Is It Spring Yet?

For the last couple of days I felt pretty down. My stomach was really upset (which used to be a problem quite often in the past and caused by me stressing out about things) and the super grey, snowy-rainy, cold weather wasn’t helping neither. I’m not sure if my upset stomach was caused by me being sick of the depressing weather or if I actually ate something wrong.
Anyhow, I didn’t even feel like exercising – all I did was taking my bike out for a short 10mile ride after I installed a new, wider back tire. A nice change to my setting; I’ve been planning on doing some changes such as the new SRAM NX drivetrain, but since I wasn’t in the mood for biking at all I postponed it for some point in the future.

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On Top Of (My) World

The First Snowy Saturday In The Central German Mountains

Yesterday the temperatures finally dropped and heavy storms pushed the clouds away from us after what felt like weeks of pouring rain (it was actually only raining for a few days, but the amount of water was ridiculous). I wished I could spend the weekend in the Alps, but it’s simply too far, so instead I decided to to drive to the Harz  – a low mountain range in northern/central Germany.

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Hüttenurlaub

Because there ain’t no better English word for it

IMG_0163There are some German words in the English language that are being used untranslated: Gemütlichkeit, Hefeweizen, Sauerkraut and Hüttenurlaub – or at least it should be one of those words. While it’s probably hard to find an equivalent English word for Doppelgänger one might find one for Hüttenurlaub: Alp (Inn) vacation…. But this is where the Gemütlichkeit comes into play: Staying in one of those chalets in the Alps is gemütlich and not just some kind of vacation. In the summer time folks from the cities close to the Alps hike up the mountains and stay in those chalets for a couple nights; mountaineers use them as base camps for tours to the peaks, families take their kids to have some back-to-the-roots time and others just do day hikes to a Hütte and enjoy the delicious, local Bavarian/Austrian/South Tyrol cuisine: spinach/bacon dumplings with Sauerkraut, Kaiserschmarrn or simply an ice cold Hefeweizen.

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Golden Fall Weekend

I haven’t been posting for way too long. First I never really knew what to write about and second I thought that there ain’t anything special going on in my life that’s worth sharing. Well, at least the second point was wrong – there’s always something going that’s worth talking about; it’s not about the big events, but rather the small stuff (I think I mentioned that before already).
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Last month I decided to rent a flat in a nice residential area in Hamburg; I was excited as I felt that it would give me more freedom and independence, but I was also insecure about how to decorate it. I could never just buy furniture at the big stores (eg. IKEA) and make that my home; I wanted it to be more personal. I didn’t get this far – I got some nice things like a bed and table with chairs and an area rug, but then moved out (or at least cancelled the lease) after sleeping in it for one night. It made me anxious; I didn’t know what to do with myself at that place when on vacation – next week I’m off and knowing that I’d be “stuck at my place” made me really uncomfortable. So I told the landlord that I’m gonna move out again. This made me feel better; not only do I safe a lot of money each month, but it also gives me the freedom to go wherever I want to and do whatever I want to. Nonetheless I do want to have my own place (decorating and baking cookies for Xmas sounds fabulous), but it wasn’t the right place, the right town…
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Spring Awakening

Last night I went to bed late (late for me = 1am) – I went to a night shooting with the Army Reserve and even tho we stopped around 10pm we didn’t leave the range until past midnight. Weather wasn’t the greatest, but the folks were nice and we had a fun time. Consequently I didn’t lay down in my freshly washed sheets until way past midnight. Luckily I was able to sleep in today (I don’t do that often, but when I do it feels great). I was woken up by the sun shining bright through my window right into my face, looked at my watch – 10:30am! OMG what happened? Did I really sleep that long? I remember that I had the weirdest dreams – I was visiting my ex, being chased by a tattoo artist and surfing through downtown Seattle. Oh well, usually I don’t remember my dreams, but this one got stuck in my head. I didn’t leave myself time to think too much about it, opened the curtains and was greeted by blue skies – what a change compared to a few hours ago. This is gonna be my weekend I decided! After a bowl of cereal for breakfast I grabbed my running shoes and went outside – I haven’t even checked my phone yet…0227

The city I live in is not the nicest for running, but there’s a large park only five minutes by car, the Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe – a UNESCO world heritage site with dozens of smaller lakes, countless statues and paths (partly paved, partly sand) with inclines of all levels.

By the time I got to the park it was already past 11am and I wasn’t the only one who wanted to enjoy the beautiful weather; tourists from all over, students and people from the city were walking their dogs, taking pictures or out for a run. I still found some nice paths that were less crowded and the further I got up the hills the greater the solitude. I stopped to capture some sun rays on a bench next to a nice statue – a place where you can enjoy beautiful vistas over the entire city, but only few people get there. Well, not so today. Two ladies had the same idea and sat down next to me. Even tho the temperatures were only at 40F it felt like t-shirt weather thanks to the strong sun and little wind. They too came up there to enjoy the solitude and we were laughing when we saw a group of tourists hiking up the hill. After a while we three parted, leaving this place of tranquility to the strangers.

I continued my run for another twenty minutes or so thinking about how great it feels to breath in the cold air while chasing down the muddy trails. Last year I started running longer distances and since I am rather fit I wasn’t struggling with up to 80km per week. Sadly your joints and tendons don’t improve as fast as your endurance does and after a few months I had to stop running completely – my knee was badly inflamed.  For the following months I didn’t go running at all – which was bad for my temper since running is life for me and I knew that I won’t be able to start my first ultras this year. In the latest Runner’s World magazine I read an article about the common mistake unexperienced runners make; your skeleton is strong enough and endurance can be built up fast, but all the soft supporting parts (ligaments, tendons, joints and so on) need way more time to adjust. This encouraged me to slowly start running again – only very short distances of 2-5km. It feels so good and bad at the same time. Knowing that I’d be able to easily run at least a half marathon in a decent time, but having to stop after a maximum of half an hour to not overstrain. It’s more of a mental process, but I’m willing to give it as much time as it needs. For this year I won’t be planning any marathons (I cancelled all of last year’s ones), maybe a single half marathon towards the end of the season.

This run I added several walking parts in between, not only to relieve my knee, but also to take some pictures (please excuse the quality, they’re all taken with my cellular).