Tuesday, 31 July 2007

Summer Tapering

training stats
Tu 31/07: rest
Mo 30/07: gym 2 hrs

week's total: run 24K, bike 60K, gym 2 sessions
Su 29/07: hilly run, 16K, 1:30 hrs
Sa 28/07: gym 1.5 hrs
Fr 27/07: hilly bike tour, 58K, 450m, 2:45 hrs
Th 26/07: easy bike n jog, 12K/8K, 0:40/0:45 hrs

My body's state now urgently asks for a phase of less burden. Particularly my right knee seems to need a rest to recover. During the fortnight in the Alps I granted it a daily small dose of Diclo. I stopped that last Sunday and the knee responded that it is missing something now. But I prefer to change to gym training and stretching now what hopefully is the more promising option regarding my joints' future.

Tomorrow another rail and bike is planned. I will take the train to Winterberg, a hillside small town in the Sauerland where the river Ruhr has its spring. A long distance bike path - the Ruhrtalradweg - follows the river to my hometown Witten (and further on to the rivers' meeting with the Rhine). To get home I have to pedal about 150K. I take my camera with me and will report here.

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Top of Germany Race

training stats
We 25/07: gym 2hrs
Tu 24/07: rest
Mo 23/07: rest
Su 24/07: Zugspitz Hillrun, 15K, 1700m, 2:32:25 hrs
Sa 23/07: easy jog, 8K, 0:50 rhs
Fr 22/07: rest
Th 21/07: hill walk Pitztal valley (picture gallery)

Thanks, Heike, for your kind posting. Yes, obviously you are right. We were not allowed to run to the very top of Zugspitze at 2968m. At the start the organisers still announced that we could run the complete distance. But just before the quickest runners arrived at Sonnalpin, the station at 2588m, it was decided to stop the race at this point. There was a strong wind, thick clouds, some rain and hail showers. Therefore the mountain rescue advised to shorten the race.

It was the 7th edition of the race and just twice the runners were able to run to the terrace at the top, this was 2005 and 2006. Once the race had to be cancelled totally and an easier hillrun took place instead.

I think the decision to shorten the race was okay. Nobody can account for sending runners along the Klettersteig when the Mountain Rescue advises against it.

My only sorrow is that I probably would have set a new PB for the route. I finished after 2:32:25 at Sonnalpin and last year I clocked 26 min for the final 1 K and 400 m up to the top. I clearly would have been faster than 3:04 what was my time last year.

I made it 16th of 65 within my age group. And now I can't wait to get older! With 9 months more of age I would have finished 4th in the next group ...

Some photos of the day:

The team of Laufen-in-Witten.de
9 runners from the flat Ruhr valley in the very flat North of Germany challenge the local mountain goats.

High spirits after the first tarmacced stretch to Ehrwalder Alm. To be honest I was not delighted that the other two managed to catch me. I hoped to be faster than them. But I didn't feel really fit at this point. Maybe I started too powerful having in mind that my time will count for the team. And the other 3 runners of my team were well ahead already.

The proper hill race starts after passing the second alm, Hochfelder Alm. Today the route is nicely prepared by all-night-rain what makes some athletes try a detour through the meadows.

Alpine scenery after crossing the border to Germany.

Today's final stretch between Knorr Hut and Sonnalpin, another 600 meters of height difference.

The finish at Sonnalpin. There were still runners who thought that we would have to run to the top.
Luckily we had been informed by a volunteer at the border.

Many runners did not abstain from ascending to the top - including 5 ones of our group. The very steep scree path to the start of the Klettersteig was in bad condition due the night's rainfall.

Document of success: The team from Northern flat Witten finished 3rd of 23 teams.

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Greetings from the Alps

training stats
We 18/07: bike tour up to Timmelsjoch, 20K, 900m, 1:59 hrs
Mo 16/07 to Tu 17/07: hillwalking in Oetz valley
Su 15/07: hill run to Taschach house and Lake Riffel, 22K, 1000m, 2:45 hrs
Mo 09/07 to Sa 14/07: hillwalking in Pitz valley

I am now staying in a superb modern hotel in Obergurgl, 1900m, the farest village of the Oetz valley. But holidays are too busy to post regularly. Walking programme all day, extensive meal in the evening, email and homepage work and suddenly the day is more than over. I get to sleep not before midnight and get up earlier than at home. Okay, I can relax when I am back home.

The other luxurious problem is the diet. Breakfast buffet in the morning, 5-course-meal every evening, accompanied by red wine what is regarded as medicine by serious advisors. So I stick to this habit.

The highlight of the week was the climb of Wildspitze, Tyrolias highest peak at 3,772m.
It was a 9-hour-walk helped by a mountain tram which elevated us to 2,700m. Most of the day we spent on the glacier which demanded full gear and walking with rope as the glacier is dotted with hidden crevasses.

You might like to see my daily
photo gallery of current Alpine adventures.

I am now counting down to next Sunday when I will take part in the
Zugspitzlauf, a run up to the peak of Germany's highest mountain at 2968m. We will start with 10 runners from Witten, forming two teams of 4 runners each. My challenge is that I was forced to be part of the faster team with the other three guys being much faster than me. If we don't make it to the podium it will probably be me who has slowed down the team. Last year I reached the top after 3:04 hours. I would be happy to confirm this time again. To be honest, I will try to beat the 3-hour-barrier. But I fear if I start too fast it will end with a desaster.

Sunday, 8 July 2007

Masters PB

training stats
Su 08/07: half marathon race, 21K, 1:35:41 hrs
Sa 07/07: morning jog, 8K, 0:45 hrs
Fri 06/07: rest, some hillwalking
Th 05/07: rest

This is how the finish area of today's race looked like. Glorious sunshine but not too hot, wonderful alpine scenery.

I was sort of sceptic about the speed I should try but the day turned out to become a really good day.

The first 9K of the half marathon are actually downhill. I mean DOWN hill, sometimes really steep. The only thing you have to do to be fast: Stay on your feet.

My split at 10K was 43:02 min. Regrettably the route got kind of undulated then and I lost a lot of time. But mind: 1:35:41 is my age graded personal best ever for a half marathon.

I made it just 5th of my age group but I was very happy to beat the local male beauty. He looked VERY fast before the start! He motivated me a lot. I managed to overtake him after about 13K. I was the faster one of the two of us! OK, he still is the one better looking. What I had to realise painfully when once more a M60 asked me for my age group!

This is not the local beauty, it is me!

PS Many thanks, Heike, for your quick congratulations. Regards from Austria.

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Count Down to Half Marathon

training stats
We 04/07: hilly run, 19K, 1:45 hrs
Tu 03/07: easy jog, 10K, 1:08 hrs and gym, 2 hrs
Mo 02/07: rest

The race's title is misleading. It is called "Glacier Marathon" but we don't run on ice. It is an easy route on tarmacced lanes down in the valley of the Pitztal.

Don't worry I will not go for the full distance of the marathon. There is also a half marathon going on. It was coincidence that I found this event. On Sunday I will meet my hill walking group high up in the Pitztal where I have booked a week of moderate high level walking. Surfing the internet for information about the area I discovered that there is a road race on the same Sunday. No question, I have to be part of it. Imagine my amazement when I looked up the entrants list and found that 4 of my fellow walkers will run, too.

It is not a very big event. About 150 runners have entered the half marathon so far. There are even cash prizes offered for the age groups. The winner of my age group will receive 70 Euros!

I'll do my very best! But I reckon I will not get my money back I paid for my number. I look forward to getting the medal every finisher will get.

Monday, 2 July 2007

Mountain Goat

training stats:
Su 01/07: hilly run, 16K, 1:25 hrs
Sa 30/06: gym, 2 hrs
Fr 29/06: hilly run, 12K, 1:05 hrs
week's total: run 58K, gym 2 sessions

It was a tough week. After our Friday workout with 7 very steep hills run up and down I had to have a nap in the afternoon to get recovered more or less.

The hill training seems to have an effect now. I guess I havn't been as fit as now since December 2005. On the other hand my knee starts complaining. It will have to accept the challenge for another 3 weeks. Then I will allow a rest of at least a fortnight to relieve my joints and tendons.

About 3 years ago I bought the most expensive heart rate monitor available, a Polar S625X. I had had 2 other Polar models before and these worked very reliably. The new one I never got really happy with. The most annoying point was that the receiver did not catch the heart rate from the new belt dependably. I ended up using the dear thing just as a stop watch.

Finally I sent the whole device back to the Polar Support and asked for an old model belt in change of the modern wear link. I was amazed when I got the answer that my belt was clearly defect and therefore it could not have worked well. Luckily I got the new one without being charged. Meanwhile I have done two workouts wearing it and I am suprised how low my heart rate is. It is around 40 bpm when sitting on a chair and well below 120 when jogging easily. It seems I am fit for another race now.