Tag Archives: food

Durlach Turmberglauf

7 Oct

Last week I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to go to Germany for an education conference. I was really excited as I love Germany. I had private lessons for two years when I did my German A-level (because no-one else wanted to study the subject at my school) and also attended extra evening classes and conversation classes. Then I chose to do a German module when I was at university.

I have to admit a downside of visiting Germany is that it’s not always easy to find vegetarian food, but I am completely addicted to brezel!

Brezel with chives

I managed to buy a brezel with chives on my trip from Stuttgart to Karlsruhe!

I much prefer the breakfasts in Germany to a ‘full English’. Most days I had some fruit, some yoghurt and some brezel – yummy!

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Fig, melon, pineapple and mohnstrudel (sweet bread with poppyseeds).

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Bread roll with cheese selection.

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Brezel and cheese

The food at the conference was delicious – a selection of fresh fruit, open sandwiches, yoghurts and quark was available at every break time.

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Fortunately, it wasn’t all eating and studying. I also got to see a little bit of the city when I was walking to and from the conference venue. I particularly liked this block of flats with its intricate mosaic.

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Before going to the conference, I happened to notice did a bit of research and found that a 10k race would be held in nearby Durlach on Saturday afternoon. It was reasonably priced at €10, so I thought I might as well enter. However, I had failed to take note of the date: October 3rd. This probably doesn’t mean much to many of you, but if I were to start whistling ‘Winds of Change’ by The Scorpions then it might remind some of you of Germany’s recent history. October 3rd is Reunification Day, so it’s a Public Holiday in Germany, which means that only bakeries are open and public transport is limited. To compound this, it’s the 25th anniversary, so when I got on a tram at 10:15am, it was already packed with women in dirndls and men wearing lederhosen, swigging away on bottles of beer.

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A couple in traditional dress

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A group of young men waiting for the tram

Trachten (traditional German clothing) has become increasingly popular in recent years, and there were displays in many shop windows.

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Anyway, I carefully read through the race details: “Der Turmberglauf ist ein flacher, schneller Lauf durch die Durlacher Altstadt”… it seems that fast and flat are keywords that all Race Directors like to include in their race info, no matter where they are held. However, I was uncertain whether it would be true as Turmberg translates as tower hill.

The race wasn’t due to start until 4pm, so I spent the morning going on the funicular railway up the mountain and then climbing many spiral steps in the tower. I’m sure it’s great as strength training, but probably not ideal on race day. Then again, as a hideous Tuesday night track session has been my only run for two months, I figured any training would be better than none.IMG_6471

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The view of Durlach from the top of the funicular railway.

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I’m terrible at taking selfies, but I took a couple to capture me with the beautiful view from the top of the tower.

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After I’d looked around the tower, I walked back into town and wandered around for a little bit before going to register. It was a simple process, so it didn’t take long.

At 2pm the children’s races started. It was fantastic to see hundreds of children taking part in single year groups from 5-12. I didn’t see any scarily competitive parents and many of the children were wearing incredibly odd outfits for running (such as dresses and tights or jeans and hoodies). There were a few tears, but everyone finished their races to cheers from the crowd.

At 3:30pm, it was time to pin on my number, and head to the start. It was 25C and even in the shade I had been feeling the heat. I decided to buy a glass of water in the registration hall, but only sparkling water was available, which wasn’t really what I wanted.

The event is a well-supported community race, with a competitive element between the local schools. There was also an option to be weighed at registration as part of a special competition, where people’s time could be divided by their weight with the best score winning. Although I’m carrying a few more kilos than I should, the immense height of many of the other competitors meant that I was fairly confident that they weighed a lot more than me (as well as looking faster).

Interestingly, the only rule for entry into the ‘Volkslauf’ is that the participants are fit and healthy. Scanning the entry list, I saw that there were children as young as 8 who had entered, as well as being a lady in her 80s and a gent in his late 70s. During the race, I saw many young children running with their parents.

The race started promptly at 4pm, however, it wasn’t chip-timed and there was a huge crowd at the start, so I didn’t start my garmin until I crossed the line. The first section was in the old town, which features uneven cobbles as well as lattices of tram rails going in all directions. It then headed along the river, which almost had a breeze, but as the entire race was in full sunlight, it didn’t help much. I think my clothing made me stick out – aside from very young teenagers, I seemed to be the only female in shorts with most of the others wearing full tights. Lycra shorts and compression tshirts (or thick hoodies and tracksuit trousers) were the preferred options for male runners.

Fortunately, it was with the only incline being a lengthy spiral taking us up onto a bridge that crossed the motorway.

There were huge crowds out on much of the course which was nice, but I could feel the heat emanating from them. I hoped that there would be a water station at 5km, but there wasn’t one. At about 6.5km, there was a family with some cups of water on a table in front of their house. I was so grateful!

By 8km, my total lack of training was starting to show as my quads started to seize up. From 400m, I could see the finish arch, so I foolishly decided to go for a heroic sprint. Unfortunately, a group of teenage lads also decided to try to sprint, which brought out my most competitive side. I managed to beat the lads to the line and stopped my watch: 56:08. Horribly slow and I dare say my official time will be even worse as we had to queue in a finish funnel (similar to parkrun) and have the barcode on our race number scanned. Apparently our time will be whatever time we got to the scanner.

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There were 9 women in my age category:

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My official time was 56:20, which is the slowest 10k that I’ve run for many years! (Overall, I was 361/580. 180 of the entrants were female).

As a cheap race, there wasn’t a medal (which is fine by me), but we were each given a commemorative glass and as many free refills of (still) water as we wanted – fantastic! I went back to the registration hall and treated myself to some Black Forest gateau. It was a nice end to a fun race.

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Running on Clean

13 May

Woohoo! Nicola at Running on Clean has nominated me for the Liebster Award. Thank you, Nicola! Please check out her blog where she posts about health and fitness. Nicola is a fellow Girls Gone Sporty Ambassador and member of #TeamStellar!

Liebster Award

So, what is a Liebster Award? It is basically a form of recognition from fellow bloggers. Once you have been nominated you have to answer 10 questions from your original nominator and go on to nominate another 10 bloggers yourself.

Here are the rules:

1.) You must link back to the person who nominated you
2.) You must answer the 10 Liebster questions given to you by the nominee before you
3.) You must pick 10 bloggers to be nominated for the award (with a small following)
4.) You must create 10 questions for your nominees
5.) You must go to their blogs and notify the nominees

So, here are my answers to Nicola’s questions:

  1. How did you start your fitness journey?
    That’s a tough question to answer… I had dance lessons from when I was 5 until I was 21, but I was never especially fit and healthy. I was ‘up a year’ at school, so I was a year younger (and hence smaller) than all of my classmates, so I struggled to keep up with them when it came to sports, which made me feel disheartened. When I was 20, I took up gymnastics and absolutely loved it. I used to train several times a week, including for six hours on Sundays. When I was nearly 30, I took up karate, so that I could do a sport with my husband. I also took up running to increase my fitness levels and it’s gone from there.
  2. Why did you start your blog?
    I wanted to document my five-year challenge – I intend to complete an iron-distance triathlon before I’m 40. I thought that writing down my goals in a public way may make me feel more accountable.
  3. What activities/sports are you most passionate about and what do you gain from doing them?
    I love doing yoga as it’s very calming and gives me an opportunity to relax and de-stress. I also love running, although I’m finding the pressure of competition a bit much at the moment as I’m failing to reach my own targets.
  4. Who is your fitness inspiration?
    I’m a great admirer of Paula Radcliffe and Mo Farah. I also think Chrissie Wellington is an inspirational woman.
  5. Do you meal prep? If so, when and do you have any tips?
    I tend to do all of my meal prepping in the evening. I tend to cook in bulk (curries/chillies/pasta meals that serve six), so that I don’t have to cook every evening. I know that I each much more healthily when I plan ahead. When my evening meal is cooking, I make my lunch for the next day, which is always a salad (usually with 40g smoked cheese, but sometimes with humus or chickpeas). I also try to weigh out my porridge for the following day’s breakfast.
  6. What is your go-to breakfast recipe?
    It’s always 30g oats, but with various extras. One of my current favourites is ground almonds, dried apricots and some vanilla extract. I don’t drink milk, so I always make it with water. 2 minutes in the microwave and it’s done 🙂
  7. Finish the sentence. When I’m not running I’m…
    Swimming/cycling/working/sleeping/eating/blogging!
  8. Imagine this, you are on a self-directed race and get lost. You find yourself beside a lake with no one else around. What do you do?
    I rarely run with a phone, so I wouldn’t be able to call for help, so I guess it depends on how remote the location is. If I haven’t run far, I might retrace my footsteps to a place that I recognise, or if I’m feeling confident, I might run around the lake looking for signs of where I should go.
  9. List your top 2 short and long-term goals
    My top 2 short-term goals are to rest and heal my sprained wrist and shoulder and to follow the plan my coach has designed, so that I start regaining my fitness.
    My top 2 long-term goals are to complete Challenge Weymouth 70.3 and to finish an iron-distance triathlon.
  10. What do you enjoy most about blogging?
    I enjoy connecting with other people and also receiving feedback from others. I really appreciate that people are willing to spend their time reading what I’ve written. On a personal level, my blog reminds me that however slow it may seem, I am making progress towards my goal.

Here are my 10 questions:

  1. How would you summarise what your blog is about?
  2. Which of your blog posts has generated the most discussion and why?
  3. What tips would you give to anyone thinking about starting to blog?
  4. What challenges/races/events have you got lined up for 2014?
  5. What has been your greatest achievement in life?
  6. What skill do you hope to master over the next year?
  7. What is your favourite gadget and why?
  8. What’s the furthest from home you’ve travelled for a sporting event?
  9. Describe your philosophy for life in a six word sentence…
  10. What is the most important advice that you can give to readers?

…and even more importantly, here are my 10 nominated blogs:

  1.  Heather at The Tri Road
  2. Marc at Run, Hemingway, Run
  3. Danielle at Damn, Girl, That’s a lot of Fattitude!
  4. Leanne at Leanne Nalani
  5. Fat Guy 2 Tri Guy
  6. Erica at Chronicles of a SAHM
  7. Mike at Fat, Beared & Tattooed Cyclist
  8. Stephanie at My life sucks, I think I’ll become a triathlete
  9. 2 Cups ‘N Run
  10. Chris at Or Die Trying

I previously received the Liebster Award back in March – here are my answers from then: http://fatgirltoironman.co.uk/2014/03/01/liebster-award/