Monday, April 28, 2003

Bat vs. Beaver
On Friday evening I went to Stuttgart for a surprise visit of Julia. Well, I was the one who was surprised - surprised that she was not at home but still in Cologne for her job training. So I called Geli, an old friend from Ingolstadt. Luckily she was at home, picked me up and gave me shelter, even she was a bit stressed from work and travel preparations. So I left her after breakfast and spend a nice day in Stuttgart, sitting in bars and reading my new thesis material.

Being back in Ingolstadt I had a Sunday to kill, so it was time again for a long sleeping session, some TV - I hadn't seen a bike race for long time - and sport. I decided to test my level of fitness. Several times I closely failed a semi-marathon time of 1 hour 30. This year the mark has to be taken. I rode to the Baggersee in the evening and startet running at dawn. 21.1 km is four rounds here, so each round should be run in 22.5 minutes at most, my mind calculated. I didn't want to make the common mistake of starting too fast, but that was a mistake, too. I timed the first round at 28 min, which was far too slow. The second round was a bit better, but even the 25 min were not what I believed I could run. Moreover it was the last time when I saw a fellow runner for this evening. It was dark now and it also became very quiet. Just the frogs quacked all over the lake in an enormous volume. Running became quite hard, with no audience or fellow runners it's quite difficult to motivate oneself.

Cause I was the only person here right now I startled several animals which took possession of the gravel path or the sourroundings. It was in lap three when I had the first collision this evening. One of the many bats which are flying here in the evening was a bit eager with her flight maneuvers and slapped me on my right cheek with her wing. I was really startled.

Lap four also held a special surprise for me. In the second half of the lap - when running already became easier because of all this distraction and the approaching finish - I almost fell over a beaver, which seems to have no good ears. He heard my steps much too late, and then panically ran over the path, that I had to make a small jump not to fall over it. Wow, I can't say who was more startled, the beaver or me, 'cause I had'n seen him before either. I didn't knew beavers can get that big. It was quite impressive species with its big flat tail. Anyway, that should be the last animal sight for the evening.

My running time was bad, I arrived at 1 hour 47. On the other hand it's not that bad either. On an event I have asphalt road, an audience and pace runners. This all makes up for several minutes. Therefore I just have to get 10 minutes faster from now to take the mark this year. And I still have some time for training, the year is not over yet. In August I plan to take the mark in a semi-marathon in Rostock and to prepare for my first full-marathon at the end of September in Berlin, for which I already registered. If I am eager and willing, maybe I'll run another semi-marathon before.

Friday, April 25, 2003

A decision - at last
It definitely was time for a decision. I said good-buy to my thesis topic. It was simply too difficult and stochastic for me. And I am the one to be blamed for the long-lasting decision process. Anyway, I had a meeting with a doctorand of the chair of production, logistics and operations management today drawing out a new topic for me. It's about genetic algorithms (GA). He already had a clear concept what he wants from me. I have to do some literature review, description of the GA and so on in the first part. The second part will be the testing of a special GA he developed for a semiconductor plant in Singapore. I shall research on connections between parameters and target values.

He gave me some papers to read and I will have another meeting with the professor on Tuesday where I finally have to decide to take the topic.
The last week
My mind was quite busy with my own thesis problems this week, but now a decision has made (see above). So whatt else did I do? I stayed in Ingolstadt for the Easter Holiday, making some sport and reading the last of the three new books I ordered from amazon a while ago about. It is about a North Korean defector, who has been sent to a labor camp at the age of 9 (see the book). An incredible story.

Last Saturday I went to Munich to buy new running shoes. My old ones were worn out, I already had knee problems for a while. I probably found the best running shoe shop on the world, led by two youngsters with a medicine degree who offer professional advice, making video analysis of your running style and so on. I've got a shoe fitting for my needs for only 110 Euro, quite a good deal regarding the good consulting. It's a Puma Extol II special edition Jamaika sporting a trendy yellow-green (you should see me in this, wow :) ). And the pain vanished, I checked it with a 15 km run some days later.

Today in the morning Geor, Kai and me made a bike trip to an electronic market some 25 km out of town which holds a special sale over the weekend. It was a nice trip along the river Danube.

Plans for the weekend? Nothing yet except reading papers.

Monday, April 14, 2003

The Olympic Games in my hometown?
Maybe it's just a dream, but dreams are there to be dreamed. Saturday the German National Olympic Commitee selected the German candidate town for the Summer Olympics 2012. Leipzig was chosen among five cities including Stuttgart, Duesseldorf, Frankfurt and Hamburg. But more interesting for me is the second decision, where the sailing competitions are to be held. Rostock, my birthplace and longtime hometown has won over Kiel, what a surprise.

So, to make my dream come true, the IOC has just to award the games to Germany, then everything will be allright. But who will doubt it, if you regard the other possible nominees including so low-profile cities like Paris, London, Madrid, New York, Moscow, Toronto, Rio... :)

Sunday, April 13, 2003

Weekend in Stuttgart
Thursday evening I was jogging with Kai in the snowy evening weather of Ingolstadt, what a hell. Now I am sitting in Stuttgart in a nice orange-painted internet-café, very trendy. The weather is a dream, warm and sunny. Julia and me have been skating all afternoon in the hip commercial district of Stuttgart-Vaihingen, where she works. I had a pizza some minutes ago and will now settle down at a beergarden to read and have a drink. Julia has gone to work for two hours.

Saturday we attended a big open air party in the city centre with lots of live bands like Nena, No Angels, Massive Töne etc. Great sounds.

Sunday, April 6, 2003

The Fatal Bet
During our conversation at the brunch we arrived at the topic of sport and fitness. Kai and George again tried to establish reasons why I am faster at running. The hitting argument was that they both weight over 30 kg more. Well, this makes a bit of sense. So I don't know how, but finally we came up with a bet: Kai and me will run two times around the Baggersee (10,6 km) and the one who is fastest gets a crate of beer. Well, normally this wouldn't be difficult for me to win, but the fatal condition was that I run with his weight. So I packed 30 kg into my big backpack, almost half the weight of my body. When lifting up the backpack the first time, I became to know the meaning of 30 kg. Oh my god!

So it was no surprise that Kai was forward-pressing after just 2 km of running together. I had a hard time til the end, composing a mixture of fast walking and slow running. The problem was that the weight was placed too low in the backpack, and all in one place. Therefor I had to walk/run quite bend forward, with a tottering backpack. I can tell you, it was no fun. And the result: Kai won by an edge, but a very big one. I needed 1:26 hours for the 10,6 km, whereas Kai already arrived after one hour and some minutes. Even under optimal conditions I wouldn't have won, 30 kg is not just more than I imagined. It's more than enough for carrying around and far too much for running with it. So in this context, I was quite happy with the time.

Arrived at home I couldn't do much more than sitting in my camping chair taking a foot massage bath and watching TV, changing positions every minute. Some things are really hurting after this event. But therefor the overal betting statistic between Kai and me is now one to one, if you remember the last bicycle bet that I won.
Snow and shorts
Today Maxie had invited to a birthday brunch at Kai's flat, so I woke up around 11 in the "morning". Because the sun was shining brightly into my room I decided to wear shorts, t -shirt and sandals and then went out on my bike. When I came out, I shocked, it was terribly cold and windy. I can stand quite a lot if it's just for a short time. Actually I like doing sports when I'm a little cold. And after all it was just a short ten minutes ride. But I didn't feel like going back.

Well, I survived it, and had a happy brunch with some other friends. But on the way back it became really bad. I was quite cold already when some tiny snow flakes started falling down on me. It was then when I realized that it was really really cold. Luckily, I was almost at home.

Friday, April 4, 2003

Punch-Up alarm
George called me in the evening to join in having some drinks with the returned T.W. and some of his friends. I decided not to join them this time as the night was scheduled open end and this can be quite expensive. At least til midnight when I decided that they must now be in a state that I can join in without needing to spend too much to keep the pace. I was right. When I came to the bar around 2 am, George and especially T.W. had quite some drinks already. Conversations were on a minimal intellectual level and George had a hard time to convince "our Turkish friends" from the neighboring table that T.W. is suffering a spastic disease, and that his movements, statements and gestures were not meant in any way as an attempt to start a major punch-up.