Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Today's Run - 2006-05-30

Dave and I were both extremely tired and sore, but we made it through the old 10-mile loop in decent shape. 81 and a half minutes. Not bad at all.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Today's Run - 2006-05-29

A really decent Memorial Day run today. It was very warm (mid-upper 70s), sunny and humid, but I was steady the whole way.

Started with 4 in the Presidential streets in 30 and a half minutes, then Dave came and we did a long 15 (the usual 16 mile course cut slightly short) in 2:01 and a half. I'm still sore these days, and my tummy's big from all the food from the trip and from Kathy and Mike's yesterday, but all in all it was a very good run.

May 28 Run and Kids Visit

We didn't do a whole lot over the weekend, but it sure was nice to have the kids visit. We did head to Rocky River Reservation for a short walk on Sunday, visit Mom on Friday, and shop on Saturday, but otherwise we just hung out. They liked the movie theater - we watched a couple flicks. After everyone left yesterday we went to Kathy and Mike's for ribs. Good food, but as usual I ate too much.

Yesterday I did 13 on a warm sunny morning. Something I'm not really used to. My ole legs were tired from the race and lack of sleep, but I managed to keep an 8:30 or so pace going. I did the usual 11 mile Substation Loop with and extra 2 on Sleepy Hollow to get the hills in. Altogether I did it in 1:50. Now I'm about to head out for a longer run with Dave.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Medina Heros 4 Mile

I needed a reality check and I got one. This was in the series and it was close (Medina Career Center), so I had to do it even with the kids being in. It was nice to run on the rail trail that I'm used to. The humidity actually made it tough. Anyway it was a real slow one for me. Here are the splits:
6:15, 6:25, 6:41, 6:41 for a 26:04. Don't know how well I placed, but there were some geezers ahead of me. Nowhere to go but up from here.

Thursday, May 18, 2006


Out of all the places for phase 1 of this client project, Germany wouldn't have been my top choice. Spain or Italy sound much nicer. Not so sure about the UK. But Germany it is, and here I am. The other problem was missing the Cleveland Marathon this weekend. Nothing I could do about that either.

Getting here was somewhat uncomfortable, as most long flights are. I did manage some sleep on the way from JFK to Amsterdam. The flight from Amsterdam to Dusseldorf was only about 40 minutes in a puddle jumper.

Upon arriving at the hotel at about 2pm, I tried to call home, since I had figured it to be 8pm there. When Debbie didn't answer after repeated tries I started to panic - she had driven home from Connecticut, and should have arrived hours earlier. The panic was worse because I couldn't call anyone else - all my numbers are in my cell phone which was at home since it wouldn't work here. Of course I finally found out that Cleveland is 6 hours BEHIND Dusseldorf, not ahead of it. So it was still morning there, and Debbie wouldn't be home for hours.

Early on, I had only eaten at the hotel and at the client cafeteria. Nothing really great to speak of, but lots and lots of volume. Breakfast (and today, lunch) buffets sure don't help when it comes to controlling intake. Some of the food is quite interesting - the white asparagus as a main course is very good. The waitresses will tell you to eat it because it's good for you. Yeah, but not the gallon of hollandaise you smother it in. You can still order meat or fish as a side dish. Other German favorites abound as well. I feel like I'll weigh a ton when I get back.

Without a car, and a couple miles away from the city center, there's not much to do (except work) and I'm not getting out much. I run in the morning, and walk in the evening, mostly along the Rhine River. It's wonderfully serene, with very wide park-like areas on both banks. And there are walk, bike and run paths galore all over the city, with several stretching for miles and miles along the river.

Work is ok. The client contacts all speak English, but some are hard to understand. The counts can be intense because of the language and because some are tightly scheduled. The good news is that there isn't an over-abundance of follow-on work. So I do have some time to myself in the evenings.

After a few days of hotel food, I finally did venture out some. Yesterday Pam and I walked along the Rhine to a restaurant that I had discovered right along the river. It was nice eating out on the back deck overlooking some yachts. The folks didn't speak much English, but we managed - I wound up with a ball-o-burger meat with fried eggs on top for 7 euros. Pam got filet mignon for 8 euros. Then today we figured out the subway/train situation enough to ride it to downtown and old town Dusseldorf. Being a stranger in a strange land, especially when you don't speak the language means that you spend an awful lot of time being lost, dazed and confused.

Old town is like a typical European town with cobblestone streets, shopping, and several nice restaurants and bars. We ate at a German place where I sampled 4 types of sausage with kraut and fries. This on top of the appetizer of tons of cheese with bread. This is fat/cholesterol heaven.

Speaking of lost and confused, we somehow found our way over to Cologne (via a train from the main station) the next day. More cobblestone streets, bars, restaurants and shopping. But there were two differences: this is the actual home of the original cologne, and there's one mother of a cathedrals here. It seemed to me that it put Notre Dame to shame. We took a $4 english tour and learned about the history of the place. Turns out the the Magi (yes, the original three wise guys) are supposedly buried there by the altar. How's that for history? Then we climbed something on the order of 350-400 feet to the top of the tower. As Lori had said, you must have bats in your belfry to do something like that. Quite a view from up there though.

Every morning I make the usual choices about how long, far, fast to run, etc., but also one of four more choices: east or west bank of the Rhine, and north or south. Today it was south on the east bank, and it wasn't the greatest, even though the footing was good - too much industry there. I've got it figured out now: for longer runs, north along east bank is best, and for shorter runs, south on the west bank rules.

There were two choices Pam and I could think of to see more of the best of Dusseldorf: take the train to a palace built in the 1800s (supposedly rivaling Versailles) and take a city tour. In order to get a more thorough and varied outlook, we went for the city tour. After walking around old town and exploring some more very old churches, we got on the bus. The speaker spoke German first and then English, and it was a bit distracting. After riding around town for a while we got on a boat for a river tour. That was pretty neat. Then the tour wound up going up to the Rhine tower which is 168 meters high - way above the surrounding buildings. But only a little higher than we climbed yesterday. We could see Cologne, our hotel, way up and down the river, etc. Pretty neat too.

So the tour was decent. We were lucky with the weather - it was cloudy, but at least there was no rain like we had yesterday. As a result, I left my umbrella at a restaurant. I think I'd still like to see the palace though.

No discussion of experiences in a foreign land would be complete without a note about bathrooms. Pam and I tried everything we could think of when asking if there was one in the Dusseldorf main train station: men/ladies/women's room, toilets, rest rooms, potties, you name it. We got the same answer from two different information persons: There aren't any of those in Dusseldorf. A bit later on while we were still wandering in the station, Pam asked what "WC" means. That's when it dawned on me: having been to Europe before, I should have known what to ask for. One other thing: there are public walk-in urinals all over town. They have a little boy peeing logo on them. Very handy if you're of a gender who is able to stand during the act. No help for sitting type genders.

For the second to the last evening, Pam and I went back to old town to shop for a few last-minute souvineers and to eat dinner. Picked up a couple things, and the Agentine/Spanish steak place was really good. Then it was time to take the subway back. We thought we had these things figured out really well. The U77 comes closest to the hotel, but it stops running at 7:30pm and also doesn't go on weekends. That's ok, because we can also take the U70, U74 or U76, which are only a little farther away. It was 7:50 and we were waiting for a U74 or U76 when we saw a U77 come by on a different than usual track. Pam said, "Let's catch that one", but as we were getting on, I had a few reservations: 1) it was on the wrong track, 2) it was after hours, 3) based on 1 and 2, it may have possibly been going the wrong way. I mentioned being dubious, but continued to get on anyway. As the doors closed there came two more resevations: 4) we were the only people on the train and 5) one guy outside was wagging his finger at us in a strange manner.

The train left and after a few minutes pulled up to stop at a subway-train graveyard. There didn't appear to be any way to get out without walking on the tracks, although this turned out to be not completely the case. As the lights began to go out in the train, I said something on the order of, "we're in deep s__t!". We ran up to discuss the situation with the driver, who smiled but didn't speak English at all, except to say, "10 minutes, one stop". After moving over to a different train, he got us going back to the station again after the mandatory stupid-American 10-minute penalty waiting period. There we were able to finally get off and then onto the U74 for the ride home.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Running in Germany

5/16/06 and earlier
Been a long time since I've had time to write. Here I am in Dusseldorf and running is pretty good here. Monday I did about 8 miles going north along the Rhine. Very nice run/walk and bike paths all over, especially along the river. There are several there. Yesterday I overslept, and today I ran for 2 hours along the river, mostly south. I'll call it 15 miles. After getting to the end of the path, I turned back and then crossed the bridge and ran on that side including some exploration around old town. Came back across the closest of the three bridges. I almost didn't make it out because of the cool rain. That rain subsided after about an hour.

I also ran about 16 on Saturday in Norwalk. 6 were on the mill in about 42.5 minutes, and the last 10 were on the roads, some familiar, in about 82 minutes.

I was very tired but I had time in the morning, so I set out to do 20. My legs wouldn't have it though. I only did about 10 along the river. I went north again and this time made it as far as the northern bridge. It got rural quickly, but still nice paths to run on.

After a breakfast AND a lunch buffet, I headed out for another late afternoon run. I mostly wanted to check out the restaurants that are along the river so we can walk to them tonight. They're there all right - about a mile and a half away. I did about 4 altogether - still slow and tired.

Don't know why these ole legs would be tired. I really haven't been running much. And now I'm *starting* to get the right amount of sleep.

14 along the river - this time I crossed the bridge and went north on the eastern side. This was the best running yet - nice path and scenery the whole way. Good steady pace today - maybe a bit better than 8 mpm. Nice clear, cool (about 50-55) morning.

Just a couple around the neighborhood near the hotel.

Marathon day, and I'm missing it. Had planned on a long one, but didn't get quite as many in as I thought I might. Simply ran out of time. Twas a nice day for running along the Rhine. Besides the usual morning questions of how far/fast, I have to decided north or south on the Rhine, as well as east or west bank.

Today I went south on the west bank to the 3rd bridge, crossed over into town, and then continued south on the east bank. Although the path kept going a long way, the scenery wasn't always so great - there were junk yards, rail junctions, and other industry. I finally got to some nicer parts, but then the path ended. After heading back and across the first bridge, I went south again to get about 4-5 more in.

Altogether 21 in 2:50. Not bad - steady the whole way.

I now know that north on the east bank seems to be best for long runs, and south on the west bank is best for shorter ones.

I believe it's been raining every day at least some point during my run. Today it started off bright and sunny as I headed north on the path along the road (parallel with, but slightly away from the river). As I got to Meerbrush, I spotted a storm with rain and lightning to the north and west, and it appeared to be headed my way. I turned and headed over to the river and went back the usual way, picking up the pace. It rained on me for the last mile and a half. Altogether I'll call it 6 in 46.5 minutes.

Another 14 along the Rhine just like the other day - all to the north on the east bank. And very nice again too. Only problem was the wind - it was ferocious, especially on the return. And at 50F, it really felt cold. Still managed negative splits and did it in 1:50.

Late in the afternoon I went out again. Tried to avoid the rain as it was sunny for a minute when I was starting out. The clouds moved in quickly as I turned around as planned at 16 minutes (at the 2nd bridge). With big dark clouds coming fast I hit the overdrive button and made it back in 13 minutes. I think the distance was legit because I checked the pace against one set of kilometer markings.

My last run for this trip was a long and wet one along the Rhine as always. This time I went south on both banks. Also ran around downtown and harbor area a bit. It was cold (50 or so), windy and wet (constant rain). But I did about 21 at a fairly steady pace, and don't feel too bad now that I'm done. 2 hours 53 minutes.

Now I can go home.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Got Home Early and Today's Run

Thank goodness I could come home a day early. Had to buy a one-way ticket to do so, so don't know how that'll go over. But I really really needed to get home. Spending today trying to get caught up with all my work before heading off to Connecticut and then Germany.

I don't usually run well, or even at all after travelling the night before. But I needed something of substance today. Didn't expect great things, just something semi-fast, and consistent.

It was a blustery morning. I got what I wanted - 6 x 1600 in an average of 6:31. Not real speedy, but I'll take it. Now I'm tuckered out.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Today's Run - 2006-05-09

Woke up way early so I decided to make it a long run day. Only there was a chance of rain, so I did it on the hotel dreadmill. It was mostly ok - after 15 miles at a decent pace, with even a couple of the miles at sub-7 pace, I did the next 5 at sub-7 pace. After 20.5, the machine shut itself down so I moved onto an eliptical trainer for another 1.5. So altogether 22 in 2:40.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Today's Run and other stuff - 2006-05-08

10 along the Mississippi. Easy does it.

Looks like I can go home Wednesday instead of Thursday. This is wonderful - I really need that day at home. The only problem is that I can't change my flights. Had to buy new ones after goin' nuts trying different things. Don't know if they'll like that at Target.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Revol Race for Kids

I really wanted to post a good fast 10K today. It didn't happen because of a course screw-up. At least 6-8 of us went off course and cut it short by perhaps .3 of a mile. Some course marshall was sleeping on the job. Drat. I did run well though: the 1st 1.2 was 7:46, the next 1 was 6:00, the next whatever, including the off-course part was 16:34, so I hit "5.2" in 30:20. (In my dreams). Anyway, the last mile was in 6:12.

I finished in 36:32, a PR by a minute plus (In my dreams)... Still it was a good run. I was probably in the top 10, even considering that some went off-course and some didn't. I wasn't 1st in my AG though - another fast geezer showed up.

Got to run around Jacobs field as a cool down.

Yesterday's Run

11 on the towpath with Dave and Amy. Nice and easy since I'm doing the 10k today.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Today's Running - 2006-05-04

A solid 21 today - 4 on the mill in 31 and then 17 on the roads in 2:21. The outside stuff was nice - it was another very nice morning.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Today's Running - 2006-05-02

I did one on the mill before heading to BVH to run with Amy and Dave. For some reason, Dave wanted to quit earlier than normal, and Amy wanted to run more than normal, so I would up with about 14.

Working on this Germany trip, along with all the other travel plans.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Recent Running

Yesterday I did the 11-mile Substation loop in 90 minutes. The ole legs were pretty tired.

Today I weighed in at 152 - pretty good. Then I did speedwork: 3 x (1600, 1200, 800) averaging 6:20, 4:40 and 3:02. Excellent!

In the afternoon I did a not-so-excellent-but-still-ok 2 on the mill in 15 minutes.

North Canton YMCA 4th of July 5-mile

Since I have participated in the Ohio Challenge Series many years, I've done this race many times, albeit many moons ago. It's a fun...