Sunday, March 30, 2014


It's done! 
As you might suspect, I have a lot of feelings to share about the event (and in general). 
Stay tuned for a longer post tomorrow. 
For today, just one thing:

Yes. That's my thumb all over the picture. Let's just focus on the tower on Alexanderplatz, the blue sky, and the many, many runners that were all eager to get going.

One of the greatest views I've ever had.

Friday, March 28, 2014


I'm tapering.

It's difficult.

For me, as for many other people I know, moving one foot in front of the other on a regular basis is a form of dealing with stress, finding relaxation, clearing thoughts... Because it's time to rest my muscles for Sunday, there is barely any running this week. Not sure if recovery is the only outcome. I think by the time my feet hit the pavement, I will have a long list of things to think about.

Lies. Probably.

Nick and I are in the middle of planning our move back to Baltimore. If you have ever lived in Germany, you know that canceling your contracts in time is key - otherwise, you are stuck with paying for another 12 months. (We have had our share of experiencing terrible contracts and have been paying an entire year for a phone/ internet account that we have never used or have a router for, but lets not go there right now.)

Yes - and it will always be.

In addition to this, we have to take care of everything in Baltimore and have to haul everything across the ocean. Including Lucy. (If anyone has tips on bringing a dog back to the US, let me know.) This alone is a full time job. At the same time, I am applying for grants, have to prepare a talk, and am working towards my dissertation.


That's why now, on the 4th day of tapering week, I know that it actually means: getting eager to work (things) out again. Yes... lets call it "eager".


At least, this is what I'm saying now. Ask me again when I have to get up in the middle of the night (at least, 5hrs earlier than usual) to get on a packed train and then wait in line, in the cold, for 2 hrs.


Thursday, March 27, 2014

I got the stuff!

Today, I had an important appointment.

Before that, by the crack of dawn at 10am, I was out the door for my 2mile taper run. Let me tell you. It was hard! How is this even possible?! The entire way we walked to the post office later, I told Nick about the theories I have come up with why 2miles are a lot harder to run than 12. He is a good listener :o)

One of the theories included me falling into some kind of deep sleep after I hit the 2.5mile marker. (My slow pace could be an indicator for this.) Alternatively, I could have some version of PTSD, where the long run is so horrible that my brain refuses to remember it and it all seems like kittens and rainbows afterwards.


I will pay extra attention on Sunday and let you know. Aren't you lucky?!

Oh, and in case you were wondering, today there was another full bowl of healthy food! Yoghurt, muesli, whole wheat cereal, fruit, and 1 scoop of pollen.

Almost looks like an ad for healthy food. Almost.

Anyhow, back to my appointment:

At 3pm today, the race packages were ready for pick up at the expo!! I could have waited to pick mine up on Saturday, but I am assuming that it will be incredibly packed and a very unpleasant experience to do it when the other 29.999 runners come to get theirs.

Don't be disturbed by the weird face and the blurriness. Someone was coming around
the corner and scared the hell out of me when I took this picture.
Or maybe that's just my face.

So I went to the expo. It was heaven! So many stands with so much stuff!! I was forced to walk across the entire hall and just happened to browse by every single stand they had set up. Unfortunately, not a lot of the things that were marked as "reduced in price" lived up to that promise. Maybe it is, because I was just in the U.S. and had the prices from the stores there stuck in my head... or the people here are just plain rude, but the shoes I wanted were marked about 80 Dollars higher than what I've seen them for 2 weeks ago.

Anyhow, I didn't buy shoes, but I got a bag full of stuff! Whenever someone hands me a bag filled with free things, I get all excited. Even if its just paper. Aside from my bib, I got a ton of magazines, flyers, handouts, and stickers! It all came in a handy bag that will function as my clothes-drop-off bag on Sunday. That already won me over, but they topped it by throwing in a granola bar. Free food. Enough said.

See that granola bar?! And the magazines and papers!?

I have to admit that I did buy an event t-shirt and a running skirt! I have never owned a running skirt but it looked cute, it seems perfect for warm weather, and it was really cheap! I'm too tired now to change into it and take an awkward selfie. So you have something to look forward to in tomorrow's post :o)

If it is as organized as it seems thus far, it will be the most perfectly planned event in the history of mankind.

The only thing thats annoying is that I already got my wristlet. It needs to stay on until the moment I cross the finish line. If it keeps itching the way is has over the past hours, I will be ready to bite it off my wrist the second I arrive. Or Nick needs to meet me with scissors immediately. Or bite my hand off.

If you want to torture someone, put an itchy thing around their wrist and
forbid them to take it off for four days. 

On the bright side, from afar it looks like I went to a really cool show. So people from afar might think I'm hip and awesome. If that's not a plus, I don't know what is.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

I was taught an important lesson.

So last Sunday, I had big plans to have my 12 mile long run. Because I am a responsible person, I thought I should eat well the day before. Trust me, I had every intention to focus on good nutrients, which have been said to work well for a run this long... you know, because the race is only one mile longer than that.

The way to healthy living. Or something like that.

Saturdays are our food-shopping days. This past weekend was an "off" weekend, so we had the short grocery list and were back within an hour. To have a good and very responsible breakfast, I mixed cereal and yoghurt and muesli in one big bowl. That was pretty good. Fiber, carbs, protein - it was all there. It even tasted great.

Afterwards, Nick had the terrific idea to go to one of the markets and just browse around. It was absolutely awesome. We had a lot of fun and spent our afternoon looking at all the little stands and shops and exploring the neighborhood.

Before we knew it, it was 7pm! So we stopped for Döner/ Lamachun. In a very brief bright moment, I told them to cut back on the sauce (which they didn't), garlic (which they didn't), and onions (which they did!!!). The missing onions didn't save me the next day though.


While shoving this greasy mess into my face, I kept thinking to myself "oh, it has carbs and protein - so it's not that bad!" "Plus, there are no onions on this!" "We should go to the cocktail happy-hour!"

Yea. That's what we did then.
There is a place that we have fallen in love with because they have a "buy 1, get 2" happy hour! It doesn't get better than that! Especially, if the glasses hold just about almost 70oz or something close to that.

After all, I've never run 12 miles in my life before!

I had a fruity cocktail. With pineapple, champaign, vodka, passion fruit concentrate, and lime juice. It's pretty acidy ... but it tastes amazing! Plus, fruit juice is good for you pre run, right?
Afterwards, I couldn't say no to some red wine. Or candy. Or ice cream. Or staying up until 4am.

Let me tell you that all throughout this night, I was fully aware that except for my breakfast, none of the foods or drinks were a good idea. Especially the drinks. ESPECIALLY the drinks. So let us all file this under "the experiment that you only do once".


The beauty of this experiment is though that I am now really clear on what I should under no circumstances do or eat this Saturday. So I'm glad it worked out like that! :o)

If you do want to follow my example, please be prepared for dehydration, stomach cramps, and stretches of time where you are convinced you are going to meet Jesus.


This weekend, I want to try a different fueling approach. This time, with proper breakfast, lunch, and dinner. No drinks. Lots of water. I will see if this actually makes a difference or if it is all lies!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Did you think this would happen? and more running.

Did you think I would make it online again today? Even I had my doubts, but trust me, I have too much to tell you about the past few weeks that I just can't help but blog regularly again :o)

If you haven't fallen asleep from yesterday's running calendar yet, this one might do it.
Here are weeks 9, 10, and 11 of the 12 week plan that I used to prepare for the Berlin Half Marathon next weekend.

Week 9 (PlanWhat I did): 
03/03/14: RestRest
03/04/14: 3 mile run/ 5.4 miles (9:17, 9:54, 10:02, 10:10, 10:11, (9:42) - overall: 9:55)
03/05/14: 5 mile run/ 6.2 miles (9:28, 9:56, 10:10, 10:00, 10:04, 10:00 - overall: 9:58)
03/06/14: 3 mile run/ Rest (flight to Baltimore)
03/07/14: Rest/ 4.3 miles (8:48, 9:24, 9:11, 9:40 - overall: 9:24)
03/08/14: 10-K Race/ 4.5 miles (9:23, 10:09, 9:33, 9:52, (9:52) - overall: 9:48)
03/09/14: cross/Rest


This was the week I flew to Baltimore and let me tell you, sleep deprivation and climate change can be quite the challenge. Especially if all of the sudden, you have to run up and down hills again!

On a side note, I will write a post about my trip in a few days. I am certain you are dying to see more pictures of blue sky, clouds, and a wing.

Week 10 (PlanWhat I did): 
03/10/14: Rest/ 4.3 miles (9:21, 9:37, 9:22, 9:43 - overall: 9:36)
03/11/14: 3 mile run/ Rest
03/12/14: 5 mile pace/ 3.1 miles (9:27, 9:54, 9:49 - overall: 9:46)
03/13/14: 3 mile run/ Rest
03/14/14: Rest/ 11.2 miles (2 mi. 9:18, 4mi. 9:59, 6mi. 9:55, 8mi. 9:57, 10mi. 10:01, 11mi: 6:58
- overall: 9:46)
03/15/14: 11 mile run/Rest
03/16/14: cross4.7 miles (9:34, 9:51, 9:28, 9:47, (10:03) - overall: 9:46)

My 11 mile run was something. Mainly, it was COLD! When I started, it was below freezing (we've had solid upper 50s/ lower 60s temperatures in Berlin for weeks! So yes, this was both a shock and reason to complain. Loudly.) and then it warmed up to about 40F by the time I finished.

So happy I made two of these! Gotta ensure proper refueling.

Because I am lame like that, I just circled campus 4 times. (It's a familiar route, I didn't have to drive far, and parking was free. Yes, free parking is a great reason to pick this route.) The security people must have thought I'm some sort of weirdo. The second time I passed by them, they waved, the third time they gave me looks, the fourth time, they yelled at me what I was doing.

Aside from becoming familiar with the faces of everyone working along the route, the 2.8 mile-circles were really comfortable to run. I thought I might get bored, but the miles just flew by. I think I was so tired that I didn't wake up until mile 6 and at that point, I only had 5 miles to go!

11 miles and free parking! Win win!

Week 11 (PlanWhat I did): 
03/17/14: Rest/ Rest (flight to Berlin)
03/18/14: 3 mile run/ Rest (flight to Berlin)
03/19/14: 5 mile run/ 5.5 miles (9:13, 9:43, 9:38, 9:37, 9:38, 9:41 - overall: 9:37)
03/20/14: 3 mile run/ 3.2 miles (no data)
03/21/14: Rest/ Rest
03/22/14: 12 mile run/ Rest
03/23/14: cross/ 13 miles (2 mi. 9:11, 4mi. 9:45, 6mi. 9:41, 8mi. 10:05, 10mi. 10:12, 12mi. 9:58, 13mi. 9:33 - overall: 9:50)

The 5.5 miles after coming back from Baltimore were incredibly hard. Not sure why, but it was one of those "Running is so hard!!!" runs. It was plain awful.

This past Sunday, I had big plans to run 12 miles. Nick and I looked for a route I could run (I'm "running out of ideas" (Oh the amusement I get from word plays!) and can't figure out where to go without help) and I memorized where I have to turn to not get lost.

I wouldn't know.

Unfortunately, google maps lied. By one mile. (It could be my running up and down streets to wait for cross lights, but it's easier to blame google maps.) This is how I ended up with my run being 13 miles. I could have made it 13.1, but I wanted to leave some extra milage for next weekend.

At this point, I am thinking: why in the world didn't you make it 13.1 and stayed in bed next Sunday?! One will never know.


What was worse than everything else: I ran out of water. Has that ever happened to you? I hope it never has and never will. I truly thought I was going to turn into a raisin and drop on the side walk. Ugh. I'm thinking about asking Nick to meet me somewhere on Sunday to hand me a full water bottle. Did I mention that I can't drink out of cups while running? (Who am I kidding, I can't drink out of a cup without spilling everything all over me when I sit at the dinner table. - Don't get me started on food.)

Did I mention that I've just discovered eating while wearing a rain coat is awesome?!

This is what Sunday's course looks like:

I should take a camera, because we will pass every tourist attraction and landmark there is in this city.  With all the turns, I'm so happy I'm not running by myself.

Now it's time to fuel up. With ice cream. For Sunday, you know?! :o)

Monday, March 24, 2014

A Lot.

I'm sorry for leaving you alone for this long.
These first three months of the year have been nothing but a roller coaster. I know we are not the only ones who had a rough start, so I will spare you the complaining (unless you insist :o) After all, Nick is fine, and everyone else is, too. That's all that matters.

On the day that Nick had his surgery, just hours after he woke up, my dad let me know that my mom was in surgery that very moment. I thought he was joking. My mom has never been sick.
Except for giving birth to my brothers and me, she has never been to the hospital. The day of Nick's surgery, she fell and broke her hip. She is fine now, but it was one of the many set backs at the beginning of this year that have distracted me from spending time online.

Needless to say, over the past 12 weeks,
lots of chocolate and gummy candy has been consumed in this house.

After I wrote my last post, I went to visit my parents for a few days, and two weeks ago, I flew to Baltimore to catch up with professors at my university. Now that I'm back in Berlin and getting settled again, it's time to get into my old routine - this also means procrastination through regular blogging.

I promise, I will catch up on everything I meant to blog about over these past weeks, but first of all, lets talk running.

This upcoming weekend, the Berlin Half Marathon is finally happening. Despite all the craziness, I managed to stick to my training plan (at least for the most part) and I guess in a few days, it is time to run all over the city with 30.000 others!

Running in Berlin these days is nothing but heavenly. It is cool out, but not cold and there is barely any rain or wind (my arch enemy). Not to mention that it is mostly flat. During my stay in Baltimore, I was quickly reminded how lucky I am being able to run wherever and whenever I want here in Berlin.

So lets look at the training plan for February and what I actually did. I will post the March plan and the course of the race tomorrow.

Week 5 (Plan/ What I did):
02/03/14: Rest/ Rest
02/04/14: 3 mile run/ 4.5 miles (9:21, 9:04, 9:18, 9:33, 9:21 - overall: 9:21)
02/05/14: 4 mile run/3.1 miles (9:20, 9:51, 10:08 - overall: 9:55)
02/06/14: 3 mile run/ Rest
02/07/14: Rest/ 3.2 miles (9:40, 10:19, 9:54, 9:10 - overall: 9:56)
02/08/14: cross/ cross
02/09/14: 8 mile run8 miles (9:14, 9:34, 9:41, 9:50, 10:08, 10:23, 9:52, 9:57 - overall: 9:51)

Week 6 (PlanWhat I did):
02/10/14: Rest/ Rest (trip to my parents' house)
02/11/14: 3 mile run/ Rest
02/12/14: 4 mile pace/ 4.1 miles (9:45, 9:20, 9:17, 9:42 - overall: 9:34)
02/13/14: 3 mile run/ 4.0 miles (9:48, 9:30, 9:10, 9:25 - overall: 9:31) (ride back to Berlin)
02/14/14: Rest/ 4.5 miles (9:05, 9:24, 8:55, 9:41, 10:00 - overall: 9:24)
02/15/14: 5 K Race / Rest
02/16/14: cross / cross

This was the week I spent at my parents' house. My dad must have heard I snuck out the door and took pictures of me in my incredibly fashionable outfit.

Of course, the picture is blurry because I'm so fast. 

Always love when I start running in the rain and
the sun decides to break through the clouds by the time I finish.

 There wasn't just running though. I also had a bunch of work to do - which I may or may not have gotten done that week.

There is always fresh cake at my parents' house. This one was actually made
by a close friend of my mom, who heard I will be coming to visit - so she made a cake!
Isn't that the nicest thing?!

Week 7 (PlanWhat I did): 
02/17/14: Rest/ 6.1 miles (6:41, 8:45, 8:32, 8:07, 9:22, 9:49 - overall: 8:36)
02/18/14: 3 mile run/ 4 miles (9:16, 9:28, 9:47, 9:28 - overall: 9:27)
02/19/14: 5 mile run/ 3.2 miles (9:32, 9:41, 9:35 - overall: 9:08)
02/20/14: 3 mile run/ Rest
02/21/14: Rest/ 9 miles (9:26, 9:13, 9:35, 9:56, 9:49, 10:13, 9:38, 9:45, 9:32 - overall: 9:42)
02/22/14: 9 mile run/ Rest
02/23/14: cross/ cross

Week 8 (PlanWhat I did): 
02/24/14: Rest/ 4.4 miles (no data - overall: 9:35)
02/25/14: 3 mile run/ Rest
02/26/14: 5 mile pace/ cross
02/27/14: 3 mile run/ 3.2 miles (9:21, 9:35, 9:46 - overall: 9:36)
02/28/14: Rest/ Rest
03/01/14: 10 mile run/ 10.1 miles (2 mi. 9:15, 4mi. 9:45, 6mi. 10:08, 8mi. 9:53, 10mi. 9:51 
- overall: 9:48)
03/02/14: cross/Rest

I know that at times, I altered the plan quite a bit. Most of the time, it was due to traveling or appointments that I couldn't move. Generally, I'm trying to run on those days that I "should" (according to the plan), but if I can't make it, I attempt to hit an overall milage during that week that is somewhat close to the planned milage. Sometimes I end up with more (if the weather is nice, I have a good run, or if I miscalculate the route before I start), sometimes with less. 

No matter how crazy things get, nothing can beat the happiness of having coffee together in the morning.

And where is my cup?! I need my caffeine, too, people!