390km, 23600m ascent, 24’800m descent, 14 alpine passes and 6 cantons – that is the Via Alpina. It should become my Way of St. James, lead me into my first sabbatical even, which I want to use to move away from the head-heavy work to the more physically emphasized jugging away. To clear my head, to think about what I should and shouldn’t change in the next year of my life or so. What makes me feel good and what not.
What was actually intended as an introduction to my sabbatical is now becoming the main theme of my time away. Nothing grounds me better and faster after an all too often quite hectic workday than hiking, walking and jogging.
Initially, the Via Alpina plan seemed quite daunting to me. So many unknowns: Can I just hike for so many days in a row? Will I get bored? Will I catch blisters, sore muscles, strains or worse? But then I remembered that the first thing I need to do is stop concentrating on the doubts and what could go wrong. Instead, I visualized myself hiking – in different weather conditions – through forests and villages, across meadows, plains and alps to majestic peaks, enjoying the view and tranquility. And finding my way back to myself. And ever since I started doing that there is no stopping me. I look forward to my adventure with great joy and excitement, whether it succeeds or not. Every starting line is already a victory. Worth a little celebration. Because it means that I have overcome my own doubts – but also those projected onto me by other people – and set out on my journey in spite of them, or precisely because of them. And neither the prospect of failure nor the hardships and deprivations I am sure to encounter can stop me. That alone is already a success!
390km, 23600m Aufstieg, 24’800m Abstieg, 14 Alpenpässe und 6 Kantone – das ist die Via Alpina. Sie soll mein Jakobsweg werden, mich in einen Sabbatical führen, in dem ich mich weg vom kopflastigen Arbeiten zum körperbetonten Chrampfen bewegen will. Den Kopf lüften, Gedanken machen, was sich im nächsten Jahr ändern soll und was nicht. Was mir gut tut und was nicht.
Was eigentlich als Einstieg in meinen Sabbatical gedacht war, wird nun zum Hauptthema meiner Auszeit. Nichts entschleunigt mich besser und schneller vom allzu oft recht hektischen Arbeitsalltag als Wandern, Spazieren und Joggen.
Initial schien mir das Unternehmen Via Alpina ziemlich erschreckend. So viele Unbekannte: Kann ich so viele Tage hintereinander einfach nur wandern? Wird mir langweilig? Werde ich Blasen, Muskelkater, Zerrungen oder Schlimmeres einfangen? Doch dann erinnerte ich mich, dass ich aufhören muss, mir als erstes die Zweifel und was alles schief gehen könnte vorzustellen. Stattdessen visualisierte ich, wie ich – bei verschiedenen Wetterbedingungen – durch Wald und Dörfer, über Wiesen, Auen und Alpen hin zu majestetischen Gipfeln wandere, die Aussicht und Ruhe geniesse. Und zu mir selbst zurückfinde. Und seither gibt es kein Halten mehr. Ich freue mich ohne Ende auf mein Abenteuer, egal ob es gelingt oder nicht. Jede Startlinie ist bereits ein Sieg. Eine kleine Feier wert. Denn es bedeutet, dass ich meine eigenen Zweifel – aber auch die von anderen Leuten auf mich projezierten – überwunden habe und mich dennoch, oder gerade deswegen auf den Weg mache. Und weder die Aussicht auf Misserfolg noch die mir bestimmt begegnenden Mühsale und Entbehrungen mich aufhalten können. Das alleine ist schon ein Erfolg!
Tuesday, 29th December called me for another run in the cold. I don’t mind cold runs as long as I got my exercise-induced asthma under control which unfortunately I have to admit is easier away from my cats (I only learned I have a cat allergy when I already had cats).
The surroundings were eerily beautiful in their white snow cover and today I did not meet one soul outside of the shelter of their heated cars.
When I passed a seemingly forlorn hamlet I saw a sign warning me to beware of the dog – which according to the picture had to be massive. I felt utterly grateful to not have met that beast in person.
A little after the hamlet back in the woods my eyes caught a slight glimpse of something that attracted my attention and when stepping closer I realized it was a bunch of white crosses in the middle of the woods surrounded by a white snow blanket. That definitely gave me the creeps and I sprinted for a little while, remembering the pretty little cottage with the birch alley I spotted earlier on in the run. Just keeping my mind busy and getting as much distance between the cemetery and me.
Sometimes if you’re not quite in the mood for a fast workout life hands it to you anyway.
A happy run is an important ingredient of every good, restoring vacation. Be it in a new city, by the beach or in the woods as was the case here.
I was going for an easy 5-6k but ended up doing 9k owing to a missed fork in the path which send me on a 2.5k extra loop.
Apart from the fact that dawn was drawing in which makes every single forest a somewhat mystic and even slightly creepy place to be I didn’t mind in the least as the running was going smooth and easy and I had a general feeling of peacefulness and content.
This weekend we got a first taste of the approaching fall – it rained incessantly for two days straight. What better to do than spending some time on the sofa, drinking tea, reading or watching a good movie.
When I’m lounging on the sofa I’m seldom alone these days as Elvis’ favorite spot to cuddle up is on a throw on the couch.
But I didn’t spend all my weekend hours inside. I also got myself out into the rain for a run twice. On Sunday for a 90min run which Nike Running Global Head Coach Bennett made bearable by saying the right things at the right time.
While out on the long run I saw a field mouse crossing the road in the torrential rain and once on the other side it had troubles getting onto the sidewalk so I helped it up and into the wide field away from the gushing waters pouring down the sidewalk. It quickly snuck underneath some clovers and seemed content enough.
Though the weather was quite awful to be outside in without a good umbrella, I still enjoyed the run and the feeling of badassery I carried throughout it and into the rest of the day.
Saw these guys while out running the other day. No, it’s not a kangaroo and a wolf, that’s just my artistic talent failing me. They were two gorgeous young foxes racing across the field towards the forest.
On last Sunday’s bicycle ride I was quite depleted and needed some energy intake from the bistro by the lake. I opted for a hazelnut croissant.
My brother had one too and when he studied the ingredients a brist of laughter hit him when he read “Brösel” which means (bread)crumbs. Neither of us had any idea you had to especially add them for pastry to crumble.
Sundays from spring to fall are reserved for bicycling. It’s been a tradition between my mum and my aunt for the longest time that they circle a lake nearby together, then sit on a bench and have coffee and sometimes prosecco they brought along. At some point I joined them without circling the lake as I usually lived further away and had enough to work from home to the lake and back. In exchange, the coffee and prosecco break was extended to a full blown breakfast.
When to begin with only my dad and my uncle joined us for for the coffee part after a while the visitors – mostly family – that joined us for a coffee by the lakeside grew and changed: sometimes my cousin with her four kids would join, now it’s still my dad and uncle but also my brother with his twins. In the meantime they often accompany my mum on their bikes which offers a nice change to the hours spent gaming.
I immensely enjoy those family Sundays and the cross training it offers me. I hope there are many more to come!!