Der härteste Marathon der Welt!

The Graubünden Marathon takes place today. It features 2682 meters of uphill climb and only 402 meters of downhill (you math experts figure out that grade). Last year’s winner finished in 3:30:33.0; the fastest woman in 4:21:47.8. That’s a far cry from Haile Gebrselassie’s 2:03:59 men’s marathons world record and Paula Radcliffe’s 2:15:25 women's record. Today’s marathon is billed as “The hardest marathon in the world!” That’s supposed to be a draw? Where do I sign up for “The easiest marathon in the world”?

Gotta run…



I didn’t feel like waiting around for an hour in the cold and rain after Friday evening’s 10K to see if I was among the top three in my category. I found out yesterday that I placed 3rd, just like last year (it is a rather small race). This morning I biked over to the village pharmacy to pick up my prize. My bag of loot included an assortment of samples, a word puzzle magazine, instant coffee, one free entrance to the thermal baths, and an unidentified plastic object. Son 2 said someone must have gone around the house grabbing random items for prizes. The plastic whatever entertained us at lunch. Could it be a paperweight, a business card holder, a muscle massager, a designer frog knickknack? What do you think?

Gotta run…


A travers Romanel

Husband didn’t sign up for yesterday evening’s 10K because he was under the weather. We all ended up being under the weather – pouring rain, that is. When we got there, almost everyone was huddled under the eaves of the community center, waiting till the last minute to head over to the starting line. Not only was it raining, but the temperature had dropped drastically. Half the runners, including me, were wearing the windbreaker we received at the Cheseaux 10K in April. Once we got started, the run itself wasn’t bad, but I felt sorry for the organizers. The event is part of a big weekend-long village party. Not this year. I wonder what they will do with all those sausages and beer no one bought.

Gotta run…


A fixture

J. lives down the street and our paths often cross in the neighborhood or at races. We finally had J. over for coffee a few weeks ago. He told us he’s been running since 1985. Before that he played soccer, but senior soccer involved too high a risk of injury. As soon as J. switched over to running he was hooked; cause he was good. He runs most races held in a 50 miles radius, often racing twice a week and usually placing well. He has definite opinions on many things; long distance running (marathons aren’t good for you, except maybe for the pros), race strategy (keep your opponents in sight, but if they go out to fast, don’t try to follow), prizes (cash, or even a nice cured ham, is much better than a trophy that will just collect dust on your mantel), experience (there’s a lot to learn from past mistakes, don’t repeat them next time around). I’m sure we’ll see J. at this Friday’s 10K.

Gotta run…


Knowing when to quit

So, back to that first time I wore a heart rate monitor... I took a health class in college that featured an optional treadmill stress test, just for fun (now-days you would have to offer extra credit). The idea was to run as long as possible. The pace was slow at first, then gradually picked up. After the pace steadied, the grade started increasing. I hung on; my heart felt like someone was squeezing it, hard. The assistant monitoring me kept asking if I was ok. She tried to put a mask on my face at one point (to get a VO2 reading I seem to recall), but I just pushed it away. I finally stumbled off the machine and sat there for an hour before I could move. I learned that my heart rate had jumped to over 130 the second I stepped onto the treadmill and kept increasing steadily till I hit 210. I think it might be an understatement to say I overdid it that day.

Gotta run…


Parque del Retiro

Estoy en Madrid esta semana visitando a... oups! I'm in Madrid this week visiting family. We are a mere five blocks away from a 330 acre park. I was more worried about getting lost in the park than on the way to the park. It took me 26 minutes just to run one lap on the outermost path around the park. There were dozens of other runners out. Not one person said "buenos dias," Spanish running etiquette I guess. Anyway, the weather was perfect and it was a great way to start the day.
Gotta run...



Husband and I were talking last night about how every little town seems to have its annual race. He said he doubted Jouxtens-Mézery (3 kilometers into our route; population 1,335) had a race. On this morning’s run, I saw runners wearing race bibs just before entering the village. I laughed out loud when I crossed the finish line. I told the people cheering for me that I wasn’t actually in the race and kept going. I stopped ten minutes later on my way back home and asked for information. I had crashed the 8.6K held every first Saturday of June. I’ll have to remember that for next year.

Gotta run…


Heart rate monitor

I’ve always liked numbers. I used to take my pulse before and after every run, but I got out of the habit. Well, C.’s GPS watch comes equipped with a heart rate monitor (last time I wore a heart rate monitor was almost 23 years ago, when Son 1 was born, and it was of course a fetal heart rate monitor). I wore the watch on a tempo run first, then on a long run. I was tempted to keep my eyes on the numbers the whole time. Even though I never once looked at the chronometer, I hit my goal time exactly by targeting a certain heart rate. After the run I was able to check out my average heart rate, maximum heart rate, average pace, maximum pace; plenty of numbers!

The first and only other time I wore a heart rate monitor was in college. More about that next time.

Gotta run…


Cheering long distance

M. and M. haven’t been runners all that long, but they decided to start big: a half marathon six months ago, a 20K last month, and yesterday the Edinburgh Marathon. They were in my thoughts and prayers most of the day. The results were posted this afternoon. M. and M. ran steadily throughout the race and crossed the finish line together. It would have been nice to be there to give them a big hug, but that will have to wait till Friday.

Well done, ladies, I’m very proud of you!

Gotta run…