Tuesday, 30 December 2008

2008 insights

On my regular visit to Pyjammy, I came across the habit of answering an end-of-year-questionnaire. I find it rather tempting to fill in my responses. However, I fear to publish too personal stories - esp. mentioning thirds' ones - and will be reading my text several times before going online. With 38 items the list is too long in my eyes, I will simply ignore some sort of boring ones. Have fun reading and be warned: You will not be able to avoid thinking about your own 2008.

1. What did you do in 2008 that you’d never done before?
I did by first ever bike race. Even more exciting, it was the Alpine race "DreiLaenderGiro", crossing Stelvio Pass at 2,757 meters above sea level.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I don't make resolutions any more, I just have aspirations.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
None, and no signs to become grandpa.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Uwe. Do I need to say more.

5. What countries did you visit?
In order of visits: Spain (Gran Canaria), Spain (Mallorca), Netherlands, England, Sweden, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, Iceland, Ireland, USA, Canada. As you see I am retired.

6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008?
Reach the top of a really high mountain (> 5,000m).

7. What dates from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
31/05/2008: Day of Stockholm Marathon - my funniest race ever.
22/06/2008: Alpine Bike Race DreiLaenderGiro, 168K, 3,500 height meters.
13/07/2008: Uwe died at Zugspitzlauf.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Successfully and regularly helping J with her school homework.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Let Uwe run to his death.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Arthritic knee, very high cholesterol level. But there was much more to suffer.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
The most exciting thing is my new mountain bike. It is still unused due to the cold weather.

(12. Whose behavior merited celebration?)

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
There is a row of persons leaping into my mind. They all won't be surprised to be recalled in this way - but I'd rather not name them.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Travelling - as you guessed.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
J's first ever mark "2" in maths.

(16. What song will always remind you of 2008?)

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? changes even more frequently
b) thinner or fatter? + 2 kilos
c) richer or poorer? lost 30% of all the money I saved during my life, but had a number of worthy experiencies

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Long-distance walking, high level trekking.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

(20. How did you spend Christmas?)

21. Did you fall in love in 2008?
Me? I won't tell you anyway.

22. What was your favorite TV program?
In German TV? You're joking.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
There is at least one I above mentioned in no 13.

24. What was the best book you read?
The Cholesterol Myths, by Uffe Ravnskov

(25. What was your greatest musical discovery?)

26. What did you want and get?
Really not for the public!

27. What did you want and not get?
Better: What did I get and not want: My first ever penalty points (for driving too fast).

(28. What was your favorite film of this year?)

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
Do I have to say?! I got 55! But I don't remember how I did.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Come on, let me save my dreams. Writing down would let me face that is impossible.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008?
Desperately trying to occure younger.

32. What kept you sane?
Moving and laughing! Perhaps crying, too?

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Obama is too far away to fancy and I reckon he can't meet all desires. -
I would like to mention biker Jan Ullrich who has my sympathy as he was not able to defend himself properly. He has made the same faults as everybody else did. It is an error to think of the best sports performer to be the most perfect personality inevitably.

34. What political issue stirred you the most?
Hundreds of billion Euros spent to save crashed banks but no money to renovate schools and buy books for the local library.

35. Who did you miss?
Whenever I race nearby I miss fellow runner Uwe.

(36. Who was the best new person you met?)

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008.
You can't avoid deep valleys between high mountains.

(38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.)

Thanks for reading right to the end.

Sunday, 28 December 2008

2008 Finish

stats of the week: Run 51K, 1hr indoor cycling, 2 gym sessions

My home town Witten is situated in the Ruhr area, Germany's most industrial and densly populated region. Luckily there are places like this within running distance from my doorstep.
The photos were taken during an afternoon stroll on Boxing Day.

Traditionally I will again take part in the New Year's Eve race of 15K from Werl to Soest. It's my 19th time, with the first race in 1985 still being the slowest one, clocking 1:08:33 hrs. My PB is 1:02:14 run in 2000. These times are gone, I have to accept. My target now is just to beat my slowest performance which is an increasing challenge with the years going by.

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Not yet started

This blog will start in May 2009,
after the last "Flora London Marathon" will have taken place on April 26.

So long please feel invited to read my blog Flora London Marathon.

Record week

stats of the week: run 67K, 3 gym sessions

Watch the chart (yellow dots): This week ended up to sum up the second highest mileage of the year! It wasn't intended to develop like this, of course.

Like many runners I use sports for cheering up myself if needed. This week it was needed as it can be seen. I did a getting-away run of 20K on Tuesday, a quite fast one with a race-like speed. My mood required another long run of 23K on Thursday which I made as a jog-walk workout because I was frightened to put too much load on the knee.

You wonder if it did help? Anyway I reckon it would be even worse without running.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Decorated Santa Claus

stats of the week: run 43K, 1 hr indoor cycling, 2 gym sessions

The local newspaper entitled: The Christ Child and Santa Claus.

Taking part in the local Christmas City Run was great fun. Beforehand I was worried if my costume would be too silly or too simple but it turned out to be a big success - with children and adults. May be the true reason was my company.

A fellow runner called us: Uli and his tinsel... quite fittingly described. My Christ Child was highly content with our race result. I refrained from telling her that the distance was even shorter than published by the organisers ... But it was still a really good performance - in every respect!

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Dreaming of come back

stats of the week: run 42K, 1hr indoor cycling, 3 gym sessions

logo by rc-herdecke

How much the world can change within one week! I'm speaking of the world of running. Another race, a new luck: Santa Claus Run in Herdecke has 9.6 K (exactly 6 miles) and although it is longer than last Sunday's race I was able to run faster! Don't ask me why - I don't know.

start photo by blogger Marcus

I enjoyed the race right from the start all the way to the finish. One key might have been that I avoided to get off too fast. First K was 4:12 min, slowest was 6th K with 4:20 and my finish was one of the best ever. Albeit I resorted to swearing heavily when crossing the line after 40:44.4 min as I was overtaken by a fellow age grouper by 0.4 seconds.

Now I'm dreaming of a come back next year. Still speaking of the world of running.

Sunday, 30 November 2008

Late Truth

stats of the week: run 30K, 2 gym sessions, 1hr indoor cycle

This was a weekend of facing the truth. I had to face that there are numerous senior runners faster than me. And I had to realise that there are far too many younger lads being more attractive than me. You are right I should have known that before. However, it is still very painful to be confronted with it in reality.

I didn't recognise before that I commemorated an anniversary today. After a break of 4 years it was my 25th race at Herten-Bertlich, which is a highly traditional meeting place of hard core runners. I ran my most loved distance of 7.5K and finished after 32:35min. The most depressing point is: I was content with my performance - until I noticed that I was more than a minute slower than ever! I hoped to win and I finished 4th out of 6 in my age group. Shouldn't I think about giving up?

Regarding the younger lads I should have given up long ago. You know I am a fighter. I should better say I was.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Runners talking

stats of the week: Run 46K, 4 gym sessions, 1hr indoor cycling
(Wow! What for is this number of workouts?)

Regular readers might have recognised that getting old is one of my most loved issues. Most times I try to pass it off as a joke but you will know better. It is too serious to be a matter of fun.

Using "Du" and "Sie" in German language is a constant mystery to native English speakers. However, it's quite easy. Between adults Du is for familiy and friends. Growingly often Du is a Must between colleagues who don't have to be friends (that's annoying).

To come to the point: Du is absolutely common between runners. Because runners are friends in principle. A runner using Sie talking to another runner shows a sign of an exceeding difference between the two persons.

Now I can't stop thinking what kind of difference it is that made a runner calling me Sie at yesterday's party. You know the only reliable answer: The difference of age was so big that I seemed to live in a different world, too far away to say Du.

Advanced German, lesson learnt: Politeness can harm ...

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Upcoming plans for 2009

Did I tell you that I bought tickets to see the Athletics World Championships in Berlin, August 2009? I ordered tickets 18 months before the event and immediately had to pay. Now I discovered that there will take place a public 10K race on the official Championships' marathon route.

The men's marathon will be run on Saturday morning, the women will start on Sunday morning. The official route is a 10K lap which will be run four times. I will run it once on Saturday afternoon. Exciting! I look forward to spending this weekend in Berlin.

On the other hand I cancelled the climbing project I had planned for January. I looked up more reports of climbers who did it and felt I am not ready for this kind of challenge. To stay determined in very big heights you have to be physically and mentally strong. Stronger than I think I am. Maybe I will be more confident in a future year but this should happen soon. Once I am sixty I think it will be too late.

Be sure I will look for a peak less challenging but still entertaining

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Run with me!

Finally I managed to publish 3 New York City marathon videos on YouTube. Feel the unique atmosphere of running Big Apple:

Friday, 7 November 2008

A Matter of Routine

3:41:36 ! 182nd M55 of 1,610. 6,210th overall of 37,750

Honestly, folks, I have not expected myself to run like this. I started the race to try a speed needed for a finish below 3:50 and I would have been happy to finish below 4:00. But then everything was going so well! It was a matter of routine. I had my four bottles of personal energy drink with me, together with four pieces of carbo gum. With 3 miles to run I threw in two pieces of glucose. It turned out to be the perfect nutrition to get along. After 22 marathons it now seems I have found out what I need during the distance.

I won't have wondered if had got cramps - as a result of missing training - but I felt fine all the way. It was a proud moment to cross the finish line!

I took a number of videos during the race but they are too big to publish at Yahoo and I always have problems to get through with YouTube. I will come over with it later.

At least here is a photo of your proud and happy blogger:

My favourite photo of this year's week in New York City. Youngsters enjoy playing American football on Roosevelt Island below Queensborough Bridge.

Artificial Manhattan winter in November: Ice skating in Bryant Park.

The always happy team of interAir including VIP master runners Herbert Steffny and Wolfgang Münzel (photo by Norbert Wilhelmi).

Sunday, 2 November 2008

On the Run

Kitbag is ready, race number is fixed. Please, watch out for race number 14,075 tomorrow. With my lack of long runs I am slightly worried how far I will get. You'll see. And I'll feel.

There is an athlete tracker online during the race. With chipmats at every mile for the final 8 miles. You will be able to follow my breakdown live.

Oh dear, it's my 22nd marathon, but I am more worried than before my first one.

Photo: German master runner Herbert Steffny is shown on a big poster at the expo. He came in 3rd in the 1981 race and tried again in 2003 when he got 50. Unfortunately he had to withdraw after 18 miles. Will I get farther tomorrow?

Sunday, 19 October 2008

2 weeks to go

stats of the week: run 64K, bike 114K, gym 2 sessions

Experts' marathon schedules usually recommend 4 to 6 long runs of at least 30K. I am happy that today I was able to complete my only 30K run building up to NYC. Therefore I have to be realistic regarding my race target.

My recent half marathon time suggests that I would be able to run the full distance with a time of around 3:30 hrs. But due to my lack of long runs I am sure this is not realistic. An experienced runner might be able to race shorter distances at a reasonable speed without proper training but it is not possible to transfer this perfomance to marathon distance. There is nothing that can make up for the necessary long training runs.

Moreover NYC has a very challenging route profile. Top level runners always finish about 5 min slower than their PBs. A middle of the pack runner will have to add around 15 min to his time. Congruesly I should be happy to finish with a time of 3:50 to 4:00 hrs.

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Amazing success

stats of the week: run 45K, bike 38K, gym 1 session

Yesterday's half marathon race was a personal success with a finish time of 1:37 hrs and my knee staying calm. However I have to wait for the next workout on Tuesday to learn if the knee is really happy with it.

It was a brave race and I should say thanks to A who accompanied me for half of the distance and also to JP who I desperately tried to catch up with as he is in my age group. However, shortly after I managed to get to his side after 15K we faced the first hard ascent and I had to pay for the hunt. I nearly broke down while A and JP quickly opened up a fast growing gap. I only saw them again behind the finish line.

Luckily biking B cheered me up and finally I was able to finish in style. Imagine my amazement when I recognized that JP and A were still on the route! They got lost and the detour took them 10min! Anyway I didn't refuse the prize I got for 2nd place in my age group...

photo: Almost 10K run with the speed helped by A

photo 2: Together with D we overtook the leading woman! That makes up for the Dortmund race where I was lapped by the winning lady!

photo 3: After the first ascent I was even more happy to have biking B with me to cheer me up

photo4: Happy senior drinker

Sunday, 5 October 2008

4 weeks to go

stats of the week: run 48K, bike 56K, gym 2 sessions

New York Road Runners have revised the start's organisation. Now there are 3 waves of 13,000 runners each, which are released every 20 minutes from 9.40am onwards. I am happy to see that I will be in the first wave so I won't have to wait as long as in recent years. And moreover I will be able to experience the start festivities like singing the hymn and playing Frank Sinatra. I doubt they will repeat this with every wave.

And I am happy that I could complete my first proper long run today. It was just the first step building up to New York but it could have come worse. The next test is pending for Saturday when I plan to run the local half marathon on a partly tough course with two or three ascents.

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Count down started

stats recent week: 39K run, 200K cycled, 1 gym session

I felt that New York has come quite close but I didn't recognise that it was just 5 weeks to go last Sunday! It is the same situation as it was every marathon during last 2 years. My mileage would not be recommended to anyone to try a marathon with this kind of training having done.

I have got my number. I am lucky to be able to travel to New York at no costs for myself. I will try to run. No question!
My main hope is that all the cycling I have done during summer will help me running the distance. My 10K race was much faster than I expected, finished with 43:03min. But it is a different story to run a marathon. Without proper preparation it will be VERY tough.
Next Sunday will give a first sign when I have scheduled the first of 3 long runs - 25K which I should do without too much pain to stay on route for NY.
This is my weekly emergency schedule. Not recommended as I said, it's an experiment.

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Too busy

Sorry folks, I am feeling too busy to post regularly. Preparing our charity run which takes place on Sunday requires most of my time.

Those who never were involved in such a project may think it is just handing out race numbers to runners and let them hurry through the woods. Actually there are more than 70 volunteers engaged to make the event being successful - hopefully.

First step is promising: We received 627 entries thereof 52 who only donated. Last year we had 485. So this is really amazing!

My own training is somewhat neglected but I worked up the courage to start at the 10K City Run in Dortmund last Sunday. I finished 43:03 min with a look like this:

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Laugavegur pictures

Walking across Iceland's highlands from Landmannalaugar to Skógar was simply the best walk I ever did.

Hot springs, glaciers, waterfalls, fast rivers, lava fields, volcanic deserts, coloured rolling hills, green ridges - you just walk being amazed all the way.

Please feel invited to see my "best of" photo gallery of Laugavegur

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Off to Iceland

Strokkur is a stop on the popular tourist route of the "Golden Circle".

The hiking trail LAUGAVEGUR is described on the NAT website. The total distance is 55 K, with an additional leg to Skogar on the South Coast which takes another full day. I will travel to Landmannalaugar - the start point - on Monday and start the walk on Tuesday morning.

I just discovered that this most popular trekking path also can be done as a RUN. It takes place in July and this year's winner took less than 5 hours to finish. I am planning to do it in 4 days!
Laugavegur Ultra Marathon

The most visited waterfall of Iceland is Gullfoss.

As last year I am the amateur guide for a group of marathon runners. Reykjavik Marathon takes place on Saturday, Aug 23. Last year's photo shows Stefano Baldini, Olympic Champion 2004, on the right.

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Personal Olympics

training stats: unscheduled daily workouts

My training sessions are somewhat unstructured these days. I do go out almost daily and depending on the weather I enter my race bike, do easy runs or visit the gym. There is no close target I am aiming for. So I am not motivated to set up a schedule. I am happy that my knee allows moderate running, and biking in the sunshine is what I enjoy most. This is what I call my own Olympics. So far I haven't noticed much of the competitions in Beijing. One reason is that I don't like to switch on the TV in the morning. Another reason is that TV reporters prefer news like "how did you feel while winning?" And really annoying is that German TV only seems to know German athletes and Michael Phelps. Medals are counted every day and those who don't get through to the final are regarded as failures.

My next highlight what I hopefully will be able to report is a week of trekking on Iceland. The most famous and most trodden long distance path crosses the highlands from Landmannalaugar to Pörsmörk and on to Skogar, from hot pots on the hills along vast glaciers to the South coast the walk takes 5 days, good conditions given. One has to carry all provisions along the route. I have booked accommodation at the huts but they only offer space for your own sleeping bag and a rough kitchen to use.

Long Distance Path Landmannalaugar

Thursday, 31 July 2008

Documents of Zugspitzlauf 2008

With a distance of 3 weeks and the media hype finally run out I feel able to publish a selection of photos which document the disaster's development.

A rainy start at Ehrwald (990m) with winner Martin Echtler already in front. Steffen Uebel (left) finished third.

Runners in the mid of the pack are clothed very variably.

This is the scene after the first ascent of 500 meters, at Ehrwalder Alm.

Me, obviously very wet, but still in a good mood at Ehrwalder Alm after 36 min of running.

Feeding station at Sonnalpin (2,550 meters) at around 11.30 am with the weather just having turned to worse conditions.

Me at Sonnalpin, around 11.45am, helped with a fleece to keep me warm on the final stage to the top (2,960 meters). Alas, it turned out to be not sufficient. At around 2,700m I got so cold that I was nearly unable to move my legs and fingers. In a flash of inspiration I managed to turn back to Sonnalpin.

Runners approaching Sonnalpin station, fighting snowfall and icy wind.

A runner moving slowly close to the finish at 2,960 meters.

This runner is finishing at 9th place overall. Temperatur is -4 degrees celsius, but the icy wind is the worst hazard.

More runners approaching the finish at the top.

About 190 participants reached the top at 2,960m, thereof tens who only survived with the help of the mountain rescue team. 2 runners died, 6 had to stay at the local hospital, an unknown number had to be cured by ambulant treatment. Nearly 400 runners abandoned the competition at Sonnalpin station at 2,500m.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

No report, no blaming, just dolour

Please don't expect me to publish the usual race report about taking part in the tragic Zugspitzlauf. First I am simply not able to write, otherwise it's now only time to grieve for the two of us who passed away and to feel with their relatives.

Uwe Moldenhauer, Witten
Hans Pöschl, Ellwangen

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Stubai Gallery

A lancscape worth to be framed:
Serles - the mountain guarding Stubai Valley.

This was my first visit to the famous Tyrolian Stubai Valley. One week could only afford a first impression of very high mountains, steep rocks, beautiful alms and valleys, and don't forget comfy hotels. There are lots of challenges for mountain bikers and hill walkers as well as for more ambitious scrambles. I think I should come again.

Please feel being invited to have a look at my Stubai photo gallery.

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Inhabitants of the Alps

Trainings stats:
more hill walking and biking, still little running but slightly increased at least

Last Monday we had a rainy day and decided to visit the Alpine Zoo at Innsbruck. We met the following animals:

Mergus Merganser - Common Merganser - Gänsesäger

Capra Ibes - Alpine Ibex - Alpensteinbock

Rupicapra - Chamois - Gämse (altdeutsch: Gemse)

Marmota - Marmot - Murmeltier

Lutra lutra - Otter - Fischotter

Please come back on Friday to see my hill walking gallery of the beautiful Stubai valley.
Sunday will see 10 runners of Witten storming up Germany's highest mountain, Zugspitze at 2,960meters. Unfortunately the weather forecast promises snow falling from 2,200 meters onwards.

Friday, 4 July 2008

High level holiday

training stats:
various hillwalking, hillbiking, very few running

photo: biking at Kaiserbachtal, Tyrolia, with ridge of Wilder Kaiser for background

The next highlight is already one week ahead, my 5th run up Germany's highest mountain, Zugspitze at 2,968 meters above sea level. Only twice so far - 2005 and 2006 - we were allowed to go to the very top due to the weather conditions. Last year the official finish was at Sonnalpin station at around 2,500m but most of us - including me - continued to the top.

Obviously I am not as fit as I was in previous years but I still hope to take part in the race. The contract with myself is that this is my last Zugspitze run. Five times should do. OK, if I will still be fit at 60, maybe I will try again.

My training schedule is somewhat unstructured these days. I do a lot of hillwalking but I haven't been running for more than 50 minutes since the Stockholm Marathon which was about 6 weeks ago. I just hope biking will help too and enable me to run 16K and 2,400 meters of height difference to the top of Zugspitze. I even dream of finishing just within the top ten of my age group. Be sure I will fight as much as I can. Race takes place on July 13th. for more information look up

By the way for those of you interested in Alpine scenery I have completed my photo gallery by impressions of the Austrian Kaiserwinkl which I have visited for the first time but there is no doubt I will return.

photo: Walchsee as seen from Heuberg (can the world be more beautiful anywhere?)

Sunday, 29 June 2008

Giro Photo Gallery

I have published a collection of 3LänderGiro photos in a small gallery for those of you who want to have a look.

And there is also a short low-quality video at yahoo.