March 2009 Archives

Ka-choo, sniff, sniff

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My cold is worse so I don't feel like writing much today. I somehow managed to run 20.5 km (13 mi) on Saturday and 33 km (21 mi) with RB on Sunday. Today I feel like garbage and may go home from work early. If this continues I'll take a couple days off from training and get some more rest.

An Easy Half-Marathon

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My wife was feeling a little better last night, today she wants to go back to work, I hope the upswing continues. On the other side my cold is trying to make a comeback, maybe a result of my selfish thinking (read the post yesterday)?

In any case as I headed out for my planned two hour run after work my legs were heavy and I was feeling sluggish. I made my way along the edge of town, through the short tunnel under the railroad to the other side of town, then over to the riding club and the trails of my running club just beyond.

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As I entered the woods I noticed I needed a lot more effort than normal to maintain the roughly 5:30/km (8:50/mi.) pace. I decided that this is probably a result of my 110 km (68 mi.) week of running that I had last week, coupled with my lingering cold. I adjusted my pace and cruised on to the trailhead to join my running club for a run.

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I joined the group right before they took off for the 11.2 km (7 mi.) loop, falling in with the mid-pack group that I usually run with.

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As we cruised over the first kilometer I again felt the pace was a bit faster than I really wanted to run. My running friend Birgit joined our group soon after and we ran together for a bit. The group was motivated and seemed to increase their speed, Birgit mentioned she wanted to do some tempo training the next evening so really didn't want to run so fast. We decided to drop back and run our own pace.

We were eventually joined by a couple ladies that had been hanging back, who ran about half the loop with us until they took a shortcut back. Birgit and I continued on, running at roughly our long run pace, chatting away and enjoying the run. When we arrived back at the trailhead we chatted for awhile, then I headed home, over the railroad bridge towards Spoeck, then over a field path towards Stutensee.

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I ended up with a total of 21 km (13 mi.), at around a 6:00/km (9:39/mi) pace, not bad considering my lingering cold. Tonight I want to run around 8 miles with RB, then I'll take a break until Saturday.

Walking on Glass

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My mood this morning kind of matches the gray storm clouds and blustery wind outside. My wife is home with the flu which means her daily life routine is on hold, which in turn means she has too much time on her hands where she doesn't feel good enough to do anything. For the last three months I have been doing my best to try to do the lion's share of the housework so she can study, while going to work and trying to maintain 60+ miles (100+ km) a week of running a week. I think I have been pretty successful at this, but this week my wife has too much time to miss me. Some of you know what I mean...you can't do anything right.

After work yesterday I had about 20 minutes to get ready before I had to run over to RB's house for our run. I tried to patiently let my wife tell me about her day while I got ready...kind of like trying to listen to someone on the telephone when you have to pee really bad...you want to listen but you are pressed with other thoughts...I guess this didn't go over very well with the missus.

The run went well, RB is hanging in there, just 4½ weeks until her first marathon! On a sad note we met an older friend of ours on our running club trail that we hadn't seen for a month or two, it turns out his wife had a stroke and he's been kept busy lately. Luckily, she is doing better and will mostly recover over time. He's hanging in there so far, it's never easy.

So tonight I need to try to spent some more time with my wife, with work and school she has her share of stress, add the flu to it and it's hard to be content I guess...

Another Busy Weekend

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The weekend was busy:

Friday: My wife was in school so did some housework, cooked...
Saturday: Cleaned some more, 40 km cycling, 2 hour run, went to concert (Carmina Burana) and dinner.
Sunday: 20 mile run, more housework, collapsed in chair...

I met friends Uli and Birgit an hour before our normal running club run and we ran a loop around our trails. We made it back in just enough time to head out with the main group. I ran the short loop so that I could be home in time to make it too a concert. I went with friends to hear music from Carl Orfff, "Carmina Burana". Afterwards we stopped at a restaurant near where I live for a late dinner. It was a nice evening, just what I needed!

On Sunday I headed out with RB (my running buddy) for her first ever 30 km (18.6 mi.) run! We were escorted the first 5-6 miles with another friend of ours that lives around the corner from RB. I am happy to report that my friend completed the run with energy to spare. At this rate I don't think she will have any problem with here first marathon on April 26!

My body is holding up pretty well considering I was fighting a cold at the beginning of last week. I still managed to complete 110 km (68.4 mi.) for the week, a new weekly record. My legs are a bit tired this morning, but no aches, pains or anything that shouldn't be there :-)

Tonight I'm going to rest up, I have a busy week at work, at home and with the training too!

My First Cycling Tour of the Year

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The sun was shining this morning and I was finished a little early with my household chores. I decided to take a short bike tour, so measured out a 30 km (18.6 mi.) long run route for tomorrow. I accomplished this and took an extra loop around the area. I ended up with about 40 km (25 mi.) not bad for the first ride of the season and considering it was only 10°C/50°F outside!

In a couple hours I am meeting friends for a two hour run, I hope my legs won't hate me...

Smile

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This short film on youtube called "Validation" mesmerized me. If we applied these "validation" techniques to our interactions with others, our world would certainly be different. The lead actor in the short film is TJ Thyne, the chemist on Bones.

SMILE

Ten Miles with RB

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Last night I picked up RB (my Running Buddy) and we ran almost the same 10+ mile loop as Tuesday. The weather was mild for this time of year, 57°F, partly sunny, but rather windy over the open fields. We quickly found our pace and our conversation carried us easily over the first 6-7 miles.

After around mile 7 RB asked what the shortest way back was, she was tired from a long days work. I had nothing against a shortcut, I was feeling the same way. We lightened the pace and tried to find a shorter way home, but really there wasn't one. RB hung tough and we made it back in good time, she earned a couple days rest before our ~19 mile run on Sunday.

Gestern Abend habe ich RB abgeholt und wir haben ungefähr die gleiche 16,5 km Rund als Dienstag gelaufen. Das Wetter was nicht schlecht für dieses Jahr, 14°C und teilweise sonnig, aber etwas windig über die offene Felder. Wir haben schnell unsere Tempo gefunden und durch unsere Plauderei die erste 10-11 war schnell absolviert.

Ab 11 km oder so meine RB hat gefragt ob es gibt ein Abkürzung, sie war müde nach eine lange Tag bei der Arbeit. Ich habe nicht dagegen gehabt, bei mir war es genau so. Wir haben das Tempo aufgelockert und versucht eine Abkürzung zu finden, aber leider wenig Schritten gespart. Egal, meine RB hat es gut durchgehalten und hat jetzt ein paar freie Tagen verdient bis unsere 30 km lauf am Sonntag.

A little speed, a lotta fun!

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Last night I was a little late coming home from work, so I just barely had time to change and run the 2.5 miles to the running club trailhead. I was thinking the whole time that I was late, so was cruising along at almost my 10K race pace (7:39/mi.). I ended up being 4 minutes early...

I chatted with a few friends for a couple minutes, but soon we took off. I fell in with the mid-pack group, the faster group was a bit too fast for me. We ended up running the roughly 7 mile loop with an average pace of 9:16/mile. Around kilometer 5 Birgit joined us, she got off work a bit late and missed us at the start.

Our tempo stayed fairly consistent over the loop, except for the 9th kilometer when a couple of the crazies in front, especially an ultrarunner, took off at a sprint to the bridge just past the 10K point. Of course the fun effect was high, sometimes that's the best medicine to spice up the routine. I at least was motivated, and after a short interlude with the group after the run, took off with light feet towards home. In the end I ran a total of almost 12 miles, at an average pace of 8:46/mile.

Tonight I am running almost the same distance with my running buddy, but hopefully she is not quite so motivated and we can run a bit slower, but whatever...bring it on!

Gestern Abend habe ich etwas spät von Arbeit gekommen, so ich habe gerade Zeit zum umziehen und die 4 km nach der Lauftreff zulaufen. Ich habe die ganze Zeit gedacht das ich spät war, so habe mit fast 10 km Wettkampftempo (4:45/km) gelaufen, nun ich war 4 Minute früh...

Ich habe ein paar Minuten mit Freunden gesprochen, aber wir haben gleich los gelaufen. Ich habe entscheidet mit die Mitte-Tempo Gruppe zulaufen, die andere war etwas zu schnell. Wir haben die 11 km Rund mit eine durchschnittliche Tempo von 5:46/km gelaufen. Bei km 5 hat Birgit uns getroffen, sie hat auch ein bisschen spät von Arbeit gekommen und am Anfang verpasst.

Unsere Tempo hat mehr oder weniger gleichmassig geblieben, außen km 9 wo ein paar Wilde, besonderes ein verrückte Ultraläufer, hat zu dem Brücke kurz nach km 10 gesprintet. Es hat natürlich spaß gemacht, manchmal ist ein abwechseln die beste Medizin gegen Alltäglichkeit. Ich war mindestens motiviert, und ab ein kürze unterhalten mit die Gruppe nachher hat mit ein leichte Schritt zurück nach Hause gelaufen. Am ende habe ich insgesamt 19,1 km in 1:44:08 gelaufen, ein durchschnittliche Tempo von 5:27/km.

Heute Abend laufe ich ungefähr die gleich mit meine Lauf Buddy, hoffentlich ist sie nicht so arg motiviert und die Tempo bleibt ein bisschen langsamer, was auch immer...ich bin bereit!

Running into the Spring

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Last night Birgit from my running club met me at the house and we ran over and picked up my RB (Running Buddy) at her hourse. Birgit was running her second run since our marathon on March 8th, my RB is just five weeks away from running her first marathon.

We set out at an easy pace and cruised around a roughly 16 km (10 mi.) route that my RB and I run sometimes. Birgit is also an experienced marathon runner so we had some good conversation over fuelling during a marathon. RB can't handle some of the sports drinks that are used at the races, so we were discussing alternatives, such as water with gels and/or sports bars.

The time went by fast, we ended up with about 16.5 km at roughly my RB planned marathon pace. The weather stayed nice during the and we made it back just as the sun tucked itself away for the night. I had a great time, I mean it's not everyday that I can watch a sunset in the company of two pretty ladies ;-)

Today is supposed to be warmer and sunnier, I want to either do some bike riding or run a round with the running club, my choice will depend on when I get home from work. I still have a lingering cold, but the worst seems to be behind me. At this rate I'll be in good shape for the planned two hour run on Saturday and my RB first 30 km (18.5 mi.) run on Sunday!

My friend Bernd took a few pictures at the Bienwald Marathon on March 8th, here are a few of the better ones:

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Picture 1: LT TSV Graben Running Club Members: Uli, Jack, Andreas and Birgit

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Picture 2: Uli and Jack getting off to a good start

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Picture 3: Andreas at the first aid station

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Picture 4: The infamous long stretch of road that goes on forever

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Picture 5: Jack and Uli shortly before the halfway point.

Running Through the Weekend

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Somehow the weekend flew by, where does the time go. On Friday my throat was a bit scratchy, probably a result of most of my office sneezing and wheezing through the week. But on Saturday I felt good enough to meet my running buddy for a long run.

Our goal was 28 km (17.5 mi.) and my friend was very concerned that her tendon inflammation would be a problem. The weather was at least on our side, partly sunny with around 16°C (61°F), as we set out at 2 p.m. We settled into our normal long run pace and the kilometers clicked by. My running friend ran gingerly on her one foot in the beginning, but after awhile I noticed she relaxed and could run normally, this was a good sign.

We ran by the local research center, under the bridge and over to our running club trails, then on over the railroad bridge to my old running trails. We paused for refueling after an hour or so, then continued on over the field way's toward Graben. I could tell my friend was feeling good, we fell into a rhythmic pace and ran practically in sync over the miles.

As we passed the edge of Graben and turned towards the town of Spock, we decided to bypass a wooded trail that had a lot of roots and took a bike path paralleling on of the county roads. My friend had mentioned that stones and roots bothered her injured foot, so this seemed like a good move. In any case my friend was running strong, we were running at a noticeably faster pace than normal, and friend seemed to be comfortable.

We weaved our way past Spock and over the field way's back to our town. The wind had picked up and made the running harder, but my running buddy was hanging tough! Finally we reached the edge of town and circled around back to my friend's house. I observed my running buddy as we completed the last few minutes of our run, she was in surprisingly good shape, she could have easy run several more miles! I asked her about it afterward and she admitted she was feeling good. After the painful runs she has been having lately due to the tendon inflammation, this was good news.

We ended up with 28.5 km (17.7 mi.) for our run, at an average pace of 6:22/km (10:15 mi.), much faster than my friend has been able to run lately! We both know that the next day or two will be critical, the inflammation usually flares up after the long runs, so I am keeping my fingers crossed.

On Sunday Brigit and Andreas from my running club picked me up for a run. They wanted to show me a hilly route where they usually train. I take any opportunity to run with friends, especially on a new route, so was fired up. We drove towards Bruchsal, about 5 miles north of where I live and parked on the edge of the woods.

The first couple kilometers were flat as we made our way through the woods and over the highway on the other side. But from there we quickly started climbing, but much more gradual then what I was used too. This was my friends first hilly run of the years so they wanted to take it easy, walking some of the steeper parts. I of course was in my element and was like a Porsche stuck in first gear ;-)

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(Note: The pictures are a year or two ago!)

We cruised along some real nice logging trails, and even some single track, passing by a German military post (airborne unit). I was just loving it, my friends too! We cruised over the first few hills, eventually reaching the town of Heidelsheim. We ran along the edge of town, eventually turning back towards the way we came. We ran over a serious of rolling hills, fields, vineyards and what not. It was wide open and the wind was cooling things down fast...in the distance the storm clouds were moving in.

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By this time our roughly 1½ hour run had already stretched beyond 2 hours and we were still miles away from where we began. Other than not having any water with me I wasn't over concerned. Our pace was easy and we were walking the steeper hills.

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We gradually made our way in the direction of the military post (Kaserne), visible on the hilltop in the distance. When we reached this we tied back onto the trail that we had climbed at the beginning, backtracking back to the car.

After 2 hours and 58 minutes we arrived safely back at where we started, hungry, but with a very satisfying run behind us! According to my Garmin we ran 25.2 km (15.7 mi.) at an average pace of 7:04/km (11:22/mi.), not bad for my friends first hilly run of the year! In any case we plan on doing this again soon, nothing like spending a few hours on the trails with friends!

I used to do an after action review after a marathon, but slacked off when I started running so many each year. I thought this year I would try to pick it up again, I find it good to think about what works and what doesn't. Overall I feel my training to date has been quite effective, I felt good during the marathon on Sunday and the best ever afterward!

I attribute this to a few different things:

- Double runs on the weekend, usually a long run and a medium long run.
- 30% higher weekly mileage as previous years.
- Running five times a week instead of 4.
- Higher motivation through running with friends during training and the marathon.
- Careful fueling during the marathon. This time I started with sports drink at the first station, normally I wait. It's hard to tell if this alone really helped, but I want to try this again.

I really can't think of anything that went wrong during the marathon, however I have a few notes:

- My hamstrings began to get quite sore by the three hour point, not so bad that it affected my performance, but probably because my friend slowed down. No way to say, but something to monitor and try to fix.
- I could have tapered some more, the 18 km/11 mi. run two days before the race was probably too long.
- I noticed my diet was not optimal the week before the marathon, e.g., I ate too many sweets.
- I didn't warm-up before the marathon, I should consider this the next time I want to run a fast one.

With the first marathon of the year behind me I find myself pondering the weeks and months ahead.

Yesterday when I got home from work I was knackered, warn down from the week of work and several "Life's Problems" that have been on my mind. I knew that my wife wasn't going to be home for awhile, so I suited up and headed out the door for a run.

It was raining lightly as I left the house, but I barely noticed...I had my iPod Shuffle with me and soon I was lost in my music. After a few kilometers I realized that I was nearly redlining it with my pace, but it felt good and I kept going.

I finished the first 10 km in 51:07, a little fast considering I ran a marathon 4 days before. I continued over the bridge to my running club trailhead. I didn't see anyone around so kept running over our trail. After 6-7 km I turned off and headed back to my town (Friedrichstal). I passed by the house from running club friends Gerlinde and Horst, past my running buddy's house, took the underpass under the train tracks and finally the last bit to my house.

Altogether I ran 20 km (12.5 miles), at an average pace of 5:15/km (8:28/mi.). My legs were tired, but my head free and my spirit lifted. This morning I notice the faster pace in my legs, but I know I'll be up for a long run on Saturday. Have a nice Friday!

Gersten wenn ich habe heim gekommen war ich fix und fertig, teil von der Arbeit und sonst von andere dinge im Leben das bringt momentan sorge. Ich habe gewusst es dauert ein bisschen vor meine Frau zu Hause wird, so ich habe mein Laufschuhe gebunden und los gelaufen.

Es hat leicht geregnet als ich habe das Haus verlassen, ich habe mein iPod Shuffle dabei und habe mich schnell in meine Musik versteckt. Ab ein paar Kilometer habe ich gemerkt mein Tempo war fast im rote bereich, aber es hat gut gefühlt, so ich habe einfach weiter gelaufen.

Ich habe die erste 10 km in 51:07 gelaufen, für mich irgendwie verrückt nur vier Tagen nach eine Marathon. Ich habe weiter über die Brücke Richtung die Lauftreff Strecke gelaufen. Bei der Lauftreff war nicht los, so ich habe weiter über unsere Strecke gelaufen. Nach 6-7 km habe mich über die Hauptstrasse zurück nach Friedrichstal gelaufen. Ich habe die Strasse bei Lauffreunden Gerlinde und Horst vorbei gelaufen, dann weiter bei meine Lauf Buddy und unter die Bahn Unterführung bis zu Hause.

Ich habe insgesamt 20 km gelaufen, mit eine durchschnittliche Tempo von 5:15/km (8:27/mi.). Meine Beine waren etwas müde nachher, aber mein Kopf frei und mein Geist wieder in Ordnung. Heute spure es leicht im Beine, aber ich bin sicher ich wurde für mein lang lauf morgen fit sein. Ein schöne Freitag noch!

An Easy Run with my Friend

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Last night after work I met my running buddy for a run. In the moment she has an inflamed tendon on her foot which is giving her some trouble, so she wasn't sure how far she could run. We headed out of town, past the riding club, to our running club trail behind. I noticed that my friend was a bit uncomfortable as she ran, but we still managed to run almost 8 miles. I hope that her foot improves soon, she has trained so hard and our marathon is only 6 ½ weeks away.

For me the somewhat slower pace was not bad, especially considering that I ran my first marathon of the year two days before. Up to now my legs are in pretty good shape, a little tried after the run last night, but nothing out of the ordinary. Tonight I am taking a break, and the rest of the week I will run somewhat less and slower than normal. I hope I can continue with my 100K training next week without interruption.

Gestern nach die Arbeit habe ich meine Lauf Buddy für ein lauf getroffen. Momentan hat sie eine Sehnenentzündung am Fuß, so sie war nicht sicher wie weit wir laufen könnten. Wir haben durch die Stadt zum die Pferdehof, dann hinten über unsere Lauftreff strecke gelaufen. Ich habe gemerkt es war nicht ganz bequem für meine Freundin zu laufen, aber wir haben doch 12+ km geschafft. Ich hoffe es geht langsam besser für meine Freundin, sie hat bis jetzt so hart Trainiert und unsere Marathon ist 6 ½ Wochen entfernt.

Für mich war das (etwas) langsame als Normal Tempo nicht schlecht, besonderes nur zwei Tage nach meinen ersten Marathon des Jahres. Bis jetzt fühle mein Beine nicht schlecht, ein bisschen müde nach die lauf gestern Abend, aber akzeptabel. Heute Abend ruhe mich aus, und die Rest von diese Woche mache ich etwas weniger als Normal. Ich hoffe ich kann nächste Woche weiter für mein 100K trainieren.

A Short Recovery Run

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The official results for the Bienwald Marathon are in:

Clock time: 4:05:51
Chip time (net): 4:03:51
Overall place: 450/620
Male place: 404/531
Age place: 66/91 (first race in M50 age group)

As I mentioned in my race report I decided it was more important to stay with my friend during the race, rather then running ahead so I could get a new personal best. I run enough marathons a year to where I can get that in too.

The race showed me that my training has been quite effective thus far. I finished in much better shape than with any previous marathon and with the feeling that I could have finished below my present 3:57 personal best.

I felt good enough last night to go for a recovery run. I met several from my running club at our trailhead and ran the first 4 km with them, then turned around and ran back. I ended up with just over 8 km at a comfortable pace.

Tonight I am meeting my running buddy for a run, I'm looking forward to it!

Wie ich habe in meine Marathon Bericht (leider nur auf Englisch) ich habe entscheidet das es war mehr wichtig das ich bleibe mit meine Freundin statt ein schnelle Finish zu laufen. Ich laufe genug Marathon am Jahr, irgendwann wurde ich das schaffen.

Das Wettkampf hat mir gezeigt das mein Training bis jetzt ist sehr effektiv. Ich habe mich am Ziel besser gefühlt als bei jeder anderer Marathon. Ich habe die Gefühl gehabt dass ich könnte leicht unter meine Bestzeit von 3:57 laufen.

Gestern Abend habe mich gut genug gefühlt um Freundin von meinen Lauftreff zu treffen. Ich habe ungefähr die erste 4 km mitgelaufen bis ich habe mich umgekehrt und zurück gelaufen. Ich habe insgesamt rund 8 km gelaufen bei ein bequeme Tempo.

Heute Abend treffe mich meine Lauf Buddy für ein lauf, ich freue mich!

"The Bienwald, or Bee Forest surrounding Kandel, Germany has long been on my mind. After suffering a DNF on the seemingly endless asphalt forest paths in 2006, I swore off ever running a 'city' marathon again. However, thoughts of 'unfinished business' continued to plague me throughout the year until I again found myself at the starting line in 2007."

This was how my race report began in 2007 when I returned to Kandel to "make things right", finishing the marathon with a then personal best of 4:29:36. In 2008 I again returned to Kandel and used the race as a training run in preparation for future ultra events. My legs again seemed to get beaten up by the 100% asphalt course, perhaps because I choose not to run long runs on any streets during the winter. This year in preparation for my first 100K race in June I have been running high mileage since the beginning of the year and arrived at the race ready to run a sub-4 hour marathon with Uli, a friend from my running club.

I met running club members Uli, Birgit, Bernd and Andreas in front of the sports hall about 15 minutes before the race. The weather was fairly warm, around 8°C (46°F), but with a cool wind and dark rain clouds threatening to dampen our day. We chatted a bit then made our way over to the Start. Bernd still had a cold so wasn't running, but brought his bike to meet us along the way. Andreas was going to run the half, but only at a training pace, the rest of us were fit for the full distance.

After a bit the starting pistol went off and we inched our way over the starting mat. Eventually we broke loose from the pack and Uli and I fell into our planned race pace (average 5:30/km, 8:51/mi.). Birgit had missed several weeks of training due to a bad cold, so dropped back with a somewhat slower pace. The course cut through part of Kandel then headed over a road, that was closed for the event, to the next town, Minfeld. The road was open and the wind battered from the left, but fortunately it wasn't raining.

We weaved our way through the streets of Minfeld and to the first aid station just past kilometer 5. We decided to start early with the sports drink and paused long enough to grab a cup. From Minfeld we headed out over a bike path between some open fields, eventually making our way into the Bienwald (Bee Forest). The next 2-3 km were quite tight as the path was small and the 1500+ half-marathon runners were still with us. On the positive side the woods effectively blocked the wind, a fact that was very noticeable as we exited the forest and made our way down a long stretch of road (~7-85 km, 5 mi.) towards the town of Schaidt.

The road towards Schaidt was closed for the race, is mostly straight and portions quite windy. About 10 minutes down this road the half-marathon turned around and headed back towards the finish line. The road in front of us grew noticeably empty, as there were only about 600 doing the full marathon. We stopped at the 10 km aid station at some point along here, again taking sports drink, mixing mine with water to dilute it a bit. After a couple kilometers we took a quick pee break and managed to pick up our pace again without losing too much time.

We stopped at the 15 km aid station and downed our first gels, I chose water to accompany it, Uli I believe drank sports drink. I again picked up the pace right away, at which some point Uli remarked that we should slow down a bit, we were actually going faster than the planned 5:30/km (8:51/mi.) pace. We slowed a bit, but as we approached Schaidt the band playing spurred us on. We ran along the edge of town, eventually reaching a turn around, whereas we backtracked around 3 km (2 mi.). We eventually turned right and began a roughly 10K out and back. As we turned the corner we ran over the half-marathon timing mat, I believe our net time was just over 1:57:00, well within range of a sub-4 marathon.

We zigzagged our way over asphalt forest ways, stopping at an aid station for another gel along the way. Uli remarked that her quads were starting to ache, not a good sign, I knew what was coming. We let up a bit on the pace and kept going. After a couple more kilometers Uli said she couldn't keep the pace up, that I should go on alone. I ignored her and tried to pick up the conversation with her. By the next aid station, I believe by roughly kilometer 28 (17-18 miles) I knew she was hurting and I knew it was the same problem that I always seem to experience at this marathon...aching quads that zap your will to run...and sure enough shortly after this Uli came to a dead stop and started walking. I patiently walked with her, again ignoring her when she said I should go on...I told her was staying with her and with that she started running again.

We made it back to our pace for a kilometer, then she stopped and walked again. Here I think she hit her lowest point of the race, where frustration sets in and hope tries to run away. I patiently tried to reassure her and we picked up the pace again I believe making it back to the main road again before the next walk break.

As we headed back towards the finish line the walk breaks remained relatively short, maybe 15-20 seconds, I would have probably walked longer. I think Uli's competitive spirit (she did her first Ironman last year) kept her moving along here and I tried to keep our running pace going as best I could, running a step or so ahead of her, effectively pulling her along.

The miles slowly passed by, I knew it was still possible to break 4 hours, but only if we could pick up and maintain our planned pace. But Uli was struggling, her legs ached and she was discouraged. My legs began to ache also, probably from the walk breaks, but I was still going okay. With somewhere around 6-7 km (4 miles) left we eventually turned off the main road and headed back through the forested section towards Minfeld.

After a kilometer or two Uli's friend Bernd arrived on his bicycle and rode with us. It was somehow heartbreaking to hear Uli explain the problems she was having, she had trained so hard and was really counting on a good race. Our paced slowed a bit through here, but eventually I eased the pace forward a bit, back under 6:00/km (9:40/mi.). I knew we weren't going to make it under 4 hours, but I was determined that Uli at least didn't go too far past it either.

Our pace stayed fairly steady over the last 3+ kilometers (2 miles) and Uli kept running. I could tell she was fighting to keep moving, I've been there before, I knew the feeling. I did my best to pull us forward, but at best we maintained our pace.

Finally the stadium came into view and we ran to the other side to the entrance. We entered the stadium and ran the ¾ lap, crossing the finish line together, in 4:03:51. By this time Bernd was there with Uli's jacket. I stood for a moment with them, then decided that I was fit enough to run back and see how our other gal Birgit was getting along. I estimated she was about 15-20 minutes behind us so set out at a slow trot.

After about a mile I finally saw Birgit up ahead. I joined her and ran with her to the finish line. She was tired but still moving well, she finished in 4:23:37, a good time considering she had missed almost 3 weeks of training due to a bad cold!

I fetched something to drink and stood and chatted with my friends for a bit. Eventually the cold wind forced us our way. Uli and Bernd headed home, Birgit's husband Andreas had her bag, so she headed off to the showers. I jogged to my car and collected my bag, then showered. Afterward I headed over to the sport hall, but it was full of people and I didn't see Brigit and Andreas. I decided they probably left (they did) because it was too crowded and I drove home.

After the race we agreed to meet later for dinner, but when I got home my wife's cold was worse so she didn't want to go away. I decided it was better to stay home with her, so called Bernd as said I wasn't coming, oh well sometimes it has to be that way.

I am completely satisfied with the race, improving my course record by 26 minutes! I am also confident that if we could have maintained our pace we would have been well under the four hour mark. I am glad I stayed with Uli, I had my first DNF on this marathon course in 2006 and struggled through last year's race with the same problem that Uli had. I know what she was going through and did my best to help her get through it. Generally running a race is a "me" thing, but sometimes you have to try to give something back.

Today was my first marathon of the year in Kandel, Germany. It was cool, windy, and then rainy. I ran with my friend Uli from my running club who wanted to break four hours. We had a good time going during the first half, well within reach of her goal, but then she started have issues that slowed her down. I decided that helping a friend to the finish was more important than a new PR, we finished in 4:03:51! I'll try to get my report down in the next day or two.

A Marathon in Two Days

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The week has gone by slowly, the weather on the other hand has been changing faster then I can keep up with. We have gone from a beautiful last weekend with temperatures near 60°F, to rain to snow! As I countdown to my first marathon of the year on Sunday I will probably have to bring my whole wardrobe with me and figure out what to wear when right before the start of the race.

Other than the fashion problem all systems are a go, I have cut my mileage way back this week and am feeling good. I seem to be surrounded by sick people, but so far have avoided catching anything. I haven't slept as much as I would have liked to the last couple nights, but I am looking forward to sleeping in a bit on Saturday.

The Bienwald (Bee Forest) Marathon in Kandel, Germany on Sunday begins at 10:00 a.m. The course is flat, mostly asphalt, with long, open stretches that are nasty by wind and rain. I plan on running with one of the ladies that I have been training with on Saturdays. The question remaining is whether it will be with speedy Uli or steady Birgit.

As always I have three goals in mind for the marathon:

Bad day: 4:30-4:45 (training run)
Good day: 4:00-4:10
Race of my life: Beat my 3:57:14 personal best

In any case I want to start out at a pace that will bring me home in under 4 hours. If the wind and rain whip up like the weather forecast calls for, then I expect my pace will diminish accordingly. On this course I will know how my day is going by mile 15, the first half of an out and back section of the race - it always kills me for some reason. If I'm still on pace by mile 20, when I hit the main stretch and the wind is pushing from behind, then it will be a good day!

Last night's run was one of life's magic moments where everything just fell into place. The weather was warm and sunny, I felt relaxed and rested, and best of all I had my running buddy with me. I think somehow we both felt this moment, our running was in sync, we glided effortlessly through the woods. We had about 8 miles on the training plan, but my friend said "Let's keep running until its dark out."...pure poetry in this runner's heart.

Every run must come to an end, after almost 10.5 miles we arrived back at my friend's place and I regretfully said goodbye until our run on Thursday night. With a light step and under a clear heaven I enjoyed the last kilometer to my house. Life is good!

Der Lauf gestern Abend war einer von den magischen Momenten im Leben, wo alles gerade in Platz fiel. Das Wetter war warm und Sonnig, ich habe mich ausgeruht gefühlt und ich habe meine Lauf Buddy dabei gehabt. Irgendwie wir haben beiden diese Moment gespürt, unsere bewegen war synchronisiert und wir haben höflich durch die Wald gelaufen. An unsere Trainingsplan haben wir 12-13 km gehabt, aber meine Lauffreundin hat gut gefühlt und meinte wir sollten weiter laufen bis es Dunkel werden...echt Poesie für ein Läufer ;-)

Die Zeit war viel zu schnell vorbei, ab fast 17 km haben wir das Haus von meine Lauf Buddy erreicht und ich musste mich bis unsere nächste Lauf am Donnerstag Abschied nehmen. Mit eine leichte schritt und klare Himmel habe ich die letzte Kilometer zu mein Haus genossen. Manchmal ist leben doch schöne, nicht war!

So now I guess I need to taper...

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On Saturday I met Birgit, a running friend from my running club at our group trailhead. Our plan was to run at least a three hour run. It was a warm and sunny 59°F, perfect running weather! We first ran a 12 mile loop over Friedrichstal, Spöck, Graben and back to the trailhead, hoping to meet up with our group for the next 11 km loop. We arrived back at the trailhead way too early, and didn't want to wait almost 20 minutes for the group to show up. After a short break we decided to keep running. After about 40 minutes the first of the faster runners managed to catch us, but of course we didn't make it easy for them :-)

In the end we ran just over 18.5 miles, at an average pace of 10:05/mile. This run was important for Birgit as she had a bad cold and missed a couple weeks of training. She wanted to run the marathon on this coming Sunday, but was confident that she could make it. But after our run I think she has a good feeling, but is going to wait a couple days to decide. I think she will have no problem!

On Sunday after church I ran over to my running buddy's house and picked her up for a run. It was equally sunny as the day before and even warmer (63°F) outside. We had 16 miles on the schedule, were motivated and ready to rock! We started out over our normal route, from Friedrichstal past the local research center to our running club trails, then over the railroad bridge and left towards Graben. Once we reached Graben we added a mile or two stretch through the woods towards the quarry pond Spöck, then through the woods and over the field path's back to Friedrichstal.

My friend was motivated and we maintained a good pace. We stopped a couple times to down a sports bar and drink something. After a couple hours I asked my friend how her legs were doing, she remarked they were feeling tired, but we didn't let up on the pace! After 2 hours and 43 minutes we arrived back at my friends apartment, good for an average pace of 10:05/mile, almost 30 seconds/mile faster than normal! I am really proud of my running buddy, she is in good shape!

Afterward I ran home, showered and enjoyed some cake and coffee. My wife was hungry (she studied through lunchtime), so we ate an early dinner (4:00 p.m.). After eating I was looking forward to propping my legs up in my easy chair, but my wife wanted to drive to Karlsruhe to find the school where she will be taking a class next weekend, so off we went. Later when we got back my wife hit the books again and I took care of the ironing. Finally, around 8:00 p.m., I settled down in my easy chair and propped my feet up.

This morning my legs are a bit tired, but I am feeling really good, I hardly notice that I ran 65 miles last week. Next Sunday is my first marathon for this year, so I will be tapering this week. On Tuesday and Thursday nights I want to meet my running buddy to run, and maybe Saturday morning I will do a short run to loosen up. Have a nice week!

Am Samstag habe ich Lauffreundin Birgit am 13.45 Uhr bei dem Lauftreff getroffen. Wir haben es vor ein drei Stunde lauf zu absolvieren. Es war warm und sonnig, fast 15°C, absolut perfektes lauf Wetter! Wir haben erste ein 19 km Rund über Friedrichstal, Spöck, Graben und zurück gelaufen, und habe gehofft das wir könnten mit die Lauftreffgruppe die letzte 11 km Rund mitlaufen. Aber wir waren zu früh zurück am Start, und wollte kein 20 Minuten für die Leute warten, so nach ein kurze Pause haben weiter gelaufen. Es war fast 40 Minuten vor die erste von die Schnell Hasen hat uns geholt, wir haben es natürlich nicht leicht gemacht ;-)

Am ende haben wir 30 km gelaufen, mit ein durchschnittliche Tempo von 6:16/km. Ich meine es hat Birgit gezeigt, trotz ihre schwer Erkältung für ein paar Wochen, dass sie ist fit genug um die ganzen Marathon nächste Sonntag zu laufen. In jedem Fall will sie es in die nächste paar Tagen entscheiden, ich bin gespannt.

Am Sonntagmittag habe ich drüber zu meine Lauf Buddy gelaufen. Es war auch sonnig und eine herrliche 17°C außen. Wir haben 26 km auf die Plan und waren durch das Wetter motiviert und ready to rock! Wir haben mit unsere normale Strecke angefangen, Friedrichstal über die Forschungszentrum bis der Lauftreff Strecke, dann weiter über die Bahnbrücke und Richtung Graben. Nach Graben haben wir ein paar Kilometer weiter durch die Wald Richtung der Baggersee Spöck, dann durch die Wald und über die Feldweg zurück nach Friedrichstal.

Meine Freundin war motiviert, wir haben ein gutes Tempo durchgehalten. Wir haben ein paar Mal angehalten um zu essen und trinken. Ab die erste paar Stunde hat sie gemeint das ihre Beine war müde, aber wir haben die Tempo trotzdem durchgehalten! Ab zwei Stunden 43 Minuten haben wir ihre Wohnung erreicht, gut für ein durchschnittliches Tempo von 6:16, fast 15 Sekunde/km schneller als normal! Ich bin super stolz auf meine Freundin, sie ist in gute Form!!

Nachher habe ich heim gelaufen, geduscht, und ein bisschen Kaffee und Kuchen gehabt. Meine Frau war hungrig (sie hat durch die Mittagessen gelernt), so wir haben ein sehr früh (16.00 Uhr) Abendessen gegessen. Ich hatte eigentlich Lust im Sessel zu setzen und zum ausruhen, aber mein Frau wollte nach Karlsruhe fahren um die Schule finden wo ihre neue Kurs nächste Freitag ist, so wir haben das getan. Später wenn wir zurück war mein Frau hat weiter an ihre andere Kurs gearbeitet und ich habe bis 20.00 Uhr gebügelt. Endlich dann könnte ich meine Beinen hoch heben und ausruhen.

Heute sind die Beine etwas müde, aber allgemeine ich fühle mich sehr Fit, ich merke kaum das ich habe 104 km letzte Woche gelaufen. Nächste Sonntag ist meine erste Marathon für dieses Jahr, so wurde die Rest von diese Woche ausruhen. Ich will Dienstag bzw. Donnerstagabend noch mal mit meine Lauf Buddy laufen, dann vielleicht ein kurze Lauf am Samstagmorgen zu aufwärmen.

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