May 2009 Archives

Running with an Ultra Star (sort of)

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Last night I met three friends from the running club at the local research center. Our plan was to run two hours, so we zig-zagged our way through the forest towards Karlsruhe.

On the way we crossed paths with two runners with a husky dog. On of my friends said that the runner with the dog was Jens Lukas, a well-known ultra runner in Germany. He is former European Champion for the 24-hour run and has won the 246 km long Spartathlon in Greece three times (1999, 2004, 2005). He and his friend followed us for several kilometers, staying about 20-30 meters behind us...they were probably doing a long run, as they stayed at about the same pace as we were doing (10:30/mi.).

We eventually turned onto another trail and headed home. Jens, who runs 60-125 miles a week, probably ran another round around the county...

Eventually we arrived back at our cars and headed home. Despite the rain it was a really nice run...good friends make all the difference!

Gestern Abend habe ich drei Freunden von der Lauftreff Gruppe bei dem Forschungszentrum getroffen. Unsere Plan war ein zwei Stunde lauf, so wir haben Zickzack durch die Wald im Richtung Karlsruhe gelaufen.

An die weg haben wir ein paar Läufer mit einem Huskyhündin gesehen. Eins von meine Freunden hat gesagt das es war Jens Lukas, ein sehr bekannte Ultraläufer in Deutschland. Er wurde Europameister im 24-Stunden-Lauf, außerdem hatte er drei Siege (1999, 2004, 2005) beim 246km langen Spartathlon in Griechenland. Er hat uns für mehrere Kilometer gefolgt, immer 20-30 Meter hinter uns...wahrscheinlich hat er ein sehr lange Lauf gemacht, deshalb die langsamere Tempo (6:30/km).

Wir haben eventuell umgedreht und ein andere Strecke genommen. Jens, die das läuft 100 bis 200 Kilometer pro Woche, hat wahrscheinlich noch einmal Rund die Bundesland gelaufen...

Eventuell haben wir zurück zum unsere Autos gelaufen und heimgefahren. Trotz ein bisschen regen war es ein schöne lauf...gute Freunden macht die unterschied!

The Fidelitas 80 km Night Run 2009

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This year I also plan on running the 50 Mile Fidelitas Night Run. I've run this race for the last three years, but this year it will be different because I will be running my first 100 km race just two weeks before. I've talked with several people that run the 100 km race in Biel (Switzerland) and then run the 50 mile Fidelitas race two weeks later, they all say its no problem, you only need to run a little slower. So I think I can do the two races too.

To be sure this will not be easy, so to increase my chances of success I asked around in my running club whether anyone had interest in running the 50 mile relay, whereas they could run with me. Luckily I found four friends that are willing to do this!

So on June 27 the relay "Team Jack" will accompany me on the Fidelitas Night Run. The relay consists of four stages as follows:

Stage 1: approx. 11.5 miles - to the staging area Grötzingen
Stage 2: approx. 13.5 miles - from Grötzingen to Mutschelbach
Stage 3: approx. 11 miles - from Mutschelbach to Langenalb
Stage 4: approx. 14 miles - from Langenalb to the finish

The first stage is flat and the fastest, running friend Sabine requested this stage. The disadvantage is that it can be brutally hot and there is little shade.

The second stage has lots of hilly stretches, my Ironman friend Uli that I ran the Bienwald Marathon in March with, said she should be able to keep up with me.

The third stage also has hilly stretches, but my pace will be drastically reduced by this time, so running friend Birgit is running with me. It will also be dark during the latter part of this stage, but that's not a problem.

The last stage is the longest, and I figure will be quite difficult for me, particularly after running the 100 km race two weeks before. But I have an ace running with me, Conny, who has paced several running club members for this race in past years. I have confidence that she is the one that can get me over the finish line when the going gets really tough!

In any case I plan on running the Fidelitas Night Run with my only goal to cross the finish line. This should be a relatively stress-free run for the relay team, the pace will be relaxed, and I don't expect it will be a problem for anyone. I'm looking forward to it anyway!

Dieses Jahr, habe ich auch vor die 80 km Fidelitas Nachtlauf zum laufen. Ich habe diese Lauf die letzte drei Jahr gelaufen, aber für dieses Jahr es ist anderes weil ich will die 100 km Lauf zwei Woche vorher machen. Ich habe mit viele Leute gesprochen das läuft die 100 km Lauf im Biel und danach die Fidelitas, die meint es ist kein Problem, man muss nur ein bisschen langsamer laufen. So, ich bin mit die Meinung das ich kann das auch tunen.

Es wird sicher schwer, so um meine Chance zum verbessern habe ich Freunden im meine Lauftreff Gruppe gefragt ob die hat Lust die Staffellauf zum laufen, woher die könnte mich begleiten. Mit glück habe ich vier für die Staffellauf gefunden, darauf freue mich wirklich!

So, am 27. Juni die „Staffel Team Jack" wurde mich an die Fidelitas Nachtlauf begleiten. Die Staffel ist in vier Etappen:

1. Etappe: 18,3 km - zum Wechselstellen Grötzingen
2. Etappe: 21,6 km - zum Wechselstellen Mutschelbach
3. Etappe: 17,5 km - zum Wechselstellen Langenalb
4. Etappe: 22,6 km - bis zum Ziel

Die erste Etappe ist flach und die schnellste, Lauffreundin Sabine wollte unbedingt diese Etappe laufen. Das Nachteil ist es kann sehr heiß sein, und gibt wenig schatten.
Die zwei Etappe hat viele hügelige Teile, mein Ironman Freundin Uli, das ich habe im März begleitet bei dem Bienwald Marathon, meint sie kann mithalten.

Die dritte Etappe ist auch hügelige, aber mein Tempo werde viel langsamer, so Lauffreundin Birgit läuft mit. Diese Etappe wird teilweise im Dunkelheit, aber kein Problem.

Die letzte Etappe ist die längste, und ich vermute wird für mich sehr schwer nur zwei Woche nach ein 100 km lauf. Mit glück habe ich Conny dabei, über die Jahren sie hat andere Lauftreff Läufer begleitet und ich freue mich das sie wurde dar sein durch die (für mich) schwerste Teil von der Lauf!

In jedenfalls mir habe nur ein Ziel für die Fidelitas Nachtlauf dieses Jahr, über das Ziel zu kommen. Es sollte eine relativ Stressfreie lauf für die Staffelteam, die Tempo wir langsam, ich erwarte kein Problem für jemand. Ich freue mich darauf!

It's Too Late

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With my 100 km event just 2 weeks away (June 12th) it is too late for any new training, whatever I have in the bag is what I'll be bringing to the race. In any case that is what is running through my mind as I think about my last long run that I am running on Friday night.

I originally planned on running a super long run on Friday night, around 5 hours at my planned pace. However, I think it is more important to be fresh for the race, so I will probably limit the run to about 3 hours. The main purpose of the run will be to practice my intended 100 km pace, which is a bit slower than what I normally run, even during an ultra. I also want to practice the regular walk breaks and fuelling that I will be doing during the event.

After Friday's run I'm going to reduce my mileage by half for next week, and run just two short runs the week prior to the 100 km event.

Heat Training

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Yesterday was the highest recorded temperature in our area in 40 years! So what do ultra runners do on such a day, when the temperature climbs to over 93°F? Heat training of course!

I drank at least three liters of water through the day, so I was well hydrated for the run. I threw a couple half-liter bottles of water in my Camelbak anyway as I left the house. For the first part of my run I headed out over asphalt bike paths towards the town of Spoeck, then eventually to the running club trailhead.

After about 4 miles I reached the trailhead and chatted with a couple friends until the others arrived. I started out the run with Gerd and a couple other men, the women wanted to take it easier because of the heat. We started out at roughly an 8:50/mi. pace, and maintained it more or less for the first five miles. I was still feeling good, but it was getting a bit too warm for a couple others, so we reduced the pace somewhat.

After we finished the approx. 7 mile loop, I took a swig of water, then turned around and went to look for the ladies. I know that not everyone can handle the heat so well, so I wanted to make sure everyone made it back safely. I had an extra bottle of water with me in case anyone needed it.

After about 5-6 minutes I met up with them and joined them as they completed the loop. I stayed for a few minutes and chatted with my friends, drank some more water, then ran back towards the house. I ended up with almost 14 miles at an average pace of 9:06/mi., not bad for the hottest day of the year (thus far).

Gestern war für unsere gegen die höchster Temperatur im Mai im Vierzig Jahre! So was macht Ultraläufer am so ein Tag, wenn die Temperatur über 34°C ist? Hitztraining natürlich!

Ich habe durch die Tage mindestens drei Liter Wasser getrunken, so war gut vorbereitet für die Lauf. Ich habe Trotzdem ein paar kleine Flaschen Wasser in mein Laufrücksack gemacht als ich habe die haus verlassen. Als erste Etappe habe ich über die asphaltiere Fahrradweg nach Spöck und eventuell zum Lauftreff gelaufen. Die großer Teile war ohne schatten, ich habe die Hitze richtig gespurt!

Ab ungefähr sechs und halb Kilometer habe ich die Lauftreff erreicht und ich habe mit ein paar Freunden geplaudert bis die andere hat gekommen. Ich habe den Lauf angefangen mit Gerd und ein paar andere Männer, die Frauen wollte gegen das Hitze etwas langsamer laufen. Wir haben mit ungefähr ein 5:30/km Tempo angefangen und haben das mehr oder weniger bis Kilometer 8 durchgehalten. Ich habe mich gut gefühlt, aber für ein paar andere es war langsam zu heiß, so wir haben die Tempo reduziert.

Nach der 11 km Runde habe ich schnell ein bisschen getrunken, dann umgedreht und die Frauen gesucht. Ich weiß viele kann die Hitze nicht so gut vertragen, so ich nur sicher sein das alle hat sicher durchgekommen. Ich habe ein zweite Flasche Wasser im Rücksack im Zufall das jemand braucht es.

Ab fast ein Kilometer habe ich die Frauen getroffen und mit die zurück zum unsere Startpunkt gelaufen. Ich habe dann ein bisschen mit den Leuten geplaudert, mehr Wasser getrunken, und dann Richtung mein Haus heim gelaufen. Insgesamt habe ich 22 km gelaufen, mit eine durchschnittliche Tempo von 5:39/km, nicht schlecht für den heißesten Tag des Jahrs (bis jetzt).

Pictures of Westerwald 50K Race

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I didn't take many pictures, but I found a link to another site that offers a race report in German, but with lots of good pictures of the race:

Race Report from Joe Kelbel

Webpage from Joe (same pictures)

On Wednesday after work we made my annual pilgrimage to Rengsdorf, near Koblenz, where I would run the 50K Westerwald (Forest) Run on Thursday. For once the weather and traffic cooperated and we had stress-free travel. We arrived an hour and half early at the Bed & Breakfast where we have stayed the last couple years, but the owners weren't in, as expected, so we went to our favorite Italian restaurant in town for dinner. After some good food we returned to the B & B and checked in for the night.

I was up at 6:30 the next morning, it was already light out and a gentle mist was rising from the Koblenz valley below. We had a quick breakfast and I got ready to run. The sun was shining and it was fairly warm, I guessed around 16°C/61°F, I decided to go with shorts and a short-sleeve running shirt, but threw a long-sleeve running shirt in my Camelbak backpack - the weather tends to change fast in the Westerwald.

The sun was shining brightly as we arrived at the town swimming pool, where the race started. The race director recognized me as I arrived, and greeted me. As I went to collect my start card the young lady already had it in her hand, she said something like "We know our returning victims." I greeted a couple of the other "returning victims" that I have met over the last three years. Another recognized the race shirt from the Bienwald Marathon that I wore; he ran the same marathon in March.

Shortly before the 8:00 a.m. start I said goodbye to my wife and joined the other runners that were gathering at the start. I guess we were around 70-80 runners, the most running the 50 km, a few running the shorter 31 km course. The race director mentioned that the course was not quite as demanding this year, but still challenging. Aid stations were located every 8-10 km, and so on. Soon he was finished and sent us off.

I really didn't have any specific goal for the race, I just wanted to run at a comfortable pace and try not to wear myself out too much three weeks before my first 100K race. The sun was still shining as we left, but the sky was mighty dark off in the distance...

I fell into a comfortable pace, as we headed down behind the swimming pool and wound our way along the edge of the wood line and into forest. After a kilometer or two the course traversed a couple climbs, but they were gentle - I elected to keep running, the weather was cool and I felt good.

Around kilometer 4 we entered a nice runable section of forest, my pace kept increasing, until finally a climb into the next valley, towards the town of Niederraden, slowed my pace. Around kilometer 7, the course rounded a curve and I found myself at the first aid station. I stopped long enough to drink something, but didn't waste much time there.

As I continued the course went over a serious of very gentle hills, I paused briefly around the 10 km point and walked a steeper section that headed over a grass covered field, but soon was running again. According to my Garmin I passed the 10 km point in 1:03:20, faster than I expected. The course continued over fields, sometimes on asphalt paths, sometimes gravel and dirt. We entered the woods again, then crossed under (over?) Autobahn 3, entered the forest again, and finally crossed over fields to the town of Linkenbach.

As this first part of the run progressed, the sky grew darker and dark, until finally we heard thunder in the distance. I felt a few drops of rain, but miraculously the storm turned away from us and eventually the sky grew clear again.

Just past Linkenbach, around kilometer 17, was the second aid station. My quads were already feeling a bit tired...it made me wonder if I've been pushing too hard lately. I ate a sports bar and a couple crackers, and downed some water, no turning back now.

The trail headed more or less downhill for the next 7-8 kilometers, my pace remained under 6:00/km (9:40/mi.) and my legs felt better. The trail ran along a mostly wooded valley, I believe there was a stream to one side, very beautiful anyway. Somehow I lost myself in my thoughts and admiring the course. My Garmin shows I passed the 20 km point in 2:04:18, way ahead of my usual time in the Westerwald, although I admit the course was easier up to this point.

Around kilometer 24 was our third aid station, I was feeling an energy deficit, so ate a peanut butter sandwich that I had with me and drank a sports drink. The trail traversed what a series of hills, not too long, or steep. I continued to run this portion, at a slightly slower, but steady pace. I passed the halfway point in around 2:35:00; I was making good progress, but hoped I wasn't going too fast to where I need to be concerned about the next 25 km!

We continued to wind our way through the forest, occasionally passing over a short span of field, up, down, and around, finally arriving at the fourth aid station around kilometer 35 in the town of Obersteinbach. The folks were set up along the road, I stopped to drink and eat some crackers. I was feeling tired, I resisted the urge to sit down on one of the empty benches, I still had a lot of ground to cover.

The trail climbed out of Obersteinbach, along a road, and then off into the forest, I elected to walk some of the steeper sections. The few runners that I saw at this point we're doing the same...it was quite humid and getting warm outside. We passed by the town of Krunkel, then over a bridge spanning Autobahn 3 and a railroad. Right after the bridge was a drink station, I drank some water, and it was somehow too warm for sport drink by this time.

The trail again entered a forested section for a kilometer or two; I walked up a hill then ran down the other side reaching the town of Oberhonnefeld-Gierend and the marathon point in roughly 4:35:00. My pace began to deteriorate over the next several kilometers, as the trail headed over fields, short stretches of forest and began to follow a woodline. Somewhere around here, maybe kilometer 44 or 45, a man and woman passed me. I tried to hang with them a bit, but couldn't seem to muster the energy, so decided to at least try to keep them in sight.

I caught the couple shortly as they paused at the last aid station around kilometer 46. They took off soon after and I really didn't need anything from the aid station so left soon after. The trail took a last couple short climbs, I was pooped, so walked most of these. The runners in front of me were doing the same, I guess we were all a bit tired by this time.

With 3 kilometers to go I noticed that I was still within range of finishing under 5 1/2 hours. Although it really didn't matter, it did give me the boost that I needed to pick up the pace. I soon recognized the trail I was running on, the familiarity spurred me on.

The trail wound it's way along the edge of Rengsdorf, finally connecting back to the trail that we headed out on several hours earlier. Shortly after this I reached the finish line, the race director and several other people were there to greet the finishers as they arrived, that's what I like about this event! I found something to drink and made my way over to the swimming pool to find my wife.

I finished in 5:30:53, a very satisfying time, and a personal best for this distance. According to my Garmin the course this year traversed 2807 meters of ascent and 2754 meters of descent. My feeling was that the course was much gentler this year as compared to previous years, typically I need 6 ½ to 7 hours for the course.

In any case the run was incredibly beautiful, the organization optimal, the people friendly, and the other runner's like family. That's why I keep coming back!

Back from the Westerwald 50K

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We are back from the Westwald race. The event was super, anstrenuous, with 2800 meters of elevation gain and 2750 meters of elevation loss. I pushed the pace and finished in 5:30:53, a new personal best for the 50 km distance. Today I'm doing good, my legs are a bit tired, but not worse than a longer training run.

I'll try to write up a report over the weekend!

Wir sind zurück im Badenland. Das Lauf war Super, anstrenge, mit Gesamt 2800 Auf-/Ab-Steig, aber ich habe die Tempo gedruckt und habe die 50K in 5:30:53 geschafft, eine neue Bestzeit für die 50 km! Heute geht mir gut, meine Beine sind etwas müde, aber nicht schlimmer als eine lang lauf.

Ich hoffe ich kann ein Bericht über die Wochenende schreiben.

Last night I worked in the garden for an hour when I got home. It is supposed to rain in the next couple days, so put straw around all the strawberry plants so the fruit won't spoil so quickly. Afterward my wife was busy getting ready for a business trip she had to go on the next day, so I slipped out for a run.

It was still warm (28°C/83°F) and sunny, so I decided to run on the west side of town. As I started out I noticed that my legs were really tired, perhaps from the garden work?

I kept the pace down and ran a relaxed loop around the forest. Somehow it was peaceful, I relaxed and though about my 50K race on Thursday. I'm really looking forward to the run, the Westerwald Run, which takes place in Rengsdorf near Koblenz, is always a beautiful course. The run is also an important training run for my upcoming 100K race on June 12th.

I think the training that I have done in preparation for the 100K is enough, although I wish I could have run a few more hilly runs. I believe the race will be very mentally challenging, partly because it begins first at 11:00 p.m., and partly because I will be running an unfamiliar course at night. But I know that I will finish somehow, I'm not worried.

Gestern Abend habe ich erste im Garten für eine Stunde gearbeitet. Es sollte über die nächste paar Tagen regen, so ich habe Stroh unter die Erdbeere Pflanzen gemacht so die nicht verfaulen werden. Nachher war meine Frau mit vorbereiten für ein Dienstreise heute, so ich habe für eine kurze lauf entscheidet.

Es war immer noch warm (28°C/83°F) und sonnig, so ich habe entscheidet an die westliche Seite von der Stadt zum laufen. Meine Beinen war überraschend müde als ich habe angefangen, vielleicht von der Garten arbeit?

Ich habe die Tempo langsam gehalten und ein ganz gemütliches Rund durch den Wald gemacht. Es war irgendwie ruhig, ich habe ein bisschen an mein 50 km Lauf morgen gedacht. Ich freue mich sehr auf die lauf im Westerwald, es ist immer ein schöne Strecke. Es ist auch ein wichtige Vorbereitungslauf bevor meine 100 km lauf am 12. Juni.

Ich glaube mein Training für die 100 km Ulmerlaufnacht ist ausreichend, aber ich wünsche das ich hat mehr hüglige lauf gemacht. Ich glaube der Lauf wird psychisch sehr schwer, teilweise weil es erste am 23.00 Uhr anfangen, und teilweise weil es eine unbekannte Strecke ist und wird am Anfang dunkel sein. Aber ich weiss dass ich wurde es irgendwie schaffen, ich habe kein angst.

Here is the elevation profile of the 50K Westerwald Forest Run on Thursday. Please note the left side are meters and the bottom are kilometers:

westerwald_streckenprofil_09.jpg

This year is supposed to be an "easy" year, with only 1000 meters of elevation change. Last year was 1500 meters. Here is the profile from last year (2008):

west_50K_profile2008.gif

Last night I ran to my running club trailhead and ran a loop with several friends from the group. It was a beautiful summer-like day (75°F), the sun was shining, the sky blue, fantastic! I arrived at the trailhead a bit early so chatted with a couple people until the rest arrived.

We started out at a comfortable pace, I chatted with my friend Conny about the 80 km (50 mi.) Fidelitas Night Run that I want to run on June 27. The 80 km event is only two weeks after the 100 km event in Ulm, so I asked Conny and a few other people if they would be interested in running the relay version of the race, whereby they could accompany me. With luck I have some good friends and found four willing to do this, I'm thrilled!

After the loop I chatted a bit more with the group until I noticed I was getting stiff, then headed off towards home. I ended up with about 13 miles in 1:59:45, not too bad!

Gestern Abend habe ich zum Lauftreff gelaufen und eine Rund mit mehreren Lauffreunden gemacht. Es war eine schöne, sommerliche Tag (24°C), die Sonne hat gestrahlt, ein blaue Himmel, herrlich! Ich habe die Startpunkt etwas früh erreicht, so habe mich mit die Leute geplaudert bis alle dar war.

Wir haben mit ein ruhige Tempo anfangen, ich habe ein bisschen mit Freund Conny über die vorgesehene 80 km Fidelitas Nachtlauf an 27. Juni. Die 80 km ist nur zwei Woche nach die 100 km lauf im Ulm, so ich habe Conny und ein paar andere gefragt ob sie wollen vielleicht als Staffelteam laufen um mich zu begleiten. Mit glück habe ich gute Freunden und habe vier gefunden, ich freue mich!

Nach die Runde habe ich kurz mit die Gruppe geplaudert, aber wenn ich habe gemerkt das ich langsam steif war, habe mich Richtung zuhause gelaufen. Am ende habe ich 21 km (13 mi.) in 1:59:45, kein schlechte Zeit.

Running and Hiking

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Last week I wanted to run a total of around 64 miles, but didn't quite make it. I ended up with the following:

Monday: 12.5 mi.
Tuesday: 12.5 mi.
Wednesday: 7 mi.
Friday: 22.5 mi.

Total: 54.5 mi.

I planned on doing a 15 mile hike near Baden-Baden with friends on Saturday, and afterward run with my running club, but we arrived home too late from the hike. On Sunday my wife was not happy that I wanted to leave for a run, so I decided to stay home. But I think the combination of the long run on Friday and the hike on Saturday provided some good training, in any case my legs were pretty tired!

This week I have a 50K race on Thursday (Ascension Day) in the Westerwald Forest. This is always a beautiful course and quite challenging, I'm looking forward to it.

Letzte Woche ich wollte insgesamt 104 km laufen, aber ich habe das nicht ganz geschafft. Ich habe die folgende gelaufen:

Montag: 20 km
Dienstag: 20 km
Mittwoch: 11 km
Freitag: 36 km

= 87 km

Ich wollte am Samstag ein 24 km Wanderung in Baden-Baden mit freunden machen, dann nachher mit die Lauftreff Gruppe laufen, aber wir haben zu spät von die Wanderung zurückgekommen so ich habe die Lauf verpasst. Am Sonntag meine Frau war nicht begeistert dass ich wollte weg laufen, so ich habe heim geblieben. Aber ich finde die längere lauf am Freitag, zusammen mit der Wanderung am Samstag, war Training genug, meine Beine war richtig müde!

Diese Woche habe ich ein 50 km Wettkampf im Westerwald am Donnerstag (Christi Himmelfahrt). Es ist immer ein schöne Streck und auch anspruchsvoll, ich freue mich.

Running is different lately

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I miss my running buddy, after running nearly five months with RB my long runs seem so empty without her. The seemingly endless miles ended all too quickly when she was along, now they never seem to end.

I am very proud of RB, she completed her first marathon and was fit enough the next day to walk around Dresden and the vicinity for hours on end. RB has been taking it easy since we got back from Dresden, running only the twice a week runs with our running club...sometimes I run with her slower group, just to catch up on things.

My 100K training is reaching a peak, I have been pushing my body to the edge and for the first time ever I am really looking forward to tapering which begins in about two weeks.

The 100K race will mark the end of the biggest chunk of my training this year. After that I will be running in maintenance mode, running a maximum of 3 times a week, but still hoping that I can survive a marathon or two over the summer.

I find myself wondering what my running/racing will look like in the future. I have been really enjoying myself, to say the least, but my wife's school ends in July and I know I have to cut back and spend more time with her. To be honest I have mixed feelings about this...running has become so much a part of my life. I hope we can work out a solution for the future, I really love long distance running and seem to be getting better at it!

Last night I ran to my running club trailhead and met friends from the club for a run. After almost three weeks of active vacation I was stiff from sitting at my desk at work...this became more noticeable as I started running the 11 km (6.8 mi.) loop with the group. One of the members of our group was recovering from a half-marathon on Saturday, so our group quickly split, the faster runners running on ahead. I decided to hang back with the slower group, as I was recovering from my first-ever 80 mile (130 km) week.

The sky grew dark and gloomy as we completed our loop, and you could hear the thunder looming in the distance. I quickly said my goodbyes and headed towards home, I had a couple open fields to cross and was anxious to do this before the storm hit us. I arrived at the house just as the first raindrops hit the pavement...with just over 20 km (12.5 mi.) behind me.

Today (Tuesday) is rainy and later is supposed to be stormy. At 5:30 p.m. I am meeting a couple of friends for a run, the distance will probably depend whether the storm hits us or not. In any case my legs are stiff and I have the feeling I am on the edge of redlining it with my training, which is actually where I want to be 4 ½ weeks before my first 100K. That said, I need to pay close attention to how my body reacts the rest of the week, I don't want push too far!

4 1/2 Weeks until my first 100K

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I'm hopelessly behind in my blog posts, so will try to sort through the highpoints this week and bring my blog up to date. I still am waiting on a few pictures of Dresden from one of my friends so will eventually put together a picture album or post.

My training for the 100K race on July 12 is in full swing, I have been trying to run around 100 kilometers (60 miles) per week with at least one long hilly run. Last week I was on vacation and my wife had to work, so I managed to run 131 km (80 mi.) with two long hilly runs. My legs are holding up well and I am confident that I will be able to complete the 100K in June. If all goes well I will also run the annual Fidelitas 80K (50 mile) race two weeks later on June 27.

I have a hilly 50K event coming up on May 21, in the Westerwald Forest near Koblenz. I have successfully used this for the last several years as a stepping stone for the 50-Mile race that I do in June. I may have company this year, two from my running club are thinking about joining me for the 50K.

In any case after the races in June I will be taking a break, reducing my running to a minimum...mostly to appease my wife who thinks I'm overdoing it a little...maybe she's right...

Ich habe nicht so viel über die letzte paar Wochen geschrieben, irgendwie habe keine Lust gehabt. Ich wurde diese Woche versuchen mein Blog zu aktualisieren...mal sehen.

Mein Vorbereitung für die 100 km an 12. Juni ist im Vollgang, ich habe versucht rund 100 km am Woche zu laufen, mit mindestens eine hüglige lauf. Letzte Woche habe ich Urlaub gehabt (und meine Frau nicht), so ich könnte insgesamt 131 km laufen, mit zwei lange hüglige lauf. Meine Beinen fühlt sich gut und ich meine ich habe eine gute Chance über die Ziel im Juni zu kommen. Wenn alles richtig läuft, dann laufe ich auch die 80 km Fidelitas Nachtlauf am 27. Juni.

Ich will auch die 50 km Westerwaldlauf am 21. Mai in Rengsdorf bei Koblenz laufen. Ich habe das mit erfolg für mehrere Jahren als Vorbereitung für die Nachtlauf benutzt. Es kann sein das zwei von mein Lauftreffgruppe lauf dieses Jahre mit, mal sehen!

In jedenfalls ab die Wettkämpfen in Juni muss ich ausruhen, meine Frau meint ich übertreibe...vielleicht hat sie rechts...

I have been on vacation for almost 2 1/2 weeks and don't seem to be getting anything done that I planned on, including catching up my blog. I'll do my best to fix that last point over the weekend, next week it's back to work! I have mega pictures of Dresden and the area, I only need to figure out what to do with them...

In erster Linie war das Dresden-Marathon nicht über mich, ist es ganz über meinen laufenden Freundin (Running Buddy - RB) und ihre erstes Marathon. Ich hatte das Privileg, mit RB seit Dezember regelmäßig zu Trainieren und sie auf ihrer Reise zur Ziel zu begleiten. Es ist meine Hoffnung, dass sie ernsthaft überlegt, ein anderes Marathon zukünftig zum laufen, wie ich glaube, dass sie ungeheures Potenzial als Marathonläuferin hat. Wenn diese Chance überhaupt kommt, würde ich es für eine Ehre halten, mit ihr zu Trainieren, ist sie eine erfreulichster Trainingspartnerin und ein guter Freundin außerdem gewesen! Hier ist eine kurz Zusammenfassung von unseren Abenteuern:

Am Freitag, 24. April die Dresden Oberelbe Marathon Crew hat bei RB gesammelt. RB, Holm und ich wollten die ganze Marathon laufen, Marianne die Halbe. Wir haben auch unsere gute Freund Bernie dabei, das nicht laufen wollte, aber wollten unsere Abenteuern mit erleben. Rund 9.00 Uhr haben wir los gefahren, RB mit H&M, ich mit Bernie so er muss nicht allein fahren. Ungefähr sieben Stunde später haben wir bei Schrägers Gasthaus in Königstein getroffen.

Am Samstag haben wir den Zug nach Dresden gefahren um unseren Startunterlagen zu holen. Wir haben ein bisschen durch die Marathon Messe gelaufen, dann hat H&M eine kurze Stadtreise durch die Altstadt durchgeführt. Eventuell haben wir Mittagessen bei der Opernhaus Restaurant, wirklich zum empfehlen.

Nachher haben wir langsam in die Richtung der Zug und Königstein zurück. Später haben wir Abendessen organisiert und versucht zu schlaffen.

Am Sonntag haben wir früh gefrühstückt und war ein halbstunde vor das Start am Marathonplatz. Wir haben frische Kleider und Duschapparat beim die Transport gelassen und ein Platz zum ausruhen gesucht. Erst dann haben wir gehört das ein „Personenunfall", sprich Selbstmord, hatte in den frühen Morgenstunden den Schienenverkehr zwischen dem Kurort Rathen und Königstein lahm gelegt. Ein Start um 9.20 Uhr wurde zumindest immer unwahrscheinlicher. Wir haben rund gewartet und eventuell als neue Startzeit wurde 10.20 Uhr ausgegeben.

First and foremost the Dresden Marathon was not about me, it is all about my running buddy (RB) and her first marathon. I had the privilege to train regularly with RB since December and accompany her on her journey to the finish line. It is my sincere hope that she will seriously consider running another marathon in the future as I feel she has tremendous potential as a marathon runner. If this time ever comes I would consider it an honor to train with her, she has been a most enjoyable training partner and a good friend as well!

In the initial month or two of training RB had several problems with her knee and feet that placed her training in serious jeopardy. Thankfully a little rest and some help from a physical therapist allowed her to continue her training, albeit at a somewhat reduced intensity.

At the beginning of her training RB could comfortably run around 13 miles and was running twice a week. In January we upped this to three times a week, but maintained the long run at around 13 miles. At the end of January we gradually started to increase the long run mileage up to a maximum of 36 km (22 miles) two weeks before the marathon. Our attempts to increase to four times per week training resulted in more problems with her feet, so we decided for the most part to stay with three times a week. If RB were to run another marathon in the future my tip would be to start training four times per week at lower mileage before the marathon training begins.

Overall RB had no trouble with her long runs, she was able to hold a steady pace, learned to fuel and drink along the way, and recovered efficiently afterward. She did note that her recovery time continued to increase each week with the very long runs, but I think this is normal for beginning marathoners. My observation was that she recovered much more quickly than I did when I first started running marathons.

We did not plan any speed workouts into her training schedule. This was her first marathon and she only wanted to finish. We also observed that her foot problems increased when we increased the pace of her runs, so we decided it was better to avoid faster workouts in general. If RB chooses to run another marathon in the future my suggestion would be that she first try to train for faster shorter races, e.g. 10K, HM, using speed training and see how her legs hold out.

As far as the logistics and the marathon itself...

Marianne and Holm proved to be the best organizers, tour guides and friends that you could ever hope to have when planning a marathon far from home. Their experience with the Oberelbe marathon, as well as their seemingly infinite knowledge of the area made it a painless experience, everything fell into place, there were no surprises, it couldn't have gone better!

The Oberelbe marathon organizers deserve high marks. The route was astounding, I was in awe, I highly recommend this marathon to anyone who is tired of seeing city scenery. The organizers also deserve praise for reacting quickly when the suicide jumped in front of the train, by immediately ordering up buses to bus participants to the start. Their quick actions diverted a possible disaster or race cancellation!

I would definitely recommend this marathon and hope that someday I can return and run the race...maybe next April, 2010...

RB and I quickly settled into a comfortable pace, her goal was to finish the marathon, and hopefully in around 4:45:00. I was there to help keep her on pace and keep her moving if things got ugly. The weather was a bit brisk, probably around 13°C (55°F), but with a cool wind that brought the goose pimples out! At least the sun was shining and the wind was pushing gently against our backs.

The first part of the Oberelbe (Upper Elbe) marathon ran along the banks of the Elbe River, a major transportation route over the ages. The region is famous for its Felsen (rock) formations, which were very prominent on the opposite side of the valley that we were running through. The beauty of this river valley is absolutely breathtaking, a perfect place for a marathon indeed!

dresden_elbe_2009_1.jpg

I let RB set her own pace as we started out, she ran about 10-15 seconds faster than our long training run pace, but seemed to be comfortable with this. After about 15 minutes we climbed the first "hill", really nothing worse than the bridges in our area, so we maintained our pace.

After about 5K we came to the first aid station. Due to the hour delay in the start of the race I made sure that we both started drinking right away, the outside temperature was rising! RB can't run and drink, so we walked through the station. We didn't lose much time and were soon on our way again, passing by the first town Rathen. Despite being a small town, there were several people out on the streets cheering us on.

The marathon route continued to follow the meandering of the Elbe River, sometimes along the bank, other times drifting into the shady forest as we bypassed dwellings. RB seemed to be in good spirits and our pace allowed me to chat away as we went. For the time being she was responsive and was able to converse as well. We climbed a few more short "hills", eventually passing the 10K marker at 1:03:17 near the town of Wehlen. Despite walking through two aid stations, our pace was still right on schedule at 6:20/km (10:12/mi.).

RB was still running steady as was our chatter. I suffered a mental low point along this part of the trail when RB said she probably wasn't going to run any more races until the end of the summer - in other words she wouldn't be running outside of our normal running club times, I would lose her as a training partner. I more or less figured on this since I started running with RB five months ago, but it was still hard to swallow...I took a deep breath and turned my attention back to getting her to the finish line.

Our next major landmark was the town of Pirna, which was located shortly before the 20K marker and was the largest town along the way until Dresden. Pirna is also where the half-marathon had started earlier. Pirna is a lovely old town, and the organizers were not shy about showing her off, sending us through the middle of the old marketplace! The streets were alive with supporters, some lining the route, others sitting in the beer gardens toasting us as we ran through, in each case spurring us forward with new found energy.

The sun was now overhead and the temperature began to climb, someone said over 70°F. It was still very comfortable to run, but we made sure to drink as we passed the aid stations. As we passed the halfway point (2:20:52 clock time) RB was still feeling good, but remarked that she had to work harder and her legs hurt than with our training runs. My theory was this had to do with too much walking around the day before and having to stand around an extra hour before the race.

After a few more kilometers I noticed that our pace slowly began to decrease, and RB lingered longer at the next aid stations. I tried to get her back on pace, but by the km 31 (19.2 mi.) marker her average pace was floating around 7:10/km (11:30/mi.). I was pretty much carrying on a one way conversation by this time and RB was more or less running with tunnel vision. I knew that my runner was hitting the wall so I tried to lighten up her journey by pointing out some of the interesting landmarks as we passed by. I also encouraged her to eat and drink more at the aid stations. At this point it was all about keeping her moving!

At around kilometer 35 (mile 22), we passed the Blue Wonder, a well known bridge in the Dresden area. I pointed this out to my runner and she found this about as interesting as a bad joke. I tried to remain upbeat and kept encouraging her. Our pace had leveled off and RB was gutting it out. We passed many who were walking by this time, to her credit RB walked only through the aid stations, the rest of the time she ran!

My quads were feeling abused by this time, as they always are when I run on asphalt and cobblestone streets, but I knew they would be fine later in the day. RB's quads were sore too and with around 5K left to go she just wanted to get the race over with! We approached the outskirts of Dresden and followed the banks of the Elbe River into the center of town.

With about 3 km (2 miles) to go RB hit another low spot, running her slowest kilometer, but soon after this we passed Marianne who was waiting for us. Marianne had finished the half-marathon and after showering decided to walk out to meet us. This seemed to work wonders for RB, we managed to pick up the pace for the last couple kilometers.

Finally the edge of the sports stadium came into view and I could tell my runner was relieved to say the least. We entered the stadium and made our way over the ¾ lap to the finish line. As we approached the Finish I dropped back a couple steps and told RB this was her moment - she finished her first marathon in 4:49:39 (chip time). Congratulations Marathoner!

A group of young ladies were passing out finisher medals, I let one slip mine over my head, then I caught up with RB and asked her what she needed, directing her over to get something to drink. She wanted some space and walked around a bit, I followed a few steps behind to make sure she was okay. After a bit we stood and drank some more water, then headed over to the showers.

As we walked over to collect our drop bags I told RB how proud I was of her...but I don't think it had sunk in at that point what she had accomplished...she was too pooped!

After showering we met outside and went to look for Holm and Marianne. We didn't see them yet, so picked up something to eat and drink and found a table to wait for them. I was in awe; RB was a little stiff, but by far in better shape than anyone that I ever saw who ran their first marathon.

Eventually Holm and Marianne joined us and we chatted about our races for a bit. After we all ate we made our way over to the train station and caught the train back to Konigstein.

Here is the link to a picture gallery showing countless pictures of the race and route:

Picture galley

Coming up next: After action review and playing tourist in Dresden.

On Friday morning, April 24, the Dresden Oberelbe Marathon crew from my running club met at RB's house to begin our journey. Our crew consisted of three that were to run the marathon - RB, Holm and I - and Holm's wife Marianne who planned on running the half-marathon. We also had friend Bernie along who was bringing his bicycle to spend several days cycling around the Dresden area.

At around 9:00 a.m., I piled into Bernie's car and RB jumped into Holm's and we were off to Dresden. The approximately 6-7 hour trip went uneventful, other than a couple traffic jams, but that's normal on German highways. We met at the Guesthouse in Konigstein where we would be staying until the following Thursday and settled in.

On Saturday we took the train into Dresden and picked up our start packets at the World Trade Center. We took a few minutes to walk through the marathon messe.

messe.JPG

Afterward, Holm and Marianne, who are originally from the Dresden area, gave us a quick tour of the downtown area until lunchtime.

dresden_1.JPG

After lunch we made our way slowly back to the train station taking in the sights as we went and eventually took the train back to Konigstein. Here is a pictrue of Konigstein with the wellknown Festung (Fortress) on the hill in the background.

konigstein_1.JPG

On Sunday morning the Oberelbe marathon was slated to begin in Konigstein at 9:20 a.m., so we walked over to the start (10 minutes away) arriving about a half-hour before the start. We checked in our shower bags, which would be bused to the finish line in Dresden, and found a place to relax.

steamboat_elbe.jpg

A few minutes later we learned that the start of the race was delayed because someone through themselves in front of a train (suicide) and the train bringing runners from Dresden to the start was blocked. The organizers scurried to solve the problem and ended up organizing buses to bring the over 800 stranded runners to the start!

In any case we stood around in a cool wind for an additional hour before the organizers confirmed that everyone had arrived. Finally at 10:20 RB and I could finally embark on her first ever marathon! Holm was with us at the start, but at nearly 75 years old his pace was a bit slower than ours, so we said we'd see him at the finish line.

start_oberelbe_2009.jpg

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start_oberelbe_2009_3.jpg

A graphic from the marathon website showing the route:

streckengrafik_2009_RZ_web.jpg

Back from Dresden

| 2 Comments

I'm back from Dresden, I have lots of interesting stuff to blog about. My friend RB sucessfullly completed her first marathon in 4:49:39 and lived to tell about it ;-)

I took lots of pictures, had several great days of vacation in and around Dresden, and made it back just in time to set a new PR for the half-marathon! I'll try to catch up over the next couple days, stay-tuned.

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