Monday, January 31, 2011

It's Never Too Late For Rookie Mistakes


Repeating Rookie Mistakes.


On Saturday I was out riding my bike. It sure was gorgeous out there, so I actually was quite giddy the days leading up, because - you know - just the thought of riding outside in the sun with temps in the 60s... It just has to make you giddy right?

Well, after the ride... giddy? Not so much anymore! Actually, I was quite p***ed off by the time I got back home. I realize that not every workout can be stellar, but this was just a little too much for my taste. And nobody to blame, but myself!

I volunteered with our church until 12am and Terry decided (finally) to buy himself a new car that we would pick up at 6pm that night... in Spartanburg... A one hour drive for us. With that being said, the window for my (according to plan) 50 mile bike ride was pretty small.

Originally, I planned to ride the 50 mile country loop out at Donaldson Center, but with the time constraints, the drive to and back just were out of the question, so I eventually decided to ride from the house and do the "Green Valley Loop" a couple of times and then ride back to the house. Simple math: 5 miles each to and from the loop, 11 point something mile loop... Do the loop 3 times and we end up with a total of +/- 43 miles and then tack on a couple of miles somewhere... Or not, depending on how I am doing time-wise.

I got home from volunteering and had a quick lunch and then got ready to head out. Of course things never go smoothly and by the time I hit the road it was already after 1PM... dang. Terry decided to join me for at least one loop (after running 18 miles in the morning.... he's a freak!).

1. (repeated) rookie mistake: Eating a decent size lunch right before hopping on the bike.

While my stomach is by far not as picky on the bike than it is running, that was a bad idea. I struggled with side stiches for the first hour on the bike. That was no fun!

After the first loop, Terry decided to ride home and I continued to go on my merry way for the second loop, which was not very spectacular, but at least I started feeling better and the side stiches finally decided to go away. What I did notice on the second loop, that there were awfully many rednecks on the roads and I started to dread to do this loop for another time. So I decided on a change of scenery.

2. (repeated) rookie mistake: Going on the Swamp Rabbit Trail with the bike on a Saturday afternoon while it's sunny and has temps in the 60s.

SRT was crowded like this... Just replace the snow with trail and grass and the deer with people.
 Do I have to even explain this? It was crowded! It was seriously insane how many people were out there enjoying the outdoors. It was impossible to go halfway fast without being a danger to myself or/and others. I also seemed to have completely blocked out the amount of intersection one has to cross on the trail. This is not so noticeable when you are running, but on the bike, you basically have to slow down or stop every couple of minutes... Which brings me to:

3. (repeated) rookie mistake: Don't get out of my pedals fast enough and fall over... In front of a crowd, since (see above) the trail was packed.

Not me, but you get the picture.
 It was really quite comical, because I knew it is going to happen a fraction of a second before I actually fell and was able to pick out the spot where I am going to plant myself. Fortunately, it was on grass and not the big rock a few feet away. For a couple of seconds I just lay there, getting really mad at myself. Weird enough, I was still clipped in both pedals and it took quite some effort to get out of the pedals. Which also makes me think, that my Speedplay pedals need some adjustments, because it should not be so hard to get out of them. I thought they are going to start loosening up with usage, but I have the pedals now for several months and put a couple hundred miles on them and still they are so stubborn.

Once I got myself up again, I just wanted to leave the scene of the "accident" as quickly as possible. But since this ride seemed to be cursed, of course I jammed up my chain so bad, that it needed three fellow cyclist and a police officer to get me going again. And even with all that help, it took at least 10 minutes.

Needless to say, I had it.... I took the direct way home...

I had to stop one more time, because with the fall, the brakes rubbed on the tire and my cadence sensor got messed up, so it made a clicking noise with every turn. In the end, I did 38 miles... Way off my plan and that made me mad too... I finally have to get the mileage in, when I am supposed to get it in. ARGGGHH!

I was able to do my ride on Sunday, but Terry took the bike to the shop this afternoon, because there was some light squeaking going on. Let see what the shop has to say. The jammed chain also scratched up the frame in a couple of spots.... ARGGGHH!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Slowest Ride Ever or Paris II/2011

16.17 miles in 1h 23 mins. That's an average of 11.7 miles per hour. This is quite possible the slowest ride I ever did... aside from mountain biking.

For the first time ever, I rode up and over Paris and back. From the house, that's a little over 16 miles... Slow and hard miles.... 2,545 feet of climbing anyone?? It certainly was a great workout, especially since I was once again pressed for time.... That's a lot of bang for the buck.

Things that I am doing differently next time: dress better for the temps (I was completely overdressed today) and bring a camera... There were some stunning views on the way.

The only problem with stopping for pictures on the way? I am worried that I won't be able to get going again, once I stopped.

Up next? Doing this twice in the same workout. Oh boy!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Loosening Up

After doing a couple too many squats on Monday, my hammies were really angry with me all week. I felt like I had knots in my legs.

Yoga this morning felt sooooo good. It made a world of difference. I sure didn't fell like getting up early for the class, but am very happy, that I did.

Have a great weekend everyone. We are expecting gorgeous weather here in SC for the next couple of days and I can't wait to soak in some sunlight and warmer temps! ;-)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Splish Splash

Last Sunday while browsing wasting time on the internet, I came across the Splish website. They have a wide array of really fun bathings suits and other swim gear. Most of the time, I get my swim suits at T.J.Maxx etc or from the clearance section, because I am just not willing to spend a whole lot of money on them. The chlorine water in the pools, really do a number on swim suits and most of them are past their prime (if not already see-through or baggy) in less than six months.

Still... I really do like these suits... I know that my birthday is still a couple of months away, but I think I will put one of those suits on my birthday list. Oh... And they also let you customized your suit (for even more money, I imagine). Because I was browsing wasting time already, I played around a little.... ;-)

There had to be some purple in suit, of course.

On the other hand, who is ever going to see it, once you are in the pool.... So is a very cute, but pretty expensive suit really worth it?

Unless, of course, you have something like this on the training plan: 

"8x100 - all of these are at race pace. Before all the odds get out of pool and do 10 sit-ups jump in and swim 100 hard. For all Evens do 10 push -ups and swim the first 25 as a sprint and the last 75 even paced"

Thanks, Coach! ;-)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Form And Such

Running should be easy right? Why should I ever learn anything about it? If you can walk, you can run.

Yes and no.

Even though running might be the least technique relevant sport of the swim-bike-run, there is still a whole bunch of stuff that can be done wrong. And wrong technique can either make you prone to injury (heal striking and such) or inefficient. I hate to be inefficient in all areas of life, but for the longest time I didn't even know ignorned, that I was running inefficiently.

Terry actually pointed some things out to me, pretty early on... But why should I listen to somebody, that just runs since highschool.... 20 something years or so. Hmmmmm.

After getting a lot of feedback from different people and then eventually working with a coach, I started to slowly break my bad habits, to name a few: chicken wings and having the pelvis unengaged.

Chicken wings (this is not an official name) are, when you stick your ellbows out and then on top of it swing your arms from side to side. I hear it's pretty common with women and I sure wasn't an exception to that. So I want to move foward, but waste momentum (energy) by moving my arms from side to side. To eleminate (reduce) this, I spent weeks of running while saying over and over in mind: no chicken wings, no chicken wings. While running, I constantly checked that my ellbows are, where they are supposed to be and that my hands swing by my hips to ensure that I don't move my arms sideways.

The difference in form when your pelvis is engaged vs unengaged is amazing. First, I had to understand what I was supposed to do... That took a while. Then I started to comprehend, that this type of adjustment is going to take some core strength and that realization opened a completely different can of worms. But things are improving and I can actually feel the difference now and if I bring it to my attention every couple of minutes while running, I can fix it whenever my form starts sliding.

Is my running form perfect...? No. But I am pleased that it is much improved from a year ago, so I'll take it.

This morning, I did my planned track workout on the treadmill due to rain and lightning (weird time of the year for lightning right?). While I don't necessarily enjoy running on the treadmill, listening to Pandora and the intervals help to make time pass fairly quickly. I also picked out a treadmill in front of one of the windows, so I was able to check my form in the reflection and that is helpful as well.

When I walked out of the gym, I ran into coach and she also said my form looked good. Always nice to get positive feedback. I feel like I am on the right track.

One more note: They have new treadmills at the Caine Halter Y where you can hook up you iPod/ iPhone. So you can watch TV or watch/ listen to a video/ music that you have on your iDevice. While this is entertaining and a "nice-to-have" feature from my standpoint, I am more intrigued by the Nike+iPod feature. Of course, I didn't now anything about this, when I got on the treadmill this morning, but when you stare at the "Nike+iPod" logo on the treadmill for an hour... It kind of got me interested, so I did a little research. Turns out, that you can record your workout (mileage etc) over your iPod and then later look at it in iTunes and even download it.... They do have this feature for their treadmills, but also for the ellipticals and stationary bikes.

I'll have to get myself a little more educated on this and how I would be able to utilize it along with training peaks for workouts that I can't do outside and still want to have the data. I know, I can be a total geek, when it comes to stuff like that.... But if you want to share your knowledge, I can possibly make a litte short cut on my research activities! ;-)

Happy hump day, everyone!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Paris I/2011

Yesterday, I looked for takers for a Sunday afternoon ride per Facebook status... What else, right? I did have tons of comments, but no takers.... Words like "nuts" were being used! The temperature was over 40 degrees, so why is everybody calling me crazy??? ;-) All in good fun.

Fortunately, I was able to motivate one of my training buddies that are not on FB to join for the ride and with one of her girlfriends and Terry, we ended up being a nice group of four.

The two ladies were looking at a 3 hour ride, I was looking at something between 2 and 3 hours.... And they rode up from Greenville, so it kinda all worked out.

First we did the Green Valley Loop with some nice rolling hills from Furman to Travelers Rest (TR). With the right gear, the weather was actually pretty good for riding. Actually, once we stopped in TR (around mile 20), I had to take the "toasty toes" out of my shoes, because my feet were cooking!

At this point, Terry took the direct way home, while the girls and I decided to go up and over Paris Mountain. With Mitchell being on the plan for this year, Paris is going to be a basic in my training, but this was my first trip up Paris in 2011 and actually my first ride up there in several months. While I consider myself a pretty good climber on the bike, this climb is just kicking my bootie, especially after a little break from the hills for the last couple of weeks.

Yeah, that's right... 800 ft of climbing over 2 miles (when you start from Old Buncomb Rd)....  And it's really save the best for last with a steep steep section right at the end. While I pedaled up there, I mostly thought about how embarassing it would be to topple over because I couldn't pedal fast enough to keep me moving. But all was good at the end. I didn't time my ascent (or descent for that matter), but I wanna start doing that, to see how and if things progress.

The base of Paris on the Old Buncomb side is just 2 miles from the house, so once it's light outside longer in the evening, I want to tackle this climb during the week too. Maybe even more than once per workout at one point. What's good enough for some local cycling pros, should be good enough for me... right?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Race Report: 2011 Run Downtown 5K

Overall results based on chip time:
29:04 - 9:23 min per mile average
Overall 922/1761

Age group results based on gun time:
29:58 - 9:40 min per mile average
Age group 47/134

A cow ran too. I am pretty sure he/she was faster than me! ;-)

Pre Race:

Preparation is everything! ;-)

After work, I stopped by Academy Sports and picked up my number and t-shirt. Once at home, I picked out all my stuff for the race the next day... Only to switch from capris to long tights basically two minutes before leaving. It was just too cold out there.

I drove over to the Caine Halter Y and then ran from there to the start line as my warm-up. I made it 10 minutes before the start. Perfect timing! I met up with two of my relay buddies and then fought my way back through the crowds to be closer to the back of the pack. On the way there, I ran into two more acquaintances.... Always good to have somebody to chat through minutes before the race, this time, I didn't even think of getting nervous.


My (the coach's) plan for this race to stick around 170 bpm and that's what I did. The race starts with a downhill and then an uphill for the remainders and then some of the first mile. I clocked the first mile with 10:09 minutes and it freaked me out a little. I was right on target concerning my heart rate, but I didn't feel like I worked hard at all.... And a 10 minute mile won't bring me in at my secondary goal of making it under 30 minutes. The second mile was a rolling downhill, meaning that in general the direction was downhill, but there were also uphills in this mile. I still stuck to my heart rate goal and then second mile came in with 9:27 minutes. Better, but still not great and I still felt like I wasn't working a lot and it was harder and harder to stay within my goal and the garmin kept beeping at me. So right around the mile two marker, I took the heart rate alert out and just ran... As hard as I felt like it. Mile three and the rest is also rolling, with the last .1 mile is straight downhill to the finish... I sure felt right away, that I was picking up the pace and working harder. Mile three came in at a 8:54 minute pace (WHAT??? ;-) and the rest of the race was done in 37.1 seconds meaning a 7:22 pace.

It was not a PR (not even close), but overall this was a good race. I did what I was supposed to do heart rate wise for most of the race and I also accomplished the secondary goal of staying under 30 minutes. Good stuff after all.

The little picture sequence shows that I was kicking harder at the end.

On the left behind the girl in the pink shirt and black jacket.

This is my "I am sucking air" face.

So ready to be done....

 Post Race:

I walked through the chute and dropped off my chip. They used the chips that are glued to the bib and you just tear off the bottom of the bib and drop them into big bins. Of course, I felt sick for a little while after the race, but I walked it off first. I wanted to grab some water and a little food, but then saw the line and didn't think it was worth waiting, because I wanted to run back to the Y before getting chilled to the bone. So I turned around right away and ran back to the Y and also did some weights since I was there anyways.

Race Review:

This is a great race with a lot of people each year. I prefer the smaller races, but this is just a lot of fun and I am really digging the race shirts. ;-)

Thursday, January 20, 2011


I like the word "meh". It's says a lot of things without having to say a lot of words.

I am feeling kind of meh* right now.

*is an interjection, often used as an expression of apathy, indifference, or boredom. However, it can also be used to indicate agreement or disagreement. It can also be an adjective, meaning mediocre or boring.

So what's meh right now? Everything.... Just everything... Also a reason that I haven't written anything in the last couple of days. Work is getting done, workouts are being logged, my household is not (yet) falling apart, but nothing seems to be noteworthy...

So and because I need a little laugh... Here is the "Dinner For One". This is a very popular play. It's being broadcasted in Germany on New Year's Eve every year and several times that day on several channels. It's originally from England and is broadcasted un-synchronized (which is unusual).

So hopefully, I'll be back with something a little more interesting next time.

Happy Friday!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

11 + 4 = One Long Run

One of the Malone Coaching athletes (Thanks AnnieLloyd!) organized a Donut Dash yesterday for athletes and friends/family. But since coach won't let me get away with "just" running 4 miles, I had 11 miles on tap before the donuts.

Looping around downtown Greenville for 11 miles to dodge the snow.

I wasn't the only one that had more than the dash on the calendar and this way, a fairly big group of people met up at 8am in front of GoRun to get a run in. The plan was to hit the Swamp Rabbit Trail and the plan started out good until we hit a section of the trail that was still covered in ice. In the meanwhile the group split in smaller groups and because the whole SRT plan fell through, the different smaller groups took different routes to total up the mileage for the day. A training friend (she really is faster than I am, but slowed down for me) and I stuck together and looped around downtown while catching up.... It's amazing, how fast an almost 2 hour run passes when you haven't seen each other in weeks and have tons and tons to talk about.

It was almost 10am by the time we got back to GoRun and the place started to fill up with contestants for the Donut Dash.

The donut run was set-up like this: You run a 2 mile loop, than have to eat 6 donuts (Krispy Kreme Glazed, still warm) in a designated area and then run the 2 mile loop again. If you leave the donuts on the second loop, you are disqualified.... All of this applied, if you started as "challenger". But you could also start as "casual" participant and only eat 0-5 donuts, but in that case, you were also not eligible for (donut shaped) awards.

Since my history of stomach issues is well documented, let me assure you that I didn't signed up as challenger. But fellow blogger Lindsay is much more kick butt than I will ever be and she started as challenger and ended up coming in second woman... She has some good insight in fast donut eating strategies and you should totally check her "race" report out.

I took those 4 miles very easy... The tank was empty and fortunately another one of my training friends came out for the dash and we ended up running the two loops together... Catching up, since we haven't seen each other since before the holidays. After the first loop, I actually thought about skipping the second loop, but with that kind of company... Skipping wasn't really an option.

After the race we all just hung out for a while. Several of my relay team goons came out too and it certainly was fun to hear their donut stories! ;-) I had two donuts after the race to refuel... of course!

The contestants for the inaugural Do Run Donut Dash!

Pre-Race instructions: "This is an unofficial race, if you bust your butt, it's your fault!"

The Goon-Ru came out too... Of course he was sporting DNR team gear.

The donut, a natural enemy of the runner.... ;-) Those facial expressions are priceless.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Getting Back To Normal

Time to shake the ice out of the whiskers and get back into a routine - shall we?

With all the snow shenanigans, the workouts this week of course didn't happen like they were planned out... Big surprise here hmmmm?

Nevertheless, I feel like I got in a good amount of training... Especially the Wednesday night trainer ride, I was dreading all week and I was glad when that was finally done. That was one rough set and I sleep like a baby the following night.

The next morning, I headed out to the pool and I probably have never seen the Middle Tyger Y so empty. But unlike the Greenville Y's, it was open for business, despite snow and ice.

I decided early last night to skip Yoga today and take an hour more sleep... Fortunately... Because this morning I saw that the Y didn't open until 9am. PHEW! But I did download a couple of yoga video podcasts yesterday, that I will try out over the weekend.... Maybe.

With a fairly easy going week due to the weather restrictions, I actually can't wait to do regular training and other fun stuff over the weekend.

The Freewheelers have also published a list of four official Mount Mitchell training rides. I won't be able to make the first two due to previous commitments, but already put the last two on my schedule for this year. Over the weekend, I will try to find another couple of organized ride that can be used for training. Speaking of Mount Mitchell, registration opens on Feb 1st for members. There is no turning back, once the registration is done and procrastinating is not an option either! YIKES!!!

Last, but not least: Head over to DC Rainmaker for a Garmin Forerunner 310XT Giveaway. Good luck! ;-)

Have a happy weekend!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Germany Post Catch-Up 2: Wolfsburg Autostadt

The snow, ice and frozen slush is still out there, but we are back at work, already the second day, but fortunately on a delayed schedule, which gives the DOT another chance to coat the road with more salt and sand before I have to head out... By now the ice is so packed on the streets that I kind of doubt, that a snow plow would have a chance. Maybe the sun can get everything thawed soft a little, so they can plow before everything freezes over again tonight.

Anyways, to finally finish up my Germany report, here are the pictures from our trip to Wolfsburg, the birthplace of the "Volkswagen" brand and headquater of the Volkswagen Group.

Wolfsburg is not an obvious sightseeing choice, but it was almost on route on the way back from my friend's house and I am on the everlasting quest to show Terry each and every town I ever lived in.

Back in 2003, I spent six months in Wolfsburg while writing my thesis at Volkswagen. During that time, I had a season pass for the "Autostadt". We spend a lot of time there and it's a lot of fun to visit and discover all the pavillions from the different brands in the Volkswagen group. Some pavillions are more fun than others, but you can definitely spend a whole day on site. Unfortunately, the plant was closed due to winter break, so we were not able to do a plant tour, but at least we could visit one of the car storage towers.

The park is much prettier in the summer, but they did put an ice skating rink on one of the ponds that was just stuffed with kids of all ages while the parents had a nice pot of Gluehwein.... Oh Gluehwein... I miss you!

The two storage towers, each holding 400 cars that are going to be delievered to customers over the next days.

Terry posing "in" one of the vintage Volkswagen utility vehicles.

The car tower from the inside. We sat in a glass cube and the robot picked us up to bring us all the way up "there".

They have a little visitor platform at the top from which you can overlook the city of Wolfsburg and the plant.

The view from the top down. The tower wasn't very packed at the time... I guess because of the holidays?

On our way down... It was fascinating.

One of the motor cycles in the "Zeithaus" the onsite museum.

This is Mini Cooper number 1,000,000.

In front of the Bugatti Veyron 16.4... In this baby are 1,002 horse power.

A light installtion in Skoda pavillion.

The "Zeithaus" from the outside.

The Christmas decoration was still up, but the towers are always lit up that way.

Side view of the "Zeithaus".

Monday, January 10, 2011

South Carolina Snow Day

It's like a flashback from a week ago. Just when we thought we escaped the snow in Germany, the snow is coming down in South Carolina as well!

So this morning, I took the doggie for a walk to stretch out the legs a little and snap a couple of pictures.

Please tree, don't let your branches snap and hit power lines.

First time that Karma ever saw snow.... She LOVED it way too much!

Speed limit or not, some people were plowing through the snow.

Even the swamps freeze over today!

Paris Mountain in the clouds.

We picked up a new boy toy for Karma on the way.
A snow day is a killer for training, but at least, I got some race registrations out of the way. I am now official signed up for....


It took me a little this time, but it seems like I have my race schedule together for 2011.... Yeah! ;-)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Race Report: 2011 TR YMCA Resolution Run

Results (based on Guntime):
2h 17m 48s (10:31 min per mile average)

Age Group (30-34) 8/12
Overall 122/161

Hubs joined me for my last couple of yards...  


The race started at 9.15am and that means, that we didn't even set the alarm. With the jet lag still in our bones and regular morning workouts last week, we were up by 6am. Hubby brought me breakfast to bed (Thanks, babe!) and after that we got ready, slowly... very slow. The race started just 10 minutes down the road and I already picked up the packages earlier this week, so there was really no reason for us to be there early. We got there half an hour ahead of the time and I was just cold. The gym was open, but of course, I didn't know... I just wondered where everyone was.

After chatting with a couple of run and tri buddies, we started lining up.... Did I mentioned that I didn't feel this race.... at all? ;-)


The race course was a loop, which is always nice. It also was on roads that I know and run often, but I never did this particular loop. The rough spot was passing the street, where we live on, at around mile six... and knowing, that it's going to be a while. Yupp, really didn't feel this race.

But I am getting ahead of myself. I started out conservatively according to coach's orders.... You know... Two weeks of basically doing nothing and then winging a half. But once I was out there, I felt fairly good. The first couple of miles ticked away as usual, but right around mile 5, things didn't fly too much anymore.... But fortunately, a two mile downhill was coming up... That was quite a relieve. Once we hit the Swamp Rabbit Trail around mile 8, I started to mentally struggle. I pretty much know every stone on this trail and I know the mileage from one to the next intersection and I know that it's a gradual incline from there back to Travelers Rest. On top of it, there were wind gusts. I felt them before a couple of times, but in some spots on the trail, the wind was ridiculous. Fortunately, there were water stations every two miles or so and even though, I didn't take water a lot (was carrying my hand-held), just seeing a friendly face and people with cowbells every now and then was good. There were not a ton of spectators, none really, but the volunteers came out with family and they made as much noise as possible with a hand full of people.

By that time, I was in no-man's land. I haven't been running close to anybody in the last 4 miles. I couldn't see anybody behind me and only one guy in front of me. I slowly closed the gap and after that, I didn't see a soul ahead of me... And there were still two miles to go and the mile splits were getting slower and slower. Only in the last mile, I was able to go a little faster again... Knowing to be almost done, always helps.

When I made the last turn, I soon saw Terry walking towards me and then we jogged it in (see pic above)... I was so glad to be done and to have another medal for my collection.


After the race, I started to walk around and downed a Gatorade in record time. My legs felt really tight right away. Of course I was instantly cold and hungry too, so we walked into the gym to grab a little something (bagel and cream cheese) and warm up. First we thought to wait for the awards, but at one point, I was so cold, I just wanted to go home. The walk to the car wasn't that long, but I felt frozen solid by the time we finally got there.

Race Review:

This is a great race to kick off the year. They had a great turnout with 160 runners for the half. I also really liked the course and of course the fact that it was so close to home. The price is right for this race as well, because you have an option to get a t-shirt (cotton or technical fabric) with an extra charge, so you can make the race as cheap or expensive as you want.

I was positively surprised by the amount of aid stations along the course and they even handed out gels a couple of times.

The only beef I have is, that it was a little complicated to find the race results online!

Definitely a race to do again next year! ;-)

Friday, January 7, 2011

Oh Finally...

... I finished up the audio book for "The Count of Monte Cristo"... The unabridged version... over 50 hours of recording.

While I am not a fan of a book that takes less than a week of commuting to get through, 50 hours are a little excessive and I am very happy to finally got it done.

Fortunately, I prepared for this moment ahead of time and was able to listen to an easy breezy one hour of "Radio Tatort" audio play. It's available as a podcast on iTunes for free... get it here.

In general, I am a big fan of free stuff (who isn't) and by the rate I am plowing through audio books (thank you sucky commute!), I had to find an alternative (a legal one) to by everything and anything off amazon. And while I was browsing the web, I found this little gem:

From their website:

LibriVox Objective

To make all books in the public domain available, for free, in audio format on the internet.

Our Fundamental Principles

  • Librivox is a non-commercial, non-profit and ad-free project
  • Librivox donates its recordings to the public domain
  • Librivox is powered by volunteers
  • Librivox maintains a loose and open structure
  • Librivox welcomes all volunteers from across the globe, in all languages

Given that all books have to be in the public domain to become a part of this project and then on top of it, have to be picked up by the volunteers at librivox to actually record an audio book, the selection is not very fresh. But hey, don't we all want to brush up on the classics?

I already have a couple more books lined up (Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and Die Judenbuche), but before I tackle those, I will keep it a little lighter and shorter for a while.

So... and now I will take it easy for the rest of the night... Tomorrow is half marathon day.... Oh boy!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Germany Post Catch-Up 1: Meyer Werft

After spending the first week in Germany at my parent's house, it was time to change the scenery for a little while. Last year we made a trip to Bavaria, so this year we travelled in the opposite direction up North.

We stayed with my best friend from high school and her husband.

After taking it easy on the day of our arrival, we were presented with tons of activitivies to do the next day and out of all the offers, Terry and I wanted to visit a shipyard.

This way, we ended up at the Meyer Werft in Papenburg:

The guided tour started off with a little video about current projects (the Disney Dream, I believe) and the history of the company. Of course I can't remember any details, but there have been tons of ship models.

From earlier productions:

To more recent productions... Not as recent as the Disney and Aida cruise liners, though.

There was Mr Duck....

This is a peek into the construction area for the Disney Dream... The picture really doesn't do it justice. By looking into the construction site from an elevated position the dimensions of the boat were not that obvious. When this boat is done, the cruise ship will be over 1,000 feet long!!! And the construction building is even bigger, because they'll be able to finish up the boat inside and on top of that start building the next one in the back of the building... insane.

This was a picture in one of the exhibitions and it gives you a slight idea of the dimensions. This little tugger boat is being put on the other side of the boat by a crane to push the cruise liner out of the building into the port right at the shipyard where they do the finishing touches to the boat.

And here are a couple of pictures from newspapers that documented the journey a boat has to take, once it's done... From the shipyard over a little canal to the ocean.

On the way to the shipyard, we actually drove on this road. There is a tunnel under the canal. Of course it's not that exciting to drive along, when there is not boat towering over you! ;-)

On our way back to my parents, we stopped in Wolfsburg for a little visit to the Autostadt... But that's another post for another day.... Tomorrow maybe? ;-)