From Hamburg into the desert

112 Days to go till the 29th Edition Marathon des Sables – 04 to 14 April 2014. That’s less then a 100 training sessions. If I would count an avarage of 12.5 km for each training session thats about 1250 km, so training is not over yet. I feel that I am on track with my training, long runs are getting more and more easy and recovery takes less time. Running with a 6 kilos backpack is do able, and I will gradually start adding more weight over the coming weeks.
Now its time to start concentrating on getting my equipment organised. I still have to get some items, like a lighter poles, cooking gear etc. And its time to think about the food I am going to take with me. The great blog from Genis Pieterse is a great source for inspiration, his scientific approach to Kit and Nutrition is a great help. Next to the stuff I need to buy I also need to get my gaiters fixed to my shoes. My shoes of choice for the MDS will be the Inov-8 Roclite 312. So lot to do and lot to prepare. But I am loving every stage of it. And then in 112 day’s I will be on my way; From Hamburg into the desert.

While you’r here, please take some time to visit: where I created a fundraising page for the Childern-hospice Sternenbrücke. Thanks


While you’r here, please take some time to visit: where I created a fundraising page for the Childern-hospice Sternenbrücke. Sternenbrücke children`s hospice is a facility for children and teenagers with terminal or degenerative illness – a hospice for young patients for whom there is no cure and who have a limited period left to live. Sternenbrücke needs our help, and they would really appreciate a donation. I will, after the Marathon des Sables, donate one Euro for every km that I ran. Thanks for your help.


Fundraising: – Sternenbrücke:

The 41. RWW Herbstwaldlauf

bottropNot my best day, but I finished the 50km in around 5.43. I had stomach issues and wanted to bail out at km 25, but after a few pitstop’s things calmed down. Unfortunately tissues were all used so a Buff and a Hat were lost in action… The weather was great, it had rained a few hours before, so the track was pretty muddy. But that did not spoil the fun. The 41. RWW Herbstwaldlauf was again very good organised, great support, friendly volunteers and a nice track. The track has some slow slopes, and is mostly in the forest. All in all a great day in Bottrop at the Herbstwaldlauf.

Allgäüer Panorma Ultra Trail

Sunday morning 4.14 alarm goes of. Quick breakfast, meet up with Michael Mankus , and time to go the start of my first +60km ultra run. Planned is the Allgäüer Panorma Ultra Trail with 70km and around 3000 meters to climb. Some very steep downhill paths, single trails and two mountains to cross (1300 and 1800 meters) . My plan is to run when it is possible to run, otherwise walk, and to conserve energy for the last mountain climb starting around Km 55 in the race. My backpack is full food and water and I carry 2 sticks to help me with the steep parts. To carry the sticks was a good decision, I used them to balance my self downhill and to push going uphill.
After the start the group runners, around 250, quickly separated the fast ones from the slower ones. I was in the middle and I could see the first ones going uphill. The weather was great, not to warm, the air was still good. The first mountain was good to cover. The trails were not to small and covered with gravel and small stones. Good to run, down hill was harder, partly gravel but also grass with hidden holes and stones, but good to run. From the start I already had stomach problems, so I had difficulties to eat my powerbars, so I switched early in the race to gels and coke. The water stands carried fruits, watermelon and banana which was great, since I could not eat any bars for the whole race.

After the first mountain there were some more ups and downs of a few hundred meters, but mostly non trail. By now it was getting hotter, but it was still very good to run. I had no problems at all, and my mood was good; there was no doubt that I would finish the race. After km55 / 60 the hardest part of the race started: up the mountain, Sonnekopf, with 1800 meters. A very steep and technical for me difficult part. I just don’t have enough experience in mountain running yet. So I had to be carefully and be concentrated not to fall or to knick my ankle. I think those 4km were the hardest of the race and I was happy but exhausted the moment I reached the mountaintop. This 10 km part of the race costed me several hours. On the top view was great, like the whole race track, it was beautiful. I spend most of the time running alone, so I could really enjoy the experience being in nature and in the mountains. The first km going downhill were again technical hard, and for me not easy; I was tired and could not concentrate and go faster at the same time. Glad to see the 5 km sign, the last 5km basicly going down and some smaller hills, flat, streets going into town. Normally easy, but running at that time became hard, every few meters I had to change running with fast walking, my legs were hurting; but I did not mind I knew I would finish the race and that was all I needed. I also knew I would miss the 12:00 cutoff with only a few minutes (8), but 8 minutes on 5k wenn the legs are heavy is a lot to catch up.

I finished happy, got the finisher medal. All in all a great experience. Allgäüer Panorma Ultra Trail for me, the best race so far, great organisation, nice people, beautiful track. and my first Ultra over 60km. My first race in a mountain area and I never runned at a level of more than 1000 meters. The distance was not a problem, the mountains were hard to cross but not something that could stop me from finishing. The best thing; I enjoyed every bit of the race, my mood was good, even when things got harder then expected. Today my legs are stiff, some muscle pains, but not to bad. No blisters at all, all my nails are still there, showing that the lighter Inov-8 shoes are a good choice also for this type of race. I also see now that training pays off, one year ago I would not able to run a race like this. Looking forward to the next ultra’s (60km and 50km) in about 2 months, then training, training and finally April next year the Marathon des Sables.

What Yoda can teach us about training

Luke: All right, I’ll give it a try.
Yoda: No. Try not. Do… or do not. There is no try.

We train to learn what we can and cannot do and we train to learn to push our limits. By training, the body responds to exercise with a coordinated effort from many systems, including working muscles, the heart, lungs, blood vessels and others. If muscles are used regularly then their mass grows and they become stronger and training learns the body to be more effective with fuel resources. By regularly training the body learns to be more efficient and to be more effective. Training gives the body strength and experience to deal with physical stress. Training teaches us determination. Do it, or do not. There is no try.

Luke: I don’t, I don’t believe it.
Yoda: That is why you fail.

Train your feet and train your mind. Disciple and training learns us to be confident and to believe in our strenght. By training and pushing in training we learn our limits and we also learn that we are able to push our limits. Next to that we learn to believe in our strength, we develop a mindset that is able to cope with challenges. If we are not confident in our self, we are not able to keep our self motivated. Without motivation, and self believe we won’t be able to push our self when things get hard. If you don’t believe in yourself you will fail.

Yoda: A Jedi must have the deepest commitment, the most serious mind.

It takes discipline to go out 5 or 6 days a week, to run in any weather. It takes discipline and commitment to live healthy, eat good and go to bed early all in order to body to rest and to recover for the next training. But when you are committed and you can stick to the training throughout the many years, then will power is no longer a problem. You just do it. It’s raining? That doesn’t matter. I am tired? Who cares! Just do it. Mood is not important, What does it have to do with it? Nothing, You fight when the necessity arises no matter the mood! Mood’s a thing for cattle or making love or playing the music. It’s not for training. Discipline and commitment, is all it takes.

Yoda: Named must your fear be before banish it you can.
Yoda: Only different in your mind

Self-Reflection should be part of all training. We make mistakes both on and off the trail. Sometimes mistakes result from trying new things in training, from getting angry or frustrated during a race, or from losing focus on the task at hand. No matter the cause of the mistake, mistakes are a normal aspect of development and can be great learning experiences; learning from those mistakes is how we improve. In order to learn from the mistakes we need to develop the skill of self-reflection. Self-reflection is exactly what it sounds like: reflecting on yourself—your thoughts, words, and actions. Self-reflection is what drives your “current” self to grow into your “ideal” self—the runner you aspire to be. Simply making mistakes will not help you grow; you must be aware of the mistakes and your responses and plan your best responses.

Yoda: This one a long time have I watched. All his life has he looked away to the future, to the horizon. Never his mind on where he was. Hmm? What he was doing.

In order to train and to run efficient we need to bring your mindful and focussed attention to your running. By clearing our mind of all distracting thoughts we will be able to bring our self fully into this present moment and run with less energy consumption; The brain accounts for less than 2% of a person’s weight, it consumes 20% of the body’s energy. During the run sense your self, your breathing, breathing is a good way to orient for mindfulness. Enlist all your senses as you keep your attention focused on where you are and what you are doing. Only When you run mindfully you will be able to remove unwanted and also negative thoughts from your mind. Mindfully running helps us to direct the body energy more efficiently and learns us to preserve energy for our movement.

Yoda: Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.

The fear of failing can be immobilizing it can cause us to do nothing, and therefore resist moving forward. But when we allow fear to stop our forward progress in life, we’re likely to miss some great opportunities along the way. It’s important to realize that in everything we do, there’s always a chance that we’ll fail. Facing that chance, and embracing it, is not only courageous – it also gives us a fuller, more rewarding life. We can fight our fear with positive thinking. Positive thinking is an incredibly powerful way to build self-confidence and neutralize self-sabotage. Positive thinking doesn’t mean that you keep your head in the sand and ignore life’s less pleasant situations. Positive thinking just means that you approach the unpleasantness in a positive and and fearless way. No fear!

Yoda: May the force be with you.


What goes on in the mind of somebody or of a group that attacks an multi-cultured, multi-religious event focused on achievement, celebration and charity in this brutal and cowardly way ? What cause does justify such an inhumane act ? Why does somebody willfully wants to kill mothers, children, fathers, sisters, brothers to get his voice off anger heard around the globe ?

Like all meaningless and useless aggression in the world, there can’t be legit answer to that.

We can’t and should not accept this kind of violent acts, unfortunately we have to learn to deal with it. We can deal with them by showing the world around us that we can’t accept these brutal acts. We should learn and learn our children about compassion, tolerance, patience and the hardest one; forgiveness. Even in difficult moments and hard times like these, we should try to remember and hold on the mindset that peace starts within each one of us. Only when there is peace in ourself then there is no space for anger and hatred, the fuel for violence, anymore. Only then, and it is a dammed slow process, we are able to change the world into a better place. And if we are facing in the right direction, all we have to do is keep on walking, one step at a time.

My heart is saddened by the loss and the pain in all those innocent women, man and children, my thoughts are with them.