Saturday, April 28, 2007

1000m Medalist

I missed another 5K today. That's 2 misses in the past 3 weeks. This time it's because S. & S. & S. left yesterday for a girl scouts camp, so I'm left with the littlest S. I just dropped her and a buddy off at a birthday party, and I'm at Dunn Bros. Coffee checking out their free wireless and their chai latte (surprise! it's not too bad).

Not one to let a good race go to waste, we went out there anyway this morning and I switched my registration from the 5K to the 1K. That's the look of excitement 10 minutes before her first "long" race.

This is the look of apprehension 1 minute before her first "long" race!

And they're off!

Hanging in there ...

Almost home ...

Another medal! [You'd have flared nostrils too if you just ran the longest race of your life and someone makes you stand still and say "cheesey"!]

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Different Strokes

Going back to 5Ks, I ran this morning at a small race close to home. It started at a local high school track, ran around a light industrial area, and ended back at the track. It was for a good cause, Special Olympics, and was also held in memory of a local grad who passed away a few years ago. My string of ever-decreasing race times this year came to an end, and I finished in 24:36. 2nd best time this year; I'll take it.

Anne asked how the 10K I ran last week in Sweden was different from the US. I was kind of curious too, which is one reason I wanted to run it. So based on my vast experience running internationally (twice so far), here's what I observed that was different:

1. The Swedes were fast! I was hoodwinked by this pic on their brochure of families and little kids running, because they must have run the 3.4K instead. The 10K was stocked with serious runners that all took off in a flash from the start. I came in at about my normal time, which is usually in the 30-40th percentile in the US, but I was past the 75th percentile in Sweden. :-(

2. No t-shirts, but I did get a souvenir coin at the finish

3. Gigantic race bibs, easily twice the size as ours

4. Race start at high noon, on a Sunday

5. No chip timing, although someone recorded our times manually

6. Almost everyone belonged to a running club

7. Race volunteers shouting encouragement in Swedish sounds just like what you expect to hear in a rowdy beer hall!

It was a fun experience, and I hope to have more, but I'm also glad to be back in the U.S. of A.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Willkommen und Auf Wiedersehen

I couldn’t leave the country without at least one run. From 1996 to 1999, I made several trips a year here for work, but I wasn’t a runner back then. Opportunity lost. So this morning, since I had already been up since 4:00 am, I suited up and stepped outside at 6:00 am for a run. Last night’s dinner at Zum Bären in Höchst still felt like more than sufficient fuel to power me up. Pork fillets with mushrooms in cream sauce and fried potatoes served in a skillet, washed down with a tall glass of Hefeweizen. I can’t believe I used to eat like that on a regular basis, but this occasion was an exception.

It was a bit chilly in the 40’sF and the sky had just barely begun to lighten. The front desk clerk had shown me a hand drawn map of some kind of running trail behind the hotel. I turned left out of the hotel and started down the sidewalk. This was an industrial park but very modern and clean. I found the trail about a half mile down, and turned in.

It was quiet except for the sound of birds and my footsteps. I stuck to the main trail as best as I could, since there were a lot of side trails and smaller ones that would disappear into the trees. About a mile in, I came upon a small water pumping station and stopped for a few minutes. I still hadn’t seen anyone. I pressed on, trying to keep to a generally counter clockwise heading because I couldn’t see above the trees to spot any landmarks. After a few false moves, I eventually/suddenly/amazingly/happily came upon the road that leads back to my hotel. The round trip took 40+ minutes.

I decided to grab my camera and go for another round. This time it was quicker, since I knew my way. In the end, I only took the one picture above, and came back the second time in 32 minutes.

Right now I’m in the air from Frankfurt to Dallas, to arrive Wednesday afternoon. I can’t wait to see S., S., S., and S. again. The world’s been a bit scary this week. Hope you all stay safe.

Monday, April 16, 2007


I have no idea what Kvantumjoggen means, but I ran that 10K on Sunday. The trip there was almost harder than the race itself. Bus ride from hotel to Odenplan in the city, then subway to T-Centralen train station, then train to the town of Huddinge, then bus to Källbrinksskolan. Phew!

Good thing the race started at 12:00 noon. Bad thing that the sun was out and it was actually getting warm. I skipped the warm-up aerobics set to Swedish rock music, although I almost reconsidered when they played a cover to "The Winner Takes It All".

We were in quite an idyllic track setting in the middle of a forest. From the infield, all you could see were tall trees along the entire edge of the track. Here's a google map with the reddish track in the center.

Close to noon, about a couple hundred of us gathered near the 200m starting line. Various announcements were made, and then we were off. The pace was fast in the beginning. I was just there for the ride, so I settled into a more relaxed pace at the back of the pack. We wound our way through a residential neighborhood shown in the bottom right portion of the map. There turned out to be a couple of nasty small hills and one long gradual uphill, made worse by the fact that it ended up being a double loop out and back!

By the second loop, I was ready for this to be over. Somehow I slogged through the hills one more time. For the grand finale, they picked an alternate approach to the finish, and had us go up this really steep incline to get to the track. At the top of the incline, I entered the track, ran 100m, and finished in 55:01. I’m glad I ran and I was glad it was over. I took the same bus and train back into town, grabbed some lunch, and then parked myself at a sidewalk café in Sodermalm. I had a cappuccino, and watched the afternoon and beautiful people go by.

Saturday, April 14, 2007


I missed my Bobcat Boogie 5K this morning, because just about the time the race was starting in Dallas, I was checking into my hotel in Stockholm. Yup, Sweden.

This is a bit of a last minute business trip, for meetings here on Monday and Frankfurt on Tuesday. I finally landed an upgrade and it couldn't have come at a better time. American flies a 777 from Dallas to Frankfurt, and it was completely packed. They assigned my coach seat to me and another guy, and when the flight attendant came back from sorting it out, I was handed a business class seat. Yes!

From Frankfurt, it was a short layover and transfer to Lufthansa to get to Stockholm. I've never been to Sweden before this, so everything from here on was new. Arlanda Airport in Stockholm was easy to get around in, with a train station one level below the arrivals hall from which I caught the
Arlanda Express train into the city. 200 SEK or about US$29, 20 minute ride, if the train leaves more than 2 minutes late - you get your money back.

In the cab ride from
Stockholm Central Station to my hotel, I got a short tour of the city. It was a beautiful sunny day at least in the mid 60'sF, and it seemed like the entire population was outside. I took mental notes about where I wanted to run - mainly through the downtown area of Norrmalm and the old city of Gamla Stan, along the water, parks, and old buildings comprising various museums, the Opera House, and the Royal Palace.

After an unplanned nap, I changed and ran back into town. It was only about 3 miles. The first mile and a half was along the highway, but at least there was a running/biking path
of sorts because it was alongside some kind of park. Once into town, it was narrow streets and old buildings. I zig zagged my way south, knowing I would eventually reach the water. The closer into town, it started to get pretty busy on the sidewalks. I took some pics but of course left my camera cable at home, so here's a stock photo of Stockhom off Google.

I spent the afternoon wandering about downtown, and then ran back again. I should've gotten something to eat while I was there, but I didn't want to run back on a full stomach. Sidewalk food was plentiful downtown, if you like ice cream or beer. Dinner was room service in the hotel, not the best, but I crashed right after that. I'm posting this on Sunday morning before I head out. Got a little run planned that I'll post about later tonight!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

4th 5K

This week at work sucked. Clients were reasonable this time, but company politics and beauracracy can be such a waste of time and energy.

If I didn't run, I think I'd go nuts. Thanks to 35F degree weather at the start, and maybe all that pent up frustration just waiting to cut loose, I was ready to floor it on this my 4th 5K of the year.

Runner's World has an article about going out 3-6% faster than your race pace for the first mile. Even if you slowly run out of gas, you'll build enough of a cushion to make it worthwhile. I tried it last week and it sort of worked, so I did it again today.

23:59. Oh baby, a 35-sec PR! Now, if only work would suck again next week ...

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Another 20K

I'm getting to the end of my first four 5Ks of the year, so I decided to sign up on another round for April 14th, 21st, 28th, and May 5th. I ran the MS Run for Hope yesterday, coming in at 24:51. My times have been slowly getting better, and I'm 17 secs away from a PR!
In other news, there's a local kid in Dallas who's winning not just her age group, but the overall women's 5K. She's done it 3 times this year already, and what's remarkable is that she's only 10 years old! What an achievement.