Monday, February 25, 2008

Portugal training camp - take 1

Landed back in Kassel after two weeks on the coast. Lots of running, lots of writing, some great walks on the beach and the cliffs, good cooking, plenty of practice on my German language skills, etc. Though we were a group of about twenty runners from all over Germany, my main training/cooking crew were the Kassel kids:

Julia, Ellen, Timm and Manuel.

The weeks went like this: every day I would wake up about 7:30 and make coffee in my gully little kitchenette...

holding a filter in my fingers over a cup.

Then I would walk down to the beach and write for bit.

Just before 10:00 (and again at 4:00), the runners would gather (we were staying in several different hotels, but we met at the old camp, where I was staying)...

Back in the 70s and 80s, all the great Portuguese distance runners used to stay here...

like 1984 Oly marathon champ Calos Lopes (shown here on the cross course)...

So even though there was a nice shiny new hotel across the street, I thought the best option for my first camp was to go old school.

Each of us would get our training assignment from our coach, divide into smaller groups, and get running.

Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays were workout days - the days you most look forward to, and most dread.

Tuesday was 1k or 1-mile repeats on the cross-country course...

That's 8x1k with three minutes rest, or 5x1mile with three minutes rest on a hilly, windy, sandy xc course. After awhile you start to see colors and get dizzy.

Thursdays were 400m repeats on the track...

That's 12x400m with a minute's rest between loops. The object is to hit all the repeats as close to the same speed as possible (and as fast as possible). The last couple feel like someone backed up the cement mixer and poured it into your legs. LACTATE!!!!!

Saturdays were long tempo runs - 12k one week and 15k the next. we used a pretty flat 4k mixed paved/dirt road that ran out to the neighboring town, so the 12k tempo run is back/out/back. The tough part of this run is the wind, which comes at you on the "out" leg - at about 30-35 mph. Try holding pace in that (or not over-running the "back" leg with the wind). The first week the wind got to me and I bonked. The second week my training partner bonked. Shit was brutal...

You know you're hurting when you think the seagulls are vultures circling above your draggin' ass...

Mid-day was spent soaking feet in the pool, drinking coffee, squeezing some recovery drinks...

and dipping in the ocean...

Evenings were spent cooking and watching soccer and German soap operas in the comfort of the new hotel...

Lively bunch, no?

So that's Take 1. Manuel was injured, and was very diligent about recording the trip in photo and video. Take 2 will have plenty of running video and more good pictures of sheep and goats than you can shake a stick at.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Magnetic Gedichte


über ärger
lass sonne
ewig weich
berühr mit
winter gegen

Fred was gone

On the beach

Where he got tan and buff

Then he came home.

And we had a little dinner party. Lamb with Mint and Honey Pesto, Bulgur and Feldsalat.

Sehr lecker

After dinner we wrote poems

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Algarve holler

Hump day here in the Algarve... two hard workouts to go and we're home on Sunday. I will hit you with photos and movies next week, but for now I wanted to holler and let everybody know a few things about paradise:
a) it's always sunny here;
b) the wind blows about 40mph constantly, but only during the day;
3) internet access in the cellar is slow and expensive;
4) it took me nine days to master coffee-maker-less coffee that tastes like coffee, but today... BINGO;
v) cooking every night with the Kasselers, I learn a bunch of new German words (these are 22 yr old guys) - for instance, "spitz" means horny;
vi) tub laundry is what's happening (isn't it 2008?).

Also wanted to shout out all my celebrating people out there... Early February is lousy with borndays:
the wife
Kat Schmalz
John Colburn
Bureen Ruffin
Matt Rohrer
and others I'm sure I'm too sun-addled to remember. If I had more than a hotplate here, I'd bake y'all a cake.

Tune in next week for the full scoop from Operation Wristwatch Tanline.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Life without you

Fred's in Portugal for 2 weeks with the running club from Kassel.
He gets up early to write for an hour on the beach, then spends his days doing 2 intensive training sessions with the group, auf Deutsch.
Last week was his first 100+ mile (160 kilometer) week.
They run through almond and orange groves, out in the countryside....but I'll save the details for him when he gets back on Sunday.

Here in Kassel, I'm hanging tight. But things aren't the same.

Coffee in the morning, for one.

The cats are stalking me constantly.

I can't figure out what to cook for dinner.

Worse than that, Grocery Store Paralysis has set in. I can't even figure out what to buy for dinner.

On the upside, it's been sunny for 5 days straight.

Ben threw a great party on my birthday till 5 in the morning.

And Brenda Dickson. She's the inspiration for a character I'm developing in the new piece. The video says it all:

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Word Scrabble Contest Results

Thanks for all your contributions.

And the winners are....

"Most Militaristic"
-Maj. Geoffrey Schmalz

"Most Succinct"
-Karl Wurst

"Best Collaboration"
-Coach and Kat Schmalz

"Best German Yogi"

"Most Dungeons and Dragons"
- Fred

the "One Letter Short of a Triple-Word-Score Prize" goes to our favorite real-life Scrabble champion, who also requested, please, an A or an E
-Georges Sulmers

and last but not least, to Kassel's very own Chris Andraka, computer code writer extrordinaire

"Best Creative Problem Solving"
chibouk chinook choking choring chorion chowing cooking cooping corking couping crowing curbing grownup hoboing hocking hooking hooping howking ingroup kingcup ochring ouching pibroch picking pinwork piroghi pocking poohing porcini porcino pouring pricing probing ricking rocking rooking rouping ruching rucking upgrown whoring wicking wickiup working bicorn bicron biking bionic biopic bohunk booing boring bowing bronco brooch brucin brunch burgoo chopin coking congii congou cooing coping coring coupon cowing cubing curing gonoph grinch grouch hiking hiring hoking honour hookup hoping incubi inpour irking ironic kouroi krooni niobic oohing orbing origin orphic phobic phonic piking pionic pirogi poking poncho poring puking ricing riping robing roping rowing rubigo uncork unhook unpick upgrow urchin wikiup wiping wiring wooing workup bingo birch boing bongo boric boron bough bourg bourn brick bring brink brock bronc brook brown brugh bruin bucko bunch bunco bunko burgh burin chink chino chirk chiro chirp choir chook chunk churn cogon cohog coign congo corgi cornu cough crook croon croup crown cuing curio gipon giron groin group grown guiro hoick honor houri ichor icing incog incur ionic iring iroko korun kroon krubi nohow ohing oping orcin orgic oribi orpin owing phono piing pinch pingo pinko pirog pooch poori porch porno pouch prick prink prion prong pubic punch purin rhino ricin robin rough ruing runic unhip unrig unrip upbow whoop winch wrick wring wrong wrung birk bock bong bonk book boon boor born brig brin brio broo brow buck buhr bung bunk burg burn burp chin chip chon chop chow chub chug cion coho coin coir coni conk cook coon coop cork corn coup crib crop crow curb curn gink girn giro gobo gook goon goop gorp gowk gown grin grip grow grub guck gunk hick hobo hock hong honk hook hoop horn hour howk huck huic hung hunk icon ikon inch inro iron king kino kirn kiwi knob knop know knur kobo koph nick nigh nock noir nook nori oink ouch ouph phon pick piki ping pink pion pirn pock poco pong pooh poon poor pork porn pour prig prog prow puck pugh pung punk puri rich rick ring rink rock rook roup ruck ruin rung unci unco upon uric whig whin whip whir whop wich wick wing wink wino wonk work worn big bin bio bog boo bop bow bro bug bun bur chi cob cog con coo cop cor cow cub cup cur ghi gib gin gip gnu gob goo gor gun hic hin hip hob hog hon hop how hub hug hun hup ich ick ink ion irk khi kin kip kir kob koi kop kor nib nip nob nog noh noo nor now nub obi oho ooh orb orc our own phi pic pig pin piu poh poi pow pro pub pug pun pur rho rib rig rin rip rob roc row rub rug run ugh upo urb urn who wig win wog wok won woo wop bi bo go hi ho in no nu oh on op or ow ph pi uh un up wo