How to Develop the Mindset to Quit Smoking

The time of year has come when little running animals want to work at themelves again. Most of us have resolutions for the new year. Some of the little running rats, rabbits and rhinos may want to quit smoking to become a cheetah finally.
I also smoked for a very long time. 10 years to be exact.
Often I tried to quit. I never made it longer than two months.
I am sure that many others have the same problems. Why is that? What makes quitting such an awful habit so difficult?
I noticed some strong influences: First of all it is your environment. Do your  family, friends or collegues smoke? Are you maybe allowed to smoke at work? Worst case and ancient, too! Actually, I feel with the non-smokers at your work or in your family. You should do something for them and persuade your boss (or your mother) to forbid smoking at work (or in ther house). Smokers belong outside or in a seperate room. They shouldn't risk the health of all the other non-smokers. It's just unfair.
What about your mindset? Are you afraid of quitting? Do you think it will be awfully difficult? Do you think you'll suffer? NO. To quit is simple as that! With the mind set of a non-smoker it won't be difficult at all. You only need to want it. Desire to be a non-smoker. The best thing would be to have a strong motivator.
But how do you get there? You should start with reading. Maybe you read some wikipedia first. Of course you can as well find thousands of different informative pages on the internet or you buy non-smoking books. Read stories from people who made it! Get courage. Believe that you can make it. Believe in yourself. Believe in your strong will. Make an affirmation, write it down and put it in a place where you see it daily and as often as possible. Think about how free you will feel if you don't have to smoke anymore, how fit and healthy you will feel. Think about this as often and as long as you can. I mean: meditate over these thoughts. Go to bed while day dreaming of being a non-smoker and wake up with it. You need to persuade your mind that you are can make it. The more time you invest the easier it will be.
The next step would be to cut back. I think that this will be easier for heavy smokers and people who are really addicted. Start like I did.

In short: Try to change your environment in a way that makes it easier for you to quit. Avoid places with smokers and smokein general. Think about not smoking as often as you can. Make an affirmation that you won't smoke anymore. Than cut back. And finally just quit. 
It's now the very best time to start your change. Stop smoking in 2010! I would wish you luck but you won't need it. Intead I wish you a successful and smoke-free new year!


A Running Tool You'll Love

I've been looking for a certain tool. Something that tells me how far I ran. Of course, it needs to be exact.
I searched it, I found it and I love it! It is easy to handle and really helpful.
You wonder what I'm writing about. I love the Gmaps Pedometer!
If you want to be a more or less professional runner you'll need to measure the distances you run. Otherwise you'll be unable to follow a shedule. And you would be surprised how you can under- or overestimate the length of a distance. Therefore, you need to save this awesome tool and use it!

For measuring you hit the button 'start recording' and then double click on the point where you want to start. You can then mark your track by using double clicks which produce these points. The pedometer also shows you the mark of every full kilometer (or mile - you can choose between english and metric).
If you keep the kilometer marks in mind (or print the map) you can actually measure your speed while running (you need a watch of course)
If you went wrong you can 'undo points'.
You can also choose if you want to measure automatically (which sometimes doesn't work because  surprisingly even google doesn't know every dirt track on earth) or manually. You may also switch between both.
When you finished you track you can also save it. 
Moreover, you can use a calorie counter, too. On my 15km track the calorie counter says I burn over 1000 calories. Therefore, I rather think it might not be very exact. It is a nice toy anyway.
The pedometer is fantastic. It also always tells me that my distances are longer than I thought! Thanks, google!

A Running Tool You'll Love

I've been looking for a certain tool. I found it and I love it! It is easy to handle and really helpful. You wonder what I'm writing about. I love the Pedometer! If you want to be a more or less professional runner you'll need to measure the distances you normally run. Otherwise you'll be unable to follow a shedule. And you would be surprised how you can under- or overestimate the length of a distance. Therefore, save this useful tool and use it!

Therefore, you hit the button 'start recording' and then double click on the point where you want to start. Every point that marks a


Almost Christmas Day!

Do you like this day? I guess for most people who are not even slightly religious Christmas means just to have two days off and get presents. That's the same with me.When it comes to religion I agree with George Carlin.
Moreover, I usually don't notice that it's close to to the accursed day when the Christmas market shuts down and there is not a cup of hot wine punch to have anywhere.
I still haven't got all the presents. How am I to get any present without the smallest cup of alcohol? There are more people in the shopping centres than in my favorite club on a Saturday at 2am. I can't endure this without being a bit drunk.
The worst thing is: I have to work tomorrow until noon. That's going to be stressful. At least  I can't run these times anyway. Saves a lot of time.
So I advice you, dear sportsmen, do it just like me. Leave your running shoes alone for a couple of days and rather spend time with your family and friends.
Tomorrow is christmas finally. And the day after it is over. Thank God (why is there no non-religious phrase for saying 'Thank God!'?)! Merry Christmas!



I didn't run for almost two weaks now. It's getting annoying. I am annoyed. People around me are annoyed because I am so unrelaxed. I am really stressed out now and it's all due to my damn knee. It hurts and I really don't know why. Well, actually I trained a bit too hard  (two weeks ago!!) but that should really be okay again by now.
I just tried to run a few minutes ago. Shortly after I began my knee hurt again. So I skipped the training and went back home. Mysteriously, the knee stopped to hurt on the way back. Was it the cold or should it all be about psychology?
I'll try later that day again. And I'll start reading a book about sport psychology today. I'll inform you if I learned something new...


Healthy Christmas-Muesli-Biscuits

As poor running rat is not able to eat 'normal' sweets during christmas time I needed a plan what to do about my addiction to all kind of sweets. I was almost forced to invent those absolutely healthy biscuits. 
                                                     You need:  

100g raisins
100g almonds (minced)
300g oat flakes
100g butter
2 eggs
200g honey
150g spelt flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
                                                        1 teaspoon baking soda
Mix oat flakes, raisins and almonds in a bowl. Add also baking soda and cinnamon. Let the butter melt and add. Let the butter cool down while stiring. Also add the honey and the eggs. Add  enough spelt flour to create a homogeneous doug. Form little piles and bake at 150 to 180°C until the biscuits are light brown.
Sorry for your new (but wholesome) addiction!


Winter Running

It's winter. People on the northern hemisphere probably noticed it already. People on the southern hemisphere are the lucky ones now. They don't have to put on so many clothes that they can barely move. They can ride their bikes without slipping, falling and freezing. They don't have to fear injuries as much and don't have a big problem if they get stuck in the middle of nowhere for an emergency or a lack of energy during running.


But actually there are some pros concerning winter running, especially if it snowed:

1. You need more energy on winter runs because your body needs to produce a lot of warmth to keep your skin supplied with warm blood to keep it from freezing. This also means you can eat more after the run. Or you lose weight during christmas time. Your family and collegues will be so jealous!
2. You can wear all the stylish running clothes you have in your drawer during only one run! You should rather dress in layers anyway to avoid the cold. I observed that this layer look must be very fancy these times, too. Especially running tights and skirts together seem to be all the rage.
3. You have the park almost to you own because there are only very few people who are as insane as we passionate runners. No howling children, no barking dogs, no grandmas and grandpas who need the whole path for themselves. Nobody that looks
stunned when you pass on your very fast or very slow run. Even the birds prefer to fly to the south.
4. When everything is covered with snow the world looks so much friendlier than before. Moreover, there is no slippery mud anymore.
5. You may get tanned on long runs when the sun is shining. Moreover, you can finally use your cool sunglases again.
6. You look fresh, young and rosy-cheeked after exercising in the cold.
7. Also your bud will look fresh, rosy-cheeked and smooth. The perfect anti-cellulite treatment.
8. You deserve a warm bubble bath afterwards or a visit in the sauna.

After all these points you should be desperatly willing to run in cold weather. But you should also stick to some important tips:
0. Are you fit enough to run? Because if you feel a little weak or any pain already you better don't start in the cold. It is dangerous to be stuck in then with not enough energy to get back home. It is also possible that you don't feel pain while running as the hurting part gets cooled during the run  already (specially if it's your leg and you only wear thin tights).
1. Wear enough layers of clothes! Rather put something on that you take off after a while if you don't want lie down with a cold on the next day. This advice is most important for long runs. If you are not perfectly trained you may have to run slower towards the end. That is when your body doesn't produce enough warmth anymore and you need more layers again.
2. Cover your head. You will look funny but as you lose almost 50% of your body heat trough the head it's highly adviseable to wear a fleece or woolen cap that covers as much of your head as possible. It should also cover your ears. Warm gloves or mittens help to keep your extremities warm, too.
3. Take Handkerchiefes. You'll need them. Not only in winter.

4. Take some cash and your mobile on long runs just in case you are stuck somewhere. You need to be able to call a taxi or in severe cases for an ambulance.
5. Take drinks on long runs! You'll sweat in the cold as well as in warmer temperatures but you won't feel it as much. There is always the risk of dehydration. If you start of with hot tea  in your bottle there is a chance it's not frozen after thirty minutes.
6. If you are a girl it might be a good idea to also take pepper-spray with you if you run in rather isolated areas. In an emergency situation your mobile can help, too.

I know that's my things you have to take. But with all the clothes you put on you'll also have enough pockets where you can put the stuff.

Enjoy winter running!


Healthy Sweets Only

I thought a picture in your mind might be helpful: I took a picture of the variety of sweets that I consider healthy. 

There are all kinds of nuts in the background because nuts have the healthy unsaturated fats. In the middle we have dried apples and bananachips though bananachips are rather an exeption because they they are made with a lot of added fat and sugars (often from honey). Moreover, there is dark chocolate: 99% cacao and organic on the left (and that is really not sweets anymore) and 81% on the right which I really like.
If you want to buy all those nice things it might me adviseable to start looking in a healthy food shop. If you buy them there you can be sure that you buy good stuff without refined sugar. But there are also many supermarkets which have a quite wide range of those good sweets. 
On the other hand, I (running rat's dad) make the dried apples myself. It's easy and you know exactly what they contain. Moreover, they taste just like the ones you just bought for a lot more money than they are worth. It might be as easy to make bananachips but I didn't try (yet).  I used to buy them in a pet shop for my pets until I realized how tasty they were.
When it comes to the chocolate I often buy them in the shop I work in though it is not the same quality than in the healthy food shop. However, it is convenient and cheap.
Although this is an okay range already I still look for other things I might like. I didn't try dates, figs and a lot of other dried fruit yet. But often they do contain stuff I don't want in my food like sorbic acid, sulphur dioxide or other sulphides. These substances are used as antioxidants. Citric acid does the same job though. It is found in limes and lemons. But you an eat the apples just as well if they are not treated with lemon or lime juice. They do get a slightly brown then.
So if you also want to cut back on sweets during christmas, too, try dried fruit and nuts. They are perfect substitutes. I already feel lighter (and lost a whole pound)!


I am a Professional now!

Now that I have a schedule to train after I feel so much more professional. Actually, I ran a 10km-run last week though it was pouring outside. I'll run in a few minutes though it is freezing outside. I am so a Pro! Unfortunately I chose the schedule for ambitious marathon training. I really want to be ambitious, fast and everything but my left knee and my right foot refuse to be. So I had to stop training last thursday though I vexed myself with traveling to see my running group late at night and in rain. After one fast kilometre I felt a severe pain in my left knee. Trainer#1 said I had to go home. Though it just stoped raining. I was kind of wet and angry. Now that I had schlepped myself to train in the cold and dark I couldn't and instead had to limp home.
At least until now I'm able to stick to my 30 day trial more or less. It's not exactly easy (I had a very weak day on fiday) as I eat even more than before and after all I have to see the Christmas Market downtown almost daily and the sell so nice sweet stuff: sugary almonds and other nuts, gingerbread, gummibears and wafers with cream. *sob*
Luckily, I found a very nice substitute for me: they also have nice fishy stuff: fried fish, calamaries and so on. It's not exactly the healthiest food you can imagine but at least it is not sweet. They also have nice rolls filled with cheese and bacon.
At length, I found out that I tend to eat food that contains a lot more fat than before I limited the sweets to an absolute minimum. So this may be a hint on the new 30 day trial in January.Fortunately, I also found so many 'good' sweets in a health food shop close by. You can't say that they're cheap but they are definitely healthy. Some of them are also almost fat-free. But the nice and tasty ones do contain a lot of nuts and therefore, a lot of fat. But as we learned already unsaturated fats from nuts are not really bad.
After writing so much about food I am hungry. See you soon!


7 Days out of 30

I made the first week of the 30 day trial 'Healthy Sweets Only'. I made it but rather not exactly as I wanted.
This time it is really not my fault. I was kind of forced to bake for boyfriend#1 as it was our first anniversary and he likes sweets so much. We're now together for a whole year.
So I needed something that told him that I care. I made a gingerbread heart as they are common in Germany. How could I not taste the dough? It was filled with choci. How could I not lick the
with melted chocolate covered spoon?? I tried hard and even ate huge amounts of vegetables while baking. But then they were not half as tasty as the gingerbread.
On the other hand, I did quite well the rest of the week. Since chocolate is not really allowed, except of this one:

I started to cook nice thing
s and eat whole meals and not only single apples and tomatoes. I feel fine and I am really proud to having outlived advent coffee with my family, several stollens, biscuits and other sweets and not eating any. And that was after a 20km run when I usually eat everything I can find.
Running Rat's father does approve the 30 day challenge very much and decided to make about three pounds of dried apples for me. He's just so nice! Now I have those nice, healthy sweets on my coffee table and can eat as much as I want. So much better than biscuits or stollen (I try to tell myself). But well that is what I need: support. Running Rat's mother rather likes to support me by giving me chocolate and advocaat. That does not help. But she means good as parents always do.
Anyway: I really needed to cut back on the sugary stuff. Even boyfriend#1 was kinda shocked by the amounts of choci I consumed every night during November.
But actually I think it already worked. I only can't tell exactly if I feel better because I'm so proud of myself or if it's really all the good food that makes me feel better.
I actually think I could live like that with even more comfort than before. I can eat everything in huge amounts like huge meals and everything without beefing up. Just by avoiding all the sweets I really don't need to be happy.
But I guess we'll see soon. 23 days to go.
Tomorrow I've to make cookies for grandma.


Rats love Avocado!

But not only rats do like avocado also running rats love them.
I must confess that this is a rather new love but that makes it even stronger.
And as I suppose not everybody can use avocados on their menu yet I made up some little pictures with some preparation ideas so you can imagine what nice things you can make out of an avocado and some other vegetables.

If you have one or two really ripe avocados and mash them with a fork you can use them for almost everything. You can add mashed bananas, almonds and honey to get a sweet bread dip for breakfast or you add vegetables like peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and garlic to have a savoury meal (spices like salt, black pepper or chili are also important!). You can also add sliced avocados to your salad or use them smoothly mixed for a vegan salad dressing. Herbs like parsely and chives also go wonderfully with avocado recipes. Be creative and try out this fruit and you'll discover some new tastes. If you need recipes you might like to try those or those.
If you want to try avocado make sure to buy them one or two days before you prepare the meal. Usually they are not quite ripe enough to mash them easily when you just bought them.

According to a highly valued page avocado is relatively high in energy and (saturated) fats but it also contains a moderate amount of magnesium which is very important for running rats. Moreover, avocado contains vitamins C, E, K, B6 and folate. If you add other fruit and veg you have a very wholesome and additionally, satisfying meal. Avocado tastes wonderful with bread or as a dip for other vegetables or bread sticks which makes it a perfect party snack. If you like butter you'll also love avocado. Give it a try!


Ode to the Rat

People who read this blog regularly may know already that I keep rats. Others maybe surprised. Many people look at me slightly disgusted when I tell them that I own six rats. And usually noone believes that a nice girl like me has rats.
Well, there are several reasons for liking these little animals.

But first, I'd like to tell you, how I came to buy rats. I was 14 and went into a pet store to buy food for my dog. There I saw it: it was tiny and had huge ears. It's fur was black and white and had a pink nose. Curious it came to the cage door and I felt it wanted to greet me. So I had to love it from the first sight. I asked the owner of the pet shop what kind of pet it was and he told me it was a little rat.
I went home counting my pocket money. It was almost enough. I could buy it (and a cage for it) if my parents only let me. We would be best friends and I could take it everywhere. But my parents refused. They told me I had a dog already and that would be more than most children could wish for. I was heartbroken. The little thing and me never would be best friends.
But I was still curious. I started to read several books about rats and informed myself. I learned that rats are highly social and intelligent pets who need company amongst several other things.
Years later: I did never forget about the little rat. I still dreamt about it. My biggest wish were rats.
Then I moved in my own appartment when I was 19. The kitchen was quite big and there was space left. I felt lonely sometimes. So I just bought 2 little rats and a cage. Few weeks later there were rats number 3,4 and 5. and a bigger cage. I couldn't get enough.

I never met so friendly, uncomplicated pets. They don't need you desperately (except for feeding and entertaining) but they love it if you come home and keep them busy. You can built little playgrounds for them (my rats have scratching post with hammocks and everything) or hide food.
Fancy rats are highly individual. While one of them sits on your lap and wants to be kissed and huged another one kids around by biting in your big toe and running away only to do the exact same thing two minutes later again. I swear I heared this one giggeling while running away, that little goblin. But some also groom your hair as if you were one of them.
And all of them act just cute. Almost like little dogs. Playful and innocent.

On the other hand, unlike a dog they are never lonely or sad if you are not at home as long as you keep them in a group. They are very clever and can learn to listen to you. But they are not only clever they are also nice to look at. If you observe their behaviour in the evenings you'll never need a TV again.

Honestly, I'm always thinking of getting a dog. I would love it because my parents always had one or two and eventually I'd have a perfect running partner who's there every time. On the other hand, a dog would much more depend on me than rats do. A dog would need me often and for long intervals. My rats are completely satisfied with on or two hours per day including feeding and cleaning. And I could even leave them alone for a day or two if I had to.
In the end they are a kind of compromise. But a very, very good one.


30 Day Challenge

I concocted a new plan.
As you probably noticed I'm addicted to chocolate. I really have a hard time sticking to the 'good' chocolate when there is so much choice. Especially now that it's almost Chistmas and you can buy even more sweets than usual. Our Christmas Market just opened and you can guzzle your way completely through the whole town. As addiction never is a good thing I need to change. And I think I've got a good idea.

I'll start a new 30 day trial from tomorrow. 'Healthy' sweets only. Such as 85% cocoa containing chocolate, dried fuits and nuts. No milk chocolate, nougat or marcipan allowed. If I have a choice I'm eating whatever I want.
So that means that I'll stick to the good stuff for at least 30 days. I'll track what I ate and how I felt during this time and hope to get results afterwards.

As they found out dark chocolate is actually quite healthy I guess I should feelt great. Dark choci lowers blood pressure and keeps your heart healthy because it works against blood clotting. Also, it contains antioxidantes which help to protect your body from free radicals.

Dried fruit and nuts are wholesome snacks, too. Of course you should be aware of the calories they contain if you want to lose weight (just the same with chocolate). But in the end they are much more natural than a candy bar. Moreover, nuts contain unsaturated fats which are actually 'good' fats. They help to prevent heart diseases and keep your LDL cholesterol level low. They also contain omega-3 fatty acids which you usually only find in fish. These also help preventing heart diseases.

My goal is to be strong enough to say NO against all the unwholesome stuff during christmas time and also later on. I'd rather lose a couple of pounds because of more controlled eating instead of gaining weight during christmas time.
I also hope not to buy as many sweets as usual if I'm only to buy the 'good' ones because they are usually more expensive.

I'll keep you updated. :)


Join a Running Group!

We've had our first meeting just yesterday. Very impressive. 350 runners in one room (though not everyone looked that sporty...). Most of them want to run a marathon. Everyone looks excited.

The beginning was just annoying though. Friend#2 and me had some really important party-shopping to do and left our homes very late. That's why we were late then of course. 350 people in one room and two sweating blondes entering to look for seats. I wanted to sit on the floor in the very back. Instead we went in the very front. Embarassing.

The catering was awful, too. No food at all. Didn't they fear canibalism with all those penned up runners? The chocolate in my purse saved our lifes.
And in the end the meeting didn't meet my expactations anyway.

I expected a enormous, nicely decorated hall for us all and a glass of champagne for the start (or beer at least).
I expected lots of young, good looking men (and women but wo cares).
I expected a perfectly recherched speech about nutrition, health, shoes and functional shirts and that stuff.
I expected intermingeling and exchange of experience.
I expected a very nice evening with similar-minded people.

And what did I get? A little, crowded room, not even water, lots of elderly guys, a commercial about expensive shoes and a boring long lasting speech which didn't taught me any news (and running friend#2 who would rather listen to that crap than slag the speaker). I also got hostile looks from women who obviously did only expect attractive men there (just like me).

At least there was one nice talk but it was all due to friend#2 who intermingles so much better than I do. She spotted the only attractive guy in the room and smiled at him throughout the whole boring speech. No wonder the two of them intermingeled so wonderfully after all.

Altogether, the best thing was that we got a training schedule which starts from next week. This was the thing I was interested in. Ours is called 'ambitious marathon training' (sounds so much better than 'beginner'). But I must confess: I'm not sure if I'll be able to stick to it. If I only imagine the weekly quota I need a nap already.
And that's only the marathon training. I need to be trained for a triathlon, too. I guess the next five months are going to suck. But I refuse to start worrying before the first real training next thursday (they are going to chase us 10km round a tartan track ).

On the bright side I might be able to eat whatever I want over Christmas. If that's not worth the money...


How I quit smoking

This will be the story how I quit a sick-making habit.

A lot of people, even sportive ones, do smoke. I started in school just like probably everyone else. That's the time when you need friends and want to belong to a group. Health is not interesting if it comes to the gorgeous guy over there. And it's so much cooler to ask for a cigarette first than for the time or something. You'll never get a date if you're not cool.

10 years later you notice this inexplainable coughing when rising. Certainly because you need a cigarette. What else would it be. Even while you're ill and your body needs all power and vitamines you can't stop. Illnesses take much longer this way.

At this point in my life I also started running. And in the end sport was my wonder wall.
It still took a while (you know I'm not that fast) but at a point I didn't want to smoke anymore. That was not the point when I threw the stuff in the bin or anything. Nooooooo. It still took more time. I still didn't want anymore. But you are used to it. You love it. You're bored while waiting if you can't smoke. What would you do if you wouldn't smoke while drinking coffee??

But I tell you something: it's all in your head! That's why I wrote a little (huuuuge) note and pinned it where I saw it every two seconds (my mirror). It says: I won't smoke anymore (Yes, it's still there). I read it over and over and over. Daily. For weeks, months. The thoughts about quiting became manifest.
Meanwhile I also read on a (German) non-smoking-page. This one was nice. They didn't tell you you'd have to stop. In a test they told me that I wasn't even addicted. Hm. Then it should be easy actually.
So I followed some advise how to smoke less (I also would save so much money!). I didn't buy new packages anymore at once when I noticed they're about to get empty. Didn't smoke while biking anymore. Stoped smoking in my boyfriend's appartement. Didn't use the breaks at work for smoking. Didn't smoke while walking. Didn't smoke at home anymore.
When I felt ready I dismissed one after the other habit. Step by step. One by one. I took my time.
Eventually I left the cigarettes at home when I went out.
Then I also stoped smoking at home. So I really had no places left. Therefore, I also dismissed the one or two sickarettes I used to smoke with my morning coffee and before sleeping.

One or two days I struggeled. But not nearly as hard as I used to when I tried to quit just like that.
I still have some ciggis in my drawer. And I would be allowed if I liked to smoke them. Sometimes I even smoked while dancing and going out for a while. But that was rather seldom and I just hate the smell and the taste by now (you should see my disgusted face while I think of it).

Boyfriend#1 tells me when I'm whiny about anything I didn't make: Your will is a muscle. Train it just like you would with your body. And that's what I did. And you can make it, too. The only thing you need is as always: motivation.

I just won't smoke anymore (Not: I don't want to. I won't.) Don't leave yourself loopholes.


A second fitness sport eventually!

My brain figured it out by itsself and I didn't even notice. I'm going swimming now regularly. I pay for it at least twice a week. I don't know where this change came from. It just happend. Is it the affirmations at my wall? Is it that I told friend#2 I'll do the triathlon with her? Probably both.
But guess what: I'm really enjoying to swim. It's not too bad. And wouldn't there be so many old people it would be actual fun. My muscles in shoulder and back were actually sore after yesterdays training. And it was only an hour. I need to get better.
I have now two long run goals (notice the pun): the iceland ultramarathon and an ironman. :D

Tips to change your diet

Wanna lose a couple of pounds? Who doesn't?
Now we all know now what we
should eat but everyone has difficulties in following the healthy-diet rules. I do have my difficulties with them, too. It's just so bugging to get through the supermatket with all those colorful, funny packages. I'm working in one and see all these 'nice' things daily and it makes me furious sometimes. Everybody is allowed to eat that stuff and I'm not. And why? Just because I want to run that stupid marathon as fast as I can. But on the other hand I do look so much better than years before.

That's why I figured out that I needed a complete new behaviour in the super-market. I ignore the parts with the colorful, funny packages and stick to the fruit and veg part as often as I can. It's colorful in the fruit and veg part, too. Green apples, yellow melons and red tomatoes. I do enjoy the non-artificial colours. And if I want to reward myself because of an overwhelming sportive achievement I buy organic food.
It's actually not so much more expensive. But I just eat too much of it to buy it always.

It's still very difficult to leave the choci and go with carrots and cucumbers instead. But then maybe at least you can avoid supermarkets altogether. When I started to buy my stuff on small farmer's markets where you can also have a nice chat with the guy who knows exactly how the apples taste you'll start to consume less unwholesomes simply because you couldn't buy any. Moreover it's often much more fun there and has a holiday charme if the sun is out. And if it's not in walking distance: what does it matter? Take your bike on a nice ride and enjoy your ride and your shopping. Make the most of it.
If I don't have to work, I usually buy my stuff on Saturday mornings on such a maket. It's cheap and nice. And usually I've had a full workout afterwards because I buy so many nice things that I can hardly cycle home.

A good idea is also to look for substitutes in you diet. I try to substitute the sweets in the evening with a plate full of nice fruit. It doesn't always work entirely but at least I don't consume as much choci as if I hadn't had the fruit before.
I also don't go to work without my bag full of vegetables anymore. It looks much nicer than the stuff my collegues put in the microwave. Of course I'm not able to do this all day long but try to get better in substituting. But on the other hand I also almost always earned my chocolate by running, swimming and biking (You could have noticed here: Triathlon is close, too.).

In the end it's just the same with the running. Motivation comes first. I found a motivation: the marathon (and the triathlon actually). Also friend#2 helps a lot. And as boyfriend#1 always says: If you don't get what you want you don't want it badly enough.


Five steps to become a fast running rat

As you read in my last post I'm now offically a stunningly fast runner. Here is the proof.

Next year I'll run the marathon at that pace (but with a lower pulse)!
And with all that experience I thought I'd give you some advice how to become just as good as me.

1. Of course the base is always the most important thing:
Look after your nutrition. Everything is okay as long as you have it under control. Try to eat as much fruit and veg as you can. As an athlete you need all the vitamins and minerals you can get. For the hard training ones it might be advisable to take supplements. I found it out the hard way. I was slow and tired for weeks until I finally went to donate blood and they told me I couldn't donate because I had a huge iron deficiency. I always knew I had problems to get iron because I don't like meat (though I am no vegetatrian) but I didn't really check that often.
My advice: if you really don't like something special you should better check what you miss (This page can be helpful) and then do something about it. Either you take supplements or you try to substitute with something else.

2. Regular Pace Training: There are two different possibilities. If you are more professional than me you should chose both. I'm usually just too lazy to do both pace trainings. I have a certain pace lap and when I'm running this one, I usually try to run it as fast as I can. But you can also do a sprint training. You sprint as long as you can, then jog for a bit and repeat that as often as you can. You should try to sprint a minute at least. I committed that I'll start this kind of training after the last race this year which was last weekend. I didn't start yet. But I will, I will, I will! Soon.

3. Motivation: If you're not motivated you don't have to run a bit. You won't achieve anything if you just don't want to anyway. Therefore, you need to find out what motivates you. Is it a new pair of running shoes? An upcoming race? An attractive running partner? Nice music? Nature? The neighbour's dog running with you? Look for you individual motivators and try to find new ones all the time. It'll improve your motivation and that's just everything.
I have a friend who actually wants to do sports but he's not motivated so he skips his trainings all the time. He would probably need a partner to run with but that's kind of difficult in his case. He's too far away from me at least.
I am a musical running rat for example: For me running works with music only. Though I started running without having an mp3 player I noticed that long runs can really be boring without entertainment. I can neither run fast nor far without music. And a really big motivator to train longer or race faster is new music.
I also love my heart rate montitor. It tells me if I'm too slow and makes me run faster by beeping (though I don't hear the beeping anyway with my cool music). But it tells me my results in the end and this does motivate me for the next run.

4. Running Technique: If you really want to run fast run on the balls of your feet. You can do longer steps which don't take as much time as if you put your heel down first. Moreover, it is an gentle way to run for your knee joints. But you really need to train this technique for some time. Start with short distances. It can hurt tremendously in your calves if you run a long distance without having tried it cautiously first. Boyfriend#1 learned it the hard way. He couldn't walk for three days. I learned it not quite as hard. I could only not walk for 24 hours.

5. Races: The very best training is a race! Competition will let you run with all energy you have and not only all the energy you are willing to invest in a training. On the other hand, a race is exhausting and you shouldn't race too often. The reason: The more you race the less time you have to have fun with your sport, and fun is important. Moreover, you lose time to relax and regenerate. Remember: Only a rested (and motivated) runner is a fast runner. So if you notice that you don't benefit from your races anymore you should better skip one and take a week to rest entirely. It is a quite good idea to get an overview in the beginning of the season (which is usually around march - in Germany at least) and mark those races you are interested in. Then you can chose as many as you like and commit your participation early so you rather have to race then. If you are quite new in running you start easily with only few races.

In a nutshell: make sure your basic nutrition fits for an athlete, try to run as fast as you can on a regular basis, look after your motivation, try to improve your running technique and last but not least race as often as you can.

The Experiment

Stay on your couch today. Don't move. Eat as much as you want. You are allowed. This is why:

I ran a couple of days ago. Shocking, isn't it?!
But the really upsetting fact is: I ran 12 mins faster than usual! I repeat: 12. Just like that. Last time I ran 54:16 mins for a pace training. Same lap in the park that day. 42:33.
A day before the training I thought I an iron deficiency again which wouldn't have been surprising because I really don't eat a lot of red meat (the iron containing stuff). Obviously this wasn't the case. I take supplement most of the time anyway. (I'm a blood donor, so nobody has to sceam out loud that the sporty girl doesn't eat properly. Thanks.) So I really didn't know why I was that quick.

The good thing was: I had an assumption.
The reason why I ran was to relax myself. A dentist appointment was coming up and it was made fairly clear that I wouldn't leave the praxis without them pulling out one of my beloved teeth. I was full of mortal fear. Agony. Probably the pain would kill me. And if not the pain then at least my anxiety.
So I ran. Just the thing Oetzi would have done. Fleeing. As fast as I could of course. You'd better be the winner in Oetzi's times. And obviously I would have been the one that would have escaped the dinosaur (Though no Oetzi could have been as dumb as me and run back to the place where he met the dino.).

But of course I didn't want to tell to you to let your dentist get to your teeth without double checking. I don't want to see a lot of beautiful, young but teethless (male) runners at the next race (I don't care so much about the females.).
So I did just the same thing without a new dentist appointment coming up. And guess what. I even ran 20 sec faster than before they pulled my tooth out.

But on the other hand, I'm kind of complacent now. I really am that fast. Without fear dilating my veins.

And after all I did some detection and discoverd in my running logs: I did my regeneration work really well both times (and now you see why it might be helpful to protocol your trainings). A lot of no sports days before. Couch, choci, no moving. It seems to work. Never underestimate the importance of regeneration (and nutrition)!

And one more thing I leaned certainly: Training is much more effective if you can give everything because you're fit.

And next time I'll tell you how I became that fast a rat. ;)


How to be a healty running rat

I suppose it might a quite a good idea to drop some lines about nutrition as well.
Obviously you can't take me too serious most of the time. I mean the stuff about the tons of chocolate I eat daily is not very precise. I am really rather a nutrition control freak.

As you probably noticed everyone knows which diet is best for you (And I do, too.) Nutrions gurus and many different diets promise you to lose a million pounds a week and that kind of stuff. Doesn't sound real? Well try it (and pay 150 bucks) and you will be amazed! (Amazing how much money I spent on that shit!)
At least I am quite sure that all the diets I tried (and there are quite a lot, I started at 12) just made me more and more look like an (un)happy hippo. Of course they take all your self-confidence because you are too stupid to follow even such a simple plan as to only eat one carrot a day!
When I really was fed up with all that I decided I'll just go with healthy food (as far as I knew then). And guess what? It works! So you can stick with your weight easily and feel good.
Basically it's just this: fruit and veg as much as you want. Until your satisfied. Until you cannot crawl to your fridge again because your full belly is holding you back.

Maybe that's not what you wanted to hear if you're a fast food and sweets fan but believe me: you'll actually feel so much better, lighter, full of power and have a free mind! There are some raw vegans who state just the same (example). I'm amazed how they say everybody around you will notice your change. But I guess that's because you feel better if you eat healthy, are more self-concious and just have a complete new vision of the world.
In fact I also thought about going with raw vegan after boyfriend#1 brought it up. It sounded interesting and much like I would love it. But after thinking a while (you know I take longer sometimes) I decided that it might be too cumbersome for me. Sometimes it takes a while 'to cook' tasty raw food and I'd really miss my choci (which is not absolutely unwholesome if you buy the right one). Moreover, I learned right here that animal fats are sometimes healthier than they say.

Hence: strict raw vegan diet off the table.
The compromise: Raw-vegan (uncooked fruit and veg) with some vegan (including bread once in a while) and absolute carnivore food (chocolate).
Also, I try to eat fish on a regular basis (I didn't succeed yet). I also manage to eat some meat once in a while.

If you want to lose weight on the other hand you should control youself a bit more and step on the scales once a week (that's what I do currently so the next marathon will be easier). Of course you should do sports and it also would be a good idea to reduce the sugar containing parts of the diet, i.e. the bananas and grapes (and the choci of course!). What's helpful as well might be fasting a day per week if you can manage (or even over a longer period). A different idea would be to cut dinner out as often as you can (I can't) or only eat some veg for dinner (that's easier for me).

You really just have to listen to your body if you eat wholesome food. It learns what's good and what it needs and then tells you if you eate insufficiently.


Why would you have a second fitness sport?

All the sportive people do more than one sport. Yes, that's adviceable. You need to train your whole body in order to keep healthy and balanced.

At least that's what I read in many books. Well, it does make sense. I just noticed how underdeveloped my arms were when I lifted (veeeery light) weights some weeks ago. A bit training would certainly help.
You also have to stretch after sports. I tend to forget it. Always.
And why should I pay for sports if I can run for nothing? I need to pay for swimming (at least in winter), I have to pay for the gym. And moreover it's almost always crowded with old people who just noticed if they don't intervene now it'll be over soon.
After you did your exercise and want to use the sauna... oh no-no-no! Don't look closer at your companions. I know it's natural but ugh. And this grandpa is even staring. Wah!
Even in a female fitness club. Don't wanna see what I'll look like in 40 years!

So I decided: as long as I have to pay for sports running and biking must be enough for my body. But the affirmations on my mirror say something different. I guess my brain needs to figure out the rest on it's own.


The current situation...

That might be interesting, too.

After almost three years of running I am still heavy (it must be the bones!) but I don't look like it anymore. I do like fruit and veg but when it comes to choci I'm weaker than ever. I quit smoking two or three months ago but surprisingly didn't put weight on. My bike doesn't only see day but also night lights because it's my best friend and only means of transport since my car has been broken for a year and I don't have any interest (money) in fixing it. You might ask why I don't use public transport. You don't know the gawking people in the tram! Nope, thanks. Running? Daily about 20km when my legs allow me. Unfortunately they frequently won't. Specially if it's cold or raining they like to stay in bed.

But even with an uncalibrated training like this I ran my first whole marathon about two weeks ago. 4:24:16. Well, I thought I could be a lot faster but I really, honestly absolutely couldn't. Some guy on the other hand told me that this was quite good for the first 42,2km. Very continual. I'm a hero! Super-girl!

Next 42,2km in April. I join a running group from November. Need to be so much faster when I run in my home town and everyone can see. Big goal. Marathon in so much less than 4h.

Anyway: running friend#1 is pregnant now and has no interest for sport anyway anymore. Never again. Her next guy is going to be a couch potatoe with a fat belly (se said). I wonder if that's because her extremly sportive husband left her.

Therfore, I needed a new running friend (4h runs are just booooring – you need someone to chat about the nice guys you just passed or anything). And found her. Actually she's not entirely new: we've been running partners for almost two years now. You wouldn't believe that anyone can be worse than running rat but she is. After a two-hour run she still wants to go further. After a 40km-long-run she likes to cycle another 30km to our favourite lake to relax. Nuts that girl. But I guess it's partly my fault. I join her every time.

Boy-friend#1 is even better. He doesn't really run. 10km, 12 sometimes (doesn't count). On the other hand he's going to be a tennis pro (he says). With 27, almost 28. Training: daily from 7 to 9 a.m. Which means we daily get up at about 5. De - light - ful.


Why Running Rat?

Now the interesting part: Why is the rat the runner here?
Well, first of all I am sure you know rat running. I am a city girl - so I do it all the time (but by bike of course). Sometimes I thought about doing it while racing but I honestly didn't cheat (yet).
Second, my chinese zodiac is the rat. Rats are loyal, devoting, intelligent, honest, talented and much more... I'm proud to be rat. Who wouldn't be?
Third, I was inspired by a different (but also rather unattractive) German animal.
Fourth, I didn't want to be identified (and presumably glorified) with a fair, beautiful and majestic animal like a horse or a lion (they are boring anyway). That is not me. If anything I'm small, quick 'n' creepy.
Last but not least I am not only a rat I also have some.
Yes, you read that. I have rats.
Everyone who shouted in digust: There is the hypothetic door. Get out.
Everyone who thought about sending me an exterminator or a cat: I don't like you.
And then look at this picture:

You would never hurt this little thing, would you?

Everyone who wants to alarm animal protection: I really do like you! But don't worry. My pets are no runners. In fact they are rather chubby and if at all they should rather start swimming. They are safe.


The Story Beginns

We're in the year 2007. I am 22 and rather heavy. But not only heavy also a heavy smoker. I do like fruit and veg but if I have a choice I prefer chocolate over the healthy stuff. My bike was fine in the cellar. At least nobody could filch it. The poor thing never saw daylight.

My car on the other hand was parked just outside my door. Why would I take the effort to get my bike outside? Waaaay to much work! And running? Why the hell would you torture yourself like this? No thanks!

Then there was a new guy and it was just like it always is when a girl gets to know a new guy. You wanna be perfect for him. He was the attractive, very sporty doctor-kind. A girl-friend who wasn't into sport? Not his type. But he was absolutely mine. It took some time in my blond head but I knew I needed to do something about my unathleticism. So I went for it. Run you big, fat rat, run!

Friend#1 was begging me to sign up for a 10km run with her. 10Kilometer? Crazy or what?! I was rather indifferent. Until the new guy was there. 10km? Peanuts! Nothing! Let's go! When? In 30 days. No problem!

So I tried for the first time after PE in school to actually run. Agonising pain! My poor muscles. Air! I need air! And that were only the first 2 minutes. I didn't actually run anyway. It was more a kind of schlepping myself.

After about a week of absolute torture every single day I was surprised that it actually got better and better. I was amazed. I could breathe. Ok, people still looked at me when I passed them. Hobbling old men with crutches were faster than me. But I actually started to like the pain. Stupid, isn't it? Well, you know I'm blond.

And the doctor-guy gave me advise how to proceed. I was endlessly proud of myself. I got him! I got him! Never would he leave!

Then friend#1 asked my to sign up for a half-marathon. Half-marathon? What's that? 20 Kilometres?!?! Hmmm...

(The doctor said he had done it...)

...sure, why not?

Three months later all that was left of the doctor were 150 tear-wet pages in my diary and I passed my first 21.1km without friend#1 (at least she was a spectator) in only 2:13:something. Some guys ran the 42.2km faster than me. But I actually made it! Never thought I'd be able to run that distance! 21.1km. That's 21,100 metres! 2,110,000 centimetres! That's nuts!

My parents asked who I was and what I had done to their daughter. My friends would't recognise me on the street. Not bad! And it was only the beginning...