20K and 50 days left

stats of the week: run 35 km, cycled 174 km, gym 1 h
stats of the previous week: run 35 km, cycled 113 km

50 days to London. I thought about setting up a training schedule and suddenly recognized that there is not much time left to build up long runs. At least I was able to finish a hilly 20K race in 1:54 hours, just 3 minutes behind my time 4 years ago. That makes a good start and gives some hope.

Plans are set up for the second leg of my German border bike tour starting next Wednesday. Accommodation is already booked for 10 days so I will have to finish all the daily stages. Longest one has 140 km.

2 months time for longer runs

stats of the week: run 18 km, cycled 37 km, hiked 7 km
stats of the previous week: run 32 km, hiked 19 km

Our final week in France was too hot to be out for longish cycle tours. Early runs and high level walks were the only options. Finally we decided to escape to Germany one week earlier than planned.

Just 2 months to go to London Marathon. Time to be ready for longer runs. I am up to 15 K now and have entered a 20 K race for next weekend. This is thought to make up for the cancelled Ventoux race but of course I am still disappointed to have missed this extraordinary event. The result list shows that a 80-year-old lady and two M80 men were able to finish the climb so I hope I can catch up on it next year or sometime.

My running schedule will be interrupted for 10 days of cycling. The second part of my German border tour is scheduled to start on August 17th and will lead me from Kiel to Chemnitz.

Ventoux still only by bike

 stats of the week: run 23 km, cycled 54 km, hiked 20 km

The never ending heat wave forces us to shorten our stay in France by one week. What also means that the Ventoux half marathon is cancelled for me. The decision is obviously sensible as the weather forecast shows a temperature of 38°c on raceday, even in the morning it will be close to 30°.  Alas, it is still disappointing. I will stick to hill training and look for a nice trail race at home.

At least we were happy to cycle up Mont Ventoux another time, my 12th bike ascent now, this time from Bedoin, what is regarded as the toughest of the three ways up. I agree.

Hill race within village

stats of the week: run 26 km, cycled 107 km, hiked 9 km
stats of the previous week:  run 13 km, cycled 159 km, hiked 4 km

I introduced hill runs to my training mainly to get prepared for the Mt Ventoux half marathon on 31st July. Unexpectedly this helped me a bit to get around the 10K race I took part at Lançon. The village turned out to be sort of a mountain place. We had to run a 3.3K lap three times, it was partly so steep that I had to walk 4 short stretches. Finally I was happy to clock 54:46 min, but to rank this I have to admit that the first 80-year-old was 2 seconds in front of me and the overall winner finished sub 30 min.

photo: the very fast winners at Lançon

London Marathon reminded me that there are just 12 weeks left to the big day. The elite fields are already annonced. The countdown goes on.

Proper race followed by collaps

stats of the week: run 27 km, hiked 5 km

Due to the knee problem I refrained from more cycling this week and was really happy to be able to take part in the hilly half marathon at the posh vine village Gigondas. The start fee of 21 Euros included a bottle of really good red vine. It was a tough race where I had to walk about a third of the distance like most of the participants. Many of the 600 meters of ascent were rather steep. 

I started gingerly at the end of the pack and happily finished after 2h 25 min with almost 200 of 565 finishers behind me. I felt strong right to the finish line and had a beer at first. Surprisingly my circulatery nearly collapsed half an hour later and I had to lay down and lift my legs. After a coke and some more sugar I quickly recovered and felt okay again. The heat of around 30 degrees celsius might have had an impact. I will have to concentrate on drinking and carbohydrates on hot days.

Too much power for the cartilage

stats of the week: run 16 km, cycled 107 km, hiked 32 km 

A result of the Gran Fondo was that I lost being keen on cycling. Now I want to switch to running as I entered 2 hilly half marathons and should kind of preparing a bit. Unfortunately I injured my left knee cap cartilage when cycling up to Suzette with too much power.

I am not sure if it is still a good idea to take part next Sunday at the Traversée des Dentelles, a tough half marathon with 600 meters of ascent. However, plans were to walk a good part of it anyway. We'll what is possible.

From smiling to a painful end

stats of the week: run 16 km, cycled 247 km, hiked 7 km

The day of the Gran Fondo Mont Ventoux was a day as piping hot as last year, perhaps even hotter. The maximum temperature in the valley was 37°c in the afternoon when we turned back to Vaison-la-Romaine. 

I had hoped to repeat my last year's performance or even improve it by a few minutes as last year's time was kind of disappointing with cramps close to the finish and very slow final 5 km. But this year turned out to become more disappointing. Early in the race I recognised that my legs felt less strong compared to the training the last 2 weeks. I limited the climbing sections by 150 Watt. That made me slow and finally did not help to stay strong. The final 5 km were as bad as last year, no cramps at least, but an additional break just 1 km from the top, and I was totally breathless after crossing the finish line. 

However, the result list doesn't look too bad. 36% of all finishers behind me. And 46% of my age group what sounds okay as my age is the oldest in the group of 60 to 69.

Photos: from smiling to the painful end