Monday, 30 January 2012

Cross Country as Preparation

The idea behind this bit of exercise was to continue with the preparation for the forthcoming mountain and trail-running season and at the same time assess my current level of fitness.

In the first photo, taken prior to my event, I am holding my thumbs which is the Austrian version of crossing one's fingers. The temperature is -3C and there is an easterly breeze.

Most of the photos below are from the race immediately prior to mine; but the courses of all the races, I think there were four runs over various distances, cover basically the same ground.

In my race we had to run 9 laps to complete the race distance of 9.35 kms.

holding my thumbs

the leaders

firm track underfoot . . .

some sharp bends

the long straight

race control hut and spectators

checking the results

receiving my prizes!

1. G Kerschbaumer (Austria Int. Orienteering Team) 32m 54s
32. G Willams (Clayton Harriers) 2M60 47m 52s

As a veteran runner, all too rapidly approaching 65, I was pleased with my time in such elite company.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Over the fields and into the woods

You are not alone in the woods

The first major event of Vienna's 2012 running season, the Wien Energie Halbmarathon, is now being prominently advertised. I took the photo of a race advertisement posted near the start of today's training run. I will definitely not be running in the half marathon sponsored by the local electric company race because the route is bound to be 100% tarmac and I'm a 100% off-road trail runner. I figure my running legs will last much longer if I treat them with some respect. As my good friend JS often says: Tarmac is for tyres. And, of course, he's 100% right. Nevertheless the poster shows that spring will soon be on the way and it makes me feel good.

Now join me on a typical training run. I'll be going quite fast. Yesterday was a regeneration day. The day before yesterday was 45 mins of hill reps.

Spring is on the way!

Map showing Hameau area

A bright day and good trails

Frost in the shadows

Approaching the hills

The first climb

Snow on the tops

The next valley - Weidlingbach

Climbing again

Clouds looming - time to head back

The maps, such as the one in the third photo down, can be found all over Vienna. If you stick to the red routes you will meet other runners. They are probably useful routes for timing oneself and checking progress for those so inclined.

My favoured method is to base training runs around recommended routes, touching them now and again, but quickly veering off into the wilderness. I like to share the spirit of the nature with the animals.

One of the pleasurable highlights of today's run was the sight of a robin enjoying himself in the sunshine, playing in a pool of melting ice aside my path.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Short Run on Long Path

The Via Slavorum passes through the Vienna Woods. The starting point is in Krakau, Poland and the final destination is in Rome, Italy. All roads lead to Rome as they say. The path also passes through the Czech Republic, Austria and Slovenia. I often run short sections of the path. Yesterday it was icy underfoot. The bottom photograph shows a typical section of the trail in Cobenzl about 2 miles before the Hermannskogel checkpoint (red box).

Via Slavorum sign

Checkpoint. Box contains inkpad and stamp.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Playing in the snow

Today's run in the fresh snow was always going to be tough so I was pleased to get round one of my 15 km circuits in something like 2 hrs 30 mins; about an hour longer than normal. I carried a small rucksack and wore a pair of skiing socks under my running pants.

The Salomon winter trail shoes which I wore have the advantage of being waterproof but they always feel much heavier and clumpier than my usual NB or Saucony. I was happy to finish with dry feet.

a thrush

an open-air classroom

a Vienna Woods boundary sign

a path up the Hameau Hill

a summit shelter

a local park

Monday, 9 January 2012

The Soleweg Trail

The Soleweg Trail is a 42 kms (26 miles) path which begins in the valley of the River Traun at Ebensee in Austria's Salzkammergut or Lake District.

The path follows the route of an ancient pipeline which was originally constructed from hollowed-out tree trunks and was used to wash salt down from the salt mines in the mountains at Hallstatt to the boats waiting at Ebensee to transport it further.

The white gold, as it was called, was obviously a precious commodity in the days before refrigeration. The photographs show the first half of the Soleweg - Ebensee to Bad Ischl - and some of the signposts I saw along the way.

There are some diversions in place and these should be heeded. Sections of the path may be closed after inclement weather due to falling trees or rocks. The area is subject to avalanches.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Bright and early but in the wrong place!

A park in Vienna

Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later. This morning I went to the venue of the 5km cross country run but there was nobody there and there was no course marked out. Perhaps the event has been cancelled, I thought. Eventually I spotted a man with a dog. Had he seen any runners? Had he seen any race organizers? No and no. But then after a bit of head scratching on both our parts we finally twigged that I must be in the wrong location. There was another park with a similar name. But it was miles away. I thanked him and decided to make my way there. I could watch the race and pick up some information about forthcoming races.

When I arrived the runners were just setting off. I quickly shed my waterproof jacket, changed my shoes and galloped after them, having explained to the organizer standing with stop watch and clipboard that I was now doing a training run. And so it was that I was on my way exactly 4 minutes behind the leaders.

Needless to say I didn't catch them up! But it was great fun trying. Next time I'll be sure to check the location of the race more carefully!