Stefan's Insights: 2009
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CNN reports: U.N. chief - Climate change deal reached

The moment of truth.. documented :-)

Thank you Daisy

Original AIDS Marathon Fundraising Party Artwork !!!





Team South Side Salazars –

You are awesome.

Congratulations on running the Chicago Marathon !!!

Congratulation to everybody who ran the Chicago Marathon this weekend !!!
Wishing everybody luck for their Chicago marathon 2009 run this weekend !!!

Posting this to support the AIDS Foundation of Chicago

Here is an exciting and fun way to help the AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC). The Bank of America Chicago Marathon has a unique campaign to help raise money for the charities participating in the marathon, including AFC. You can create your own digital footprint - a personalized digital shoe promoting your charity of choice. See the example image to the right. 

For every digital footprint created on behalf of the AIDS Marathon through October 9, Bank of America will donate $1 to AFC! Put your best foot forward! Take a moment and click here to create your footprint.  Please be sure to select "AIDS Marathon Training Program" from the list of participating charities so that AFC can receive the donation.

Here's the real kicker: the charity with the most footprints by October 9 will receive an additional $10,000! So, act today and be sure to forward this to your friends!



Details on Maui Marathon

Preparing for and actually running the marathon has been an awesome and very inspiring experience. It has not been easy, but D. T. Fleming Beach Park, Kapalua, Maui, Hawai...well worth the effort !

During the training, I have learned a lot about running, my bodies reaction to this kind of physical stress and healthier living in general. I feel generally much more healthier, fit and energetic than before.

MAUI – I flew into Maui on Friday afternoon and had a day to rest before the race. The evening before we had a pasta party to load up on carbohydrates.sept09 046

1:30am on Sunday morning, my eyes opened – minutes before the 2 alarm clocks and the wake up call I had scheduled. All clothes, gels, and other things laid out the night before, I went about getting dressed and loaded up with all equipment (6 rows of shotblocks sept09 050black cherry, 10 salt packs, 4 water bottles with gatorade, shoes with running tag, running shirt with running number securely attached, YO STEVE in big letters written on it !, sweat arm band, running hat, 70 sunscreen (hey, i know i have pale skin LOL), glide – to make sure nothing rubs and gets sore during running the distance) and walked around the apartment to help myself focus. 

230am I jumped in the cab i had ordered to bring me to thesept09 051 meeting place. Being german, I was early LOL. The bus came, we got on, off to the start line, where 1400 other runners had come together, everyone preparing in their own way (meditating, stretching, etc.) to prepare for the race.

Then the race started ! Doing this for the first time, it was amazing sept09 055and my adrenalin went crazy LOL (which accounted for me running WAY to fast for the first 6 miles!). I wont bore with details of the first 20miles, but the sunrise and running through the hills were great (relatively cool, a light breeze). It turned out that there are a bunch of people that sept09 056ran the same pace on a different run/walk interval. Chasing YO STEVE became a popular activity LOL – That’s where I first met Jamie and Daisy.

For the reminder of the race we ‘ran’ into eachother and actually finished the race together. As we ran sept09 057throught the more hilly areas halfway through the marathon, it didnt turn out to be very hard to ran up and down the hills, but in retrospect, it took a lot of energy out of me. What helped was that there still was some breeze and a gorgeous view.

So the first 20miles turned out to be pretty good. Then we got off the hills and for the rest 6.2 miles we ran along the highway and oceanshore, through the neighborhoods and 91degree heat on mostly dark asphalt road with hardly any wind………………..

Jaime, Daisy and me mostly ran together and when we did, we motivated each other to keep going. We experienced that talking to eachother really helped to keep the thoughts off the pain and exhaustion. At the last .2 miles, adrenalin kept us going and sprinting through the finish line together with our heads and arms held up high !!! 

sports_mauimarathon The support after the race was great. Getting the medal, the sheet with your running information, food and icepacks for the legs,sept09 094 even a massage station (free for runners) to ease and soften the pain. It was an awesome moment for me. I was completely exhausted, but proud of myself for this achievement (easily one of the most difficult things I did in my life so far), as well as humbled by other runners (someone on crotches, someone with downsyndrom, the oldest runner (a 79 year ‘young’ lady from Japan)…

At this point (like in the Oscars LOL), I would like to thank running coach Aaron for all his support and advice, fundraising organizer Dan for his excellent coordination of everything, my family for their support and Jaime and Daisy – I couldnt have finished it with out you !

You want to do something that you can be proud of (and others will be proud of you ?

Run a marathon for a good cause !

By the way, please help me to continue fundraising for the AIDS foundation – I still got a few hundred dollars to go.. THANK YOU

I DID IT !!! Completed 26.2 miles in MAUI !!!


Image via Wikipedia

This is just a quick post to provide a link to the pictures:

Click here for pictures (use runners / runners).

And I will post more  impressions, stories and experiences soon !

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This Sunday – MAUI MARATHON !!

Marathon Preparedness

Image by super-structure via Flickr

This Sunday all the getting up early on a Saturday, all the running and sweating is reaching its ultimate destination – the full 26.2 mile MAUI MARATHON. Find all information about it here. I am ready for it. I am not running training runs this week to give my body a rest. I am preparing my running stuff, gels, shot blocks, salt packs, etc. etc...

This is also a great opportunity for everyone to support me in my efforts by donating to the AIDS Foundation Chicago ! <Click here>

Wish me luck and no sunburn :-) ! Thank you !!!
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The Fundraising-Party was great !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AIDS Marathon Training Program

Image by Michael248 via Flickr

First of all – Chief O’Neills is a great place to have a party ! Thank you all at Chief’s for your help and support !

Given that there is a lot of things going on at work, I struggled to get to my own party on time :-). I just made it to the official start at 7pm – being greeted by my working colleagues who already were there enjoying themselves LOL.

I checked in with the owner, the event coordinator and the staff to make sure everything is ready to go, set up my door table to give out the little ticket stubs in return for a donation. The staff had put a little round glass vase on the table – which turned out to become the donation container :-).

I laid out the drawing block and the different color markers I bought, to allow people to draw and doodle about this event or about running in general.

The band came and set themselves up on the little stage in the room I had available for this event. This room was perfect.. it was in the middle of the building.. doors to keep it private.. its own bar (!).. a little stage.. and access to the beergarden.

The evening progressed nicely. People continued to drop in (and donate), sat down… some had food (which by everybody was considered really good) and enjoyed hanging out. The band really amazed everybody.. They are fantastic.. At the end of event, even the staff said that they would love to get the band back on a weekend.

Although the overall donation amount (after counting expenses off) wasn’t what i had hoped for..  I knew that everybody had had a great time.

I will post pictures soon.. likely after I come back from the marathon and have the time to work on putting everything together.

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REMINDER: Today ! 7-11pm at Chief O'Neills in Chicago, AIDS Foundation Marathon Fundraising event - Live Music, Drink Special, Join the fun tonight!


Image by Getty Images via Daylife
I couldn't run with my regular running group this Saturday, but caught up Sunday morning with my 23 miler. Started at 31st street (which is the 6mile marker), ran down to the 1 mile marked (end of lake shore drive), back up north to North avenue beach (12mile marker) and back to 31st street, where I added just another 1/2 mile south and back to complete the total of 23 miles. For all you runners, I ran the first 12 miles on a 4:2 interval, and 11 miles on 2:2. No shin splint pain (new running style!), no blisters (double-lined socks), legs a little sore. Lessons learned - dont forget salt packs (important after 15miles), and !!! put sun lotion not only on face and arms, but also on the BACK of your legs (i ran 11 miles straight north) - got sunburned on the backside of my knees LOL ! Now I am back on my running schedule and am looking forward to run with my group again..

Thank you to all of you who provided donations so far - your support is highly appreciated and makes the effort worthwile !!!

DON'T FORGET ! - September 2nd, Chief O'Neills (just a block south of the corner of Addison and Elston), 7-11pm - Fundraising event with live music and lots of fun !!! Checkout

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My main Fundraising event coming up !!!

Pokémon Christmas Bash album cover

Image via Wikipedia

A great band ! A great Irish Pub ! Drink Specials, awesome music – for details check out this page:

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Another milestone in my running journey

20 Miles to Braunston

Image by kenkilfedder via Flickr

20 Miles – This Saturday morning I ran with my running group at 7am to do our step-down run with 8 miles at our typical 11:30min. pace on a 4:1 interval.

This means that we tried to run each mile within 11:30-12minute pace and switch between 4 minutes or running and 1 minute of walking continiously during the length of this 8 mile run.

Well, for me today was special. I had dealt with Shin Splint issues over the last couple of week, but by changing my running style, I was successful to get rid of it. Basically, my running is now similar to that of a cross-country skier.

So after the first 8 miles (1:34 hour later), I stocked up with water again and within 10 minutes continued to head out again, continuing for 6 miles at a 3:1 schedule and finished the last 6 on a 2:2 schedule.

Yes, it was hot – around 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Yes, it was loooooooong, but really not that bad. Appropriate hydration was really important.

I am back !

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Researching Shin Splint and CHI Running

Image via Wikipedia
As I now know (learning by experience LOL), there are quite a few runners that eventually deal with 'shin splint', a condition that causes pain on the front of your lower legs, in short because you are training too hard. I had bummed up my midweek mileage from 4-5 to 8 miles every other day and after the second week experienced this weird kind of pinch/pain, in this area that i didnt know i have muscles at :-).

so now i had to give it a couple of days rest.. missed my 20miler weekend run (sorry running group, i really missed running with you!), but am recovering very well, trying to get back on track within the next week or so. my advise - dont force it, listen to your body, inform yourself and learn. this is not only for the short-term, but for the long-term and improvement of your health and your life-style, not just a short-term win.

i told a friend about my marathon preparation and the shin splint issue, and he told me about CHi running. Now i am checking it out and it seems very interesting.. Would love to hear comments from anybody who is using/practicing it and how it worked out for you.

a couple of links on the topic:

#Twitter4Business is a good overview for organizations to learn about what twitter is. It further includes best practices and case studies. Worth checking out.

Another mile stone on the way to the MARATHON

The Lone Cypress,  17 Mile Drive (#12)

Image by Christopher Chan via Flickr

Last Saturday, 5:30am – I am looking out the window and rain, thunder and lightning are making a clear statement about the weather conditions. I am getting prepared for the long run today anyway – 17 Miles. Like the one in California that every tourist drives along with their card.. except I will be running it step by step this morning.

So I am mixing gatorade power in my 4 water bottles. I have a bowl of cereal, so my body has something to burn. I pack a backpack with additional bandaids, cremes, and stuff to change.

Running hat, running cloth, switching the running interval on the watch, check, check, check.

I know it will be tough towards the end of the run. My running group and me ran the 14 miler two weeks ago, but I also upped my mileage during the week.

My advise to everybody running this distance the first time – be as well prepared as you can, then think of something that keeps your mind busy. In my case it is the constant time and pace checking since I am the running group lead – it keeps your mind busy… And then I found myself at the end of the 17 miles, yes my legs hurt a bit, but I was exstatic ! I just ran this unbelievable distance !!!

This was a mental milestone for me, I think that if I can do 17, I can do 26.2 miles !

If you are reading this, please consider helping me with a donation for the AIDS foundation using this link. The fundraising deadline and the marathon are approaching quickly and your support is very important. Thank you !

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John Cleese on ‘Wine for the Confused’

Hilarious piece of HULU video ! John Cleese in his dry british humor on the search for the right words to describe Wine for the layman. 45 minutes of really interesting learnings on the different kind of wines, leaving you with a solid understanding of the basis and tempted to just open that bottle you just bought from Trader Joe’s :-).

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United We Serve..

Additional links with more info/videos/links:

Please RT #UnitedWeServe President calls on all Americans to serve communities

..I am running in the rain…

Saturday morning.. around 8:30am.. I arunning in the rainm running.. running in the rain.. and I like it !!! Today is our 12 mile

run.. and knock on wood, things are going just fine.

No muscle cramps, no pains, not short on breath. The only thing

Image by otomatuah [so tired] via Flickr

annoying is the water stream running off the front of my hat.

It is pouring, soaking everybody

running this morning in not too cold water.. add some wind blowing against you into it.. WHAT MADE ME DO THIS ? Oh, I remember – the good cause, the opportunity to make an important statement, and at the same time get fit, make a healthy living joice. Better running in the rain, then sitting in a doctors office...

One note on my fundraising – less than a month to go and I am still over $2000 away from my goal. Please help me achieve the goal of $3500 by July 10th ! Any contribution counts ! Thank you

Einstein was right - time is relative.. weekends are never long enough :-)

Summary of the ‘runnings’ of the last two weeks


a bunch 193Again, it is a wonderful Saturday morning, sunny and – along the lakeside – a little chilly. There we are – about 60-70 people, all dressed up in running gear, at 7am on a Saturday morning, and – while my wife is thinking of me as she turns around in bed one more time – we are preparing to run 7 miles on a 4-1 schedule today. 4-1 ?? Four minutes running, one minute walking, a program developed by a famous marathon runner, used by the AIDS Foundation choaches to train us for the different marathons this year.

running group for maui marathon 2009

This morning we are ‘guest-running’ at the Foster beach area, because there is another race going on down at 31st street, where our usual weekend-long run  location is.

It has been a bit of a struggle to keep up with the mileage (at least 45 minutes every day while I was on vacation visiting my parents in Gernsheim, Germany  (including a little ‘secret’ side trip to Cinque Terre in northern Italy(Pics, Info) . The picture to the left is from the area around my hometown. It was great to run alongside fields of strawberries, asparagus, corns, and through old german forests.

Cinque Terre was a short stop on the way to Germany, five little villages where – due to the lack of touristyMap of the Cinque Terre, Italy attractions – one is forced to enjoy drinking espresso, eating three hour lunches and a leisure hiking along the ocean. A place to let one’s soul hang loose. Vernazza is the place we stayed, and may be for that reason my favorite. Running ? Well, stairs instead. About 2000-3000 total during the day, since everything is IMG_1372connected by stairs :-).

Day by day runs – the right equipment makes it a lot easier. I got new running shoes (which are feather light and provide noticable better support for my knee), a belt with water bottles and bags to transport keys, money and other necessities, as well as a headband. The daily runs combined with the relative ease of a 4-1 interval, the equipment and the short time required (45min. only), are beginning to form a habit that makes it easier to follow.

I run whenever I can find one hour of time. Morning, noon, afternoon, evening. No excuses. I am on a mission. I want to help fight AIDS. I want to set an example for others.. and for me. It is a goal that I will reach and I will be proud of. If you would like to SPONSOR my efforts click here.

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Online Peer Support

twitter logo map 09

Image by Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten via Flickr

Part of my personal strategy to achieve the momental goal of running a marathon and raising funds for the Aids Foundation is to communicate about my steps to achieve this large goal using social media.

The Aids Foundation provides a secure and easy website that I can use to allow family, friends and colleagues to make contributions towards the fundraising goal. Click here if you would like to contribute.

I also set up a social networking site for the people that are preparing to run the marathon in Maui this year, to connect to each other and share experiences, thoughts and lessons learned.

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Its’ worth it !!!

Dawn at Taritari (Nueva Esparta, Venezuela)

Image via Wikipedia

This week ran by fast ! LOL, nice play on words.. the week RAN by fast..  Sorry, corny german humor.

Every day of the week (except for Friday, as per plan), I was able carve out 45min. to an hour to run. Either inside in our training room on the treadmill (convenient and saves about 10min. but the scenary doesnt change), or outside (with the running group from work or by myself).

Per plan I am supposed to run 2 times 45 minutes and work out 2 more times. I ran 45-60min every day except Friday, trying to stay a little ahead of schedule.

Its the second sunday and we did our 4 mile run today. The other members of the running group picked me as their running group leader. While running for 4 minutes and then walking for 1, we continue to talk and get to know more about each other. Definitely a great team building exercise.

I had purchased a watch specifically on advise of the running coaches. Really great watch and very helpful for the intervals of running and walking (sidenote: one has to set it correctly.. not 4 hours and 1 hour LOL !).

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2nd day of training

Chicago Lakeshore

Image by Paul Morgan via Flickr

Monday, 4/27/9

Running with the group at work for a 5 mile along the Lakeshore. I am caught off guard on how humid it is and end up huffing and puffing and walking the last 1/2 mile back to the office.

Lesson learned – i have to adjust my speed based on weather conditions, and drink more water when the temperature is higher.

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Official Marathon training started on Saturday !

NYC Marathon 2008 - the winner! Brasil

Image by Marcos Vasconcelos Photography via Flickr

Saturday morning – 7 am. Oh boy, it is early and I am on my way to meet others that have signed up to run the Marathon in Maui in support of the efforts of the Aids Foundation.

I was surprised to find about 60 others to be there. The more I listened to them explaining how things work (slowly building up, run & walk at your pace), the more confident I became that my age and ‘ring of experience’ around my waistline will not hold me back to achieve this ambitious (26.2 miles) goal.

We started with a 3 mile run at your own leisure pace to determine who else runs at your speed and to bring them together as a running group.

I am getting excited about this. Fundraising is a bit new to me, but I am sure that I will learn. I even set up a ning social networking group ( for the runners to be able to connect to each other online and share their experiences and lessons learned.

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Thoughts on ‘Connected-ness’

Thought about some statement that friends made about being online often isolates someone from the ‘real’ world.

My experience is the opposite. I have never been as connected as I am now, where I talk to Network of testimonials: flickr's social networka lot of people in person, as well as online.

For example, I re-connected with people from Germany, old friends and working colleagues, who otherwise would not run into me in person.

Used appropriately and with caution, being connected can be a wonderful help in establishing, keeping and/or re-establishing human connection.