December 2008 Archives

Sharing a few rounds with friends.

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Last night after work I met some of my running club at the local research center to run a couple rounds around the 6.6 km (4.1 mi.) loop. Most of the runners were from the mid-pack group, so we maintained an easy pace. I chatted with one of the ladies that is running a marathon in March. This lady has also run several ultra marathons, and would like to run her first 100K race in 2010. I am hoping she has time to run the 50K race that runs the same course and time as my 100K race in June, 2009.

As we finished our second loop, Wolfgang, who joined us after the first loop said he wanted to run a second loop. When no one else joined him I decided to accompany him. We had a good time chatting as I made my way around for a third loop. I was glad when we finally though, it was my fourth day in a row running and on Sunday I ran a lot of hills!

Today I am taking a day off from running, no need to keep pushing in the off-season, the hard training will begin soon enough! Tomorrow is the first day of Christmas vacation, at 9:30 I'm meeting my running club again, the weather is supposed to be unseasonably warm. I can't wait!!

A Christmas Greeting

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I was thinking about a Christmas greeting last night to lead into the Christmas celebration and came across this in a blog that I read from Ron & Jane Ann Richmond- Ron and Jane Ann are currenlty serving as missionaries in Tanzania. Somehow this touched my heart in a special way and I would like to share it with you:

What if the spirit of Christmas could live within our hearts every day of the year?

If, as Herod, we fill our lives with things, and again with things; if we consider ourselves so unimportant that we must fill every moment of our lives with action, when will we have the time to make the long, slow journey across the desert as did the Magi? Or sit and watch the stars as did the shepherds? Or brood over the coming of the child as did Mary? For each one of us, there is a desert to travel. A star to discover. And a being within ourselves to bring to life. unknown author

Perhaps the Christmas spirit, like the nature of the Beloved, is meant to be a Holy Mystery. Perhaps the Christmas spirit is our souls' knowledge that things, no matter how beautiful, are only things; that we were created, not always to do, but sometimes simply to be. Perhaps the Christmas spirit is a loving reminder that we must make time for the long, slow journey across the desert; we must take time to discover our star; we must honor the time necessary to brood over the coming of the person we were created by Love to become. It has been said many times that our lives are gifts from God-that what we do with them is our gift in return.

Christmas is the perfect day to remember this.

God's blessing!

Love is a muddy trail through the woods...

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I left the company Christmas party rather early on Friday night, I was tired and restless, and just felt like spending the rest of the evening at home.

On Saturday I spent part of the day with my wife, she managed to get me to open up a bit and talk about what I had on my heart, no easy task believe me. At 14:45 I met three ladies from my running club at our trailhead for a run. If you read my post last week two of them are training for a marathon in March. We did the normal 11K loop, getting back just in time to head out again with the main group. Two of the ladies that I ran the first loop with eventually fell behind with a couple other runners, they decided to stay with their long run pace. I decided to move on ahead with the mid-pack group.

Afterward I stayed a bit and chatted with different folks, I knew I wouldn't see some of them until after Christmas. I also enquired about my running buddy who hadn't showed up that evening. A mutual friend said that her cold had gotten worse so she decided to rest a couple days.

After church on Sunday the bathroom scales convinced me to head out for another run. My wife wanted to work on a project management course she is taking, so I had her blessing to take my time, so I decided to drive to Weingarten and run an hour on my hilly route. As I drove there I mapped out the route that I wanted to take in my head, nothing for the weak at heart!

I arrived at my trailhead, it was a balmy 9°C/48°F and the sun tried its best to shine from behind the clouds. I set my Garmin, turned on my iShuffle, and warmed up with a relatively flat kilometer before heading up the first hill. As I chugged upwards my legs warmed up and my breathing increased, but I reached the top without discomfort. I wound my way back down the hill and headed up the asphalt road to the top - this is a more direct (i.e. steep) way to the top. As I reached the top for the second time I headed down another path to the south, a rather steep descent that I could feel in the knees, albeit without any discomfort.

About two-thirds the way down I reached my next destination, a relatively short climb, but with a severe grade, the kind that sucks the will out of the weak-hearted. I was red-lining by the time I reached the top, but quickly caught my breath as I headed back down the mountain (hill for you north-westerner's).

When I reached the bottom I headed up the other side of the small valley on a longer, gentler climb that wound its way back to the top of the plateau. This climb was refreshing, I passed several horseback riders heading down, we exchanged greetings as I passed. Once I reached the plateau at the top, you guessed it, down I went again. The next climb was the second steepest of the day and about twice as long as the steeper once mentioned prior. By the time I reached the top I was about tapped out and breathing like I had just run up a long flight of stairs!

I circled around a small loop at the top of the plateau until my breathing returned to a safe level and made my way down the mountain. I was well past my "hour" of running, so decided to cut off on a side trail that let back up the mountain. Somehow this last climb seemed easier and I was back on top before I knew it. I headed over the plateau and down the mountain towards my car. My body felt that we were heading home and my step grew light, I picked up the pace and "flew" down the mountain for the last time.

I ended up running about 15 km (9.5 mi.), with at least 5-6 good climbs in 1 hour 42 minutes, a pretty good pace for this time of year. But what was more important with this run was that I had time to think while I was out there, there is no better therapy then running muddy forest trails. Between various discussions with my wife and some time talking with my creator I think I have found the answers to some of my worries.

Later I called my running buddy to see how she was doing. Her cold is much better, but she is going to rest a few more days. We are planning on meeting some other friends on Friday and do a run together, I'm looking forward to it.

I thank those that responded to my last post, you guys are the reason I keep writing this blog, thank you! I have since talked with the friend and I sense the warmth returning, I only need to work at finding balance in this part of my life. Sometimes through my enthusiasm I over do it in one area of my life or another, this is the extremist part of me. I was never the type to half-do something, I either did it or I didn't, all or nothing. Whether it is with running or with friends, I'm in it for the entire journey and don't hold back. But with some runs you have to pace yourself or you won't finish the race, with some friendships too.

Running, looking for answers

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Thursday after work I piddled around the house for awhile until my wife got home. She asked if I wanted to go grocery shopping with her..I agreed, I have been preoccupied a lot lately, I thought I should spend some time with her.

When we got home later I was putting the car away in the garage and thinking a bit about my mom for some reason. All at once I was overwhelmed with the thought that I hadn't lost just my mom in October, but I also lost my best friend. Maybe that sound a little funny to some, so let me explain. I have always loved my mom and dad dearly, I considered them my heroes and role models, we had a good relationship. But with my mom it somehow was a step further, we were also best friends. We could talk to each other openly about our problems and mutually encourage each as needed.

Anyway, I went back into the house and mentioned this to my wife. She only smiled and said she wondered when I would get around to realizing that and start talking about it. I usually keep things bottled up inside until I'm ready to get it off my mind. My wife knows this and has been patiently waiting for me, what a great lady I have!

This evening is my Christmas party at work, so I went in later than normal. I took advantage of the moment and went for a run. I spent an hour and a half on the trails trying to think through things. My mom's death has obviously left a void in my life and I find myself trying to fill the void. On the positive side I have drawn closer to my dad, I hope he remains with us for awhile yet. I have also been really appreciated my circle of friends and have been trying to spend more time with them.

On the down side I think I have been overdoing it a bit with at least one friend, perhaps spending more time with the person then the person might like. I don't know if I am just imagining it or it is really happening, but I sense the person drawing away. Perhaps it is only the busy holiday season, but on the other side I am a bit concerned that I have watered the garden a bit too often.

I have had friends come and go and normally wouldn't worry about it so much, but this person has come to mean a lot to me. I'm not sure what I should do now.

A Speed Workout and Running with Friends

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Last night my wife called me when I was riding home on the train and said she would be home in an hour or so and wanted to go out to eat, thus I shouldn't be gone so long on my run. This of course curtailed my plan of running with my running club, which I meet first at 6 p.m., so I decided to go to the local research center and run a couple laps.

I arrived at the research center around 5:00 p.m. I knew that a couple of our senior runners run there on Wednesdays, but first around 5:30. I decided to run the 6.6 km loop in the reverse direction (counter-clockwise) so I could meet them when they come around. I also wanted to run at least 7 miles (11 km), so I knew I would need to pick up the pace.

I took off quickly, and soon was cruising around the loop at roughly my 10K race pace. According to my Garmin I covered 6 kilometers in 28:33, for an average pace of 4:45/km (7:39/mi.).

I crossed paths with my running friends just past the 6 km point and turned around to join them. As their pace is a bit slower (7:13/km, 11:37/mi.), I had a good chance to chat with them and recover from my speed workout. It was a good time and I even made it back to the house in time to take my wife to dinner before it was too late!

Running Therapy

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Last night I ran two loops around the local research facility with my running partner. We both had long days at work and wanted to relax, so we kept the pace down. I shamelessly used the opportunity to discuss a lot of thoughts that have been dancing around in my head since my mother died. What I really like about my running partner is that she is not afraid to say what she thinks, she often presents a new prospective on things. The two loops were quickly over, oh well there's always next time.

Gestern Abend habe ich zwei Runden rund das Forschungszentrum mit meiner Lauffreundin gelaufen. Wir haben beide langen Tage bei der Arbeit gehabt und wollten einfach abspannen, so wir haben ein gemütliches Tempo gelaufen. Ich habe viele auf die Hertz gehabt, so habe die Gelegenheit unverschämt benutzt um über meine Gedanken zu sprechen. Was freut mich besonders von meine Lauffreundin ist das Sie hat kein angst ihre Meinung zu sagen, Sie bietet oft ein frische prospektive über viel Sache! Die zwei Runden war schnell vorbei, na ja bis die nächste mal.

100 Kilometers or Bust

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This weekend I signed up for the Ulm Night Run. This 100K (also 50K) run on June 12/13, 2009 will be my first 100K race. Anyone want to run with me? There is also 2-person (50/50 km) and 4-person (20/30/30/20 km) relay teams, grab some friends and make it a night to remember!

Ich habe über die Wochenende für die Ulmerlaufnacht angemeldet. Diese 100 km bzw. 50 km Strecke an 12./13. Juni 2009 will mein erste 100 km lauf sein. Wer will mit? Es gibt auch ein Staffel, entweider 2 x 50 km oder 4 x 20/30/30/20, nehme ein paar Freunden und lauf mit!

Tis the Season to be Running

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For me the holiday season is not my favorite time of the year. Yeah, I know it's Jesus' birthday and for this I'm thankful and I find joy in this. What makes the holiday season difficult at times is that I miss the big family get together that I experienced before I lived in Germany. Thanksgiving, Christmas - these were the times where the family got together, ate, but more importantly caught up on each other's lives. In January it will be 19 years that since I moved to Germany to live with my wife and it has been at least that long since I was home for Christmas. I have also experienced a couple trying experiences in my life that occurred right before Christmas, sometimes these return and try to haunt me.

My reaction is to try to spend time with good friends here in Germany, which is not always easy around holiday time, as they have their own families. But sometimes it works out and I cherish these moments. Yesterday I arrived an hour and a quarter earlier at my running club's trailhead and ran a loop with two ladies who are training for a marathon in March. Another friend who wanted to get her run done early joined us, the more the merrier! We arrived back at the trailhead just in time to do the loop again with the rest of the club. I set off with the marathon ladies, and we were joined by friend Gerd and my running partner. It was a great time, I ended up with 22 km (14 mi) all together at a fair pace.

Today I drove with my running partner to Kronau, about a half hour away, and we ran the 20 km Wander course that a local club was sponsoring. It was a cool 4°C/39°F, but sunny and clear. My friend was feeling a bit under the weather, so we kept the pace down and just took it easy. When we arrived back at the sports center we changed and enjoyed some good food, cake and coffee and some chatter.

Eventually we made it back to our town and said our goodbyes. I arrived home and found my wife relaxing in the living room. She took advantage of my absence and worked on homework for a course she is taking. I was chilled out from my run and we enjoyed chatting for a bit and watching TV show.

It's been a nice weekend...how was your's?

Staying fit and looking forward to 2009

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I talked to my father last night, he is doing quite well. He misses my mother of course, but his strong independent nature and faith is carrying him through. Anyone who has experienced the death of a loved one knows that the emotions kind of go up and down for awhile. Myself, well, when I feel the sadness of the loss of my mother creeping up I think of her smile and seemingly perpetual joy and I can't stay sad - somehow this is her gift to those who knew her.

I have been really appreciating the friendship of those around me, especially my running friends...I really cherish them!

My running and overall fitness is looking good. I have done a pretty good job of keeping my weight down, hovering at 71 kg (157 lbs), just 1 kg more than my race weight for this year (70 kg/155 lbs). After the holidays I would like to try to get the weight down a couple more kilograms, to around 67-68 kg (148-150 lbs.).

I have been running around 70 kilometers (44 miles) per week over the last few weeks, a bit more than usual for this time of year. Right after Christmas I want to start training for my first 100K race, which will be in June. As preparatory runs I will run all or most of the following races:

January 31: Rodgau 50K (5 km laps till I drop)

March 8: Bienwald Marathon

March 29: Eschollbruecken 50K (5 km laps till I drop)

April 26: Oberelbe Marathon (Dresden)

May 9: Mannheim Marathon

May 21: Westerwald 50K

June 12: 100K !!

I can't wait !!

Letting up on the brakes...

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Last night I arrived a little early at the trailhead from my running club, I wanted to run a few kilomters before the normal run. It was quite dark as I started out through the woods towards Spoeck, it had just rained and the trail was saturated. On the end of my 3 kilometer loop it was already significantly lighter out. After joining and gabbing for a few minutes with the group we set out. I ran with my normal group for the first 5 km or so, but eventually some of the faster runners took off, this time I was with them! I was feeling really good as we continued to speed up as we made our way around the loop. Finally around the 9 km point one of our group said he had to slow down, so we all did, at least until the last few minutes when the other run and I left him in the dust...yes, we are a couple machos for sure ;-)

Gestern Abend habe ich etwas früh zu die Lauftreff gefahren, ich wollte ein paar Kilometer schaffen vor die normal Lauf. Es war sehr dunkel als ich habe durch die Wald Richtung Spöck angefangen, es hat gerade geregnet und die Strecke war sehr nass. Am ende die drei Kilometer Rund war es deutlich heller aussen als ich habe die andere getroffen. Nach ein paar Minuten quatschen haben wir angefangen. Ich habe die ersten 5+ Kilometer mit die normal Gruppe gelaufen, aber irgend wann hat ein paar von unsere Hasen gas gegeben, dieses mal war ich dabei! Ich habe mich wirklich gut gefühlt als wir haben immer schneller rund gelaufen. Kurz nach die 9 km punkt eins von unsere Gruppe gesagt das er muss langsamer, so wir haben ein bisschen gebremst, aber kurz vor die ende die andere und ich habe im in die Staub gelassen...na ja, Machos you know ;-)

Cool Running

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Last night I ran a couple loops around the local research center with my running partner. It was a cool 4°C (39°F), but without wind or rain, and we were dressed warm enough. We kept the pace at a comfortable level and the kilometers melted away. I would have liked to run another loop, and know my friend could have run it easily, but then the entire night would have been spent...instead we headed back to town, tomorrow is another day with a new opportunity to run!

Gestern Abend habe ein paar Runden rund die Forschungszentrum mit meine Lauffreundin gelaufen. Es war ein Kühle 4°C, aber ohne Wind und Regen, und wir waren gut gekleidet. Wir haben mit ein bequem Tempo angefangen und die Kilometer war schnell geschafft. Ich hatte gern noch ein Rund gelaufen, und weiss mein Lauffreundin hat es drin, aber dann wurde die ganze Abend weg...wir haben zurück im Stadt gefahren, morgen ist ein neue Tag mit neue Laufmöglichkeit!

Three runs in two days

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On Saturday afternoon I met my running club at 4:00 p.m. for a run. It was my second run for the day so I placed myself at the back of the mid-pack. I was with good company, my running partner was next to me and several other friends. We started out with the mid-pack group but after the first couple kilometers the front runners speeded up and 6 of us remained behind and ran at a more comfortable pace. My legs held up surprisingly well considering I ran that morning, maybe it was the group motivation that kept my mind occupied! I ended up with a total of 25 km (15.5 mi) for the day.

On Sunday morning after church I met my running friend and we headed out for a two hour run. My legs were in good shape considering the double run on Saturday. The week before I ran a 26 km (16 mi.) long run on Thursday night an my legs were in worse shape for my Sunday run - I think splitting the long run is easier on the legs, now the question remaining is whether the training is as good as a single long run...

Anyway my friend and I set out at an easy pace, enjoying the cool morning and the company on the trail. We made our way through the woods to the local research center, then beyond towards our running club trail. We looped around the trail in the reverse direction, then back to our town. We ended up with just over 18 km at an average pace of 6:10/km (9:55/mi.). This was about 10 sec./mile faster than last week and we were trying to run slower! I think my running friend is in super shape, she just can't seem to run slow. Next week I will have to take her to Weingarten so we can run some hills :-)

Later in the day my running friend and some other friends picked my wife and I up at the house and we walked over to the Christmas market across the street. I enjoyed spending the next few hours with friends, life is good!

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Passing the 2000 mile mark

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I left work a little early on Friday with the intention of doing an hour of cycling before dark. It rained off and on all day, so naturally when I got home it was pouring outside... I decided against cycling. By the end of the night I wished I had gone anyway, the week was long and stressful and I desperately needed fresh air.

After a rather restless sleep I got up this morning and could still feel the restlessness inside...whats up with that. I said to my wife that I was headed out for a run, she asked "Aren't you running tonight with the running club?" I responded, "of course", and headed out without a second thought.

I set out at an easy pace...I was stiff and somehow weary. As my legs warmed up I tried to push the pace, however as my Garmin later showed, I kept slowing down every few minutes. After a few kilometers I decided just to keep up the farklet speed play as best I could and enjoy the run. About halfway through the run I had to detour around a logging crew in the woods and ended up back in town a bit short of the 12 km/7.5 m. that I wanted to run. I decided to take a loop around town, I ran by the house of one of my running club members, their car was already gone - probably shopping. I continued down a few blocks and passed my running partner's house - her window shades were still closed, she likes to sleep in on the weekend...for a moment I considered ringing and waking her up...but wisely kept running ;-)

By the time I got home I felt better inside, I left most of my frustrations out on the trail. When I logged the run in my log I noticed I had passed the 2000 mile (3220 kilometers) mark for the year, which was my goal, not bad and I still have a couple of weeks of running left.

In a few hours I will be meeting my running club for my second run of the day...I am really looking forward to it! Afterward I will probably take a walk over to the Christmas market with my wife - it's right across the street!

Have a great weekend!

Last night I met my running club and ran a loop in the rain and darkness. Despite the nasty weather I enjoyed the run, I mean there is no such thing as bad weather, right?

On Tuesday evening I went running with my running friend, two loops around the local research center. It was a cool, but comfortable evening and we kept the pace down. I really can't think of a better way to spend and evening, can you?

Tonight we are going to the birthday party from a sweet little angel, the daughter of friends of ours, she is five years old today! I am looking forward to an enjoyable evening with friends.

Gestern Abend habe ich meine Lauftreff Gruppe getroffen und ein Rund in die Regen und Dunkelheit gemacht. Trotz die mies Wetter hat es für mich spaß gemacht, ich meine es gibt kein schlechtes Wetter, oder?

Am Dienstag Abend ich habe mit mein lauf Freundin gelaufen, zwei Runden rund die Forschungszentrum. Es war ein kühl, aber angenehm Abend und wir haben die Tempo ein bisschen untergehalten. Ich kann eigentlich nicht vorstellen ein bessere Weg um ein Abend zu vorbringen, und du?

Heute Abend gibt ein Geburtstagfeier von ein kleine Angel, die Tochter von Freunden, Sie ist heute fünf! Ich freue mich auf eine schöne Abend mit gute freunden.

Hi Conny, gestern Abend war ein schöne Lauf, oder :-)

Running through the Weekend

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I hope everyone who celebrates Thanksgiving had a great time and got enough to eat! After my longer Thanksgiving run I felt surprisingly good the next day, considering it was my longest run since the September marathon!

On Saturday evening I met my running club at our trailhead for a run. I chatted with my running partner for a couple minutes, she wanted to run a bit slower with a couple others, I set out with the mid-pack runners. I chatted off and on with a couple runners as we made our way around the 11 km (6.8 mi) loop. Around 3-4 kilometers I looked behind me and who did I see, my running partner keeping up with me...well actually our group. The two runners she started out with ran too slow for her...she's in good shape, I think she is going to have a fantastic race season next year if she keeps it up!

The big news in our group is that a couple of our runners are thinking about running the New York Marathon in 2009, one of them asked me if I was interested. The interest is there, but I think it is not in my budget for next year...any sponsors out there?

On Saturday night my wife and I were invited for dinner at friends of ours, it was quite late when we got home and I did not want to crawl of bed Sunday morning. I managed made it to church on time and afterward changed and ran over to my running partner's house to pick her up for a run. The day was cool 6°C (43°F) but the sun was peeking out from the clouds, just right for a run!

We made our way over a wooded path to the local research center, then wound our way over to the running club trails. We kept the pace easy, and enjoyed chatting the kilometers away. We eventually made our way back to town, finishing with almost exactly 18 kilometers, at an average pace of 6:16/ km (10:05/mi.). During the last half hour of the run I had a hard time maintaining the pace, I think this was a result of too little sleep the last few nights, and a rapid jump in total mileage for the week.

Today's the first of December, can you believe it, time sure flies by! I am looking forward to the holidays at the end of the month, I have some time off and can relax a bit. And right after that I can start winding up the training for next year's race events...I can't wait!

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