Monday, 16 October 2017

Old trainers as works of art.





Objets d'Art at Venezia's Art Biennale 2017


Thursday, 5 October 2017

New shoes for old legs


These new running shoes are called Saucony Triumph ISO S20262-1. Launched in early 2015 they retailed for $150 in the US and €155 here (according to a quick search on Google).

I also discovered they are a Runner's World Magazine Editor's Choice for March 2015.

The pair you see here were on offer for €60 in a high street store in a medium sized town not far from Vienna. I tried them on and they were a perfect fit.

It pays to shop around.


Yesterday I took them for a training run on the Via Slavorum. 


The effects of my recent physio session were to be expected and something 'popped' in my calf!

I had a rest and a drink after 45 minutes.



My run took me through the village of Salmansdorf where I spotted a plaque on a wall which related the origin of the name. It was here in 1529 that Suleiman the Magnificent, as I think he's called, plotted his strategy for the downfall of Vienna.




The next picture is to be found on the wall of a bakery in the area and shows the Ottoman goal - the city of Vienna and the spire of St. Stephen's cathedral within striking distance.

The Turks were eventually defeated with the help of various Christian armies. Had Vienna fallen to the Turks in 1529 or later in 1683 Europe as we know it would not exist today.



Monday, 2 October 2017

Weekend of Training in the Pöllauer Valley Nature Park, Styria.






Fri:
Run from area of large blue pin on left side of map - point marked i (alt: 700 m) near Waldhof Muhr (following blue arrows on map and blue circles on trees and rocks) to close a clockwise circuit. Approx. 9.4 kms (300 m +/-).

Sat:
Physio (rt. calf).

Sun:
Run from point i near Waldhof Muhr following blue arrows as Fri but continuing in a clockwise direction to the summit of Masenberg (alt: 1261 m) by following yellow circles on trees and rocks and descending via path WH.942 to Dorfhansl. Final section as Fri. Approx. 13.2 kms (575 m +/-)

Total training: Approx. 22.6 kms / 875 m ( 14 miles / 2,870')

Photos and additional information:


BLUE PIN - 1: The Waldhof Muhr hotel

BLUE PIN - 2: Red deer and green hills

BLUE PIN - 4: Path WH 913 

Lüßwaldsattel

YELLOW PIN - 3: Climbing Masenberg


YELLOW PIN - 2: Summit information board 

View of Pöllauberg from the Hiering descent


Back to the start or the end in sight!

After Friday's run my right leg felt stiff and painful.  I booked a physio appointment for the next day.
A very competent young lady spent 20 minutes working on a 'knot' in my calf muscle.

As a precaution I didn't run the next day but waited for Sunday when I managed to complete the long run using Jeff Gallway's tried and tested run-walk-run method (sensible fartlek for the elderly)!

Fingers crossed and we'll see how it goes.



Sunday, 24 September 2017

Vienna Charity Run


It's one of those events where everybody is a winner. Even me at 70. 



The race, if you want to call it a race, began at 9am and will end at 3pm. Runners and walkers of all ages can take part. And do. 

I was not surprised, for example, to see several running-mothers pushing 3-wheeler baby buggies; an everyday sight in the parks of Vienna. It was particularly pleasing to see so many young people running for charity. 

And let's not forget the older runners, and also the larger people in the walking category. Everyone doing their best to have a great time and raise money for seriously ill children. 

The forecasted rain held off which was a blessing not only for the runners but also for the organizers and the many volunteers manning the course, the charity stalls, and the checkpoints. 

One lap of the course is 1.5 kms. At the end of each lap a sticker is attached to your official race number. The more laps, the more stickers.

Run one lap or keep going for 6 hours. Or choose anything in between. Decide as you go along. See how you feel.

I decided I would try to collect 14 stickers for the simple reason that I collected 14 stickers the last time I took part in the run a couple of years ago.


14 stickers means 21 kms.  The half-marathon distance.

The Türkenschanzpark* circuit is on asphalt and begins with a fairly steep downhill section of 300 meters which takes the runner to the lowest point on the course.

The next 1200 meters is unrelenting and uphill apart from a 100 meters section of descent which means the final push before the main checkpoint area is a sting in the tail; but not for all - one man running in his bare feet galloped up the slope like a beast with wings.

I'd guess that the climb per lap could be 30 or 40 meters. This means that half-marathon participants could be recording 400 or more meters of ascent by the time their 14 laps have been completed.

My time, for the record, was a little over 2 hrs 20 mins.

My reward, apart from knowing that I've helped some unfortunate children in a small way, was simply taking part.

I received a runner's goodie bag from the sponsors and additionally I bought a charity t-shirt as souvenir of the event.

Arriving home I ran the bath, filled the bathwater with muscle relaxant and jumped in. And it's where stayed for the next 20 minutes listening to music on the radio.

All in all, a wonderful way to spend a Sunday morning.


*Türkenschanzpark (The Park of the Turkish Encampment) is so called because the site being on a hill was a strategic location during the Ottoman Empire's 1683 siege of Vienna.

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!




Saturday, 15 July 2017

Over 'The Hill'


The Hill is not long.

Maybe it's 2 kms.

It has 8 bends.

There are two steep sections. The steepest is after bend 7, with a gradient of 10%.

Halfway up The Hill there is a runner on a concrete wall.




I attack The Hill on my one hour training runs.

I like The Hill.   Running over The Hill is exhilarating.




At the top of The Hill the road ends     and the trail begins.