Thursday, August 24, 2006

European trek update - Back in the USA tomorrow

I currently am writing this on a flight from Hannover, Germany to London Heathrow. I am pretty tired. Here is a run-down of my week since leaving PIT on Sunday.

Monday 8/21 – Arriving in London

I arrived at Heathrow around 8AM local time at Heathrow. I found my car service and headed up to the Stansted airport Hilton – 5 minutes from our office. Feeling the “body clock time” of 2AM, I napped, showered and hit the office from 1PM to 7PM. No running today, which was planned.

Tue 8/22 – 10 miler around Stansted Airport

I rose at 6:00 AM after a very long day on Monday. I needed to get in decent mileage, as I knew it would one of the few opportunities this week.

I headed out around 6:30 AM from the Hilton Stansted. I must say that this was one of the more dangerous runs I have had. Here’s the scenario: London Stansted airport is some 40 miles north of the city, so it’s quite rural. It’s all country, which is good, right? So I figured I could run along the roadside from the hotel with no issue.

Well, despite the country setting, these streets were windy, narrow and tree-lined – and brought many speeding drivers – not to mention that I couldn’t remember which side the cars would be flying at me. I didn’t like my first 5 miles due to this danger. My heartrate and pace was all over the place as I kept checking my back and my front for inattentive drivers. I ran to the village of Bishops Storford and back – about 41 minutes.

Out of fear, I almost didn’t go back out – until I pressed my self to try the other direction, which was much better – wide streets and side walks. I ran near the airport for another 40 or so minutes.

Total estimate: 10+ miles – 1:21

Tuesday evening brought a late flight to Geneva, Switzerland. I have been eating like crap. Either not enough, or the wrong things. We got to the hotel at 11:30 PM on Tues – and the restaurant was closed. What gives? So we went to the bar and had peanuts and beer, which left me quite unsatisfied. Luckily, I ate 1.5 Clif bars that I had in my case before sack time.

Wed 8/23-Thur 8/24 – No running in Geneva and Hannover - just work and travel

As I expected, getting in any mileage today or yesterday was just not feasible. I have been on planes, in airports, cars, taxis – or in meetings seemingly non-stop over the past 72 hours. Not to mention 6 hours or less of sleep each of the last 2 nights.

Wed – all day meeting at our Geneva-based supplier. The eve brought a two-leg flight from Geneva to Frankfurt to Hannover, Germany. Again, we arrive around 11:30PM to the airport hotel. And AGAIN, the restaurant was CLOSED. No dinner AGAIN. This time I’m a little pissed. So, AGAIN, it’s peanuts and beer for dinner – except, no clif bars to be found. Ugh. Late to bed around 1AM for a 7AM wake-up.

Thurs – Quick breakfast this time as our contact picked us up for the 1 hour drive to Holzminden, Germany our next supplier's headquarters.

Lesson for the day: Running is universal. I met one of our supplier’s sales reps today named Bjorn. I had heard about his remarkable cycling endeavors from my USA-based sales rep. Apparently, this dude bikes all over Germany for days on end and does ultra-biking events in the Alps. He is maybe 27, easily 6’3, ultra lean and super long legs. I see his massive Polar watch (2x the size of mine) and we start chatting.

He’s fairly inexperienced in the marathon but says he ran a 3:29 with very little training last year. He’s now gunning for a 2:59 on 70 MPW. I’ve never seen this guy run, but I’ve got a feeling he’s got a shot. He’ll be running in Geneva in Oct, for this goal – with a warm-up marathon 4 weeks before.

It’s about 8:15 London time as we circle toward Heathrow. I’ll stay at the airport tonight.

I’m wondering what my chances are that I will find a safe place to run tomorrow morning. I’ve got some time before my flight back to Chicago at 12:15 PM and I’d love to get in 7 miles. Worst case, perhaps I can find a treadmill if running around the airport area is unrealistic (which it may be). Keep in mind: The dedicated marathon runner finds a way to train.

The goal for the week is 40 miles, and right now I'm at ten! But 7 on Friday, 19 on Sat and a recovery 4 on Sunday will get me there.


Firefly's Running said...

OMG! No dinner - NO good! That must stink. Nice job on keeping up on most of the miles.

Running Rabbit said...

Look at you and that running! Awww...come on who doesn't like running while thier life could be at risk with oncoming cars??? Live a little!

Arcaner said...

Hopefully you found somewhere to run. I hope the travel restrictions didn't bother you too much!