Running and Bicycling over Easter

I hope everyone had a pleasant Easter weekend. Easter in Germany means for most a 4-day weekend. I began tapering for my next marathon, so had time for other activities, including cleaning out the garden and shed. On Sunday we had a really great afternoon and evening at friends of ours, the weekend goes by entirely too fast, regardless of how long it is.

I ran a couple shorter runs on Friday and Saturday, Saturday with my running club. On Monday I went on an 80 km (50 mi) bicycle trip with friends from the running club. The weather was typical spring weather, a mixture of sun, wind, and even a few drops of rain towards the end. Our destination was lunch at the winery Bitzel in Winden, in the Rhineland-Palatinate region of Germany. The trip went without incident, the food was excellent, and the mood festive.

Bitzels in Winden

This week I will continue my taper for the 12-hour run on April 30, running 10-12 km a couple times to keep the muscles loose and the weight down.

Rest, Vacation in NY, Plan for next Year

I have been enjoying my end-of-race-season rest period, a time of recuperation and dreaming about the next race season. I spent a week in Upstate New York visiting my father, a pleasant reunion, it was nice to see that, at age 89, my father is still relatively spry and has not lost the joy of life. Since the death of my mother two years ago he has successfully relied on his faith in God to carry him through.
While in New York I also had a chance to visit two out of three of my children, I miss so much of their lives living so far away, it makes my time with them all the more precious. I was honored to attend the birthday party of my youngest grandchild Alex, at 2 he is at an age where he is daily exploring the world around him, a fun time to share with a child.
Caught in the act:
Last, but not least, I had a chance to meet Running Further Blogger Lara for lunch, the time passed quickly as we caught up on each other’s lives. My only regret was that Chocolate Jon couldn’t join us this time, for some reason he thought running the Hartford Marathon, that he had been training for all year was more important than lunch with us…the nerve…by the way congratulations again on your new personal best!
I left my running shoes home during my short stay in New York, I think my body thanked me for the rest. I have run once with my running club since returning last Friday, but plan on continuing my rest and recovery phase for another month or two. For the most part I will limit my running to the twice a week runs with my running club and/or friends. I also want to start up a Crossfit-type workout with concentration on strengthening my upper body, especially my back which has given me problems this year.
After five intensive years of running marathons (24) and ultra-marathons (15), I decided (with the help of my wife) to (gasp) take a year off. Well almost, I will still run a couple marathons, but just for fun. That is the plan at this point, my wife is waiting to see if I can really follow through with this or not – she has her doubts. Actually I do to…

The Morning After Biel

The adrenalin was still pumping as we crossed the finish line, the tired and weariness temporarily forgotten as we celebrated our victory. We eventually walked over and picked up something to drink, then collected our finisher running shirts.
I knew I needed to keep moving to avoid getting cramps, so said I would meet them in the Curling Hall where showers were available. I found our bags and sat down, it felt so good to sit down. I awaited, expecting to lock up in a painful cramp at any time, but was spared this experience. Soon Andreas and Birgit joined me and I said I would watch their valuables as they showered. I sat and gave thanks to my lord for giving me the strength that I needed, he gave me peace.
After I showered we walked slowly to the car and Andreas drove to our rooms where we would be spending the night. The hotel, or more correctly, Bed & Breakfast without the breakfast, was in typical French design (we were in the French part of Switzerland). This meant we had small compact rooms with the showers and bathrooms in the hallways. We were fortunate that each room had there own separate shower and bathroom. In some B & B’s more rooms share one.
We settled in and agreed on a time to meet to go to dinner. I went to my room and collapsed on the bed and slept for an hour or two. It is interesting to note that my bed was raised above the floor, I had to climb a ladder to get in bed, very similar to the bunk bed I had as a kid. In any case it proved to be a major hurdle when I tried to get DOWN from the bed – I very nearly fell on my face!
After surviving this near mishap and hobbling down the stairs to the bathroom (and up again) I waited a bit for Andreas and Birgit to get around. We eventually set out over the obstacle course to the restaurant, namely lots of stairs, then 4-500 meters to the restaurant. We arrived in one piece and were greeted by a beer garden half full of blue 100K finisher shirts. We quickly sought a table (to avoid collapsing – okay I’m stretching it a bit) and enjoyed a good meal. We all had a healthy appetite, I seriously considered ordering another meal…but didn’t.
We eventually returned to our rooms and before long I was snoozing away, waking up almost 11 hours later. We enjoyed breakfast together and made our way leisurely back to Germany. We stopped at a favorite restaurant about halfway home. We had all mentioned that we just wanted a snack, but with menu in hand Birgit and I began to order like we hadn’t eaten in days. Andreas at least, remained hard and ate a hearty soup. I had roast pork with a thick sauce, spaetzle and a salad…mmmm. Birgit had roast beef with horseradish sauce, salt potatoes and a salad. This time we were all indeed full (well maybe not Andreas) the servings were enormous.
The drive home was uneventful, my friends dropped me off at the house, my wife rewarding them with a bucket of fresh strawberries from our garden. I spent the rest of the day doing my laundry and bugging my wife.
Last night I planned on running a half hour recovery run. Conny sent and e-mail inviting me to run with her and a small group at our running club, sure why not. I filled them in on the details of the 100K event as we looped our way around, but turned off after 4 km (2.5 mi.), they were a bit too fast for me, plus I didn’t need to run the whole 6.8 miles so soon. I jogged the 3 km back to the car and headed home for a relaxing night.
So what’s next? First up is the next appointment with my neurologist on Friday, he needs to interpret the results of my MRT that I had several weeks ago. My pinched nerve or whatever, still bothers, its time to find a solution.
Obviously I can still run, and have plans to run some more. Next up is the Fidelitas Night Run on June 26, I’ve participated the last four years in this 80 km (50 mi.) event and would enjoy doing it again this year. If my recovery goes well I’ll be there. Last year I set a new personal best, this year I am not even going to try. I will be using this race as a training run for an event that I plan to run in September. Birgit may also do this, Andreas declined…but we’ll see.

Running, Remodeling, and a Quick Trip to Speyer

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!

Recovering, renovating, and generally staying busy

Last week was extremely hectic from the seemingly endless kitchen renovation. The project has left very little time for sport or anything else for that matter. On the positive side it has given my legs a chance to recover, that’s also an important part of training.
I ran only twice this past week, once the 6.8 mile loop with my running club on Wednesday, and the second time on Saturday with my friend Conny who is training for the New York Marathon. On Saturday I met Conny and a few other friends about an hour and a half before our normal running club run and we ran a total of 16 miles, including the normal loop. After all the renovating through the week this was enough for me.
I thought about running another marathon in October or November, but in the moment the Kitchen project has priority, so I’m leaving this open, it doesn’t have to be. Tonight is the second evening from my freestyle swimming class, on the first evening (last Tuesday) we practiced the kick; I’m curious what is on the agenda for tonight.
Die Letzte Woche war extreme hektisch durch die scheinbar endlose Kücherenovierung. Es hat leider wenig Zeit gelassen für Sport und sonst etwas. An die Positiv Seite hat meine Beinen Zeit zu erholen, das ist auch ein wichtiges Teil von Training.
Ich habe letzte Woche nur zweimal gelaufen, einmal die 11 km Rund mit meinem Lauftreff an Mittwoch, und das zweite Mal an Samstag mit Lauffreundin Conny, das trainiert gleich für die New York Marathon. Ich habe Samstag eineinhalb Stunde vor unserem Lauftreff mit Conny und ein paar andere Freunden getroffen und wir haben insgesamt 26 km gelaufen. Nach alle der Renovierungsarbeit von der letzten Woche war das für mich genug.
Ich habe überlegt ob ich noch ein Marathon in Oktober oder November laufe, aber die Kücherenovierung Priorität hat, so bis jetzt ich keinem festen Plan gemacht habe – es nicht sein muss. Heute Abend ist der zweite Abend von meinem Kraul Schwimmkurs, den ersten Abend (letzte Dienstag) haben wir die Schlag geübt, ich bin gespannt was heute Abend kommt.

A Cycling Tour around Fürth, Bavaria

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:
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.
A view towards the Pegnitz River:
The Pegnitz River:
It was a beautiful day for cycling:
The Rhine-Main-Danuble Canal:
And the bike path that I rode on:
A reason why I love the area, just beautiful:
While heading back into Fürth from the south, I stopped here for a break – nice huh!
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:
Around the corner was the entrance to the Fürth Wine Festival, they were still setting up when I rode by:
As Rachel said yesterday, “What a great way to tour a new place while on vacation.”
Yes indeed!

Running and Cycling in Bavaria

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.
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!
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.

My new ride

In an effort to get rid of some of the wrecks on the road, Germany is offering 2500 Euro to anyone who sends their 9 year or older car to the junk yard to be scrapped. This wrecking bonus, or in German Abwrackprämie, is limited to 1.5 million Euro so people around here are jumping on it.
I was reading the newspaper a couple Saturday’s ago and the Renault car dealer where my wife bought her car had an ad in the paper announcing 2000 Euro off several models. This together with the wrecking bonus made it temping enough to drive my 12 year old station wagon over and take a look.
We looked around the lot carefully and reserved a car, telling the salesman that we would call him the following Monday with our decision. After going back and forth with the idea we finally decided to buy the car. My wife added the condition however that this was to be my birthday present this year (I’m turning 50 in July).
I’m okay with that and we picked up my new ride, a Renault Modus, this past Friday. The following picture I “borrowed” from, the only difference is my car is dark blue. Although my wife has driven it more than me thus far (what’s up with that?), I find the car much more comfortable then my old wagon and definitely more economical. And of course the fact that the car cost us only 2/3 of the new price is sweet!

A Great Day for a Wandering with Friends

An Dienstag, 30. Dezember habe sieben Mitglied von meiner Lauftreffgruppe in Linkenheim getroffen um eine Wanderrung nach dem Bernstein (Bad Herrenalb) zu machen. Es war ein eiskalt -4°C, aber wir waren warm angekleidet und hoch motiviert.
An Tuesday, December 30th, I met seven members of my running club in Linkenheim for a Wandering to the Bernstein (one of the highest points near Bad Herrenalb, with a splendid view of the Northern Black Forest). It was only 25°F outside, but we were dressed warm and highly motivated.
Wir haben die Straßenbahn nach Frauenalb gefahren und hoch durch dem Wald nach Bernbach gewandert.
We rode the streetcar to Frauenalb (a town near Bad Herrenalb) and wandered over the first “mountain” to Bernbach.
Nach Bernbach haben wir schnell noch hoch gesteigert bis wir haben unser Ziel erreicht. Die blick über die Schwarzwald war nebelig, aber trotzdem schon.
After Bernbach we quickly began climbing again, eventually reaching our objective. We were rewarded with a splendid view of the Black Forest, despite lots of fog.
Nachher haben wir ein andere Streck nach Bad Herrenalb genommen um ein Cafe zu besuchen. Nach ein Tasse heiße Kaffee oder Glühwein und ein Stück Küchen (oder zwei) haben wir zurück nach Linkenheim mit der Straßenbahn gefahren.
Afterward we took a different trail down into Bad Herrenalb to a Café for some cake and hot coffee or Glühwein. After visiting for a bit we made our way back to Linkenheim with the streetcar.
Ich freue mich das ich könnte die Tag mit so ein nette Gruppe von Freunden verwenden. Ich freue mich auch das ich habe ein ebene Gesundheit erreicht das ich könnte so ein Tag Geneissen!
I am so happy that I could spend the day with a great group of friends. I am also so thankful that I have reached a level of fitness and health that allows me to enjoy such a day!