Sports

How it all began

I was always really bad in any kind of sports. As a kid and more so as a teenager I was pudgy and physical education at school was a pure horror for me. Actually, I was a pretty good student apart from PE (sport). The proof is on the right: these are my marks from final year at secondary school. (4 is not really good in a range from 1 – 15). And it continued that way as I never really found satisfaction in physical exercises. Okay, I managed to lose some weight when I got to know my wife as I wanted to impress this girl. But still, it wasn’t any kind of fun.

This only changed when we moved to Geneva in 2006. The environment and new friends we met there got me out of this lethargy and we started with cycling and hiking. Believe it or not but after only one year I managed to cycle around Lake Geneva (about 180 km) where only two years before I was already entirely exhausted after a little bicycle tour of 30 km. And hiking is a fantastic exercise to improve your overall fitness level. You do not even feel how you train all your muscles in rather thin air. Slowly my cardio level improved and with that I got eager to master challenges.

 Abi-Zeugnis

 

Running

Geneva Marathon 2016

I used to hate running. I still remember very well how awful long-distance runs were for me back in school. I did occasionally a 5 km run but never enjoyed it. The in 2012 my friends got a great birthday present for me: the registration for the Geneva half marathon! My reaction: “You must be kidding!”

But my best friend promised to coach me and to run it with me. And this was another remarkable event in my life. I discovered that running can be fun. I do really enjoy it and need it to clear up my mind. Since then I ran a couple of half marathons and shorter races. A week without running is a lost week for me and I do really feel that something is missing. I try to take my running shoes with me wherever I go. And you can perfectly discover the beauty of a city by running and a run over lunch is a perfect reset and refreshes your brain for the afternoon.

But as always, there was a challenge left: I wanted to run a full marathon. And turning 40 in 2016 was just the right excuse to get the project started. With my birthday I started a 4 months training to get fit. I developed a strict training plan and managed to stick to it. It was amazing to see how my perspective on distances changed. My wife looked at me like I am speaking Chinese when I told her the first time “I have only a short run today, only 24 km.” So after 4 months I felt well prepared when the big day came. On May 8th, 2016 I ran the Geneva Marathon and it was hard!! This day was probably the warmest day in the first half of the year 2016. And I hate running in the heat. So my heart rate went up immediately to above 160 bpm where it stayed for the entire race. I ran with my friend Florian who is an experienced marathon runner but also for him it was the hardest race. We started with the ambition to finish in 3h 45 min but at latest after KM25 it became clear that it was not about the time it was about finishing at all. So we took it rather slow and fought for every kilometre. YES – I did it (and of course Florian as well).

Today I can say that running a marathon is not my favourite sport. I am very proud that I did it once but the effort it needs for the preparation is far too much. During the race itself you really  go beyond what your body is capable of doing. We are not made for running 42 km (at least most of us). So my first marathon will also be my last and I will rather focus on the semi-marathon going forward. There are more challenges ahead – can I run the 21km in 1h 30 min one day?

If you want to read more about my running achievements, check out my Strava profile. Follow me onStrava

 

Cycling

It started with cycling to work every day. This exercise improved my cycling shape quite quickly. My boss at this time was a cycling fanatic (as is my current boss :-)) and he motivated me for some long-haul trips. So I started to train for a cycling trip around the lake (about 180 km). After just a few months I managed to go around for the first time still with my mountain bike. I was really proud of myself as I never managed to cycle for much more than 30km. And now I did a tour 6 times longer. But with a mountain bike this was not really fun. So a year later I bought myself a carbon road bike which I am still using. I was impressed how much of a difference the material makes. I was suddenly much faster than before. This is certainly the result of a much lighter bike (below 7 kg) but also of the different seating position.

Now my ambition was aroused. So I started cycling more regularly and after we moved to Eysins I tried to cycle at least once a week to the office (about 25 km). This was a nice morning work-out and a lot of fun as some of my colleagues joined me. Well, this sounds now sportive but that’s a matter of perspective. My boss today is cycling every day and easily does 50-60 km in the morning. And also my wife is cycling every day to Geneva. Compared to that I feel rather lazy with my cycling but I still enjoy it very much.

Cycling

 

Triathlon

AlphaFoto_5352041

As I pretty much enjoyed both running and cycling, I thought it was a natural next step to do a triathlon. What can I say: I did four short distance triathlons so far. Short distance means you swim 500 m, cycle 10 km and finish with a 5 km run. I strongly believe anybody can do it with some training. But I am a bad swimmer and still can not even swim the crawl. Since then I managed to improve my times every year but swimming is still my weakest discipline. I do the 500 m in 13 minutes while my peers do it well below 10 minutes. Who is up to teach me the crawl style?

 

Skiing

I hardly skied before moving to Geneva. I maybe stood on skis about 5 hours with my grandpa before but I did not like it and was not very talented either. After the first year in Geneva, our Frankfurt friends visited us for new years eve and as a surprise present booked us skiing lessons in Les Gets. This was a game changer like our first dive. You have to only try it once and you will love it.

Now we try to ski as often as we can. Living in Eysins, it’s great to go for a spontaneous half-day on the slopes in the Jura (if the snow conditions permit). Otherwise we love to go to the French Alps resorts close by such as Les Gets, Les Contamines, Avoriaz or Flaine. And since a couple of years I go for a boys only skiing weekend to Austria.

I have to admit I am a lazy skier and I am a speed junkie and so I forget about the turns and just go straight down the slope. But also here are a lot of challenges left: I would love to learn powder skiing and proper jumps. 

Skiing at Soelden, AT

 

Obstacle Races

Spartan Race Munich

I recently discovered another thing which I am now really passionate about: Obstacle Races. My wife convinced me to join her for a Spartan Race in Munich. First I was not convinced. I badly remembered all kind of climbing exercises back at school. I never managed to climb up a rope or over a wall. And now I was supposed to do more than 20 of these kind of obstacles? She kept insisting so I agreed…

And I can tell you it was so much fun. Of course it was a challenge to carry weights that easy had 25 kg or more. And yes, it was cold in the river. But hey, I managed all obstacles but two so I only needed to do 60 burpees (this is the “reward” for failing in an obstacle). I even managed the rope climb. I still can not believe it but I will remember forever the great feeling when I hit the bell at the top. And guess what – I directly registered for the next Spartan Race later the year in Morzine.

 

There will be days when I don’t know if I can run a marathon. There will be a lifetime knowing that I have.

 

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