Marathon Münster 2013

On 08th September 2013 I could successful sweep one point on my life’s todo list: Running and finishing a marathon!

I added this item to the list about 7 years ago when I was studying in Constance and already ran a half marathon in Stein am Rhein, Switzerland. The due date for the task was before my 30th birthday. So I reached it a bit too late, but decided that it still counts 😉

Preparation is everything

But let’s get back half a year: The decision to run the marathon in Münster was made at the beginning of this year. Fortunately a friend of mine, Frank Upgang, decided to run along with me which made it much more easier to fix the plan. Later another friend, Matthias Nieratschker, also decided to register for the event. Thank you, it was an even better event running together with you two! :)

From various sources I knew that you should do a really good preparation, so the marathon won’t be that much of a torture. I always had a target of running it under 4 hours, so I chose an appropriate schedule and started my training.

The first week already brought a sub event, the hella halbmarathon in Hamburg. The race worked out very well as you can read in the dedicated post.

The following weeks were very alternating: Most of the time the runs went very well, but 4 runs a week is sometimes exhausting, more mentally than physical. A welcome change in the monotonous schedule was my trip to London at the end of August. As the marathon was only 1 week away back then I had to take my running shoes with me, of course. But it was worth it: The training in the Victoria Park together with the holiday in general was real refreshing and motivating.

The last week before the marathon only contained some really short and slow runs, so I was in good condition on the weekend of the event. Matthias cooked his famous Spagetti Bolognese on the evening before which should give us enough energy for the race.

The nice and easy part

My plan was to run the marathon with the 51-49 tactics as I tried it out successfully at the half marathon already. It means to run the first half of a race in 51% of the target time, the second half in 49%. So you start a bit slower than you have to be, but have more reserves for the second half.

One great advantage of this tactic was that I could run the first half and part of the second half together with my friend Frank who hadn’t set any target time but is normally a bit faster than me. This time though he didn’t have the time for a proper preparation, so the speed of my first half (5:45 min/km) was quite right for him. We divided after about 26 kilometers. And although 26 kilometers are not that little I have to say this part of the race was really, really nice and easy. Thanks to Frank :)

The confused part

After we split I hold my now a little faster speed. I just had my watch to check my pulse and my time. With the kilometer markers next to track I could check if I am still in time or have to speed up/slow down. This worked very well for the first half. But not that well at the start of the second half as I got a bit confused about my times. I took the pace of the first half for the kilometers of the second one (5:35 min/km) so I thought I was really good on schedule. Fortunately my speed was right when I realized my mistake, so instead of being some minutes in front of my schedule, I was only a little behind. It was no good moment anyway as I also realized that I had to keep up this speed till the end of the race.

The euphoric part I

Although I had already run about 32 kilometers and the speed was higher than in the first half, I suddenly started to fly over the track. I came across the village where I broke down a year before during the relay marathon (See My relay marathon background). This time though I already did more than 30 kilometers and didn’t see a reason to stop. Furthermore there were many people cheering next to the track and bands were playing live music. I will never forget the moment they played „Die Toten Hosen“ with their song „Das ist der Moment“  when I came by. Another band was playing „Sportfreunde Stiller“ which was also played at my successful half marathon in Hamburg before.

All the preparation was already worth these moments. Fortunately I savor them to the fullest as there were other moments to come…

The hardest part

Everybody who have already run a marathon knows what comes next, you read it in each article about marathons, heard about it hundred times, but it still hits you like a hammer. One famous saying is „A marathon doesn’t start before 35 kilometers“ and boy, know I really know what it means. From one kilometer to the next all the euphoria suddenly fade away and made room for a deep tiredness. This is the part were you ask yourself: „Why the hell am I doing all this?“ You know if you stop now you won’t finish the race but on the other hand this is the thing you want to do.

Till now it was a physical challenge, now it becomes a mental one. You have to think about all the preparations you already managed which would have been for nothing if you stop now. And of course think about the triumph if you manage the remaining 7 kilometers („Hey, 7 kilometers, that’s less than any training run!“).

I kept my speed and just ran, one kilometer felt to take as long as 5 beforehand. In the end running on is all you can do. And it’s worthwhile as this isn’t the final part.

The euphoric part II

To beat my target time of 4 hours I had to pass the 4 hour target runner somewhere. My goal was to pass him on the last kilometer and for the last 4 I could already see him at the horizon, coming closer. Suddenly he was only some meters away and it was still 2 kilometers to go and than I was in front of him. This was the moment when I realized that I will finish the race and I will finish it under my target time. My legs were tired and I knew now that 2 kilometers can be very long, but nothing could stop me from reaching the target line. I took all my remaining breath and ran, knowing that all extra minutes I earn now are only nice-to-have.

The race ends in the heart of Münster, passing hundreds of cheering people. Reaching the target line wasn’t the great moment I hoped it would be, I was just happy to pass it. But I was very, very glad that I did it: Finished my first marathon in 3:57 h!

Conclusion

My legs hurt about 4 days long, but it was worth it. It was a great event and the memory about it is just priceless. One tip at this location: Don’t try to play soccer even a week after the marathon. Your legs might not hurt anymore, but you will feel the pain again the day after. Trust me, I tried it 😉

I decided to make this marathon my first and my last. I haven’t had an experience like this before in my life, that’s true. But the preparation time is just too long. Plus you want to beat your previous time, of course, and that would be very ambitious. Half and relay marathons come with much less preparation time plus you can run them easily for fun and with friends.

Although while writing this I felt the need to run a marathon again…

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Half Marathon Hamburg 2013

On Sunday last week I took the next step on my way to the big goal this year, the full marathon in Münster in September: I participated and finished the half marathon in Hamburg with some friends.

Preparation and Start

The last 8 weeks I used a training schedule “Run a half marathon in under 2 hours” to prepare myself for the event. I chose the moderate target time of 2 hours because I saw the competition only as a part of the preparation for the full marathon rather than a possibility to check my limits. The things I wanted to take with me from the half marathon were to make sure I could run a longer distance under competition conditions and that I would distribute my power along the complete way.

The preparation worked out very well without any injuries or illnesses (or motivation gaps ;)). The day before the event I met my friends at the registration where we picked up our race numbers. After that we had a nice little barbecue with some beers in the garden of one fellow-runner. Nonalcoholic beers of course! The “Hamburger Schietwetter” ended the barbecue quite early, which was okay as we didn’t plan to stay up too long because the race started at 10 a.m.

We met at 9:15 a.m. at the subway station St. Pauli, the start of the race was right on the Reeperbahn. I was a bit nervous, but less than I was at previous events. Regrettably I missed to warm up correctly, but that shouldn’t get back at me. We just changed clothes, took a nice “before” picture and than we were ready to take off! Chris wanted to run the race under 1:45 hours, so he started in a front block, Maayan and me lined up at the 2:00 hours line and the rest started in the 2:15 – 2:30 block.

10 a.m. sharp the race begun!

First half

I ran the first 5 kilometers together with Maayan till he went for a drink at one of the stations. The time of 5:45 minutes per kilometer was quite easy to achieve. On the first two kilometers we lost some time because of the sheer amount of runners, but we balanced that on the following ones. My target was to run the first half of the race in a speed which is a little bit slower than the one you need to finish under 2:00 hours. The second half of the marathon will be run a little bit faster than the average, so you reach the 2 hours. This tactic goes back to medical studies and is called “51-49” (http://www.runnersworld.de/training/die-richtige-renneinteilung.53103.htm, german). It made perfectly sense for me, when I read it: In the beginning you warm up and get into the race. Additionally even if you wanted you can’t reach your speed in the starting phase of the race very often because of so many other runners next to you.

This tactic worked out great for me. The biggest problem for me was to not run faster than the 5:45 even if I felt I could. But you will need the reserves later in the run and don’t have to be over-motivated. However I was a bit too fast and finished the first half in about 1 hour.

Second half

The speed of the second half should be 5:35 min/km. It’s only 10 seconds faster than in the first half, but after having already run 10 kilometers, it’s not that easy to get faster. On the 11th kilometer I missed the time by about 5 seconds. But with the buffer from the first half I knew that I’m still on schedule.

The last 7 kilometers lead us around the Alster. The weather was great for a run with little sun and no rain. The track felt very long but I still had enough power to keep the speed I needed for the 2:00 hour target time. Now I realized the greatest advantage of the 51-49 tactic: While other runners ran faster in the first half of the race, I could now pass them which is a great motivation when your power fades. Additionally, on the last 3 kilometers I reached the famous Runner’s High, so it was a really wonderful end of the race for me.

Finish

I finished the race in 1:57:21 and was totally happy about this result. The race went nearly perfect and I was in good company :) The others were also content about their results: Chris reached his target time (1:43), Maayan was just some minutes behind me (2:06) and the rest was happy that they reached the target line in ~2:15 (without much training). So I guess we will run the half marathon again next year! Of course we took a photo after the race. If you compare it to the one before the start you may see that the event left some signs 😉

I feel very well prepared for the marathon now: I managed to distribute my power along the whole race, the 51-49 tactic worked out really great and contrary to my first half marathon (which I finished in 1:43) this one was more fun than hard work. I hope that the marathon will have a similar progress and the weather will be like on Sunday. But right now I’m first of all happy that I finished this race and about a new medal and shirt in my collection! :)

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Relay Marathon 2013 Hamburg

Finisher!

It’s done. Today I participated in the relay marathon 2013 in Hamburg and we all saw the finishing line. We took a total time of 3:30 hours as a target (a quite ambitious goal) and needed 3:32 hours. So there’s still a bit of  room to do better, but each of us is happy about his time.

I ran together with Nick Prühs, Nils Neubauer and Florian Brezinski and we agreed to take the whole event mostly for fun. But of course we are all ambitious, everyone of us really pushed himself. The distances were split as follows:

  • 16.3 km Christian Oeing
  • 11.4 km Nick Prühs
  • 5.0 km Florian Brezinski
  • 9.5 km Nils Neubauer

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My relay marathon background

To run this relay marathon wasn’t a difficult decision because I still had to settle a score with this kind of event. In September of the last year I already participated in a relay marathon with my friends Frank Upgang, Alexander Benölken and Matthias Nieratschker from my home town.

The event took place in Münster, NRW. We planned that race several months ago and according to this each one of us trained quite a lot. Our goal was to reach a total time of 3:00 hours which would mean a good chance to get into the top 10 of all relay groups (in the end it would have been the 10th place). It was very ambitious, yes, but since we trained a lot it could have been worked out.

The race day came and it was a great day for a day on the beach. Remember I said the event day was in september? Well, Petrus decided to give the summer a last shot: We had a temperature of 30 degree celcius!

I was the 3rd runner. When Frank arrived we were already behind our goal time, of course you can’t run at your normal speed with that kind of weather (at least now I know that). I tried it anyway and it was really a pain. Nonetheless I was just a bit behind the time I took up, so I went on: My spirit was willing, but my flesh was weak. I held on till 1 kilometer to the transition zone, after thinking a hundred times: This has to be the last turn, this has to be the last turn… Then I woke up very comfortable bedded in an ambulance for some seconds and then in a first aid station. It took just some minutes for me to realize that I didn’t made it and the frustration came quick. I had to stay in the hospital for a few days, but just for observation.

Later I was told that I lurched on the track and was (fortunately) pulled out of the track by a medic before I fell down. My chip was given to our 4th runner by another runner, so at least he could finish the race. And we all got finisher shirts, mine was brought to me by my friends in the hospital. Of course I can’t call it finisher shirt as I never saw the transition zone.

So, that’s my background, now back to the race today. The motto was: New game, new luck!

The race

Nick, Florian and I met at the start at the Messehallen at 8:30 to exchange the stuff each one needs after he arrives at the transition zone. We all had to get up very early considering that it was Sunday, but we were in a good mood. The weather was really fine (sunny, but not too warm) and everybody had a good feeling about the upcoming event.

I  said goodbye to Florian and Nick and warmed up a bit before I set out for my starting group. It was a really nice atmosphere and there were just as many people participating that it didn’t get too crowded at the start. So my compliments to the organization, good job! :)

The race began and due to my experiences in the past I decided to start slow. My personal goal time was 1:30 h, but I just wanted to use my pulse as an indicator how fast to run instead of the clock. That was a very good decision. The weather was great, the audience created a great atmosphere all along the track and my timings for the kilometers were lower than I expected. I was a bit above 5:00 min per kilometer. I expected that the timings got worse the longer the distance, but my pulse stayed at 150 bpm and I could keep up my speed. I even had some reserves for the last 300 meters till the transition zone and so I finished with a great time of 1:22:47!

Learning from failure

Finally I am allowed to call my finisher shirt a finisher shirt, of course I wore it during the race :) There were multiple factors which allowed the success today: The weather, the atmosphere, the decision to run by pulse instead by time, no too high pressure and of course the experience from the failed relay marathon in Münster.

Today I am sure that although I didn’t finish the race in September, I learned something which prepared me very well for the races to come.

Posted in News

Slash Games corporate identity announced!

Nick and me finally rolled out our brand new corporate identity for Slash Games. We are very content about the result, it looks quite nice and professional on our social media pages like Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.

Logo Slash Games

Logo Slash Games

Icon Slash Games

Icon Slash Games

If you like to read more about the process of its creation: We posted an article on the official company website under http://www.slashgames.org/corporate-identity-is-ready/.

I’m very curious about your opinion about the logo. How do you like it? What do you/don’t you like about it? Just leave a reply and I’m happy to read/answer it.

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Goodbye Joomla, Welcome WordPress!

New Problem

You may have noticed that my homepage was not accessible during the last weeks. This week is was online again, but there are still some broken links, etc.

The reason was that I had to move my homepage to a new server, because the old one was hacked by some guys and my friend who runs the server, didn’t want to have website hosting on his server anymore. Fortunately we got our very own server for our very own new Indie startup slash games! When one door closes another door opens!

New Solution

When doing the migration I realized that the Joomla version 1.5 which my homepage used, wasn’t supported anymore and it was suggested to update to 2.5. Sounds easy first, but because the architecture of the new version is very different to the old one, a migration would mean quite a lot of work. I had some customizations on my homepage, too, which wouldn’t have made the job easier.

That’s why I decided to move completely away from Joomla. I made some experiences with WordPress the last years, the last time, when we set up the homepage for slash games. Some things I like about WordPress:

  • Specialized on blogging
  • Lightweight themes available
  • Nice, clean backend
  • Highly customizable
  • Easy updating directly in the backend

Much of the things Joomla offers, too. But it seems a bit too big for a simple blog. Maybe because it was developed with a full content management system in mind.

Migration

The setup was easy, deciding for a new theme and customize it took by far the most time. I’m still not sure if I will keep it as it is, but first I wanted to migrate all the posts from the old homepage. Content First, Appearance Second!

If you miss something or got other kind of feedback for me, just leave a comment. Only one of the nice little new features when working with WordPress :)

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