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.