Jani Kotakoski's blog -- RSS Feed sports\n"http://kotakoski.fi/" Thoughts on science, sports and everything else Running this year http://kotakoski.fi/blog.php?blogpost=20150920-RunningIn2015 http://kotakoski.fi/blog.php?blogpost=20150920-RunningIn2015 Sunday, 20th September, 2015 <?php $id = (string) "20150920-RunningIn2015"; ?> <h1>Running this year</h1> <?php blogref($id); ?> <div class="txt"> <p> <a href="blog.php?blogpost=20150102-Sub3hMarathon">Some time ago</a> (in January, to be precise), I had great hopes for getting myself into shape for the Vienna City Marathon in April and to make a new PR somewhere below the magical three-hour-limit. Turns out it didn't quite work out that well. In any case, I did make my new personal best at <a href="http://www.vienna-marathon.com/?marathon=true&nummer=9376&runner=true&wantResult=2015">3:13:42</a> (ie, 4min 35s per kilometer). As you can see from the results-page, the university had registered me as an Austrian female for the race. In the W-35 category I finished 10th, which I personally think is quite good ;) </p><p> A couple months after the VCM the season's greatest challenge took place in Saltzburg: 100km race on the hills around the city. The weather was much worse than anybody could have expected with heavy rain and temperatures down below 10°C (in June in Austria -- incredible). Despite the additional challenges, I finished the race in <a href="http://www.maxfunsports.com/result/competition?ResultSearch[race_number]=&ResultSearch[first_name]=&ResultSearch[last_name]=Kotakoski&ResultSearch[year]=&ResultSearch[nation]=&ResultSearch[clubTeam]=&ResultSearch[category]=&id=866">12:39:34</a>, which is just 40min more than I had anticipated I could do in normal weather conditions. </p> <h2>Races until now</h2> <p><ul> <li>13.5.2006 &mdash; Helsinki City Run (half marathon): 1:29:16</li> <li>19.8.2006 &mdash; Helsinki City Marathon: 3:24:48 (1/2 1:37:04)</li> <li>15.9.2012 &mdash; Wachau Marathon: 3:28:27 (1/2 1:40:26)</li> <li>14.4.2013 &mdash; Vienna City Marathon: 3:18:14 (1/2 1:34:21)</li> <li>13.4.2014 &mdash; Vienna City Marathon (1/2): inofficial</li> <li>12.4.2015 &mdash; Vienna City Marathon: 3:13:42 (1/2 1:29:13)</li> <li>20.6.2015 &mdash; Mozart100 Ultra Marathon (100km): 12:39:34</li> </div> <hr/> <?php blogcomment($id); ?> Sub-3h Marathon http://kotakoski.fi/blog.php?blogpost=20150102-Sub3hMarathon http://kotakoski.fi/blog.php?blogpost=20150102-Sub3hMarathon Friday, 02nd January, 2015 <?php $id = (string) "20150102-Sub3hMarathon"; ?> <h1>Sub-3h Marathon</h1> <?php blogref($id); ?> <div class="txt"> <p> That's it. That is my goal for this year's <a href="http://www.vienna-marathon.com/">Vienna City Marathon</a>. My personal best is a hair under 3:15 until now, and it will be two years old when the next VCM starts, so at least I had enough preparation time ;) </p><p> There is 14 weeks to go for the marathon now, and I need to start seriously planning my training... If I manage to pull that off (the planning and training, that is), that will be the first time in my life. In any case, I am relatively serious about this goal. If I was able to pull off sub-3:15 without good planning and proper training, doing things right should allow me to drop the last 15 minutes. </p> </div> <hr/> <?php blogcomment($id); ?> Mozart100 in Anticipation http://kotakoski.fi/blog.php?blogpost=20141123-Mozart100inAnticipation http://kotakoski.fi/blog.php?blogpost=20141123-Mozart100inAnticipation Sunday, 23rd November, 2014 <?php $id = (string) "20141123-Mozart100inAnticipation"; ?> <h1>Mozart100 in Anticipation</h1> <?php blogref($id); ?> <div class="txt"> <p> It turns out I am actually planning to do this. To run a 100 km race, that is. Which is very fitting, because I haven't done a marathon in 2014 (so I need to run at least twice that much in races next year). </p><p> I just signed up for the <a href="http://www.mozart100.com/">Mozart100</a> race to be held on 20.6.2015 in Salzburg. What this means is that I need to make a training plan and deside on new shoes to get, and to run, run and run. I already hear the Wienerwald calling :) </p> </div> <hr/> <?php blogcomment($id); ?> R-R-Running with R(Plotting GPS tracks and heart rate data) http://kotakoski.fi/blog.php?blogpost=20140929-RRRunningWithR http://kotakoski.fi/blog.php?blogpost=20140929-RRRunningWithR Monday, 29th September, 2014 <?php $id = (string) "20140929-RRRunningWithR"; ?> <h1>R-R-Running with R<br/>(Plotting GPS tracks and heart rate data)</h1> <?php blogref($id); ?> <div class="txt"> <p> I have recently been toying around with the idea to get myself a bit better versed in modern tools used in data analysis and so-called big data. One of the often mentioned tools on this arena is <b>R</b>, the <a href="http://www.r-project.org/">free software environment for statistical computing and graphics</a>. Since I like to practice with new programming languages, I have already for a couple of months been looking for a good excuse to try R in a real application. </p> <p> Until recently, I have been logging all my running activities on online services, which have provided a nice overview on each of the runs individually and also a convenient way for browsing through old entries. However, this has always felt a bit silly&mdash;while having the data online is good for sharing on social media, for anything that interests just myself it is crazy. Nevertheless, unaware of any good offline tools for this purpose, I was stuck with the online solutions. As you can guess, this is where R came to the resque. I can't remember how it happened, but this Sunday I landed on <b>Mollie Taylor</b>'s blog, where she discussed <a href="http://blog.mollietaylor.com/2012/12/mapping-gps-tracks-in-r.html">Mapping GPS Tracks in R</a>. Now I had the long-awaited excuse for getting my hands dirty with R. </p> <h2>Obtaining data from the GPS watch</h2> <p> I already had the GPS and heart rate data from my <em>Garmin Forerunner 405</em> transferred to the harddrive with <b>Braiden Kindt</b>'s <a href="https://github.com/braiden/python-ant-downloader">python-ant-downloader</a>, and Mollie pointed out in her blog that the tcx files I had could be converted into csv using <a href="http://www.gpsbabel.org/">GPSBabel</a>. What I still needed to figure out myself was how to use <a href="http://www.openstreetmap.org/">OpenStreetMap</a> instead of data from one specific colossal corporation, how to include several plots within one figure and how to populate those plots with the data I wanted. </p> <h2>Calculating accurate distance from GPS data</h2> <p> The trickiest part turned out to be calculating accurate distances from the GPS coordinates. For reasons I can't fully comprehend, it turns out that almost everybody assumes that the Earth is a perfect ball when calculating the distance. This is obviously not true, and since I often run on different continents, I wanted to get this one nailed down. Of course, I wasn't the first one looking for a solution to this problem. The most reasonable implementation for R, by <b>Mario Pineda-Krch</b>, can be found on <a href="http://www.r-bloggers.com/great-circle-distance-calculations-in-r/">r-bloggers.com</a>. It is based on JavaScript code by <b>Chriss Veness</b> available at <a href="http://www.movable-type.co.uk/scripts/latlong-vincenty.html">movable-type.co.uk</a> (attribution license). (The <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vincenty%27s_formulae">theory behind the method</a> is by <b>Thaddeus Vincenty</b>). Also this formula, however, disregards altitude variations, which can be significant if you like to run on hilly areas like I do. So, I needed to add that part myself. </p> <h2>Plotting the pace</h2> <p> Another point to consider was that the point-by-point pace information was much too noisy for being directly plotted from the data. I ended up solving this by calculating the average pace for each 100 m trek and plotting those instead of each individual point. The result seems to be reasonably good in terms of comparison with empirical analysis (pace variations while running). </p> <h2>End result</h2> <p> The end result from my Sunday coding is now R code, which produces results such as this one: </p> <p> <center> <img class="imgblog" src="pics/example.svg" alt="A 8.5 km run in New York City in 2014"/> <br/> <b>A 8.5 km run in New York City in 2014</b> </center> </p> <h2>Code is available on Github</h2> <p> The <tt>runmap</tt> code itself is available on <a href="https://github.com/jkkoski/runmap">github</a> under <a href="https://github.com/jkkoski/runmap/blob/master/LICENSE.txt">the MIT license</a>. I hope it will be useful also for others. </p> </div> <hr/> <?php blogcomment($id); ?> Barefoot(ish) running http://kotakoski.fi/blog.php?blogpost=20130425-BarefootishRunning http://kotakoski.fi/blog.php?blogpost=20130425-BarefootishRunning Thursday, 25th April, 2013 <?php $id = (string) "20130425-BarefootishRunning"; ?> <h1>Barefoot(ish) running</h1> <?php blogref($id); ?> <div class="txt"> <p> Since Fall 2012, I have been collecting minimalistic running shoes in the hope of starting to evolve a more naturalistic running style. The first pair I bought was the EVO I from <a href="http://www.vivobarefoot.com/">Vivobarefoot</a> (on the left in the image below), which I initially used at gym and for walking. Unfortunately, they seem to be a bad match for my feet: the toebox feels too large and the edge of the shoe above the heel irritates my skin. The next pair was the <a href="http://www.vibramfivefingers.com/products/Five-Fingers-BikilaLS-Mens.htm">Vibram Fivefingers Bikila LS</a> (on the right), which I bought in Finland a couple of months ago. The latest addition is the <a href="http://www.merrell.com/US/en-US/Product.mvc.aspx/30843M/0/Mens/Barefoot-Run-Vapor-Glove">Merrell Vapor Glove</a> (I have the green version; in the middle). Unfortunately, I didn't dare to really run in any of these before the <a href="http://kotakoski.fi/blog.php?blogpost=20130415-VCM2013">Vienna City Marathon</a> was done, except for a couple of really short runs (none of them were longer than 3km). I also recently ordered <a href="http://xeroshoes.com/">Xero Shoes</a> both for myself and our daughter. I'm eagerly awaiting their arrival within a week or two :) </p> <p> <center> <img class="imgblog" src="http://jkkoski.smugmug.com/Photography/2013/i-vDCF9s3/0/S/20130328_205127-S.jpg" alt="Minimalistic shoe collection"/> <br/> <b>Minimalistic shoe collection</b> </center> </p> <p> Since the marathon on the 14th, I have been conditioning myself to the new stride involving a shorter step and a more pronounced forefoot strike. So far, I have finished four runs in about a week (<a href="http://runkeeper.com/user/jkkoski/activity/168233243">5.71km</a>, <a href="http://runkeeper.com/user/jkkoski/activity/169004198">5.32km</a>, <a href="http://runkeeper.com/user/jkkoski/activity/169582429">5.19km</a> and <a href="http://runkeeper.com/user/jkkoski/activity/170648291">9.26km</a>). Initially, I felt some soreness in calfs and shins, but it has more or less disappeared already. Because of this, I don't think I have started too fast, although many people suggest an even lighter transition period. </p><p> On the one hand, the most interesting change in running so far has been the new springiness of legs with the shorter forefoot strike. It feels almost as if running on actual springs, which I really enjoy (my heels don't typically touch the ground at all while running with the new form). On the other hand, the strangest thing is the soreness of my toes, which started a day after the last run (the longest one so far). Honestly, I don't know whether it is due to running or not, but I have never felt anything like it, and therefore I'm inclined to attribute it to the forefoot strike. Now three days after the run (yes, I have had two rest days from running already) the toes feel already mostly ok. </p><p> After my transitioning period is over with the Fivefingers, I'm planning to try some actual barefoot running, as well as the rest of my collection. Or... maybe I should already go for the next run with the Merrells? In any case, looking at the great weather outside (it's sunny and about 25°C), and taking into account that our gym was closed today for no apparent reason, I think I will take a long lunch break and go for a run before continuing to work at home. </p> </div> <hr/> <?php blogcomment($id); ?> VCM 2013: 3:18:14 http://kotakoski.fi/blog.php?blogpost=20130415-VCM2013 http://kotakoski.fi/blog.php?blogpost=20130415-VCM2013 Monday, 15th April, 2013 <?php $id = (string) "20130415-VCM2013"; ?> <h1>VCM 2013: 3:18:14</h1> <?php blogref($id); ?> <div class="txt"> <p> I ran <a href="http://runkeeper.com/activity?userId=2583862&trip=167431405&fb_source=feed_opengraph">my third marathon</a> yesterday (14.4.2013) here in Vienna, Austria. I ended up making a new PR, despite some worries I had beforehand. </p> <p> My training was largely limited this year because of travel (in Austria, Germany, Finland and Spain), and partially also because of a really nasty cold in February. I ended up making only six runs in January and two in February. Luckily, in March I was able to log ten runs, although none of them were much longer than 20km. The weather was also exceptionally cold in Vienna this winter (I remember reading from somewhere that this was the coldest winter in Vienna in 130 years). </p> <p> The run itself went very smoothly until about 26km (the time for the first half marathon was 1:34:21). This was at about 11 o'clock. Then, the Sun started to show its power, and running became a struggle. Looking back at the readings from my GPS watch, the real problems started at 30km. At this point, I had to take a few extra walking steps after each refreshment point, which shows up clearly both in the pace and in the heart beat rate charts. Nevertheless, I managed to force myself to run until the end and finished the second half with 1:43:52. The official netto time for the full run was 3:18:14, which means I was able to shave away more than ten minutes from <a href="http://kotakoski.fi/blog.php?blogpost=20120918-BeenThereDoneThat">my previous race in Wachau</a>. </p> Out of all marathon runners, I finished with rank 688 (104 in M-30 class). I was the fastest runner carrying the Universität Wien shirt. Out of the 68 Finnish marathon runners, I was the sixth fastest. Overall, I am very happy with the result. <p> </p> <p> <center> <img class="imgblog" src="http://kotakoski.fi/photos/vcm2013_kotakoski_41km_334x501.jpg" alt="Runnning at about 41 km (Photo credit: Stella)"/> <br/> <b>Running at about 41 km (Photo credit: Stella)</b> </center> </p> <b>My races so far</b> <ul> <li>13.5.2006 &mdash; Helsinki City Run (half marathon): 1:29:16</li> <li>19.8.2006 &mdash; Helsinki City Marathon: 3:24:48 (1/2 1:37:04)</li> <li>15.9.2012 &mdash; Wachau Marathon: 3:28:27 (1/2 1:40:26)</li> <li>14.4.2013 &mdash; Vienna City Marathon: 3:18:14 (1/2 1:34:21)</li> </ul> <p> </p> </div> <hr/> <?php blogcomment($id); ?> Fitness Roundup for 2012 http://kotakoski.fi/blog.php?blogpost=20130102-FitnessRoundup http://kotakoski.fi/blog.php?blogpost=20130102-FitnessRoundup Tuesday, 01st January, 2013 <?php $id = (string) "20130102-FitnessRoundup"; ?> <h1>Fitness Roundup for 2012</h1> <?php blogref($id); ?> <div class="txt"> <p> According to <a href="http://runkeeper.com/user/jkkoski/">Runkeeper</a>, I logged about 1060 km of running in 2012. As far as my memory serves, the running took place at least in Austria, Finland, Singapore, Netherlands and Spain. Quite a few of the runs were very painful to my legs, especially around August and September, probably due to overtraining. Nevertheless, I managed to finish my second marathon ever in Wachau with time 3:28:35, which is behind my goal (3:24), but ok taking into account the circumstances. </p> <p> For 2013, the plan is to increase the total distance as well as beat my personal best from Helsinki City Marathon in 2006 (3:24:23). The first try is going to be in April, at the <a href="http://www.vienna-marathon.com/">Vienna City Marathon</a>. </p><p> Regarding fitness beyond running, I also did my personal best in bench press in 2012, and was able to more-or-less stick to my planned training program at the gym. The goals for next year involve getting stronger and leaner, as usual. I will aim at three gym trainings per week with 2-3 runs and a Krav Maga training once a week. That should keep me reasonably busy. </p> </div> <hr/> <?php blogcomment($id); ?> Wachau 2012 &mdash; 3:28:17 http://kotakoski.fi/blog.php?blogpost=20120918-BeenThereDoneThat http://kotakoski.fi/blog.php?blogpost=20120918-BeenThereDoneThat Wednesday, 19th September, 2012 <?php $id = (string) "20120918-BeenThereDoneThat"; ?> <h1>Wachau 2012 &mdash; 3:28:17</h1> <?php blogref($id); ?> <div class="txt"> <p> The <a href='http://www.wachaumarathon.com/'>Wachau Marathon</a> was this last Sunday. The weather was perfect and all went fine. </p><p> What an anti-climax after all the suffering before the run. </p><p> I started by following the guy with the 3:29:59 sign, but got bored at about 5 km since the pace was slower than what I felt comfortable with. At 5.6 km I was number 225 in the race. At 10 km I was #196, at 21.1 km #134, at 33.2 km #116, and finally when crossing the finishing line #113. My pace was very much constant throughout the race (average 4:56 per km) except for the last couple of kilometers which went somewhat slower. My average heart beat rate was 176 bpm (max 187 bpm). </p><p> At least I know I can still run a marathon 6 years after my first one. All the stats are available here: <a href='http://results1.pentek-timing.at/results/show_results_detail.php?v=11763&b=3&s=9247'>a link to the official website</a>. </p><p> </div> <hr class='pglimit'/> <?php blogcomment($id); ?> Never-Ending Pain? http://kotakoski.fi/blog.php?blogpost=20120903-NeverendingPain http://kotakoski.fi/blog.php?blogpost=20120903-NeverendingPain Monday, 15th January, 2018 <?php $id = (string) "20120903-NeverendingPain"; ?> <h1>Never-Ending Pain?</h1> <?php blogref($id); ?> <div class="txt"> <p> Right now I have two weeks to go before the marathon... and to be honest, I'm a bit scared. Mainly because the legs still hurt. I was hoping to get rid of the pain by running less frequently, but that itself hasn't worked (yet). </p> <p> Since the last post, I have done only two runs: <a href="http://runkeeper.com/user/jkkoski/activity/113516670">21.09 km</a> and <a href="http://runkeeper.com/user/jkkoski/activity/114715682">16.65 km</a>. The first one was weird since I had pain in my left calf at about 1.5 km which was much worse than the pain I have been having in my right leg recently. I massaged the calf for a while and continued running, and didn't pay too much attention to the right leg during the rest of the run. However, I probably ran with a strange technique since for the second run both of my legs hurt more than ever before. It took me 5 km in agony thinking about quitting the run before the pain eased and I was able to continue with my normal pace until the end of the 16.65 km run. </p><p> After the run (that was yesterday) I've been trying to apply heat on my legs as well as massage them gently to make them better... and, fingers crossed, right now it feels like it could be working. Tomorrow I will have another gym day before the next run, which I wish will finally be pain-free. </p> </div> <hr/> <?php blogcomment($id); ?> UhOh http://kotakoski.fi/blog.php?blogpost=20120826-UhOh http://kotakoski.fi/blog.php?blogpost=20120826-UhOh Sunday, 26th August, 2012 <?php $id = (string) "20120802-UhOh"; ?> <h1>UhOh</h1> <?php blogref($id); ?> <div class="txt"> <p> It's been a wee bit longer than it should have since my last update. There are two reasons for this. The first one I like: we went to <a href="https://plus.google.com/photos/100061319416663890162/albums/5778475652834536305?authkey=CNOCxuz7h_bQKg">Salzkammergut</a> and <a href="https://plus.google.com/photos/100061319416663890162/albums/5778478434717120401?authkey=CLet47j8mPzZ2wE">Salzburg</a> for a short vacation (click on the links for photos). The Salzkammergut-region especially was awesome. Great mountains and caves, including one of the longest cave systems in Europe (<a href="http://www.dachstein-salzkammergut.com/en/summer/below-ground/dachstein-mammut-cave/">Mammuth&ouml;hle</a>). We had a great time at the mountains and hiking down from <a href="http://www.dachstein-salzkammergut.com/en/summer/above-ground/5fingers/">Dachstein (&gt; 2 km)</a>. </p> <center> <img class="imgblog" src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-W8Eagcr7ig8/UDFFWWSnu8I/AAAAAAAACo8/iK6fp_x7TIo/s953/20120815_122325_01.jpg" alt="Dachstein" /> <br/><br/> <b>A view of Dachstein from the Rieseneish&ouml;hle</b> </center> <p> The other reason is not equally nice. Actually, I have only done 5 runs since the last post: <a href="http://runkeeper.com/user/jkkoski/activity/107198944">9.31</a>, <a href="http://runkeeper.com/user/jkkoski/activity/107970735">17.29</a>, <a href="http://runkeeper.com/user/jkkoski/activity/108513321">9.35</a>, <a href="http://runkeeper.com/user/jkkoski/activity/111743647">19.78</a> and <a href="http://runkeeper.com/user/jkkoski/activity/112764001">9.34</a> km, ie, less than 70 km in about three weeks. This is something like half of what I should have done, and it is because of an intense pain in what I think is my right <i>Tibialis Anterior</i> muscle. My hope is that by less extreme training and by taking supplements for magnesium and potassium I will get it to ease so that I can finish the marathon in three weeks. </p> </div> <hr/> <?php blogcomment($id); ?> Another 30km this week http://kotakoski.fi/blog.php?blogpost=20120802-Another30km http://kotakoski.fi/blog.php?blogpost=20120802-Another30km Thursday, 02nd August, 2012 <?php $id = (string) "20120802-Another30km"; ?> <h1>Another 30km this week</h1> <?php blogref($id); ?> <div class="txt"> <p> The planned gym day yesterday changed into reading books to our daughter. My excuse is that I seldomly have the time during normal weeks (I'm on vacation atm). However, the run this morning was a longer one than what I had anticipated. </p> To avoid draining my energy during the run, I has some pasta for supper yesterday. This is very much contrary to what I usually do since I tend to skip the supper completely and run with an empty stomach in the morning. However, it worked wonders; the only problem I had during the run today (after the first 1-2 km when the pain in my legs disappeared) was due to the heat. I started at 6:45 am so that for the first 20 km the temperature was perhaps 22-24°C, but by the time I was done with the <a href="http://runkeeper.com/user/jkkoski/activity/106448929">34 km</a> it was already 26°C. </p><p> Alltogether, the run today was very nice &mdash; even the time <a href="http://runkeeper.com/user/jkkoski/activity/106448929">2:29:24 (4:23 min/km)</a> (which excludes 3-4 water pauses) was good. As a result, I feel much more confident than two days ago after the first 30 km. </p> </div> <hr/> <?php blogcomment($id); ?> First 30km in a While http://kotakoski.fi/blog.php?blogpost=20120731-First30km http://kotakoski.fi/blog.php?blogpost=20120731-First30km Tuesday, 31st July, 2012 <?php $id = (string) "20120731-First30km"; ?> <h1>First 30km in a While</h1> <?php blogref($id); ?> <div class="txt"> <p> It somehow so happened that I had a 3-day break between the previous blog post and the next run. I could dive into the details, but to save everybody's time, it's probably fair enough to conclude that I was a bit lazy. </p> <p> Anyway, the next run I did (on 27th), I did with our 5-yo daughter on her bike (which by the way is one of my favorite ways to do sports). We did <a href="http://runkeeper.com/user/jkkoski/activity/105365570">about 10 km</a> (Runkeeper hasn't been working after I upgraded to Android 4.0.4 - go figure) in about 0:43:11, ie, 4:36 min/km. </p><p> Since this didn't feel like much, I set my alarm for the next morning at 5:30 am and went to bed early for a longer run next morning. For whatever reason, I unfortunately woke up at about 3 am and couldn't get sleep for another 30-45 min, so I delayed the alarm until 6:05, when I finally got up for the run. </p><p> Regarding the run itself, to put a long story short, almost everything was difficult: my legs hurt, my ass hurt even more, it was too hot, I didn't have enough energy, etc. It was pain from the first meter to the last one. Somehow I still managed to do <a href="http://runkeeper.com/user/jkkoski/activity/105627519">nearly 30 km</a>, but it definitely showed that the marathon will not be as easy as I perhaps was hoping it would be. </p><p> Now I've had a day's rest and will hit the gym tomorrow, but the day after that I need to be running again. I'm thinking about 20 km, but we'll see &mdash; the +30°C weather we've been having is merciless. </p> </div> <hr/> <?php blogcomment($id); ?> Wachau Marathon 2012 http://kotakoski.fi/blog.php?blogpost=20120725-WachauMarathon http://kotakoski.fi/blog.php?blogpost=20120725-WachauMarathon Thursday, 26th July, 2012 <?php $id = (string) "20120725-WachauMarathon"; ?> <h1>Wachau Marathon 2012</h1> <?php blogref($id); ?> <div class="txt"> <p> I just signed up for the <a href="http://www.wachaumarathon.com/index.php?id=16&L=0">Wachau Marathon</a>, which will take place on September the 16th, ie, in seven weeks. </p> <p> My previous marathon experience is limited &mdash; I have only done it once, in Helsinki in 2006 (with a time of <a href='http://www.marathontulokset.com/ilmo2/results_show.php?serie=HCM_M_18&hcmyear=2006&hcmid=1&base=results_hcm2006'>3:24:23</a>, ie, 4:51 min/km on average). That was before finishing my doctorate, before I moved abroad and before our daughter was born. Back in 2006 the first marathon was one of the events which marked the end of a 6-year long period in my life as an undergrad and a Ph.D. student and not being a parent. </p> <p> Quite some water has flown in the Danube river since then. Now I have been a postdoc for more than five years and in three different countries, our daughter will start school next year and we have recently settled in our latest country of residence (Austria). During the intervening years I had several excuses for not running enough: "family oblications", "too much work", moving and traveling all the time which resulted in breaks in running, etc. However, this year I have nevertheless kept up with the running (and gym training, but that's another story). Although I've been putting much less hours per week into training than what I customarily did in 2006, I have nevertheless done enough kilometers to be confident that I can run a marathon again. </p> <p> Similar to my first marathon, I'm again planning to start a new period in my life by this run. However, this time I will do my best to keep up with running and gym training. To me, a marathon a year sounds like a good goal for this. </p> <p> Since April 2011 I've been tracking my running with <a href="http://runkeeper.com/user/jkkoski/">Runkeeper</a>, which allows me to go back to check my training for the past 16 months. I'm quite sure that there are some runs which are not recorded in there, but at least this gives a tentative picture. </p> <center><img class="imgblog" src="http://kotakoski.fi/pics/20120725-total.svg" /><p><b>Total distance in each month in kilometers</b></p></center> <p> Obviously, even the totals for the previous and current months are not very high (this month will be above 200 km eventually). However, for example in July I have by now done four runs of 20 km or more with paces in the range from 4:30 to 4:06 min/km and without any problems during or after the runs. </p><p> Now I have about three weeks to get my distances up to 30 km and then four more to cool off before the big event. Wish me luck! </p> </div> <hr/> <?php blogcomment($id); ?>