Archive for October, 2008

A running year in retrospect

Thursday, October 30th, 2008

After having moved from Gabersdorf to Graz in May 2006, it became possible for me to start cultivating a routine of running. Although living in the center of the city, it turned out to be a lot easier for me to run on a regular basis than in Gabersdorf.
In 2007, I ran my first two marathons and in November through Christian Kleineberg, I met Georg Ruess, a champion marathon runner and running coach, who agreed to write my training plans for the next marathons.
With professional plans, the quality and efficiency of my training runs improved in such a way that I was able to boost my marathon record by more than 13 minutes within 6 months. The Linz marathon was not only the first long distance run without break-down on the last 12 km, it was my first marathon in which I was able to increase the speed on the last 7 km, clocking in the 11th fastest time of the whole field between 35 km and 42 km
My Linz experience provided high motivation for the rest of the year. It turned out that, once again, my body couldn’t keep up with my ambition. Fast and intensive running sessions in May resulted in problems with my achilles tendons which forced me to cancel a half marathon in early June. Our wedding just came at a perfect time in order to give my legs a rest.
I started training for my next marathon in early July and had a good summer. I became 7th in the Römerlauf over 10 ks in July and set a new half marathon record (1:20:16 hrs) in September. The high intensity training at the end of August again affected my achilles tendons and suddenly a big question mark loomed over my next marathon in Graz in October. With the help of my masseur, Leo Winte,r and Dr. Hans Holler, however, I managed to keep those problems in check and was able to start at the Graz marathon well prepared.
The Graz marathon turned out to become the most difficult marathon so far, due to rising temperatures on the second half. Guided and perfectly assisted by Martin Hackl, I managed to complete a marathon, which was hell of a race for many runners, in acceptable 2:54:20 without having to exhaust myself completely. It was a cleverly paced race which saw me at position 64 after 8ks. I completed the first half marathon in 1:25:42 (14,7 km/h, 4:03 min/km) on position 52. After 30 ks (2:03:15, 14,6 km/h, 4:06 min/km) I was 44th. At KM 35, I had advance to position 37 (2:24:20, 14,5 km/h, 4.07 min/km). Also slowing down myself with every kilometer towards the end, my pace was still good, however, in comparison, and thus I kept overtaking runners and finished on position 29 after 42,195 km in 2:54:20 hrs (14,4 km/h, 4:08 min/km).
Also the rest of our team ran great races

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. Jörg Achten finished on 7th position overall in 2:38 hrs, only 5 runners from Kenia and Ethopia and Erich Kokaly from Villach were faster, thus making him the 2nd fastest runner out of Europe.
Vinzenz Kumpusch surprised with a marvellous run, finishing on 10th position in 2:42 hrs. Vinzenz had been injured all through late July and August, and had not been able to prepare properly for the marathon. In such a light, his performance is exceptional. He seems set for 2:35 hrs and faster in 2009.
Christian Kleineberg, who had had a fantastic year up till then, complemented our team’s strong performance, on position 15 in 2:47 hrs.
Last not least, Klaus Vrisk, the latest addition to our team, ran his first marathon and finished in really good 3:43 hrs
The overall time of our three fastest runners was 8:07 hrs. Only the African Bushtrekkers Kenya were faster than Jörg, Vinzenz and Christian. This goes to show that as a team we are set to compete with the best teams nationwide. In our next marathon at the Austrian marathon championships in Salzburg we have to confirm our claim and have to prove ourselves in a strong field and a tough, competitive race.


Super run at the Graz Marathon

Sunday, October 12th, 2008

This was an immensly difficult run today. Especially the second half-marathon was tough with temperatures at about 25 °C

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. Since temperatures at the start were at about 8 °C, all the marathon runners had to cope with a temperature difference of 17 °C, no small challenge for a mid October day.

I finished in 2:54:25 hrs

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. Overall position 28. AG-35 position 7.

Under such difficult circumstances I am more than happy 🙂

Thanks to Martin Hackl for assisting me
. Without him this would not have been possible
. Thanks to Georg for his superb training plans.

Here are some shots from the marathon (thanks a lot Sylvia!). More shots on my Flickr Photo Gallery
Taken on Saturday when Martin came to pick up the drinks and join us for the Pasta party at the Italian restaurant “Galliano”.
20 minutes before the start with Ernst, who ran 10 ks.
The last few meters were really hard, cramps were building up and I just made it over the finish line
Well done! That was a good Sunday morning.
Thanks again, Martin! Your support was invaluable!
With Sylvia! Thanks for everything. Luv u.


Season’s ending

Friday, October 10th, 2008

My second marathon season is coming to its very end with the Graz Marathon 2008 on Sunday, October 12. It’s been a long year with two marathons and one half marathon
. I have set new personal records over both distances so I can – even before the marathon on Sunday – look back at a really successfull year

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But now everything is focused on Sunday. The weatherforecast is good and bad. Good as the weather will be all sunshine and blue skies which will attract a lot of spectators and will add to an exciting run. Bad as the temperatures will be soaring at around 21 to 24° C at noon. Since I feel much more comfortable in the cool, the temperatures will pose another challenge. Still there is nothing to fear. I am very well prepared.
I started to train for the marathon on Monday, 30 June 2008. In the 103 days that have elapsed, I have covered 1,505 kilometers – an average of 100 kilometers per week – and spent 128 hours on the track (average 8:30 hrs/week).
Bild Leo Winter
I have had the best support you can imagine: Georg Ruess, one of Austria’s best marathon runners, who set his personal best last Sunday in Bregenz, becoming 3rd in the Austrian Marathon Championships in 2:27 hrs, designed my running plans and hung out with me on the phone patiently, providing me with so much invaluable information.
Leo Winter, you can see him at work in the picture above, my masseur from the old days in Austria’s 2nd division with Flavia Solva, took care of my legs and helped improving the problems with my Achilles tendons with his superb Medi tapes. He worked at the Olympic Games in 1998 in Nagano for the Austrian Skiing Team and is the expert for sore legs and all muscle related problems.

I also had the pleasure to share a few runs with Christian Kleineberg, one of the best runners in the region and my team mate at Stefflhof Adventures. Although we could not always train together, just knowing that someone was out there in the early morning of the hot summer days, training for the same event, was motivating and we regularly exchanged our training efforts afterwards. All the best for Christian on Sunday. He’s aiming for a 2:39 hrs time and I am sure, he’ll beat it.
And, of course, there’s always Sylvia, my wife, who is my greatest support
. Thanks, Syl, for your patience and understanding. Thanks for all those Cranio-Sacral therapies which helped so much. I love you.

Sunday will be tough. Especially, after 11.30 a.m., when the sun will be out and scorching. It is a time when the marathon enters its decisive stage at KM 25. It’s good to know that Martin Hackl will be at my side with his bike, supporting me physically and mentally. This will be a real advantage and the major reason why I am very confident, despite the hassles with my Achilles tendons in late August, that I am able to run a personal best.
I will try to take it easy at the beginning with an average speed of 4:03 to 4:05 on the first 15 ks, making sure to keep my HR in the low 150s. My goal is to stay under 160 beats per minute until KM 25. In this case a lot will be possible because I have prooved that I can run fast on the last third of a marathon.


Graz Marathon 2008

Sunday, October 5th, 2008

Graz 2008 will be my fourth marathon. In the 18 month since first taking on the challenge of 42.195 km, I have come quite a long way

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. 23 minutes and 30 seconds that is. As a matter of fact that was my improvement within 12 months – from 3:16:50 hrs in Vienna in April 2007 to 2:53:20 in Linz in April 2008

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Still, it is not about the time you run, is it? Of course, you want to become faster as you go along but if it doesn’t happen it is not supposed to be a drama. My goal for the Graz marathon on October 12, 2008, was around 2:49 hrs. Since I’ve had a really good summer at work, with seminars and marketing projects aplenty, while sticking to my running plan of 110 to 130 ks a week, I haven’t had as much time for recovery at my disposal as I used to have while preparing for the Linz marathon. Thus, I was facing a couple of physical problems due to the heavy intensity I subjected my body to.

While I managed to keep my Achilles’ tendon problems in check thanks to the professional help of Hans Holler, my physician, and Leo Winter, my masseur, I realised that cutting down hours of sleep affected my fitness, which particularly showed in my high speed training runs

Thus, I have re-adjusted my goal for Graz, which still is ambitious: I am aiming at repeating my performance of Linz 2008. That is running well under 3:00 hrs
. Graz is supposed to be a more difficult course than Linz and as the weather forecast suggests, temperatures will be around 15 to 20 °C next Sunday, which will make the race a hot one – something I do not particularly feel comfortable with.

Good news is that Martin Hackl, who accompanied me at the Linz marathon, is going to support me again here in Graz. With unlimited access to my Enervit drinks, AM Sport aminos and a good friend at my side, the marathon will certainly become easier
In the last few days before the marathon, I hope to find enough sleep to give my body the rest it deserves before such a strenuous effort. Two visits to an infrared sauna, two massages and a lot of sleep are on the agenda and I am confident that I will be ready and fit next Sunday, when heading off around Graz for another great adventure.