September 2008 Archives

Running Towards Autumn

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I had a nice run with some of my running club last night. Our mini group of 5 or 6 met at the trailhead at 5:45 to run our usual 11 km (6.8 mi.) loop. We lost one after about 15 minutes, he had a cold and decided to run a shorter loop. The rest of us continued on at an easy, post-race season pace.

The forests in our area are starting to show the first signs of autumn, with little spots of color appearing among the leaves of the trees. Most of us wore long sleeves or a running vest against the cool air during the run. I love running during this time of year though, especially through the lonely woods on a cool morning. There is something to be said for every season, but somehow autumn is my favorite.

Tomorrow is the first day of October and it won't be long before we are catching a plane to the USA. On the 10th we are flying to Detroit to spend Columbus Day weekend with friends in St. Clair Shores. From there we will drive through Ontario to my parents in Central (upstate) New York. From home base we will strike out to various points visiting family and friends, the longest trip being to New Jersey on the 17th for a couple days. Finally we will drive back to St. Clair Shores on the 29th, the day before our flight back to Germany. It should be fun!

The Weekends Go By So Fast...

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On Friday after work I ran a 19 km (12 mi) loop around the fields and woods in my area. I kept up a fair pace, around 5:35/km (9:00/mi), but this took more effort than normal. It was obvious for me that I wasn't yet recovered from my marathon the Sunday before. On Saturday evening I met my running club at 5:00 p.m. and ran a total of 12 km (7.5 mi). I stayed back with the mid-pack runners, who were running an easier pace, around 6:05/km (9:45/mi.).

On Sunday my legs were a bit tired, so I didn't do any running. My wife and I went to a trade fair where local merchants and professionals had set up stands to acquaint local residents of their services. We were able to talk to a local contractor about insulating our old house. Our house is a couple hundred years old, so requires special insulation techniques, thus will cost us dearly (sigh).

It is a strange feeling not having a big race on the calendar...I mean after training hard for almost 9 months and suddenly not having anything on the immediate horizon...I feel naked.

Tonight I want to meet some of my running club for a run, probably the normal 11 km (7 mi) loop. On Wednesday is the normal scheduled run from the running club and on Saturday a 10K race.

On Friday is a holiday in Germany, so I am looking for something special to do. My wife has already said she will probably need to work at least part of the day in order to finish a couple work projects before our vacation. I am hoping that I can interest my favorite running partner in a run on Friday morning. My first thought was to run a new trail that a friend told me about that runs up the back side of the mountain near the Heidelberg Castle, but I'm remaining flexible...

Managing the End-of-Season Blues

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"Post Marathon depression is a common phenomenon for marathon runners of every experience level. The excitement of the marathon season is over and the intensity of preparation is behind them." - Doug Kurtis at RunMichigan.com

For many in my running club the Baden Marathon (or half-marathon) was the highlight of the year and marks the end of race season. For some runners, there is a sense of relief and they welcome the opportunity to relax for a little while and basically to do less over the winter. For others, like me, if there isn't something to replace all the hours on the road, the lull of TV boredom sits in. My sense of focus and purpose fades.

I run enough races a year (this year 14) to where I basically ride the endorphins from one race to another. I know from experience that when the endorphins are no longer released, there is a greater chance of depression setting in.

I was reading an article by Doug Kurtis at RunMichigan.com, where he likened this to Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, which affects moods especially in winter when darkness last longer. Many of the same depressive symptoms occur except increased sleep and daytime drowsiness are more likely. Also, increased appetite, especially for sweets and "comfort foods" such as carbohydrates, which may cause weight gain.

So with no marathon or longer race on the near horizon to train for I know that I have to find a solution so that this depression doesn't get the best of me. Here are a few things that I have done or will do to help get me through post-race season.

- Start cross-training. I pretty much stayed away from swimming, bike riding and weight training (Crossfit) during race season. I have already started getting reacquainted with these old friends.

- Run for fun. I am looking forward to some quiet runs through the woods, but also more runs with my running club. I am also looking for some mountain and cross-country fun races to celebrate my love of running.

- Work on my training/race schedule for next year. I love planning, this is therapy for me.

- Catch up on other hobbies. I also enjoy woodworking, I already have some projects in mind. I also am interested in genealogy, which is a project that never ends.

- Take a vacation. In two weeks we are flying to the USA for a three week vacation!

Of course work, wife, church and other things in life will fill the gap. At this point I am a bit sad that marathon season is over, but on the other side I know my body needs time to rest before next season. I only need to watch my diet, run a bit to keep the joints loose, and try to be productive in other parts of my life until its time to fire up the race machine in 2009!

Pictures of the Baden Marathon

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I didn't take any pictures of the Baden Marathon, but there are some great pictures available at the following sites. Be warned that the text is in German, but the pictures really are good!

http://www.laufreport.de/archiv/0908/karlsruhe/karlsruhe.htm

http://www.badenmarathon.de/de/galery/bilder08/show.php

http://www.marathon4you.de/laufberichte/fiducia-baden-marathon/in-der-heimat-ist-es-doch-am-schoensten/803

There is also a cool video available at:

http://germany.maxfun2.com/videos/video.php?aid=946&videofile=DE_20080921_fiducia.wmv.

Last night I ran with my running club. I was early, like always, so warmed up with a couple kilometers. When I returned I chatted with friends for a few minutes, then we were off. Many in the group ran the half-marathon last Sunday, so wanted to run a slow recovery run. I started running with the mid-pack group, but after a few minutes found myself in the front with two of our faster ladies. We fought to keep the pace down so we didn't lose the group, but after a couple miles there were only three of us left, we had left the group behind.

The rest of the run was perfect, we ran an easy 9:40/mi. pace (more or less) and chatted the whole time (or was that just me doing the talking). After the run I caught up the latest with other friends, then reluctantly made my way home - it really was a nice time.

I find my recovery is going really well this time. I had a great 8 mile run only three days after the marathon and felt no weariness. I am considering running a 10K race on Sunday for speed. Several of my running club with be there, it could be fun.

I have been getting some pressure from one of my beloved running club members to write my entries in Germany at least one a week, so I have (tried) to translate the above text. Hopefully she can understand what I mean...

Eins von meine sehr geliebte Lauffreundin hat mich ein bisschen druck gegeben um gelegentlich eine Einträge in Deutsch zu schreiben. Ich habe versucht das Englisch zu übersetzen, ich hoffe sie kann mich verstehen...

Gestern Abend habe ich mit meine Lauftreffgruppe gelaufen. Ich war fast wie immer ein bisschen früh, so habe mich mit zwei Kilometer aufgewärmt. Wenn ich zurück war, habe ich ein paar Minuten mit Freunden gequatscht, dann haben wir los gelaufen. Viele von der Gruppe haben dem Halbmarathon an Sonntag gelaufen, so wollte ein etwas langsameres Tempo halten. Ich habe in die Mitte die Mittetempo Gruppe angefangen, aber ab ein paar Minuten war ich schon vorne mit zwei von unseren Schnelle Damen. Wir haben versucht etwas langsamer zu laufen um mit die Rest von die Gruppe zu halten, aber ab 3-4 Kilometer waren wir nur drei, wir haben die andere einfach verloren.

Die Rest von die Lauf war einfach schon, wir haben ein gemütliche 6er Schritt Tempo gehalten (mehr oder weniger) und die ganze Zeit gequatscht (oder vielleicht nur ich). Nach die Lauf habe mit andere Freunden geredet für ein bisschen, dann nach Hause gefahren, es war wirklich ein schone Abend.

Ich finde mein regenerieren geht besonderes schnell dieses Mal. Nur drei Tag nach die Marathon habe ein insgesamt 13 km flotte Lauf abserviert und fühle mich wirklich gut. Ich überlege ob ich soll ein 10K Wettkampf an Sonntag laufen. Mehrere von die Lauftreffgruppe wurde auch dabei sein, warum eigentlich nicht!

Rediscovering Swimming as Crosstraining

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Last night I stopped by the swimming pool in Blankenloch for some laps. My recovery from the marathon on Sunday is going well and I felt motivated. Unfortunately it has been awhile since I was swimming, so it took awhile to fall into my groove. I still managed to complete a 1000 meters, the most freestyle.

When I got back I went with my wife to pick up a few things from the supermarket. Later I found myself looking through the marathon listings (marathon.de) for "anything" around the area. I didn't find anything less then 3-4 hours away and knew my wife would not be happy if I travelled that far right before our vacation in October, so I guess I have to settle down and accept the end of marathon season (sigh).

In any case I am looking forward to running with my running club this evening, I am curious how many feel recovered enough from the (half) marathon on Sunday to participate. My legs feel good, but I will probably keep the pace down for a few more days. We'll see.

Race Report: The Baden Marathon 2008

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On Sunday morning at 7:30 I picked up a running friend from my running club and we headed to Karlsruhe for the 26th annual Baden Marathon. We arrived about an hour before the 9:00 start and parked at my friend's workplace, which was about a five minute walk from the starting line. I deposited my bag at the drop area and we made our way to the sports hall and relaxed for awhile. Eventually we were joined by others from our running club and took turn standing in line for the toilets, a seemingly favorite pastime right before a race in Germany ;-)

About 10 minutes before the start my running friend and I made our way to the block, lining up with the 4-hour marathon group. My running friend wanted to try to break two hours for the half-marathon and I wanted to run the first half of the marathon in about the same time, so we decided to run together.

After a few minutes the starting pistol went off and we patiently waited for the crowd in front of us to start moving. After 6-7 minutes we started walking towards the starting mat and shortly before crossing it were able to start jogging forward. I was reassured that my chip worked as I ran over the mat and heard the familiar peep.

We followed the pacer for a few minutes, but my friend was motivated and gradually we overtook the pacers and headed out on our own. The streets were crowded with almost 10,000 runners, around 1600 running the marathon, the rest the half or the business team marathon.

We made our way through the streets of Karlsruhe and then east over the Autobahn into Durlach. The course wound its way through Durlach and then southward under the Autobahn into the Odenwald forest. Just past there we passed the 10K marker, in 54:25, a good pace well in the range of a sub-2 hour half-marathon for my friend.

The asphalt bicycle path through the forest was narrow and it was hard to maintain our pace due to the crowd. Finally we made it past the forest section and we were able to speed up again. I quietly started increasing the pace and my friend stuck with me. By kilometer 18 (mile 11) I could tell that my friend was starting to get tired, but I continued to encourage her. I mentioned that if she stayed around a 6:00/km (9:39/mi.) pace she would have no problem reaching the finish line in under two hours. We passed back into town and the cheering crowds thrust us forward. We passed two from our running club who weren't running the race but had come out to support us, I think this was especially meaningful for my friend as she fought to maintain our pace.

Finally, with about 500 meters to go for the half-marathon, I had to bid farewell to my running partner as she turned towards the stadium. She certainly made the first half of my marathon the most enjoyable one that I have ever had. I wished her well and as I glanced at my watch, had to smile for I knew she had her sub-2 hour race (she finished in 1:55:17).

The course thinned out considerably as I headed out on the second half of the course. I passed over the halfway point in 1:55:42, one of my fastest first half of a marathon. I tried to maintain the pace that we had been running, but by kilometer 28 (17.5 miles) I was slowing down fast. I walked through the next aid station and ate a sports gel and a banana. I knew I hadn't fueled enough the first half of the race and I was beginning to pay for it.

I managed to pick up the pace a little for another 10-15 minutes, but then started slowing again as we ran a serious of bazaar out and backs around the gardens of the palace in Karlsruhe. By kilometer 34 I was slogging along at about 6:30/km (10:30/mi.). I tried to perk up by drinking a lot of sports drink at the aid stations, but I knew I had waited too long and it wouldn't help much. There was nothing to do but keep the feet moving.

With 5K to go I knew I wouldn't make it in under four hours, but I was determined not to show up too much after that either. Unfortunately my legs had turned to concrete and my pace dropped off some more. I kept moving and finally made it back onto the path that would lead to the finish line. I dug deep finally got my legs to move a little faster, which allowed me to pick off a couple runners before crossing the finish line. With tired legs I crossed the mat in 4:08:11, good enough for my third fastest marathon! This was also a 15 minute improvement on my time for this course. I'll take it, thank you!

I let a pretty young lass put the finishers medal around my neck and managed to stay upright in the process. My legs were stiffing quickly so I grabbed a banana and some water and found a bench and sat down. As I ate and drank I tried to stretch my legs out a bit. After a couple minutes I felt better and made my way to the bag pickup and the showers.

After showering I wandered over to the sports hall to meet my running partner and another friend that were riding home with me. We exchanged stories and made our way (slowly) to the car. After dropping them off I headed home for some food.

On Sunday night about 40 of my running club met at the local Greek-Italian restaurant near my house for a celebration dinner. It was a nice night with good people, too bad it had to end so quickly. Today (Monday) I had the day off, so got to sleep in. My legs feel fine, I was already out for a 8 km (5 mi.) recovery run and have been taking care of chores around the house.

My only discomfort is knowing that yesterday was my last marathon for this season, I have been really enjoying the season, it passed much too quickly. I still have a couple 10K races on the calendar, so I at least won't be getting rusty. Hopefully some of my running club will be making the rounds too. Have a good week!

Countdown to the Baden Marathon

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It is less than two days until the Baden Marathon in Karlsruhe. My tapering must be working because I am a bundle of energy. Unfortunately it is restless energy, the kind that can make you do stupid things like start running too fast at the beginning of a marathon. I've been there before, I know the deal.

Sunday will be my eighth marathon (or ultra) that I have run this year, or nine if you count the Wander-marathon that I ran in June.

http://www.breakingthetape.com/runningwithjack/2008/06/a-training-marathon-in-the-bla.html

It is also the last one that I have planned for this year, so I find myself wondering if I should push it and try to improve my personal best, or just take it easy and enjoy it. If I base this on my training from the 3-4 weeks I probably should keep it slow. On the other hand I ran a sub-4 marathon almost exactly 4 weeks ago, so theoretically could do this again. I will probably decide somewhere between the 12-15 km markers when my legs have hit overdrive. By the 32 km (20 miles) I will know if I made the right decision.

In any case I am looking forward to the race, with 30 members of my running club out there on the course it is going to be a great day!

Ein frischer September Lauf

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The following is a translation of my earlier entry for my German friends.

Nach der Arbeit gestern habe ich zu meiner Lauftreffgruppe gefahren um mit meinen Lauffreunden zu laufen. Es wahr richtig frisch für September (13°C), mit ein kalte Wind, das lass die Gefühl die Händen gleich im Tasche zu machen. Wie immer war ich ein bisschen frühe, so ich habe ein paar schnelle Kilometer gelaufen. Wenn ich zurück war habe ich ein bisschen mit Freunden geredet. Ich habe gemerkt das ich war eins von die weniger mit kurze Hose und ohne Jacke, aber ich war gut aufgewärmt.

Ich war trotzdem froh das ich muss nicht so lang warten bis wir gelaufen. Viel von der Laufgruppe läuft die Halb- bzw. Marathon an Sonntag, so nur7-8 km Laufen wollte. Ich habe das auch an meinem Trainingsplan gehabt. Wir war ein besonderes große Gruppe, ich glaube mindestens zwanzig, aber ab 4 km die meisten hat gedreht und zurück zum Start gelaufen. Das langsame Tempo hat gut gefühlt, so ich hab weiter über die ganze 11 km Strecke mit drei andern gelaufen. Es war schon zu laufen und reden, die Zeit war schon drum.

Nach die Lauf habe ich meine Jacke aus dem Auto geholt, und zusammen mit die Ändere, ein schone Stehpartie gefeiert. An den Weg nach Hause habe ich überlegt wie schon es ist mit so einer tollen Gruppe zu laufen.

A Cool September Run

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After work yesterday I headed over to my running club trailhead to run with my running friends. It was pretty cold out (13°C/55°F) for September, with a cool breeze that had you pull your sleeves over your hands. I was early as usual, so warmed up with a couple quick kilometers. When I arrived back I mingled with friends as they huddled together (for warmth?). I noticed that most wore long pants and jackets, I seemed to be in the minority with shorts and a long sleeve running shirt...but I was already sweating from my warm-up, so was good to go.

Luckily I didn't have to wait too long before we all took off for our run. Many that were gathered there are running the (half)marathon on Sunday, so planned on doing a slow 5 mile run, which is what I had on the calendar. We were an exceptionally large group, around 20(?), but gradually we lost the most as they turned back towards the trailhead. I was feeling good with the slower pace so decided to keep going with the three other runners that wanted to run the entire 11 km (6.8 mi) loop. I had a good time chatting and the time went by way too fast.

After the run I grabbed my jacket out of the car and joined the rest of the group that were busy consuming pastries, sandwiches and other refreshments that were generously brought for this purpose. Later as I drove home, I could not help but think what a great group of people to share my love of running with!

A Speedy Recovery Run

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Yesterday it was cold (6°C/43°F) as I walked to the train station at 6:00 a.m. When I arrived at work it was 15C/59F in my office and the central heating remained off the entire day. By the time I got home my office had at least warmed up to 20C/68F and outside was 14C/57F.

I had a 9 km/5.5 mi. run on the schedule, so changed quick and headed out the door. I ran in shorts, but wore a light jacket against the cool wind that traced across the open fields. My legs felt pretty good, despite the fast 10K race the day before, do I maintained a good pace as I ran my loop. After being uncomfortably cold most of the day the run warmed me up and I was in good spirits as I returned to the house. I averaged around 8:30/mi. (5:18/km) for the loop, which is pretty good for me right after a faster race.

This week I am continuing my taper for the Baden Marathon on the 21st (Sunday). I plan on running the 11 km (6.8 mi) loop with my running club on Wednesday, then probably go for a half hour run on Friday after work.

Saturday will be a bit busy as I want to pick up my race packet in Karlsruhe, plus it is my wife's birthday so we are celebrating with friends that night at our local Greek-Italian restaurant. Luckily we are meeting at 6:00 p.m. for dinner, so it shouldn't be too late of a night.

Race Report: St. Leon Rot 10K

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It was a cool 8°C (46°F) as I drove to the other side of town to pick up the two members of my running club that were riding with me to the race in St. Leon Rot. I arrived promptly at 7:45 at my first stop and my running partner from a couple weeks back appeared to have just stepped out the door. After stowing her bag in the trunk, we made our way down a few streets and picked up our other running friend. We settled in the car and I headed out to St. Leon Rot, about 35-40 minutes away in the direction of Heidelberg. I enjoyed the trip as the sun was now warming the cool morning air and I was in the company of friends and off to race, what more could I ask for!

We arrived at the sports center near the golf course where the race was to start and collected our race packets. Soon we were joined by several more from our running club, the most running the 10K like us, but two running the half-marathon (HM). We chatted for awhile, until about 15 minutes before the start, then stowed our jackets in the car and got ready to run.

At the starting line I wished everyone a good race and found a place in the middle of the pack. The 10K and HM runners were starting together (the 5K began 10 minutes prior) so it was pretty crowded. As I waited I thought about my goals for the race. I was hoping to complete the 10K in under 50:00, and had a "good day" goal of 48:00. I knew that I wasn't up to breaking my 46:37 best time, but didn't rule it out either, anything can happen in a race.

My thoughts were interrupted by the starting pistol and soon I was shuffling along in the middle of a mass of people. Somehow I had misjudged those around me and was trapped behind a wall of slow starters. I knew that trying to weave around them on the narrow path was counterproductive, so I patiently made my way forward as an opportunity opened. Eventually the crowd thinned out and I was able to get on my way at a fluid pace.

The race course was more or less a loop around the golf course in Rot. For the most part the route was flat, but there were quite a few turns that slowed things a bit. After the first couple minutes I settled into a pretty good pace, eventually passing the halfway point (5K) in 23:15. My breathing remained strong and my legs were still feeling good, so I did my best to keep this pace going.

Around kilometer 6 I could tell I was slowing down a bit, and soon after the course started heading back against a steady headwind. I pushed on hard knowing I would need even more effort is I wanted to keep the speed up. Time seem to pass slowly along this stretch, the wind was having a noticeable effect. My breathing grew heavier and my legs strained as I pressed on. It was clear that a best time was far away, but I was determined to at least have a good race.

Finally I passed kilometer 9 and could hear the crowd at the finish line. This spurred me forward as I fought to keep the legs moving. Finally I entered the small stadium and did my best to sprint over the finish line. I ended up finishing in 47:22, good for a new second best 10K time! I finished 24th in the M45 age class and 126 out of 319, not too bad.

Afterwards I joined the speedy member from our club who had finished nine minutes before me in 38:28 (good for first place in the M50 age group). He had stored his bag in my car before the race because he rode his bike the 35 km to the race (did I say he is an Ironman Triathlete), so we walked to the car and got our jackets. I also grabbed the jackets for other two, knowing they would need them as soon as they finished - it was still cool and windy.

When we returned the first of my two female passengers arrived, finishing in 52:51, good for 7th place in the W45 group and what I believe is a new best time for her (I'll have to ask). A couple minutes later another club member arrived, in 53:50, 8th place in the W45. After that we all got something to drink as we knew it would be a little while until the next from our group arrived. We had a good time chatting as we waited. After a bit two of our seasoned runners showed up, a husband and wife team. The wife finished in 1:05:54, good for 2nd place in the W70, and her husband was a second behind her capturing 3rd place in the M70 class. Three minutes later my other passenger arrived in 1:10:03, good for 4th place in the W55 class!

With our group complete we headed to the showers, and afterward found a place among the tables outside the sports hall in the sun for the awards ceremony. After a couple hours of eating cake, drinking coffee and just enjoying each other's company our little band (reluctantly) headed home.

A Training Half

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So today I stayed home from work and, well, worked! Officially I had to take a day of vacation, but since I worked the majority of the day (plus some) on a presentation for work my boss and I need to talk.

I worked several hours and was just about to take a break and run a round when one of my friends from the running club called and asked for a ride to the trailhead on Saturday night. Apparently she reads my blog and noticed from my earlier post today that I was home, cool!

Anyway, after a nice talk with her I was motivated to work a couple more hours. I finally I headed out for a run around 1:45 p.m. It was cloudy, cool, and had rained earlier - I really wasn't sure how far I wanted to run. For the first time in a long time I wore my MP3 player and after the first kilometer was immersed in music and picked up the pace.

I ended up running the 4 km (2.5 mi.) to my running club trailhead and began running the 11 km (6.8 mi.) loop in reverse. According to my Garmin I finished the first 10K in 56:04, not too bad, about a 9:00/mi. (5:36/km) pace. The music was good, it was cool outside and I kept pushing the pace. I finished the second 10K in 54:04, about an 8:40/mi. (5:24/km) pace.

Finally I headed back towards the house, but decided to take an extra round town to give me 21.1 km (a half-marathon). I finished almost in front of the house in 1:55:18, not bad for a training run. My legs feel good, I think they will be in good shape for the marathon on the 21st. If not, then I'll just take my time and enjoy the run.

A Busy Week

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I've been really busy this week so am a bit behind on my blogging. Here's a quick brief to catch up.

I went for an 11 km recovery run on Tuesday night after work. My legs were incredibly sore still from my fall and race on the weekend. I took it slow and made it through it. On Wednesday I met my running club for a run at our trailhead. My legs were feeling better and I had no problem keeping up with the mid-pack group.

On Thursday I took a training day off and this morning (Friday) my legs feel fine. The only memory of my fall on Saturday is an itchy knee where the wound scabbed up. Today I took a day off from "normal work" to prepare a presentation for a meeting next week. In other words I am working from home, which has the added advantage that I can head out for a run at lunch time.

On Saturday night I want to run with my running club in Graben again. On Sunday is another 10K race in Saint Leon Rot, near Heidelberg. A couple ladies from my running club are riding with me to the race, it should be a fun day!

Race Report: The Karlsdorf-Neuthard 10K

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My body was not in perfect form as I made my way to the neighboring town of Karlsdorf for a 10K race on Sunday. My left knee was still looking a bit like hamburger from my spill on the day before and my quads were sore from the steep hills.

As I warmed up with a 15 minutes run before the race, I noticed that my injured left knee was not allowing me to stretch out my stride as much as I normally do. But I didn't think much about it as I joined several from my running club at the starting line. As we waited for the start signal I thought to myself that I would probably not have a good race, but I intended on at least not having a really bad one either.

My thoughts were interrupted by the starting pistol and soon I was flowing forward in the middle of roughly 300 runners.

karlsdorf_2007.jpg

It remained congested for a minute or two, but finally I broke free and settled into a steady pace. I was content to pass the first kilometer marker in roughly 4:46 (7:40/mi. pace). My left knee remained tight, throwing my normal stride off a bit, making my running feel quite awkward.

I managed to maintain the pace over the next couple kilometers, but then I started getting a muscle cramp in my left thigh. I knew this was caused from my awkward stride and tried to ignore it. By the halfway point I was hurting and was losing speed rapidly. I did my best to adapt my stride by taking shorter, faster steps, and finally at least stabilized my pace.

A couple runners from my club passed me around the 6-7K point and I tried to stick with them as long as possible, but they moved ahead. With 1K to go I realized that they were slowing down, so gradually started closing the gap. I ended up passing one and crossing the finish line on the heels of the other. My finishing time of 50:52 was actually much better than I expected for the day.

After the race I showered in the sport facilities and joined my club for the awards ceremony. As a club we had a very good day with several age group prizes, plus the prize for having the largest participating group (34 runners).

On Monday morning my knee looked (and felt) much better, it is healing nicely. The muscles in the back of my left leg were still sore, but this week I am tapering for the marathon on the 21st, so I my leg should be fine by then.

Ouch!

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On Saturday I had the pleasure of running with members of the Heidelberg International Marathon Club. The plan was to meet around 8:00 a.m. at a wandering event in Heidelberg and run the 20K wander course, which would take us up and over the famous castle.

I had a 20-mile run on the schedule, so showed up early so I could run 5K before meeting the group. About 10 minutes before eight I stood in front of the school where we were to meet and started looking for "crazy runner types". I found a likely candidate without too much trouble and sure enough it was a member of the marathon club. We waited a bit and eventually had 15-20 people gathered. We split into small groups based on running pace and we were off.

I ended up running with a younger man, Kevin, who said he was going to take it easy, maybe around a 10:00/mile. As we started up the first hill my roughly 15 years younger running companion didn't slow much as we cruised up the challenging slope. My breathing increased, but I hung with him as we muscled our way up a winding road towards the top. I was relieved when we reached the top and Kevin, who seemly was barely winded, started flying down the other side of the hill on a stony trail at a pace that was downright scary.

It wasn't long until we were climbing the next hill and about halfway up I finally said I had to slow down, so we did, but as soon as we reached the top off we went again. This continued for the first 10K or so, but as we started climbing a long steep hill I told Kevin that he would probably lose me on this one and he should go on ahead. He kept churning up the hill and I shuffled. Another runner (not with the club) passed me and soon was on Kevin's heels.

As I reached the crown of the hill, they were already out of sight! I started hurling down the hill thinking that maybe I could catch them and next thing I knew I caught my left toe on a rock and down I went hitting the fine gravel path hard and fast. I tried to roll to lessen the impact, but too little too late. I stood up and rinsed off my hands and knees with water from my CamelBak and did a damage assessment. My left knee was bleeding quite a bit from a couple cuts, and the other injuries were just scrapes, so started running again.

After 10-12 minutes I arrived at the next aid station. My lower left leg was covered with blood and I was getting some really strange looks from the walkers who were gathered there. I decided to have the Red Cross medic take a look at my knee. He cleaned it up and wrapped a bandage around it and soon I was on my way.

I finished the last hour of the run at a moderate pace without any further mishaps. As I arrived back at the starting point Kevin was out front waiting for me, wondering what had happened to me. We talked about my fall and the run as we waited for the others to show up. I stayed around and chatted for awhile until group started disbanding, then thanked everyone for a great morning. I inquired about their normal running days and hope I can run with them on occasion in the future.

I headed home for a shower and some hot food, and the scolding that I knew I would receive from my wife for coming home "bloody" again.

Remember the Joy of Running

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I'm sitting alone in my office today, everyone else is on vacation. I just poured a cup of coffee and sat for a moment thinking about what a great year of running I've had so far. I'm not talking about record setting stuff, although I have had a couple of those races, no I mean how much enjoyment I have had through my running. I've ran a lot more with my running club this year, that's been really great. I've also done a few runs with members outside the club runs and find that tremendous. I hope to continue doing this, maybe even find a regular running partner.

As I sit here I find myself thinking ahead to next year. Last night I added several tentative races for 2009 to the margin of my blog, I have high ambitions. I really don't know if my wife will sign off on all these, or if my job will permit the training time necessary to complete all these. But I find satisfaction in knowing that, time permitting, I have a very good chance of completing all these goals and more.

That latter point I don't take for granted, it was only 5-6 years ago that I was 70+ pounds overweight and wore myself out on a good flight of stairs. When I line up for my 21st marathon/ultra on the 21st I will be sure to take a moment and thank my heavenly Father for giving me this ability. I'm not an elite runner, I don't finish in the front, but I do try to keep improving. Not at each race, but gradually over a series of races. I don't have patience in a lot (too many) areas of my life, but somehow patience is my companion when I am out on the trail. I pray that I will have lots of good years left to celebrate running and racing, if not, well I have already enjoyed a cup full.

An Easy 11K Run

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My wife said she would be late coming home from work yesterday, so I took advantage of the situation and headed out for a run. My legs were a bit tired from my medium long runs from Monday and Wednesday, so I kept the pace down. It was fairly cool outside (17°C/63°F) and on the verge of raining, so I wore my running jacket again the cool dampness.

I headed out on my normal 14K (8.7 mi.) loop in the reverse direction, but deviated on some side trails to add diversity. I whizzed by a young jogger, scaring the daylights out of him, I guess he was lost in his MP3 world. He really was going slow, because I sure was not pushing the pace. I continued to weave my way around the woods for a bit, eventually heading back over the fields on a tractor trail. I ended up running 11K (6.8 mi.) in around 65 minutes, a bit fast for a recovery run.

After showering I rustled up a hot meal just as my wife came home, she just loves when I cook! Hey I even did the dishes...

Tomorrow morning at 8:00 I am meeting some members of the Heidelberg International Marathon Club for a 22 km (14 mi.) run. On Sunday is a 10K race in nearby Karlsdorf, I'll let you know how the weekend goes.

The Other Training Half'

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It was pouring down rain as I stepped outside and began my run to the trailhead to run with my running club. Fortunately it was still reasonably warm (18°C/65°F), and I had my rain jacket, so I was good to go. I took a slightly longer route to the trailhead which gave me 5K by the time I got there, my goal for the evening being 21.1K (a half').

I chatted with a couple club members as we waited for the rest of the group to show. The rain, which had let up on my way to the trailhead, started pouring again, so we decided not to wait any more and took off early on our run.

There were lots of mud puddles on our forest route and the frontrunners were gingerly running around them. After a few minutes I figured out they weren't going to run any faster, so plowed my way through the next big puddle and took the lead. A couple other runners followed and we moved on ahead at roughly a 5:30/km (9:00/mi.) pace. We cruised around the 11 km (7 mi.) loop, actually picking up speed the last few kilometers.

When we got back we learned that most of the runners behind us had taken the shorter 8K loop and were already gone - what's up with that, it's only rain people?

I chatted a couple minutes with the remaining runners until I started feeling a chill, then headed home, running the last 5K+ at a slightly slower speed. I ended up with 21.2 km (13.2 mi.), my second "half" for the week.

This weekend is my last long run before the Baden Marathon in Karlsruhe. I e-mailed the Heidelberg International Marathon Club a day or two ago about joining their club, they ended up inviting me for a run on Saturday. They are only running 22 km (~13 mi.), so I will need to add an hour on somewhere, but it should be fun running with some new friends.

Last but not least is the local 10K race on Sunday that I will be running with my running club. I suppose after running the 20 miles on Saturday, especially in hilly Heidelberg (yes, up to the castle), I won't be seeing any new speed record.

On a row

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I spent some time last night catching up with work on my PC at home. After an hour or two I started getting really stiff from all the sitting, so decided to take a break. I contemplated going for a short run, but decided against it as my wife seems to think I have been running a lot lately (four times a week isn't a lot, or?). Then I remembered my long neglected rowing machine up in the shed...so upstairs I went and for the next 10 minutes I did some very active rowing that rid the body of any sign of stiffness. I added a dozen kettlebell swings and some pull-ups for good measure and was ready for another hour or two at the computer! I need to suggest to my boss that we set up a gym at the office, we could significantly reduce coffee consumption...

We received word that my brother and family that live in New Orleans were out of state during the hurricane, so no cause to worry. We also received word that the son of a good friend of ours is on his way to the Middle East with the military - we'll be praying for him Kim!

I find myself a bit stressed out about the Baden Marathon coming up on the 21st. I was going to (leisurely) run the marathon with a coworker from Switzerland who was running her first marathon, but life interfered and she won't be running the race. Like every year a large number of my running club will be running the half-marathon and a few the full marathon. For most this is the big race of the year and they have been training hard so they can do well. Somehow my languid "end of the season" attitude isn't compatible and in my feeble mind I now feel obligated to run a fast marathon as well.

I am pretty sure, based on my last marathon, that I really could run a PR race if conditions are right. The trouble is that my mindset is more in line with a slow 50-mile race, rather than a fast marathon, it's only too bad there isn't any 50 mile races around. Well, I still have 2-1/2 weeks to get focused, we'll see.

A Training Half'

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Last night I got home a little early from work, so decided to go for a longer run. It was pouring rain when I arrived at the house, but the sun was shining brightly by the time I suited up and headed out. The first 20 minutes it was like running in a sauna, you could see the moisture raising from the roads as the sun heated up the pavement. Luckily the forest was still cool and damp as I reached the woodline.

My legs felt good, so I was able to maintain a fairly good pace the first hour. I ran part of my normal 14 km (8.7 mi.) loop, then headed out on a longer loop that brought me to the outskirts of Graben, then back along the trail that my running club uses. As I passed by the trailhead there were several club members getting ready to do a 10 mile run. They invited me to join them, but I already had ten miles behind me, so declined and headed back to the house. I ended up with exactly 21.1 km (13.1 mi.) in 1:53:47, not bad for a "training half"!

Well, it's about two and a half weeks until what will probably be my last marathon this year. It's kind of sad really, I've been having such a good time. In October we will be vacationing in the USA and our visit doesn't correspond to any races in the areas where we will be travelling. Of course with my wife along I didn't look too hard.

After vacation the only marathons in Germany (and the surrounding countries) would require an overnight stay, so probably will not be budgeted in. If I get the urge I can always run one of the many 10K races in the area in November/December.

Although it is a bit early to talk about plans for next year, I do have a 50K race on the calendar for the end of January. If I decide to run this race I will need to start training this year. The race is in the middle of the winter, and since I'm not a cold weather runner, it will be a tough one. The race will remain tentative, probably up until the last minute until I see what the weather brings - but at least it's a worthy goal to carry me into the new year.

An Easy Run with the Running Club

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On Saturday I decided to run the 4.5 km to my running club trailhead and run the 11 km loop with the group. My legs were a bit stiff from my hilly run the night before, but once I warmed up it was fine. I chatted with some of the group as we waited for the rest to show up and around 5 p.m. we took off. I decided to keep the pace down, so ran with some of the mid-packers who were running around 6:00-6:15/km pace (~10:00/mile). It was sunny and quite warm, but not extreme, just right for me.

After the run I chatted with friends for a bit, then ran back to the house. I ended up with a total of 20 km (12.4 mi.) which was my plan.

Our club leader was recruiting runners for a 10K race next Sunday, so I decided to run that instead of the half-marathon Teufelslauf that I talked about a couple days ago. Our leader is hoping we will get the prize for the largest group, so I decided it's more important to support the club rather then meet my own ambitions.

Did you hear about the hurricane heading towards New Orleans and the area? Be sure to pray for the folks there, I know I will, I have family there!

So, ich versuche mein Deutsche zu Übung:

Am Samstag habe ich entscheidet die 4,5 km zu meinem Lauftreff zu laufen. Meine Beine waren etwas müde von dem hügelige Lauf am Freitagabend, so ich habe mit die mitte-schnell Gruppe angefangen. Wir haben eine ruhiger 6:00/6:15 km durchschnitte Tempo durchgehalten, genau richtig für die etwas warme Nacht.

Nachher habe ich ein bisschen geblieben und geplaudert, dann zurück nach Hause gelaufen. Unsere Lauftreff Chefin hat versucht Läufer für die 10K lauf in Karlsdorf zu organisieren, so ich habe entscheidet mit zulaufen, d. H. ich wurde die Teufelslauf nicht machen.

Ein neue Hurrikan sollte die New Orleans und die Umgebung Heute Abend erreichen. Sag bitte eine bete für alle die Leute dar, besonderes für meine Familie dort!

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

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