August 2009 Archives

Egelsbach, home of the Koberstaedt Marathon, is nestled between Darmstadt and Frankfurt, Germany. The area is highly developed, being only about 10 minutes away from one of the busiest airports in Germany, not your typical setting for a forest marathon.

The Koberstaedt Marathon was scheduled to start at 8:00 a.m. on Sunday, my wife and I arrived around an hour before the race. I went about my business picking up the race packet while my wife looked for a cup of coffee. A school friend who lived in the area was going to meet her at 8:15 and give her a short tour of Darmstadt while I was running.

It was a sunny, but cool 11°C/52°F, as I lined up at the Start a few minutes before the race began. Due to technical difficulties the organizers postponed the start time by 10 minutes, so I had time to reflect on my race plan. I run at least 7-8 marathons/ultras a year, whereas I run most of the marathons either as training runs, or just for fun. Once a year though I try to stretch out my legs and run a marathon for time - Sunday was the day. I felt rather ill prepared for a fast marathon; I hadn't done any speed training other than some intervals the week before. I did have 3000 kilometers (1900 miles) of running from the last 8 months behind me, I had the base to get the job done, but did I have the fortitude?

My plan was to set out at around a 5:15/km (8:27/mi.) pace and try to hold it for 32 km (20 miles), which would leave me plenty of time to make it to the finish line under my old 3:57:14 personal best time. I more or less accomplished this with my last marathon in July, the only reason it didn't work for me then was because the last 15 km (9 miles) were uphill (I finished in 4:00:25)!

As the announcer gave the one minute warning I lined up roughly in the middle of the pack of 200+ marathon runners. In 2 hours roughly 1050 half-marathon runners would join us on the course, but until then the forest trails would remain ours. We all wore chips, so when the starting pistol went off the most let the front clear a bit before running over the starting mat.

I quickly picked up speed to what felt like my race pace as I made my way over the streets of Egelsbach and towards the forest beyond. There were several dozen supporters along the way, not bad for so early on a Sunday morning. I passed the first kilometer marker about 10 seconds slower than my planned pace, so pressed on a little faster. We left the edge of town and headed out over some fields, crossing a bridge over the local highway (B3) just past the second kilometer. I checked my Garmin and was pleased to see that I was running 5:08/km, slightly faster than my planned pace.

Just past the bridge three men ran slowly by and I decided to try to hang with them for awhile. As we ran by the 3 km marker I noticed that we were running a 4:58/km (8:00/mi.) pace, and a warning light went off in my head, but the pace felt good, I decided to stay with them for awhile longer.

We cruised on for a couple kilometers more, the three that I was following were chatting away and staying around 5:00/km (8:00/mi.) or slightly under. I paused at the first aid station at the 5 km point and sampled the isotonic drink, phooey - it tasted like bitter cough medicine. I downed a water and caught up to the three that I had been following.

The three seemed to be speeding up as we continued; I started to worry about burning myself out too soon by hanging with them. My Garmin kept showing sub-5 minute kilometers, but I continued to shadow the three, deciding to take the risk - either I was going to blow up my personal best, or my quads trying!

The kilometers flew by, I passed the 10 km maker in 50:28, and grabbed a cup of water at the aid station there. I caught up to the three again and hung with them like a shadow. We continued through the woods, until finally one of the three dropped back for a chat. It turns out he belonged to the group sponsoring the run and was responsible for the online registration. I mentioned my name and my running club and he recognized it. We chatted away for a couple kilometers, until the next aid station. Here the group broke up, whereas the one I was talking to speeded on ahead and the other two eventually fell behind.

I continued on kilometer for kilometer, trying to maintain the pace. I passed the halfway point in around 1:46:00, an average pace of 5:01/km (8:05/mi.), well ahead of my expectations. By this time the aid stations were offering a second isotonic drink, one that I could at least get down without gagging. For the rest of the race I mixed this with water at each aid station where they offered the drink and could at least get some of it down.

I dared not think of anything but the next kilometer marker as I continued on at this pace. My legs were working hard, I felt it in my quads, and it was getting continuously harder to maintain the pace. I kept telling myself that today would never happen again, I needed to keep moving.

Around kilometer 24 (mile 15) the course circled back and we began the second loop. I knew that soon the half-marathon runners would be joining us. After another kilometer or so, two bicycles flew by announcing the approach of the lead half-marathon runners. As the runners surged by I tried to hang a couple steps with each of them, a fertile effort at first, but gradually the pace of the passing runners decreased and I was able to play this game.

The distance clicked by fast as I tried to hang with the passing half-marathon runners, it was difficult, but at least my pace didn't decrease. Eventually I passed by kilometer 32 (mile 20), my time was around 2:40:00, at this point I knew I had my new personal best - I only had to keep running.

I continued on, concentrating on maintaining my speed over the next kilometer, only the next kilometer...

By kilometer 35 (mile 22) I felt light-headed, I knew I needed some quick energy, I downed two cokes at the aid station there, and ate a piece of banana. After a few minutes my head cleared and I felt better, well almost, I felt like I was wearing lead-filled shoes, it took great effort to keep my feet moving.

The little voice in my head kept trying to tell me that I could slow down, I could run easy and still have my personal best. I resisted this temptation, rolling over and over in my mind that this moment, this race is only going to happen once, I need to give it all I had.

Despite my best efforts my pace decreased, but I fought to keep it from falling too fast. At the last aid station I again drank coke and sucked down a gel walking for the first time through the aid station, which was reflected in my pace for the kilometer (5:51/km, 9:25/mi.). With just over 5 km left, this perturbed me and I concentrated on stretching out my step again. I strained, my pace gradually grew faster.

Finally, with just over 3 km (2 miles) to go the trail looped around again and I turned back towards Egelsbach and the finish line. I knew I was going to reach the finish in under 3:45:00, but I wanted more. As I ran over the bridge traversing the local highway I was again on a 5:00/km (8:00/mi.) pace, I didn't have time to think about how impossible it was to do this at the time, I was on a mission!

I passed over the last fields and broke onto the streets of Egelsbach. My heart was pounding, my legs strained, my quads burned...but I heard the people in the sports stadium before me, I kept pushing. After an eternity I rounded a corner and could see the stadium ahead. I passed runners who had already finished, cheering fans, several runners and finally the gate into the stadium. I burst onto the track, only a few hundred meters now.

I attempted to sprint around the track, but I couldn't get my feed to move any faster...but then I saw the runner in front of me falter, my competitive genes shot out a last bit of adrenaline, I caught him at the finish line!

I was again light-headed, the sun was now beating down, the sudden stop left my body wondering what to do. I wobbled over to the drink stand and grabbed two cokes, I knew my blood pressure was low, I needed a boost. I walked around the stadium, then grabbed some banana pieces and water, then kept walking. After a couple minutes I felt fine and walked over to the tent and picked up my finisher shirt.

My legs began to stiffen as I walked to the car to get my shower bag, I paused to stretch a little, and quietly gave thanks to my maker for the happiness that I was feeling. Everything came together on this day, my training, the weather, my fueling and the race pace. I took a risk with the faster pace, but it paid off. I finished in 3:36:13, a personal best by over 21 minutes. And unlike the first marathon that I ran in 2005, I was fit enough to enjoy the rest of the day with my wife afterward!

The organizers in Egelsbach but on a great event, it was well-organized, the aid stations well stocked and course shady, well-marked and interesting. The facilities at the stadium were also adequate from my viewpoint, well organized, with adequate parking for all. The only complaint that I can come up with is the sport drink - they really need to find a new sponsor for this article.

Today was one of those days where everything came together during a race, the result, a new marathon personal best. This morning at the Koeerstadt Marathon in Egelsbach, Germany I improved my marathon best time by 21 minutes, finishing in 3:36:13 (chip time)! Whenever the shock wears off I try to type up my report.

This weekend I am running the Koeberstadt Marathon in Egelsbach, near Darmstadt, Germany. I am hoping that I can take a stab at a new personal best, but lately haven't been feeling especially prepared to accomplish this.

Last night I met friends at our running club for a run. As we were standing there waiting I heard a couple mention they wanted to run some intervals, so I decided this would be a good measure of my marathon pace for the marathon on Sunday. The plan was to warm-up, than run two sets of 2 km at around a 5:15/km (8:30/mi.) pace, with a kilometer cool-down between sets.

We warmed up with 3 km (2 mi.) at an easy pace, than took off. I haven't run a faster paced run for quite awhile, so let the others take the lead. We ran the first kilometer in 5:21 (8:37/mi.) and the second in 5:08 (8:16/mi.). After a kilometer cool-down we again hammered it, running the first kilometer in 5:12 (8:22/mi.) and the second in 4:50 (7:47/mi.). The latter kilometer was faster because we lost two of the ladies and I ended up in the front :-)

I turned around and picked up Birgit who had dropped back and we completed another kilometer in around 5:30 (8:51/mi.). We ended up catching and passing Josef and Walter who were running a faster average pace. When we completed our kilometer Birgit dropped back and rejoined our original group, I ran on with Josef and Walter. We ended up speeding up over the last two kilometers, running the last in around 4:50 (7:47/mi.), which is just a wee bit slower than my 10K race pace.

So what I learned from this little speed test is that I am not as comfortable at this faster pace as I was in the Spring when I was training for the 100K. This means if I want to run a personal best on Sunday, I'm really going to have to really work for it. I have neglected my speed training over the last couple months and its time to pay the piper.

On Sunday I will go to the race and start out at a pace that will get me to the finish line in around 3:45:00, if I run out of gas before the finish, then so be it. The weather looks promising, sunny and mild, it should be nice and cool at the 8:00 a.m. start. The course is a flat, two loop course, mostly on forest paths and in the shade. Last year I was within two minutes of breaking my personal best on this course, this year I have a better chance!

Tonight I am meeting some friends for an easy 90 minute run, and on Friday I will run my last run before the marathon with RB. Then it's just a question of fuelling and getting plenty of rest, we'll see how it goes!

Iraqi Bundles of Love 2.0

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A few weeks ago I mentioned that there is a project underway that is surging fabric and sewing materials into the area around where a running blog friend of mine (Art) is serving in Iraq.

If you missed my previous post, the project is intended to help people who are just trying to get on with their lives-clothe their children, make a living, create something beautiful. And best of all, it is in a language without boundaries-the language of fibers. Art La Flamme started Iraqi Bundles of Love because he saw that local families were desperate for sewing supplies. In addition, sewing co-ops were in need of fabric and yarn. Luckily, Art knows a few fiber addicts at home in the US. Art's wife, Kristin La Flamme, is an artist, sewist and blogger and many of his other family members are quilters. He knows that many of us have more fabric, yarn and notions than we need, and he also knows that when asked, we are happy to share. So he asked, and Iraqi Bundles of Love was born.

The Iraqi Bundles of Love project has gathered steam and what started as a trickle has turned into a flood. My friend is in a position to make things happen, so the team handling things in Iraq has just been granted a van and warehouse to handle the logistical requirements that have resulted! Art has proudly labelled this new phase IBOL 2.0!

Friends of the project have also responded and made it even easier to contribute. A fabric store business has gone as far as setting up a website offering Bundles of Love at cost for the project. For $15, including shipping, Sew, Mama, Sew will send a bundle on your behalf (see details at http://sewmamasew.com/blog2/?p=927).

In an effort to tie this back into running, let me add that Art is also a marathon runner, currently training in the sands of Iraq for the Honolulu Marathon. His blog offers some insight on the challenges of training in a less than friendly environment. It's a good read, I highly recommend it!

On the edge of the Lusshardt Forest, between calm meadows and fields lies the peaceful town of Hambruecken. The intact nature around Hambruecken offers a formative experience for runners that partake in the annual Lusshardtlauf races. Hambrucken is easily accessible from the nearby cities of Karlsruhe, Mannheim, Heidelberg and Speyer. The flat course is well laid out, fast and offers a bit of shade and scenery for those that need a little more time. This year there were three race disciplines offered, a 5K, a 10K and a half-marathon - as well as a 9.3K Walking event.

On Sunday morning I picked up RB around 8:00 a.m. and we drove to Hambruecken, about 15 minutes away. We picked up our race numbers and joined some friends from our running club, the most also running the half-marathon. About 20 minutes before the race we deposited our jackets that we had been wearing in the car and made a final pit stop in the sports hall. It was still a bit brisk out as we lined up with the roughly 500 runners, but the sun warmed us we waited.

After a few minutes the announcer counted down and sent us off, the mass slowly moved forward, down the street and out over the fieldway on the edge of town. I let RB set the pace, I had no goal, other than just enjoying the run with my friend. The sun and our activity quickly warmed us and we chatted away as we flowed with the crowd over the first few kilometers.

Eventually the 5K and 10K runners turned off and the course opened up, but by this time the faster runners were already well ahead and those left were no longer passing. RB and I chatted the kilometers away as we circled the course. There was a good combination of fields, forest, asphalt and dirt throughout the course. RB had missed a couple weeks of training last month, so wasn't in any hurry, so we maintained a steady pace and enjoyed the changing scenery and each others company.

It grew warm towards the end of our race, but not fitfully hot like it had been earlier in the week. After about two hours and eight minutes we crossed the finish line, fast enough for us. We headed over and tried to make a dent in the pile of watermelon that was offered at the finish line, what a treat!

After cooling down we joined friends from our running club in the sports hall for some food. We stayed through the awards ceremony, not one placed from our club, but we could at least cheer those that did! Afterward we made our way back home, another great morning with friends!

The sports club in Hambruecken presented a well organized and scenic race, one reason that so many keep coming back!

When I got home from work yesterday it was 36°C/97°F, or in one word HOT! I drank a lot through the day, so when I drove over to my running club trailhead for a loop I didn't think twice about how hot 97°F really is!

I strapped on my water belt and cruised over a 13.3 km (8+ miles) loop, the most over open fields, at a moderate pace, around 5:55/km (9:30/mi.). I was dripping with sweat in no time as the sun preheated me to near boiling temperature. I drained my small water bottle and was thankful when I arrived back at the car. As I waited for my running club to assemble, I refilled my water bottle, ate a few pretzel sticks and drank some more water.

Promptly at 6:00 p.m. I set out with a few that wanted to run about the same pace as I had been running, but soon most of them speeded up and I decided to hang back with Lena. Lena was tapering for a half-marathon on Sunday, so we agreed to keep the pace down, around 6:15/km (10:00/mi.).

It felt like it was getting hotter and hotter as we ran, the breeze that had accompanied on my first loop had died down, leaving blatant heat! I drank from my water bottle as we made our way around the 11 km (6.8 mi.) loop, draining it by the halfway point. Our pace wavered as we passed the halfway point, we both felt the heat trying to snatch our will to continue. Soon we came up on Jürgen who had stopped to walk as the heat got to him. We slowed and he ran on with us, not a day to leave a buddy behind, even in our friendly woods.

As we made our way over the last mile I was running on empty, I had barely had anything to eat for lunch, and although I had a lot to drink during the day it was inadequate for this heat! I knew the feeling of inadequate fluid intake, I knew I had to drink soon.

Finally we arrived back at the trailhead and I headed to my car and grabbed my water bottle. As I headed over to the picnic tables that we have there I stopped and talked with RB for a few minutes, taking a sip or two of water. As we were talking the ground started to move, I got really dizzy, so bee-lined over to the nearest bench and sat down. I was really dizzy and everything got blurry, eerie! My friend Walter was observing all this and came over to check on me. He made sure I kept drinking and finally escorted me over to my car so I could eat a sport bar. He said my blood pressure was probably too low, I should eat something with some sugar in it.

I sat on the trunk of my car for awhile and waited for the sports bar and water to kick in. RB came over and poured some cold water on my arms and head, this together with the sugar and water seemed to revive me. After a few minutes I walked around the parking lot a bit, then decided that I was okay to drive home. Walter and RB agreed to follow me, just in case. I arrived home 5 minutes later without incident and they waited until I reached the front of the house, thanks guys!

As I always do before and after running, I weighed myself - I had lost almost 4 kilograms, over 8 pounds during the run, not good!

After a cool shower I felt revitalized and was able to eat dinner. I continued to pump down the fluids and later was able to drift off to sleep like always. The only problem I encountered was waking up around midnight hungry as a bear, luckily we had lots of leftovers from the evening meal - I guess I really didn't eat enough during the day.

This morning I feel no negative affects of my dehydration, but the little event scaried me. I drank at least 2-3 liters of water prior to running, but ate very little for lunch. With the heat we have been having this week I have been eating less anyway, so I took off for my run well hydrated, but on an empty tank. Not a good idea anytime, and especially when the temperatures start nearing 100 degrees! Lesson learned...just in time too, today is supposed to be 37-38°C (99-100°F)!

Last night I cycled over to RB's house with a small box of home-grown potatoes, zuchinni, tomatoes, green beans and peppers - nothing like receiving a smile of gratitude. We planned on running a roughly 12 km (7.5 mi.) loop, so RB stashed the veggies and mike bike in her garage and we began our loop. It was the hottest day of the year thus far, around 34°C (93°F), so we headed for the shade of the nearby forest. We circled around, enjoying a good conversation, the time flew by. By the 10K point RB said the heat was getting to her, so we slowed down and after a few minutes switched to walking, power-walking back to her house.

After collecting my bike I headed home and chatted with my wife for a little while, then headed over to the garden that we rent. The garden is about a 2-3 minute walk from our house, making it very convenient for us. I piddled around for an hour, pulling some weeds, watering, but mostly sweating like a pig in the still present heat. Finally I picked some tomatoes and headed back to the house for a shower and some food.

I have a couple races coming up over the next 4-5 weeks. This coming Sunday I plan on running a half-marathon in nearby Hambrucken, hopefully accompanied by RB. On the 30th of August I want to try to break my 3:57:14 marathon record at the Koberstadt Marathon in Egelsbach, near Darmstadt, Germany. On a good race day I think I have a very good chance, we'll see. On September 20th I am running the Baden Marathon in Karlsruhe, but not for time. Currently 32 people from my running club are running either the half or full marathon there, I am hoping RB and I can run the first half together (she's only running the half).

I would also like to run the Pfalzerwald Marathon in Pirmasens on September 13, but I am leaving this open for the moment. This marathon has a real nice course, mostly forested, lots of hills to contend with - my kind of event!

In the meantime the temperatures are suppose to continue to rise this week, climaxing on Friday with thunderstorms and a possible storm. RB and I plan on at least another run or two through the week, I hope the weather is not against us!

God was too busy...so he sent me!

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A friend of mine, who's son is serving in a dangerous part of the world, sent this to me. I imagine it is not true, but it appealed to me:

"If you don't know GOD, don't make stupid remarks!!!!!!

A United States Marine was attending some college courses between assignments. He had completed missions in Iraq and Afghanistan . One of the courses had a professor who was an avowed atheist, and a member of the ACLU.

One day the professor shocked the class when he came in. He looked to the ceiling and flatly stated, GOD if you are real then I want you to knock me off this platform. I'll give you exactly 15 min.' The lecture room fell silent. You could hear a pin drop. Ten minutes went by and the professor proclaimed, 'Here I am GOD, I'm still waiting.'

It got down to the last couple of minutes when the Marine got out of his chair, went up to the professor, and cold-cocked him; knocking him off the platform. The professor was out cold.

The Marine went back to his seat and sat there, silently.

The other students were shocked and stunned, and sat there looking on in silence. The professor eventually came to, noticeably shaken, looked at the Marine and asked, 'What in the world is the matter with you? 'Why did you do that?'

The Marine calmly replied, 'GOD was too busy today protecting America 's soldiers who are protecting your right to say stupid stuff and act like an idiot.. So He sent me.'

The classroom erupted in cheers!"

Finishing a 60 Mile Week

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Another busy weekend behind me, on Friday I rode my bicycle to work, an almost 44 km round trip. The days are getting shorter, the first 20 minutes I needed my light! Coming home was nice though, warm and sunny - I caught up to a teenager from my village about 10K from home. As soon as he recognized me he accelerated, but I was game, we hop-scotched back in forth for about 5K - till he gave up, sorry sport - you need some more training ;-)

Saturday day morning at 8:15 I met Birgit from my running club, she wanted to run 30 km (28.6 miles). We ended up running two 15 km loops, which brought us back to our cars once to refuel. We ran at a moderate pace and both felt good after the run, Birgit is also an ultra runner, although she didn't run one this year.

Saturday night I picked up RB and we joined our running club for a run. I decided to run with RB with her slower paced group, as I had already run once that day. We ended up running a bit faster than I expected, but I was up to the task, I enjoyed the run.

On Sunday after church I met Birgit II from my running club, she wanted to try to run 20 km (12.5 miles). It was already hot outside, 31°C/88°F, but a pleasant breeze was blowing. I asked Birgit if she can take the heat, and she said she enjoys running when it's hot. I'm the same way, so we headed out over the open fields at an easy pace, soaking in the beaming sunshine. Eventually we circled around back into the woods towards our cars. Birgit, who had also run the day before, decided that 20 km would be a bit too much, so we quit early...she wanted to head to the pool with her family!

I ended up with 95 km (60 miles) for the week, in four days of running. This coming week I am going to run a couple times with RB, perhaps finishing with a half-marathon on Sunday. My next marathon is on August 30, the Koeberstadt Marathon in Egelsbach, near Darmstadt. Last year I ran this race and was only 90 seconds short of a personal best, this year I am going with the intention of running breaking my record. I hope the weather cooperates!

Yesterday I rode my bicycle to work, 13.6 miles in 56 minutes. At 5:30 a.m. when I set out it was still dark (I need some clear cycling glasses), but warm and friendly.

After work I returned home over the same route, but tried to pick up the pace a little bit. On the other side of Karlsruhe I caught up with friend Thomas from my running club, he rides his bike every day to work. We chatted the rest of the way home, at 18 miles/hour.

When I got home I switched to my running clothes and drove over to the trailhead from my running club. I was about 70 minutes early, enough time for a loop before the others showed up. I wasn't sure how fast my legs would care me after cycling earlier, but I wanted to at least try to get a faster loop in.

I set out and finished the first kilometer with a pace of 8:43/mi., better than I had expected, so I tried to hold the pace. I ran kilometer 2 and 3 with a 8:03/km pace, which surprised me, then kilometer 4 in 7:42/mi. - I was better off than I thought! For the rest of the 10 km loop I tried to maintain at least a 8 minute mile, with success, I finished to 10.2 km loop in 50:05!

When I arrived back at the trailhead there was still no one there, I ran too fast, it was still too early. I knew that if I waited around for 20 minutes I would be too stiff for the next loop, so decided to do a slow out and back - 12 minutes later I again returned to the trailhead, this time the crew had arrived. I chatted with several friends until we took off for a run.

I started out on the 11.2 km loop with Conny, Birgit M., Birgit B., and others. The hares took off in the front and soon Birgit B. and I found ourselves at the front of the remaining pack. Birgit B., who by the way is the girlfriend from Cycling Thomas, was feeling good, so we eventually left the pack in the dust. Birgit wanted to maintain a pace of 9:39/mi., but somehow we couldn't seem to run that slow, we averaged 9:14/mi. for the 7 mile loop! Birgit looked pretty fit afterward, despite claiming fatigue. Me? I have too admit, I was pretty knackered the last few kilometers, I was surprised that I could hold the pace. The earlier cycling and faster loop pretty much drained my energy.

Later, about 30 of the running club met at a local restaurant for our Stammtisch (Regulars' Table), the monthly get together where we plan future events, boast and just have a good time. I'm already looking forward to my next run, tonight with Bernd and maybe Uli.

Gestern habe ich mein Fahrrad zum Arbeit gefahren, 21,9 km in 56 Minuten. An 5.30 Uhr wenn ich habe weg gefahren war es dunkel noch (ich brauch klare Fahrradbrille), aber warm und gemütlich.

Nach die Arbeit habe ich in die verkehrte Richtung gefahren, und wie immer versucht ein bisschen gas zu geben. An die andere Seite von Karlsruhe habe ich freunde Thomas von mein Lauftreff getroffen, er fährt jedem Tag Fahrrad zum Arbeit. Wir haben ein bisschen gequatscht beim 28km/Stunde tempo, es war schöne!

Wenn ich heim war habe ich meiner Laufsache an gemacht, ein bisschen Wasser getrunken und nach dem Lauftreff gefahren. Ich war 70 Minuten früh, genug Zeit um ein Rund zu machen vor die andere kommt. Nach die früher Fahrrad fahrt war ich nicht sicher wie schnell meine Beine laufen wollte, aber ich wollte mindestens versuchen ein flotte Tempo zu machen.

So ich habe los gelaufen und die erste Kilometer mit 5:25/km (8:43/mi.) gelaufen, besser als ich habe gedacht, so ich habe versucht es zu halten. Kilometer 2 und 3 war beide rund 5:00/km (8:03/mi.), dass hat mich überrascht, aber dann ich habe Kilometer 4 in 4:47/km (7:42/mi.) gelaufen, ich war besser drauf als ich habe gedacht! Für die Rest von der 10 km lauf habe ich versucht mindesten ein 5:00/km Tempo zu halten, mit erfolg, ich habe die 10,2 km rund in 50:05 gelaufen!

Zurück beim Start war nicht los, ich habe zu schnell gelaufen, es war zu früh. Ich habe gewusst das ich wurde steif sein wenn ich für 20 Minuten Rundhangen, so ich habe ein ganz langsam 12 Minuten rund durch die Wald gemacht. Dieses Mal wenn ich habe zurückgekommen war die erste Leute dar, so ich habe ein bisschen gequatscht bis wir haben los gelaufen.

Ich habe die 11,2 km Rund mit Conny, Birgit M., Birgit B., und andere angefangen. Der schnellere Hase hat vor uns gelaufen und auf einmal Birgit B. und ich war ganz vorne. Birgit B., das übrigens ist die Freundin von Fahrrad Thomas, war gut in Form und eventuelle haben wir die andere in Staub gelassen. Birgit wollte ein 6:00/km (9:39/mi.) Tempo laufen, aber irgendwie könnten wir nur schneller laufen, wir haben dem Rund mit ein durchschnittliches Tempo von 5:44/km (9:14/mi.) gelaufen! Ich meine Birgit B. war immer noch fit nachher - wenn sie macht weiter sie wurde ein gute Halbmarathon in Karlsruhe in September laufen! Ich? Ich muss zu geben, die letzten Kilometer war hart, es hat mich überrascht dass ich könnte die Tempo mithalten. Die früheren Fahrrad fahren und schnelles Rund hat meine Energie weg gesaugt.

Später hat viel von dem Lauftreff beim Stammtisch getroffen, nach ein bisschen Essen, Trink und freundliche Unterhaltung habe ich erholt. Ich freue mich auf die nächste lauf...heute Abend mit Bernd und vielleicht Uli.

About 4 years ago I decided to do something about my terrible swimming technique and took an adult swim course. I was not a natural and fought my way through the course, but slowly improved during the 10 week course and the following months. But then I transformed into a Marathon Maniac (#1334) and Jackaquaman fell apart faster than Superman with Kryptonite!

Of late I have been hanging around (and running) with IronMan Bernd and IronWOMan Uli from my running club. As things go they have planted the Triathlon seed in me and somehow it has managed to sprout, despite the lack of "watering". My age old excuse of swimming being a problem just didn't work with these two...they went as far as to offer help with my swimming, how can I say no!

In any case, last Thursday night while making a round through the woods with these two Uli set out the bait. Next thing I knew I was signing up for a freestyle (crawl) course and telling my wife that I wanted to compete in my first Tri next summer. So beginning on September 22nd, I will be spending Tuesday nights attempting to rebirth Jackaquaman. At least this time I will have IronMan and IronWOMan on my side. My first goal is the local Sprint (Volks) Triathlon in nearby Blankenloch in July 2010, from there we'll see how it goes...

Yesterday morning I stopped at the pool on the way to work and managed 700 meters, form be dammed...this morning I rode my bicycle the 22 km (14 mi.) to work. Tonight = cycle home + run with running club.

On Friday I had to leave work early, the town where I live was replacing the main water lines, including the pipe leading into our house. This unfortunately ended up in a fiasco, all our lines filled with sediment and I had to spend a couple hours removing and cleaning all the faucets, shower heads, and wash machine hoses that became clogged up. Later I spent three hours digging potatoes, the latter by a 90°F temperature.

On Saturday I dug some more potatoes, but still have about a third of the garden to do still! I think we have almost 5 bushels so far, the majority of them rather small though, it was not a good potato year. In any case our potatoes are drying in the shed, in a few day I will move them to their winter storage in the cellar.

On Sunday I met some friends from my running club at another running club that was sponsoring a preparation run for the upcoming Baden Marathon in September in Karlsruhe. The Lichtbund Running Club has done this for the past 18 years and draws hundreds of local runners. The course that was offered consisted of two different 10K loops and a 5K loop, with an aid station at the start. The club also offered pacers at the various speeds, I guess the same as at the Baden Marathon.

I chatted with my club members and greeted several other runners from the area that regularly see at various events. Around 9:00 a.m. we warmed up with some aerobics, lead by one of the ladies in the Lichtbund - amazing how uncoordinated some runners are, we were a sight to see :-)

The leader of the Lichtbund introduced the pacers for the morning and soon after we headed out on the street and formed up in our pace groups. I decided to run with Birgit from my running club in the slower group, she wanted to run 30 km (18.5 mi.), sounded good to me.

The weather was perfect, clear sky, sunshine, around 24°C (75°F) at the beginning. We completed the first two 10K loops, then Conny joined us. Conny ran with one of the faster groups and only planned on running 20K, but we talked her into running a 5K loop with us. By this time my legs were starting to complain, the many hours of digging potatoes the last couple days were having an impact. Having Conny join us proved to be just what I needed, she is the same one that accompanied me on the last quarter of my 50 mile race in June - she always lifts my spirits.

We completed the first 5K loop and Conny headed off to the showers. Birgit and I started at the front of the group with the pacer, but eventually left the group behind, we just wanted to get the running over with - we were getting hungry and there was a festival back at the start (the Lichtbund was celebrating their 25th year).

After the run we stayed sat for awhile and had something to eat, the club had a live band that was halfway decent, it was a good time. I eventually packed up and headed home, my wife was studying, but I knew she would miss me if I was gone too long. When I got home I had coffee with my wife, she wanted to study some more, I set about doing a few chores.

After a bit RB called and asked if I was interested in a short cycling tour. After confirming that my wife wanted to keep studying, I agreed and we met over at her house and headed out for a roughly 30K (18.5 mi.) cycling trip. On the way home we stopped for the obligatory cake and coffee, being sure to order an extra piece of cake to bring home to my student at home. I had a good time catching up with RB, what a great way to spend a late sunny afternoon!

Iraqi Bundles of Love

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A long time reader of my blog, that is serving our country (USA) proudly in Iraq, is playing a key role in a new short-duration project called "Iraqi Bundles of Love". Contributors can be anyone that has sewing / quilting supplies laying around and the desire to share some of their stash. Details can be viewed on the website created for informational purposes at:

http://ibol.wordpress.com/

Here is the introduction from the website:

"Iraqi Bundles of Love is a short-duration project, set to last about six weeks (around Sept. 7, 2009), to surge fabric and sewing materials into the area around which I live in Iraq. It is timed to coincide with both Ramadan, and the departure of my units from Iraq.

It is intended to be a simple project, requiring little effort and little expenditures from those wishing to participate. It is based upon my assessment that sewing fanatics and quilters tend to have stashes that far exceed their actual needs, and that sewing fanatics and quilters are passionate both about sewing / quilting, and about sharing with others.

The general premise is this. I am in Iraq, and I can get mail through the US Postal System. Willing contributors can send to me a flat-rate box of sewing / quilting supplies, all bundled up. I'd open the box, pull out the fully-contained bundle, and hand of off (with others) to our counterparts in the Iraqi Security Forces (Army and others) or the local police, for them to distribute. The stated intent of this operation is to put sewing and quilting supplies into the hands of two types of recipients: locals who desperately need such things, and local sewing co-ops who have received grants or loans (typically to puchase sewing machines, rent space, etc).

That is it, in a nutshell. I owe you more on how this came to be, on ideas, on things to do and things not to do. And some links. Drop me a comment. Let's do this."

p.s. Since the introduction was written the program has expanded to include non-US participants, details are on the website.

My Current Training and Race Plans

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My main goals for the year of finishing my first 100K race and running a personal best at my annual 50 Mile event were both achieved in June. I think my success was a result of adopting a five days a week training plan at the beginning of the year.

Since these events I have reduced my running, for the most part, to three times a week. I did this in part to reduce wear and tear on my body, but also to appease my wife. Admittedly I have been supplementing my training by cycling 2-3 times a week, usually to work and back - around 27 miles (43 km) round trip.

I am currently signed up for the Baden Marathon in Karlsruhe on Sept. 20, and probably will run a marathon at the end of August and/or the first week of September. I have also not ruled out a marathon or 50K race in October.

So what is my goal for the upcoming marathon(s)? In the best case scenario I would still like to improve my personal best at one of the marathons. With my reduced training this will not be an easy feat, but on a good day entirely possible. I only need to include some quality runs on the days that I do run, including running long and hard on my long run days. My core training is there, I only need to tweak and maintain!

A Cycling Tour around Fürth, Bavaria

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I took several pictures while pedalling around the Fürth area of Germany, mostly towards Erlangen to the north.

Here is my trusty steed, an "all terrain" bike that is tough as nails, but leaves you feeling like you have been sitting on one after a couple hours. The main advantage is that it is compact and I can squeeze it into my small car:
Fuerth_2009_radtour_1.jpg

Here is a picture of Eltersdorf, south of Erlangen. Here I turned onto another bike path and rode over open fields towards the Pegnitz River and the Rhine-Main-Danuble Canal.
Fuerth_2009_radtour_2.jpg

A view towards the Pegnitz River:
Fuerth_2009_radtour_3.jpg

The Pegnitz River:
Fuerth_2009_radtour_4.jpg

It was a beautiful day for cycling:
Fuerth_2009_radtour_5.jpg

The Rhine-Main-Danuble Canal:
Fuerth_2009_radtour_6.jpg

And the bike path that I rode on:
Fuerth_2009_radtour_7.jpg

A reason why I love the area, just beautiful:
Fuerth_2009_radtour_8.jpg

While heading back into Fürth from the south, I stopped here for a break - nice huh!
Fuerth_2009_radtour_9.jpg

Here is the market square at the Gauklerbrunnen (Juggler's Well) at the Grüner Markt (Green Market). Note the nice timber-frame house to the right:
Fuerth_2009_radtour_10.jpg

Around the corner was the entrance to the Fürth Wine Festival, they were still setting up when I rode by:
Fuerth_2009_radtour_11.jpg

As Rachel said yesterday, "What a great way to tour a new place while on vacation."

Yes indeed!

Running and Cycling in Bavaria

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We were in Fürth, near Nuremberg in Bavaria this weekend visiting my wife's aunt. The ladies like to spend time with one another, so I was able to cut loose and do some running and cycling.

Fuerth_2009_Suedstadt.jpg

On Saturday after breakfast at the hotel my wife drove over to her aunts house and I laced up and went for a two hour run. I circled the roughly 5 mile municipal park (Stadtpark), then followed the Pegnitz river in the direction of Erlangen to the north. The weather was mild and sunny, a bit cool still, but perfect for running. I ended up running almost 21km, my longest run since my last marathon three weeks ago.

After showering and changing I studied the regional map a bit and mapped out a cycling route. My plan was to ride north to Erlangen, which was 16 km (10 mi.) away, and then come back along the Rhine-Main-Danuble Canal and circle south of Fürth and check out that side of town. Around 11 a.m. I collected my water bottle and headed out.

I followed the Pregnitz river, covering the same route that I ran earlier, but then moving on towards Erlangen. After pedalling for awhile along the flat bike path, I came across a curious site, a hill covered with solar panels. According to Wikipedia this is the solar power collection station on the former landfill at Atzenhof - what a great ideal!

Fuerth_2009_muellberg.jpg

I continued on towards Erlangen, following a well marked bike route, eventually turning west towards the Main Canal as I reached the city limits of Erlangen. When I reached the canal I turned onto the bike path that follows the canal back towards Fürth. According to Wikipedia, the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal connects the Main and the Danube rivers across the European Watershed, and runs from Bamberg via Nuremberg to Kelheim. The canal connects the North Sea and Atlantic Ocean to the Black Sea, providing a navigable artery between the Rhine delta (in the Netherlands) and the Danube Delta in eastern Romania. The canal is 171 km (106 miles) long. Who new!

In any case it was great cycling along the fine gravel bike path on the bank of the canal. There were several barges and boats heading in one direction or another, the weather was almost perfect - around 27°C (80°F) and sunny, and just a slight breeze.

I passed by Fürth, turning off the canal path to the south and making my way back through the town. During my journey I passed the Rathaus (town hall), using the tower as a landmark.

Fuerth_2009_rathaus.jpg

I took a couple wrong turns and ended up going in circles, but a kind stranger pointed me towards the tower of St. Michael, which was in the direction I wanted to go.

Fuerth_2009_St_Michael.jpg

Fürth survived the Second World War with less damage than most German cities, and many historic buildings remain (Wikipedia). I can attest to this, as I bumped and banged my way over the cobblestone streets of the old city center admiring the old builidings, many still displaying the timber frame construction. I passed by the Gauklerbrunnen (Juggler's Well) at the Grüner Markt (Green Market), which is shown in the picture below:

Fuerth_2009_gauklerbrunnen.jpg

Around the corner from the well the town was holding the annual Wine Festival. I didn't participate, as it was getting time to meet my wife and her aunt, but the food looked fabulous.

Finally, I headed back passed the City Center shopping facility and the Stadttheater (Town Theater), the latter where we often attended concerts with Aunt Sigrid.

Fuerth_2009_Stadttheater.jpg

I ended up with just over 40 km, not a lot, but with my old mountain bike definitely enough.

I rejoined my wife and her aunt and enjoyed a nice evening sitting in a Cafe in the main market square of Fürth. On Sunday I was up early and ran an hour through the municipal park before breakfast. It was a nice close to a great weekend. I have a few more pictures that I took that are still on the camera, I'll try to post them tomorrow.

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This page is an archive of entries from August 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

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