Friday, May 30, 2014

Very long, very much belated race recap

I know you are all dying to hear the big story of the race, so I'm gonna share it with you now
(and only 20 days late):

So, before the race even started, I kept forgetting about it and that that it was actually actually happening. I know. Ridiculous, but hear me out.
When I signed up for it, I just pressed "yes, I will run this 10k for a t-shirt and a medal."
(I am certain the button said this. Or something remotely similar.) I never even bothered to check what time of day it starts or what the general planning of the day looked like. My only thought was: "hey! It's 2 weeks before the wedding! I have time then! I want to run this!"

Well. If you ever get married (or like us, have a big wedding ceremony almost 5 years after you got married) - don't underestimate the planning. No matter how "small" you want your wedding to be. The planning still is a humungous pile of work. It sucks you in and takes over every minute of your day (and night). Oh just thinking about the hours on pintrest, etsy, or google...

I'm getting side tracked. Different post. Different time.

Anyways. Imagine my surprise when - in a bright moment of "I am running tomorrow. I should check when it starts." -  I realized that the race was at 6pm!

I don't run in the afternoons. I can't.
I have no choice but to trick my morning brain by dragging it outside before it realizes what I'm about to do. 6pm is bad news. I'm fully awake by then (as fully awake as it gets). Telling me to run in the middle of the day already makes me come up with instant excuses why I can't do it then.

Plus, Saturday is our "lets clean the house" - "lets get groceries" - "lets go to the dog park" - "lets go have ice cream and explore the city" - "lets have wine in the park" - "lets have a picknick by the water" - day. Having to leave at 4.30pm to make it to the starting line kind of threw a wrench into all of this.

Especially if you have a visitor coming Monday morning, who is staying for two weeks, and you have to clean the house (Sunday, you can't make any noise, so that's a no-go for doing house work. - Yet, another blog post. Or 3.)

So yes, I kept forgetting about this race, because my mind was filled with "I have to send the first draft of the beginning of my paper to my professor", "when can I do laundry and have a chance it will dry on the balcony within 12 hrs", "we need to buy coffee!"...

No surprise then that we cut it really close to make it to the beginning of the race. The event itself seemed to be a lot of fun and well organized. I had picked up my race package two days prior and was already very much impressed with the fool-proof and incredibly structured pick-up" - plus, the t-shirt is my favorite yet. Its a deep pink adidas running shirt. Just like the half-marathon shirt (that I bought for 30 Euros!). It is incredibly comfortable and I just like its cut.

That was a plus.

I also really liked that they had scheduled warm-ups for everyone to take part in. They had instructors and loud music and everything. While I didn't do it, because I'm a grump, lots of people seemed to enjoy it very much and happily hopped up and down, clapped, and danced in place.

As we were waiting for the race to actually begin, we all looked really cool. Almost veryone was wearing their pink shirts. - It was an all women's run, sponsored by Avon. I just realized that I should have probably mentioned that earlier. Well, now you know it. It was just women running this race. Before the 10k at 6pm, they had already had a 5k run, a 5k Nordic Walking, and other events throughout the afternoon.The 10k was the longest run for the day though.

Awesome T-Shirt! 

We started at 6:00:00pm. On the mili- or even microsecond. Seriously, this is only my second race organized by the SCC, but if they say a certain time. It is right at the very second when it starts. I truly love that!

When we started running, everything went as expected. We all slowly started moving and, because the road was relatively wide, people were able to spread out in order to pass others and find their pace.

Well, scratch the last part. Shortly after the start, we all took a hard left turn to run into the park.
Living in Berlin, I've run in that park plenty of times and when I saw the course of the race, I was wondering how this is going to go down. Imagine 2-3 (car-)lanes of runners being funneled onto a sidewalk thats lines with trees or bushes. - I would think that in theory, it really could have gone well, but people turned out to be complete assholes.


Ladies were aggressively pushing each other, elbowing, showing, and overall being really nasty to each other.

I mean seriously. We all wanted to cross the finish line eventually. I would even say that most people had the idea of not finishing as the last person, but pushing someone towards the bushes at a 10k women's run in Berlin? Rubbing each others arms and trying to pass - absolutely. But using both elbows and hands to shove people out of your way? Get over yourself! I don't want to diminish this race by all means. It was important to me, too, on a personal level - but this was neither a qualifying run for the Boston Marathon, nor the Olympics. So there is no need to forcefully push others around.

I'm happy they didn't carry bats or sticks...
For the first 2 miles, I saw young girls elbowing older women and vice versa, I saw ladies jumping fences, cutting through woods and bushes, shoving others aside like nobody's business.

I was not only shocked, but completely ticked off. It wasn't just once that someone came from behind and rammed their elbow into my ribs, or pushed me towards a tree. Again, I can understand light rubbing your arms agains one another, or even shoving a little bit and trying to pass each other, that's all good and well - but this was way beyond that. This was rude!

Now you might think "maybe you were in the way?"

Let me just say this: No, I wasn't! And neither were the other ladies I saw being pushed around.

There wasn't even any place to go. This was less than a mile into the race with almost 4000 women trying to fit onto a path that is 7feet wide. Of course, the pace that most people were going was slower than what I would have liked to go, if I had been alone. But there were hundreds of women in my fairly close proximity and they were all giving their best, I'm sure. So what I think you'd normally do is to adjust to the general pace if there is no place to go! It's very likely that there will be the opportunity to speed up again later.


At mile 2, I was ready to call Nick and quit. Not because the race was poorly organized, not because I couldn't handle the 3rd mile, but because the runners around me were acting like maniacs. There were few like-minded who shook their heads, others just put up with it - and I chose the path of loudly swearing and shouting at people (very productive, I know).

Yes, maybe there is a slight chance that this could have been avoided by having 2-3 start waves, but honestly, I'm not even sure about that. Just having different starting times doesn't make people more respectful or less crazy. I believe that if people had run less like hooligan antelopes on crack, it would have worked out.


The only reason I didn't quit was a conversation that Nick and I had right before walked to the starting line. He told me if I didn't give my best, he would think less of me. It was all in a joking conversation, no worries. I am 100% certain that he would still cheer for me even if I quit after 10 feet or come in walking after taking 2hrs to finish 3 miles.

Still, it got me thinking about how much I wanted to be able to be proud of myself. How much I didn't want to think "less of myself." Being unable to run for three weeks after my half, due to a nasty cough, and then having to start at the "bottom" again in order to make it for 6miles within just under 3 weeks was not the easiest thing. Especially with everything else that's going on at school, the wedding planning, and the upcoming move back to Baltimore.
I wanted to finish this. So none of the other ladies should be able to take that from me. Especially if they are nasty like that.

Also, lets not forget: I paid money for this (yes, I'm that cheap). AND there was a medal waiting for me (yes, I care about a 10k medal).
Plus, I had grand plans to enjoy the crap out of this race. It was (most likely) the last race I would ever run in Berlin. So I did what I can to stare people down and called them names.

Everyone always praises the wonderful running community - and rightfully so. I know very many wonderful runners. But trust me, there are jerks out there.


In case you were curious: I finished. I even did a bunch of extra turns through bushes and trees, which made the 10k just a bit longer - and threw off my timing. My GPS told me 56:21 at the 6mile mark (that was about half a mile out from the finish line) the chip said 59:00 at the finish line.
However, I think my GPS was trying to make me feel better than I actually was.

I even received the very nice medal. It is particularly awesome to have this, because it has the "Siegessäule" (victory memorial) on it. It is one of Berlin's famous sights and happens to be the first thing I took a picture of on my very first run in Berlin almost a year ago.

I know that this race wasn't nearly a big as the half marathon, but I truly liked that there was a lot of space to walk after I finished. Everyone was able to stretch and move and they even had running water, in case you wanted to rinse of your face. There was plenty of water, tea, and alcohol free beer after the finish line, the chips were collected right then and there, too (which was really nice!) - and I forgot to mention that there were 2 or 3(?) water stations during the run. Which, if you don't run with a hand bottle like me, was really nice.

All in all it was a great experience, because I learned that an all women's run, doesn't mean it is just all nice and friendly. Even if the program states that the idea is that "we are all winners" - once the race started the gloves were off.

Nick picked me up at the finish line, where I really enjoyed that they had free (non alcoholic) Erdinger wheat beer for everyone. Best way to replenish after a run!
On top of the awesome t-shirt, the medal, and the beer, every participant also received an Avon gift bag with a shower gel and a body lotion. I haven't tried it yet, but it smells promising :o)

So to point it out again: I think this was a great race and I would highly recommend it just as much as any other SCC running event based on the experience I've had so far. The races start on time down to the second, everything is well marked, there is plenty of water/ tea supply, information regarding the races is easily found and even provided in regular emails, helpers are knowledgeable and friendly, there are plenty of bathrooms, .... truly, whichever part you take about these races - they are terrific.

Whatever negative I took from this race is only based on the actions of runners around me. They were royal assholes. Still, I want to also happily remark that despite the aggressive behavior, I didn't take home any black eye or other serious injuries.

There wasn't actually any water. I just like this gif.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

The big day.

I know, I still owe you the race recap and a about 14 posts on top of that. However, I'm going to post a picture (or two) of the big day first. - Believe it or not, the full race recap has been sitting in my "ready to publish" queue for over a week now. Weddings make your life busy. Whether you want that or not.

I can't even believe that it's already over.

That day was so beautiful and so happy. Words can't even come close to expressing how we both felt having our family and friends all in one place. The church looked so beautiful and the ceremony was filled with such meaningful surprises. - I lost all composure after we finally reached the altar and I can assure you that the only thing that prevented something really ugly was that I knew we had only 2 tissues with us.

Our hearts were so deeply touched and we will always remember this day for how blown away we were by everyone's love, thoughtfulness, and generosity.

*no worries. I will have more to say about our wedding and the time leading up to it in the days to come :)

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

time lapse

If you are in a PhD program, sometimes - but only sometimes, really - the way it goes is:
grad school > blog (or life in general)

This is what's happening these days. I'm trying to (or pretending to?) get work done and while it may seem as if writing a paper isn't that hard to do, on good days, I manage to write a page. On others, I write a sentence and then delete the page I wrote on the good day.

This is a time lapse of my past days/ weeks (years?!)

It's a lot of fun. Trust me!


On a brighter side, I ran the 10k last weekend. I finished the whole damn thing and haven't run since.

Not because I don't like it anymore as a result of the race (although that doesn't seem completely crazy). No, my left knee is hating every step I take and I'm giving it as much rest as it needs. While knee issues are never good, I'm not upset about the timing. Having to sit at the desk to write or read without moving for hours at a time is exactly what my deadlines/ possible future career needs. So it's okay that I don't get tempted to spend a few hours at the park to run around.

No worries, you will get a full recap of the race tomorrow or the day after. It was one of the most interesting experiences. To say the least.
Maybe this much, after not even one mile, I was so angry that I was ready to call Nick to meet me at the beer stand in 5mins.

I sure did. But I did get a T-Shirt and a medal. And the T-Shirt is pink.

I can already see that this post really is a pleasure to read, as I am talking about work and being cryptic about an annoying race.

Trust me, in real life, things look much brighter. Today marks the "10 days left until the wedding"- day!!!
We are beyond excited.


Our first guest arrived on Monday and we've been in the "wedding mode" since then. There is still a lot to do, but I think whatever doesn't get done, won't be the end of the world.

Everyone has his or her plane ticket, the church is booked, the pastor said he will be there, the reception place is reserved, and the food is ordered. Monday, I am picking up my dress and Nick is buying his shirt and tie this weekend. What else would there be that could potentially ruin this day?!

The best detail: my dad is driving us and asked, if we wanted to have a bag of Haribo in the car! Marrying Nick again and having Haribo waiting right after the ceremony?! This is already promising to be the best day.
(Oh I told Papa that we need that bag. Plus a bottle of liqueur. - It isn't illegal in Germany to have open containers in the car.)

To let give you a glimpse on how lucky I am, two days ago, Nick just went ahead and ordered me a brand new pair of running shoes. Just like that. It's unreal.

Gotta go back to work... yay.


Thursday, April 24, 2014

"Putzen" and pancakes

Didn't today just fly by? I feel like I just got up a few hrs ago and now it's time to go to bed again?! I didn't even get half of the things on my to-do list done. In fact, I never even made it to start work until 10pm. What a fail. At least now I know that I can't get any seminar-paper-related work accomplished in one hour. 

In the spirit of the quickly passing hours today, I am writing a quick (short) blog post, with only a couple of pictures.

Tomorrow evening, my brother and his girlfriend are coming to stay for the weekend. To say that I'm excited would be an understatement. The two of them are such great people and I can't wait to spend time with them!!! In addition to their general awesomeness, it is always very special if my family (or a division of my family) is coming to visit. For the past five years, this would always imply someone gettin on a plane, flying across the ocean and into a different time zone, and spending thousands of Dollars. In a few months, we will be back to having that situation and I am just loving it each time we still get to enjoy living in driving-distance. 

To make them feel the special love and excitement, I am cleaning the house. I truly believed that this 1br apartment could be easily cleaned within 2hrs. 
However, upon closer inspection, I noticed that this place was a complete and utter shithole. Excuse my French, but seriously. As if someone had picked it up, shaken it, dumped 18lbs of dog hair in it, and left it sitting upside down.

So cleaning (German: putzen) was on top of the list. 

After four hours of misery: including washing Lucy in our bathtub (because, clearly, she is the only one to blame for the house looking like this and we had to get to the source of things immediately),  lots of dishes, lots of sorting through mail and papers (is anyone else as happy to find documents you had to take care of months ago, but lost them in a big pile of paper and forgot about them?) ... I had the glorious idea to make pancakes. 

They were everything I could have hoped for. I haven't had pancakes in forever and I'm telling you, if you have a rough cleaning day, they will help you. Not with the cleaning. Actually you will make a mess making them and have extra work afterwards. You might even curse them when you have to wipe half-dried drips of batter all over your counter, like me. 
But there is nothing like proper fueling for a round of tub scrubbing! 

While eating I noticed that my syrup expired 2 months ago. I know. This may be a new low, so look away if you can't take it - but I kept eating after thinking about it for 2 seconds (one for each month). The bottle had never been opened before, it tasted fine, I was really, really hungry. It was the only option I had. 

Tomorrow morning, there will be another 3miler through the park. I ran today, too, and either my endurance is slowly building, or the colder weather helped me not to die on the way, but I finished without walking. Yay! 

Oh, and I'm posting from my phone, because "putzen" also makes you lazy (the phone was sitting closer to me than the laptop. By about 3feet.). In case the pictures are weird (in size, the content is probably always is), I'll fix it tomorrow.

Good night everyone! 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

2 Runs and a Birthday

Fortunately, today I managed to sit down to write a blog post before 3am. Trust me, you wouldn't want to ever read what I type past midnight. It makes even less sense than it usually does.
I have big plans to be asleep by 1am tonight. We'll see how that works out...

Anyways, lets talk about the most important thing first: Yesterday was Nick's birthday!!!

I get really excited about other peoples' birthdays. One, because they are getting older, too - not just me (and if that's not a reason to celebrate, I don't know what is). Two, I really love buying birthday gifts and making a birthday cake. The way I grew up, birthdays were always so special. Whoever had a birthday, was woken up with a birthday song (sung by the rest of the family), a big breakfast, followed by lots of cake and dinner. Mama would ask me weeks ahead what I would like for her to make and it would be there. No matter what it was. I just wish for everyone to get to feel the same birthday happiness on their special day.


Since yesterday was a regular work day for us, we postponed cake (Against better judgement. One should never postpone cake.) and presents until after dinner.

There are no pictures of dinner. We were both so incredibly hungry. Trust me, it was a life and death situation that didn't allow for me to pull out my phone.
The meal of choice: Döner and Lamachun. Delicious. Maybe even the best one yet. We'll have to go back to confirm.

What will we do if we don't have this anymore in a few months?! Nick and I discuss this issue quite often.

I know.

I did take a picture of the cake, though.

Now the next question is: What will we do without "Torte" (the type of ceamy, fluffy cake) in a few months?! (I will have to bribe someone to send ingredients...)

The problem about picking a gift when living abroad is that you always have to keep the suitcase in mind. "Will it fit in a suitcase?" "Will it break in a suitcase?" "Is it legal to take in a suitcase?" "How could I transport this in a suitcase?" "Will this be too heavy for a suitcase?"


The great thing about this is: with almost every idea that doesn't pass the "suitcase-test-question", you come up with an idea for future holidays, birthdays, or random surprises.

Aside from celebrating, eating cake, and staying up way too late, I went for a run yesterday and today!! They still sucked. But on the bright side, today's run sucked a little less than the one yesterday. I finished 3 miles without walking. Lots of near-death moments, but no walking.

When I came home, I was not only exhausted but also incredibly sweaty and gross. Really gross. As usual, I got into the elevator (You know, because I just ran. The stairs are just too much) and while I am always by myself in that one-person apparatus - today, of all days, an elderly woman came in and wanted to take it, too... I guess karma really wanted me to take the stairs. Damn you, karma!

Oh, and then this happened:

We took Lucy to the park and as I was already thinking no other dog was going to come play - this guy showed up.


Lucy weighs 65lbs. I know that she isn't the typical Rottweiler or German Shepherd size, but I have never seen her as a "small" dog.

This guy was 160lbs. Unbelievable. I've heard this dog bark before. It made our windows shake.
While he was quite fond of Lucy, she told him very loud and clear she wasn't interested. It was quite the scene. Nick and I were a bit worried, but she set him straight. It was quite the scene.
Good thing, dogs don't know how big/small they are.

Now it's 1.05am - which, according to my plan, leaves -5 minutes to fall asleep.

Good night!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Rum Run.

I went for a rum run this morning. It wasn't pretty.

Last night, Nick and I went to our favorite cocktail place and under the influence of the sun, the more than usual oxygen from being outside, my brain somehow tricked to try something new: "Mango Baby".

Danger in disguise.

I don't remember when I had the last rum cocktail, but it was rough. Not only did the second glass taste much stronger than the first one, I also have to shamefully admit that I only made it through half of it. (In case you missed why this is our favorite place: they have a "order 1, we'll bring you 2 happy hour".) So yea. I'm not certain this was what made it so horrible this morning, but it sure didn't help to have an angry hangover.

The first mile was wonderful. I was so happy to be back out, the weather was gorgeous, and the park was nearly empty. (There were only a few people sitting on benches celebrating the 4/20 part of today.)


After the first mile. It quickly went downhill. First my legs started yelling at me. Then my stomach. All while my head was throbbing. Then my shoulder cramped. Then I felt my head was catching on fire, because I was overheating.


Finally, at mile 2.5, I had to walk. Can you believe that?! What a rude run! I finished the 3 royally miserable miles at the pace of 9:51 and just wanted to die on the doorstep.

I knew it!

On top of it, out of nowhere, my cough is back. It was completely gone and now I sound like I've been smoking 3 packs a day for the past 70 years. Without filter.

I'm really happy I tried it. In retrospect, that it. While I was trotting around the park, it was nothing but plain awfulness.

Not sure what I will do tomorrow. Originally, I wanted to do 3 miles every day for the next 5 days. (HA!)

Just getting up in the morning and having coffee and fresh rolls on the balcony sounds much more fun to me at this point.

This does seem to make a lot of sense right now.

On the bright side, Nick and I had a wonderful Easter. We went to the dog park at 1pm in the morning and while we thought we'd be the only people to go there - that place was packed! (I wonder if they all came because they thought it would be empty?!)

Afterwards, we had a big lunch, napped, watched TV, and went to get ice cream before dinner.

Don't make me get up. Ever.

Working on the perfect combination.
Today: Pistachio-Malaga-Amarena/Cream (for Nick), Yoghurt-Straciatella-Malaga (for me)
Clearly, I won.

You wouldn't believe it, but I actually cooked today! As much as I hate cooking in this kitchen (made for smurfs, no dishwasher), I am always happy when we have a sit down dinner at home.

Schnitzel stripes in mushroom/onion sauce, pasta, peas and carrots - and Easter Chocolate.

Oh and this morning, I woke up to this: 

Someone set up a special easter decoration.
More chocolate than decorative grass and things.
I love it!

This was such a terrific Easter Sunday, but I feel really guilty for not working today. I'm sure tomorrow will be even more productive then, right? Right?!

On a different note, we passed these guys on our walk through one of Berlin's neighborhoods yesterday.

Only in Berlin.

Happy Easter!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Because of some crappy days...

Everyone knows the feeling of just having a crappy day. Or two. Or three. At least I am telling myself that. Because work has been incredibly slow and frustrating yet again, I decided to not spend an entire post whining about it (you are welcome) and post a few pictures, links, or things instead that made me happy or helped me procrastinate.

- I truly thank the parents of this little one for putting a costume on their child and posting it on the internet.

This is exactly how I feel after eating all the Easter candy!

- Although nothing beats the cuteness of chunky George, the royal boss.

Oh, you must be those peasants my mom told me about.

- Have you watched Sherlock yet? If you haven't, please stop what you are doing and start watching it NOW. I don't know what I did before I knew this show. Sadly, Nick and I just finished the last episode that's available online. It is just that good!
So, Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, please go and film that next season now!

No. Don't make it weird. Just get on the set already!
- Someone posted this on Facebook. I was mesmerized and terrified both times I watched it. This is truly impressive!


- I would not be surprised if each of these children were scarred for life upon the taking of these pictures.

- I don't know what it is, but I need one! So much cuteness!! I swear, I yelled out "AWWW!" for each one of these.

Are you a micro-rabbit-mouse?

- More small things made their rounds on the internet. Why would a small or any other small food be desirable? People are strange.

I'm still curious what it is. Marzipan?

With this being said, I should go and find some wine and chocolate to celebrate the end of this awful week. Next week, I'm sure will be much more productive and awesome! Plus, I have big plans to go running again!

I hope you all have a lovely Saturday!