October 2009 Archives

End of Race Season

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Not much time to write this week. After running my tenth marathon/ultra for the year a week and a half ago, I have finally declared it to be the end of my race season. I had a good running year, setting new personal bests for the half-marathon, marathon and 50K distances, and completing my first 100K. I ran a total of 14 races including 4 half-marathons, 7 marathons and 3 ultras. Here is a list of my marathons and ultras for the curious:

Bienwald Marathon (March): 4:03:51(with Uli)
Oberelbe Marathon (April): 4:49:39 (with RB)
Westerwald 50K (May): 5:30:53 (new PB)
Ulmer Night Run 100K (June): 11:52:02
Fidelitas Night Run 80K (June):9:02:05 (new PB)
Hornisgrinde Marathon (July): 4:00:25
Koberstaedt Marathon (August): 3:36:13 (new PB)
Pfalzer Forest Marathon (September): 3:58:27
Baden Marathon (September): 4:13:36
Bottwartal Marathon (October): 4:19:46

For the rest of the year I will concentrate on my swimming and just run for fun. I ran an hour last Wednesday with my running club, then with RB on Thursday. On Saturday I worked all afternoon and part of the evening installing ceiling panels in the kitchen, so couldn't run with my club. Fortunately I found a couple friends from the club that wanted to go for a run on late Sunday afternoon. Last night I picked up RB and we ran a loop around the lighted local research center compound.

My swim course is still going strong, on Tuesday was the 5th class for the 10 week course. We swam lots different drills that practised the freestyle breathing technique. I am slowly catching on, I emphasize SLOWLY. I also stopped at the pool on Thursday and Friday for some practice, I wish that I could go every day.

The kitchen renovation is progressing, but also slowly. The new electrical wiring is complete, the plumbing is also done. I have replastered all the walls and painted the doors and doorframes. On Friday night and Saturday morning I installed the new flooring, linoleum floor panels, which are wood flooring with a layer of linoleum glued to the top - we wanted to try something different. On Saturday afternoon a friend came by and we installed new ceiling panels, and since then we have completed most of the wallpapering. This coming Saturday another friend is coming over and we are installing the cabinets. Hopefully by the end of the weekend we can use the new kitchen.

A friend of mine from the running club is off to New York this morning, she is running the New York Marathon on Sunday - best of luck Conny!

Race Report: Bottwartal Marathon 2009

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Großbottwar is a town in the district of Ludwigsburg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany. It is situated 13 km northeast of Ludwigsburg, and 16 km southeast of Heilbronn. According to the town's local history the area was populated since the stone age. There are at least three ruins date back to the Roman Empire time frame, between 150 and 260 a. d. In 1525 the town was one of the centers of the Farmers War that raged through this part of Germany. In 1693 the French raged through the town stealing the valuables and setting most of the town on fire. Fortunately, the town remained relatively unscathed during the second world war, and many of the beautiful timber frame houses can be seen throughout the original village. The region is a wine growing region and the marathon route offered spectacular views of vineyards that cover the hillside.

While running with Conny and a few of our friends a month or two ago I was introduced to a new member of our running club, D. who is the daughter of one of our veteran runners. D. had just finished running her second half-marathon, in Karlsruhe, and was training for another half-marathon in October. After a week or two of running with her I remarked to Conny that D. was in super shape and could probably run a marathon in October. As it turned out D. was actually thinking about this and with our encouragement decided to do just this.

Conny and I offered her lots of tips and a few weeks ago I casually mentioned that if I have time maybe I could run with her. I kept this thought in the back of my mind as I began my swim course and started renovating our kitchen at home, I really wasn't sure if I would have time, let alone be in shape for a marathon. But this past week I managed to finish all the preparations in the kitchen so that we can start wallpapering the following weekend when the plaster was dry. So it became clear by Thursday that I would have some time on Sunday to run. I contacted D. and offer to accompany her and early Sunday morning she picked me up and we drove to Großbottwar for her first marathon!

It was cold 6°C (43°F) and rainy when we arrived about an hour later in Großbottwar. We found a parking lot about 7-8 minutes from the Start and I registered for the race while D. picked up her race packet. After collecting mine we dropped off our bags at the drop point and found a cup of coffee and a warm place to sit. We chatted for awhile then went for a last bathroom break before lining up for the 10:00 a.m. start.

D. was a bit nervous as we lined up, normal for a first marathon, but I reassured her that she would be fine. I was actually more worried about me, I had done only one long run in the past 4 weeks and then only 16 miles. I knew I was not prepared, particularly for the pace that D. wanted to run, she was hoping to finish in around 4:15! I tried not to think about it as the starting cannon went off.


I suggested that we start running at a pace of just under 6:00/km (9:30/mi.), which would bring us over the finish line in time. As we progressed over the first several kilometers we ended a bit faster, around a 5:45/km (9:15/mi.) pace, I decided this would work so suggested we continue at this pace.


The first half of the race followed a northern loop, through several small towns, along a valley encased in vineyards on the hillsides. The foliage was wearing its fall clothing, the rained had stopped before the start and the air was cool and crispy. We wound our way around the loop, chatting away, enjoying the sights and sounds of the race. There were lots of spectators along the way, the most in the towns and more accessible points along the way. In contrast to Karlsruhe the most were energetic in their support, they really fired us up as we passed by!


We passed the 10K marker in around 57 minutes and the half-way point in almost exactly two hours. D. mentioned later that her legs were already feeling tired by this point, but she tried to ignore this. The halfway point was back at the start, we passed over the timing mat and continued on over the southern loop. The southern loop was an out and back that, for the most part, followed the same route.


By kilometer 26 (16 miles) my legs were already feeling less than friendly, I knew I was in for a hard time. I encouraged D. and we were able keep our pace going. We passed the 30 km (18.6 mi.) point in just under 3:03, but by this time D. had started to walk the short uphill sections that we encountered. I had no problem with this, my legs were complaining about the pace so were only too willing to slow down. The wind had picked up and by kilometer 32 (20 miles) we were running against it, chilling us to the bone and sapping our energy.

I mentioned to D. that I couldn't keep up the pace that we had been running and she should run on ahead if she thinks she can run faster. But by this time she was also losing steam and we stayed together.


The cold wind continued to batter us, despite my long running pants my legs were cold and stiff. We continued on running for awhile, then taking short walk breaks when a hill or aid station appeared. I switched to drinking coke, hoping the sugar and caffeine would provide me with a second wind.

With 5K to go D. was still looking pretty strong, but she said she was fighting to keep moving. I was a bit worried that I was holding her back, so mentioned again that she could go on ahead, I'll be along shortly. I managed to stay with her until about 2 km before the finish when she started slowly moving ahead. I caught her again when she walked a small hill and we stayed together until a few hundred meters before the finish. Here her youth (15 years younger) and enthusiasm that she was about to finish her first marathon gave her a burst of energy.

The last curve right before the finish was uphill and she had to walk again, I dug deep and ran up the hill catching up to her and pushed her on and we ran over the finish line together! I am overjoyed that D. finisher her first marathon. With only minimal training she managed to finish in 4:19:46!

We walked it out and looked for something to eat and drink, eventually finding both hidden behind the sport hall. After relaxing a bit, we headed back to Stutensee - as we drove I noticed D. was still proudly wearing her finisher medal - a new marathon runner is born, way to go D. !!!

On Tuesday evening was the third class from my 10 week freestyle swim course, we practiced our bilateral breathing. For the first half hour nothing seemed to go right, I think I drank half the pool dry...but then all at once everything clicked into place, well at least the breathing, but somehow I managed to forget how to kick, gosh!

Wednesday morning I returned to the pool and tried to practice my kicking and breathing. It went pretty well, but it seemed like after every 40-50 meters I had to stop and catch my breath, somehow I just wasn't getting enough air. I think that I don't release enough air before coming up for air, I guess it needs time and lots of practice.

On Wednesday I took a day of vacation so that I could plaster the walls in our kitchen. The new electrical cables and water pipes are installed, so it was time to close up the walls. At the same time I also installed Styrodur (foamed polystyrene?) insulation to the inside wall that connects to the outside of the house - the kitchen was always cold in the wintertime. Now I only need to put a light layer of plaster of the Styrodur panels and we can wallpaper.

I also ran on Wednesday night, picking RB up shortly before our group met. The group that I normally run with wanted to do some speed training, but I was worn out from the days activities, so RB and I ran at a slightly slower pace. After about 5 km we were joined by Birgit who was late getting off work and missed the group at the start. She just returned from a weeks vacation wandering in southern Germany, so filled us in on some of the highlights. The run was quickly finished, just like it always is when running with good friends. Oh well, I look forward to the next time!

Am Dienstagabend war die dritte Nacht von meine 10 Woche Kraul Schwimmkurs, wir haben bilateral Atmung geübt. Die erste Halbstunde hat es gar nicht funktioniert, ich habe viel Wasser geschluckt...aber dann auf einmal es hat geklappt, nun es hat mein Beinschlag durcheinander gebracht, oje!

Mittwochmorgen war ich 6:15 Uhr noch mal im Wasser, ich habe versucht mein Beinschlag und Atmung zu üben. Es hat teilweise funktioniert, aber fast jeden 40-50 Meter musste ich anhalten weil ich zu wenig Luft bekommen habe. Ich meine ich Atmung nicht aus zwischen durch und bekomme nicht genug Luft - ich glaube es braucht Zeit und viel üben.

Am Mittwoch habe ich auch ein Tag Urlaub genommen um die Wände in die Küche zu verputzen. Die neue Elektrikleitungen und Wasserleitungen sind installiert, es war Zeit um die Wände zu schließen. Ich habe gleichzeitig das Innere Wand an die Hofseite vom die Küche mit Styrodur isoliert, im Winter war es sehr kalt im Küche. Jetzt muss ich nur die Stryrodurplatten leicht verputzen, dann können wir anfangen zu tapezieren.

An Mittwochabend habe ich auch gelaufen, kurz vor den Lauftreff habe ich RB geholt und wir haben die Rest on die Gruppe getroffen. Die Leuten das ich normalweiß laufe mit wollte ein Tempo lauf machen, aber ich war müde so RB und ich habe mit ein etwas langsamer Tempo gelaufen. Ab 5 km Birgit hat uns auch getroffen, sie hat spät von der Arbeit gekommen und uns verpasst. Sie hat gerade ein Wanderwoche gemacht und hat ein bisschen erzahlt wie es war. Die lauf war schnell vorbei, wie es immer ist wenn man lauft mit gute Freunden, na ja, ich freue mich auf die nächste lauf!

The past week has been filled with work, at my job and with our kitchen renovation at home. To top it off my wife was gone most of the week on a business trip, so I had to keep everything running myself.

I managed to get in 4 runs last week, most of them only an hour duration, but since I'm not really training for anything it was enough. I also managed to squeeze in two additional half-hour swim training sessions to supplement my freestyle swim course last Tuesday night. The swim course is hard, I seem to be pretty thick-headed when it comes to learning the correct technique. I want to try to get in another half-hour swim tonight so that I can practice the drills before my next course night.

Our kitchen renovation has turned into a major renovation, we need to replace most of the water pipes in the house, include the main connection. The contractor worked three days last week and needs another day or two this week, its going to be expensive. On the positive side the contractor is a good friend of ours, I could just give him the house key and save my vacation days. I spent most night and all day Saturday (and half the night) plastering walls and trying to get the kitchen ready to wallpaper. It is going to be a few weeks until its done.

On Sunday my wife needed the day to work on a project for her school. I accepted an offer to go on a cycling trip with RB and some other friends from my running club. Despite a foreboding overcast sky we managed to get in 80 km (50 mi.) without getting rained on. We ended up in Speyer around lunchtime, so stopped at the Domhof across from the famous Speyer Cathedral long enough to fill up on some good food. With full stomachs we pedalled home at a leisurely pace, enjoying probably one of the last halfway warm days before winter sets in.

The Speyer Cathedral (archive picture):

The Domhof Restaurant and Hotel:

The Domhof Restaurant (inside):

Have a great week!

Barely Running, but Staying Busy

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My blog entries are quickly becoming a week in review. Last week I ran twice, on Wednesday and Saturday, both times the 11.2 km (6.8 mi.) loop with my running club. I supplemented this with 3 swimming sessions, including the swim class I am taking on Tuesday nights. I also took off for a two hour cycling workout on Saturday, covering about 41 km (25 mi.).

The rest of my free time has been spent on a major kitchen renovation at home. Major, you ask? Yes, I mean gutting the kitchen, tearing down/out the wallpaper, flooring and ceiling panels, new plumbing, new electrical lines, new cupboards - the whole deal. Not all of this was planned, but once we got started we discovered, for example, that the plumbing was prehistoric. In fact the plumbing in our 200 year old house is in such bad shape that we have to replace the entire plumbing, not just the kitchen.

I can do a lot of the work, flooring, ceiling panels, plastering, wallpapering, painting etc. However the electricity and plumbing we have contracted out. I can hang a light, add an outlet or fix a leaky faucet, but this project requires specialists. At least when everything is done we can scratch the kitchen and plumbing off our long list of things we want to do to the house - these were two of the larger projects.

Anyway, I really am not training for anything in particular in the moment. I joined some friends for a run last night, they ended up running intervals, I was able to hang with them at least. I have been trying to support my friend Conny as she trains for the New York Marathon (November 1). I may join her for a 30 km (18.6 mi.) long run on Saturday. I will probably run a 10K race over the next few weeks, there are several coming up in my area - my running club usual participates in all of them. I would like to try to improve my personal best for this distance, it has been two years since I accomplished this, I think I have a good chance.

About this Archive

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

September 2009 is the previous archive.

November 2009 is the next archive.

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