Monday, 28 December 2015

Christmas in Franschhoek

stats of the week: cycled 157km

At least my knee allows some hiking already and let me see how my regular beverage grows.

I follow a tight diet to feed my cartilage. Including red wine for dinner. Besides of hot spices for breakfast.

The view from Klapmutskop at the full moon christmas hike.

Franschhoek Pass. Our exercise cycle route right from the doorstep,
440 meters of altitude difference on 8 km of distance.

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Cycling the Cape

stats of the week: cycled 70km

Road biking is increasingly popular in South Africa. Cape Town and Joburg not only host the world's biggest cycling events, now SA has its first pro team managed by German Rolf Aldag.

Biking on country roads feels dangerous. Car drivers are going fast and tend to overtake at little distance. If there is no hard shoulder it's no fun. However, the landscape makes up for the agony.

Friday, 18 December 2015

Hard times as a spectator

stats of the week: second week of forced rest

You might imagine that it is hard to be a spectator but otherwise it was good fun to support C. at the Sundowner 10Km in Cape Town. It was a fairly big event with approx. more than 2,000 runners, about nearly half of them women.

They're off! No chip time. For a European soul it was strange to see how many runners were late at the start. Even 15 minutes after the crowd was gone there were runners still setting off on their own. Luckily roads were still closed for them.

System is simple and easy. When registering you get a card on which you write down your name. This card you have to carry during the race and to the finish line.

After crossing the finish line you get another card showing your place in the field. Here were separate finishs for men and women!

Putting both of your cards together you place them on a board. Ready is the result list!

Female winner at km 9.

Runners are required to carry their age group on front and back (here "J") if they aim for age group prizes.

And how about my knee? Everything goes to schedule. Meanwhile I have started cycling already :-)

Monday, 7 December 2015

Fast cut, long recovery

stats of the week: rest. ice. compression. elevation.

It was a different opportunity to feel like a pro. Monday morning at 11am I felt I should consult a doc to examin my knee. Less than 24 hours later I found myself lieing on the operating table.

Surgery of the torn meniscus went smooth but now patience is my biggest challenge. Biking should be possible after 2 weeks, running after 2 months! Winter holidays are going to be very recreative.

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Game over

stats of the week: run 15km, gym 5h
stats of the week before: run 32km, gym 5h

The underestimated minor knee problem turned out to become a major one. It feels like a damaged meniscus and running will not be possible for quite a number of weeks. I know several runners who had to retire from running due to meniscus problems. A constant fear once you have reached your sixties.

Therapy is cooling, diclofenac and rest, rest, rest. Should I post my weekly weight gain?

Thursday, 19 November 2015

End-of-season running

stats of the week: run 43km, gym 3h

One should reckon season is over. But running season never is over. There are the local end-of-year races and the local rivals waiting. It's tough luck that I have developed a minor knee problem that restrains me from doing speed work. We'll see what is possible.

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Slow, happy and soon back

stats of the week: run 23km, cycled 50km, gym 1h
stats of the week before: run 56km
result NYC marathon: 4:13:14 h

With only one longer run in the box I made a cautious attempt to run the New York City marathon. Plan was to finish around 4:15 h. So I took up a 6min/km pace. I was happy to keep up this speed without any problems until the ascent of the 5th avenue at km 36. At this point I had collected a buffer of two minutes that I lost during the final 4km when I had to walk shortly for 3 times. My finish time of 4:13:14 is an average pace of exactly 6:00min/km.

That's my nineth and slowest NYC marathon. Alas I have to face that I have never been as old as this time so I have to be satisfied with my performance. A pleasant experience is that my muscles and body coped with the burdon and I seem to be able to get back to normal exercise soon.

Saturday, 31 October 2015

Via Dublin to New York

stats of the week: run 64km, gym 3h

Dublin marathon is indeed the friendliest marathon at least around Europe. We enjoyed the weekend, and I was able to do just one longish run of 26km to get prepared for New York. I am happy I got a number but I am not really happy with my mileage last months. I am confident to finish but I expect some pain during the final 10km.

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Relaxed Senselessness

stats of the week: run 43km, cycled 330km

End of season cycling seems to be widely senseless. But it is our main holiday occupation so we could not resist. And I still hope that the daily short evening  runs of max 9km have some kind of effect on my performance. However, it was a relaxed and sunny week on Lanzarote that we totally enoyed.

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Sun, Cycle, Run

stats of the week: run 57km, cycled 52km, gym 3h

While early winter has arrived at home we flew to Lanzarote to catch some final sun of the year. Well - cycling season is over but you can't spend all the day running. Plans are to do some easy cycling with more serious running added in the evening.

Monday, 5 October 2015

Improving late in year

stats of the week: run 54km, cycled 85km, gym 2h

After just two weeks of decent training there was another local race taking place. The holidays cancelled I used the opportunity to test my performance. It was surprisingly good! My half marathon finish of 1:41:33 was the best since 2 years and let me cross the line 3rd in my age group out of 35. Alas, my local rival won... I will have to do more training until the showdown at Christmas Race.

The finish was well worth seeing, indeed my eyes were nearly closed.
Note my bad running style. The right arm blocks my foreward moving.

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Good Bye Boston

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

Disappointment of the week: I missed the Boston Marathon qualification by 20 seconds. Early bad motivation for 2016.

But I am happy to be back to a decent mileage. However, I didn't get the feeling to be able to run fast. Finished the local 10K race after 47 min without groaning but far away from former speed.

PS. Still don't like to see my bike.

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Back to the roads

stats of the week: run 31km, cycled 159km, indoor cycling 1h, gym 3h
stats of the week before: run 11km, gym 3h

10 days did it take my strains and muscles to recover from the painful half marathon. Probably my body needed some time to rest. Now I'm happy to be back on the roads and hope to build up the weekly mileage close to 50km. I don't yet know if I will get a place in the NYC marathon but just in case I want to be ready for the day.

Tomorrow I will try to get into Boston marathon 2016. I beat the qualification time by just 2 minutes. Maybe too slow because they take the faster qualifiers first until all places are gone.

Last Sunday I was happy to accompany C to her first sub 30min 5K race. Good fun!

Monday, 7 September 2015

Sports disappointment and mountain success

stats of the week: run 21km, hillwalking 5 days
stats of the week before: cycled 236km
Oetztaler Cycling Marathon: DNF

Even after a week to think about I am still highly disappointed about my first competition within 30 years that I wasn't able to finish.

After 3 mountain passes and 186km covered I had to admit that it was a too high challenge for me. Almost half way up the Timmelsjoch there was no power left and I found it most important not to risk my health. Only later I noticed that it was still my 4th longest bike ride ever. Obviously my cycling history didn't qualify me to stand such a challenge. However, I failed to call myself a proper cyclist.

Two days before we had a glorious day on the Zugspitze, Germany's highest mountain at 2962m, and polished Uwe's memorial plate like we do yearly.

The following week was filled by high level Alpine walking. Highlight was the ascent of Similaun (3,599m).

After all I could have foreseen that my running performance could not be at its very peak. But I refused to abstain from starting at the local halfmarathon. And I got my punishment. Legs hurt a lot and the final lap of 6km was pure pain. Tendons and muscles still moan the next day. Time: 1:44:49. I lost 3 minutes within 6km.

Look how short my stride is at the end.

Monday, 24 August 2015

Time to taper

stats of the week: run 25km, cycled 254km, gym 2h

I put in some more hills on the bike to get ready for the cycling season's highlight. Unfortunately one of my feet preferred to show it was enough now. It started to hurt the next morning after Sunday's usual run. Program now is to rest for nearly whole of the week.

Friday will see me doing the yearly climb of the Zugspitze, Germany's highest mountain that is half Austrian. However, way down is by cable car.

Sunday is the big day. My biggest clycling challenge awaits. The race of the races. Organisers advertise: "I have a dream." My dream is to get to the finish line.

Monday, 17 August 2015

Mud in the woods

stats of the week: run 40km, cycled 194km, gym 2h

After 3 months of concentrating on cycling I felt the need to get back to proper running and entered one of my most loved little race events. It has a history of 40 years that ended now due to the lack of volunteers and participants.

So I ran the 20K through local woods one last time and was surprised to be 46 seconds faster than 2 years ago. I beat the aging process, hooray!

It was a wet and muddy day. I enjoyed it. Very much.

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Going South to the local hills

stats of the week: run 18km, cycled 332km

Choosing your cycling route in my area you always have the option to ride flat to the North or hilly to the South. I always go South. And so did the organizers of the 5th "Sauerland Extreme". Taking part in this tough event meant my longest cycling tour ever - 254km including 4,000 meters of altitude difference. It took me 12 hours thereof 10:53 h of sitting on the bike! Surprisingly sitting was no problem but feet and shoulder still hurt the next day. I found the many short steep climbs much harder than going up a proper mountain for hours. First impression is: I don't have to repeat this ...

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

More London

stats of the week: run 24km, cycled 233km, gym 1h

London's weather made up for the wet day last year and we had glorious sunshine at this year's London Ride 100. No excuse to slow down. Target was to ride the 100 miles sub 5:30h. Way was to go the distance without any stop. Success! Half way I still doubted to make it but the final 25 miles I was able to accelerate and finished after 5:11h. The organisers keep telling that it is not a race so there is no ranking. More than 25,000 cyclists made it to the mall thereof 5,000 women!

Anyway, it was a great day out with good fun and a cold beer by interAir in Green Park. Compared to oncoming challenges it was a time to enjoy.

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Request for rest

stats of the week: run 30km, cycled 272km, gym 3h

You might note that this was a rather tough week as it was following the long hill race last weekend. You're right. My body asks for a couple of recovery days now. A Tour de France cyclist was quoted: "I ate 'pain' for breakfast." This reminds me of how I got up this morning.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Good days follow bad days

stats of the week: run 51km, cycled 240km

Holidays can get somewhat strenuous if you have your bike and your running shoes with you. This week we tried the original route of the notorious Ă–tztaler Bike Marathon - alas we divided it into 3 days and it was still a challenge with its more than 5,000 meters of altitude difference. I still have no idea how to do it within one day! I don't want to have a another bad day ending with the need of a salt infusion.

However, running the Eiger Ultra Trail I had an unexpected good day. 51 km including 3,000 altitude meters up and down turned out to be pure enjoyment. Perfect weather conditions made it a successful day and let me finish after 8:56 hours placed 6th of all men over 60.

To be honest I thought about never coming back to Switzerland due to the unbelievable high price level. If there weren't some very alluring events taking place in this beautiful country...

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Physical limits in the Alps

stats of the week: run 28km/1,500mad, cycled 26km/950mad
stats of the week before: run 18km, cycled 323km/6,700mad

The alpine bike race Maratona dles Dolomites turned out to become a test of my physical limits. Not only it wasn't one of my best days but the temperature of nearly 40°c added to this. At the fork point after 76km I made the wrong decision and chose the long distance. Feeling that I had a problem I allowed myself more and long stops at the feeding stations and mid route. So I made it to the finish line but only to find myself cared for at the medical tent.

However, the salt infusion put me back on my feet and I was able to get on to some hill runs. Seems necessary to prepare for next Saturday.

Monday, 29 June 2015

From 50m to the Alps

stats of the week: run 29km, cycled 300km, gym 1h

It was sort of a peak week on the way preparing for the two mountainous events waiting. Running mileage might look somewhat limited but there were two hilly sessions included like this one:

Living in a rather flat area you just have to go up and down often enough to get fit for the Alps. Luckily I have an altitude difference of 50 meters right in front of my doorstep.

Monday, 22 June 2015

From illness to 50K

stats of the week: run 32km, cycled 226km, gym 2h
stats of the week before: run 8km, cycled 63km

Like many people around me I got a bad summer cold and lost all my performance during more than a week of illness and 5 days without any sports. Then I tried to get back by daily exercise and spontaneously topped this streak  by a flat 15K race. I managed a pace of 4:50min/K what I found satisfying. However there are only 2 weeks to go until the alpine bike race Maratona dles Dolomites and another 2 weeks until the 50K Eiger Trail Run. I'll do my very best as you might guess.

Unusual kind of medal: the 15K trophy

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Tough and careless

stats of the week: run 59km, cycled 215km, gym 2h

It was a fairly tough sports week and I'm concerned that it was too much as I couldn't stop to do a hilly 30k-race while having a mild cold that is getting worse now. Probably it would have been more sensible not to start. Now I feel I have to set back for a couple of rest days.

It was quite a new feeling to run at the very end of the pack. There were only 2 men and 2 women behind me. Alas, I finished within top twenty. There were just 24 finishers after only 30 had started. Maybe the route profile was too daunting.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Royal Race

stats of the week: run 23km, gym 2h

There was no time for cycling this week as I went to Stockholm to watch one of my most loved marathons in a beautiful city. Unfortunately the rain started together with the race and did not stop before the last runner finished.
At least the presence of King Carl Gustaf made up for the weather.

The waving person is Pranab Mukherjee, President of India.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

From sweep-up to finish

stats of the week: run 21km, cycled 363km

My first Nove Colli Race was a very special experience. Due to heavy rain we waited too long to get to the start. When we finally found the area everybody was gone and no start line present. We set off while it was raining cats and dogs. Dozens of cyclists turned and drove back to their hotels. It took me 48km to overtake the sweep-up bus and another 20km to catch the very last 20 bikers. First time when ascending the 3rd colle after 80km I felt within a race although the food stations were already finished. However, I enjoyed my day on the empty roads and managed to reach the finish within cut-off time after 132km and 6:21h while my somehow produced official time is 7:13h.

Photo: With the ambulance at my back wheel

Monday, 18 May 2015

Enjoying Italy

stats of the week: run 9km, cycled 336km, gym 2h

Cycling in the region of Italian region Piemonte is pure enjoyment. Calm roads, beautiful landscape, pretty villages, numerous hills, last not least: tasty food and superb vino rosso. The perfect way to prepare for the Nove Colli bike race, alas if there weren't such old man shortcomings like back pain! We'll see what is possible.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Body limit

stats of the week: run 30km, cycled 200km, gym 3h

For me there will be rather "quattro colli" than nove colli next week. I tried a longish tour of 130km and 1800 altitude meters what also are the dates of the shorter Nove Colli variant. My body revealed that this amount of strain is close to its limit. So trying the longer route of 200km and 4,000 altitude meters should be out of the question. But one should never say no ...

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Tired sportsman

stats of the week: run 18km, cycled 130km, gym 3h

Recovery from the marathon worked as usual with being ready for a slow jog on Thursday again. However, after a fast flat cycling tour on Saturday I got so exhausted that I fell asleep after arriving home. Aim for oncoming weeks is to switch to regular cycling without neglecting running too much.

 Nove Colli

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Proud champions and a happy amateur

stats of the week: run 63km, gym 3h
London Marathon result: 3:52:52

The 35th London Marathon was another great day of running. Crowds were bigger than ever, elite fields strongest ever and the new champions happy, proud and extremly likeable. Tigist Tufa is the first Ethopian female winner since Derartu Tulu in 2001. Eliud Kipchoge confirms to be the world's best marathon runner of the year beating world record holder Dennis Kimetto and two-times London champion Wilson Kipsang.

My personal race was fairly successful not only because it was my age-graded best marathon since 5 years but also I fulfilled the Boston qualification time for M60. It follows that next year I have to run 2 marathons within 6 days.

I was also very happy we had two-times London Champion Irina Mikitenko with us who affectionately cared for all the runners in our group.

Monday, 20 April 2015

Step of aging

stats of the week: run 43km, cycled 60km, gym 3h

Legs felt tired two weeks before the London and I got the impression that another step of sudden aging hit me. Or was it just the amount of racing this spring?

However, on Sunday I put another 10K race in the box. Without reaching personal limits I clocked 47:04 what hopefully is just a wake-up for the muscles one week before the marathon.

Counting my recent half marathon time I theoretically should be able to run sub 3:40 h. I know this will be out of my bounds of possibility. I will be happy with a sub 4 h. And I have to admit I will try a sub 3:50.

Monday, 13 April 2015

Mucky paradise

stats of the week: run 31km, cycled 352km

Sardinia offers numerous low-traffic hill roads with breathtaking views and is a paradise for cyclists. On the other hand I have never seen so much rubbish alongside the streets. It is surprising how the residents painstakingly separate their waste into half a dozen boxes while many others throw their trash right into nature.

Monday, 6 April 2015

Italian cycling week

stats of the week: run 10km, cycled 113km, gym 1.5h

It looks sunny but the Italian island of Sardinia turned out to be rather cold. We cycled at a chilly temperature of 8°c today. Only the local red wine makes up for the conditions.
A short Easter holiday enables us to do some cycling in preparation for summer challenges before I get back to running and the London Marathon. I look forward to the London weekend especially as we have German record holder and F40 world record holder Irina Mikitenko with our group as a special guest.

Monday, 30 March 2015

Disappointing success

stats of the week: run 51km, gym 1.5h
Berlin Half result: 1:41:09

I know I should book this half marathon as a success. I ran faster than I expected. But the finish was still a disappointment. Until 18K I still was confident that I could finish sub 1:40.

Suddenly at Checkpoint Charly, after 18.5K, one of my worst ever cough attacks struck me down. I had to stop right in the middle of the road. Fellow runners patted on my back while I was forced to retch and my stomach turned upside down. I got back on my feet but now all ambition was gone and I tumbled to the finish in 1:41:09.

However, the unemotional analysis of my split times shows that I only lost about 60 seconds due to the cough attack. I have to admit I wouldn't have made it sub 1:40 without the cough. Anyway, it was still my best half marathon since two years.

Monday, 23 March 2015

Backdrop needs patience

stats of the week: run 12km, gym 1.5h

The week was sort of a backdrop. Caught a cold and was forced to rest.
So next Sunday's Berlin Halfmarathon will be a race without high target. The only question is when the first coughing fit will stop me. Hopefully after that breathing will be improved.

I still quarrel with last Sunday's time. As the photo shows I crossed the first line well before the official time of 3:00:02.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Bad time, impressing finish

stats of the week: run 82km, indoor cycling 1h, gym 2h

I was convinced my performance level was higher than last year. But my 33.3K race on the island of Sylt ended after 3:00:02h what is almost 4min slower than last year. Surprisingly the disappointing time ranked me 4th out 31 in my age group while last year I was placed 8th of 28. Obviously the wind conditions were even harder than last year. Until 26K I still hoped to finish well sub 3h but then the strong head wind thwarted me heavily.

However, my finish seemed to be impressing as the first aid volunteers chased me a long way after crossing the line. Obviously they feared I could collapse. I kept telling them that this is my usual look at the end of a race.

Monday, 9 March 2015

Cycling summer to come

stats of the week: run 54km, cycled 48km, indoor cycled 1h, gym 3h

I didn't plan it like that but now summer 2015 seems to become a cycling summer after I got places for Nove Colli, Maratona dles Dolomites, London Ride and finally the Oetztaler for the first time. The "Oetzi" makes a real challenge. I still don't regard myself as a proper cyclist but this will be my personal exam to qualify.

However, now it's time for running. 3 more races to come then I will switch to cycling and let my knees recover.

Next Sunday will see me running the Syltlauf for the 8th time. Weather forecast is fine but most important is the wind because its route goes in one direction for 33km.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Organised discipline

stats of the week: run 22km
stats of the week before: run 55km
Tokyo Marathon result: 4:14:09 h

The Tokyo Marathon is one of the world's biggest marathons counting around 35,000 finishers. Even more remarkable it is probably the marathon with the world's biggest number of marshals and volunteers. I guess there must be around 15,000 ones! Everybody of them is highly motivated and in a good temper. Like Japanese people are most of the time. For a European soul it is a very special experience to see such a perfectly organised event and to queue accurately even at the portaloo. Thousands of highly disciplined runners stay calm at the start, run their part without a sign of feelings, don't drop a single piece of rubbish and finish in style.

So did I myself. Until 35K I was able to keep the pace. Then I lost 4 minutes due to exhaustion and some nasty bridges to overcome. However, I got my medal and after next day's bath in a Japanese onsen the muscles felt recovered already.

Monday, 16 February 2015

Two more seconds

stats of the week: run 56km, indoor cycling 1h, gym 3h

It wasn't really tapering this week as I topped it by a double layer of short races on Sunday. It was my 35th appearance at this event and I always try to win my age group to get one of the much sought-after cups but so far I failed every time.

However, I am still not fast enough to win. Despite I had my personal pace maker I only recorded two more second places.

Surprisingly I was able to run a faster pace and higher heart rate in the 2nd race of 5K after the 7.5K which took place 2 hours earlier.

Photo: The lady to my right tried to overtake me on the 5K home stretch - she is 66 years old!

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Studying permitted behavior

stats of the week: run 68km, indoor cycling 1h, gym 3h

It was an extensive week of training, correctly placed according to most marathon schedules at the 3rd week before race day. 2nd week will be less strenuous and the last one relaxing - apart from the 11-h-flight to Japan.

Meanwhile I studied the big Tokyo Marathon Handbook which is really impressive and detailed.

"Forbidden Behavior:
Dressed inappropriately for a sports event or in clothing that is unpleasant to other runners or spectators. Examples:
Being naked or wearing underwear that appears nearly naked. Costumes that suggest nudity."

I reckon a good part of London Marathon participants would be disqualified in Tokyo.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Run and enjoy

stats of the week: run 47km, indoor cycling 2h, gym 3h

According to a Danish study published today jogging does not extend your life if you jog for more than 2.5 hours per week.

Luckily I am not a jogger but a runner. And like most runners I don't run to extend my life but to enjoy it.

However I have to admit my secret goal is to be the London Marathon's oldest runner one year.

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Freezing at home

stats of the week: run 37km, cycled 127km, gym 1h

Back home to the European winter it takes some time to get used to the temperatures. Sunday's hill run through the freshly fallen snow caused some muscle soreness.

I look forward now to having a very new experience: My first travel to Japan and the Tokyo Marathon. Focus is to stay healthy and be fit for a low-key race enjoying a different world.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

More South African Running

stats of the week: run 58km, cycled 127km

The Red Hill Classic, a 36K run at the Cape Peninsula, extended my South African running experience. The glorious route started in Fishhoek at the Indian Ocean side, moved over to the Atlantic, went South along the coast to a place called Scarborough, crossed the recognisable Red Hill, down to the other ocean again at Simon's Town and back along the coast to Fishhoek Athletic Club grounds.

My personal performance was fairly satisfactoring as I managed a 6min/K pace all over the distance, kept running even on the challenging hills and felt relaxed at the finish and the days after. This time I received No 354 at the finish among around 1000 runners.

The days schedule was outstanding: wake up 2.30am, start driving 3.15, arriving Fishhoek 5.15, start 5.30, finish 9.07am.

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Tight shirt, loose run

stats of the week: run 49km, cycled 60km

The 15K from Hout Bay to Clifton made my 3rd South African race and it was the most relaxed one. A slow start, a cautious climb and a long descent to the coast and the finish after 1:20:18 h. There were around 1,300 runners doing the 15K, and 1,500 on the 30K. It was a leisurely pack as my rather slow pace let me be ranked on place 193.

Don't mind the tight shirt. I mixed it up with Claudia's whose is 2 sizes smaller!