Monday, 27 August 2007

Good Race - Good Fun

Training stats
Mo 27/08: easy jog, 10K, 1:06 hrs

week's total: run 44K, bike 129K, gym 1 session
Su 26/08: race 8K, 0:37 hrs + 2K warmup
Sa 25/08: rest
Fr 24/08: hilly bike 88K, 3:37 hrs

Did another short race this weekend: 8K consisting of 8 laps of 1K each on hilly roads of the small town of Wetter on the Ruhr. As expected it was a neck-to-neck-race with my former college J. We both were close to our limits when we approached the final climb to the home stretch. Activating the endmost power I could find I was able to gain a lead of about 10 meters. Moaning and groaning, turning and looking back several times, I managed to rescue 1.2 seconds to the finish where I was 9th in a small field of 44 runners. Behind the finish line there were some people looking at me rather worrying since I was looking close to collapsing. But that is the usual impression I give after a good race. And this was a really good race and very good fun.

Thursday, 23 August 2007

Flooded my green valley is

training stats
Th 23/08: bike 41K, 1:51 hrs and easy jog 10K, 1:09 hrs
We 22/08: gym 2 hrs and treadmill run 5K, 0:30 hrs

Today's jog around the local reservoir let us watch some of the highest floods ever our valley had.

Photo 1: Lake Kemnade has been dammed in 1980 and I can't remember that its banks have ever been watered by floods.

Photo 2: Egyptian geese seem to be quite common around the local lakes this year for the first time. They breed widely in Africa mostly in Nile valley (hence the German name: Nilgans), and there is also a population in East Anglia, UK.

Photo 3: Usually the dam separates different levels of water with a difference of about 5-7 meters. Today it looks like the river (left) would be higher than the lake.
Photo 4: After passing the dam the river Ruhr spreads out in the valley.

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

A Taste of Iceland

training stats
Tu 21/08: fast run, 9K, 0:42 hrs
Mo 20/08: easy jog, 10K, 1:06 hrs

week's total: run 33K, bike 39K, gym 1 session
Su 19/08: rest
Sa 18/08: race, 10K, 0:42 hrs, +2K warm up
Fr 17/08: rest
Th 16/08: rest

The weekend let me just acquire a taste for the wonders of Iceland. Reykjavik is a nice little town but on its own it is not worth the long journey. It is the island's nature what makes Iceland so special. A bus tour on Sunday could only give a short impression of what the country has to offer. Obviously one has to leave civilisation and trek across the highlands to experience the unique nature of active volcanos, spitting geysirs and spacious glaciers.

Some pictures of the day show...

... no man's land between American und European tectonic plates

... Gull Foss, the waterfall which is reported to look golden in sunshine

... Strokkor, currently the only Geyser throwing hot water regularly

You are invited to look up the complete photo gallery.

Yes, there was the marathon, too. It was a very nice event with 500 marathon runners, 1100 doing the half marathon, 2800 running 10K and thousands enjoying the 3K fun run. Race day was an unusual warm and sunny day with Icelandic hot summer temperature of 16°c, a perfect day for running.

I managed to do the 10K between caring for my group of marathon runners and I finished with the fairly decent time of 42:10 min. Age graded this is my best for the recent 3 years!

Photo: Olympic Champion Stefano Baldini (right) finished the Half Marathon runner-up to winner Benjamin Serem of Kenya.

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Off to Iceland

training stats
We 15/08: gym 2 hrs and easy jog, 9K, 0:55 hrs
Tu 14/08: hilly run, 12K, 1:04 hrs
Mo 13/08: hilly bike, 39K, 1:39 hrs

On Monday I received confirmation to go on a sudden journey next weekend: On Saturday the Reykjavik Marathon will take place and I'll be there to care for a small group of runners. Hopefully I will be able to run the 10K race which starts at 10am after the marathon and half marathon runners start at 9.10am. So I can be ready in time to welcome my group at the finish of the marathon.

I have never been to Iceland. There will be no time left to do extensive excursions but I look forward to have a bath in the Blue Lagoon and to see the nearby wonders of nature on a Sunday tour along the Golden Circle.

Sunday, 12 August 2007

Exciting Activities

training stats
week's total: run 39K, bike 133K, gym 1 session
Su 12/08: hilly run, 16K, 1:28 hrs and easy bike, 39K, 1:51 hrs
Sa 11/08: rest

Fr 10/08: fast run, 10K, 0:48 hrs + 2K slow
Th 09/08: gym 2 hrs

Most exciting day of the week was Saturday when the staff of interAir had their day out. We made our way along the paths of a high ropes course and - even more exciting - we got the chance to enter a sailglider and had a short but terrific flight.

Balancing along the ropes was more difficult than I expected. I have done a fair number of Klettersteige in the Alps but this is a different thing as everything you try to stand on is moving!

Soaring was one the most exciting things I ever did. The start was great fun with the plane beginning to rise with the first move. It felt like a vertical rise! High up one has a view all around and it is great to hear the wind streaming along the plane. Unfortunately the flight lasted only a few minutes as we failed to find an thermal lift.

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Biking Lower Ruhr Valley

training stats
We 08/08: run, 11K, 1:00 hrs
Tu 07/08: rest
Mo 06/08: touristic bike tour, 93K, 3:45 hrs

week's total: run 26K, bike 228K, gym 2 sessions
Su 05/08: hilly run, 16K, 1:25 hrs
Sa 04/08: hilly bike, 74K, 3:40 hrs
Fr 03/08: gym 2hrs
Th 02/08: easy jog, 10K, 1:10 hrs

On Monday - according to the weatherforecast the last sunny day for quite a while - I completed my bike tour along the river Ruhr. I took the train to Duisburg where the Ruhr meets the Rhine. From the station there were no signposts referring to my long distance bike path. By consulting my map it was no big problem to find the meeting of the rivers. Once you have found the banks of the Rhine you simply follow it to the North until you see the Ruhr.

The forecast was right. It was a hot and sunny day and the journey was a great pleasure. I found the route between Essen-Kettwig and Hattingen the most beautiful stretch of all the Ruhr valley. I also enjoyed the first part last Wednesday in the woods of the high Sauerland and, too, the route between Wickede and Schwerte is picturesque. Overall the complete distance was worth biking and can be recommended. I am sure I will do it again.

Some photos of the day.

Where the Ruhr (right) meets the Rhine.

Only in Duisburg the final part of the Ruhr is used as a waterway for business transports.

Between Duisburg and Muelheim the Ruhr is already a calm stream with green surroundings.

The biggest reservoir along the Ruhr is the beautiful Baldeneysee, situated South of the City of Essen.

Coal mining is gone. All working pits have moved to the North of the Ruhr Area.

The Ruhr at Hattingen.

Thursday, 2 August 2007

Biking upper Ruhr valley

training stats
Th 02/08: easy jog, 10K, 1:10 hrs
We 01/08: touristic bike tour, 154K, 6:41 hrs

I took the train at 8am from Witten via Dortmund to Winterberg and arrived at 10.30am. There were two carriages provided for bicycles and both were crowded! People trying to enter later on the route faced problems to get in. The Ruhrtalradweg has been opened last year but is already one of Germany's most popular long distance bike routes. The complete distance from Winterberg to Duisburg where the Ruhr meets the Rhine covers 230K. I will go for the missing part on a separate day this month.

This is a small gallery of the day.

The Ruhr's source is done up to please the tourists.

The whole route is signposted perfectly. I got lost only twice, both times in Arnsberg, the biggest town during my part of the route.

Reservoir at the village of Olsberg, after 25K from Winterberg. There is a nice restaurant with a terrace overlooking the lake. But I found it too soon to have a rest.

The Ruhr is still a small stream.

Railway signal house at Nuttlar.

Short breakfast rest with a view of the village of Bestwig.

Quietly flowing waters in the valley at Meschede.

Underwater plants.

Don't be fooled. There were armies of bikers on the route.

Private water fowl pool.

Water sports arena at Wickede.

The Ruhr valley near Schwerte. Remember this is the valley what Germany's most industrialised area is named after.