December 2007 Archives

Finishing off a good year

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The holiday season has been especially busy this year, I can’t seem to find the time to blog. In any case I have been running, on Saturday 14K (8.7M) and today (Monday) 9K/5.5M. I have also been doing scaled-down versions of the daily Crossfit workouts – mostly squeezed in between bouts of cake and coffee and holiday eating.

I met my running goal for the year, which was 3000 kilometers (1864 miles), finishing with 3143 kilometers (1953 miles).

I completed several races:
1 x 8.9K
2 x 10K
1 x half-marathon
4 x marathons
1 x 50K
1 x 80K
I also completed 42.5 miles out of a 50 mile race, eventually bowing out when it was clear that I wouldn’t make the cut-off.

Overall I feel I had a good year of running, maybe not as high energy as the year before, but satisfying. I look forward to what 2008 brings. I have a couple marathons, a couple 50K’s, and at least one 50-mile race on the planning board.

I also look forward to seeing each of you plan and work towards your goals for the new year. Have a Happy New Year and God Bless You!

Happy Holidays!

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I hope everyone had a great Christmas celebration, for us it was a very busy time. My wife arrived home safely on Monday (with a suitcase this time ;-) and we enjoyed a wonderful Christmas with friends. I have been trying to keep ahead of the added calorie intake by trying to run at least some each day – but so far it is a losing battle, everything tastes so good during the holidays.

I wish all of you happy holidays, I’ll try to catch up with all of you as we bring in the new year!

The suitcase has been found

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Yes! My wife finally got her suitcase five days after arriving in Detroit, everything was inside still, miracles do happen.

I took last night off from training, I was supposed to help my neighbor fix up his new PC. When I rang next door his wife answered and said he has the stomach flu, so we postponed our project until after Christmas. Instead I took care of some shopping, hopefully I have all the presents now.

This morning I planned on getting up early and running before work, but snoozed for another hour instead. Tonight is our company Christmas party after work, so I won't be home until late. The party usually consists of an hour of speeches from our leaders, some entertainment, then a HUGE buffet. After dinner a band plays until the wee hours of the night. Typically there are around 300-400 employees at the party. I’m a party pooper and plan on being home by 10 p.m., I have a long run in the morning :-)

I have a busy weekend before me, running, cleaning, shopping – whatever needs to be done to get the house ready for Christmas. My wife is arriving in Germany on Monday morning, can’t wait!

Pooped!

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Warm-up
2 rounds of
20 Jumping Jacks
20 Toe-touches
20 Air squats
20 Push-ups
20 Sit-ups

11K run with running club @ 6:10/K (9:55/M) pace.

1 round of
20 Jumping Jacks
20 Toe-touches
20 Air squats
20 Push-ups
20 Sit-ups

For time:

30 Squat clean @ 62#
30 Pull-ups (5 unassisted, rest jump)
800 meter run

30 Squat clean @ 62#
30 Pull-ups (a unassisted, rest jump)
800 meter run

30 Squat clean @ 62#
30 Pull-ups (jump)
800 meter run

I finished the first round in 13:37, but shut my stopwatch off after that - just too hard.

My arms and legs are still quivering! Wow!!

A Date with Fran II

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I was going to run with my coworker-friend after work today, but the 1°C/34°F and windy weather changed her mind. I had a second appointment with my neighbor to hook up his new PC, but when he arrived home he came over and said he had a severe headache and postponed his until Thursday. Luckily I had another date with Fran who I knew would not stand me up. Fran is a Crossfit workout-of-the-day (WOD) consisting of 21-15-9 repetitions of the thruster and pull-ups. See this link for a better description.

Last time (also the first time) I did this WOD I used 62 lbs. for the Thruster and struggled. I also could only do one unassisted pull-up, the rest were up jumping pull-ups (jump and pull myself up to the bar). This time I struggled with 84 lbs. I was thinking how good I was doing about halfway through, then realized I wasn't squatting deep enough before the thrust upwards - so for all practical purposes I cheated myself. Next time I need to cut the weight back and get the form right!

As far as the pull-ups, I did three unassisted pull-ups in the first set, and 1-each in the remaining sets - the rest were again jumping pull-ups. But I am making some progress, so am encouraged to keep going with the Crossfit.

Other news: Nothing new on my wife's missing suitcase, this is really putting a hamper on her relaxing vacation. On the other side she is having a fun time shopping with Kim in St. Clair Shores, a girl has to has clothes - or so I am told ;-)

So I'm off to the grocery store, I only wish I remember what I needed there...

Thank God for Good Friends!

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I hurried home after work, changed quick, and met some of my running club at the research facility nearby. We ran two loops around the lighted outside fence of the compound for a total of 13.2K/8.2M. It was a cold 1°C/34°F, but with a bone-cutting wind on the south side, brrrr. We ran at a steady, but easy pace, the chatter kept us warm. Friends always warm things up!

Afterward I hurried home, did some push-ups, pull-ups and sit-ups. Then I showered, threw some wash in the washing machine, ate leftovers, checked my e-mail and as soon as I am done here will sit down and try to finish our Christmas cards. Then I only need to hang up the laundry, do the dishes (only a few), lay out my clothes for tomorrow and then I will have a half-hour quiet time where I can read before I go to bed.

I really haven’t had a lot of time to miss my wife, but of course I think about her the whole day when I have a low in activity. She is still waiting for her suitcase to catch up with her in Detroit, it didn’t get loaded on her transfer in Paris on Friday. I thank God for our good friends in St. Clair Shores where she is staying, they have been taking good care of her!

When my wife is away I am forced to rely on my own creativity in the kitchen. Today I decided to fix some spaghetti, no problem pasta is easy! Okay, so what to put on the spaghetti…the possibilities are endless really. Not wanting to rely on a jar of ratgu, I decided to try my luck at homemade spaghetti sauce, I mean how hard can it be.

I had bought some hamburger for this purpose, so had a base. Then I started pulling things out of the refrigerator and cupboards to add to the sauce.

Here is what ended up in the pan:

500 grams hamburger
1 each green, yellow, red pepper
1 small hot red pepper
1 small zucchini
1 medium onion
3 scallions
1 large tomato
1 package Napoli spaghetti sauce mix (optional)
250 ml water (about a cup)
Salt, pepper, garlic salt, curry, oregano
Curry catsup to taste

How to prepare:

Find the biggest knife in the kitchen, a small sword will also do. Chop everything that is not liquid into whatever size meets your fancy. You might want to remove the cores of the peppers, or if you prefer a chunky sauce, don’t bother. I also tend to remove the other onion wrapper, but that’s just a personal preference.

Pour some virgin olive oil into a large pan with high sides (I suppose there is a special name for the pan, but who cares). Why virgin oil, no idea, it is what we had in the cupboard. Turn the stove on and get the oil hot. Slit the hamburger several times to make sure its dead and in smaller pieces. Throw this in the pan along with the onions and scallions. Cook the hamburger until it doesn’t look so red, use a spoon to check the underside too!

Measure out 250 ml of water, or if you don’t have a measuring cup handy, just fill a large coffee cup with water. Pour in the spaghetti sauce mix and all the spices. If you don’t have a sauce mix just mix a spice cocktail until it tastes Italien.

Pour everything into the large pan. If the stuff falls on the floor the pan wasn’t big enough, look for a bigger one. Let it cook for awhile, if it starts boiling like crazy, turn the heat down some, repeat as necessary. Stir it once in awhile unless you want to buy your wife a new pan. Keep adding curry catsup until it tastes like something you want to pour on your spaghetti.

When the zucchini starts getting mushy it is a good indication that your sauce is done.

If you were foresighted you prepared your spaghetti while you were waiting, if not do that now. A good way to tell if the spaghetti is done is to throw a piece on the wall or ceiling, if it sticks, time to eat! Note: You might want to remove your test piece before your mate see it, we don't want to share all our tricks with them you know.

When the spaghetti is done pour the sauce over the spaghetti and enjoy your meal – there is no need for cooking anything else, you have a full meal on your plate!

Warning: The olive oil and grease from the hamburger will make the spaghetti and sauce as slick as ice, don’t make any fast movements when walking around with a plate full of food, otherwise you’ll be cleaning it off the floor.

The sauce if very hardy, perfect for a cold winter day, and actually tastes good. Enjoy!

p.s. If you want to see something really cool: Fill the pan for the spaghetti almost to the top with water and just as it is boiling (like your wife will be after she hears what you do next), throw in a handful of salt. You might want to stand back a step or two, and make sure no kids are nearby...

Running with the Running Club and a Friend

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On Saturday I spent some time catching up the home budget and picking up the home office. Then I started on some domestic chores, e.g. cleaning the bathroom, folding laundry etc.

I met my running club at our trailhead at 4 p.m. and ran a 11K/6.8M run with them. It was a fun time, there were 9 or 10 of us in the group that I ran with and the talkers kept things moving. I tend not to talk so much as I get out of breath too fast, and don’t think as fast in German when I’m running for some reason. I do appreciate the conversation going on around me though. My legs were getting kind of tight the last couple kilometers, but I hung with the pack.

Afterward I did a downgrade of the Crossfit workout. The workout of the day called for weighted pull-ups, but as I can only do a couple pull-ups to begin with, I practiced these by doing lots of jumping pull-ups. On the positive side I can actually do a few unassisted pull-ups now, when I started with Crossfit a month ago, I couldn’t do any.

After church this morning I received a call from a coworker and friend of mine who has wanted to start running again, but couldn’t seem to get out the door on her own. She asked me earlier this week if we could run together sometime. I told her to give me a call when she wanted to start, today was the day. We met in Karlsruhe at the soccer stadium, which is about midway for both of us. After some warm-up calisthenics we started out at a gentle pace.

We ran about 9 minutes before I could tell her breathing was getting heavier. From previous conversations I knew she had trouble with side stitches so after 10 minutes we took a one minute walk break. We then started out again and completed another 10 minutes, then took a 2 minute walk break. On the third running interval she made it about 5 minutes before she started complaining about side stitches, so we walked it out. We then alternated 3-4 minutes of running with a minute or two of walking, reaching the parking lot with a total time of 42:20 – not bad at all for a first day!

After cooling down and stretching my friend bid farewell and slowly crawled into her car, she’ll be hurting for sure in the morning – but hey you have to start somewhere!

After getting home I showered quick and had a cold lunch. Later I want to make some spaghetti or maybe stuffed peppers, I have to see what we got in the cupboard. My wife made it safely to St. Clair Shores, near Detroit, but unfortunately her suitcase didn’t! Northwest Airlines forgot to load her and 20-some other passengers bags in Paris. I pray that her bag will show up today or Christmas shopping will take on new meaning.

A Busy Day

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Yesterday was a busy day. First I drove my wife to the airport (more on that later), then I went for a long run, followed by some domestic chores, then finally did the Crossfit workout of the day.

For my long run I drove to Weingarten and ran my hilly route in reverse with a few extra out and backs mixed in. This gave me several good hill climbs and practice on quad-pounding downhills. My quads were still sore from Wednesday night’s run and back squats, so this was training on tired quads! I ran for 2:39:41, or somewhere around 23-24K. Despite being the middle of the day it was quite cold, around 1°C/34°F. The hills slowed me down, I barely managed a 7:00/K (11:15/M) pace. For some reason the bottoms of both feet were sore towards the end of the run. My theory is that it is my newer ASICS GT2110 shoes I was wearing, it was the first time I wore them for a longer run. I suspect that they don’t have quite as much padding as earlier models – I’ll have to keep an eye on this.

After the run I took a warm bath and did some domestic chores, a load of wash, the dishes, grocery shopping, etc. I then cooked some dinner chicken cutlet (Schnitzel) , salad with tomatoes and some packaged kraut-salad.
To finish off my night I went upstairs and did the Crossfit workout of the day:
(weights in lbs.) Set 1 Set 2 Set 3 Set 4 Set 5
5x1 Shoulder Press: 61,9 61,9 67,4 70,7 70,7
5x3 Push Press: 67,4 70,7 76,2 76,2 84,0
5x5 Push Jerk: 67,4 70,7 76,2 84,0 89,5

So in closing why did I drive my wife to the airport? Many of you may know from reading this blog that she was in school all year learning technical writing and recently got a new job. I plotted with some good friends of ours in St. Clair Shores to reward her remarkable achievements with a little vacation. So for the next nine days she will be freezing to death in the far north, and hopefully having a great time with Kim and Brian.

Note to wife: The house is still here, I haven’t burned it down yet. I also managed to avoid tripping over any roots in the forest. I’m still working on the Christmas cards. Love you!

Fun Run with my Running Club

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Last night I had a nice run with the running club, we met at 6 p.m. at our trailhead and headed out for an easy run through the dark woods. This time we actually had to use a flashlight a couple times because a logging crew has been cutting some trees down along our route and the trail was a mess. I am happy to report that no one was injured, although one almost ran into a truck that was parked in the middle of the path (it was quite dark).

After my run last night I went upstairs in our shed and completed the Crossfit workout of the day (WOD):

Back squat 5-3-3-3-1-1-1-1-1 repetitions

This means 5 reps., rest, 3 reps., rest, 3 reps., rest and so on. The emphasis is reaching maximum weight.

I warmed-up first with some light weight, around 35 lbs., this helps me get the right form. I then did the following repetitions:

5 x 106 lbs. (48 kg)
3 x 112 lbs. (50.5 kg)
3 x 115 lbs. (52 kg)
3 x 121 lbs. (54.5 kg)
3 x 121 lbs. (54.5 kg)
3 x 106 lbs. (48 kg)

10 x Kettlebell swings 16 kg (35 lbs)

During the second set at 121 lbs. I felt like a muscle in my left quad had torn or stretched too much, so I backed off the weight again. Afterwards I tried out my new 16 kg Kettlebell that the UPS man left at our door – the first time I swung the thing I almost flew across the room :-)
kettlebells.jpg

After showering my wife and I went to the monthly running club get together for some dinner – it was a super night!

An 8-Mile Group Run

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It was already almost dark when I got home from work yesterday, mostly a result of the rain that was falling gently. I really did feel like another run in the dark, so I decided to drive to the local major research facility and run around the outside of their lighted facility. I knew that some of my running club ran there Monday nights, so was hoping to meet them there.

As I pulled into the parking lot I quickly spotted a couple runners from my club. We waited a few minutes for the others to arrive, then took off on our first 6.6K loop around the facility.

kfz.jpg

It was nice to catch up on the latest news and let them distract me from the aches and pains that I have been experiencing on the last few runs. I was easily talked into a second loop and felt good enough for a third, but two loops was enough for the others, so we all headed home.

I felt good enough to do the Crossfit workout when I got home:

Push-Jerk: 7 sets of 3 repetitions – maximum load

Being new to weight lifting (and having just ran 8 miles), I only used 35 kg (77 lbs.). This was heavy enough to be challenging, but not too heavy to potentially hurt myself.

I finished off my workout practicing pull-ups and ring dips. This morning I feel really good, I left the aches and pains from last week somewhere out on the trail!

Annual Christmas Market

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After work on Friday night I headed out for a quick run before it was totally dark outside. I was kind of stiff from sitting on the train for several hours the day before, so kept the pace nice and easy. On Saturday morning I slept later than planned, finally dragging myself out for a long run around 7:30.

I was incredibly stiff as I made my way over the bicycle and forest paths surrounding the town where I live. I had only run on Monday and Friday, so I had anticipated running at least at marathon pace. Instead I struggled, my legs ached, I felt more like going to bed than continuing. I did my best to ignore my discomfort and managed to complete a 2-1/2 hour run.

On Sunday afternoon I had planned to make up a run that I missed due to a business trip earlier in the week, but decided that an extra day of rest might help get my running back on track. This turned out to be a better decision anyway as the annual Christmas market took place across the street from our house. I spent part of the afternoon walking through the market with my wife which was a satisfying nice way to spend an afternoon.

Back from Switzerland

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After an exhausting two days of travel and work in Switzerland I am back to work at my own desk. It was a successful trip, I think a lot was accomplished, but I’m tired.

I was checking my friend’s Dan and Marianna's blog and noticed they had posted a cool video from Jason Upton. Jason tells the story of a song he wrote with his little son Samuel. The song, called “ Jesus, Would You Come Play With Me?” is truly amazing. As my friends commented “This story completely killed me. It’s amazing to see the heart of a child and what they have to say to Jesus!”

Feeling down today? Then I encourage you to check out the video.

I haven't ran since Monday, so am looking forward to doing a quick loop this evening. Tomorrow morning is my long run, I have two hours and 45 minutes on the training plan, but a busy day planned. I'll have to see how it goes - have a nice weekend!

Trying to maintain the speed

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Last night I was home and on the trail before dark, so upped the pace as best I could. I ran a 9K/5.5M loop in 47:08, which is an average pace of 5:14/K (8:26/M), faster than normal for this time of year.

The Crossfit workout for yesterday was “Michael” which is three rounds for time of:
Run 800 meters
50 Back Extensions
50 Sit-ups

Since I just ran 9K I decided to modify the workout.

I did in rounds with sets of 10 or 20:
100 Squats (without weights)
100 Push-ups
150 Sit-ups

I tried to find a place around the house to do back extensions, but wasn’t clever enough. Later I was reading that I can use a gymnastic ball and prop my legs under a bench – I’ll have to try that tonight.

I have been doing a do-it-yourself version of Crossfit for about three weeks now and already think it is having a positive effect on my running – I have been pushing my pace more on the shorter runs. This really doesn’t have to do with an increase in fitness, rather I think the new variable in my training routine is motivating me to push myself harder and maximize my training time. Hopefully my fitness level will begin to improve before the newness wears off.

Tomorrow I am off to Switzerland for two days on business, no chance to run, but I can do some Crossfit!

Good News

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I forgot to share the good news of the day. After a lengthy period of unemplyment and almost a year in school my wife was a new job contract. Beginning the first of January she will begin her new job as an assistant Technical Writer for a leading German technical communications company in Karlsruhe. Now is that a great Christmas present or what!

Friday Run, Saturday Long Run

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On Friday evening I went out for a 9K/5.5M run in the dark. With a little help from my headlamp and warning vest I managed not to hit any trees or get shot at by any hunters (it’s hunting season again). I ran somewhere between marathon and 10K pace, but tried not to push too hard because I had a long run planned the next morning.

On Saturday morning I arrived at my hilly route trailhead just as it was getting light out at 7:30 a.m. I always wait until its light out during hunting season, and was sure to wear my bright orange warning vest!

I warmed up with a relatively flat kilometer, then headed up the first major hill. I felt surprisingly tired as I wound my way up the 10 minute climb, I didn’t think I had pushed the pace so much the night before. I guess the running/Crossfit training combination is harder than I imagined – or maybe holiday stress is setting in??

Anyway, I made my way around the roughly 15K/9.3M loop, then turned around and headed around the loop in the reverse direction. I quickly discovered that the reverse direction contains much steeper hills, which normally I would enjoy, but ended up being quite challenging on this particular morning. I ignored my inner grumbling and kept moving, albeit slower than normal. My goal was a 2-1/2 hour run so I took a shortcut back to the trailhead, arriving there just past my time goal – mission accomplished.

I was pretty wiped out by the time I finished my run, I wearily made my way home and tried to bring myself back to life so I could get my Saturday chores done. I guess I’m not a teenager anymore ;-)

On Sunday I spent the better part of the day trying to catch up on a project for work. Around four in the afternoon I took a break and did the Crossfit workout:

5 minutes of Double unders
5 minutes of 95 lb Clean and Push jerk
3 minutes of Double unders
3 minutes of 95 lb Clean and Push jerk
1 minute of Double unders
1 minute of 95 lb Clean and Push jerk

I can’t do a double under with the jump rope so did singles (a double under is where you jump up and swing the robe twice before hitting the ground).

I also am weak, so only used 68 lbs. for the clean and push jerk.

Results:
5 min. 105/25
3 min. 110/16
1 min. 65/6

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This page is an archive of entries from December 2007 listed from newest to oldest.

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