This was my favorite part of the registration process

HH marathon

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That’s it. I’m signed up!

Dear D,

We have received your online registration.
Subject to the successful receipt of payment in the amount of 64.50 euros, you are registered as follows:

Name:
Event:                      Haspa Marathon Hamburg 2015
Participating as:           Marathon Participant
Date of event:              26. April 2015

Total amount:               64.50  EUR

The total amount will be debited from your bank account/credit card within the next few days.
The transaction can be identified by the following reason for payment: Mika Timing  HH0000493081.

You will receive your official entry confirmation for the Haspa Marathon Hamburg 2015 via email around end of March 2015. You will only be able to receive your race pack by presenting your official entry confirmation (NOT THIS EMAIL) and your valid photo ID/passport at the accreditation.

Thank you and best regards,

The Haspa Marathon Hamburg Team

Intuitive Running

Another week run and gone.

november update

I’m slowly extending my out-and-back route on the Elbe and finding a larger and larger radii of running route in  my area. I live in the south western part of Hamburg, rather suburby, but delightfully green. Being able to run here is a such a joy everyday, even if I have to push myself out the door some days lately (it’s rather nippish outside now and gets dark way too early).

But I am getting out and getting miles in. They’ve slowly been going up as time and energy allows, but it’s not a strict training plan and I’m just trying to build my mileage safely.

Something I’m rather happy about is that other than a nagging plantar fasciitis issue, I am injury free for the longest time I’ve been since my first running injury three years ago. I don’t want to jinx myself, but I think part of this has to do with the weather (cold air is almost like a permanent ice-pack… I’m no longer wallowing my heated muscles in even more heat) and the terrain (I live in Florida suburbs, and there’s only sidewalk with the occasional park. Here, there’s nice dirt trails next to all the sidewalks… though I wonder if those freeze at some point).

Most of my running health probably has to do with the fact that I’m running purely on intuition. I have a race in the middle of December and I am trying to keep in shape for that, but I’m not following a specific training plan. I see the race as more a marker of my condition for my goal race: the Hamburg marathon in April 2015, so it’s not vital I PR at this race. Instead, I’m just slowly trying to build my mileage. I started in September and have gone from 35 miles a week to 47-8 in two months. Today I finished up a 50 mile week, but I intend to stay at that mileage for at least two more weeks before taking an easy mile week and then ramping it up a smidgeon. I take rest days when I feel like it (though always at least once a week), run doubles if I feel like it, run more or less miles depending on my time and energy.

In the past, I tried to do too much, too fast. The training plans I picked out didn’t help, since they had me upping my mileage by 10% each week, and I find that I actually do better if I let my body adjust to an increase in mileage first.

Since I’ve been running for quite a while now and know the balance of a training plan: mostly easy runs, at least one hard running session, and one long run a week. I’ve been naturally following this pattern and only adding miles on days I have the time.

2014-10-31 17.42.29
An artsy-fartsy photo of my soccer team. I’m officially on the team, but not allowed to play until Jan. Seems like I’ve got some training to do!

My body is also slowly adjusting to the triple stress of running, riding my bike to the Uni at least three times a week (a 5 mile ride), and soccer training Mon. and Wed.s. I consider the biking as cross training and count the mileage I run up and down the field in soccer as intervals, so I’m getting in a lot of different kind of movement that is slowly becoming less of an injury-risk as I become more and more conditioned.

There’s a big-ass hill on my route that I couldn’t run up when I first ran it. Now, I can run up it and continue running without a break. Soon, I’m going to try and do it twice. Eventually it will be my hill-work hill.

I also climb all twelve flights of stairs of my main (the building where all my classes are held) university building at least twice a week and generally am kept active every day. I think Germans are naturally active because they either have to walk to public transportation and their stores or ride their bike, even on days where they run 10+ miles, so I’m definitely much more active in Germany than in the States.

These are all positive things I have to note about my training since being here. I miss my family, of course, but not being home and having my own routine and time pressures that I set has made staying in shape much easier here too.

Hope everyone tapering this weekend or recovering from last weekend’s races is doing well. Good luck to anyone racing this afternoon/tomorrow.

Everyone else, just carry on!

Missing Lizards

It’s funny how we more quickly realize what’s missing from than what’s added to our lives.

But it took me an awfully long time to realize what was missing from my runs since being in Hamburg: lizards underfoot!

See full size imageThese little guys will scamper across the sidewalks of south Florida, narrowly missing ones feet and always leaping at the last second. I don’t know how many lizards I’ve nearly killed, but I’m happy to say I only ever stepped on two.

I didn’t realize how used I’d become to looking out for them until I missed them on my run yesterday. There’s a different kind of foot technique needed when avoiding small, moving objects that I realized I didn’t have to worry about here. 

Instead, as I know from my runs on the Baltic Sea, German running involves looking out for snails. True, they don’t move nearly as fast, but they make up for it in quantity. One can barely avoid them, especially in the summer if it’s just rained.

But along the Elbe, there are no snails (maybe it’s too cold?). I just have adults and their fluffy dogs with wagging tails to watch out for.

Moin, Nachbar

In Hamburg (as in the rest of northern Germany), the traditional greeting is “Moin.” Sometimes, it’s “Moin, Moin,” but it basically means “hi.” So, “Moin, Nachbar” means “Hi, Neighbor.”

Everyone and his/her neighbor was out on Saturday. The stretch along the Elbe that I’ve staked for most of my runs since being here was filled with pedestrians–old, middle, and young couples with or without children or dogs were clogging up the walkways along the river. I don’t blame them though, because I enjoyed the feeling of sun upon my skin too. The light made the river sparkle even more beautifully than it usually does, and the sun shone through the leaves that were still green or had already turned red, yellow, and orange. The blue sky and the colors all around made my heart sing (a bit like this song http://en.musicplayon.com/play?v=782017).

Sunny and mild (65 degrees Fahrenheit), I didn’t want to stop, even after covering more than 13 miles.

Life was truly in color, in motion.