Run. Bike. Code.

Living the active life while maintaining some nerdiness.

One Year Running for Team All-American

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As the race report for my debut marathon gets longer but is nowhere near finished, I thought I’d throw this one out in-between.

Today marks my one year “anniversary” of running for Team All-American under coach Scott Fishman.

On June 10, 2014 I ran a 30 minute progression run:

Today, one year later, a 40 minute easy run was scheduled. Between these two runs I ran about 2150km in 191 hours. Quite a feat, considering my old love-hate relationship with running.

So, does working with a coach pay off? Well, it certainly does for me:

  • I ran three 10km races in the last twelve months, each resulting in a PR. The last one in March 2015 put me in the sub-40-minute group with 39’33”, a PR by over 2 minutes.
  • I ran a half-marathon PR of 1:31:19, besting my previous time be 2’48”.
  • Most importantly I ran a very strong debut marathon in 3:17:38, finishing right between my A and B goal and enjoying every minute of it.

I turned 42 this year, and I feel I’m nowhere close to my peak performance. I’m looking forward to the road ahead and feel confident that there will be more PRs to come. Thanks, Scott!

Full disclosure: I’m not getting paid for writing this; in fact, I pay a monthly fee to coach Scott, which is worth every penny. I did however get one month of free coaching due to this post.

Friday Motivation

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I’m sitting in the hotel room after arriving in Hamburg for my first marathon, the TV is running in the background, and I just remembered a fun Twitter exchange with the Picky Bars crew.

It all started with this:

I guess, this is generally true, but doing endurance sports quickly reminded me of The Wall:

But then I remembered my school education in physics, and had to respond:

And here’s the gist you all should keep in mind, for when the going gets tough in your next race.

Bodies in motion stay in motion, and should you hit a wall, just move it along and keep going.

My First Marathon - 5 Days Out

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Wow, those 270 days went by fast. But it’s true, my first marathon is just five days out. Time to dust off the cob webs on this blog and update my four or so readers.

I’m right in the taper phase of my marathon training, for which I’ve logged 775km since the beginning of 2015. This is the most I’ve ever run in my life, logging consecutive 200km months for January, February and March. What’s more, I’ve been able to do this without taking time off due to injury, and I have to thank coach Scott Fishman for that. In fact, since I started working with Coach Scott, my only time off was the vacation in September 2014.

Progress

In the meantime, I ran a great half-marathon in San Diego in November 2014 (I might or might not write a race report, depending on how bored I get during the rest of the week), improving my PR by over three minutes to 1h31’19”. Earlier this year, I also ran a 10k race in preparation for the marathon and had another huge PR for that (improving by over two minutes to 39’33”).

With these successes in my back I feel confident and excited about the upcoming challenge of running a marathon.

Goals

I’ve been disclosing my goals to family and friends since end of last year; I have a C goal (more or less: finish), a B goal, and an A goal. I won’t tell you the exact numbers (I’ll do if we meet in person), let’s just say that exceeding my B goal slightly will theoretically get me into the Boston Marathon, whereas my A goal will have a solid buffer for a BQ. I’ll leave it at that and you can try to figure out the goals by yourself.

I will disclose though that my A goal has been adjusted by coach Scott by about five minutes (faster) since January. I blame the preparation 10k result for that.

What’s left

Well, first of all, stay healthy and finish the taper (three runs left). Second, get there. The family and I will be traveling to Hamburg on Friday afternoon. That leaves Saturday for bib pickup, the shakeout run and calming the nerves. Third, toe the line.

Fourth, write about the experience (and do a better job at that than with the last three races).

If you happen to run in Hamburg as well, please leave a comment below, I’d love to meet you before/after.

Locked-Up Garmin FR610

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I’m a technology geek. I love my gadgets and I like to delve into the numbers those gadgets record while I run or bike. All the more I get frustrated when devices don’t work as I expect them to.

On today’s easy 60 minute run my Garmin FR610 locked up right after showing the 3km split. I didn’t immediately notice this (not that I could have done anything), and when I looked the watch the next time, this is what it showed:

Not knowing what had happened, I tried to make that black box go away by hitting a couple of buttons, but none worked. Even holding the power-button for a long time (long enough that the unit would normally turn off) didn’t do anything. Kinda frustrated I continued to run.

Now, for reasons unrelated to this blog post (and also unrelated to the error), I had a 20 minute alarm set on the watch. And surprisingly, this alarm went off every 20 minutes, which made me realize that the watch wasn’t entirely dead.

To cut a frustrating story short, upon arriving home I had the bright idea to hook the watch up to the charger, which at least produced the usually “I’m now charging” beep. Also, hitting the lap button or stop button produced the corresponding beeps again, alas the screen still stayed in its locked black-box mode. As a desperate last resort, I tried to power off the device (hint: if you hold the power-button long enough the device will power down without your answer on the “Power down? Yes/No” prompt). Surprise, surprise, the watch finally powered down.

Upon restarting the watch all went back to normal. The exercise data of the run was mostly gone (more specifically: the summary was there, but wrong in terms of mileage, of course, and the run was cut off at 3km, right when the watch locked up), but at least the Garmin wasn’t completely bricked.

So, if you came here because you experience(d) something similar, leave a comment and let me know how you were able to solve the lock-up? Did charging and rebooting the Garmin help?

Update October 14, 2014: Today my Garmin FR610 locked up again, also right after showing a lap-split, with exactly the same symptoms as described above. Again I was able to “revive” the watch by hooking it up to the charger and then rebooting it. In order to prevent future encounters with this bug I decided to do a hard reset (thereby deleting all history, not an easy step to take). I hope this cures this issue for the time being.

On Vacation

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In lieu of the 4x7 review, which would have been due on August 29, this vacation notice has to suffice.

As you might have noticed by the relative quietness of this blog, I was on vacation for the most part of August. We’ve done a nice 5-day trip to London, where we did al of the ususal: sight-seeing, pub visits, getting rained on, and of course, running.

Then, after spending a day at home, washing, drying, folding and repacking clothes, we went up into the mountains to a small self-supported cottage that the family owns. That meant carrying all the food for 10-12 days for the four of us. I did two trips of this 90 minute hike on the first day and another one a few days later when my brother-in-law came to visit.

To be honest, before these two weeks I was at a point in my run training that made me almost regret taking about two weeks off from running (after all, in the mountains, no running happens). On the other hand, soaking in views like this above quickly made up for it. While the weather wasn’t always great we did get some nice hikes in and I went out pretty much every day to gather mushrooms – a highly meditative activity!

I’d estimate we pulled more than 5kg of mushrooms out of the forest and had them prepared in many different ways (together with the eggs for breakfast, just solo with some bacon for lunch or in a risotto for dinner). Fresh mushrooms every day!

All in all, a great three weeks and I’m now back at the grind, preparing for fall racing and my spring marathon!

5x7 Review

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I stumble over quite a lot of interesting articles and some are worth sharing on this site. I plan to do this every 5 weeks (thus “5x7 Review”) and I will include my own posts, some training highlights and some of my nutrition. Enjoy!

As seen on runbikeco.de

Notable past training

For the first time ever, I’ve completed a month with over 200km of running. July saw me run 201km in 26 sessions. The best part: this came just natural, I didn’t really notice how coach Scott brought me to this distance. Many easy runs sprinkled with some workouts and I’m more pain-free than ever before.

The bad part about it? I had zero (0!) kilometers on the bike. It just didn’t fit, because on the days where I had time usually the weather wouldn’t cooperate, and then when the weather was great I was busy with my running shoes. Especially in the middle of July, where I ran a 10km race (yay, new PR of 41’49”) and didn’t want to have tired legs from riding my bike.

Upcoming training

I’ll be on vacation for the most part of the next three weeks, but I will see to get a couple of runs in (for at least 10 days that’s not possible though, as we’ll be in the mountains without running trails or anything). However, that’s the beauty of working with a coach, I’m confident that he’ll get me back into the rhythm in no time.

Food consumed

I won’t bore you with everything I ate during the past four weeks, but there is always a meal or two that was special.

It’s BBQ season! As I write this, my first ever pulled pork is on the grill, can’t wait to taste it. In the last four weeks, we’ve had burgers, and fish, and burgers, and steak, and, oh did I tell you I love summer BBQ?

Found elsewhere

Lastly, a more or less uncommented link-dump of the past 35 days.

With that, have a great four (or five) weeks ahead. And remember, you can subscribe to this blog via Atom as well as Feedburner. And if you prefer email over RSS, subscribe to my newsletter. Thanks for reading!

Picture Your Workouts

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There is the art of training, and then there is art made from training.

It all started very innocently with this tweet:

Which got favoured by @Sisu. Not knowing who/what that was I opened their website (yep, I’m that easy to link-bait). Turns out, Sisu is a web-service that lets you create prints of your workouts based on the data found on Strava or Runkeeper. You can customize the prints for color, the title, and whether to show the summary in miles or kilometers. As of this writing, it will automatically pull the data for 2013, but I’ve had a nice Twitter chat with one of the guys behind Sisu and more customization options are in the pipeline.

At first I wasn’t sure whether to order a real print or not. As you can see above, I run a lot on the same routes, which make for some repetitive patterns. Also, the two track workouts kinda stand out. On the other, this is what my training looks like, therefore I decided to spend the 40£ and order the real thing. After all, services like this only survive (and thus continue to add features) if there are paying customers!

After a couple of days the order shipped from the print company and arrived safe and intact at my house. The print is about 41cm x 29cm in size and looks really good. I will get it framed and probably put it on the wall in the staircase at home.

I can’t wait for more features to show up on the site, especially to be able to select a date range for the workouts, or to limit the selection to either runs or rides as well as maybe deselect certain workouts. Once the date selection is available I’m pretty sure I’ll get another print for 2012 and 2014, subsequently. I think the sequence will look pretty nice in the staircase.

I’m in no way affiliated with Sisu, I just happened to find the concept cool and thus ordered a print. If you find your training to be art-worthy, then head over to Sisu and see how it would look like.

My First Marathon - 275 Days Out

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Just a short post today before leaving for a father-and-son-camping weekend. I’ve registered for my first marathon!

When I started running again in earnest back in 2012, my inner nerd came up with the idea to run my first marathon at the age of 42. Well, I’ll turn 42 next year and so I registered for my first marathon.

On April 26, 2015 I will thus run the Haspa Marathon Hamburg. By making it public on the blog and with friends and family I’m building up enough peer pressure to actually do it. Today is a good day to post about it, because the marathon is exactly 275 days away.

If you follow me on Twitter or read my previous 4x7 Review closely, you might have noticed that I’m working with a coach again. I find the idea of running a marathon pretty daunting and therefore thought it might be a good thing to let a professional develop the training-plan for me. Since the beginning of June I’m a member of the Team All-American led by Coach Scott Fishman. So far, this has worked out very well and I’m confident that Scott will prepare me well for my first marathon.

If you want to follow along, you can do so on Strava, Instagram, and of course Twitter. Oh, and I’ll be posting training updates and stuff on this very blog. As always, I’d be grateful for comments and words of encouragement.

4x7 Review

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I stumble over quite a lot of interesting articles and some are worth sharing on this site. I plan to do this every 4 weeks (thus “4x7 Review”) and I will include my own posts, some training highlights and some of my nutrition. Enjoy!

As seen on runbikeco.de

Notable past training

I finished the month of June with 139km running in 21 training sessions. I did run the 3000m track race I mentioned in the last review, and boy, that was hard. But the PR streak is still alive, 11:14.25 minutes for 3000m; it was an automatic PR, because it was my first 3k race ever.

Bike-wise, I ended up having 4 rides with a total of 325km. Another planned long ride didn’t happen due to rainy weather, and for July it doesn’t look promising either (there is a 10km road race on July 20, and I won’t do any long ride before that for obvious reasons).

Upcoming training

That’s the beauty of working with a coach again: I don’t know what’s coming up, except for this week’s race.

Found elsewhere

Lastly, a more or less uncommented link-dump of the past 28 days.

  • Pro Triathlete Jesse Thomas (yep, that guy again) trains in the name of science.
  • Runners in Alberta, Canada, encounter a black bear bear during their run. Lucky them, for they have been able to resume their workout.
  • A cool service: Get a nice print of last year’s training. Works with Strava and Runkeeper. I’ll probably write more about Sisu in the near future.

With that, have a great four weeks ahead. And remember, you can subscribe to this blog via Atom as well as Feedburner. And if you prefer email over RSS, subscribe to my newsletter. Thanks for reading!

My Trek 1200 Road Bike

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Happy Fourth of July for my American readers! The Tour starts tomorrow and that’s a good opportunity (as good as any other, to be fair) to write about my bikes. Since I have two road bikes, I’ll start with the older one.

Back when I started with Triathlon I bought this bike at a local bike shop, which got recommended to me. At the time it was pretty expensive, even though I don’t remember the exact amount I paid. But I do remember that I had to work a full summer for it and get additional “sponsorship” from my parents. But then it was mine:

A Trek 1200 aluminum road bike, 1990 edition (white with purple decals)! The frame number is 481018 (hard to read though, might be off), which according to the list of serial numbers is in line with the year 1990.

It was equipped with a Shimano RX100 groupset (that’s one down from the classic 105), with down-tube shifters, a 7-speed cassette (11-23 if I remember correctly) and a 42/53 “biopace” chain-ring combo (“biopace” meaning slightly oval chain-rings). It came with Matrix 700C ISO C11 rims, which had a slight aero-profile.

I upgraded the rear-hub to a Shimano 600 at some point, because I had a second rear-wheel designated for riding on the trainer and used the 105 equipped wheel for that.

I rode this bike for all of my triathlon seasons (three, all in all) and after I stopped doing triathlon races I remember one year during university where I got back on the bike for a few rides. After that, it sat in my attic, for years.

In 2010, when I picked up riding again, I had the bike checked by a local bike shop and they were surprised about the good shape it was in. All it needed was some lube, new cables for the brakes, a new saddle and new pedals (because I also got new shoes which had different cleats), and I was good to go.

Vintage Riding

I still ride this bike these days, usually at the beginning of the cycling season or if the weather gets bad at the end of the season. In the meantime, I’ve upgraded the old wheels with new Ultegra rims, which came off my new Trek Madone (bought in 2012, more on that later) and had the bar tape redone. Other than that, it still has its original RX100 components, as you can see:

And it is still a damn fine bike to ride!

Thanks for reading and enjoy your long weekend ahead! If you happen to have a vintage Trek bike, too, please leave a comment! Or if you don’t have one, but would like one, comment as well. Or you can also comment just because!