how can you find your limits when you're not willing to pass the thin line?

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RRrrrrr – Ready for therace.ie

Our live is an ongoing up and down. Sometimes we can not define how deep we fall. But once we are in control of our lives, we can define how high we fly. Because it’s up to us to define our goals, develop the right plan and invest enough energy to get what we want. Do you think it sounds a bit like the live of a salesman? Yes, it does ;-)

After my DNF (did not finish) in Island, things where getting worser day by day. In the first few days I was crying like a baby and sitting on my bedside in the night and eating a whole pharmacy. By the way, the reason for my back problems wasn’t the race on Island but the fact that I didn’t do any sport for more than 20 years. With about 5kg of comfort zone I started my training for 2014 after 3 months of inactivity facing the hardest challenge ever in late february. It was getting even worse as I had to walk parts of the training instead of running to avoid high heartbeat. My engine was empty and the bit of power i had was gone.

Today, about 4 months later, things have changed. My key training of last Saturday was an „empty“ (without breakfast) run of 2 hours with a mid weight backpack, followed by 90 minutes spinning, a 60 minutes run at race pace and speedy 30 minutes 10% above race pace. And you know what, it never felt better than this time. Beautiful weather, perfect conditions and a body that delivered exactly what i expected. I am ready for my toughest race ever, therace.ie in Ireland. And I am hot. Not to stand up before 4am in the morning but to run the 22K, followed by 15K in the Kayak, 100K on the bike, a steep 5K hill up and down, another 75K on the bike and as a dessert a trail run over the full marathon distance. 24 hours is the limit. It all takes place at Irelands north coast at end of february. Which is on one side on of the most beautiful places on earth but on the other side one of the most exposed areas in the northern atlantic.

Do you think we’re nuts? You’re right. But, you know what. It’s about finishing it. It’s our personal challenge and all who are starting next saturday are well trained and prepared for the expected and willing to take the unexpected (weather, temperature, food …).

And for me, it’s about reaching goals others don’t and taking the chance to become bigger than I was before. Because with each finish I am growing and my next goals are getting bigger and more demanding which makes me training harder, longer and smarter.

What’s your next goal? How high do you intend to fly?



Iceland, I am coming


The last few months and weeks were a bit like a drive on a roller coaster. Again I did all the endurance training on the bike to give my knee the time to get well again. Today I am fine and my left knee joint is doing what it should do: carrying me and my backpack.

Next sunday I will jump into my next adventure, racing with my backpack and about 200 athletes from more than 50 countries across one of the worlds most exciting places, Iceland. This island at 66° North is something like a loose cannon. You don‘t know what‘s up next. This year we have to bring TWO drop bags which will be given to the competitors only in cases of emergency ;-) But one thing will be sure, nature and landscape will be breathtaking. As a novice over this distance in a self-supporting (all in our backpack, except the tent and water but including all calories) and multi-stage (250km over 6 running days) competition, the race itself will be the second unknown for me during these days.

The course itself will lead us over all type of undergrounds and through every type of weather with a very high humidity. To profit from the experience of those who did it already several times I‘ve chosen the things that are matching best to me and I have already used them intensively in my trainings. Some of the items are so great that I am going to market them in Switzerland. It‘s fantastic to see how one leads to the other. But more about that later when the set-up is done properly and now back to the race.

I have decided to run in an extremely modern Merino fabric (ASHMEI) on a stable but light and water protecting but not waterproof running shoe (MIZUNO Cabranak 4). An amazing soft-shell (OMM Original Mountain Marathon) will protect me from water and the new Suunto Ambit 2 will be the interface to my engine. I haven‘t decided yet the exact size of my backpack it all depends from my final (food)-decisions, but most probably it will be an OMM too. For the food I will again feed and recover my machine primarily with Winforce, supplemented with some organic raw food and other goodies. At this place thanks to all the people providing me with their know-how and material.

For this race there is now tactics. First of all I am a raw recruit. The six other mates in our tent are cumulating up to 13 race the planet finishes together, with age-group winners, top 6 and top 30 finishes. This will help me to get the right input when needed. And second I want to finish it, that‘s why I‘ve defined some rules for myself. As stage one will be a 40km+ downhill race I have to protect respectively support my knee(s) by walking it or running it carefully. Everything that‘s flat I am trying to run as well as the flat uphill parts. Till day 5 I will race at about 80% of my threshold. As running day 6 only will be a 10km run I will try to push hard on day 5. This also gives me the opportunity to find out how my body feels after kilometer 42 ;-)

In the end it‘s all about my first race of this kind and finishing free from physical problems. If it works, there are some more races waiting.

Apart from pushing my own limits and crossing this island there is one more reason to fly up there: amazing people, plenty of time to share together and to find new inspiring friends around the globe.

I will post some more information later this week. Now it‘s time to taper, to pack and to repack to save weight and space in the backpack.



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We had a business meeting today about how to measure and steer success of our projects with our customers. The same day i was riding to the meeting an back and compared this ride with some of the past (same start time, same route). Against 6 months ago i was more than 5 minutes faster on the 46 kilometers (one way) and my heartbeat was 11 beats lower. Maybe my suunto belt is wrong or the data on the ambit 2 is not correct … who knows … but i like the thought that my endurance training is paying out.


By the way, the new Suunto Ambit 2 is a really great companion. Together with Movescount and downloadable apps there are almost no limits to measure, display and train. And there is a DUAL-belt too which allows your belt to talk with two devices at the same time (e.g. watch and spinning bike).

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Richard Donovan about Ultra Running

Richard Donovan (Race Director of the North Pole Marathon) about Ultra Running. Just an inspiration for going longer.

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Take off

Take off


It was an „early morning start“ today after a „late night go to bed“ yesterday. The plane was taking off at 6.55 to bring me now to Oslo. And finally, sitting in the plain now is concrete enough to make me being happy looking forward to this unique event, to race against the nature and to push my limits further. And there are also all these crazy people I‘ve joined already on Facebook to talk about our lives, our event in a few days and all the things we are planning to do. We will have a lot of time to do so. This all reminds me to a statement of a 93 years old athlete who was saying: life is not about adding years to it but to add more life to the years. How true.



During the last days I didn‘t get in that „Yes, I am ready and happy about doing it now“-feeling and the flu is still jumping around in my body. But today it took me 20 minutes in the plane to get in these positive feelings with sun shining through the window of the plane. Hey, it‘s about one year when I‘ve decided to go up there and hours I have spent to train, to find the right material, to test it and to share ideas and experiences with others.


In about half an hour we will land in Oslo where I will leave the airport to do some spinning, to eat and to relax at the hotel just across the street. Later I will meet Ali (the Lebanese desert runner and mister interview), Linh from Canada, Frank from Germany and many others to fly together up to Spitzbergen where we will land at 9:30pm. By the way, at some shops up there they have posters at the entrance saying:








On sunday we will have the race briefing by Richard Donovan who is the guy behind this event and himself a very successful ultra runner. Richard was the first guy running a marathon on all continents and at the pole. At this time everybody will be up there: about 48 runners from about 20 nations and 3 tv teams from asia and south america.



At 9am on monday our russian special aircraft will fly half of the group to Camp Barneo, which is close to the pole itself. The plane then goes back to bring up the second group leaving at 4pm. From then we are off-line, about 4600km north from Zurich with about -30°C. Actually it‘s a bit warmer but temperatures will drop till tuesday. At least I hope this as my clothing concept is made for this temperature and not warmer. Camp Barneo is operated by a very experienced russian team. It is like a hub for everybody going up there. It has been built just a few days ago and will be installed for some months. We will stay in tents of 10.






Raceday is Tuesday and the start is planned for 10pm. But as I can understand Richard will also consider the weather constellation. So, in a certain way it will be a „stand-by“-start which underlines the character of this race. For most of us it‘s more about you and the arctic than being faster than the others. But let‘s see. I could imagine that not only the polar bears up there are having sharp and long teeths ;-)






To follow whats going on up there you can check the facebook-page of the event. In earlier years there were football games, speedy swimming sessions and after the race russian wodka parties. Let‘s see.  Anyway, Richard will give his comments and the results of the race via satellite phone to somebody in Spitzbergen to post it in facebook. So, even up there we have almost a live broadcoast.




I guess we will back latest in Spitzbergen during the evening of the 10th and I will update family and friend latest on the 11th with pics and for sure some stories to tell. It‘s my week now.



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Take a deep breath, Superman

In wonders are made I was writing about why I will not complain about my form a few days before the race. And that there won’t be any excuses. Guess what, I was ill for the last ten days. But there’s land in sight and everything should turn to the positive. Just one day after one of those trainings telling you that your form is perfect a bad cold or flu got me. Avoiding bad trainings I was out of training for 10 days now. Except the one last thursday when I was in the fridge again for a last material check (testing my secret weapon). But the 60 minutes at -22°C were pushing me back again for days. What a surprise.

The last 6 months were like a ride on the rollercoaster. Once you feel like being on the peak everything could change within a few hours. It all reminds me a bit of our visit at the Six Flags Park in Vallejo when we were riding Superman, the latest kick available then. And it also reminds me of the fact that once you’ve decided to jump in and ride high you also have to take a deep breath.

Kurt Müller has put me together some trainings for the next days which should help to get body and mind in the right shape. The checklist is done, the travel fixed and I will leave snowy Switzerland towards the sun with a short stop-over in Oslo towards Spitsbergen for the race briefing and preparation for the last flight to 90°N.

If you want to follow what’s going on up there, just have a look here on the official website on Facebook. Richard Donovan will update visitors about the race. As soon as I am on my way up there I will post some more pics and facts about this adventure. So let’s keep the fingers crossed that this rollercoaster doesn’t come up with some more surprises. I just saw that the actual temperatures are much warmer than I expected. So I have to develop a Plan B for tropical arctic climate.

So, Ali Wehbi, I guess it won’t be a top ten for me. But two things are sure. First, we will have a great dinner on Sunday. And second, I will push the best I can and kick ass. At least mine.



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