Tag Archives: running

The Frog, the Ball and I

Monday saw some torrential rain around where I live but – being my own hero and all – that didn’t keep me from going out for an hour long run… while my cats, the frog and the ball in the drawing, decided to stay put on the cozy warm DRY bed…

Now isn’t that some real kickass determination I showed on a public holiday??!? 😀

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Flying and Falling

Running has been a two-sided sword lately. While I’ve always loved the serenity and calm, clarity and freedom I gained from running, it is still a sport and if you’re a little under the weather or simply a tad burnt out it can be a real challenge to complete a race. No more feeling like flying over those fields.

Before I went on my 3-week vacation mid-September I was definitely drained, both physically but even more so mentally. And thus I had to realize I wasn’t up to finishing the 10k race I had registered for. After 8k my mind simply shut down and my legs wouldn’t move anymore. I took this as a sign to slow down and seriously re-charge my batteries during my vacation.

I was successful and even though I caught the sniffles and stopped training alltogether for a couple of days, it seems like this was exactly what my body needed.

Thus regarched and mentally ready I got off to this year’s half-marathon of my choice around a most idyllic lake close by. All went well – until km 10…

And that’s when – for some still inexplicable reason – I not only fell, but flew for the briefest of moments and came crashing down on the gravel path: Ouch! It hurt. And once again not only physically but even more so mentally. I know it sounds aweful but I was kind of relieved to see another runner crash at the exact same spot I did only a minute later. Helped me not to feel too awkward… Horrible, I know.

Anyways, after getting cleaned up a little I tried to run on but in the end didn’t have the stomach to pull it through and turned around. I wanted to make sure I hadn’t cracked or torn anything. As luck would have it the halfway mark where I crashed was right where the boats crossed the lake so I was able to hop on and get myself chauffeured back to the finish line.

Luckily, I wasn’t seriously hurt. So the next day despite the road burn, bruising and horrible muscle aches I was able to get up – and even run. As my friend said: Get up on that horse again to avoid a mental block. And so I did. My dear Renntier (running deer :-)) friend took me back to the lake and “made” me finish the second half of the race. Just for the sake of it I added some extra 3-4k to show running who’s boss 🙂

Q: Did you ever crash badly enough to keep you from ever doing something again, say skiing, horseback riding, skating etc.?

Take care – seriously!
Yours truly,
S@m

Kitchen Accident

Sometimes things go wrong. And they make a huge mess out of everything. Last night I had one of these moments when an olive oil bottle decided to slip outta my hand. And left olive oil stains all over the kitchen floor tiles, cupboards and oven front.

Being in the middle of cooking and as hungry as a bear after hibernation didn’t exactly help the situation.

But alas, I got the mess cleaned up and used the rage to complete a kickass benchmark run – successfully channeling energy. And to end the day my cats eased my strained nerves with lots of cuddles and a load of loud purring 🙂

Q: How do you channel your rage?

Hope you’re having an accident-free day no matter where you are or what you’re doing!

Love, S@m

Race Bug

I’ve been into sports more or less all my life. Not in a club or another specifically dedicated way but either watching it or just doing it for myself. As a kid is was mostly playing games that involved running around outside or sometimes playing soccer with my brother and his friends (if they let me). Of course I also had a bicycle, roller skates and at times a skateboard that kept me moving.

As a teenager I wasn’t crazy about gym class but in my spare time I still remained active and rode my bike pretty much everywhere. So that never stopped. But only at the age of 27 did I consciously take up running as a regular habit. At first I found it extremely arduous, I could hardly run a couple of hundred yards without sounding like a steam engine. But I kept at it and stuck with it ever since.

I’ve never turned into a fast runner but I can run moderate distances and as I run slowly I can run for quite a long time no problem. Record is around two and a half hours. In the past years I’ve participated in a few races but after each and every one I was convinced it was the last. I did not like the masses, running with other folks does not appeal to me at all and usually race day is simply not one of my “magical days” when I just get up and run as if I’d never done anything else.

Of course, exercise-induced asthma doesn’t help. But I’m starting to get accustomed to it and know how to work with it. I’ve found my peace with not being the fastest runner but instead concentrate on having fun while I’m out there enjoying nature in all it’s glory. And I think that’s why this year everything’s different.

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First run this year… lots of snow to tread…

All of a sudden I’m chasing race after race. Or, well, let’s say I’m easily convinced to join in yet another one. One of my very best friends is an inspiring runner, duathlete and thriathlete. He recently joined the board of a runners club and asked me to join the club as well. He lured me in with the prospect of receiving 10 bucks for every race I finish that is on our race club’s list. So after only a couple of races I’ll have earned back my club fee and after that it’s pure cash… haha, it seems I’m a capitalist after all.

But to be honest, it’s not about the money at all. What spurs me this time is

a) The fact that all the races I’ve joined so far were only regional events with few runners and

b) I’m taking it so easy with the only goal being that I arrive – regardless of the time.

That does the trick. I’ve stopped agonizing about my performance but instead concentrate on the joys of running: The feeling of being healthy and able to run at all, the fresh crisp-clean air, the sounds, texture of snow or gravel under my feet, the friendly folks spurring the runners on, the other participants- joy – it’s all most inspiring. And guess what? I’ve been delivering my best results when it comes to times so far 🙂

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Weeheee, soooo earned that medal!!

Now of course one might think I might be running away from something… which might make sense after as exhausting a year as the one I’ve just put behind me. But then again I’ve always been a rather positive person so I prefer to look at it the other way – I’m running towards something. Be it answers, a new beginning or simply the appreciation of a cleansing shower after the run 🙂

Dear readers, is there anything you totally changed your mind about over time?

Breaking the Radio Silence

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Holiday Season Run

 

DIE FUNKSTILLE BRECHEN

I’ve been away from my blog – and pretty much all things social media in general – for almost two months. When looking around the blogger sphere I see this happening on a more or less regular basis, especially to blogger who have a day job, possibly staring into a screen more or less all day. I sometimes feel intimidated by the mere thought of spending more time in front of a screen so I rather spend my spare time doodling or painting, enjoying meditative yoga sessions or going for a run.

Fast zwei Monate habe ich mich von meinem Blog – und so ziemlich allen sozialen Medien – ferngehalten. Wenn ich mich so in der BlogosphĂ€re umsehe, scheint das auf einer mehr oder weniger regelmĂ€ssigen Basis zu geschehen, speziell bei Bloggern, die einer (anderen) hauptberuflichen TĂ€tigkeit nachgehen und dabei vielleicht auch noch den ganzen Tag in einen Bildschirm starren. Mich selbst schĂŒchtert der Gedanke, noch mehr Zeit vor dem Bildschirm zu verbringen, manchmal richtiggehend ein und so verbringe ich meine freie Zeit lieber mit Zeichnen und Malen, einer meditativen Yoga-Sitzung oder beim Joggen im Wald.

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January Snowy Trail Run

My return to Switzerland and the getting settled in again was both exhilarating yet exhausting. So when I finally and quite literally collapsed into my vacation over Christmas and New Year’s I decided to cancel all my plans except the ones with my family and to stay away from all “virtual” contacts. I needed to concentrate on the here and now and I regret nothing. I spent my time exactly as I had imagined, rediscovering my love for winter, snowfall, freshly powdered fields and both winter runs and hikes.

Meine RĂŒckkehr in die Schweiz und der Prozess der Akklimatisierung sind gleichzeitig beglĂŒckend wie auch erschöpfend. Als ich also buchstĂ€blich in meine Weihnachtsferien kollabierte, entschied ich mich, sĂ€mtliche bisher gemachten PlĂ€ne abzublasen, abgesehen von den vereinbarten Treffen mit meiner Familie, und mich von allen virtuellen Kontakten fernzuhalten. Ich musste mich auf’s Hier und Jetzt konzentrieren und ich bereue nichts. Ich habe meine Zeit genau so verbracht, wie ich es mir vorgestellt habe, indem ich meine Liebe fĂŒr den Winter, Schneefall, frisch gepuderte Felder und sowohl WinterlĂ€ufe wie auch -wanderungen wiederentdeckt habe.

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Image courtesy of ebay.co.uk

Luckily I got myself a pair of Goretex Reebok Trails at the close by Adidas Outlet store that now also carries Reebok products (no, I’m not getting paid to say this, I’m just a huge fan of the fact that I can get some reasonably priced Reebok products close by now). I’m super happy with the shoe as it has the profile to get me through all sorts of snow and mud without slipping once. While I’m usually not a huge fan of races one of my best friends asked me to join a New Year’s race of 12k which I joined last weekend. Though I was as slow as ever I did have a ton of fun enjoying the serene, white landscape and the unusually few runners competing in the race. And the ones who were there had the same goal as I did: Just enjoy the atmosphere, never mind the time. We joked and sang with the audience, motivated each other along the way and helped one another up if someone should slip on the icy path after all. That’s the spirit that pulls me back to races, makes me consider signing up for another race or two. And yes, the next one I’m registered for is very close to home and only 8k long but promises no less fun!

GlĂŒcklicherweise hatte ich mir bei nahegelegenen Adidas Outlet, der seit Neustem auch Reebok Produkte vertreibt (nein, ich werde nicht dafĂŒr bezahlt, dies zu sagen, ich bin nur ein riesiger Fan der Tatsache, dass ich nun ein paar vernĂŒnftig teure Reebok Produkte ganz in der NĂ€he einkaufen kann), ein paar Goretex Reebok Trails gekauft. Ich bin super-glĂŒcklich mit dem Schuh, hat er doch ein Profil, der mich durch jegliche Art Schnee und Dreck transportiert, ohne auch einmal auszurutschen. WĂ€hrend ich ĂŒblicherweise nicht ein riesiger Fan von LaufanlĂ€ssen bin, habe ich doch letztes Wochenende auf Anfrage eines meiner besten Freunde an einem 12km Neujahrslauf teilgenommen. Obwohl ich langsam wie immer war, hatte ich doch eine Tonne Spass dabei, die ruhige, weisse Landschaft und die Gesellschaft der ungewöhnlich kleine Masse an LĂ€ufern, die an diesem Anlass teilnahmen, zu geniessen. Und die wenigen, die da waren, hatten dasselbe Ziel wie ich: Einfach die AtmosphĂ€re geniessen ohne sich um die Endzeit zu kĂŒmmern. Wir witzelten und sangen mit dem Publikum, motivierten einander unterwegs und halfen einander auf, sollte doch jemand mal auf einem eisigen Pfad ausrutschen. Das ist genau die Einstellung, die mich wieder darĂŒber nachdenken lĂ€sst, an weiteren LĂ€ufen teilzunehmen. Und ja, der nĂ€chste Lauf, fĂŒr den ich angemeldet bin, ist sehr nahe bei mir zuhause und nur gerade 8km lang, verspricht deswegen aber nicht weniger Spass!

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Saturday Afternoon Hike Enjoying the View over the Sea of Fog.

Unfortunately, my – literally – fast friend who’s running whatever race comes under his feet will be benched for the time coming: He had to get his shoulder fixed after having it dislocated for the umpteenth time. But he promised to come and cheer me on, so that should be good!!

UnglĂŒcklicherweise wird mein unglaublich schneller Freund zum Zeitpunkt dieses Rennens auf die Ersatzbank verbannt sein: Er muss seine Schulter operieren lassen, nachdem er sie zum x-ten Male ausgerenkt hat. Aber er hat versprochen, mich anfeuern zu kommen, das sollte also trotzdem spassig werden!!

Well, I guess I’ll keep you updated on my running, doodling and other shenanigans on a more frequent basis again. At least that’s the plan. But we know how live is: Every so often – or more often than not?! – it interferes and we’re left juggling our at times challenging everyday lives. But I’m determined to use this blog as an outlet for what’s going on. Maybe even on a deeper, more personal level… who knows what this new year will bring 😉

Nun, ich denke ich halte euch wieder etwas regelmĂ€ssiger auf dem Laufenden 😉 ĂŒber meine Rennerei, Zeichnerei und anderen Spielereien. Zumindest ist das der Plan. Doch wir wissen ja, wie das Leben derweil ist: Gelegentlich – oder öfter als nicht?! – funkt es uns dazwischen und wir mĂŒssen versuchen, unseren teilweise doch recht herausfordernden Alltag unter einen Hut zu bringen. Doch ich bin entschlossen, diesen Blog als Ventil dafĂŒr, was in meinem Leben so vorgeht, zu nutzen. Vielleicht sogar auf einer etwas tieferen, persönlicheren Ebene
 Wer weiss schon, was dieses neue Jahr noch alles mit sich bringt 😉

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What keeps you running? Do you join races on a regular basis?

Was hÀlt dich am Laufen? Nimmst du regelmÀssig an VolkslÀufen teil?

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Running Encounters

Baby (or toddler?) bird on what might well be his first flight.
Baby (or toddler?) bird on what might well be his first flight.

It is the time of the year when young birds leave their nest and so it’s probably no wonder that I happened upon this little fella on one of my last runs. Of course, I didn’t touch him or anything, just watched him sit there for a while, hoping that his family would find him and finish the job of teaching him how to fly.
Es ist wieder die Jahreszeit der flĂŒgge werdenden Vögel und so scheint es wohl wenig erstaunlich, dass ich auf einem meiner letzten LĂ€ufe diesem kleinen Kerlchen begegnet bin. NatĂŒrlich habe ich ihn nicht angefasst sondern nur fĂŒr eine Weile beobachtet, wie er geduldig dasitzt. Ich hoffte instĂ€ndig, dass seine Familie ihn finden und ihm das Fliegen noch fertig beibringen wĂŒrde.

On Saturday’s run a couple of bicyclists and fellow runners had to disturb a wedding party about to take pictures on this little footbridge down at Lady Bird Lake close to Longhorn Dam. It was drizzling at the time so they first had to remove the humongous pile of umbrellas they had piled up at the end/beginning of the bridge 🙂
Auf meinem Samstags-Lauf mussten einige Velofahrer und Mit-LĂ€ufer eine Hochzeitsgesellschaft stören, die gerade dabei war, Fotos auf dieser kleinen HolzbrĂŒcke beim Lady Bird Lake nahe des Longhorn Dams zu schiessen. Es nieselte und so musste die Gesellschaft erst einmal den enormen Haufen Regenschirme aus dem Weg rĂ€umen, die sich am Anfang/Ende der BrĂŒcke aufgetĂŒrmt hatte 🙂

They're a regular sight on my Town Lake runs.
They’re a regular sight on my Town Lake runs.

The other day I finally stopped and took a picture of a flock of geese that I come upon quite frequently on my runs along Town Lake. I don’t know what it is about geese but they always make me smile. Their looks are very similar to that of swans but the latter have a tendency to scare me while geese just seem so much friendlier, not sure why. Probably because no goose ever tried to peck my brother to mush in his stroller back when he was a baby.
KĂŒrzlich habe ich mir endlich die MĂŒhe gemacht anzuhalten und ein Foto dieser GĂ€nseschar, die mir recht oft auf meinen LĂ€ufen um den Town Lake begegnet, zu machen. Ich bin mir nicht ganz im Klaren darĂŒber, warum mich GĂ€nse immer zum Grinsen bringen. GĂ€nse sehen ja SchwĂ€nen ganz schön Ă€hnlich, aber die Letzteren beunruhigen mich eher, wĂ€hrend GĂ€nse so viel freundlicher wirken; keine Ahnung. Vielleicht weil keine Gans je versucht hat, meinen Bruder in seinem Kinderwagen zu Brei zu picken als er noch ein Baby war.

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Lots of Water

VIEL WASSER

While Switzerland and parts of Germany and France – see a photo of the Seine’s high waters that my boss sent me from Paris below almost got swamped off the continent Texas can’t complain about shortage of water either. What’s good for lakes and aquifers is not necessarily great on streets as owing to the rocky ground the water isn’t absorbed easily and even the tiniest thunderstorm quickly sends cars all over the place: Aquaplaning is the rule and very often water streams across streets in streams which might look relatively harmless but considering that only 2 feet of moving water can carry away a large car or even a bus makes you think twice about driving through anything more than a trickle.

WĂ€hrend die Schweiz und Teile von Deutschland beinahe vom Kontinent geschwemmt wurden, konnten auch wir hier in Texas uns nicht ĂŒber Wasserknappheit beklagen. Was gut fĂŒr die Seen und underirdischen Reservoire ist, wird wegen des felisgen Untergrunds bereits beim kleinsten Gewitter schnell zur gefĂ€hrlichen Rutschpartie: Aquaplaning ist die Regel und oftmals strömen BĂ€che ĂŒber Strassen, die zwar relativ harmlos scheinen, doch wenn man bedenkt, dass schon etwas ĂŒber einen halben Meter Wasser ein grosses GefĂ€hrt oder gar einen Bus wegzuschwemmen vermag, dann muss man sich zweimal ĂŒberlegen, so einfach durch fliessendes Wasser zu fahren.

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Oftentimes houses are left partially flooded but since we’re living on a hill the worst I have to deal with is usually smaller obstacles such as I encountered earlier this week on one of my runs:
Oftmals blieben HĂ€user teilweise ĂŒberflutet zurĂŒck, doch da wir auf einem HĂŒgel wohnen, endet starker Regen fĂŒr mich meist eher in leichten Hindernissen wie Anfang der Woche auf einem Lauf:

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Luckily I was able to bypass the hindrance safely and without any poison ivy attacks.
On the last piece of my run I got to encounter how high the lake’s waters really were – the kayak rental was totally submerged:
GlĂŒcklicherweise konnte ich das Hindernis sicher und ohne Giftefeu-Attake umgehen.
Auf den letzten Metern dann sah ich auch wie hoch der See tatsĂ€chlich stand – die Kajakvermietung total unter Wasser:

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Thursday I had an appointment with the dental hygienist and in that connection I only got to encounter water on my face as the hygienist initially used a wrong attachment for his instrument. After attaching the correct piece I got to sit back, relax comfortably simmer towards my once again shiny white teeth 😉
Am Donnerstag dann war ich mit dem Dentalhygieniker verabredet und Wasser bekam ich in diesem Zusammenhang mehrheitlich auf meinem Gesicht zu spĂŒren, weil er anfĂ€nglich einen falschen Aufsatz fĂŒr sein Instrument benutzte. Nachdem er einen neuen Aufsatz aufschraubte konnte ich dann gemĂŒtlich meinen wieder strahlend weissen ZĂ€hnen entgegenzittern 😉

And my visit to the hairdresser didn’t have a whole lot to do with water either except for when the haircutter washed my hair but after the appointment I was so happy with my total overhaul that I even took a rare selfie:
Und auch mein Auflug zum Frisör gestern hatte nur beim Haare waschen mit Wasser zu tun, aber ich war nach dem Besuch so happy mit meiner Totalrenovation, dass ich sogar ein rares Selfie schoss:

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Thanks to the healthy, summery complexion my teeth actually do seem quite white – not the snow white so typical for Americans but… white nonetheless 🙂

And today’s run even had no connection to water whatsoever except for the fact that I ran around Town Lake. For once the dam’s lock were opened considerably, hopefully making jogging around Town Lake possible without having to circumvent wet obstacles.
But in exchange a nice surprise awaited be on my way to my usual starting spot along the lake (and once again – this had absolutely nothing to do with water…): I got into a traffic jam. And when wanting to check the reason of the congestion I discovered to my deepest concern that I must be the reason for it:
Und der heutige Lauf hatte eigentlich ĂŒberhaupt nichts mit Wasser zu tun, abgesehen davon, dass ich am Town Lake entlang lief. FĂŒr einmal waren auch die Schleusen des Stausees ziemlich weit offen, so dass hoffentlich bald wieder ein Joggen ohne feuchte Hindnisse zu umgehen möglich sein wird.
DafĂŒr wartete auf dem Weg zu meinem ĂŒblichen Startplatz eine Überraschung auf mich: Ich geriet in einen Stau. Und als ich auf der Karte nachgucken wollte, was den Stau verursacht musste ich mit Schrecken feststellen – dass ich es sein musste:

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But of course, this was not the case. A police escort had stopped the traffic on the merging lane and the reason announced itself with a dramatic roar – a gigantic motorcycle motorcade was escorted up Interstate 35. Especially the sound effect was unbelievably impressive (unfortunately I can’t add it to the photo… mostly because I didn’t record it…):
Doch dem war natĂŒrlich nicht so. Eine Polizeieskorte stoppte den Verkehr auf der Einfahrtsspur und mit Dröhnen kĂŒndigte sich der Grund dafĂŒr an – eine riesige Motorradkolonne musste sich angemeldet haben und wurde entsprechend auf der Autobahn eskortiert. Vor allem der Soundeffekt war unglaublich beeindruckend (kann ich jetzt hier aber leider nicht ins Bild einbauen):

Well, and thus comes another week to an interesting end. I’m certain next week will be another fascinating adventure, especially as we’re to be on the road next weekend.
Tja, und somit kommt meine Woche wieder zu einem interessanten Ende. Bin sicher die nÀchste Woche wird auch wieder spannend, vor allem weil wir nÀchstes Wochenende etwas unterwegs sein werden.

Do you have any plans for the coming days?
Habt ihr schon irgendwelche PlĂ€ne fĂŒr die kommenden Tage?

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When Nature Turns Against You

WENN DIE NATUR SICH GEGEN DICH KEHRT

We’ve had a couple of flowerpots on our patio for quite a while now and to my delight – and in spite of my really-not-so-green-thumb – the flowers continued to bloom. Until one day a squirrel took a liking to one of the plants. It started digging up the soil and munching the flowers and fresh leaves off.
Schon seit einem Weilchen haben wir zwei BlumenkĂŒbel auf unserem Balkon und zu meinem EntzĂŒcken – und trotz meines wirklich-nicht-so-grĂŒnen-Daumens – haben die Blumen kontinuierlich geblĂŒht. Bis eines Tages ein Eichhörnchen anfing, Gefallen an einer der Pflanzen zu finden. Es begann damit, die Erde aufzuwĂŒhlen und die Blumen und frischen BlĂ€tter abzuknabbern.

The other flower was never touched for some reason – until yesterday. When I came home from work the most pitiful sight awaited me: All that was left were some leafless flower stalks.
Die andere Blume wurde seltsamerweise nie angerĂŒhrt – bis gestern. Als ich von der Arbeit nach Hause kam, erwartete mich der armseligste Anblick: Alles was ĂŒbrig geblieben ist, sind die blattlosen BlumenstĂ€ngel.

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The little black dots on my face and neck: Not freckles but gnats…

Deeply annoyed but motivated by the finally sunny weather I went for a run. And Mother Nature threw all the gnats it could find at me. So I avoided breathing through my mouth. Which had me catch a whole army of them in my nose. Back home when I blew my nose a whole armada of gnats streamed out. I’m pretty sure I ingested and inhaled some as well which would explain why all of a sudden I heard – and felt – that ominous rumble in my guts that you never wish to hear and especially not feel. Least of all when you’re on a run. I had to run home real fast to make it to the restroom on time…

Zutiefst genervt, aber dank des endlich wieder mal schönen Wetters, machte ich mich auf zu einem Lauf. Und Mutter Natur schmiss sĂ€mtliche Schnaken die sie finden konnte nach mir. Entsprechen vermied ich es, durch den Mund zu atmen. Was natĂŒrlich dazu fĂŒhrte, dass ich eine ganze Armee mit meiner Nase fing. Wieder daheim beim Nase schneuzen entlud ich eine ganze Armada ins Nastuch. Ziemlich sicher habe ich auch einige verschluckt und eingeatmet, was allenfalls erklĂ€ren wĂŒrde weshalb ich plötzlich dieses ominöse Rumpeln in meinen Eingeweiden hörte und spĂŒrte, das man am liebsten nie hören und schon gar nicht spĂŒren möchte. Vor allem nicht auf einer Laufrunde. Ich musste buchstĂ€blich nach Hause rennen, um es rechtzeitig auf’s Klo zu schaffen…

Not at all sure what the Great Mother wants to tell me with all this.
Ich bin mir nicht ganz sicher, was die Grosse Mutter mir mit all dem sagen will…

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Free-Range Chicken

FREILANDHUHN

While yesterday after work I couldn’t quite decide whether to go for a nap or a run and subsequently the devils and daemons in my head started to fare war I eventually took over and went for that long over-due post-race run. And it was pure joy! I felt like what I hope free-range chickens feel like: Let loose!

Gestern nach der Arbeit konnte ich mich erst nicht recht entscheiden, ob ich mich auf einen Lauf begeben oder fĂŒr ein SchlĂ€fchen hinlegen sollte und entsprechend zettelten meine Teufelchen und DĂ€monen im Kopf einen Krieg an. Daraufhin ĂŒbernahm ich das Ruder und ging auf einen lĂ€ngst fĂ€lligen Lockerungslauf nach meinem 10k vom Sonntag. Und es war die pure Freude! Ich fĂŒhlte mich wie sich hoffentlich FreilandhĂŒhner fĂŒhlen: UngezĂŒgelt!

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