Marathon training days – part 2

It’s less than a week now until I get to the starting area of my very first marathon distance run. The last weeks and month of training were pretty exciting and also full of experience. I learned a lot about myself and my physiological limits. To be honest, I knew that training for a marathon wouldn’t be easy, but nonetheless I tried pushing too many times beyond my personal limits without listening to my body.

But that’s actually a thing I was expecting from this kind of training, to get to know myself better to do better in the future. Last time I mentioned, that the distance beyond half-marathon distance felt pretty much like a struggle that wasn’t manageable. Meanwhile after a couple of runs around the 30km mark I wouldn’t say that I feel as comfortable with the long distance as it is with a 10K run, but I can say that I know what’s coming and how to handle it.

During the training in the last couple of month I suffered from multiple setbacks. First I had problems with my shinbone, that was hurting like hell after each run. I was able to fix this problem by starting to run with compression calf sleeves. After fixing this problem I had to limit my amount of training and even completely stop it for a couple of days due to a yellow fever vaccination. And after I got through this my hamstring started to hurt pretty badly after each run and my heel tickled as well. These problems are mainly over now and I could say that I’m well prepared for the upcoming marathon in Berlin next weekend, but I’m not.

Recently I had to stop with my training again because I had some major problems with my digestion. I felt very exhausted and tired during the last couple of days and today is the very first day where I feel normal again. I missed nothing serious but anyhow I missed something – even though it’s tapering time. I wanted to do a longer 21K in a medium fast pace to get a last check of what’s to come, but it seems, the marathon premiere will lift its curtain without the dress rehearsal.

Negative things aside. I feel very much like I made a lot of progress over the last months and by regarding the progress over last year I would say that I made a huge step forward. It all started with a small company relay run in September 2013, continued with a 13K run at the marathon event in my hometown and grew to three half-marathons in a row in the beginning of 2014 in Berlin, Prague and Tangermünde.

My primary goal for the marathon in Berlin is to arrive and make it to the finish line. Time is secondary. I do of course have a set time goal, but it would be non-realistic to start in my first marathon chasing a pace without any 42.195km experience. If it feels right to run at a certain set pace it will be fine otherwise I would arrange myself with everything else possible.

Marathon training days – part 1

Marathon – that’s the goal. That’s what I plan to do in September. That’s all what my current life is about.

It’s quite an interesting experience to prepare for a marathon run, even after finishing four half-marathons this year and the overall feel to finally get used to long distances, the distance beyond 21km is something completely different. In several test runs I started running 26km and even 32km to find out how it comforts me and it was a tough lessen I had to learn.

Even with 5km over half-marathon distance I struggled to reach my training goal, which was only to make it over the whole distance. I ran the 26km with my girl-friend, accompanying me and providing me with hydration. It was on of the first real warm days of the year and I had some problems with it. In the meantime I finally got used to it and would also say, that I feel comfortable at higher temperatures. But back on this very day kilometers 22 to 26 felt just tough. Not only because of the warmth outside, also because my legs felt heavy.

A couple of weeks later I had a 32km run with a colleague of mine. My training plan was set for 28km, but on this day we ran 32km. That was a huge mental problem for me. I was very happy to reach the 28km mark and I could have stopped instantly but my colleague just said “Why don’t we continue till we reach the bridge?” or “Why don’t we run back to car?”

This may sound easy, but for me, as a runner who just felt a little comfortable with half-marathon distance and covering a mileage over a period of just one year, it was a huge hurdle to master. I struggled but at the end of the run I had the 32km mark popping up on my GPS watch and was just glad.

It’s still a long way to run, to finally reach the form I need to reach and conquer the marathon mark, but it’s possible. From now on I can say, it’s just 10km more. Before these runs I had things like “And now I have to run half-marathon two times?” in my mind. Adding the 10K to my current longest distances made is a much better motivation than a simple ‘now I have to do it again’ thing.

No resolutions – just solid plans

It’s these days at the end of the year where most of the people come up with a resume of the current, fading year and a lot of them come up with new year’s resolutions. I’m not a big fan of the new year’s resolutions because most of them get abandoned on the January 1st.

To make a long story short, in 2013 I switched companies and I was able to work in my hometown again. The commuting was a thing of the past and I once again had the time to focus back on sports, because I was a fat whale and wanted to get back into shape. Well, to be honest, I never was in a fit shape, but this should change during the next couple of month.

I started to go back to the gym again and once per week I had a swimming session. Gym was kind of hard during the first weeks, because the massive overweight was something that did not make things a lot easier. I made one mistake, that I returned to the treadmill too quick and I suffered multiple minor injuries and experienced a lot of pain in my knees and hips. But with a few kilograms less, these issues slowly disappeared.

One of the main things I tried to focus on, was to do sports because I wanted to not to simply lose weight. I wanted a large variety to chose from, for instance cycling, swimming, running, strength training and so on.

Running was on of these disciplines where two of my co-workers had a great influence on me. I agreed to join the company relay run in my hometown and took part in the running sessions my co-workers were offering. I have to add, that I never really ran in an outside environment, except a couple of runs during a vacation the year before, and that this was a totally new experience.

It started with a pretty basic distance of 2,5 km and then switched to longer runs. After two or three sessions a 8K was set on schedule and I was very nervous about it. For my co-workers it was some sort of a regenerative run, for me it was like going for marathon. In the week after we did a 10K. I was able to run both of these distances with minor walking interruptions.

I continued my sports programs over the next following weeks and I slowly started to improve myself. I rode my bike faster. I could run longer distances. I could swim much faster. And I finally got stronger and muscles started to grow again.

The summer this year was devastating. The heat was murderous but this is no excuse for anything. I pushed through my training plan and gained some decent results. By the end of August I ran the 7 km distance and an additional 5 km with faster pace three times per week and the issues with my feet and knees started to disappear, because I finally reached a weight that wasn’t that much of an issue.

Mid September was the time of the relay run and I made it to starting positions. I have to mention, that, in the beginning,I was only a runner in case a substitution is needed. I started in the mixed team, got the slowest time but I’ve finished my first public run. I was so excited about it, that I instantly registered for the 13K run at the next marathon event in my hometown.

In the meantime I’ve found a buddy to join me and a friend of mine for swimming. Our plan was and still is to teach ourselves crawling. Till this very day we were only swimming breast stroke and thought it was time for something different. I’m now able to swim crawling but it still consumes a lot of energy and my technique is far from optimal, but I’m still learning and improving.

For the 13K a friend of mine joined me, but she decided to go for half marathon distance. Until this time I usually ran around 10 to 12 km average per running session and I thought 21 km would be too much. The event was yet another very exciting one. It was very impressive to start in a crowd of 4,000 runners. I finished in an acceptable time and was looking for new challenges.

Half marathon and full marathon distance came up on the plan.

During the next weeks a increased the distance per week up to an average of 45 km. And I also started running half marathon distance. The first two runs were very hard and I had to do some walking breaks during the runs, but I finished my first 21Ks.

I did another public run by the beginning of December. I’ve decided to go for the 20K and on the morning were everyone was registering for the, I wondered why no one else, or only a handful of runners, took this distance. Well, I should know very soon. The run was more a cross run than a usual run on roads and gravel paths. Anyhow, I’ve managed to finish this run as well and it was the first 20K where no walking breaks were taken. I was so proud.

So, what’s up next? Well, five running events are already on my schedule. Three half marathons – one in Berlin, another one in the beautiful city of Prague and one in my hometown. But most importantly, I want to conquer the 42.195 kilometers, so I registered myself for the Berlin Marathon. This and the half marathon in Prague are the two events I’m the most excited about. Prague, because I simply want to run through this beautiful (I love Prague) and Berlin, because it’s one of the biggest Marathon events in the world and I want to be part of it.

As you can see, no giant new year’s resolutions, just plans for 2014. I think, the marathon training will be very intense – but the final experience will be worth all the effort and pain I’ll go through. I’m certain about it.

Run, Forest, run!

Last post was back in August, right before I went off for my vacation. A lot of things happened in the between time and I’ll try to give you a short report about the recent events.

The vacation itself was for one week only and I tried to used it to focus a lot on sports and improving certain disciplines – running, for instance. Back in the days of August I was still suffering from some minor injuries in my right foot, mainly fibre related, that were causing some trouble to correctly balance my right foot while running. As a result of this, I had some serious problem to normally walk after a running session, because I wasn’t able put my foot on the ground without any pain. Pain also occurs while resting the foot.

Whatever the case, I continued to run no matter what kind of injury I was suffering from and it became better and better. I ran around 45 km on my vacation and it seemed to have some sort of curing effect. I was very happy about these circumstances and I was now able to take the whole running thing to a new level.

I still have to admit, I’ve chosen running, because it was one of these kind of sports that I liked least and it would take a lot of willpower to get through this. And another aspect, I didn’t want to leave my running team for the relay run high and dry.

A couple of training sessions were left until the big day – the relay run. I finished them smoothly and without any interruptions or any other disturbances. The day of the relay run itself was very exciting, because I’ve never been to such an event as an athlete. Actually, I’ve never been to any sports event.

I couldn’t ever image that there will be so many runners in my hometown appearing on such an event. I was so excited that very day, that I even forgot where the meeting point for my team was, but we finally found each other and we were ready to run. I was the third of five runners in my mixed team. The whole starting area was very crowded and I did not realize how this whole this would work in the first place, but after a couple of minutes and after the first round was finished I’ve finally found out, how this relay run does work.

I’ve finished my lap in 11:59 min for a 2.5 km distance, which was more than two minutes faster than the time I was running at the very beginning of my training. I was happy with this result and it’s something I can build on. I’m not a Usain Bolt but on the other hand even no fatty with a short breath after 100 meters of running.

After this run I’ve tasted blood for these kind of events and I instantly registered for another in mid October, which I will tell you about in my next post.

Vacation is near! Vacation is near! Vacation is near!

My vacation is just around the corner and I’m so excited about it, you can’t even imagine. I’m not traveling far away, I’m just going to stay in the forest, in a bungalow, near a lake.

My plans for this week are mainly – relax, relax, relax and relax. And I’ve also got some photography “projects” that I want to try out. I’m planning to do some time lapse capturing with my good old Canon EOS 500D. Aside from this I want to spent my free time to get a little bit more into strobe photography, since I haven’t really found the time to dig deeper into this, since I’ve got my new Yongnuo flash lights.

I’m also sticking to my sports activities. I want to do some cross running through the forest, as well as some swimming in the three lakes nearby and finally do some trips with my new bicycle. Swimming’s going to be the most interesting one because I’ve got this sort of phobia in lakes that usually makes me swim like a pregnant duck and not like a technically oriented swimmer. I want to work on my technique and want to conquer my fears of the unknown depths of the lake.

I’m sure that there’s no monstrosity on the ground, but I’ve to teach this my blooming fantasy.

Sister Sinister

I usually don’t make picture posts, but this model from Sweden totally deserves a post. Model’s called Sister Sinister (obviously not her real name). I find her absolutely unique and just gorgeous. When you take a look at her official website or on deviantArt (links at the buttom of this post), you’ll also find that she’s very versatile.

Links: Sister Sinister’s Official Website

Sister Sinister on deviant Art

Can you hear me?

The last week was a little counter productive and I was forced to stop with sports, especially with swimming. The reason was an inflammation of the middle ear – and this on both sides. The right side was the painful one with almost no ability to hear anything and the left side just slightly def and felt a little thick. There were almost three days where I had to turn my TV set to volume setting “Screaming out loud like bloody hell” to hear at least the important parts of the dialogues spoken.

My doctor was off for vacation so I had to go to a doctor who did the substitution. I found it quite odd that I wasn’t given a sickness certificate – my right ear was obviously more than just shut by pus and I it was just painful – like an aching old tooth that rots in your mouth.


Right after that an odyssey began to find a doctor specialized in ENT. I visited five (!) different doctors until I finally found one who wasn’t off for vacation or was denying my visitation. I spent almost two hours with traveling around in my city just to stand in front of closed doors and almost another two hours of waiting in the waiting room to finally be able to consult the ENT doctor.

The whole consultation lasted no longer than five minutes, with the advise to get ear drops for my ear. No antibiotics were given. And I had to ask for a sickness certificate. Bloody hell – I was in sodding pain!

Anyhow and almost like I expected, the ear drops didn’t make any difference because my ear was stuffed with so much pus and grind that the drops couldn’t even reach its goal. I needed antibiotics and a shit load of painkillers because the last nights were almost without sleep. So after another day without any cure in sight I went off to the emergency house in our town and consulted another doctor and this was quite a good decision of mine.

First of all, the doctor took a look at both of my ears and found out that both of them are affected. Secondly, I finally got a prescription for antibiotics (hell yeah!). And last but not least I got my ear slightly and professionally cleaned and stuffed with a curing salve. This was all I actually needed. Within another day it felt like things were going worse but it was also this kind of pain that gets you to know, there’s something that’s going to change and things will get better.

Like I said, I wasn’t able to do any sports during these days and I honestly were not in the mood for any kind of sports. But I also found that just sitting around at home wasn’t a good choice as well, so I grabbed my new bicycle and went out for a ride. The first ride was around 29 km and the second one I made the day after was around 48 km long. There I’ve found that the bicycle training in gym was worth it. It was quite warm and hot these days and I sucked out both of my water bottles till the last drop of water, but it was fun and in the evening hours I got a few nice views on the landscape around my town.

This week I will continue with my sports schedule as usual, except swimming. I’ll pause for another week and will then continue with swimming as well. And I hope that my ears will not cause any new pain in the near future.

Sports variety

Summer boils up Europe and I long every cool down I could possibly get. The heat these days is absolutely terrible, but nonetheless the sports still continues.

I’ve reached a point where sports fits perfectly into my every day life and I do not feel too distracted or disturbed. Back in the days I found it pretty tiring when I had to get to the gym four or five times a week doing almost the same every time I’ve been there. Currently, that I’ve changed my sports schedule to multiple and different activities I find it way more exciting.

I don’t feel like I’ve to follow a specific routine and there’s enough change to stick with it for a very long time. There’s at least one time a week where I got out for a run. Another day is for swimming. Another is for a cardio program that drives me to my limits (and let’s me sweat like hell). Another day is strength training only. And so on and so forth.

There’s always something to be excited about and I still see improvements in all these different disciplines. Which is far more encouraging than just waiting for the next big bang in a progress chain that only includes one or two completely different activities. One week I gain a better technique or speed while swimming, the other week I find that running is getting a little easier.

I’m very happy with this schedule and all these different types of sports activities and I’m very sure that this could last for a long time. On the other hand, I finally started losing weight and my body no longer seems to be confused of what is happening to him and to spare and save energy for bad times. It’s a weight drop of almost 7-8 kg and tendencies is still going downwards.

Still – I’m focused on the relay run and not to just loose weight. Even after the relay run I’ll try to find milestones in different sports disciplines rather than focusing on my weight. It’s the overall body feel that counts much, much more than some stupid digits on the scale.


A long time ago, in a galaxy not far away. A young man decided to start taking photos. By that time the man thought that using a flashlight is too sophisticated and he wanted to stick with natural. That sounds logical, because natural light comes from mother nature – from the sun. And the sun is good – if you don’t stay in sunlight unprotected for too long.

Anyhow, this young man shot picture after picture. He was pretty horrible in the beginning and still is. But then there was this evil dark force that avoided taking good pictures. He needed more light. Artificial light. Strobe light. And strobe light it was…

…after this short introduction, I just wanted to announce, that I made my way into the undiscovered field of flash photography. Not undiscovered for so many others out there, but yet for me a very unknown territory.

As you might have noticed, I wasn’t always a big fan of using a flashlight with a camera, but after all these years in photography using natural light, I found, that it was time to try something new and tear down some walls. I tried to take pictures of several still lives lately but wasn’t satisfied with how it came out. I was using a macro flashlight with a ring set on top of the lens, but the results I received with this were even more unsatisfying.

Twelve strings to heaven

Anyhow, I finally ordered a bunch of of Yongnuo flashlights, two light stands and several additional things to complete the setup. And what can I say – the first shooting was complete mess. Yes, a complete overkill in setup and lack of knowledge. What followed afterwards wasn’t a period of face palming. I thought I was sort of prepared when I bought all these things, because I found that I read and watched enough on the internet to get enough view inside. But I was wrong.

I studied the manuals for multiple times, I watched more and more tutorials on the internet to gain more knowledge on flash photography. And I read more and more guides on how to do flash photography. Actually, all these things didn’t make me a professional flash photographer, but I received the lost pieces of the puzzle I needed to actually get a solid beginning. The basic knowledge to start and also know where the path is leading to.

Without a doubt, there’s (and always will be) a lot of things to learn about, but that’s the intriguing part about in photography. And it’s a lot of fun to learn all these things, because it combines two aspects in my life I’m a big of – art and technology. And to merge these two and get a fine creative output, that is what drives me.

Achilles’ curse

If you think things couldn’t get any worst things will start to get real bad. As mentioned in previous posts, I thought was suffering a tiny little injury that is located somewhere around my heel spur. Luckily it’s not an issue with my heel spur, it’s an issue with my Achilles’ tendon.

Details on this latest issue will I get to know by the beginning of next week. Hopefully it’s not such a big thing and I hope even more, that this will turn out good without having a surgery or something.

Secondly, my back – or my shoulder to be exact – thought to come back to my mind by reminding me of its existence with a terrible pain during a swim last weekend. A blocked muscle caused a limitation of my heads movement abilities and a lot of terrible, quite disturbing sufferings.

It wasn’t actually that kind of a big deal, but nonetheless I find these tiny issues and injuries pretty annoying. Especially with a “tight” training plan. I’m forcing myself to stick with this plan and every interruption is sooo not welcomed, you cannot imagine.

Anyhow, I still continue with sports and I still have the goal to do the relay run. I switched to sport types that are less demanding and it’s going quite well in that manner. I hope that the issues that I currently have with my back and my foot are gone in the near future, that I can  move back to my regular training plan.

Doing a running training is much more efficient when you run, if you know what I mean.