Sunday, 31 December 2017

Vienna City 2017 Silvester Race

31st December 2017  Vienna, Austria
5.4 kms.  41st New Year's Eve Road Race: 

      1.  L Sinn  (AUT) -  16:02
  270.  A Schenkir (AUT) - 23:16 (1st M65)
1186.  G Williams (GBR) - 28:53 (12th M65) 

3772 Finishers (incl. 39 M65's)

The race was one lap of 'The Ring'. The start-finish line was near the Vienna State Opera House.

The weather here today was exceptionally warm for the time of year with afternoon temperatures reaching 14 C. 

The race started at 11am and we ran into a noticeable breeze over the first km. The forecasted drops of rain were so light they were hardly noticeable.  

I enjoyed the run and was pleased with my result; tomorrow I shall be promoted to the M70 category. If I'd been in the M70 group in the race I would have been 2nd M70 which is a confidence boost! The 3 runs a week winter training plan is, touch wood, working well. 

In today's race there were 39 M65's and 27 M70's. 

Happy Silvester to all Runners and non-Runners wherever you are! And all the best for the Running year ahead. 

Saturday, 23 December 2017

1/4 marathon as a training run distance

Looking at the year ahead, and the possibility of a half marathon race or two in 2018 not being ruled out, today's training distance of 10.5 kms had great appeal.

10.5 kms is half of a half marathon.

The chosen course was over 7 x 1.5 km undulating laps incorporating a total ascent of 350 - 400 mtrs.  I ran the circuits in alternate directions. Laps 1,3,5,7 clockwise. And 2,4,6 anti-clockwise.

 The time on the watch at the end of it all was 66:00:94.

 The track is not a fast one, and the gusty wind felt cold, so I was quite happy with the session.

For the record: my fastest half marathon time in 2017 was 2hrs 09mins on a flat course at Karlovy Vary.

Monday, 18 December 2017

The Pre-Christmas Run

 Last weekend I treated myself to a couple of short and gentle pre-Christmas runs in the Salzkammergut, an area known as the Austrian Lake District. 

For the second run which was was about 7.5 kms and along a riverside path  I was accompanied by my camera. 

Conditions were icy in places but the Mizuno Wave running shoes, which are younger than me,  were up to the job.  

The first dam

The church appears

The turning point

The second dam

A prayer cross

A straight and narrow road

In slippery conditions good soles are a must

Now ready for the mince pies! 

Sunday, 10 December 2017

On the 'Check My Tree' Trail (with 2 updates)

Update 2:
Forestry work was limited to summit plateau which meant I could not run to my marker, and so I compensated with small loop at the finish. Recorded distance/time not exact. Margin of error will be within 20 secs.

Today's Run:
      Muddy underfoot near the summit.

      Saucony Triumph 10 (no problems).



Post-run weight:  78 kg

      Good work.


Update 1:
Forestry work meant trail length was reduced to 7.1 kms today, Tuesday 19th. And ascent was reduced by 50 meters to 230 meters.

Time taken today was 46:01

Perhaps a sub-50 mins is possible for the full trail when the weather picks up and my form does likewise.

       We shall just have to wait and see.

Original Post:

Just for the record the trail is 7.6 kms with 280 meters of ascent:

Today's run:
       Ice and snow underfoot in parts.

      Saucony Triumph 10 (no problems)







Sunday, 12 November 2017

Running against myself

We didn't travel to today's race. I think it was a wise decision.

The weather forecast for the area was not the best.

Driving for an hour and a half on  3-lane roads, the sort with 'coroner's corridors', over hills and dales in the darkness, passing  through accident 'black spots' facing the fuzzy glare of oncoming headlights with the rain pelting down is not a great idea. We joined friends for a meal instead.

But the day was not lost.

After a light breakfast, and wearing my 'fast' shoes, I ventured into a light drizzle and caught the tram to my destination, where I ran the hilly multi-terrain 7.5 kms I had managed a week ago in 46:00 minutes.

Today's elapsed time was 44:30 minutes.

I was very satisfied with the 1:30 secs. improvement. And what's more, I feel there's more improvement to come.

The thought crossed my mind later on, that I had been in a race of sorts - albeit a race against myself.

And won.

It's a good feeling.

Monday, 30 October 2017

After the Storm into the Woods

Violent storms respect no man's fences. Yesterday's storm was no exception. I photographed two downed trees and one flattened fence on my way to the woods. 

To be seen in the sky the last traces of the storm such as this dark cloud which produced a sprinkling of fine hailstones. I had on my lightweight windproof jacket and cap. The chilly breeze and the few minutes of hail were not a problem. 

I met an old soldier, an ancient oak tree which had fallen aside the path during a major storm many years ago.  

The sun came out to play at intervals. I followed my nose and my instincts. There was no fixed plan to this run. 

I met a frog with an umbrella.

Running wild. Free. Listening to the body. No fixed plan. No need of a watch or a map. Just going along. A curious animal. In the woods. In touch with Gaia.

It's fun. It's a pleasant diversion.  It's a natural thing to do.

Great for the heart and soul. 

Monday, 23 October 2017

Progress, and then some.

Yesterday morning was showery and cool. I wrapped up well and was able to run for 40 minutes before the first twinges made their presence felt in my right calf. A couple of stretches and a deep massage with my thumbs, followed by several speedy bursts using my longest strides and some brisk walking took me safely to the end of the 10 kms course without further problems. No after effects today. It's a good feeling.

That was Sunday.

Today is Wednesday and I've been out testing the leg again. This time the training session included a warm up, a quickish run up and down a hilly trail, and a gentle jog and walk to warm down. The important middle bit comprised a 5.8 kms loop incorporating a 200 meter ascent and descent. This part of the training session was completed in 38 minutes and importantly without any adverse reaction from the injury sustained just over 4 weeks ago.

May the recovery continue!

Saturday and another little test. 8kms park run. No twitches or twinges in the injured calf muscle. I've decided to give myself the 'all clear'. Normal training now resumes.

In Italy a friend of mine (Group M60) successfully ran the Venice Marathon yesterday.  A post race photo shows him relaxed and delighted.

A Eurosport Italia video (50 secs) (YouTube / Venezia Maratona 2017) highlights an organizational cock-up - several elite runners accompanied by motorcycle outriders on a main road miss the exit to Venice. The winner was a local man (originally from Eritrea) in 2 hrs 12 mins.

Monday, 16 October 2017

Used Shoes as Objets d'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.

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 +/-).

Physio (rt. calf).

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 


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!