Sunday, January 31, 2010

Caught Up...

I can't remember the last weekend I have been so UNPRODUCTIVE.... Well, I guess being unproductive is all a question about definition... At least it's Sunday night and I am all caught up on every reality show out there plus several "movies we love". And since that is not quite enough, I am watching the red carpet show for the Grammy's as I type this.

You might have guessed it by now..... I am still not really feeling so well. For the last couple of days, I have been dealing with a headache from hell and was having a temperature on and off. Finally this afternoon, I started to feel better and Terry and I even took a little stroll around Furman Lake to catch some fresh air. I joked around and told him, that this going to be a preview of us in a couple of decades (hopefully)... We are both not so much the walking peeps... And he even less than I am.

As usual when I am not able to workout as usual, I get all jealous while being outside and seeing other people running or riding their bike. But I have to be patient here for once. By now I think I might have started up to fast and to hard the last time I recovered from the cold. Even though I feel fairly good right now, I'll give myself another two days of rest before starting up easy.

Alrighty peeps.... The Grammy's are on and Lady Gaga and Sir Elton John are the opening performance... I will get my award show fix now for the season! ;-)

Friday, January 29, 2010

Warning: RANT Is Coming In

It's Friday and I should be happy since it's weekend. FINALLY!

Instead, I am pretty grumpy.

The cold that started to creep up on me again made me bed bound on Wednesday. Yesterday, I felt better and went to work again. Today at work again, but didn't have a good day and instead of getting better, I was getting worse. So I stopped by the plant nurse and got a prescription for antibiotics. And here is were I started to get really grumpy. I HATE taking antibiotics. On top of them making me sick to my stomach, I really don't believe in taking antibiotics for a cold since a cold is a viral infection and antibiotics treat bacterial infections. On the other hand, I have been struggling with these non-specifics symptoms for way too long now, that I think, I will just have to suck it up and take them. Of course you can ask me now, what my problem is, since I got it prescribed (and the doctor is always right). Well, I grew up with antibiotics being the last resort for a doc and around here it's the first thing they do. Besides the stomach issues that I get from taking them, I don't like the idea of getting resistant against antibiotics and when I really really need them with a big bacterial infect that the body can't handle on it's own, they won't work anymore.

Call me paranoid... Whatever. I will take them this time... Promise... Terry will kill me, if I don't... Nevertheless it sucks... And I am grumpy... And I think I already mentioned that several times.

I haven't been working out since Tuesday and I won't unless I am able to breath properly again. I took the doggy out for a short walk on Wednesday just to catch some fresh air and started wheezing... Just the thought of running right now makes me mentally collapse with exhaustion. Hopefully by Sunday (and with the help (?) of my trusty medication) I will be able to resume some sort of physical activity... Even though it's probably not going to be the 15 miles that I have on the plan.

Of course I start to get worried about the half marathon in two (!) weeks. Coach said that I won't loose anything at this point, but how long of a break can one take without loosing the fitness? I think I read somewhere that up to a week should be fine. But I also catch myself adjusting my goals... From "it'll be nice do to the race in around 2:10h"to "comfortably crossing the finish line". In additional to all of the above, I am one of those people that need to be over-prepared in order to not go crazy at the starting line and even being overly prepared that doesn't prevent pre race jitters and a squirrly stomach.

Seriously, I don't know what I can ask my body to do after two colds within one month in the last third of half marathon training. And I guess I just have to suck it up once more and keep on looking forward to a weekend in Myrtle Beach that I am going to spend with a lot of nice people including several members of the relay team, instead of focusing all my energy in coming up with race scenarios.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Sick and Tired - Quite Literally

.... Or the weekend of skipped workouts.

All last week, I felt like something was up. I just felt tired and cranky and unmotivated.

The weekend started on Friday with a skipped trainer ride. I was set on doing this workout even though I had a very short night before. After I left my chiropractor appointment Friday after work, I just felt exhausted and went pretty much straight to bed.

Saturday started early with a 6AM wake up call and being at the race site for the Greenville News 5K at a little after 7AM. The volunteering was fun, we did the Kid's Run and time flew by, but three hours on my feet in the cold just left a mark. The planned six miler that I did right after I left was cut short a little and slow (even for me), but at the same time laborious. Well, I didn't have a crappy run in a while so maybe I was just due having one. I called it another early night.

Sunday started off as usual with a nice breakfast and church. They called for rain and raining it did... Sometimes a little more, sometimes a little less. When I finally dragged my feet out of the door, Terry and I were discussing possible routes... I had the crappiest attitude towards running (that didn't happen in a LONG time) and when the rain all of sudden turned from a little drizzle into pouring down in buckets, I turned on my heel and went back to bed.

Yesterday, I woke up with a sore throat and just did a little strength workout in the evening. Today more sore throat, but still went to do my swim in the morning... Over the course of the day, the sore throat developed into a full blown (pun intended) sinus infection. Coach said to reduce my workout volume in order to give my body more rest, so I won't get "sick sick"... I don't know, if we are not already past that point.

Needless to say, that I am frustrated... No, I am FRUSTRATED!!! I just barely recovered from this cough and now I am in for round two? Really, I shouldn't be surprised because one after the other in the office is getting sick and with my workout load, I am not surprised that my immune system is showing me the finger. Myrtle Beach is just three weeks from now and time is ticking away...

Also, my goal of being back to 125 lbs by the end of the month has been moved to the end of my priority list. While my body is trying to fight this infection, the last thing I want to do is cut calories, but I make sure to reduce my junk calories as much as possible in favor of good (in a nutritional sense) food. Still I have been steadily coming closer to that goal again and I am not worried about it, it just (most likely) is not going to happen until the end of NEXT month.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Happy Feet - PLEASE!

For a couple of weeks my feet hurt... Sometimes more the soles, sometimes the toes and other times the top... Through in a little ankle pain for good measure and you find a sweet little pot-pourri of aches and pains. I don't think that there is anything wrong with my feet per se more that there is just some general soreness going on.

Thinking about it, it's not really a big surprise. I ask a lot of my feet with all the running, the squeezing in the cycling shoes and still wanting to wear cute high heels every now and then. Fortunately, I don't have any blister and black toe nail issues and hopefully, I don't jinx myself with stating this here. But sometimes, I am also not really sensible when it comes to taking care of my feet. I was already achy all week and then Thursday night comes around, we haven't been dancing in weeks, I didn't have a workout on the plan and so we set out for some booty shaking. Close to two hours of dancing in high heels was sending my feet over the edge and while I was lying in bed last night trying to go to sleep, my feet were yelling at me, if I was crazy or something and why I wouldn't let them alone every now and then!

So today, I went to work in sneakers... It's Friday right? And they already feel a little better... I might even treat them to a little massage later on since I will be asking a lot of them once again over the weekend. Tomorrow, I will be on my feet volunteering at the Greenville News 5K and also plan on getting 6 miles in. Sunday will be a mix of road and trail for 10 miles... I kinda look forward to that one!

That's the plan anyways... Happy weekend everyone! ;-)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Leave Some Water In The Pool

I might have mentioned it before, but just in case... I am back in the pool twice a week again for the tri swim classes at the Middle Tyger Y. It's good to be back in the class environment, having a little more accountability for actually getting up at the crack of (way before) dawn and do your drills. It's getting especially entertaining, when we start doing time trials, seeded starts and snake down the pool from lane to lane without warming up (since you are not necessarily warming up at a race either) and the kick board races.

Today's workout had a colorful mix between freestyle and backstroke/ breaststroke/ butterfly as choice to alternate. Mixing up the strokes is supposed to make you a stronger and better swimmer and I am all for that. Breaststroke is not a big deal for me, butterfly is in my mind not even worth trying right now, but the backstroke, I thought, should be possible even though I had bad memories from last year's class and my attempts back then.

Yeah... It was a pretty entertaining training session, especially for anybody that witnessed my backstroke attempts. It's not so much the swim stroke (upside down freestyle, rotate body, keep arms straight, look at arms) than the breathing. It's really weird that I hardly ever swallow water doing freestyle or breaststroke where you have your face in the water pretty much the whole time and then you flip me around that my face is out of the water the WHOLE time and I swallow water by the gallon. I had to stop several times in the middle of the lane (I always swim in the shallow end where I can stand, because it's easier to rest and switch out toys) to cough the water up again. YUCK!!!! I know, it's just a question of practice it more and so I didn't follow the urge of breast stroking every time I wasn't supposed to freestyle, but alternate between breaststroke and backstroke and I think towards the end it worked a little better.

Baby steps.... baby steps....

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Toasty In the 40s

I don't like to be cold. I don't think anyone really 'likes' to be cold. But I am also cold natured. By lips turn purple and I get goose bumps way before somebody else is feeling chilly.

In case you missed it, but it has been pretty cold around here in the last couple of weeks. Only since last week, we finally had a little warmer temps and on Saturday it in the mid 40s... The mid 40s are by no definition warm, but way warmer than anything else we had in 2010 so far.

A bike ride was decided and of course, I didn't wanted to be the sissy that was too cold. Besides, I already announced with my big mouth a couple of months ago, that I got myself some winter cycling clothing and therefore won't have any excuses this season not to be out on the bike.

On Saturday morning, I browsed in my workout clothes and decided on the following layering:

Base Layer
Sleeveless Cycling Top
Arm Warmer
Cycling Jacket
Wool Gloves

Not in the picture:
Head Band
Wool Socks
Toasti Toes
Neoprene Booties

The bibs are great, because they cover the back and there is no gaping between the top and the bottom. The arm warmers I decided on, because that was a layer I would have been easily able to shed for the case that I got too warm. The Toasti Toes are my biggest discovery for winter cycling. I always have the problem that my toes go numb within minutes on the bike even with wearing the booties and wool socks (and sometimes grocery bags between the booties and the shoes)... Once numb, they turn blue and after cycling for around two hours, it takes at least another two hours for me to regain feeling in my toes. This time, the only toe that got a little cold, was the one that wasn't covered properly by the Toasti Toes, because the sticker shifted a little when I stepped into the shoe. I just have to watch that the next time.

Bring it on winter! I finally figured it out! ;-)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Activate Upstate 2010

How is your new year's resolution coming along? Did you make any new year's resolutions for 2010??

In case you are still looking for a goal for 2010, need some inspiration, accountability and a group setting to motivate you and keep you motivated? Why don't you just stop by at the Carolina First Center tonight and register for Activate Upstate 2010? If you can't make it tonight, then just register online for Activate Upstate Greenville, Spartanburg or Laurens!

The program description according to their website is:

"Activate Upstate is a FREE
year-round healthy living awareness program that targets youth and adult
obesity and related diseases. The program encourages participants to
accumulate at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity five days
per week by completing their daily activity log online. Participants will
receive Healthy Living information about nutrition, exercise and health
education weekly on the website. Participants also take part in weekly
and monthly weigh-ins and counseling, as well as attend “Health Talks,” a series
of lectures by wellness and medical experts that focus on topics related to
health and wellness.

Track your progress and that of the
Upstate right here! This website will provide every participant with
a confidential login so that they can privately monitor their weight lost and
physical activity during the program. Visit this website often for
the latest stats on the Upstate’s progress to lose weight and get physically

Regular physical activity reduces the risk of coronary
heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure. It helps control weight and
contributes to healthy bones, muscles, and joints. It helps relieve the pain of
arthritis and reduces the symptoms of anxiety and depression. People of all ages
who are generally inactive can improve their health and well being by becoming
active at a moderate-intensity on a regular basis."

The flyer to the Activate Upstate 2008 program was actually what kicked off my weight loss journey. I didn't participate in the program, but their program description just triggered something in my brain. 30 minutes of moderate activity five days a week... I can do this, I thought... And I did it and I came a long way since and my body is capable of so much more by now.

Whenever I see the posters and news articles about the program being kicked off for another year, I remember when I started back living a healty lifestyle and hope that others will do it too with a little help and inspiration with this program.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Week in Workouts

Today is my first rest day in a week and a half of workouts. And I am really resting. No running errands, no cleaning house, no going out, just rest. YAY. I am sitting in bed, watching a NCIS rerun while I type this post. Every now and then the puppy takes a break from chewing on her bone and comes over to snuggle some.

My pet peeve all of last week was the second 15-miler scheduled for yesterday. Especially after a full week of workouts as previously mentioned, that looked pretty much like this:

Monday - Strength and Stretching
Tuesday - AM Swimming, PM Trainer Ride
Wednesday - AM Boot Class, PM Treadmill Hill Workout
Thursday - AM Swimming
Friday - AM Treadmill Mile Repeats
Saturday - Bike Ride
Sunday - Second 15-miler in 2h 36 mins

As you see, I had a lot of morning workouts which pretty much means getting up at 5 AM for me. I was so ready for the weekend and to sleep in at least a little. Sleeping in for me after five days of early early wake up calls means waking up at around 7AM on my own. ARRRRGH!!!

Fortunately, the weather finally got warmer and there wasn't supposed to be rain until in the afternoon. So we took the bike out for an easy 25 mile ride. As said, it was easy, fun and social. It also seems like I finally found a combination of clothing that keeps me toasty throughout a ride in around 40 degree weather. There will be a post hopefully this week with visual material! ;-) One life saver was "toasty toes"... great invention... I should have found those things so much earlier!

So yesterday, I didn't get quite so lucky. By the time we got home from church and I got some household duties out of the way, it was drizzling. Awesome! NOT! I put on some capris, a long sleeve shirt and a cap... I only wear a cap when it's raining. I left the car at the PAC building on the Furman Campus and was planning to loop around the Campus and the Swamp Rabbit Trail for the run. The car would hold extra water and food and a dry shirt for the case that I would get drenched. Good thing that it never got that bad... It rained on and off, but as long as I was moving, I felt fine. Around mile four I already felt my quads burning and it never really got better. Even though the physical part got a little tough at time, mentally, I felt pretty good throughout the run. Only the last half mile or so was really hard on me. When the Garmin beeped for mile 15, I stopped right away and power walked back to the car. The car key dropped out of the pocket of my handheld water bottle and I had a hard time to bend down and pick it up again.

Last night we had our first D.N.R. All Stars meeting for the Palmetto200 and I had once again a hard time walking properly and was really tired. But today, I feel so much better compared to last Monday after the first 15-miler. I even was able to walk down stairs with only very little pain! :-)

Alright, now I will pack my swim bag and then call it a very early night...

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Clean Up Your Act Already!

I mentioned casually a couple of posts ago, that I did quite some damage on the weight front over the holidays. After being good for almost two years, I thought to myself the heck with it and I will enjoy everything I feel like during the two weeks of winter vacation in Germany. My mom cooked a lot of my favorite dishes and she baked tons and tons of Christmas cookies. I enjoyed every single meal and every single cookie! :-)

So stepping on the scale when we got back was quite an eye opener, but I had the mindset that once I am back in my routine, things should go back to normal quickly. Well, hardly any workouts for almost two weeks because of this cough and still indulging in anything and everything high sugar, high carb, high fat under the sun sure delayed the getting back on track process.

With a week of regular training (since the cough) under my belt, things are starting to get back to normal... I already dropped a couple of pounds as well and I still feel confident, that I will be able to be back at 125 lbs by the end of the month.

One obstacle that I didn't anticipate (even though I should have) during my "Holidays Everything Goes" Diet was that my metabolism frighteningly fast got used to additional amounts of calories that I fed it for two weeks. So even as I am back in my routine, I have a much harder time to say no to sugary things and only very slowly get my act together. You see, once you are used to a clean diet, it's so much easier to stick to it... That's at least my experience. It's the time to get your body and mind used to that clean diet that is hard and slow. Unfortunately, it's much slower to clean up your act again than falling into old patterns.

Even though I still have a hard time at the moment to pass on chocolate, muffins and co., at least I was able to get my body back accustomed not to crave food in the evenings anymore.

That way, I slowly but surely clean up my act once more, also with the motivation of the half marathon in four weeks.

Oh boy... in four weeks??? Yikes!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Expressions, Phrases and Sayings

Expressions, phrases and sayings are a fun way to spice up the language... Make it more colorful and get your train of thought easier communicated. I love to use them while talking, but having English as a foreign language and still trying to use them has been sometimes confusing or just plain hilarious for my conversation partners.

This post is for the German native to get a couple of tools at hand, to not make the same mistakes, I made in the past and actually be understood right away. Of course it's also for the English native to understand the German in your life a little better. (Mental note: Send link of this post to Terry!)

German ExpressionLiteral English TranslationCorrect English Translation

Nichts fuer Ungut!Nothing for Ungood.Nevermind.
Auch ein blindes Huhn findet einmal ein Korn.Even a blind chicken finds a grain every now and then.Ever dog has it's day.
Weder Fisch noch Fleisch.Neither fish nor meat.Neither fish nor fowl.
Auf dem Holzweg sein.Be on the wood way.Barking up the wrong tree.
Besser der Spatz in der Hand als die Taube auf dem Dach.A sparrow in the hand is worth a dove on the roof.A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
Abwarten und Tee trinken.Wait and drink tea.Wait and see.
Ach Du gruene Neune!Um, you green nine!Good grief!
in Butter seinbe in butterthings are going smoothly
jemandem auf der Nase herum tanzendance on somebody's noseto walk all over somebody
jemanden auf Herz und Nieren pruefentest someone on there heart and kidneysto put somebody through their paces
Das geht auf keine Kuhhaut.That doesn't fit on cow's skin.It beggars description.
etwas aus dem Aermel schuettelnshake something out of the sleevecome up with something just like that
aus dem Groebsten heraus seinto be out of the roughestto be out of the woods
aus dem Haeuschen seinto be out of the little houseto be beside oneself
kurz vor dem Aus stehento be close to the endto teeter on the brink of collapse
Blut und Wasser schwitzento sweat blood and waterto be in a cold sweat
Das sind boehmische Doerfer fuer mich.Those are Bohemian villages for me.It's all Greek to me.
den Amtsschimmel reitenride the office white horseto do everything by the book
die Daumen drueckenpress the thumbscross your fingers
den Vogel abschiessento shoot the birdto take the cake
die Beine in die Hand nehmentake the legs in the handto take to one's heels
die Katze im Sack kaufento be the cat in the bagto buy a pig in a poke
die Kurve kratzento scratch the curveto hit the road
eine ruhige Kugel schiebento push a calm ballto have a cushy job
einen Korb bekommento get the basketto get the mitten
erste Sahneprime crèmedoozy
ins Fettnaepfchen tretento step into a little bowl full of fatto put one's foot in
mit einem blauen Auge davonkommenget away with a black eyeto get a slap on the wrist
mit Kanonen auf Spatzen schiessenshoot sparrows with cannonsto break a fly on the wheel
nur Bahnhof verstehenjust understand train stationIt's all Greek to me.
Wer anderen eine Grube graebt, faellt selbst hinein.Who diggs a pit for others, falls in it themselves.Harm set, harm get.
Eine Kraehe hackt der anderen kein Auge aus.One crow doesn't peck out the other crow's eye.There is honor among thieves.

This is just a small selection of the things that are different. There are tons of expressions that are the same in the English and German language.

If you have anything to add, please free to leave a comment! ;-)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Winter Vacation Recap: Runner's Paradise

With fresh memories of our Germany vacation still in our minds, Terry and I do a lot of comparing of living in Germany vs USA. The contents of these conversation would fill at least one blog post and I might just go into more detail one of these days and write that post. Also, we both didn't necessarily agree and what is to be counted as a pro vs a con all the time. One thing we did agree upon was that Germany is a RUNNER'S PARADISE!

You don't believe me? Here are some visuals for starters!

Chapel on top of the hill... Great for hill repeats!

Amazing views and trail after trail after trail.

View from my room at my parent's house. Even with snow, great trails for running!

I step out of the house, head through the village on sidewalks and then go from there on the bike/ multi-purpose trail. Long runs with ever changing scenery without even having to use the car is a piece of cake. Given that the trails are better suited for bike touring than road bike riding, but that's why this post is called Runner's Paradise! ;-)

The trail network in the Kraichgau is miles and miles long (I actually tried to find the number, but wasn't lucky) and if the Kraichgau is not enough for you, the trails connect to neighboring regions as well. Actually, Germany has such a well established trail network that you hardly ever have to go on the road when traveling by bike or foot. On top of that, if you have enough of the beaten paths, you just take a random turn and find your own route, through the woods, fields, meadows or vineyards on farm tracks... Most of it is public property, so you welcome to walk or bike there if it's not clearly stated that it's private.

How does that sound you??? ;-)

Monday, January 11, 2010


I am in pain... In lots of pain actually! But I am also proud and happy.

Yesterday, I did my longest run in my life so far with 15.09 miles in 2h 38mins.

The run was split up in a six mile warm up, three times two miles at race pace with a five minute recovery in between and then finish up with one to two miles cool down.

My game plan was to shoot for around 10:30 minute/mile for the WU, 9:30 minute/mile for the repeats and cool down with whatever is left in the tank.

It was just as cold as every other day this week around here, but sunny with blue skies and only little wind. I bundled up in UA tights and long sleeve, t-shirt, head band, gloves and shades and drove over to the Furman track to leave the car there, basically as my supply vehicle.

From there, I started my warm up over the campus heading for the Swamp Rabbit Trail and once I was on the trail always north towards Travelers Rest until the Garmin beeped for three miles. Starting out, the toes in my left foot were frozen, but during mile two they dewed and burned and once that was done, the feet felt toasty for the remainders of the run. I also had my first three Shot Blok pieces around the three mile mark as well as a perfect stranger saying "That's beautiful" to me while I passed him... I took it as compliment to my gait and kept on going. On the way back to the car, I had to slow myself down every now and then. You see, the way back is slightly downhill the whole time and that makes it easier to go faster than supposed to. On the second half of my warm up, I also felt a lot of discomfort on my right toes and ankle. I wore my new Mizunos again and I don't think those shoes are a good fit for me, especially not on long runs. Once I got back to the car after my first six miles, I called Terry and asked him to bring me another pair of shoes. In the meantime, I did some stretching and had another three pieces of Shot Blok.

After I changed into my Adidas (my toes and ankle felt better right away!), I started my first two mile repeat on the track. I pretty much nailed the pace with a lap time of a little under 19 minutes for the two miles. During the recovery jog, I had a little more to eat and did a pit stop. The second repeat was right at 19 minutes followed with five minutes of recovery. In the last repeat, I had a hard time holding a constant pace. I was either way too slow or way too fast and had to keep on looking at the Garmin and correct my pace. I also kinda ran out of steam by then just barely hanging on. On my second to last lap, I heard somebody approaching from the back fast. I ran my repeats in lane number seven to stay out of the way of the fast people, but for the last 15 or so minutes, I was alone on the track, so hearing somebody running behind me surprised me a lot since I just didn't know where the person was coming from. I thought to myself, I am exhausted, but I am ready to smack you in the face, so bring it on. (Note to myself: Watch out for paranoia around mile 13!) It turned out to be Terry. He did a trainer ride and then ran from the house to the track to finish up with me. So we ran my last lap together and when I hit stop to put my stuff back in the car before my cool down the Garmin was at 13.16 miles. I ran a half-marathon distance for the first time in my life and I felt it everywhere.

The cool down was horrible. I didn't feel that much pain on the last repeat, but once I did the cool down I was about to cry. The last two miles were long and slow with an over 11 minute/mile pace average, but I got it done... Before driving back to the house, we did some stretching and once we were back, I had the hardest time to get out of the car. I can't remember that I ever had such an instant soreness after a workout.

I was hoping that this was the only 15-miler, I will have to do for the MB half preparation only to find out this morning, that the next one is already lined up for this Sunday. Actually, this whole week looks pretty darn tough on paper... Oh well... I'll survive... Somehow.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Salzburg Trip

Do you hear the Sound of Music? ;-)

The first time, I have been to Salzburg was in 2004 (I think) with my mother over the weekend for her birthday. Other than the obligatory sightseeing, we had tickets for a dinner and chamber music package... A total tourist trap, but since we were tourists... Back then I looked through a couple of sightseeing flyers and stumbled over the "Sound Of Music Tour" and didn't have a clue what they were talking about. Newsflash here... Even though the movie takes place in Austria, it is way famous around here than in Germany (I can't talk about Austria). So when I moved over here, that whole flyer finally made sense. Although I sometimes jokily refer to the movie, I have never seen the whole thing (same goes for "Titanic")... It's too long and the singing makes me gag after half an hour. Noooo... I am not a musical hater... I just don't really care for this one.

And now I got completely sidetracked at what actually should be a travel report for our one day tour to Salzburg, Austria.

From where we were staying in Bavaria, there is a direct train connection to Salzburg every two hours. So one morning we hopped on the train and while we were travelling, we soaked in the scenery... unfortunately without snow... it would have been even prettier with a little dusting.

Taking a nap on the train.

First glimpse at the Alps.

After getting off the train we stopped by the tourist information to get the scoop and what kind of tours they offered in English. After a little deliberation we decided to do a 1.5 hour walking tour starting at the Mozart square in two hours or so. First order of business was to test out their public transportation (bus) and make our way to the historic downtown to snoop around a little and grab a bite to eat.

The walking tour turned out to be a good decision. Our tour guide was knowledgeable but didn't overwhelm you with too much information. On the other hand, if you had additional questions, she was able to answer them. Every now and then she made a reference to the Sound of Music and how this song was supposed to play here, but was actually done in a studio in Hollywood type information. Since it was a walking tour, it was limited to the old historic city (they kind of have a newer historic city too) which also kept the volume on information to be processed in bearable limits. After the tour we crossed the Salzsach to also make some postcard pictures from the Mirabell Gardens looking at the Hohensalzburg.

Year plate on St. Pete Cemetery... One year older than America! ;-)

Mozart's birthplace in the Getreidegasse.

On a bridge over the Salzach with the historic city as backdrop.

Mirabell Gardens

After the Mirabell Gardens, we returned to the older part of the city and did touristy stuff e.g. shopping. After a little debate back and forth, we finally decided not to pass the opportunity and visit the Hohensalzach Castle before heading back. The cable car ride up the castle just takes 45 seconds and all the access for museums at the castle is included in the fair. First order of business was to walk around the castle on the outside and get all the scenic views over the city and the Alps. After that we wanted to do the audio guided tour but the line was loooooong and not moving whatsoever and time started to press since we were shooting for catching the 5PM train. So we skipped the tour 1 (audio guided) and moved on to tour 2 right away.... No lines and we know why.... It was pretty boring unless you are interested in Austrian military uniforms over the centuries. To finished up and after walking around a little confused to find the cable car entrance again, we made it back to the city.

View from castle over city.

View from castle at the Alps.

The last adventure of the day was catching the right bus to bring us back to the train station. We stopped at several wrong bus stops but fortunately didn't hop on a bus. Since I am not scared to ask for directions, we got pointed the way and made it back with time to spare in a PACKED train. Obviously we were not the only ones that had the Salzburg day trip idea.

After getting back to Vilsbiburg, we met up with a friend for dinner and ice cream and with the check each of us got a free piece of cake. Was that a perfect day OR WHAT??

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Statistics 2009 and Tentative Race Schedule/ Goals 2010

I am behind – I know! Every other endurance sports blog that I read has already done this post and moved on…. But I still don’t want to miss the opportunity to reflect on 2009 and make a public commitment to my goals in 2010.

Brace yourself and here we go:

Statistics 2009


Bike: 133h 28m 31s - 1320.5 Mi (spin bike incl in time, but not in mileage)
Run: 115h 41m 42s - 670.78 Mi
Swim: 67h 04m 01s - 157033.2 Yd
Strength: 29h 39m


6 5Ks

2 8Ks

2 10Ks

1 Mud Run (4 miles, 30 obstacles)

1 Sprint Triathlon (400m swim, 14mile bike, 4mile run)

1 Metric Century Ride (62 miles)

1 Relay (12.3 miles in three legs)

1 Trail Race over 11K

Tentative Race Schedule 2010

2-13 Myrtle Beach Half Marathon (registered)
4-25 Palmetto 200 Relay
6-5 Middle Tyger YMCA Sprint Triathlon
8-1 Assault on Cherokee International Distance Triathlon

Those are the races that I really want to do and the rest of the year will be planned out as I go. On top of these, I would like to do a century ride and maybe a duathlon, but so far, I haven’t found anything that fits in the existing schedule.

Athletic Goals for 2010

1) back to around 125 lbs by the end of January (yes, I did quite some damage over the winter vacation)
2) finish my first half marathon
3) improve my time from 2009 in the Middle Tyger Sprint
4) finish my first international distance tri
5) get faster especially when it comes to running to be measured in PRs

That’s not too bad of a list… This should be possible! ;-)

Oh and by the way: Yes, I did the swim this morning and it felt good to start the training back up. Coach didn't have a whole lot to correct this time around. Last year after my first lesson, I seriously wondered, how I was able to stay afloat since there was soooo much to correct on my stroke. So the technique seems to be getting better (should I be concerned that she didn't recognize my attempt on perfect form 50s? ;-) and the speed will come with practice!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


As mentioned yesterday, I am a little under the weather. First there was this head cold that wouldn’t go anywhere and as soon as I started to relax a little on our winter vacation – BOOM – I got really sick. Right in time for our trip to Bavaria which I didn’t want to cancel and that was also tons of fun, but I just didn’t get the rest in, I would have done if I had been home.

So my last real workout has been on the last Saturday in 2009 and since then I didn’t do anything than hiking and walking and actually since I am back from Germany…. I didn’t do ANYTHING AT ALL. This might be the longest stretch of workout free time in a year.

Of course the timing is BAD. There is no good time for getting sick and there is much worse out in this world than having a cold. Nevertheless, in the absence of having real problems, I am frustrated to say the least. I signed up for my first half marathon and the big day is less than six weeks away. On top of it, I haven’t managed to run the 13.1 miles in one of my long runs yet.

Considering all these current events, I decided to scramble my planning around a little. The planned 10K in Asheville in two weeks is OFF. I prefer to have this weekend available for a quality long run instead of doing a race. That means that I didn’t do a race in December and won’t do one in January. Looks like this cold has also induced the longest stretch of non-racing months, since I started racing in November 2008. I try not to go to crazy over that, but I show tons of nerves at the starting line and doing races on a regular basis helps my brains to remember that there really is nothing to be nervous about. Terry always says: “Why should I be nervous, it’s just running!” – I wish I could adopt that attitude.

As of right now, I plan to get back to my workouts tomorrow morning with a swim class at 6AM… Today, I stopped by the nurse in our facility and got the green light for working out. I was planning on starting back up, but it gives me some peace of mind that she agrees with my assessment.

On brighter news (brighter than the green light): Team D.N.R. will be back in action end of April at the Palmetto 200 Relay from somewhere close to Columbia, SC to Folly Beach, SC. Originally we talked about doing the American Odyssey Relay from Gettysburg, PA to Washington D.C., but then we heard about this new relay in our backyard and decided to it instead. So far it looks like the original cast will get together for a new installment of running insanity and a sleepless night and tons of stories to tell. STAY TUNED! ;-)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Welcome 2010

Hopefully, everyone had a GREAT start into the New Year and the New Decade.

We are back from our winter vacation in Germany. It was a fun trip and I enjoyed the time with friends and family.

While I am typing this post, I am also uploading a fine selection of the 10,000 pictures taken during this 2.5 week period on Facebook. I hope and pray that the upload works at the first time (for once) since I am not in computer mode... I am in lying in bed and rest mode. Simultaneously, I also try to catch up on laundry and as mentioned before: I'd rather be in bed and watch TV.

For a week now, I am having a cough and just feel wiped out, so training is on hold for the moment as well. As frustrated as I am about that, it also freed up some time to do other stuff... other than resting I mean. One example is to scribble on a post-it note the next couple of headlines for this blog of mine in order to recap the adventures and impressions from the trip of ours. I got the headlines, but as previously mentioned... I am in resting mode, so the actual typing of the posts will be done at a later point in time.

In the meantime, a little feel good picture... This is my parent's dog Paul.... It took me a while to get a really cute shot of him, but he was finally in model mood!