Running in: Germany (Berlin)

Berlin

It's hard to write about running in Berlin because it was the least memorable thing I did there, after the street art, the inside-museum art (over the course of the month I went to maybe a dozen or more galleries and museums, but the Berlin Biennial at the KW Institute was a favorite), the nightlife, and tramping around in the abandoned Iraqi embassy to East Berlin. 

Over the month I developed a theory of optimal running sightseeing. The very best places to see while running are 1) huge tourist attractions and 2) major parks or waterways. The worst place to run is around a neighborhood: I'd always prefer to be walking so I can duck into shops, or stop and people-watch, or take photos, or whatever.

At (for lack of a better term) "tourist attractions," you don't really need or want to take a photo (there are millions of photos of it already on the internet). You don't even want to be there for very long: they are crowded and unpleasant and not the kinds of places I'd like to spend a half a day getting to, jostling around with other tourists, straining to get my very own photo of [whatever]. In Paris, we ran along the Seine. In Cologne, we ran to the cathedral and across the Rhine. And in Berlin, we ran along the Tiergarten (but not in, regrettably) to the Bradenburg Gate. 

It's a nice gate!

I will briefly mention our other, more interesting adventures in Berlin:

We are at the abandoned Iraqi embassy.

We are at the abandoned Iraqi embassy.

Visa applications

Visa applications

A few other miscellaneous photos:

My first kaese spaetzle!

My first kaese spaetzle!

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Back at it

Hey all, thanks for the thoughtful and nuanced comments over in my last post. It was wonderful to hear from so many others who feel similarly. RoseRunner posted a piece about the article here, and if you haven't yet seen Meg's comment, it's absolutely nuts...

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Back to running & other things:

I've been home for a few weeks now and am re-acclimating to my non-traveling life (like working in an office again -- kind of a bummer, to be honest!)

Here are the highlights from the first few days:

  • Day 1: Root canal! (I've lived my life in fear of root canals, but it wasn't painful at all! If you need to have one and are nervous, fear not. But do take a huge Valium beforehand.)
  • Day 2: Attempt running in 90-something degree, humid North Carolina weather. Need to stop and take breaks....on a four-mile run. Ouch.
  • Day 3: Put some air in my bike tires and rode to work. A lady stretched out of the window of her car and yelled "Ride it girl!", which was the all-time high point of my bike-commuting annals.
  • Day 4: Attempt running again. It was even worse than the first time. Mentally retreat from the fall marathon ambitions that were tumbling around in my head while I was away.
  • Day 5: While commuting to work, I go over a bump and my lunch, which was hanging from my handlebars in a bag, bounces right off in the middle of the intersection. I have no choice but to watch cars zoom over and around it, hoping it doesn't get smashed before I can go rescue it. Bike-commuting low point.

I haven't been running much, due to lack of interest and a nagging pain in my right shin. I gave myself a whole week off of running, during which I gave it a few good rolls with the foam roller. It's feeling better, but I still have the problem of horrible heat/humidity. (Tuesday's run temperature: 99 degrees. And no, I am never going to become one of these "morning runners.") I was on the verge of breaking down and getting a YMCA membership. But on the day I planned to go sign up, I had a glorious outside run, which filled me with a fervor for running not felt in months. Since then running is improving but I have a ton of work to do if I want to get back to marathon fitness. 

Meanwhile, I've been strength training, for the first time ever. 

Back in April/May, I got very excited about the Nike Training Club app (reviewed on Page's blog here). Since her review, the app has changed a little: Now it offers something called "programs," which are four-week long strength training plans. I've always wanted to "strength train" but I have no desire to be gym person or learn about strength stuff at all (despite my sister's best attempts to teach me), so this was ideal. I immediately started the one called "Get Strong/Beginner" and got my butt kicked. I was so sore, I could hardly move. I abandoned the program about a week or so later.

This time, I know better than to use the 10-pound weights on Day 1. Since we only have those huge (to me) dumbells and I'm not planning to buy any more, I worked up to them by using them for one rep, then setting them aside for the second, then using them again. This technique leaves me with normal muscle soreness the next day -- nothing like the horrible DOMS I had in the spring.

I'm about three weeks in now and already I feel stronger -- I can do a few push-ups, I can hold myself up in various convoluted positions without shaking uncontrollably. I have no idea if this will actually make a difference for my running, but it's nice to be progressing in something!