March 2008 Archives

A 38K Long Run

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My 50K race today turned into a 38K/23.5M long run as temperatures rose from a frosty 4C/39F before the race to 25C/77F by the middle of the afternoon. The first six 5K rounds went really well, I completed these in around 3:02:00.

But the heat started taking its toll, I was dressed way too warm, with long running pants and layers of clothes. I was able to ditch my jacket and long sleeve shirt, but in the middle of my 7th round (35K/22M) I was feeling exhausted and my legs were aching even when I walked. I started taking longer walk breaks, but halfway through my 8th round I decided that I didn’t want to slog through the race again like I did with my marathon three weeks before. I have a tough 50K race in four weeks in the Westerwald Forest in Germany and my priority is to train for this. If I fought my way to the end today I would probably miss a long run or two that I need for this race. So I sucked it up and admitted to myself that I just wasn’t ready for this race and hit the showers.

This is of course disappointing, but I am quickly realizing that I do not have the stamina that I did last year, and I need to stay focused on my priorities.

Last Saturday, while visiting my wife’s aunt in Furth, Germany (near Nuremberg), we had a chance to visit the Protestant-Lutheran Church St. Georgskirche Nueremberg-Kraftshof. The St. Georg church was built in the year 1315 for the patron saint Georg and is also the gravesite of the family Nueremberg family Kress (Kress von Kressenstein) who owned the local manor. In the Margrave wars of 1449, 1552 and the 30 Years War the walled complex served as a fortress protecting the local families and congregation.

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The church remained intact up until February 25 and 26, 1943 when air raids resulted in the church burning to the ground. Following the war the Rush Kress family of New York financed the reconstruction of the church. On August 17, 1952, in the presence of the benefactor Rush Kress, the church was inaugurated.

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Several art treasures from the church and Kress family have been located in the church. There were also several memorials and family crests from the Kress family, including three altars. There is also a colossal old organ on the balcony at the back of the church, I would have loved to hear that instrument at work.

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I admire the architecture within churches, as they are often inspired by the congregation in attempt to glorify God, but to be quite honest I was more interested in the outside and the fortress itself.

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As I walked quietly around the wall to the complex I could just imagine myself defending my family against neighboring warlords.

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The complex is bordered by several magnificent old houses. Aunt Sigrid also mentioned that the surrounding area was one of the major garlic growing regions in Germany, who knew!

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Thoughts on This Sunday's 50K Event

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After my very mediocre marathon performance three weeks ago, I was very hesitant to sign up for the 50K race this coming Sunday, actually waiting until the very last day to do so. The Eschollbruecken race is a rather small scale race (for Germany) with currently just over 200 people signed up, about 40% for the 25K, the rest for the 50K.

The 50K race consists of ten 5K loops around a flat, mostly gravel/dirt surface section of woodland. On the positive side this will mean a relatively easy course and an aid station every 5K. On the down side it will make it much too easy to quit if things get ugly.

I am not feeling in optimal condition, I still have a sniffling cold and have not yet reached a peak in my training. For all practical purposes the 50K will be a training run, with my primary focus being to try to maintain an even tempo throughout. Based on the results from the last couple years, this will probably mean that I will be in last place by the time I finish, as the race attracts a lot of speedsters, but I don’t have a problem with that. I am hoping that I finish under six hours, this should be no problem at all if my legs hold up.

It is more important for me to be able to continue my training within a couple days of the race, as my main races for the year, the Westerwald 50K (May 1) and the Fidelitas 80K Night Run (June 28) are looming on the horizon.

Tonight I am going on a 45 minute run to stretch out my legs a bit. My wife is going to a Digital Photography course on Saturday, so I am hoping for some extra sleep time ;-) I’ll also try to post the rest of our vacation pictures. Have a great weekend!

Trying to Leave my Cold on the Trail

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I had planned on implementing a mid-week longer run last night, namely 20K/12.5M. The idea was to run to my running club trailhead (germ. Ausgangspunkt), which is 4.5K, run the 11K with the group, then run home. The weather was mild, 9F/48F, and as I headed out my lingering cold didn’t seem to be bothering.

I met the group shortly before 6 p.m., chatted a few minutes with friends, then set out with the mid-pack group. A couple runners took off and I decided to follow. This turned out to be a bad idea, because after about 5K my lungs were burning and my side hurt, I guess I’m still not over my cold. It was clear that I couldn’t keep up, so I excused myself, slowed down and took the shorter trail back to the trailhead.

I was feeling better by the time I reached the trailhead and contemplated doing another small loop, but instead decided to run home while I was still feeling good. I ended up with 17K (10.5 miles) for the night, good enough!

On Sunday I am going to drive to a Eschollbrucken, a small town near Darmstadt, and complete as many 5K loops as possible of the 50K race that is running that day. I am still not completely over my cold, so I am not sure if I can make the whole 50K. On the other side the weather is supposed to be favourable, with temperatures possibly reaching 65-70F – almost perfect for running – and the course is flat and almost 80% dirt/gravel forest trails. We’ll see what happens!

Here are some more pictures of the Palace of Justice in Nuremberg:

The sign at the gate:
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An overview of the Palace of Justice and the prison behind (taken around the time of the early trials):
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A view of the courtroom during the trials:
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A view of the courtroom today:
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The "Seal of Justice" survived the numerous renovations:
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I guess it will take a couple more days before I can share my pictures from Nuremberg, in the meantime let me give you a couple tidbits that I put together from literature found at the Nuremberg Palace of Justice, where the Nuremberg Trails took place. Last Saturday my wife's aunt wanted to visit the courtroom and, I’m a history nut and love checking out places where historic events took place I was all for it. There is an approximately 45 minute presentation in German and English presented by a guide, I recommend stopping by if you are in Nurember and interested in this. The courtroom is still in use, so check ahead to see if they are open.

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The Nuremberg Palace of Justice (Justizpalast) is a building complex at Fürtherstrasse 122 in Nuremberg, which is most famous for being the location of the famous Nuremberg Trials that were held after the Second World War.

Colonel Burton C. Andrus was both the commandant of Nuremburg Prison (where the prisoners were kept) and Military Officer commanding the garrison protecting the Palace. Among the infamous ones who made the appearance were Hermann Goering (suicide by potassium cyanide), Rudolf Hess (life internment), Franz von Papen (Vice-Chancellor under Hit_ler, acquitted), Arthur Seyss-Inquart (Austrian Chancellor, Na_zi Commissioner, hanged) and Joachim von Ribbentrop (Foreign Minister, hanged). It is a commonly known fact that Goering was not hanged as planned, but instead committed suicide by taking a cyanide pill smuggled into his cell. He was later quoted in his suicide notes that "being hanged is not appropriate for a man of [his] status".

The trials took place in courtroom number 600, situated in the eastern wing of the Palace of Justice. The courtroom is still used, especially for murder trials. Since the end of the Nuremberg Trials the courtroom was refurbished and is now a bit smaller as a wall that had been removed during the trials in order to create more space was re-erected. In addition, the judges´ bench was turned 90 degrees and is no longer situated in front of the window but now stands where the witness box was placed during the trials.

The Palace of Justice was chosen as the site of the trials because it was almost undamaged, offered a lot of space and accessed a prison. The city had been the location of the Na_zi party's Nuremberg rallies, there was symbolic value in making it the place of the Na_zi demise. In addition, the Americans opted for Nuremberg as it was situated in their zone.

Back in Town

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We got home safely from visiting my wife’s aunt on Sunday night. Easter Monday is a holiday in Germany, so we are trying to catch up on stuff around the house today. There was a lot of snow where in Fuerth where Aunt Siggy lives, luckily the roads were clear when we drove to and from there.

We had a great three days in Fuerth and neighboring Nuremberg. We managed to visit the sight of the famous Nuremberg trials, visited an old fortress, walked around the large Nurember Easter market and generally ate too much good food. I even managed to squeeze in a run when the ladies were preoccupied. All in all a great trip, I’ll try to catch up with the details and pictures over the next day or two.

Sixteen Miles in a Snow Storm

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For the second time in two days I woke up congested, with sinus pain and just feeling like rolling over and sleeping some more. But this morning I had a plan and it called for a 26K/16M run on my hilly route. So reluctantly I got up and did my best to band-aid my body together and get ready to go. As I drove to Weingarten, where the trailhead for my hilly course is located, it began to snow like crazy – the first time this year!

I warmed up with a relatively flat kilometer, then headed up the mountain. My breathing was hard, due to congestion, but the eventually my lungs cleared and it became easier. I made it to the top and started running over the rolling hills on top. It continued to snow, sometimes hard, sometimes lighter. It was around 3C/37F, so it didn’t really start to accumulate.

The first hour came and went, but I was in my groove and didn’t really notice. The sun came out from time to time making it pleasant, even though it continued to snow. Luckily there was almost no wind, so it was quite bearable.

I completed the first loop and took a longer, less steep way to the top on the second loop. The second hour came and went and I began to slow, at least my legs slowed, my nose was running as strong as ever. I headed back over the rolling hills on top of the plateau, mixing in a few small out and backs so that arrived back at my car at almost exactly the three hour point.

My pace was slower than normal, but I guessed (correctly according to Google Earth) that I had my 16 miles! I averaged just over an 11:00 mile (6:56/K) which was okay for me considering my cold and the hills.

Tomorrow we are heading to my wife’s aunt in Fuerth by Nuremberg, at least if we are not snowbound on the first day of Spring :-) I’ll try to remember to bring my camera so I can get some pictures. Have a nice Easter!

Being Helpful, Running and Vacationing

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On Saturday we helped one my wife’s aunts to clean out her attic, lots of trips up and down a narrow ladder, and a good upper body workout through carrying furniture. Her son-in-law messed up his knee playing soccer, so I was glad to pitch in and lend a hand. It was a fun day, but I felt it in my muscles by the end of the day.

On Sunday afternoon I headed out for a two hour run. My muscles still felt the aches of activities from the day before and it rained the entire time, so I decided to call it a day after about an hour and fifty minutes. I managed to run about 18K/11M, at an average pace of just under 10:00/mile (6:08/K).

We have vacation this week so I spent half the day Monday cleaning and organizing my woodworking shop in our shed. Since I started running marathons I haven’t spent much time here, but I miss working with wood so am going to try to balance out my life a bit more this year.

Monday afternoon I went for an easy 14K/8.7M run over the field and forest paths around our area. I felt sluggish and couldn’t seem to pick up the pace, so stopped worrying about it and just ran. I averaged 9:22/mile (5:49/K), not too bad considering how I felt.

This morning I woke up with a sore throat and stuffed up nose, not my favorite way to spend a vacation. We are going to try to catch up on projects around the house over the next couple days, then will be making our yearly Easter pilgrimage to my wife’s other aunt in Fuerth, Germany – near Nueremberg. We always have a good time while we are there and are looking forward to it.

Running Out the Stress of a Busy Week

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Last night it was a mild 13C/55F and raining when I got home. For me this is almost perfect weather for a relaxing run. I changed quick, grabbed my MP3 player and headed out over my 14K/8.7M loop. I was stiff and a bit slow for the first 15-20 minutes, but slowly my legs warmed up and my pace increased. I then proceeded to cruise around the rest of the route at a pretty fair tempo, finishing with an average pace of 5:26/K (8:44/M). More important I totally cleared my head from the thoughts and stress of a busy work week, and now I can relax and enjoy my vacation next week :-)

A Solid 12K Recovery Run

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Last night I went a little early to the running club trailhead and ran about 4K before the rest of the group arrived. I was still quite stiff from my marathon Sunday, so wanted to warm up the legs before running with the group. I made it back to the trailhead a few minutes before 6:00 p.m. and chatted with a few friends before we took off on our run. I stayed back with the middle-speed group, which usually runs around a 6:00/K (9:40/M) pace.

It was incredibly windy as we weaved our way around the loop, but luckily the rain held off until the end of the run. My legs were getting a bit tired after 4-5K, so I decided to turn off just past the 5K point and take the shorter route back to the trailhead. Another runner also wanted to head back early so we ran back together.

I ended up with 12K/7.5M for the night, a good solid recovery run. My legs feel much better this morning, I think I will be able to get back to normal training next week.

My next event on the calendar is a 50K race on March 30. The race consists of ten 5K rounds on mostly gravel and dirt logging trails. I won’t be able to do any real training for the event, so may just go and do as many rounds as I feel up to – it will be a good chance to get in a long run under race conditions.

Less Running This Year?

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Typically this time of year, shortly after the first long race, I add the finishing touches to my race calendar. For example, last year about this time I came up with the plan to run 8 marathons (or longer) in eight months. I almost made it, until an injury caused me to miss a marathon in the sixth month. I did run 7 marathons (or longer) in 8 months, so feel like I accomplished something anyway.

Anyway, my job has been taking an ever increasing amount of time over the winter, mostly due to a project that will directly impact my job for the next several years. This has already meant that I don’t have as much training time available as past years.

After discussing the project with my boss yesterday it is clear that my focus will need to be on this project, so as a result I am not going to make any big racing plans this year. I will train and race, but I think more for enjoyment rather than trying to beat the clock. Last Sunday’s marathon showed me that I don’t run well when my training mileage is too low and my focus elsewhere. Perhaps this year will be the year to improve my 10K/HM times, we’ll see.

An Easy Recovery Run

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I went for a 9K/5.5M recovery run when I got home from work. My legs were stiff and sore, but once I got warmed up the run felt good. I hope I can recovery quickly and get back to normal training.

My wife is in Switzerland on a business trip, so I need to keep this short and get try to catch up on some housework that I’ve neglected, she coming home tomorrow night ;-)

I always like to do an after race review of my races to document what I feel may have gone right or wrong in my training. Here are my thoughts to date:

My preparation for this race was quite different then most races, for example:

• I ran shorter, lower intensity long runs than normal.

Normally I try to complete at least 2-3 long runs of at least 20-22 miles, plus 4-5 at 18-19 miles. This time I had 3 long runs of 16-18 miles and 2 runs of 18.5 miles.

• My overall weekly mileage was less.

Last year I typically ran 45-50 miles per week during the 3-4 peak weeks of training for a marathon, for this race I only ran 37-40 miles per week.

• This was the first time I used Crossfit for cross-training.

I think Crossfit is an excellent way to train the whole body, and if done at the intensity prescribed probably could be very beneficial. Unfortunately I haven’t reached a level where it really made a difference. In some cases the training left me so worn out that I couldn’t complete my runs to the intensity that I should have. I will continue to do Crossfit as cross-training, but I need to boost my mileage for the next race.

• I didn’t do enough race specific training.

The Bienwald marathon course was mostly asphalt and flat. I did the majority of my training on trails and most of my long runs on a hilly trail, the latter resulting in a much slower than marathon pace. I should have trained most of my long runs on asphalt and at a faster pace.

There were several other things that may or may not have affected my performance on race day:

• I have been on the verge of a bad cold or flu for the last couple weeks. This has left me noticeably weaker than normal.
• The stress level at work has been much higher than in previous running years, my head was not free of this on race day.

On the positive side:

• I didn’t give up the race, I kept going even when it looked hopeless.
• I maintained a very consistent pace for at least the first two-thirds of the race - typically I go out too fast.

Race Report: Bienwald Marathon 2008

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Yesterday was my first long race for the year and a success in the sense that I completed the race. It turned out to be my second slowest race, which disappoints me, as I thought I was capable of doing much better. Somehow physically I just couldn’t get my act together. I saved an otherwise disastrous situation only by mentally toughing it out and perhaps a little by the grace of God.

My wife and I have been battling the flu off and on for a couple weeks, for the most part I missed the worst of it. My wife had planned on riding with me to the race, so she could meet her friend Eva who lives in the area. But when I woke her up I could tell she was not going anywhere, she was coughing, sneezing and fever. So I ended up driving alone to the race, luckily it was only about 35-40 minutes away.

I was feeling kind of tired before the race, but was hyped up and ready to roll. My legs felt pretty good, I had concentrated on eating right the last several days and I was very optimistic that I could at least beat my course record of 4:29.

Shortly before 10:00 a.m. I lined up toward the back of the pack at the start, we wore chips, so it wasn’t necessary to be towards the front. It felt a little warmer than last year, around 5C/41F and the sun was warming things up fast. The race started more or less on time, I shuffled to the timing mat and started my stop watch. It took a few minutes to break out of the pack, but I still managed to be almost on pace after the first kilometer, 6:06/K (abt. 9:45/M). My legs felt heavier than normal and quite stiff, but I gradually picked up the pace a bit, finishing the first 5K in 29:04, almost at my planned pace.

I moved on concentrating on keeping the pace fairly consistent. I completed the 10K in around 57 minutes (58:17 clock time), again right on pace. I continued on completing the long straight 8K stretch that brought me to the first turnaround. Then it was back on the same rode until shortly before the halfway point, where we turned right and ran over the timing mat. My chip time for the first half 2:05:25, my net time a minute or two less, I was a couple minutes behind last year’s time, but not concerned.

For this race there were aid stations roughly every 5K. Up to this point I had been drinking only water and been downing a gel every 10K. Somewhere between the 22K and 23K markers I started feeling like my energy tank was on empty. I walked for a minute and downed another gel, hoping this would bring me up again. At the 25K aid station I drank a couple cups of sports drink and ate half of a banana. I ran on but after a few minutes I hit the wall hard.

I walked it out for a couple minutes, but when I tried to run again I again I could barely get my legs to move faster than a shuffle. I shuffled on for maybe a kilometer, but could not get my legs to do what I wanted. I decided that I need to try to walk it out for awhile in the hopes that I could get out of my slump. I walked for maybe five minutes, then managed to jog most of the way to the 30K aid station.

At the 30K aid station I downed another sports drink, ate a piece of banana and tried to stretch out my legs. I jogged on for a few minutes, but was overcome by a charley horse in my right leg that about crippled me. I walked it out and tried to resume my running. I made it a couple hundred meters and again was overcome with cramping. I walked it out and thought about my situation.

If nothing else I knew I was in trouble and probably would not be able to run much more. I plodded on running as long as I could, walking when my legs tightened up. I past the 32K point, the very point where I gave up the race in 2006, when I DNF’ed. Somehow this sparked angry within and I vowed that I would finish this race if I had to crawl the whole way in.

The course ran along a county highway at this point, whereas there are reflective markers every 50 meters. For the next 10K I focused on these markers, running for 2-3 markers, then walking 1-2 markers. My cramping was now in both legs and at times I barely could run a 100 meters at a time. On the other side my walking was still relatively strong and I was able to walk out the cramps.

The kilometers ticked slowly by, on three separate occasions the control van came by and asked if I wanted a ride to the finish (e.g. to quit) – each time it only caused me to push harder. I knew I would reach the finish line, I guess they weren’t so sure.

My pace was pitifully slow, but solid. On a good day I probably could have power-walked faster than I was moving, but this wasn’t a good day. Finally I reached the edge of town and made my way into the stadium and the finish line. The stadium was fairly desolate, the most had finished long ago. I didn’t care, my only thought was to finish the ¾ loop around the stadium without falling on my face.

I hobbled over the finish line in 596th place, out of 603. Based on my chip time I needed 2:05:25 for the first half and 2:59:19 for the second half (5:06:56). My net time was 5:04:44, a mere 6 minutes faster than my first marathon in 2005.

I quietly picked up a banana and an isotonic drink and sat on a bench next to a couple runners that finished a few minutes ahead of me. I walked/jogged with one of them for awhile while on the course, he was having similar cramping problems.

The sun was shining, it had warmed up to 13C/55F and the wind was finally still. I fought with muscle spasms in both legs, much to the amusement of my companions. Finally I decided I needed to start the long trip to the car, so bid farewell. My legs ached, but I made it to the car. I sat on a bench near the car and immediately experienced the worst cramps of the day, almost falling of the bench in pain. After a few minutes these passed and I collected my bag and hobbled over to the showers, which fortunately were close by.

I showered and drove home, I wasn’t in the mood to join in the festivities at the sport hall. I arrived safely and tried to make the best of the rest of the day with my wife. She was still feverish and feeling poorly, I can’t say I was feeling the best either.

This morning I feel worn-out and my lower legs have had better days. I’m sure I will be trying to figure out what went wrong yesterday, in the hopes that I can learn from the experience. Or maybe there really isn’t a good explanation, maybe I just wasn’t ready for the race. In any case it’s time to let the body heal so that I can get on with my training, if nothing else I learned I have a lot of work to do.

Marathon #14: Finished, but Ugly

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The short story is that I finished my 14th marathon (or longer) event, but I had a hard time out there. I finished in 5:04:44, my second worst time ever, but I'm okay with that because I held tough when most would have probably quit. I'll try to write up the details in the next day or two.

Tomorrow - Marathon Day!

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Last night I went for my last run prior to this year’s first marathon. I was feeling rested and relaxed after ten days of tapering, so quickly picked up the pace and cruised around my 9K/5.5M loop. All the aches and pains that appeared during the peak of my training seemed to have disappeared and I thoroughly enjoyed the run. I finished the run in 48:36, an average pace of 5:24/K (8:40/M).

If you are just tuning in Sunday is the first marathon for this racing season. I am running the Bienwald (Bee Forest) marathon in Kandel, Germany. The flat, mostly asphalt, course is considered a fast course, however my opinion is that performance is very weather dependent as there are long open stretches that can be miserable by stormy weather.

Being my first long race this year I am a bit nervous. I changed my training over the winter, favoring lower mileage, but more cross-training, I have yet to find out the results of this experiment. I honestly don’t feel quite as fit as I was last year, but I am just getting over a cold so this may be more a mental thing.

As always I have broken my goals into good, bad, and the ugly:
The good: If everything clicks and I am having the race of my life, maybe I can close the gap on a sub-4 marathon. My current record is 4:14:13, set last July.
The bad: If the wolf jumps on my back somewhere around mile 20, then I hope I can at least beat last year’s time for this course of 4:29:36.
The ugly: If everything falls apart and I’m reduced to slogging then I hope I can slog over the finish line before the 5-hour cutoff.
Quitting is not on my list of options! I DNF’ed this race in 2006 because I wasn’t mentally tough enough to slog through the last 10K, if nothing else I will reach the finish line, may God help me!

I hope I can average around 6:00/K (9:39/M) for the race, this will bring me within the PB window if I can hang tough. I almost always go out too fast, but I hope to be a bit more disciplined this time. The course is very hard mentally with several out-and-backs and as least as many long, flat sections that never seem to end. If nothing else this will get me ready for my ultras ;-)

Catch you on the other side, have a nice weekend!

Do you know what I find Supercool?

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My wife is talking on the telephone with her ex-boss's wife (who are good friends of ours by the way) about how her former boss can get in shape. From my ease-dropping I follow that his doctor told him he has to get in shape before he has a heart attack before he is forty or something to that effect.

Apparently he has interest in my running club, my wife was telling his wife when our group meets and a bit about how it works. I walked through and threw my two-bits on the table, if he shows up and can't find anyone to run his speed and distance I'll run with him...I know his wife she is very concerned about his heath ...I half expect to be running with him soon :-)

Running with a Sore Leg Muscle

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If you read my blog from earlier you may have noticed that I had a major cramp in my leg while swimming the last lap at the pool yesterday. I did a quick google on leg muscles and believe it is the Gastrocnemius muscle, which is the major muscle in the back of the lower leg (I guess). Well today the muscle was really sore, especially after sitting at my desk all day. When I got home I wasn’t even sure IF I could run, let alone keep up with my running club. My leg had loosened up while walking to and from the train station while going home, so I decided to head out for a run before it tightened up again, rather than wait an hour to run with the running club.

To keep my mind off my leg I brought my MP3 player and let Brooks & Dunn keep me occupied. I set out over my 9K route, taking it easy at first, but I figured out right away that running didn’t bother the leg much at all. I picked up the pace to my planned marathon pace and picked my way over muddy field and forest trails eventually winding back to the house with a total of around 12K.

I did notice that when I stretched out my stride my lower back leg muscles ached, but by keeping the stride length short I had a comfortable run. I am going to take it easy the rest of the week, I have a short 8K/5M run planned for Friday afternoon after work to loosen up, but the rest of the time will be relax time.

I do apologize to any of my running club that might be reading this, I really did plan on running with you guys tonight, but due to my sore leg I didn’t think I could keep up with you.

Trying to remember how to swim

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In an effort to rediscover swimming as a form of cross-training I stopped at the Faecherbad in Karlsruhe for a swim on the way home from work. I believe the last time I went swimming was the first week of January, so I wasn’t expecting much as I changed and headed towards the lap pool.

As I was walking through I bumped into my swim instructor from a year or two ago. To my amazement she said “You’re looking fit, have you lost some weight?” Hmmm, I don’t think so, but as it has been quite awhile since one of the female species paid a compliment, I accepted it with a smile.

Apparently my swelled head helped keep me afloat, I knocked out 500 meters freestyle like nothing. I then alternated breaststroke/freestyle every 100 meters for the remaining 500 meters. On the last lap I got a severe cramp in my right hamstring, I was in pain! I swam to the edge of the pool and tried to stretch it out. After a couple minutes I managed to finish my lap, but my leg is still a bit sore today.

The weather has been going nuts this week! We had a big storm over the weekend with rain, hail and near-hurricane winds. Yesterday we had snow, and it is supposed to warm back up to the mid-fifties by tomorrow – what’s up with that?

The initial weather report for Sunday’s marathon are a high of 9C/48F, but windy and rainy. I have no problem with the temperature, but I could do without wind and rain. The race course has a lot of mile long, open, unprotected, streets that can be downright miserable by stormy weather. However I’m not going to get too worked up about it, I’m not intending for this race to be a record-breaking race. There will be more opportune times to worry about speed later in the year.

Prerace Anxiety?

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I remember being nervous about my first race back in May of 2004. When my co-workers talked me into the race I hadn’t run that far for at least 10 years. But I did my best to try to get ready, increasing my running to three times a week and gradually working up to the distance. When I lined up for the race I was confident that I would finish, maybe even with a halfway decent time.

When I line up for my 68th event on Sunday I wonder where my confidence level will be. It is normal that I experience a bit of anxiety about my performance when I toe the line on race day, regardless of whether it is an 8.9K race like my first one, or a marathon as is Sunday’s race.

Sometimes I think it was actually easier when I first started racing. Back then I was happy just to finish a race, I really didn’t care about how long it took. But somewhere along the way my competitive spirit kicked in and suddenly I felt the need to try to excel.

I have mixed feelings about Sunday’s marathon. I am confident that, short of having an injury, I will finish the race. My competitive spirit is trying to talk me into going for a new personal best, but my training and body (and maybe the weather report) are telling me it’s not yet time.

I trained a couple times a week with members of my running club over the winter. I have been trying to figure out if this has had a positive or negative effect on my training. Sometimes I ran too fast and sometimes too slow, I was more consistent when I ran on my own. In any case I enjoy running with friends from the club, especially after running solo for the first couple years.

An Easy 9K Run

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Last night I got home late from work, so missed my run with friends from the running club. Instead I headed out for an easy 9K/5.5M run over the fields and forest near our town. It was already getting dark so I had to use my headlamp through the forest – we had near hurricane winds over the weekend so there were lots of fallen branches to watch out for. I managed to make it home without tripping over any, much to the delight of my wife ;-)

Tonight I want to stop at the swimming pool for some laps after work, it has been almost two months since I have done this. Afterward I may do some Crossfit exercises or rowing.

Conny es tut mir leit das ich war gestern Abend nicht dabei, ich musste später schaffen. Ich hoffe ich kann an Mittwoch dabei sein.

A Long Weekend of Running

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I had a day off on Friday so decided to get my longer run of the week out of the way. Although I am tapering for my first marathon next weekend, I still wanted to try to get in at least a two hour run. I hadn’t run for two days so was really stiff and tight as I headed out over the field paths to the nearby forest. After a couple kilometers I worked out the kinks and was able to maintain a pace close to my planned marathon pace. I ended up completing 23K/14M in 2:23:43, and average pace of about 10:00/mile (6:15/kilometer).

On Saturday I decided to meet my running club for a run. Normally I only run with them on Wednesdays, but this week I was unable to. We had a really stormy morning with rain, hail and strong winds. Luckily it had mostly cleared by 4 p.m. when we ran. I felt good, nice and loose despite a longer run the day before, and ready to run. The normal group that I run with were taking it easy, so after the first kilometer I sped on ahead and caught the next group, two tall dudes were running about an 8:30/mile pace. I ran with them for awhile until one said he had to slow down because his leg was bothering him. His friend stayed with him and I decided to go on ahead and try to catch a couple runner’s I saw off in the distance. I caught them after about 10 minutes and chatted with them for awhile. They had started out ahead of the rest of us and were going slower than I had been so as we rounded a corner and I saw another small group off in the distance I moved on. I did my best to catch this group, but they were too far ahead and running at a good pace. I ended up finishing the 11K/6.8M run a minute or two behind them, in just over 61 minutes.

For the rest of the week leading up to the marathon on Sunday I want to run a couple 5-mile runs and maybe on Wednesday night the 11K/6.8M loop with my running club. My wife seems to be over the flu, I just hope that I have been successful in avoiding catching the same. We’ll see how the week goes!

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This page is an archive of entries from March 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

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