Saturday, July 31, 2010

Running Late

Just a few hours to go before the City Night run, which starts at 8.30 this evening. I hope I won't need them today, but I called in to Runners Point this morning and bought myself some 'nipple protection plasters' as well as an 'energy centre', which is basically two small bottles for carrying water for the forthcoming longer training runs.

I have decided to run in the Leek Half Marathon in England on 22nd August. I'm in Britain anyway that weekend, and a half marathon competition fits in well with my training plan. The organisers warn that it is a hilly course, so I have no expectations of a best time.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Running Early

It seems a bit absurd that I'm sitting at my laptop at 6 o'clock in the morning, dripping with sweat before I take a shower. I have just enjoyed a great run along the canal in the tranquil early morning atmosphere of the slowly awakening city. I ran 7.5 km at a good pace, a pace I hope to match on Saturday when I participate in the Berlin City Night run, 10 km starting as the sun goes down. It takes a bit of effort to get started so early in the morning, unsurprisingly the body has some resisitance to being forced out of the cosy comfort of bed to be forced to race along the street, even before breakfast. But once it gets going, it is a delight, and I even get to enjoy the peace and quiet of the still slumbering community when I return.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Getting Lost in Teltow-Fläming

Yesterday I ran the longest distance I've ever run. I'd planned a 20 kilometer run along two signposted nordic walking routes, but because some signs were missing I ended up running 28.7 km instead. I felt a bit cheated somehow, not to say pretty tired. Trying to keep my heart rate at the planned 70% of the maximum, meant that it was also an incredibly slow and long run: three and aquarter hours. This morning I feel remarkably well, considering...

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Jogger's Nipples and Cello Scrotum

A problem I've had over the last few weeks has been 'runner's nipples'. Really! Due to the extreme heat and consequent sweating, the chafing of my wet shirt on my nipples has sometimes been extremely painful, even to the extent that they have bled. Looking down at my shirtfront and seeing blood stains was quite a shock the first time! In the last week the problem has eased a little and I have discovered that if I keep wiping the sweat from my neck, the shirt doesn't get wet so quickly. I am also kind of relieved that it is an acknowledged condition - see the article on Wikipedia Technically known as fissure of nipple, there are also some useful suggestions for its prevention which I might try. I tried sticking plaster, but they don't stick very well. The photo isn't of my nipple by the way, but copied from Wikipedia and copyrighted by the photographer C0nsumer and licensed under creative commons.

I did some enjoyable interval training this morning, getting up at 5.30 again to enjoy the relatively cool air, and running 10 x 400 metres with 400 metre jogging in between.

By the way, you'll need to read the Wikipedia article to learn about Cello Scrotum.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Tired but Cultured

It was a difficult run this morning. Having planned a 10 km 'race tempo' before breakfast I cut the distance by half and arrived home just as the ran started. It wasn't the threat of rain though. I am simply a bit over tired due to a combination of getting up early to train during the last couple of weeks and not making up lost sleep and the on-going hot weather. The three hours steady rain this morning is the first we've seen here for a month or so, and the temperature has dropped to 28°, but the foredast is for a return to 30°+ in the coming week.

During my time in Luckenwalde recently I read a very clear book by Aaron Copland called What to Listen for in Music, which has inspired me to broaden my awareness of composers and their works. To this end I have been working my way through Bach's 48 Preludes and Fugues, which I find incredibly beautiful. Earlier in the year I immersed myself in Shostakovich's Preludes and Fugues, which were inspired by the composer's response to Bach's works. Another composer who recieves several mentions in Copland's book is Charles Ives, who I had not heard before, and am now in the process of exploring. Who'd ever have thought it?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Back in Berlin

I am back in Berlin after my five week 'sabbatical', although I have calculated that I was in Berlin on 12 days during this time, either teaching English or attending meetings to do with the purchase and redevelopment of our new Buddhist centre. On one level it feels that I have hardly been away, but on the other hand I notice that the break has definitely done me a bit of good - maybe helped me to gain some perspective on my situation here.

During the nearly ten years that I have been here this is the longest period I have spent away from the activities at the Buddhist centre. This is of course no surprise, as it is the centre that is my overriding reason for moving to Berlin in the first place.

The last couple of weeks in Luckenwalde saw the rich green of the surrounding countryside rapidly turn brown and dry as temperatures have soared to intimidating heights, that means I have to get up early in the morning or wait until quite late in the evening to avoid running in temperatures of well over 30°C. One advantage of running so early in the day was that yesterday morning I enjoyed an unexpected sighting of a baby wild pig as well as a deer and several storks.
This morning my health checks continued with a visit to a radiologist, who scanned my stomach and liver, following a borderline blood test a couple of months ago. Happily I received the all clear.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Countdown has begun

Monday saw the beginning of my 12-week training plan - I ran a gentle 8 kilometers through the woods close to Claudia's cottage where I've been generally based for the past month. It was 27° and humid, but I always enjoy these runs through the woods. Something nearly always catches my eye. On Monday it was a pair of buzzards, sitting on a fallen tree on the edge of the woods, last week a pair of pheasants and a hare on the track in front of me. I also recently encountered a deer and for the first time saw a black woodpecker.

This evening the German national football team failed to make it to the final in the World Cup. Earlier this evening I went for a ten km run along the canal shortly before the match started. The cafes offering public viewing of the match were buzzing with fans sporting the black, red and gold of the German flag. Apart from a short spell as a Liverpool fan when I was ten years old I have never really been interested in football. Of course, I have a vague memory of the 1966 World Cup final - it took place on the day of our arrival at a caravan park in Bacton-on-Sea in Norfolk, where we had a family holiday. The treatment of football and the players by the media strikes me as a bit wierd to be honest, perhaps almost as wierd as the fact that so many people get so emotionally involved in what in the end is 'just a game'.

This afternoon I finally got along to the urologist and was given the all clear as far as my prostate is concerned. I couldn't help thinking what a strange job that is - it's a great thing that people are preapared to become urologists, but I can't imagine what drives someone to specialise in this particular field. Next week I'm off to the dermatologist and the radiologist for further routine check-ups for the over 50s.