Saturday, 24 December 2011

Hawaii running experience

stats of the fortnight: run 82km

Watching Honolulu Marathon was a very special experience as this is a really unusual event. Imagine that you'll have half of the participating 20,000 runners behind you when you finish after 6 hours! Official marathon terms assure that the finish will close not before the last runner has arrived. He did after more than 14 hours.

A further speciality is that there is no age limit for young runners. Japanese runners could be seen not older than around 10 years! There is even a separate age group for 15 to 17 that was won by a 15-year-old Japanese boy in 3:00:02 hours.

See Top 20 photos at picasa

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Las Vegas Heli Roulette

stats of the week: run 40km, gym 2hrs

Regards from my journey to the Las Vegas Marathon that showed typical development: The full distance went down from 5,000 to 3,700 runners, while the half marathon growed from 20,000 to 33,000! However, the organizers were not prepared to handle the masses. Big problems at the start to get through to the right pens, later slow half runners blocked fast marathon runners. It's a fancy race but recommended just for those who don't take it seriously. 

Las Vegas strip is quite an experience for European souls. Gambling 24 hrs and an artificial world inside the hotels:

My special experience followed. After I enjoyed a helicopter flight to Grand Canyon on Monday I heard the news that just 2 days later a heli of the same company on the same route crashed near Hoover Dam with all 5 passengers perishing. That's what I ever said. Getting old is just luck.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Slowing down to year's end

stats of the week: run 48km, gym 4hrs

I am not quite sure why I am significantly slower now compared to beginning of the year. I won't be able to run a 10K sub 45min right now. Maybe the year's load was just too much. Maybe it's just another step towards age. And probably I am not completely recovered from the marathon 3 weeks ago.

Today's short double race of 7.5K and 5K let no wonder happen. Sanity suggests to have a couple of weeks for recover and cautiously build up the new year's schedule. Alas - there is another wearisome journey coming and then there's the always prominent New Year's Eve Race. The break has to wait until January.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Top 100 in New York City

stats of the week: run 41km, cycled 25km, gym 4hrs

Although not running myself the New York City marathon, I had a great time photographing the runners and seeing all the happy faces.
At least I was able to take part in a real race - the inaugural "5K dash to the finish line". Actually it is quite sad that organisers abandoned the traditional friendship run on Saturday morning. Instead they set up a 5K race which was a success if you see more than 5,000 participants who paid at least 25$ while the former friendship run was free for marathoners. But the new 5K race cannot make up for the good atmosphere of the friendship jog. And the new "Parade of the Nations" on a very cold Friday evening wasn't real fun for spectators.

Just six days after Dublin Marathon I was happy to do a proper 5K race in 22:21 min without any pain. This let me be placed 7th of 114 in my age group. The official result list also shows age grade times and places which is very nice for the elderly like me. Taken age graded times (18:17) I made it into the Top 100 of the 5,000 runners field!

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Manhattan Premiere

stats of the fortnight: run 10K

It was my 7th trip to the New York City Marathon - with the first time not running myself. However, it was also the first time I learned to sort of love Manhattan. Saturday afternoon I rented a bike and cycled all along Hudson River to Battersea Park, crossed Brooklyn Brigde, rested on Brooklyn Heights, back over Manhattan Bridge and right through China Town and Greenwich. For the first time this sunny autumn day showed me an inviting city of Big Apple.

People listening to a voluntary piano player on Washington Square:

Resting on Brooklyn heights with a view of Downtown Manhattan:

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Friendly weekend

The friendly marathon at Dublin was really enjoyable like the entire weekend was.
My personal race had a reasonable start but due to cramps and exhaustion I lost 5 minutes on the final 5km. Once crossed the finish line I doubted that I would make it back to the hotel but within minutes a bottle of coke set me back alive. I think that the lack of salt was the main reason for my problems because I sweat a lot and lost to much fluid and minerals.

Both my marathons this year ended up with disappointing results. However I am still grateful for all the adventures I am able to undergo.

I bashfully forgot to publish my time: 3:48 hrs.

Monday, 31 October 2011

Final Fluid

Stats of the week: run 32km, gym 2hrs

This is my personal preparation for tomorrow's Halloween Marathon at Dublin.
After a week of missed training it's time to keep to the most promising items.

Keep your fingers crossed. Your support is highly appreciated - in fact it's necessary.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

True Saying

stats of the week: run 16km, gym 4 hrs
It's one week to go till Dublin Halloween Marathon and I've lost a whole week of training due to a strained hamstring. I am not really concerned about the missed workouts but getting free of pain in time. Usually a slightly strained muscle should be fit again within 3 or 4 days but this time 6 days are already gone without a full recovery.

One of my repetitive sayings proves true again: It's more difficult to get to the start line than to the finish line.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Competing with last year

stats of the week: 52 km, gym 5 hrs

Luckily the knee recovered along the week and I decided to do my long run within a hilly race called Teutolauf which I took part in for the 5th time. Like previous year I got caught by the competition and ran faster than planned. In the end I finished the 29km distance after 2:29:40 hrs - surprisingly 7 minutes faster than last year what is quite a difference.

To improve a last year's time has been an unknown experience for years. Therefore my face matched the day's sunshine. Last weekend someone blamed me for never being happy after a race. This time I was.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Setback by Mail and Knee

stats of the week: run 61km, cycled 70km, gym 1.5h

London Marathon 2012 ballot results have been sent out recent week. Same procedure as every year since 2000. For the 13th time I have been rejected by the international lottery. For Germany there are very few entries available via the ballot. No official figures are published, I guess there are about 20 bibs for us per year. Needless to say that the additional 300 entries via travel agency are already sold out (one is for me).

I was able to do my first long run in preparation for Dublin. 30K on Tuesday went well but I faced a setback yesterday. While properly running our local half marathon I felt a strong meniscus pain during the final 3k and I had to limp to the finish. Now I'm slightly concerned how this problem will develop while more training for Dublin is to be done.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Breathless work

stats of the week: run 54km, gym 2hrs

Despite the work for our Sunday charity run Sterntaler-Lauf I managed to do the scheduled mileage. On most of my runs I felt breathless with some pain around the lungs but it always got better while slowly running longer.

Our charity run was still a success although numbers were down from 900 to 700 applicants compared to last year. Notably the walking boom - a German speciality - seems to settle now. However, we were very happy with a busy day and the visitors' good mood.


Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Coming to terms with past records

stats of the week: run 54km, gym 3hrs

By the way did you notice that according to new IAAF rules men are still allowed to set world records by the help of male pacemakers while women are not?

8 years ago Paula Radcliffe behaved according to valid IAAF rules and ran a fabulous 2:15:25 world record. Now some elderly so-called officials write backdated laws and cancel her performance. Athletes should in return retract these officials' salaries for the past 8 years.

My personal previous week's performance was somewhat disillusioning. Taking part in the traditional Bertlich road races I tried to do my very best on the 15K distance. I had to face that my speed was lower than at the recent double 10K race. It was one of the days you realise that running could be more enjoyable without competitions.

However, after 11K I had to take a very deep cough of the ugliest kind - and a minute later I could breath again and increase the speed for the final 3K to finish after still disappointing 1:10:20. I found myself aware that I had not yet recovered from the recent infection.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Time Out

stats of the week: run 20km, cycled 114km

Last Sunday's malaise developed to a mild illness probably caused by a foodborne infection I caught in a Dortmund snack bar. At least I was finally able to do a season closing bike tour today.
Six weeks to go until my autumn marathon in Dublin/Ireland. I feel I should now think about setting up a training schedule and build up the mileage. Program is to do two long runs of 30km. I hope this will make me finish well clearly sub 4 hrs. To be honest I hope to run 3:45 hrs. I know it will be tough as my season was long and hard and it will be difficult to build up another peak of performance.

Monday, 12 September 2011

16 laps down town Dortmund

stats of the week: run 54km, cycled 96km, gym 3hrs

A proper training week ended up with an unscheduled double 10k race! Now I know I shouldn't have done it. Performance was fine, determination was too high. As planned I ran the 10k aside of B. Like always her speed was impressive and we finished after 49:30 min.

I had already carried this spleen in my mind - to run the following 10k, too, which was open to runners sub 50 min. It would have been okay if I had slowed down to around 48 min but once started my determination developed. I clocked the first kilometer in 4:26 min and now tried to keep the pace. Finish time was 45:03.

2 hours later I found myself in breathlessness, high heartrate, nausea and stomach problems. The symptoms still stay the following day what let me accept a low key week now.

Smiling only after request:

It's not as easy as it looks:

My typical finish, this time too hard:

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Sunday Suffer

stats of the week: run 47km, cycled 313km

On Sunday morning I had to learn that my legs and lungs had not yet recovered from the midweek bike tour. Right from the start I suffered running the Bochum Half Marathon.

After half the distance I had to let fellow G run ahead and what was left ended up in a struggle to get to the finish in sort of style. Everybody was affected by the humid and hot weather conditions but for me it was mainly the self made fatigue that made me slow down seriously. During the final 5km I was overtaken by at least 50 runners. Having crossed the finish line after 1:45:35 I felt like I had done a full marathon.

Photo shows me still alongside G before soon falling back.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Trans Sauerland

After I had to cancel the cycling marathon Dortmund-Winterberg a fortnight ago, the idea didn't let me go. This week I decided to do it on my own - eased on two consecutive days but with a longer distance as I started and finished at home in Witten with an overnight stay at Altastenberg which is Northrhine-Westfalias highest village at 790m.
First day had 149km and 1730 vertical meters, second day summed up 163km and 1560 vm.

Lunch stop at Möhne Reservoir. It is famous for its war history when the dam was destroyed by British Bombers in 1943 and about 1,600 people lost their lives.

The beautifully placed village of Hirschberg is known for its medieval witch hunts.

One has to climb the tower of the Kahler Asten to get to Westfalias highest point. The peak itself (841m) is only second highest while nearby Langenberg is 2m higher.

The route is a chain of short ups and downs. Below is the touristic village of Wenholthausen.

Sauerland is a low mountain range with extensive forestry industry and tourism in winter and summer. This is the view close to the village of Hövel.

I have to admit this tour was'nt the best preparation to run a half marathon in Bochum next Sunday. But this one must not be missed as it takes place on the streets of my childhood. I have ever thought about dying while running - this one would be one of my favourite events to pass away.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

London 2012 calling

stats of the week: run 37km, cycled 181km, gym 2hrs

It's still 237 days to go until London Marathon 2012 but German travel agency interAir has already sold out its tickets! Obviously this is caused by the hype around the 2012 Olympics. Everybody seems to want to run London in the Olympic year. Alas, the traditional London Marathon will be held as usual and its route is totally different. The only similarity is the finish on the Mall - reason enough to feel like an Olympic runner on April 22.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Considerate disease

stats of the week: run 45km, cycled 180km, gym 1hr

Still suffering from lumbago but the physiotherapist assured that it always is healthy to move ... So I did and was very happy that pain only occured when resting!

The week culminated in a surprising 20km hilly trailrun where I luckily won my age group. I not only felt happy about my unexpected performance but just as well to receive a bottle of sparkling wine - although I prefer the red still option.

Less enjoyable was the repeated experience when a 67-year-old asked me whether I'd share his age group ...

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Modest times

stats of the week: run 22km, cycled 86km, gym 2hrs

After all the successful days of recent weeks it was time to become modest again. I was struck by another lumbago problem - the 2nd this year. No more thoughts about doing a cycling marathon ...

However, there is a way to stand days without sports: red wine and salty crisps.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Long end of cycling season

stats of the week: run 36km, cycled 246km, gym 3.5hrs

Those who know the Sauerland - a hilly freshwater area nearby - would think that "extreme" is not the proper adjective to be connected with this part of the country.

The subtitle sounds sort of bloody-minded but don't be fooled. It's just a bike tour for everybody - a bit longer than usual I have to admit. Actually it would make my longest bike ride ever: 253km! - if I really will make the attempt next Saturday. Start is at 6am, finish closes at 8pm. I like this kind of long days.

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Too many tempting challenges

stats of the week: run 22km, cycled 326km, gym 2hrs

Somehow this week developed the other way round. Lots of more cycling and too little running. Actually I couldn't resist to do another local bike event today. 150 km of hilly cycling in a lovely green area between the towns of Bonn and Siegen where I have never been before although it's just an hour's drive from home.

However, I have entered a half marathon on Sept 4. That should force me to turn to running now. Otherwise there is a very tempting local cycling event in mid August ...

Old boy - I am 58 and there should be some more things in life than just sports ... those things will come up anyway I guess.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Mix season

stats of the week: run 23km, cycled 42km, gym 3hrs

Getting back to running was sort of ardous after weeks of just cycling exercises. I am already missing the longer bike rides and refrain from deciding to bring an end to my cycling season and swap to running.

So I'll try to practice a mixture of 3 running and 2 cycling workouts per week. Hope this will enable me to do a couple of more bike events (there is a new dream) and soon start into the autumn running season.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

L'etape du Torture

stats of the week: cycled 270km
L'etape du Tour acte 2, Issoire - St-Flour, 210km, 3,800 vm, 10.38h

Regarding my 3rd L'etape du Tour my intention was not to take it as a race but to see the beautiful volcanic landscape of the Massif Central and have an enjoyable long day on the bike.

However, the story turned out to be very different. Being warned by the weather forecast 3,000 of 7,000 applied participants refrained from starting. With good cause. Strong head winds, persistant rain and low temperature (4°c at the first pass) let more than 1,000 cyclists abandon their race until the first food station after 68km. Finally of 4,053 who started only 1,982 made it to the finish line before the strict closing at 7pm.

I managed to arrive at 6.09 pm - it was an all-day-fight to get there in time after 10.38 hrs. Adding to the weather conditions the route was even tougher than I expected. 3,800 vertical meters with a steepest ascent of 20% was more than I had anticipated. Anyway - these are the kind of days one will remember forever.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Lovely Day in the Dolomites

stats of the week: run 16km, cycled 288km
Maratona dles Dolomites: 138km, 4100 vertical meters, 7:51 hrs

It might sound amazing but a tough event can be lovely. The Maratona dles Dolomites is Italia's most popular cycling event, welcoming 9,000 participants. Organisation lovely, volunteers lovely, landscape lovely, race tough.

After the introductory "Kindergarden" lap around the Sella hills I was so exhausted that I doubted to make it to the finish without walking. Giau Pass is a real challenge, however in the upper part I felt stronger and finally I reached my target to finish sub 8 hours and qualify for 3rd pen next year. Alas - my speed was slower than last year. I was just faster because of less and shorter breaks at the food stations.

Now I look forward to doing the next ride. Target is merely to enjoy the beautiful landscape of the Massif Central and the L'etape du Tour Act 2 from Issoire to St. Flour. The professionals did it last Sunday and warned us by numerous accidents ... The distance is 210km and the finish closes after 12 hours. It's going to be a long day. Lovely.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Proud seniors

stats of the week: cycled 917km, 19,553 vertical meters, 45:20 hrs

7 days of alpine cycling are finished! We made it. Every day we were nervous before the start, every day we were happy to arrive safely at the finish. It was tough, but not as tough as I expected it to be. However, looking at the photo presenting the finisher shirt I have to admit I looked very worn out.

Impressions are numerous! I saw beautiful areas I didn't know before: Lech valley, Silvretta High Street, Vinschgau High Street, the unique Mortirolo Pass, finally the wonderful countryside of the Italian Trentino.

I learnt that the Tour was regarded by the very most participants as a real race - even by the ones who made the middle and the end of the pack. Most of them reduced their time spent at the feed stations to the shortest needed. They stucked in the food whithout taking time to chew and jumped on the bike again.

The way the winners were celebrated was rather amazing. Senior males showed their pride like small boys. A salutary experience for a distant participant. Alas, I have to admit I looked quite similar showing my finisher shirt!

But there is some reason to be proud: We reached our target to be at least second last of the peloton. We ended up on place 71 of initially 111 senior teams (>100 years), adequately called "Grand Masters".

If you like to have a look there is a small Picasa Gallery.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Start's Eve - Ready for stage I

stats of the week: run 10km, cycled 185km

Team "Ruhrtal-Renner" on the day before the start. The first stage has just one serious climb up the Hahntennjoch (1903m) but it's a heavy one. Excitement gets even too high now and we are happy to be able to get off tomorrow morning. Organisers have placed us in the 3rd of 4 pens but we prefer to start at the very end of the field. After tomorrow's 120km and 2400 vertical meters we'll see a bit further and get a feeeling if Team 352 can follow the peloton.

Daily results can be looked up at

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Awaiting Alpine Fun

stats of the week: run 27km, cycled 215km, gym 2hrs

Including tomorrow's final ride I will have summed up roughly 3,000km of cycling with 33,000 meters of height difference. According to available advice this is just the lowest reasonable mileage you should have put in to get through the Tour Transalp.

Alpine race cycling is similar to life - you need a bit of luck to survive. So many things can happen without a chance to have an impact on them. My first target is to enjoy every single day - and if don't get to the finish I will have had some fun at least.

To ensure the enjoyment I bought some buttocks salve. With 6 to 8 hours sitting on the bike I might need it. The fun starts next Sunday.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Hill of Pleasure

stats of the week: run 7 km, cycled 353 km, gym 2 hrs

Today was the first day that I felt a glimpse of confidence that I could be able to get through the Alpine bike week. Two weeks to go and maybe my body is just in time to be ready. Did two very hilly workouts in a row and legs felt okay.

A medical checkup I had this week suggested that I should put in more proteins and also my ferrite level could be lifted. That's what I practised in recent days and perhaps the result is increasing power.

Yesterday I ticked off a local hill I ever longed for - the notorious Wixberg - a pleasurably 14 per cent climb.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Doubts arising

stats of the week: run 14km, cycled 493km, gym 2hrs

I know there are people in town who smile at me and think I should better give away my transalp number to younger and real sportsmen. Initially this motivated me even more. But the closer race day comes the more I have to admit they might be right. I am training really hard - but without the desired result. Actually I lost 2 kilos of weight during recent fortnight. Sounds good to get to race level - but I feel the power gone with it.

Photo shows 4 of our local Maratona dles Dolomites quintet. The famous bike race celebrates its jubilee of 25 years on 10 July.

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Only watching Stockholm

stats of the week: run 24km, cycled 204km, gym 2hrs

Stockholm certainly offers one the world's most beautiful marathons. For any dedicated runner it can only be hard to watch it without having the chance to take part. At least I was able to do two short training runs along the coastline and rent a bike for a two-hour-sightseeing tour. It was an enjoyable weekend although with too cold temperatures.

The oncoming week now should see me doing more cycling! 4 weeks to go ...

Monday, 23 May 2011

A week to remember

stats of the week: run 21km, cycled 255km, gym 3hrs

The week will be kept in mind as the one when a 3-year-old called me "old grand-pa" and a fellow runner asked if I was in age group 60. The latter has happened to me since a decade of years and is less hurting now as there are just 2 years to become a member of this club.

This also was the week when I have run my best 5K (21:37) since 4 years what is quite satisfying after I have reduced my mileage to one or two workouts per week.
Regarding cycling it is still the same thing: I haven't done enough but I have done what was possible.

Monday, 16 May 2011

All I can do may not be enough

stats of the week: run 14km, cycled 377km, gym 1.5hrs

Six weeks left to prepare for Tour Transalp but I feel way off to be ready for the challenge. After a hilly ride of 120km on Friday I was still worn out the next morning. This was even less than any of the 7 stages will demand! However, I can't do more than recent week and feel satisfied with the bike mileage.

On a leisurely bike trip throug East Westphalia I passed a stork sitting in his airy nest:

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Watching runners in sunshine

stats of the week: run 20km, cycled 197km, gym 1.5hrs

Watching and photographing the Dusseldorf Marathon today was nearly as exhausting as running it would have been. Staying in bright sunshine all day let me come home worn out.
You might like to have a look at the gallery.

Since long I have wished to go to this landmark when passing along the motorway. A visitor from Hongkong now made me climb it finally. It was worth the visit. The Tetraeder Viewpoint:

Sunday, 1 May 2011

8 weeks to the challenge

stats of the week: run 10km, cycled 330km, gym 2 hrs

As expected the 2012 ballot is closed already. At least it was open for nearly two whole days this time. I once again applied for the overseas lottery - for the 13th time, probably in vain as 12 times before.
After a close study of the calendar I cancelled my appearance at today's 10K race around the local lake. I had to accept that I should concentrate on cycling now. No time to bath in disappointment any longer. There are only 8 weeks to get ready for my biggest ever challenge.

Monday, 25 April 2011

2012 race starts

My stats of the week: run 13km, cycled 104km

Don't miss the opening of the 2012 ballot tomorrow morning. Unfortunately there is no information about the exact time of the opening. Last year it was around midnight. For 2011 125,000 applicants were accepted for the national ballot, 5,500 for the overseas one. 46,698 numbers were provided but less than half of them via the ballot.

Date of next year's race is 22 April. Good luck!

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Black Marathon Day

stats of the week: run 56km
London Marathon result: 3:57:13

I finished my 32nd marathon and 12th London. That's all to notice. It was the worst race I ever did. Don't ask me why. I don't know. I think it was just my personal black marathon day.

I started the race highly determined but had to recognise first problems after only 10km. Serious problems occurred after 25km and soon I had to stop aside to vomit. However, I never thought about giving up and walked most of the remaining miles while I anxiously watched fellow runners dropping down to the tarmac. That's how I looked during the final stage:

Nevertheless I performed a smile having received the medal.

B did far better and finished her fastest marathon for five years! She made up for my desaster.

She received her well earned congratulations by Emmanuel Mutai (KEN), winner 2011 and course record holder.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

BIB age race

stats of the week: run 42km, gym 3hrs

Proudly I present my bib number I wore on our local 10k race according to my birthday. The race consisted of 4 laps thereof I ran three ones at marathon pace and the final one as fast as I could. The result was 47:32 min. Next Sunday I hope to run my 12th London Marathon but I think it's the first time I was able to realise the scheduled mileage. Now I am highly scared to catch a cold or an injury during the final week. I just would prefer to stay inside all week ...

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Peak week

stats of the week: run 65km, gym 1.5 hrs
Meanwhile I have lived in this flat at the second floor for almost 17 years and all the time I have fed the birds in winter. Finally a squirrel discovered the peanuts I put out every morning. I could not yet see how it manages to get up to the balcony built as part of the roof.

The third week before your marathon race should be the peak of your training. So was mine. Taken the 7 days from Sunday to Saturday I gathered 86km which is among the most intensive weeks I ever ran. However, the older you get the more you have to run to keep your performance just on the same level. In vain as I had to learn. After yesterday's long run of 30km I was even more exhausted than after recent races.