We are now officially living in Berlin. For now.
This morning, Nick and I got up at the crack of dawn at 11am and took the train to city hall, where we waited in a room filled with old people, young people, and crying babies until our number got called.
The lady we talked to tried to be particularly mean to me. She kept asking the strangest questions (e.g. why we don't have kids yet (how is this any of your business, lady?!), why I brought only copies of certain papers and originals of others) and when I answered, she told me that "nobody cares what you have to say, actually". Rude!
I am not joking when I say that as soon as a "Tarzan" ring tone went off in the room, the appointment took a much happier turn. All of the sudden, she was in the greatest mood and even gifted us a map and a "Welcome to Berlin" magazine from 2009.
Now, we just have one more trip to a different office AND have to get my student ID/ train ticket. After that, we are golden. or not. Either one.
As I am still limping around, I was thinking that it would be wonderful to be able to go to a gym to keep the other parts of my body moving.
So I began looking into gym contracts - and that's where you come in!
Do you go to a gym? How often do you use it? Do you find it a helpful place to "fall back on" if you are injured and want to focus on your cross training?
What do you look for in a gym? Are you going to classes (e.g. spinning, barre, pilates...)? Do you use personal training at your gym? Or are you just cross training on your own without going to a gym?
I am a bit overwhelmed by the different contracts the gyms offer. Here, they often only give you the option of buying a yearly membership that automatically extends to 24 months (!) if you don't cancel it within a certain time frame.
I also looked into ways to treat my knee a bit better and found these stretches pretty helpful. They focus in particular on that part of the body that is ruining my running right now. I really like the side stretch and side lift:
Stretches: IT Band
Lean into each stretch for 15 to 20 seconds, then switch sides.
Wall Banger: Stand with your right side about six to 12 inches from a wall. Squat and lean your upper body to the left until your right hip touches the wall. "It stretches the IT band and strengthens the glutes," says Nancy Cummings, Ed.D., assistant professor at Florida Southern College.
Side Stretch: Stand with your left foot crossed in front of your right, and lean your upper body to the left with your hands overhead. Lean as far as you can without bending your knees.
Backward T Stretch: Stand, feet together, facing a wall about six to 12 inches away. Hold your arms to your sides like you're forming a T. Without bending your knees, reach down and back as far as you can with your right hand.
Strength Moves: Hips, Glutes, and Quadriceps
Do independent of running so your muscles aren't fatigued during this program.
Leg Lift: Strong hip abductors help prevent strain of the IT band. "There's less torque on the band because you're decreasing the amount of hip abduction," says sports-medicine specialist Sharon Flynn, M.D. Lie on your side with your elbow on the floor. Lift your upper leg up about a foot and return to the starting position. Do 20 to 30 on each side.
Four-Way Kick: Attach your ankle to a cable machine (or use a resistance band). Face the machine. Kick your leg backward 20 times. Rotate 90 degrees and kick to the side. Repeat in all four directions (when you're facing away from the machine, kick forward). Start with two sets of 20 in each direction on each leg, and work up to three sets of 50 in each direction.
Lateral Step Up with Kick: Stand with your left side next to a step that's eight to 12 inches high. Step up with your left foot, driving the right foot in the air so it's even with your waist. Step back down and repeat. It strengthens the lateral muscle of the quad to help protect the knee, Cummings says. Do two sets of eight to 12 repetitions on each side.
Hip Lift: Balance on your right foot (use a wall for balance). With your left knee bent, drop the left hip and lift it up. "Let the hip drop, and try not to bend the left leg," says Stephen Pribut, D.P.M., a sports podiatrist in Washington, D.C. "You'll feel it in the glutes." Do 15 to 20 times on each side.
Step Down: Stand on a step on your right foot. Lower your left leg toward the floor, making sure the knee of your right leg is centered over your foot. "With the step down, you're putting more focus on the glutes," says Matt Schneider, athletic trainer and physician assistant at the Boulder (Colorado) Center for Sports Medicine. Do two sets of 10 on each.
(By the way, this is taken from an article from 2007. Which makes it two years older than the magazine that we received from the lady at city hall. Yes.)
What are you up to today?
Do random Tarzan ring tones make you happy, too? - Not that I know of. But I found it has that effect on some other Germans. So give it a try if they are ever rude to you. You are welcome.
Did you go for a run? How did it go?
What do you do when people are being rude to you? Do you let them know or just accept the fact?