Sunday, 17 September 2017

Which way now . . .

The author as young 65 year old.

. . . after my various insect stings and bites which caused my legs to swell up and made the skin feel liked stretched elastic almost ready to snap?

So where am I up to after weeks of slow running, walking and jogging?

The answer is up to 6 kms (I think it's that) along a level trail in 32m 30 secs.

It's my comeback starting point.

The plan is, if using the p word is not tempting providence, to increase the time out to 50-55 mins and the distance to 10 kms over the next couple of weeks, with a view to getting back up to the half marathon distance of 21.1 kms, and hopefully testing myself in a race or two before the end of the year.

Next year will see me in the M70 classification, therefore it's in my own interest to maintain a semblance of reasonable form over the winter and keep my weight under control.

That's it. The plan in a nutshell:
Keep plodding away.

Monday, 4 September 2017

My Wine Tavern Training Run

After two encounters with vicious insects which had me sidelined for a while I decided today was as good a day as any, the swelling in my leg having receded,  to get back into it. 

I cadged a lift to Neustift am Wald, a village on the outskirts of Vienna, and there I spent a couple of hours jogging and ambling somewhat aimlessly in the vineyards and taking photos of any wine taverns I happened to pass on the way. 

Here is a gate leading into the vineyards from a small car park. This was my starting point. 

The next two photos show a couple of the trails I ran along. In the second photo you can see the city centre of Vienna in the distance.

If you look at the horizon behind the city you are looking at the place where Austria ends and Slovakia begins.

The next couple of photos show the grapes ripening. Red wines and white wines are produced in this area.

One particular white wine known as Green Veltliner is a peppery wine which is best drunk fresh. It is a firm favourite with people who frequent the wine taverns. Diners often mix the wine with soda or mineral water as an accompaniment to their meal or Jause as a traditional snack is called.

The first tavern, the Dorfschenke, is a 15th century building:

Next comes Prager: 

Followed by Häuserl am Stoan with black pudding and fried potatoes on offer:

And finally Häuserl am Roan where I treated myself to an 'energy' drink of grape juice and soda.

It was a gentle run through gentle scenery. Just the right medicine to get the old man going again!

There are many more wine taverns, known as Heuriger or Buschenschänke, in the area but if I'd stopped to photograph them all I'd be out there all day!

Cheers and Prosit!

Friday, 18 August 2017

Training on Mountains

Austrian mountains are just the job when it comes to building condition.

My first 'rule' is: choose a mountain a short distance away and run gently to its foot.

Today my final destination is a point in the above phootograph - the 'v' shaped ridge between the central summits. The nearest point at the base of the mountain range is 1.5 kms away and my 'finish line' is 6 kms away.

My second 'rule' is: in hot weather always carry water - either to drink or pour over the head. I know a convenient tap on a wall at the foot of the mountain - a great place to top-up my 500 ml bottle.

The third 'rule' is: avoid the temptation to start too fast, taking into account the temperature and the steepness of the slope.

I'm starting at 500 meters (1,800 ft) and aiming to  be at an altitude of 1,500 meters (5,000 feet) in an hour and a half; a place where the air will be much thiner and the sun's rays  much stronger.

I'll be wearing my running cap backwards, to protect the nape of my neck from sunburn.

An important fourth 'rule' is: know the way back. Today I'll be taking a cable car for the return journey. One of life's little luxuries.

'Rule' five: take the opportunity to look at the scenery and note the changing climatic and vegetation zones.

Sixth and final 'rule': having earned it the hard way - enjoy the view! Have a beer if you fancy one!

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Krumau-Idolsberg Trails

Visit any tourist information office in Austria, even in the smallest town,  and it would be surprising if you were not able to obtain some useful information about local footpaths and/or forest trails.

Here is a map showing 7 signposted walks around Kampsee Thurnberg, a lake 100 kms to the north of Vienna.

Sections of routes 5 and 7 and the whole of route 2 were chosen by a marathon runner, M,  who invited me to join him on a recent 20 km training run.

A friendly frog on a wooden signpost showed us the way!

Our run took us through a forest above some cliffs from where we had occasional glimpses of the lake from an up-and-down forest path and later in the run from a technical section of single trail.

On our way we stopped and tasted blackberries. We were bitten by horseflies. It rained for 2 hours.
Some of the hills were long and steep. I found it all mentally cool.

From my perspective M's route choice was brilliant.

Friday, 28 July 2017

New: The "Check-My-Tree" Running and Walking Trail

Today I took my camera and went to reconnoitre a new route called Check-My-Tree Trail which starts and ends on the outskirts of Vienna in the district of Neuwaldegg (tram 43).  

The way is marked with prominent green arrows. 

The opening section was straight and flat, and along a tree lined avenue in the direction of the Schwarzenberg Park and the Vienna Woods.

After 2 kms the tarmac ended. I then crossed a small wooden bridge over a stream and took a woodland path on the right.

The path climbed steadily upward and curved around 3 bends. With another 2 kms and the halfway mark behind me I arrived at a handsome shelter cum information point on the summit plateau.

This building marks the Wende or turn. From here the way back to the the starting point is just 3.6 kms.  The outward journey was 4 kms.

Back at the start there are 3 options:

1) go round again

2) catch a tram back to the city

3) go for a swim

Time taken: 52 minutes

I like the Check-My-Tree Trail and predict it will prove very popular with weekend runners and walkers. Clearer signing on the return route near the snack bar in the park would be quite useful. But that's a minor criticism. It's amazing what you can do with a dozen green arrows. Money well spent!