April Runs

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Archive for the category “Food for Thought”

Not Ready To Make Nice

My mother’s recent inquiry about E’s dress (“She is turning ONE, you have to go out and buy her a dress, what kind of mother are you?”) made me realise that despite my regular attempts, I won’t ever fit ‘the box’. The box for the perfect daughter, mother, wife, friend, colleague and who knows what else. Somehow, a piece of me will always stay outside the symmetry of the pre-designed shape. I simply don’t fit the main stream and contrary to my youth, I am okay with it now.

So rather than spending a useless afternoon in crowded stores looking for a dress that my daughter would wear once only to spill milk and cake over it, we will go to the park together to feed the ducks. Rather than buying her anything revolutionary from the Toys-R-Us top 10 catalog, we settle for the good old all-time winner: a huge teddy bear.

The one thing I WILL focus on is to make E happy on her birthday. By being together, all four of us. By baking my one and only baby cake with apples from the scratch (deep at night, after I returned from my evening run). By singing all the baby songs we have learned and reading our favourite books. May be even by racing the wind together with our Baby Jogger…

No, I am not ready to make nice.


More on friendship

I wrote about friends and friendships earlier but somehow, it is never enough…

When I was a teenager my older brother told me that I should cherish all the good friendships as with the age, one only looses friends and almost never gains new ones. At first, I did not believe him as there were so many new and beautiful and smart people around me and I felt there were new friendships waiting to be grabbed and developed on every corner.

Little did I know that the real friendships don’t come to one’s door too often. The older we get, the more difficult it is to distill the reasons why people get attracted to us. In the past, in my naivety, I let many people close to me and did not see (or did not want to see) why they wanted to declare a friendship to me at all.

Throughout the years that I lived abroad, I lost contact with many good friends and found new friends instead. Except that there was hardly any comparison between the Old ones and the New ones. The New ones co-created my new social life, they were there to talk to and to laugh with and to drink beer with but somehow, with just a few exceptions, these new friendships remained rather shallow. Their roots were simply not deep enough to weather the storm of my life style. Just like my brother predicted.

On the Old friendship scene, luckily the situation was completely different: even though I haven’t seen some of my youth friends for many years, whenever the opportunity was there, we somehow always managed to get together and step halfway into a conversation as if we stopped talking an hour ago – rather than many years ago.

Last time in Prague, I finally proved my brother wrong. Yes, I have met a couple of old friends and yes, the encounters were great and felt like coming home. But I have also met new friends, my running friends that is. And guess what? The time we spent together was at least equally as good. I felt so welcome in their presence, in their homes – as if warm chocolate milk and blanket were offered to me (well, they were, actually!). I spent a lot of time with interesting people conducting interesting conversations. With people who took their time and effort to make me feel good, uncovered the hidden landscapes of their minds in order to help me to uncover my own weaknesses, with people who charged me with lots of energy, who showed me their affection and made me feel good about the way I am.

Maybe it is the running, a universal sport that outgrew in a passion (and even a life style, for some of us) that breaks all the barriers between us? If that is the case, I couldn’t have picked a better hobby.

Thank you. And the Shoe Fairy.

The agony of Mile One

I haven’t been blogging for a while but fear not – I HAVE been running. And thinking. With shortening days and freezing temperatures, the ever-present autumn/winter thought of the agony of the first two or three kilometers has been keeping me busy.

I am sure many of you know what I mean: Especially now, when it is cold and dark outside, it really takes quite some convincing to kick my body outside the front door. And then it starts: the longest mile actually is the first one. My body is still stiff and my mind cries to allow us to run back home where it is warm and safe and cozy. It is sooooo hard not to give in.

It used to take me 1 km maximum to ‘get to speed’, or rather get to peace with the fact that I would be out there for an hour or so. But nowadays, the start up agony takes over 20 minutes. I need more than 3 km to ‘settle’ with the idea that it is running night again. One would think that with frequency of 4-5 runs each week which I easily cover these days, it should be getting easier every time. But it is actually quite the contrary: the initial boring and unpleasant period gets longer every time. I am not quite sure what to do about it, how to make the endorphins hit me a bit quicker.

The good thing is that once the first compulsory miles pass and I switch to the positive mode, I almost never feel tired – well, at least till I reach 8 or 10 km. It feels like I could go on for much longer. Usually I don’t have enough time to continue but perhaps I should make some and investigate what happens beyond 12 or 15 km these days. If only my runs could start with Mile Two…


Before the winter starts

After I picked up my running this summer, August surprised me with great mileage and September was not bad either. Throughout those two months I managed to run 30-40 km per week while in  September I also added some hills and lots of walking/hiking. All in all, I am really happy with what I achieved but I also feel very tired – both physically and mentally.

There is a new feeling I am experiencing when departing from home into the darkness these days: I feel guilty for not being with the kids (mornings) or V (evenings). Not that I ever hear any negative comments from any of them, quite the contrary, V is being very supportive of my running, but still…

Also, my motivation is hiding a bit. Maybe this is the moment to insert a short break and shake off the feelings of guilt. This coming weekend we are going to Munchen to celebrate my friend’s birthday and of course to grab a beer or too at the Oktoberfest. For the first time in almost 2 years I consider a deliberate break: a week or so without running. No illness, no injury, it is just that maybe that is what I need to regain focus and motivation. The scary part for me is that I am just looking for excuses and that a week break can easily turn into a month break and… there you go.

So should I stay away from the running paths for more than several days, please do come to kick me out of my bed, all of you.


JD28: Roman history

Rain and bike on Friday evening? Well, if it weren’t for Juneathon…200px-Super_Bowl_XXVIII_logo.svgI biked towards the beach but turned back after 9 km or so as the rain came down faster than I could handle. Returning through the village of Valkenburg, or Praetorium Aggripinae, as Romans used to call it, I bumped into this pillar:280620131802    280620131803At home I Googled some more on Romans in The Netherlands.

JD25: More food for thought

Yet another June biking evening. 250620131790As I was passing the Willem de Zwijgerlaan, I came across somewhat unusual portrait of the famous Dutch ruler (Willem de Zwijger = William the Silent):240620131785

240620131784The quote translates as:I cannot approve of monarchs who want to rule over the conscience of the people, and take away their freedom of choice and religion.”

JD24: Ibsen and Islam

How comes the necessity of going down town always comes on a rainy day?230620131767As I was running towards the tax office (yes, lets get it done with quickly…), I was listening to Henrik Ibsen’s play “An Enemy of the People”. The famous quotes: “… the strongest man in the world is the man who stands most alone,” and “A minority may be right; a majority is always wrong,” were echoing in my head. Somehow, it jump started me to run faster and so I did. After 10 months or so I was running the 6-minute kilometers again. 6 of them. On my way, I passed these two buildings:  230620131770

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