1740
25 K.....2.07.02..20.02 5.08/k 1640
30 K.....2.32.53..25.51 5.10/k 1492
35 K.....3.00.30..27.37 5.31/k 1405
40 K.....3.30.16..29.45 5.57/k 1428
finish...3.42.34..12.18 5.36/k 1452

It is interesting to see how I improved my placing by 500 places until 35K, then I lost 47 places. Between 30 and 35K I lost a lot of speed but I still gained 87 places! Looking at the figures I even more regret that I lost the deciding minutes between 30 and 40K.

1452 is my ranking within the men's field. There were also 105 women (out of 2,796) in front of me.


Okay, okay, I know I have to be happy with my result in Stockholm. The officially confirmed temperature was 29°celsius and along the route a display even showed a maximum of 36°c.

But I had two goals: I wanted to run my fastest time since 2004 and I wanted to beat J's time she clocked in Duisburg. What meant a time of exactly 3:39 hrs or less.

Regarding the conditions it was still a decent run. But since I missed my target by just a few minutes I have to admit there is some disappointment to be felt.

However, I got the impression that I am still able to run a time of around 3:30 when I can manage to train properly for a couple of months and race day conditions are not adverse.

So long I console myself my looking at the result list: I made it 116th of 953 runners in my age group and was 1,557th of 14,319 overall who started the race. Nearly 1,900 quit the race what is an extraordinary high rate.

I survived by trotting from one shower to the next - and there were a lot of them. I reckon I poured about 100 mugs of water over my head and shoulders. It was really a memorable race not only because of countless bikini girls watching the race while sunbathing.

When the provider's photos are available I will post some impressions.

Friday, 8 June 2007

Day before Race Day

The weatherforecast is even more terrifying now. 28-30°c are expected. The organizers promise to provide 26 shower stations. On average that is one shower per mile!

I think about running with sun glasses what I never did before. But the light is almost hurting.
And I still stick to my plan to start with a speed according to a finish of 3:39. We'll see ...

This morning we were are out for a short and easy breakfast run:

Along the beautiful Stockholm promenades:

As usual I prepare for the race the evening before. This time it won't be necessary as the race starts at 2 pm - when the heat reaches its peak ... I just feel to be on the safe side when everything is got ready.

Wednesday, 6 June 2007

Off to Stockholm

training stats
We 06/06: rest
Tu 05/06: easy jog, 10K, 1:04 hrs
Mo 04/06: gym 1.5 hrs

I am off to Stockholm tomorrow morning by an early bird at 7.40 am. And it looks like I have to abandon my goal. THE WEATHER! It will be a very hot race day. The different weather services forecast a temperature between 25°c and 28°c (77 to 82 F). Definitely not a day for a fast marathon. Especially when the race starts at 2pm ...

Anyway, I hope the local sea climate will help with a cooling breeze and I will start the race at the planned speed of 5:05 min/K for a finish just below 3:40 hrs. And we'll see what happens.

Stockholm Marathon

Sunday, 3 June 2007

Speedy Tapering

training stats

week's total: run 47K, bike 33K, gym 1.5 hrs

su 03/06: hilly run, 16K, 1:27 hrs
sa 02/06: rest
fr 01/06: fast run, 10K, 0:50 hrs
th 31/05: hilly run, 11K, 1:00 hrs
we 30/05: hilly bike, 32K, 1:25 hrs
tu 29/05: easy jog, 10K, 1:04 hrs, gym 1.5 hrs
mo 28/05: rest

It was a week of decreasing mileage, but increasing speed. I am not really sure if this kind of training was adequate. Maybe the speedy and very hilly run today was a bit too much of strain. I will have to concentrate on getting totally relaxed until Saturday's Stockholm Marathon.

To reach my target (3:39) it will have to be a day of perfect conditions. Which means low temperature on race day but also a relaxed mental attitude. Two things one cannot control at will.

Yesterday I watched a cityrun at Herdecke on the Ruhr and took more than 800 photos which I published on my website. However, the most appalling moment happened when a runner collapsed just 20 meters in front of the finish line and 3 meters in front of me. I just managed to catch him before falling backwards onto the cobbled street. Usually I take reported fatalities fairly easy as I am aware that people have fatalities somewhere every second in every kind of circumstances. But I have to admit it is a very different thing when such a thing happens under your eyes. I still have the experience very present inside me. - The runner was brought to the local hospital, he had regained consciousness so I think he is okay. I checked the local newspaper but nothing was mentioned.

To come to different thoughts have a look at the photos I like most: Youngest athletes before the children's race.