Thursday, 11 December 2008

My first Marathon

6 o'clock in the morning, I got up and ate my usual breakfast plus an energy bar and drank a lot of water. Then I walked to the train station, got on the train and after a 15 minute ride I was in Fürth. Now one tip is to run a little before the start. Since I was so nervous I thought my body is already fully pumped up and every 10min I had to go for pi.. so I left out the warming up. Well we got on the starting line and I checked my pules: 230... OK, I was nervous but I was not dead... yet. Then I realised I was not the only one having a pulse watch on which interfered with mine and so I took my pulse the old fashion way.
I got in line were it said 3:30h, since I had my injury and I still was wearing a bandage - I was kind of scared that in the middle of the Marathon my injury will be back.
Bang, it started and I was feeling great. Having hundreds of people around you just pushes you. Still wanting to get the best performance out of me, I aimed for a 4:45min run, but there was no marking to be found which would give the distance. So I guessed and thought I was in the 4:45min range and still feeling great - I really wanted to go faster but having in mind that this is just the easy part I took it easy.
The big crowd got very small after passing one runner after the other. Quite late after 45min I saw the first marking: 10km. What? I had a pace of 4:30min and it was still going great, so I kept it up, but I still had to pull myself together not to got any faster.
After 24km I took up some speed, since everything was going great. Now at 30km the chap with the hammer was knocking at the door, but as you can see in the picture taken at that point all was going well. Well It soon got worse, I was not in a crowd of runners anymore and the audience got sparse - well they can not cover 42,195 km. At 35km it got hard, my muscle were aching, my legs just would not move so easily anymore. Now this is the part I knew from my test runs but I was now running much faster than at those runs, about 1min faster and I had to keep it up. I lost little my pace but kept moving and after running in the country side we got back into the city were the crowds were. This gave me another reason to keep it up. There was no other runner in sight just the crowd and me - I kept going. It went on for ages. One bend after the other, like going in circles no straight line. The distance marking were no were to be found. The finish line had to be here somewhere. Then I heard the crowd and went for it. There was the goal and I made it... what a great day. This is why I did all the training and it was the right thing to do, what a feeling, what a run... what pain, what hunger. Yeah, the pain did not leave and I needed something to eat. I went to by bag and gorge down an energy bar and drank water. Nothing could get that smile of my face, so bloody happy.

Well to keep it short: I took the train back and went home from the train station. This 20min walk was great, the pain in my muscle suddenly disappeared.

Oh yeah, I got in as 47th in a 3:12:02 (netto: 3:11:32) time.

Monday, 8 December 2008


Before starting off with the Marathon a big "thank you" is in order. My flat mate G.Z. who pushed me to sign up for the Marathon and made some great pictures during my finish.

Not to forget Ina and Christian (aka: Pilz) who made it my birthday present to support me during the run. I think after getting up at 8 a.m. on a Sunday they soon regretted their idea. But they were true to their word and did a great job. Thanks to those two I was 10min faster, minimum. A good crowd gives you great energy. Here are the two wackos, being rather optimistic with my Marathon time.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

2nd Quarter 2008:

So there was only 10 Weeks left to gain speed and much more important to even get to the finish line. I heard from some long Marathon runners, sometime after 30km the body kind of breaks down. Others refer to it as: The man with the hammer comes by to say hello. This is actually a very good image, because it really expresses the pain you are in.
April started and with that my first sport injury. During a fast run I pulled a muscle. Now this happened exactly in the middle of a 17km run, so to get back I still needed to make approximately 8km. Funny thing was that I still could run and it was easier than walking. So I got back home and went straight to the doctor. He looked at it and said: "YEAH, strained muscle, you will be back on you feet tomorrow". Which I did not believe, since I limped and had trouble getting up stairs. A big lump was in my thigh. I went to my usual general practitioner and asked for his opinion, due to good experience I had with him. He gave me a number of a masseur, telling me that a physical therapist is not such a good idea since they only give you exercises and are to lazy for anything else. This was a great advice. I had a great masseur, twice a week and every time the lump got smaller and the pain actually was gone after the first two sessions.
I took the advice from Galloway to give your injuries a lot of time to heal and I knew this would take at least 3 weeks. So my training was on ice, but somehow I knew everything will work out fine. So to at least stay fit I intensified my swimming, which was no problem at all. I even joined the TV 1848 Erlangen which has a great swimming team. Of course I started as a floating tree trunk. They had a "water adaption" training once a week. I never heard of that, since I only did my laps. A friend of mine recommended to take part and I was astonished on how great my swimming improved due to this course. It gives you a great feal for water. Also they did some nice exercises for your crawling technique. But what was really hard was the backward crawl, backward butterfly swimming and all kinds of underwater swimming over a length of about 15m, this really gives you stamina.
So I start swimming 3 time with the club and at weekends alone in the public swimming pool. It was not enough for me and I started to notice that bicycle riding, which I did to get to work, also was no problem for my injury. So I gave it a try with my mountain bike and it was fun. I went to the shops and bought myself a racing bike, got out onto the country roads of Erlangen.
My Triathlon enthusiasm started.
Now and then I tried, very easy, if I could run but after 3 weeks there was no hope, even though my limping stopped. During running the whole pain came back and I knew if I would not stop I could start from the scratch. After 4 weeks I gave it another try, slowly and with a bandage and it worked.
I build up my muscles with slow runs over 2 weeks and got back to my original shape quite rapidly and even better. I continued the training. Now since the Fürther Marathon can get quite hot, I exercised a lot during the midday sun which was complete murder. I even did some long distance (38km) runs during this time, which was actually the cause of getting up so late on Sunday and no training intention. These runs were a horror, I got to meet the man with the hammer and he really killed me. I did had some water supplies with me but it was not enough. At 30km I just felt pain and wanted to get home, which was still 8km away. Nothing helped, I just had to get through it. Getting home after such a run ended always the same, showering, eating 300g of pasta, drinking a lot of water and staying on the couch watching some DVDs.
The last week, as recommended, I just took it easy.

Well than came the Marathon... (to be continued)

Thursday, 13 November 2008

1st Quarter 2008:

I got my feet back and started running with the beginning of the year. I just ran how I could, no plan and no constraints except for my shape, I just enjoyed it and it was great fun. Quite quickly my shape increased and it got better by the day. It is amazing how fast your body adapts and builds up stamina.
My room mate pressured me a little to take part in a race, just for fun. Since I always talked about marathons he showed me a leaflet from the "Fürth Metropolmarathon" and convinced me to signed up, which I did. This is were it all started, finally a goal to achieve and
the only option was to do my best. Just crossing the finish line would not satisfy me.
A great book already was in my possession: Marathon - Das Erfolgsprogramm: Das Erfogsprogramm from Jeff Galloway. It is a great book and it helped me a lot. Especially the cross training and the day off. The day off is actually the hardest, telling yourself to take it easy while your whole body just wants to get out breath in the fresh air, absorb every little sun ray and run until... well, I never did that so I have no idea what would have happened.
The cross training was the first step to triathlon. 2 days in the week a non running sport should be done, like skiing, skating, cross-country skiing, swimming, bike-riding etc.. Bike riding was a possibility but the legs could not fully recover from previous running exercises. I already tried skating for 2 years and did not stick to it and regarding skiing, well snow was not always around. So there was swimming. Erlangen has a great public swimming pool and is cheap. Twice a week I did my laps in the water, easy, breast stroke and was now and then overlapped by some very old geezer. I had to change to crawl and sucked in every little advice from the Internet of how to improve your technique.
My stamina was there but speed was missing. A couple of short distance runs, 12 times 1.6km helped me there and I gained speed rapidly.
At the end of march I was a long distance runner, 30km was no issue in a good pace but still not enough for a good marathon time. And running Marathon still needed another 12.195
km and I knew that was the hard part. Despite my achievements I was far away from finishing, forget about a good time.

Finally I can fill up my blog. Since most of it will be about triathlon I need to recapitulate the last year and how I got to this lovely sport

Pre year 2008:
I had a problem with my foot during running which was the only sport I did and that very seldom. It fell asleep after longer runs especially if it was a faster training. Well, living with it over 3 years, searching the Internet and visiting couple of doctor of different specialties I gave up, even though stretching was the best remedy but not the cure. Another year past and I just wanted to get rid of it so I gave the doctors another try, a sport doctor - not the first one. She was quite aggressive about me tying the shoes to tight but subscribed something anyhow. I did not want to take any meds so I gave her theory a try and tied my shoes so loose that they nearly came off by themselves. I am not exaggerating. A very quick run, of about 12km showed me, that everything is ok. I lost about 10kg in a very short time and started my regular training from then on.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008