July 2008 Archives

Humid and Getting Hotter

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We have been having fairly hot and definitely humid days for the past week or so. Last night was 30C/86F, but the air thick and uncomfortable. I saddled up and went for a run anyway, the next day might be worse…

I set out at a fair trot, around 5:30/km (8:50/mi), but after about 30 minutes the humidity started zapping my energy and I started braking. After a bit I forced myself to speed up again and gradually got back up to speed again and held this for another 20-25 minutes. By this time I was about 8-10 minutes from the house so let my pace decrease again. I returned to the house looking like I had just dived into the pool, I was literally soaked with sweat.

The forecast for today is thundershowers, with a gradual increase in temperatures the rest of the week. I think I will have to get up early on Saturday and do my long run, I can’t imagine doing it in the heat of the day.

On a side note, I have been doing really well on my non-diet this year. This morning I reached an all-time low of 70 kg (155 lbs), I believe the first time that I have weighed that less since I was about 12. I attribute my success to careful eating, including eating lots of raw fruits and veggies, and staying active. I am really close to my goal now, then it is only a matter of holding it the rest of my life…

Flower Boxes, Tired Legs and Running

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I have been taking advantage of a post-marathon week by catching up on my list of “honey-do” around the house. My wife has been asking for some larger flower boxes to hold some hedge plants that have out grown the old boxes. So for several nights and on Saturday I have been sawing, pounding and varnishing and my wife has three new rustic flower boxes. I’ll try to get a picture up this week for the curious.

I went for an 11K/6.8K run on Saturday evening. My legs were sore from standing and working on a concrete floor the whole day in my workshop, so my pace was poor to say the least.

After church on Sunday my wife didn’t have any plans, so I headed out into the midday heat (30C/86F and humid) for a medium long run. My legs were again tight from the unaccustomed work from the day before, but I managed a half-marathon distance run in around 2:07 – okay considering the heat.

This week the temperatures are going to be rising steadily, probably hitting the mid-90’s (F) by the end of the week. I look forward to some good heat training! Enjoy your week.

An Easy Run with the Running Club

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I joined members of my running club for an 11km/6.8mi run last night. My legs felt pretty good considering I ran a marathon on Sunday, but I kept the pace down for the first several kilometers. The group I was running with was doing some speed training, so sprinted on ahead a few times. Another runner and I hung back during these sprints but caught up the group again each time. This made the time fly and broke up the routine. My legs loosened up nicely and I felt like I could have easily done another round – a sign that my recovery is going well. So now I’ll rest up until Saturday morning, then do a 2 hour run. Happy running!

An Easy 5-Mile Recovery Run

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My legs were starting to tighten up a bit yesterday, so I decided I needed to go for a short run to loosen them up. It was a brisk 20°C (68°F) and windy as I set out on my normal loop around the fields and forest surrounding my town. My plan was to jog about 30 minutes at an easy recovery pace – around 6:30/km (10:30/mi).

The first few kilometers went well, my legs loosened up nicely and I enjoyed the relaxed pace. I decided to run a bit further than planned and ended up returning to the house after about 8 km (5 mi). My knees were a bit sore the last couple kilometers, I guess this was from all the downhill’s from Sunday’s marathon.

This morning my legs feel much better, a bit tired, but I know in a couple more days they will be fine. I will probably run a slow round with my running club on Wednesday night, then take it easy until Saturday morning when I try a two hour run.

My next big race is the Baden Marathon on Sept. 21 in Karlsruhe. I plan on running this “just for fun”, as I probably will not have as much time to train for it as I usually do for a marathon. If I get ambitious in between time there is always the Koberstadt Marathon on August 24, near Darmstadt – but that is definitely a wait and see race.

Generally I consider myself a conservative runner, tending not to lean too far out of my comfort zone during a race. But as I lined up for the annual Hornisgrinde Marathon on Sunday I had the urge to push pass the barriers that my mind and body have set up and do something reckless. There were several factors that helped contribute to this decision – the weather was unseasonably cool (68°F), I have been taking it easy the last three weeks since the 50-mile run, and my wife was there and had offered to drive home.

As I lined up with the 250+ marathon runners I thought about the course, basically the first 25K are downhill or flat, the last 17K climb back to the finish. I decided to go out fast and hope that I have enough left in me to carry me over the finish line. With a little luck maybe I could break my 4:14 course record as well.

When the starting pistol went off the mass moved forward and for the first 5-6 minutes we remained more or less scrunched together as we made our way down a dirt logging road. But then the mass began to separate and I was able to pick up the pace. The next few kilometers were gentle downhill and before I knew it I was running 8:00 miles, which for me is totally irresponsible during a marathon.

I attached myself to a couple runners who were running a consistent pace and let them carry me along. We went over a few gentle, very run able, rolling hills and barely let up on the gas. I continued to red-line it and eventually passed the 10K marker in 51:09 (5:07/km, 8:14/mi. average pace). My legs were holding up well and my breathing was controlled and efficient, I kept moving at this (for me) ridiculous pace.

Around the 12K marker one of the runners that I was following fell behind and the slightly older gentlemen and I began to play cat and mouse. We exchanged the lead several times over the next 11K, finally passing the half-marathon point in 1:51:06 (5:16/km, 8:28/mi. average pace).

As I ran up a steeper hill around KM 23 my body started protesting the demands that I was placing on it. At KM 25 I stopped long enough at an aid station to down a gel and a banana, but was soon on my way again. I fell behind the gentleman that I had been following, but started catching him around KM 27 as we began to climb out of a valley. I had just about caught up to him when the course straightened out again and he poured on the speed. I was done pouring and could only maintain by this time.

I knew the rest of the course was more or less a gentle uphill until the last mile, then a steeper climb to the finish line. I trudged on but was quickly running out of steam. I passed the 32 km/20 mi. point in around 3:05, not good considering my fast start.

By this time my legs were beat up and I had trouble to keep running, often having to stop and walk for a bit. My little experiment today was becoming a real eye-opener, I was amazed how quickly my body disintegrated when pushed beyond what I had trained for.

I was not a happy camper as I plodded on, my legs were toast and worst yet my will to continue was almost non-existent. With 6km (4 miles) to go I stopped plodding and walked. I walked maybe a mile, then decided that I had enough and wanted to get to the finish line sooner, not later. I plodded on again at some resemblance of a run, walking the steeper climbs, but determined to get the race over with.

Finally I reached the last hill, which rose steeply for about a mile to the finish line. I walked most of it but somehow managed to jog the last few hundred meters over the finish line. My wife was waiting, but my only thought was to find a chair, which I did. My wife graciously got something for me to drink, and I fought the cramps that were gripping my legs.

Luckily these subsided shortly and the worst was over by the time my wife returned. It was still fairly cool outside and breezy, so I headed off to the showers. Afterward we decided to drive home, my wife had already eaten and I wasn’t hungry (yet).

I ended up finishing the race in 4:44:25, which is poor considering my fast start, but I’m okay with that. I already ran a good marathon this year, so on this day it was all about stepping out of my comfort zone and trying something new. If I want to run faster marathons in the future, and I emphasize IF, then this race has shown me that I need to train specifically for that purpose. Training for an ultra and a faster marathon are not the same for me, I knew that, but sometimes you just have to prove it on the trail.

I think I ended up walking more in the last quarter of the race because I saw no good reason to continue to push hard. I had a fantastic first-half race and knew I was not in the range for a best/course PR, so I relaxed and enjoyed the scenery of a beautiful countryside marathon.

This morning my legs are a bit tired and I have a ravishing appetite, but otherwise feel great! Now I look forward to a week or two of rest, then I will start training for the Baden Marathon, which takes place on Sept. 21!

A Hard Day at the Marathon

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This morning I let my ego get in the way and had a fantastic first 18 miles at the Hornisgrinde Marathon, then I promptly ran smack into the wall with such force that it left me a pedestrian. I limped over the finish line in around 4:45 with absolutely nothing left in the tank. Story to follow in the next day or two.

A Cool Summer Run

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Last night when I got home from work it was a mild 28C/82F with clear blue skies and a gentle breeze. I couldn’t wait to meet my running club at the trailhead and head out for a run! We had a fairly large group, the beautiful weather is motivating. I settled in with my normal group and we cruised around the 11 km/6.8 mi. loop at roughly a 5:45/km (9:15/mi) pace. My legs were a bit stiff from my speed work on Monday, but nothing out of the ordinary.

After the run we hung around and devoured large quantities of cake and other refreshments that members brought to share – not exactly carbo-loading but you didn’t hear anyone complaining :-)

On Sunday is my next marathon, the Hornisgrinde Marathon in Hundseck in the Black Forest. I am planning on running this just for fun, i.e. without any particular goal in mind, I’ll see how I feel when I get out there.

A Little Speed Training

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I want to try to run a fast 10K this year still, so I thought I should start doing a little speed training. On Monday night it was cooler outside, in the high 70's (F), so I went at it:

km 1 = 5:14/km (8:26/mi)
km 2 = 4:48/km (7:43/mi)
km 3 = 4:38/km (7:28/mi)
km 4 = 5:09/km (8:18/mi)
km 5 = 4:37/km (7:26/mi)
km 6 = 5:09/km (8:17/mi)
km 7 = 4:31/km (7:16/mi)
km 8 = 4:50/km (7:46/mi)
km 9 = 5:10/km (8:19/mi)

Total: 44:10
Average pace: 4:54/km (7:53/mi)

Off to a good start anyway.

Tonight I did some upper body training, mostly crossfit stuff and some rowing.

Pictures of Stutensee Half-Marathon

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Johann Till, a member of my running club, and star reporter for LaufReport.de submitted his report today for the Stutensee Summer Night's Run. The report is in German and available here. I have mirrored a few pictures below, be sure to view the rest here.

Over the fields...
stutensee_hm_2008_1.jpg

out and back...
stutensee_hm_2008_2.jpg

turn around...
stutensee_hm_2008_3.jpg

...Conny and Gerd, with me tagging along behind:
stutensee_hm_2008_4.jpg

On Friday night I set out for an easy half hour run, but bumped into one of my running club after about 10 minutes and ran with him for awhile. We kept the pace down and were chatting so much that I ended up running over 12 km/7.5 mi.

On Saturday I worked most of the day on different chores and projects around the house until around 6:30 p.m., then changed and headed to the half-marathon in Stutensee-Buchig. There I met several members of my running club who were running the 5K, 10K, or half-marathon. A couple asked me how fast I was running and three of us, Gerd, Conny and I, decided to run the half-marathon together.

Promptly at 8:00 p.m. we lined up at the starting line and soon we were off. There were roughly 400 people racing that day, so it was a bit tight the first few minutes as we squeezed our way around the narrow streets of the village. There were lots of fans cheering us on, at least until the edge of town, where we turned and headed out over the fields on a bicycle path to the neighboring town of Blankenloch.

The race was mostly flat and entirely over roads and asphalt bike paths. The temperature was around 70°F, partly cloudy and with just a slight wind – good conditions for a race. As I ran with Gerd and Conny over the first kilometer I contemplated whether I wanted to maintain the slower 5:15/km (8:30/mi) pace with them or run my own race. As we passed the first kilometer marker I sped up for a minute or so, but decided I wasn’t motivated enough to run a personal best race so rejoined my running partners.

I let Gerd and Conny set the pace and we knocked out the first 10K in around 53:30. The race course consisted of two out and back loops with an extra loop added onto the second round. As we looped around we were able to greet and encourage those from our running club and other friends. This was cool and helped to pass the time.

On the second round we started to slack off a bit with the pace, but as the storm clouds grew darker, picked up the pace again. By kilometer 19 Gerd was having trouble maintaining the pace and told us to go on ahead, but we stuck with him. We finished together in +/- 1:53:39, which for Conny was good enough for first place in her age group (W50). I finished 104/159 overall, and 14/23 in my age group.

After the race I joined the rest of the running club that was there for some food and drink at the finish. All in all it was a fun run and a good evening with some good people!

Another 20K Run on an Empty Stomach

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Last night I ran to the trailhead and ran a loop with my running club. I didn’t eat enough during the day and had to slow the pace down about halfway around. The group I was running with was also running faster than normal – this didn’t help.

Pace:

4.5 km to trailhead: abt. 5:45/km (9:15/mi.)
11 km loop with club: 5:32/km (8:55/mi)
4.5 km to house: 6:30/km (10:28/mi)

Bringing the Pace up a Notch

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On this coming Saturday night at 8:00 p.m. I am running a half-marathon in the Buchig, which is one of the five villages that make up the Township of Stutensee (I live in Friedrichstal, another village). I have been training for long distance races for the last several months, so thought I should speed things up a bit during my training run last night.

Normally on Monday nights 5-6 of my running club meet and run together, I accompanied them quite often in the winter months. I decided to run over to the trailhead and see if I could find a couple who wanted to run the 11 km loop at a faster pace.

The weather was cooler (75°F) so a few more people showed up as normal, I believe we were 10 altogether. As we started out one flew out in front at a pace I knew I couldn’t keep up with for long, so I hung with the pack. After the first kilometer two other sped ahead and debated whether to join them. Normally they run right around my 10K race pace, which was a bit too fast for my taste. I hung back again, but after a few minutes I noticed the two in front were running slower than normal so I trotted on ahead of the pack and joined them.

The rest of the pack had been running around a 6:00/km (9:40/mi) pace, the three of us ran a couple kilometers at around 5:30/km (8:51/mi). Around the 5K point one runner turned and took the short trail back to the trailhead, which left Walter and I running on ahead. Walter said he wanted to gradually pick up the pace over the next 5K, so I told him I would try to stay with him as long as I could.

We ended up gradually increasing the pace, around 10-15 seconds per kilometer, running the last one in 4:45/km (7:40/mi). This last one was right around my 10K race pace and basically kicked my butt, but that’s the point, right. We ran the last kilometer back to the trailhead at a relaxed pace where I bid farewell and ran the 5K back to the house. I ended up with a half-marathon for the night, in 1:55:45.

This morning my legs are a bit sore, a sign of a good workout and a reminder that I haven’t done any speed training in the last few months. Tonight I want to do a Crossfit workout, also the first since the winter months – I guess tomorrow my muscles will hate me :-)

A Weekend Woodworking Project

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Here is a picture of my woodworking project from this past weekend. The table and three drawer chest already existed, I built the shelving units on top of the tables and the small computer cart under the back table.

office_shelves.jpg

Running, Building, and Volunteering

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I decided to take Friday off from work and celebrate the 4th of July by indulging in one of my other hobbies, namely doing a woodworking project. So as my German neighbors were bustling off to work, I headed to the local Home Depot equalivalent and picked up building materials. We have a couple nice office tables in our home office but were in dire need of storage – not any longer! On Friday I build some modular shelving units that now house our computer monitors, printers and office stuff. While I was at it I also built a small stand for my wife’s PC. The three units and stand turned out pretty good, my wife is pleased and we have a bit of order in at least one room…I’ll post a picture tonight for the curious.

I spent the better part of Saturday going through everything in the office and filing or throwing out the piles that seemed to have accumulated from our busy lives. After lunch my wife worked a bit on her pile and I went for a 20K run.

The temperature was climbing to the mid-eighties (°F) and the sun was blazing as I slipped out and started my loop. My next couple races this month could very likely be hot ones, so I decided to do some heat training, i.e. I ran on unshaded, asphalt bike paths in the middle of the mid-day heat. I maintained an average 5:45/km (9:15/mi.) pace for the 20 kilometers, which was a bit slower than I wanted, but to be expected with the 50-mile race only a week ago. Actually it took me 10-15 minutes to get the soreness worked out of my muscles, that a result of the unfamiliar movements from the work the day before.

On Sunday was the annual 5/10K Asparagus Run and street fest put on by my running club and our mother sports club the TSV Graben. I worked at one of the water points and later helped clean up after the race. Turnout was rather poor this year, probably due to a large number of festivals on the same weekend, plus the warm and humid weather. In any case it was a lot of fun, I really enjoyed doing something with my club other than running. It’s also very rewarding to work a race and give a little encouragement back rather than receive it.

This week I am starting a new training cycle for the Karlsruhe (Baden) marathon in September. This cycle will be a little different as I am going to try to run only 3-4 days per week as compared to the 4-5 that I have been during. The reason I am doing this is my wife and I both are expecting a couple busy months at work, so I have to make some more time available for domestic chores at home.

What' Next?

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My recovery is going really well, the only problem has been trying to get enough quality sleep, it has been incredibly hot the last couple days, today is supposed to reach 35°C/95°F.

I did a short recovery run on Monday during lunch, and did some rowing and upper body weight lifting last night. Tonight I look forward to running with my running club – I just hope they don’t all chicken out because of the heat!

I mentioned (without thinking) to my wife that I will probably go for a two hour run after work on Friday. Her reply was “What, are you training for another marathon already?” I mumbled that I have the marathon in September, but she knows me…I wisely danced around the issue for now – I know better to talk about yet another marathon until the dust settles for at least a week on the last one.

But of course I have plans, the next marathon is even on my list to the right of this blog. On July 20th is the Hornisgrinde marathon in Buhlertal in the Black Forest. Last year I set a new marathon personal best on this hilly course, and would like to give it my best this year as well. But first I’ll wait for the dust to settle a couple more days…

This coming Saturday is my running club’s annual event, the 5/10K Asparagus Run. I’ll be helping out at one of the water points on the course – I hope it cools down a bit before then. Afterwards is a street fest in Graben which ties in with the run, it should be fun!

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

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