Thursday, 28 December 2017

More races, more medals

stats of the week: run 39 km, hiked 17 km

I can't remember that I ever did more races within such a short time. We completed our fifth race within 16 days in South Africa. And five more to come.

I tried not to run every event with full power but have to admit that doesn't work. You always find rivals to compete with. I lost twice. At the Sundowner 10K in Cape Town I raced a dramatic finish with an age group fellow who was faster than me at the very end. At the next parkrun I succeeded to be faster but lost to another age group rival. All good things are three, we say in Germany. At the Tokai 16K I was able to run off my rival after he overtook me after 12 km but I stroke back strongly.

More medals got at the Sundowner.

Another parkrun at Franschhoek.

Long hike around Jonkershoek Nature Reserve.

Country clothed at Tokai Manor House Run.

Framed on Signal Hill.

Sunday, 17 December 2017

Racing South Africa

stats of the week: run 26 km

Did my second and first officially registered parkrun at Franschhoek, South Africa. It is such a simple and friendly event. Some 100 people gather at the start line, many youngsters, some dogs, old and young, fast and slow. A volunteer greets them, then counts "3-2-1 enjoy" and off the pack is.

At the finish line you present your personal bar code and a couple of hours later you receive an email showing your result and a link to a complete list including age groups, age graded time and the number of your park runs so far. As it was my first one I got also congrats to my PB. Hope to beat that next Saturday! Anyway, age graded I was placed 7th overall.

The only backdrop was that I sprained my left foot after the first of the 5 kilometers and developed some pain afterwards. Not too bad, so I could work as C's pacemaker next day at the 10 K race in Atlantis, north of Cape Town. It was quite a big event with almost all runners doing the half marathon while the field on 10 K was just around 100 participants. We are happy to store another SA medal now.



Friday, 15 December 2017

Many races out of season

stats of the week: run 38 km, gym 3 h
stats of the week: run 41 km, gym 3 h

Two more 10 K races done at exactly the same pace: 4:49 min/km. The last race was on a tougher course so I can conclude that my performance improved from week to week. Three 10K races within three weeks - a program I haven't performed for many years.


The runner in front of me is the winner just crossing the finish line.
He has lapped me twice on the 1.5K lap.


A happy third-placed old man.


Meanwhile I am off for a Southern summer holiday at the Western Cape and studied the local race calender which offers no less than 9 races within 4 weeks. No question I will not be able to race all of them at peak performance. But I will try to use them at a high key training and enjoy the South African atmosphere when people of all colours gather to run together and have fun.

On the political side of this beautiful and capable country we are curious how the ANC summit will decide next Sunday. Many hopes go with Mr Ramaphosa as the new ANC president and the country's president in 2019 or hopefully earlier.

Monday, 27 November 2017

Promising test

stats of the week: run 40 km, gym 3 h

It was another decent week of training closed by a 10K race. The Blumensaat Lauf offers one of the fastest route profiles in the local region.

However my goal could not be to run a really fast time but build up abilities to cope with some kind of speed. So I started the race cautiously and kept to a pace that still felt somewhat comfortable.

I am happy with 48:55 and hope to cut off some seconds at oncoming events. Age graded it is sub-40 level, so not bad. But note that the winner of my age group clocked 41:19 (age graded 33 min).

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Back on route

stats of the week: run 42 km, indoor cycled 1 h, gym 3 h
stats of the week before: gym 3 h

As expected the muscles hurt for a while after the marathon. It took me one week to get back on route again. Now plans are to build up acceptable capabilities to run the end-of-year races.

Next 3 weekends there are three 10K-races waiting. First two I regard as training sessions. Then the third one has to be run with full power as it is the one to compete with local fellows.

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

US experience

stats of the week: run 56 km
NYC marathon: 4:22:56 h

3 weeks in the US are almost over now. It's no secret that Yosemite National Park is worth a visit. I can confirm it. Luckily I was able to do some longish hillwalks taking in the most famous views.




My holiday culminated in running my 10th New York City marathon what was also my 50th marathon overall. I was happy to keep 10 min/mile pace for the whole of the distance after I fell short of doing any long run in the weeks before. Due to the colours of my buff I was greeted as a South African several times. I look forward to coming home in 4 weeks.


Friday, 27 October 2017

High rates in female runners and bared male bodies

stats of the week: run 50 km

At least a longish run of 22 km is done - my longest since the London Marathon in April. Four long days with a big amount of walking made my Washington weekend where I guided a group of runners around the Marines Corps Marathon. A big event with more than 20,000 marathoners and additional 7,000 10K-runners. Impressively the female rate was nearly 50 per cent in the marathon and around 70 per cent in the 10K!




Choosing to run this marathon you should not be shy with military. Start is in front of Arlington Cemetry with military planes flying above, fallen heroes are celebrated on a special "blue mile". However, there cannot be any other marathon with more men running with naked upper body. It seems to be part of being hero.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Never miss your chance

stats of the week: run 23 km, cycled 94 km, gym 2 h

A cautious start to running again with time going by quickly. 3 weeks to go to NYC marathon.

My plans now are to walk for a minute every 5 K to get through the 26 miles in shape as far as possible. I am sure my time will not be worthy a jubilee marathon. But you never know if it is your last chance to run this special marathon. So I will have to take my chance.



Photo: Our local charity run was again a big success as we welcomed more than 2000 runners. Donations help heavily deseased children at the local hospital.


Wednesday, 11 October 2017

At least cycling

stats of the week: cycled 321 km
stats of the week before: run 26 km, cycled 67 km, gym 3 h

No running at all for a fortnight due to increased muscle pain after the bathroom accident. How can I get to the finish of the New York City Marathon now?

At least cycling was possible and therefore made the only business during the Majorca holiday. Surprisingly I was able to set a new PB for the Galilea ascent of 4.5 km and 380 altitude meters. With 19:44 min I managed sub 20 for the first time. In 2017 so far I completed more than 6,000 cycling kilometers and 85,000 altitude meters. This is a record within the recent 6 years.

Today I started jogging again. 4.5 km. Let's see how far I will get until Nov 5.

Photos: on the famous Sa Calobra route on Majorca




Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Double jubilee to come

stats of the week: run 36 km, indoor cycled 1 h, gym 3 h

Did another short race on Sunday, 7.5 km. Ran not as good as the weekend before but it was still okay, 35:44 min was one minute slower than 2 years ago at the same event.

I am very happy about the news that I have a slot at this year's New York City marathon. This will be a double jubilee: my 50th marathon and my 10th NYC.

40 days to go. Thereof 3 weeks travelling. And I did no long run since April. My jubilee is going to be a tough one.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Not slow, not fast

stats of the week: run 16 km, cycled 70 km, indoor cycled 1.5 h, gym 3 h

Still suffering from the bathroom fall I realized that the pain disappears when running. So what! I decided to test my performance at a 5 K charity run. Would have been happy with a sub 25 min and surprisingly ended up with a sub 23. However, the fastest man in my age group finished sub 19.

An awareness not really new: I am not slow but also not fast enough. Should I be able to train properly for a couple of months an improvement of one minute at 5 K might be possible. Alas, I know I should be happy to be able to jog and enjoy it. Nonetheless, I am reading Joe Friel's book "Fast after 50". A bit late but hopefully not too late.




Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Late season fall

stats of the week: run 28 km, cycled 165 km, gym 3 h
stats of the week before: run 25 km, gym 3 h

Earlier than I thought I got my bike out again and enjoyed easy riding without any commitment.

But now late running season was set to start. I did a promising interval session on Saturday - only to get hurt badly when I fell in the bathroom.

Diclofenac and red light now is my schedule.


Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Dream came true

stats of the week: run 25 km, gym 3 h
stats of the week before: cycled 377 km, hiked 10 h
stats of the previous week: run 12 km, cycled 111 km, hiked 8 h

I feel peace and happiness now after I was able to finish the Oetztaler Radmarathon. However, it was a constant fight with the sweep-up car.

At the top of the 3rd pass, Jaufen, I was on course but 5 minutes slower than 2 years ago. Approaching the feeding station I was told to rush on or quit the race. One quarter up the final pass, Timmelsjoch, I was overtaken by the fine gara car and caught by the public traffic. It was horrifying. But the anger let me find new power. I overtook all of them and carried on. I still didn't think of finishing the race but hoped to get further than last time.

Only after 190 km for the first time I got the impression that a finish might be possible,  even with some walking in between. I took my time and left the fine gara 40 minutes behind me! The dream came true. After 12 hours 50 minutes 27 seconds.

First pass is the steepest. K├╝htai.

Final stage of Timmelsjoch.



top of Timmelsjoch

I have a dream
the finish


Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Hope dwindling

stats of the week: run 9 km, cycled 394 km, hiked 4 h
stats of the week before: run 28 km, cycled 145 km, hiked 5 h, gym 2 h

Did the Oetztaler Bike Marathon within 3 days and still can't imagine to complete it in just one day. It is no problem to ride up the infamous Timmelsjoch in its own, but to get up there after you have already done 3 passes and sit on your bike for 7 hours, it's a challenge too big for me. I don't think I will be able to do it. My target is to get as far as 2 years before when I climbed the final pass for 12 km (of 29 km) where I called it a day.

Even in 3 days my total time of cycling was 13 hours and 6 minutes. The time limit of the one day race is 13 hours 50 minutes.

Half way up the Jaufen pass

Nearly at the top of Jaufen

The final stage of Timmelsjoch

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Alpine training

stats of the week: run 9 km, cycled 342 km, gym 2 h

A weekend full of riding summed up to a proper volume of cycled distance. I hope to complete my bike training by some alpine passes during the summer holiday. But being in the Alps also needs some time to do some ferrata climbing and hill walking.

One of the four options to climb Germany's highest mountain - the Zugspitze - is the easy ferrata via the Wiener Neust├Ądter Hut. It's the shortest way but still involves an ascent of 1,700 m of altitude difference. Luckily one can take the cable car to get down again - so we did.



Sunday, 23 July 2017

Improving confidence

stats of the week: run 20 km, cycled 191 km, gym 3 h
stats of the week before: run 18 km, cycled 283 km

Feeling better now with my amount of cycling and confidence is increasing. Only 5 weeks to go to the Big Day. I still need more long rides to prepare properly for Oetztaler.

Plans are to do the official route in a tour of 3 days at mid August to know the difficulties coming up.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Alpine cycling with increasing fun

stats of the week: run 12 km, cycled 276 km
stats of the week before: run 9 km, cycled 291 km

Two alpine weekends with great cycling events.

Modestly I opted for the shorter distance of 106 km and 3,000 altitude meters at the Maratona dles Dolomites. I was a good decision as I didn't feel able to finish the marathon distance which includes Passo Giau, the most challenging ascent. My performance was not really bad, but also not definitely good.

I finished 12 minutes later than last year. At least my ranking was okay just behind half of the field. Due to the cold temperature I had to change 13 times what obviously makes up for the time difference to last year.


At the Bikemarathon Tannheimer Tal I also chose the shorter distance of 130 km and only 900 altitude meters. I had a great day and managed an average speed of 30 km/h which placed me within the first half of the pack for the first time. This event is a fairly small one with only 600 riders on the shorter route. 


Monday, 26 June 2017

A lot of cycling but not enough

stats of the week: run 24 km, cycled 148 km
stats of the week before: run 13 km, cycled 226 km
stats of the week before: run 18 km, cycled 263 km

My this year's cycling target now emerges to be not realistic. I hoped to cycle 7,000 km until end of August. So far I have completed just 3,300. The missing part could only be done by a weekly average of around 400 km. Impossible.

I have reduced running to just one workout most weeks. So I was happy to finish a hilly 15 K race within less than 2 minutes more than last year. However, running and hiking limits time and power for cycling. Recovery is an important part of your schedule if you are in your mid sixties.

This is half way up to St Barbara, a famous and regular climb of Giro d'Italia near Lake Garda:


Good Italian roads in the hills around Lake Garda:


Climbing the entertaining Ferrata Burrone at Mezzocorona:


Mezzocorona is a center of vine growing. We took home some bottles of course.


Thursday, 8 June 2017

Good roads, bad roads

stats of the week: run 10 km, cycled 303 km
stats of the week before: run 20 km, cycled 218 km, gym 3 h

First day of the cycling marathon weekend at famous Bimbach was a success. Legs felt tired but nevertheless I managed 160 km with 2,100 altitude meters on exeptionally good roads in a beautiful landscape. It was an event without timing and results what I enjoyed as it was totally relaxed.

We cancelled the second day due to bad weather and left. While some really hard cyclists finished the 256 km marathon after heavy rain during the first morning hours.

Now we are back to the bad roads but also in a beautiful landscape. Monferrato in Piemont provides a perfect landscape for cycling steep hills.




Wednesday, 24 May 2017

The sides of cycling

stats of the week: cycled 547 km

Had a great time at Emilia Romagna in Cesenatico. Cycling in a beautiful landscape and well catered for in the very friendly bike hotel Lungomare.

I also was happy with my performance at the Nove Colli bike marathon. I have to admit the view at the result list was somewhat sobering. My time of 10:28 h for 205 km and 3800 altitude meters was only good enough not be the very last one. 90 % of all 4,600 participants finished in front of me. And I felt to be fast...


I also enjoyed my rented Pinarello bike that enabled fast and safe driving. Especially the new Ultegra brakes seemed to work sensibly better.


The enjoyment was considerably muted when I noticed that - while I was in the area - two famous cyclists were killed by cars near Cesenatico. Julia Viellehner was a high level German triathlet who was overrun by an Italian lorry. She was 31 years. In a second accident two days later MotoGP world champion Nick Hayden (35) of USA got injured so badly that he died a few days later.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Testing week in Emilia Romagna

stats of the week: run 17 km, cycled 137 km, indoor cycled 2 h, gym 3 h

A fairly proper week of exercising but I still haven't got the confidence to be fit for Nove Colli. My longest ride so far was 105 km, Nove Colli's distance is the double.


Maybe the Pinarello bike will help but it hasn't got a senior equipment to handle the steep hills. I will test it tomorrow on a guided tour that waits with 1,600 m of ascent.


Monday, 8 May 2017

Low level week

stats of the week: run 35 km, cycled 140 km, indoor cycled 2 h, gym 2 h

It was more running than scheduled as focus should be on cycling now. However, it was very low level running. While I got the impression that my cycling is even lower level, after I got overtaken by more female riders than ever. I keep telling myself not to be depressed. At least I extended my longest ride so far to 100 K which is half the distance of the Nove Colli.

Two more weeks to get prepared for the year's first cycling highlight.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

London News

stats of the week: cycled 136 km, gym 3 h

My disappointing performance at the London Marathon provided one advantage. Due to the long stretches of walking my recovery seems to be faster than usual. But will it be fast enough to get fit on the bike for Nove Colli in 2 weeks?

There are some news around the London Marathon while the ballot is still open until tomorrow 7pm.

Adidas is finished as main sponsor and New Balance steps in for 2018 and onwards.

The World Marathon Majors have announced that the series will be extended by 3 more races in a few years. Obviously one of the new members will be in China as Wanda is the new main WMM sponsor. Cape town is another favourite and the third one will probably be in Asia.

And the London Marathon has launched a new London City Half Marathon called The Big Half. 5,800 public entries are already sold out. You can still get in via charity and via the 4 London Boroughs where the race will take place. The Big Half

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

London flop

stats of the week: run 71 km
London Marathon result: 4:17:18

The 37th London Marathon was a big success - not for me but for the organizers. The day produced a record field of more than 39,400 runners and a new women-only world record. Mary Keitany finished a truely brave race after 2:17:01. Even Paula Radcliffe was faster only once and that was with the help of male pacemakers.

Favourite Kenenisa Bekele was not able to fulfil expectations. Midrace he faced problems and fell behind. But he recovered and chased the leading Daniel Wanjiru who strongly defended 9 seconds and made it home first.

For me the story was not top but flop. I tried to be brave and kept to the schedule until 30 km. Then all my power was gone and I had to walk several stretches that made nearly half the way to the finish. I knew I couldn't make it within Boston qualification and preferred to reach the finish line in good health. 5 or 10 years ago I was able to run properly without proper training but nowadays at 64 things obviously are different. For my 50th marathon I hope to be prepared better.

(photos by Isaak Papadopolus / interair.de)









Monday, 17 April 2017

Top or flop

stats of the week: run 10 km, cycled 205 km

The cold turned out to be persistent and still kept me off running. I hoped the mild temperatures of Majorca would be helpful but they failed to do so. At least I could do some short road cycling tours that I highly enjoyed.



With a desperate attempt to get ready for London I completed a very slow jog of 2 hours today. A total of 45 km during the recent 3 weeks can't be sold as a suitable workload. I I feel nearly recovered next Sunday I will nevertheless try to beat 4 hours. Top or flop. When I have to admit that I am getting too slow than time will be of no relevance and I will have a relaxed walk to the finish.