Sunday, December 26, 2010

16K Powder Run

With temperatures at -8C and sunshine pure it was an amazing day for a powder run! Like yesterday I ran mixed cleared and uncleared farm paths and trails. The vistas were breathtaking and the running was a challenge.

Running was great where the path or trail had either been driven or trampled down. It was much like running on wet beach sand. It became a challenge were either no one had gone before or very few people or vehicles had traversed as yet.

Today I was running in my Asics T9 gore tex shoes and have to tell you that I did not feel much of difference as far as the cold went from wearing my Vibram Five Fingers yesterday. Although the T9s are a conventional "water resistant" shoe given today's weather conditions (well below freezing and about 30cm of new snow on the ground) they don't offer much protection from ice and snow around your ankles. I suppose in order to do that I'd need a pair of gaiters. So at the end of the day (I had ice rings that formed around the collars of both shoes) I'm convinced I've got to go back out in my Five Fingers again.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Let it Snow

It's been snowing here like crazy the last couple of weeks and the entire time I've been dying to get out and try my Vibram Five Fingers in the snow. After lunch today the opportunity finally presented itself. I'm still undecided on how I feel about running them in snowy conditions.

Today the temperature was at -6 C; the ground was covered in about 30 centimeters of new snow. The surfaces I was running on varied from unpaved, uncleared farm paths, side walks and roads. Going was good on the paths that had a firm (non-powdered surface); it was tougher where the road or path had been cleared by a snow plow because of the ice (hurts a little more than rocks in general) and toughest in the areas where little to no clearing had occurred. Other than those areas where the snow had not been cleared I did not have cold feet. My ankles got cold after pushing through relatively uncleared areas after being exposed directly to the snow.

Where the path was snow covered and firm I made the best time and ran in the most comfort in my Five Fingers. It was much like running on firm sand and provided a relaxed and comfortable workout. This type of surface is obviously the most enjoyable to run in this type of minimized shoe.

I don't have a pair of Five Finger socks so I can't test that aspect. If the weather stays cold like it is now and people continue to walk around I'll give the Five Fingers another shot on packed down snow. Until then, it's back to my Goretex shoes and preparation for the BC!

Happy Trails!

Monday, December 13, 2010


Well... As you've likely seen here my last couple of posts have been about the winter weather that has arrived. I'm a bit surprised at how early winter arrived this fall. We're currently experiencing lows at the -6 range with highs running around -2. This is normal for January and early February, but late November and December... While running this morning I was thinking "Just make the best of it, no sense in complaining. Besides, it's great training for the BC 11." All of which is true.

I've been down almost two weeks with a nasty little bug I picked up along the way. I'm planning on running into work this Wednesday morning (that's where I started feeling like junk two weeks ago), and hope that I don't run myself into the ground. In general I don't believe that you can make yourself sick by being outside in the cold. While out this morning doing a 10KM I felt great and am ready to ramp back up my mileage. We'll see how it goes...

Monday, November 29, 2010

Winter Running...

In Germany rocks especially when
we get snow so early in the winter! Besides,
there's no better way to get trained up for the Brocken-Challenge!
Registration opens on 1 Dec 2010.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Monday, October 25, 2010

Running Barefoot

I slipped my Vibram Five Fingers back on this morning after not running in them regularly for several months. Believe it or not - I had an amazing run in them today and am convinced that they are a tremendous benefit.

Yes - it was cold and the ground was wet this morning after a couple of days of rain. But, like my hands, my feet took a bit to warm up, but after running for about ten minutes everything was fine. In fact - I can't wait to continue to push the envelope and look forward to running in them in snow.

The feeling of being so minimal (I actually felt like I was more connected with my surroundings) was amazing. After the 50KM I ran on Saturday I was looking forward to an opportunity to stretch and relax my legs this morning. My Five Fingers helped me do just that.

And no - this is not a paid advertisement. Simply stated - I like my Five Fingers and plan to incorporate them into my training plan.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tree Man...

Running around you tend to experience many things... I was out Sunday on a nice run and came across this guy in the forest near Holzerlingen.

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Enchanted Forest

Today while running in the Enchanted Forest (it really exists...) and thinking about my post yesterday on the UTMB I came to a rather nice realization.

Yes - the UTMB was canceled this year at KM 21... If you look, you'll always find that silver lining and it includes:

1. I didn't DNF!
2. I got to sample the UTMB course and the environment and can improve my training plan for next year.
3. And... I didn't DNF! That's very cool. Not that, that was ever part of the plan.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

UTMB 2010 CANX Pictures

Some impressions of Chamonix and the UTMB in 2010...


It’s a blustery, rainy 27th of August 2010. The crowd around the church in Chamonix is large. It includes 2300 runners, family, friends and spectators. We’re packed in like sardines and their is no division between runners and spectators. Has no one thought of barriers? Everyone is waiting for the start of the 2010 Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB). Standing in the crowd, eighteen months of pent up thoughts and emotions are brewing up inside me. When will the stupid false motivation broadcast by the organizers stop and when can we finally get this thing on the road…? Good golly – Vangelis… I can’t stand Vangelis!

Finally – it’s 1830 and we’re off – sort of… If you’ve been to Chamonix you know that the streets are narrow, particularly the one that runs down from the church through the city. Although the street is cordoned off it seems to take forever until the 2300 runners actually start running. But this is all cool. The crowd is going crazy and you feel like a rock star.

With the start we’re off on what I feel will be an unprecedented adventure. Within the limits of the next forty-six hours we are going to pit ourselves against 166KM of trails, mountains, the weather and each runner’s personal baggage. I’m fired up!

We reach Chamonix’s city limits and head off onto the trails at a smooth, light clip. Everything I think I’ll need over the next forty-six hours is on my back. The temperature is cool and a light drizzle has started again. Many runners stop to don their rain gear – I’m going to wait a bit longer – a cool drizzle is no problem. As we jog along in a mass we reach the first hills towards La Charme. This is going to be good… Shortly after one of the early support stops I decide to stop, don my parka and unpack my hiking polls – it is after all going to be a long night.

By now the sun has gone down, the rain continues and we continue to move up hill as a silent group. At last we’ve reached the crest and are headed back down into the darkness. The rain has turned the ski slope we’re on into a slip and slide. I fall on my ass at least twice, curse, regain my composure and continue to move down. In the distance I can hear the announcer in Saint-Gervais and because he’s speaking French and is still some distance away I imagine that he is calling the runners out by name as they enter the first large rest area at kilometer 21.

After finally leaving the single track mud trail we were on we now enter a small road where I’m able to stretch my legs out a bit. This feels great. I pull up alongside a Frenchman. We exchange pleasantries and he tells me that the race has been canceled. What!?! The race has been canceled? I can’t believe that and tell him that I think that’s only a rumor. In fact, we should start our own silly rumor… The UTMB has been canceled because of rain. Come on!

The country path we’re on quickly turns into a village street and I can really stretch my legs out. This feels great. The noise of the announcer is getting closer and I’m looking forward to a bowl of soup, some salami and cheese… Upon arrival in Saint-Gervais I cross the timing mat and am pulled up by a race volunteer who yells something at me in French. I reply, “J'ne pas parler le Francais”. She then tells me that the race has been canceled. Unh!?! The race is canceled? WTF!?! I continue to walk through the rest area and attempt to gain some additional information. Chaos reigns. No one has a clue what is going one… My disappointment is huge. WTF!?!

Up to the start of the UTBM the organization was simply fantastic; runners were made to feel like professional athletes - it was very cool. 21 kilometers into the race the organizers stopped the event as it had been raining all day and the trail was obstructed by mud slides. (On the surface a good safety call.)

After standing around for what seemed forever and trying to piece things together from other runners and volunteers one of the organizers announced that the race was definitively over and that there would be no restart; runners should turn in their bibs and time chips starting at 1000 the next morning. We stood around in the rain waiting for the organizers to recover us back to Chamonix via train and bus. On the bright side, standing around talking to people I met some pretty cool people.

Now the disconcerting creeps in...

At some point during the course of the night the organizers, after certainly taking several heated calls from their sponsors decided to "restart" the race on Saturday at 1000. This "restart" would be 98KM versus the full 166KM, but it would be a "challenging and exciting event."

Meanwhile we had traveled by train and bus back to Chamonix. I arrived back in town at about 0125 and went back to the sports center where I had dropped off my race drop bag to pick it up. I picked up my bag and headed back to our campground to take a shower and get some sleep. No one at the sport center mentioned that a “restart” was planned and I should consider leaving my bag...

The organizers decided to officially publish the race restart via mobile phone text message. Several SMS with the weather and other crap were sent out over the course of Friday night. When after waking up at about 0700, I found that I had an SMS that arrived at 0420 which said that "Buses for Courymour depart at 0630 limited to 1000". I had no idea what this message meant and disregarded it. This note was apparently the official notice that the race was going to restart and that runners should check in at 0630 to be moved to Courymour to start the new race. How the 1000 runners were going to be selected from 2300 registered runners was pretty easy since no one understood what the message meant unless you had a manager along that was actually in contact with the race organizers, or you decided to stay up all night.

According to the organizer's rules the organization reserves the right to delay the race two hours due to weather or environmental conditions. After that point the race must be cancelled and runners refunded (It cost me 160 Euro to get registered plus the associated travel and billeting costs (we camped)). The organizer must have been aware of the bad weather the day prior to the event and it rained all day and all night Friday into Saturday. It becomes obvious that it was simply too much of a financial risk (refund runners money and losses by the major sponsors) to cancel the race so in my mind the organizers intentionally started and then stopped the race.

Was it the right call to stop the race? Yes, absolutely - the trail was blocked and could have seriously imperiled the safety of the runners.

Was it wrong to restart the race? Yes, from my perspective as an amateur athlete absolutely. It's kind of funny that all of the pro-athletes except for one were able to compete during the restart. According to one of the race blogs I’ve been following, the one professional athlete decided that the UTMB was BS. His manager knew of another race in Italy and they took off to compete in it.

The race organizers have made no official statement regarding their decisions or plans for reimbursement or preferential registration in 2011 for those runners that were unable to participate. The major sponsor is heralding the event as a major success... Go figure!

I keep going back and forth about whether I want to sign up for the race in 2011. On the one hand the UTMB is a world class ultramarathon. There are only a few races as significant. On the other hand I don't like the way things continue to unfold. It's not about the money - I'll get over that. It's about the cavalier and perceived attitude of the organizer and their sponsors. Frustrates me...

So here we are a week later… I’ve been frustrated most of the week and only made it out to run four times. I’m leaving the UTMB alone for the moment and concentrating on other events. We’ll see what unfolds over the course of the next months and weeks.

Monday, July 5, 2010

TU the Route

Simply Spectacular!

thüringenULTRA Base Operations

This set of pictures shows the start and finish
and camping area of the TU.

The Week in Running No 7

This past week was a gear/taper for the thueringenULTRA. More details on that in a few...

M: 5KM - 151lbs
T: Rest - 150lbs
W: 5KM - 150lbs
TH: 5KM - 151lbs
F: Rest - 149lbs
S: TU 100KM - 150lbs
SU: Rest - 147lbs

Total: 115KM
Average Weight: 150lbs

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Week in Running No 6

OK... You must forgive me; I missed a week in running last week. I came down with an evil virus starting on about Tuesday and was bedridden from Thursday through Saturday evening. Nasty stuff! This past week found me back on track, I hope...

M: 10KM + 10KM Bike - 149lbs
T: 10KM - 151lbs
W: 10KM + 10KM Bike - 150lbs
TH: 10KM (Hill Repeats) + 5 Fingers - 150lbs
F: 10KM + 5KM + 5 Fingers - 150lbs
S: 40KM - 150lbs
SU: 5KM - 149lbs

Total: 100KM
Average Weight: 150lbs

The week ahead is a tapper week in anticipation of the TU which takes place on Saturday, 3 July. I'm fired up!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Pre-TU Run

I did my last long pre-thueringenULTRA run this morning. I had initially started out to do a 50KM, but in retrospect am glad I only did a 40K. I ran out of drinks...

In January I did a 55KM training run with my 3.5L camelbak bladder and two additional bottles - had drinks left over. Summer has set in here finally and as the day unfolded it got a little warm. A huge lesson for next weekend and the TU. Aside from the fluids issue everything else went fine this morning nutritionally.

UTMB Newsletter No 4

The fourth UTMB Newsletter is out and asks that question...


Sunday, June 13, 2010

Watzmann Summit

The Watzmann Range includes Germany's
second highest mountain peaks. I've been
trying to summit for the past three years; was held
up by weather, equipment and know-how.

This year a team of 10 of us hiked and climbed
the Hocheck (2651m) and the Mittelspitze (2713m).

The experience was tremendous. In preparation for
the UTMB I now know that I've got to get back
into the gym and on a bike to work and develop my thighs,
hips and core.

Watzmann Sunrise

0450 - 0511 Wednesday, 9 June 2010
Watching the sun come up is an amazing experience filled
with anticipation and reward. Brilliant...

The Week in Running No 5

This past week in running embraces the outlook "Diversification in interests, lifestyle, education and experience, and goals is the surest and most powerful path to excellent in both a cumulative and activity-specific sense."

I ran a total of 18KM this past week, but as I mentioned last week I spent most of the week in the Bavarian Alps hiking and climbing. I accomplished three of the near term goals I set out for myself 1) To watch the sun come up. (Am trying to do that monthly), 2) Push my endurance through sleep deprivation and exertion, and 3) Summit the Watzmann.

Here are a few photos with perhaps a comment or so on each.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Week in Running No 4

I mixed things up this week and just eked out a hundred... Next week will prove interesting; will be in the Alps Monday through Thursday. More on that later...

M: 10KM + 10KM - 154lbs
T: 10KM - 152lbs
W: 25KM - 152lbs
TH: Rest - 151lbs
F: 10KM - 151lbs
S: 13KM - 151lbs
SU: 18KM + 6KM - 150lbs

Total: 102KM
Average Weight: 151lbs

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Five Fingers...

After reading "Born to Run" I decided to check out what all the hullabaloo was about regarding running barefoot or minimized... Seems like everyone else was doing the same because it's tough to get a pair of Five Fingers these days...

I've been running off and on in my Five Fingers since April 2010 and am convinced that they're a good deal. When running in them you experience a totally different work out, particularly in your calves and the foot itself. Because I've stepped into the unknown with these things I've been mixing them up with regular street and trail shoes. I ran a 13KM hill run today in them, actually the farthest I've run in them to date over mixed surfaces and am happy to report that they were great.

Be careful about taking off over mixed surfaces, particularly gravel. You feel the road and can quickly develop stone bruises on the balls of your feet.

Monday, May 31, 2010


During my runs this morning I was reminded how much
I love running in Germany in the Spring. The colors, air and complete
environment are breathtaking.

The wood above reminds me of what I think Tolkien's Middle Earth looked like...

Mellow is the man
Who knows what he's been missing
Many many men
Can't see the open road
Jimmy Page and Robert Plant

Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Myth of the Lonely Long-Distance Runner (Time Magazine)

I just stumbled across an excellent interview in Time Magazine from 1 June 2009 between Claire Suddath and Chris McDougall (of Born to Run fame). Chris talks about his impressions on running and what he thinks of people that don't like to run. Worth a look...

The Week in Running No 3

As I look back on the past week in running I must tell you that I'm pretty pleased where it took me. Although this ITB thing continues to bug me, it is not something that seems to be holding me back at the moment. I'm working on it with stretching and a roller. Oddly, the pain that's involved continues to move around along the outside of my left leg which prevents me from localizing and actually identifying what's going on. We'll just see where it takes us.

M: 10KM - 150lbs
T: 10KM - 150lbs
W: 25 + 25KM - 152lbs
TH: Rest - 151 lbs
F: 10KM - 150lbs
S: 10KM - 151lbs
SU: 10KM - 150lbs

Total: 100KM
Average Weight: 150lbs

Am looking forward to the next week. I hope to knock out a couple of long runs and will spend Friday and Saturday hiking in the mountains.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Hänsel und Gretel

Did the commute to work again yesterday - what a great way to start and end the day! This is one of my favorite spots along the route; a hill I've christened Hänsel und Gretel (There's a little hut at the top of the hill. Anyway...). I have a love/hate thing going with this hill. All the same it's a great work out.

I'm confounded by this ITB thing I have going on with my knee/leg. It did not bother me while running, but the pain woke me this morning. I took today off to rest. Instead of running or lifting I had a good stretching session and used a roller on my leg. We'll see how it goes tomorrow.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Week in Running No 2

I missed out in posting the week in running on 16 May as we were traveling in the Provence.

All things considered (I'm trying to avoid an ITB injury that I feel is coming on) this past week was another good one. Here's what it looked like:

M: Rest - Travel Day
T: 10KM - 150lbs
W: 25 + 25KM - 149lbs
TH: 10KM - 149lbs
F: 10KM - 150lbs
S: 8KM - 150lbs
SU: Rest - Nursing the ITB

Total: 88KM
Average Weight: 150lbs

If I can resolve this ITB issue I've run into I want to see if I can break 100KM next week. We'll see how it goes...

The Commute

The way to get to work - from a better perspective - on foot!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

UTMB Newsletter No 3

The third edition of the UTMB Newsletter is out. This edition is on the green side of the race. Take a look...

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Week in Running

I recently stumbled across another running blog where the runner posted his weekly running efforts (parts of his journal). I don't know how disciplined I'll be about this, but thought I'd too give it a go and see where it takes us.

This past week was actually a pretty good one considering that I still have this dang bug working on me that I picked up while home in Texas...

Monday (M): 10KM, 152lbs
Tuesday (T): 13KM, 149lbs
Wednesday (W): 30KM, 151lbs
Thursday (TH): Rest, 150lbs
Friday (F): 10KM, 151lbs
Saturday (S): 8KM, 150lbs
Sunday (SU): 11KM, 150lbs

Total: 81KM
Average Weight: 150lbs

Next week I'm entering a tapper week as I'm running the Grand Raid Dentelles Ventoux on Saturday. Back at it again hard when we get back with less than four months to go until the UTMB.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Man in the Arena

I decided to alter my commute to work this morning - I ran. The route I picked was a nice 30KM. It was a bit chilly for May - I was glad that I had my gloves with me. Nonetheless... While running I was thinking about President Theodore Roosevelt's speech at the Sorbonne in April 1910. Along with Rudyard Kipling's If, it is among my favorites...

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

UTMB Newsletter

Have just received the second UTMB Newsletter and thought I'd start posting the links here - they are a great read.

I've had a nasty cold since last Sunday and have not run since then. This is starting to worry me... I'm ready to get back on the trail.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Running in Tyler

While in Tyler a week or so ago I re-discovered a great (improved) running network between the Rose Rudman Recreational Trail and the (new) South Tyler Trail system. Although relatively short and flat, (entire combined route is about eight kilometers), the combination of well lighted, wooded areas make excellent running in the Texas heat!

For details see: The embedded map

Harzquerung Cancelled

Well... Like 2008, I'm going to have to miss out on the Harzquerung again this year. Because of the volcano eruption in Iceland I got stuck in the US until 21 April; arrived in Germany on 22 April with a cold that just won't quit... Will see if I can get a Harzquerung done on an odd year in 2011!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Road Trip

Have been back home with my son to get him signed up for college etc., during Spring Break. The running has been pretty good (pictures and details to follow). As luck or news of the weird would have it, we're stuck in Texas because of a volcano in Iceland (can't fly into northern Europe). So.... I think we're going to take a road trip or two. Will let you know how the running goes...

Sunday, March 28, 2010

After the Race

Playing a little football with my niece
after the Saaletal Marathon.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Friday, March 26, 2010

Saaletal Marathon

Am off to run the First Saaletal Marathon in the morning. Because of the myriad of other things going on in life I've not trained as much as I would have liked to before going into something like this. Oh well... As the old saying goes. I'm going to attempt to race to the finish not from the start....

Friday, March 12, 2010


To seek the sacred river Alph. To walk the caves of ice. To break my fast on honeydew and drink the milk of Paradise...

Rush - Xanadu

Another great day of winter running... Been a low mileage week this week. Am going to see if I can change that this weekend.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

God is a DJ

This is my church.
This is where I heal my hurt.
It's a natural grace, of watching young life shape.
It's in minor keys, solutions and remedies...

Faithless - God is a DJ