Archives For running

A New Year’s Resolution

New Year's ResolutionsAt the end of December and/or beginning of January of every year millions, perhaps billions of people set resolutions for themselves on how they want to improve their lives in the new year. This year will surely not be any different. Unfortunately, for many this meme from last year will surely reflect a reality. But it doesn’t have to be like that.

I’ve been using the fitness tracker app RunKeeper since February 2010. I use it to record almost every run. Last year the app developers challenged people to enter their New Year’s fitness resolutions. Now you can add a resolution whenever you like, but while you’re thinking about it, why not do it for the new year, right? The good thing about using the app is that you can easily see a record of what you’ve done in the past. So I looked and saw that in 2012 I ran some 2500KM. Seeing that I set my New Year’s Resolution to run 3000KM in 2013. On January 1, 2013, I then went out and ran 15KM  or 0.5% of my set goal. Yesterday (December 31, 2013) I ran my 3000th kilometre of the year. Yes, it took an entire calendar year, much to my chagrin, as there was a time in the year when I thought I’d over achieve my goal by 10%.

Crazy? No, calculated

Running 3000KM might sound crazy to some of you. But, I believe that most people can do it. I say that with the caveat that you need to know where you’re starting from. If you haven’t run more than 2km since school, it might be a bit difficult, but you can train up again. I trained from 0 to a marathon in 3.5 months which was a bit fast, but thanks to an open schedule possible. Yet, going from 0.5km to 10km only took a month, of regular running. Back to the 3000KM — Break it down. 3000KM/365 days = 8.22 KM/day. Now, most people probably won’t run every day, so let’s say they run 5 times a week. At 5 days of running a week, you’ll need to run 11.54km each day you go out. If that sounds like too many at one time, you can break it down into two runs a day on those days (morning & evening). But maybe you want to start with a lower goal, perhaps 2000, or 1500, or just 1000. Important is to set a goal. But that’s not enough.

A Roadmap

A goal is important, but a roadmap to that goal is equally if not more important. Apps like RunKeeper, Dacadoo, Strava, Map My Run, etc., provide you with a tool for tracking your progress. This act of tracking is like creating your own roadmap. Some of these apps even have built in training programs that will help you achieve certain goals. Setting milestones, knowing how much you need to do by when is important. In running there are no shortcuts! You need to move your legs to go somewhere, you can’t coast, though when you get into your groove, it will sometimes feel like you’re flying. With approximately 1320 steps per kilometre, you will need to take at least 3,960,000 steps.

Because life is hard to calculate, it’s important to mark milestones. For the 3000km I broke the year into quarters, meaning that I wanted to achieve 750km after 3 months (end of March), 1500 after 6 months (end of June), and 2250km after 9 months (end of September). Doing that meant that I kept up the running and didn’t let too many to-be-run-kilometres accumulate at the end of the year. This was good, as work really shook things up at the end of November and start of December, to a point where on December 21st I still had 225km to run. Determination is what got me through that. An average of 20km/day for 11 days.

Summary:

  1. Determine where you’re starting from
  2. Set goal
  3. Calculate what you need to do to get to your goal
  4. Set milestones
  5. Track what you’re doing

Application to other fields

While I’ve been writing about running, you can apply this above theorem to different goals.

Want to lose weight? Know where you’re starting (current weight, current calorie intake, current calorie usage) and then set where you want to go. How many fewer calories, how much more exercise. Record what you eat and your exercise.

Want to save money? Record where you’re spending money and see where you can save. High electricity bill? Try and lower it. You might also look at how you can earn more money on the side by doing something you really enjoy – baking, gardening, painting, helping people etc.

Want more time for things that really matter to you? Record where you spend your time, then see where you can extract more time for those things. Maybe it’s less TV, maybe it’s shortening a commute (change home or work) or going from driving to public transport so you can be productive while commuting.

As you can see, the five step approach is a great way of achieving your New Year’s Resolution. Think about how you can apply it to your own life. Below is how I did that to achieve the 3000km and what that looked like.

My Year Running

As I wrote above, I started on my New Year’s Resolution for 2013 on January 1st with a 15km run. The charts below show you distance per day, week, and month. On average I was running 10km/hour in general. It took 295 hours (12.3 full days) or 3.4% of 2013 to achieve the 3000km. It was the best 3.4% investment I’ve made, because running helps me perform better at work, and stay healthy, which means that other things function as I would like them to.

I ran 2800km of the 3000km with On’s Cloudrunners

My favourite races of the past year were the Eiger Ultra Trail 101 and the Matterhorn Ultraks

On a map, 3000km from my house is like running to Oulu, Finland or to Alanya, Turkey.

Resolution 2014

This year’s resolution is 3500km of running and 100 hours of rowing.  Prosit 2014!

Sad news

I woke up this morning, had breakfast and checked my Facebook page, which is the typical way I begin my day. I saw that my sister had written me a message. Where a week ago she congratulated me on my new personal best at the Zurich Marathon and encouraged me to qualify for the Boston Marathon, she just wrote that she was glad that I wasn’t there. I knew this could not be good, so I googled “Boston Marathon” and read about the events in Der Spiegel. It’s always refreshing to read about American events in European papers because the news is usually better portrayed with less emotion, more analysis, and greater distance. I was shocked.

I’m a runner

Running around 10 marathons a year, mostly in Switzerland, but I’ve also run in Berlin (one of the Big 5) and Ireland with a hope of one day running New York, Boston, or Chicago, I know the masses of people that gather for these events. Marathons are like mini Olympic events, they bring together people passionate for the sport of both sexes and from all ages, races, and nationalities. When I’m out there at an event, I always get the feeling that humans are good. We have something in common and we share it here. As we strive towards the finish we pass on encouragement to each other. Some people pace their friends and others to help them reach new personal bests. The achievement is wonderful.

We’ve seen this before

Violence BostonWhat happened in Boston yesterday, April 15, 2013, is similar to what happened at the Munich Olympics between September 5-6, 1972 and the numerous school shootings that have occurred in recent years. Violence and destruction have no place where humanity is at its best. Such attacks for which ever reason, be they a hate of taxation, a hate of a government, another political statement or the sheer wish to be heard, have never advanced the cause supported by the perpetrator. They do just the opposite, they strengthen the resolve of those affected that they will not be the victim of unprovoked violence. The Munich Olympics continued, school children go back to learning, and Boston as well as the other marathons will take place again.

The other victims

I write these words with a sad sorrow, because I know these events will also affect a sport that is very important to me personally. Yet, I believe that these challenges will be overcome. My heart goes out to those who have been personally afflicted by this event, the dead, the injured, their family and friends. However, I also think about the tragedies that occur around us on a daily basis. The victims of violence around the world, who are victims just because of where they live. People who live in perpetual fear because their state has no system of justice, or where two or more groups of people believe in their individual causes so much that they can justify the killing of citizens, who merely wish to live in a clean environment and with the freedom and ability to realize their own potential.

Violence is never an answer

Violence has never and will never be an answer for getting one’s message across. Sporting events bring out the best in humanity, they connect us with what we have in common — the human body and a determined will. Education, seeks to open the mind to new possibilities — those of a better common future. The greatest form of justice that can come from this event is the acknowledgement of the many injustices in the world and a resolution to better the lives of the masses. In the documentary film Ethos, actor and environmental activist Woody Harrelson said:

The common man or woman, whether they are Israeli or Palestinian, Protestant or Catholic or Iraqi or American, the common person just wants to live in peace and justice in a clean environment. When we look around the world and we see that that is not the case, we know the will of the majority is not being listened to, that’s the first sign that our system is broken.

Our challenge as a humanity is to address the injustices of the world and eliminate the misgiven reasons for the use of violence.

It’s Olympic season again and that means that people around the globe will be glued to their television sets watching their country’s best give it their all in their quest to bring home gold and honor. As you sit their staring at your screen, you’re sure to also be bombarded with commercials from the Games’ official sponsors: McDonalds, CocaCola, Nike and Co.

One commercial that you might come across is the latest from Nike. The running shoe company has been on a tour de force lately with out-of-the-box commercials with their #makeitcount campaign and now their “Find Your Greatness” series. The commercial that has caught my attention and no doubt that of many others is entitled “The Jogger”. It features an overweight 12-year-old boy named Nathan running towards the camera, while we are told that greatness is for anyone to have. now I don’t want to say this is a great commercial, or that it’s terrible, but it should have us think.

For me seeing this commercial is very bitter-sweet. Looking at this boy running, I see myself when I was younger. I was the fat kid, not chubby, but fat. At the age of 13 I was 250 pounds and size XL/XXL. Every time I see an overweight child my heart goes out to them. More often than not their weight is the result of irresponsible parenting, corporate malfeasance, and government failure and they are not happy. They may experience happy moments, but these children are not happy.

Poor Parenting:

Until children are 16-years-old or older they still need the guidance of their parents. As a teacher, I feel 100% confident saying that children under the age of 14 are anything but fully rational beings and require supervision. They cannot be entrusted to make important decisions regarding their wellbeing on their own. Parents that allow their children to pick their meals on their own are being simply irresponsible. When parents see their children gaining weight beyond what looks healthy they need to intervene quickly and investigate the reasons.

Weight gain and loss is in general a very simple mathematical principle. Eat more calories than you burn and you gain weight; eat less calories than you burn and lose weight. I say in general, because there are medical problems that can hinder this. As a parent then, you need to prepare your children fresh, quality food and ensure that their calorie intake matches their calorie usage. In the case of noticeable weight gain either the child needs to be more active or decrease their calorie intake.

Corporate Malfeasance:

One of the ironic things regarding the Olympics is that McDonalds and CocaCola are official sponsors. A grown adult generally needs 2000 calories a day, children need less, teenagers from age 14 can usually eat a little more. The average Big Mac Meal has 1350 calories, or more than half of one’s daily calorie allowance.

Food and chemical companies have created food that is packed with calories and leave people unsatiated. High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) can be found in almost all processed foods available in North America. HFCS has been linked to medical problems including obesity. However, in an attempt by big corporations to make more profits playing on people’s fears of fat, low-fat usually means high HFCS and other chemicals.

For further reading and watching on this topic, read: The Omnivore’s Dilemma, watch Food Inc., and King Corn. The below TED talk by Jamie Oliver is also very good.

Big corporations, like big banks, are not capable of policing themselves and unfortunately due to shareholder profits they due not have society and consumers as their first priority. Independent government regulation, free of all influence by the industry is needed here more than ever.

Government Failure:

As I’ve just stated, governments have failed to implement sufficient regulations in the food industry and are allowing corporations to poison and kill people. The unfortunate results are high costs for national healthcare programs and early death.

However, in a constant attempt for governments, in North America especially, to cut the cost of education sports programs have been cut and children are not getting the exercise they need to burn the calories they are being fed at home and in schools. Governments on all levels need to reverse this trend. A healthy and educated population are keys to the economic wellbeing of a nation.

The Result:

The result of all of these failures and schemes is that obesity is a major problem in the western world, while billions starve each day in the developing world. Equally bad is the fact that because of poorly engineered foods hundreds of thousands of people are starving to death lacking the correct amounts of necessary vitamins, minerals and other nutrients their bodies need, while also suffering from obesity. The chart below shows the daily calorie intake per capita in many countries, North America (Canada and USA) are the clearest offenders of going well beyond what is considered healthy.

via chartsbin.com

Returning to Nathan and Nike, I would like to end on this note. Greatness is indeed not genetic, nor inherent in one’s nature, it is the result of vision, risk, and hard work. I hope for Nathan’s sake he is able to achieve his goals. Running is a great start, I know it’s one of the activities that has most shaped my life and there is no sport I love more. I’ll close with this: We live in a sad world in which we challenge an ever growing number of children not with expanding fields of knowledge or set new records in human achievement, but to correct the mistakes of those, who should have been taking care of them.

Neuenschwander with pacers

The weather conditions, despite the forecast, in the early morning hours of April 23, 2012 looked promising. Perhaps the sun would shine, or at least the rain hold off. It was marathon day in Zurich. I was hoping for a new personal best and so was the Maja Neuenschwander from Bern. Only Neuenschwander’s time would give her more than just the feeling of elation one gets when one beats a personal best, it would give her a ticket to represent Switzerland at the 2012 London Olympics this summer.

Hardly five minutes after the starting shot was fired the skies opened and started dumping their contents on the runners from some 40 nations. This was no summer rain, but rather a bitter early spring rain. The participants pushed on hoping that a quick dump would get it over and done with early in the race.

About 1.5 hours in to the race the sun decided to show up, but the wind picked up and everyone running back towards Zurich from Meilen am Zürichsee faced a strong headwind.

Despite these conditions Neuenschwander persevered and achieved a new personal best of 2:31:56. That was 1:04 minutes faster than the qualifying time set by Swiss Olympic. Jubilation for Neuenschwander, she’d be going to the Olympics, or so she thought.

This past week allegations were made that Neuenschwander cheated by having pace runners in the Team-Run event running the distances: 9.7, 10.8, 4.0 und 17.7 kilometers. According to official IAAF rules athletes are not allowed to have pacers running different distances. These rules are clear.

Swiss papers like the boulevard paper Blick called out “Bschiss beim Züri-Marathon!” and then went on to defend Neuenschwander. Even the NZZ’s reporting on the event suggests that Neuenschwander should be allowed to go to the Olympics. And a poll of Blick readers suggests that some 41.1% of people believe that Neuenschwander should represent Switzerland in London.

I’m a runner and while I have great sympathy for anyone who runs long distances at at that  speed in those conditions, I believe that Neuenschwander should not be sent to London. Her victory in Zurich is tarnished and even if it is accepted, should she do well in London, it will give the press material for calling her eligibility into question.

Yes, she ran the 42.195 km on her own, but pacers help one run more controlled and calculated without having to totally listen to one’s own body. It is an advantage and having your pacers run different distances is even more of an advantage as there can be more calculations made.

This event is a great analogy though for the current Swiss political and financial attitude. We read the rules to our advantage and find loopholes that help us and when we’re accused of not following the spirit of the rules or to not do that anymore, we throw a temper-tantrum and say that we are being unfairly persecuted by other countries.

Even if our banks officially say that they do not accept untaxed money from customers, the fact that they didn’t verify that means that they were working in a grey zone. The same applies to recent laws that limit people’s freedoms and other initiatives. While they are decided by the people in a democracy, Switzerland ergo the people did sign onto international treaties guaranteeing all people exactly those rights that we are now trying to revoke (reference to Minaret initiative).

What Neuenschwander and Switzerland need to understand is that they are not being unfairly punished. There are rules and those rules need to be respected. The spirit of any rule always favours the higher moral ground. Seeking out loopholes is the opposite of that. I didn’t achieve a new personal best on that day, but there are other runs. I think Neuenschwander is a talented runner and sincerely hope that she keeps trying for the Olympics, if not 2012 then 2016, but without pacers.

Since I started running in 2008 there have been a number of things that I’ve noticed. I’m fitter, feel better, and think clearer. The other thing that I’ve noticed is that I buy a lot of running shoes. I’m not addicted to shoes by any means, but I run approximately 60 kilometers a week in training and then add the marathons and running events to that and you see the numbers add up. In my basement storage space I have a closet full of worn out shoes. It is generally the uppers that wear out the fastest I find, though a loss of traction is also an issue.

Last year alone I purchased 4 pairs of running shoes and over 2000 km of running including three city marathons and four mountain marathons completely destroyed the shoes. The question always remains though, what can be done with the shoes?

Believing that I would one day come up with a brilliant scheme to process and recycle my shoes, I have not been throwing them in the garbage but saving them. The other day I was speaking with a shoe manufacturer and asking them about shoe recycling and I was told that it is currently too difficult. But I decided to look around on the Internet again for a program that recycles shoes.

I found that Nike has such a program in place. They turn shoes into three different sport surfaces:

The fabric (uppers) –> basketball court underlay

The foam (midsole) –> tennis courts

The rubber (outsole) –> running tracks

Nike Shoe Recycling

What to do with your old running shoes

This program does not exist in Switzerland, but it does in Germany and there is even a Nike shoe recycling plant in Belgium.

Here is my idea:

On April 22, 2012 the Zurich Marathon will take place for the tenth time. Nike is one of the official sponsors. Nike should set up a giant shoe collection for recycling at this year’s marathon. With over 6,000 runners and many more spectators this could be a huge drive to collect shoes. Furthermore, the city of Zurich or other developers could already work with Nike to possibly purchase some of the flooring components that will be made with the shoes.

On their site, Nike says that they will recycle running shoes from every brand, but stress that they can only recycle running shoes. Furthermore, the shoes cannot have any metal components like spikes (so no cleats).

Beside the shoe drive for broken and worn-out running shoes, it would also be great to have a shoe donation. It has happened to me that I’ve tried on a new pair of shoes in the shop, they felt great, I bought them, but when I actually went to use them I didn’t like the way they felt. These shoes could be donated to people in other countries, who would benefit from having protection for their feet.

Any major event that brings thousands of people together should by its vary nature also seek to increase social responsibility and address a social need. Shoe recycling addresses the environment and shoe donations raise poverty awareness.

Shoe facts:

Every year the Swiss pay more than 50 million francs for running shoes.* In Germany that number is over 165 million euros**. That is a lot of running shoes. In Switzerland that’s more than 200,000 pairs of shoes.

According to a report in National Geographic, it takes approximately 80 million liters of water to produce a million francs worth of shoes. Or 80 liters for every franc of shoe value. The environmental impact of shoe production must not be underestimated.

16000 liters of water for a pair of shoes

*This number was 48 million in 2000, so it must surely be much higher now.

**This number is from 2008, and is probably also higher now.

Mark Twain

Mark Twain

Running clears my head and is one of the activities during which many ideas come to mind. As I was running today I was thinking about Mark Twain and social media.

Mark Twain once wrote that if you want to drive a young man insane, have him keep a journal for a year. When I was 21 I tried and I faltered, but before that I was going mad trying to come up with things to write about. A journal is a private thing and perhaps this was my issue, perhaps it’s a man thing or perhaps even human, but knowing that no one should really be reading your journal while you live, you try to write meaningful things that might say something positive to your children or grandchildren when you’re no longer around. Of course this doesn’t have to be the case, but so it was with me and I think many others.

Then blogs and Facebook came along and we’ve all started keeping a journal. Many of us make entries more than once a day. From how we’re feeling, to what we’re reading, to well thought out observations and arguments. But it’s all there and being stored somewhere. Why are we writing more than ever before? Surely we do not possess a broader vocabulary than our parents, nor are we more refined masters of grammar. Do we have more opinions and observations than past generations? There may be some arguments for this, but I have another hypothesis.

We write more today than ever before because we have an audience. Writing in your journal for future generations is completely different from writing for a potential public of a billion people. Now there may be a great many other observations, such as the idea that we write things that we used to tell people when we used to speak to our friends and family in person and not just digitally. I, however, believe that it all comes back to the Aristotelean idea of humans being social creatures. The internet is just society when we want it, but it is social. That said, I think humans are performers. Much of what we do, we do for others, especially when there is recognition.

So there we have it, that’s what I was thinking about while running today. I think that this post proves at least for myself, that my theory has some validity.

Like the day before and the day before that it was raining, just more fiercely. It rained in such a manner that everything got wet, even the areas, the nooks and crannies that would normally be dry were wet. To use the descriptions of Forrest Gump it was the kind of rain that came straight down, from the side and right up from underneath you.

I looked outside and had feared that it was exactly in such conditions that I would need to run. Now the benefit of rain is that it’s not too cold. But in winter it’s not too warm either. Rain at +2º is colder than a snow at -2º. I knew that I needed to run though, even if it involved me running in conditions that would lead to pneumonia and well you know… (A little melodramatic? Well I’m the narrator and am allowed to do such things so pipe down). Obviously I did not want it to rain so I prayed and wished and hoped for it to clear up. And like in Vancouver, at around 4.30 pm the horizon opened up for a beautiful sunset. Though there were still plenty of clouds in the sky I hoped that this pause in the rain would last until the marathon was complete.

I made my way to Schlieren, an industrial suburb of Zurich, at quarter past eight to get there at around 9. Arriving at the train station I followed the markers for about a kilometer to the start point to collect my number. Realizing that I had no cash on me, should I want to buy a coffee, water, or beer I needed to find a bank machine. As is so typical in Switzerland there is never a bank machine nearby, so I had to walk back to the train station. The clouds were starting to break up and the light from a full moon was starting to be cast across the city. At the bank machine I was asked for directions by three friendly Germans, also wanting to run the marathon. Like a boy scout I became led the way back to the sport hall and start point. There we talked about different marathons and running events. Marc from Kaiserslauten and I decided to run together.

Midnight came quickly and not quick enough, as most things where there is great anticipation. 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1-Happy New Year, Frohes Neues! We quickly shook hands and were off under a sky alight with fireworks. A truly marvelous way to start the New Year and a run. Had there been music the mood would have changed completely – Handel’s “La Réjouissance” would have added a certain nobility to the entire thing, whereas “Die Walkure” by Wagner would have made the entire run more militaristic like an an attack and I’m sure elbows would have been flailing, so it’s probably best that that piece wasn’t played.

At first, the some two hundred runners were all bunched up and there were toes touching heels and shoulders knocking. The course was on a narrow walking path the width of a small car. Everyone was racing to break free. Every chance I got I was making my forward and Marc was right behind me. We had out headlamps on and were not only dodging runners but the puddles and small lakes on the path. The first drink station came quickly, around 3K into the race. It wasn’t time yet, so we just ran past. Along the Limmatt under bridges where the light played with one’s perception of the hight and mostly everyone ducked going underneath, though there was a good three meters of clearing space. Not knowing the way and it being dark I was running with my head bowed low watching the path for wet patches and roots that cold lead to a stumble.

Then came the first of two bridges to cross – a narrow wooden suspension bridge for pedestrians. On it a glowing marker 35K. We would be running past three more times before the night was done. At the end of the bridge the uneven ground welcomed us. Slanted and really only wide enough for one runner, the path was slippery and I thought I was going to slip into the river. We were running a good pace of around 4’15” per kilometer. We discussed slowing the pace, but decided to wait till we got a little further. After the next drink station that we also passed we slowed the pace ever so slightly.

Reaching the next footbridge we crossed over and realized three more rounds. We had our stride and it was going well. Then the fog started to roll in. The headlamps were like throwing your high beams on in the fog – they actually made it harder to see, so we turned them off and let our naked eyes guide us. Every so often a photographer would take a picture with a flash so strong that you were temporarily blinded. Keep going, keep going is all that was running through my mind. By the second round the few spectators that there were had mostly left and we were running alone. Across the water a few little lights moving in file – the half and quarter marathoners. Then the first drink station again and a cup of warm water. I drank while running, but knew that I would need to stop soon to pee. Over the suspension bridge. “Two more rounds” was all that I was thinking. Then Marc told me his hips were hurting. Not good – running with pain is a terrible thing, especially when you know you’re not halfway.

Side-by-side we ran through the other drink station and grabbed a cup of ISO and slowed the pace a little more. The plan was to stay at that pace until the last seven kilometers where we could give it one last push. Past the illuminated castle – over the bridge – photographer attack and back into a wide open space. Along the uneven path with seemingly invisible puddles. My feet were soaked. Then over the bridge again and I had to stop to pee. Marc went on and as I was rejoining the race I lost my glove. Going faster than before I was able to catch up with Marc. The he told me that his hips were too sore to finish that he would complete the half marathon. I wished him all the best and went on to round three.

The moon shone bright and through the fog for about thirty minutes. Then the fog became so thick that you could hardly see yours hands in front of you if you raised them. Between my sweat and fog my jacket gained substantially in weight and I thought I would open it for a bit. This was not a good ideas as I started to freeze right away – zipper up. I caught up to a guy and we ran together for a bit. “We only need to look at this stuff one more time before it’s over” I told him. After the suspension bridge he picked it up a notch and I actually stopped running to drink my ISO. Then away I was. By the third round there were no spectators anymore. Just me on a path in the dark. Determined to finish I kept going. Over the other bridge and past the time check – still in the race, though I thought I had been out there for more than four hours. Last lap and my shoulders were killing me. My feet and legs were fine, but my shoulders were slowing me down. Lamp into my pocket to take weight off my head. But the heavy jacket was of no help.

As I pasted the first drink station for the last time I thanked them for their help and wished them all the best for the new year. On the wooden suspension bridge I saw the 35K marker for the last time and knew I had done 35K – 7.195 to go. That is a quick run for me so I just pictured going on a normal easy morning run. This last round was brutal though. Even more alone than on the third, I questioned the sanity of the entire thing. But it was clear – I had to do it and it was an amazing way to start 2010. To overcome a challenge of endurance and persistence within the first four and a bit hours of the year is a great feeling. The last lap was painful, and fatigue was starting to kick in. My body was asking me why we needed to run a marathon in the winter in the middle of the night. It was sore, but took comfort in the knowledge that we were pushing the limits and showing what kind of amazing things it could do. This marathon though has a stoic quality to it. It’s dark, there are pretty much no people cheering, you can hardly see anything, and after the first round it repeats. Overcoming this mental challenge is what makes this marathon I think.

And then there it was the sport hall with the finish line. Expecting to see a time of four hours and twenty something minutes, I was very happy to see four hours and three minutes. Afterwards, I searched out Marc and his girlfriend, but they had already left. I did talk briefly with two guys from Bavaria and then went and bought a well deserved beer. A Feldschlösschen never tasted so good. Then I changed and met up with another guy from Bavaria and we headed to the train station. Waited for 45 minutes for the train and then off to Zurich main station where we parted ways and I hoped on the next train to Winterthur. At 6:50 I walked in the door and poured a bath. Then it was bed time – finally. Happy New Year!