A new running partner

He is cute, he is black and he is funny. The perfect combination. Who I am talking about, you'll ask. It is my new running partner and best friend. He unfortunately never talks but runs very bravely every track with me.
Of course, I wouldn't take him for marathon training as he is not prepared, yet. But I'll train him. He is also perfect because he is almost never tired, very athletic and happy.
I'm talking about my dog. Who can imagine a better running partner?


First Marathon in Vibrams

Oh my, I wasn't here for a loooong time. But I'm still here and I am still the running rat. 

I have tested Vibram five fingers now for over six month and I must confess: they are gorgeous!
I know so many people who have big problems with their knees especially on long runs. Since I'm running in Vibrams I hadn't had this problem any more. I even ran my first marathon wearing Vibrams just one week ago.

Before I even got to the start I got some bewildered looks. Apparently, nobody in the small town of Magdeburg has ever heard of Vibrams. At the start the first people asked about the shoes. 'Is that how you do this in these times?', an about fourty-year-old lady asked me.
Another older man caught me on the track an wanted to know if running in these shoes was ok. Well, that was at about 38km. He could have guessed that everything was alright as I managed quite a bit of the way and still looked happier as some of the other runners .
Some young track attendants even knew the name of the shoes. Seems as if they get through slowly.

Still, there occured some minor difficulties. As Vibrams feel almost as if you'd run barefoot and the track had many of stony, chipsy paths my feet hurt quite a bit after only half of the way. But I guess that was just the same with all the other runners. 
However, as a Vibram runner you tend to chose your tracks on the basis of the quality of the ground. I'm sure as I kepp to running barefoot I will get tougher as my feet will adapt. 
During the marathon, however, I tended to run beneath the track from time to time to give my feet a break. All these asphalt streets were quite uncomfortable. 
Afterwards I realized running on the grass wasn't the best idea after all as I got a bit lazy concerning the running style.
I noticed a some pain in my lumbar region after the run which hints on a wrong style of running.

Nevertheless, I am satisfied with the result (which I'll keep to myself as it is not even close to four hours). It was a very windy day and I am happy that I ran in Vibrams.


Fit to Run!

I made it!
The marathon was pure torture though which was mostly due to the weather. Usually, you would have expected nice spring weather. Warm, but not hot and a little rain maybe. Even low temperatures would have been okay.
But what did we got: 25° in shade, lots of sun and trees with spring leaves that gave almost no shade. With the low temperatures during the spring and lots of rain most of the non-pro runners like me were not prepaired for a day like this. Moreover, I caught a huge sunburn. Bad, bad preparation!

The day after: cloudy, cool, perfect marathon weather. Hmpf.
Never mind. I got through though I must confess that the time made me weep. 4:40. Embarrasing. But never mind again. I will improve considerably until the end of the season. I promise!


Fit to Run?

I'd better be! Marathon weekend just coming up. And what about my actual shape? I am sitting. Daily. Always. Since almost three months now. I will appreciate the time when - finally - there is not pile of eight or nine books on my table which actually should have been read until yesterday.
I want to run. Sincerely. But I simply cannot spare the time. Still,  I am sure to run the marathon. Why you will ask, I suppose. Because I am sure, I am capable and I made an affirmation. 
I am full of sorrow though: Maybe I won't be able to move afterwards for a week and maybe I will be full of remorse. How will I work then? On the other hand I cannot not make it. It would mean to having to dissapoint myself and to actually admitt that the running-group-money was entirely wasted. Moreover, it would be devastating to meet running group people after the run who made it and to be forced admitt that I didn't make it.
Therfore: Fingers crossed on Sunday, please. My affirmation will (hopefully) do the rest.


The Perfect Job!

Running Rat got the perfect job now!
I can and actually have to train endurance as much as pace while working. Unbelieveable? Then you haven't worked as a waitress yet. Especially during Easter time it is amazing what people can eat and drink in almost no time. And this time I am really not talking about myself!
Anyway: it is a training for your whole body. You have to move fast, have to carry much and moreover, have no time to eat or drink at all. It is hot at my work place, too. This way, you not only feel like in a sauna all the time you're actually also perfectly prepared for the Marathon les Sables.
But to be at least a little bit serious: I appreciate this job very much. It helps me get my ideal marathon weight quickly (lost two pounds aready). And after over eight hours of rushing to and fro I am sure to be marathon fit!


On Running Groups

As I mentioned once or twice I payed for attending a running group. Nice thing if you want to get to know people who are interessted in the same stuff as you are. Probably lots of good looking men (and women but who cares). You can also learn so much from your trainers and ask questions about every little problem you seem to be having. You can even ask about you friends' problems. Awesome!

By the by: I never attended above two meetings of my running group during the whole winter. And they were both at the very beginning of it all. Then the weather got bad, it was dark early and I realised: it is simply not my thing to run in the dark parks as they usually did with the group. I am much too anxious to break my dear legs while not recognising the path I run on.
I understand the concept of timing the meetings late at night, though, when most people are free and can actually attend. I, however, really prefer using the daylight especially in winter when it is so bloody sparse anyway.
Therefore, I advise myself to not join a running group during winter again. There is no point in wasting money this way.
Moreover, me, the smart alec, never joined one of the lectures because those graduates in sports science won't be able to teach me anything new anyway. At least this was my excuse for not having to go out in the rain late at night.
On the other hand, I got to know one or two nice runners actually. If I had attend regularly it might have even been more. Well. 
Maybe there is a future for running groups after all. But first, boyfriend#1 needs to be fed up with me (or I with him).

pic by Kingray


The First Vibram Week

The past week has been very different from the weeks before. Probably the nice weather is a point but also the shoes do very much for my motivation:
In contrast to the passed few weeks without Vibrams I am very motivated to run now. Vibrams rock my world! Actually, I would like to run daily. Unfortunately, this simply not possible as my muscles first need to get used to (almost) barefoot running.
But after all, I am a little bit proud really. I improved this week from eight minutes to over a whole hour (73mins) of running. And I didn't even have to rest long in between the runs as others had to because of not being able to walk at all. ;) Altough, I confess that I planned a day's rest in between the runs. Therefore, I really had no bad muscle pains (which was astonishing to boyfriend#1).
That also proves the whole point of not overtraining. You can achieve so much more with starting slowly and carefully and not just starting with a normal 10km track.
On the other hand I really like adore to run the marathon in Vibrams because I am much more motivated to improve running barefoot than in 'normal' running shoes. Moreover, I didn't experience any joint pain until now which I often did in usual running shoes (especially on long runs). My biggest hope actually is exactly not to have them ever again as barefoot running spares your joints much better than the cusioning effect of common running shoes.
On monday and tuesday I'll go for long(er) runs (about 20km) with running friend#2. I suppose I'll have to do at least one in common shoes. This way, I can actually observe the difference between the shoes very closely. I'm very curious already.


Vibrams: Start Small

Boyfriend#1 started the whole Vibram thing as men tend to do. He read about them on a apparently really up-to-date blog and showed me the article right away. It was this very informative one.
I was actually very interested, too but not in the mood to spend a lot of money (which I do not possess) for shoes (which I may never use). But it all made very much sense indeed.
Then boyfriend#1 is apparently richer than I am (though I am not quite convinced yet) and not as stingy he got to try them out first. The day they got deliverd he wore them in his apartment and felt fine. The next day he said he wanted to try them running and worked a little circuit of 10km. He went to bed happy though with a slight muscle pain in his calves.
He couldn't get up the morning after. And the morning after, and the morning after. I laughed my head of but he really had severe problems to get even to the loo. I confess that I pittied him a bit. Who could have known...
Well, at least now I know. He highly recommended to start with only 5km for a maximum. I started with 8mins (two kilometres maximum). Then I did 12mins the day after. Today I made the whole of 16mins. Maybe I get crazy with 30mins tomorrow. But we'll see. I really don't want to end up in such a pain. I'll have that after the marathon anyway.
On the other hand it would be so much fun to run the marathon in Vibrams. But I guess that is a bit short notice as we only have a month's training left. Therefore, the marathon in Vibrams will mean so much pain that I won't be able to work for a whole week. Who will pay for all the food I usually consume after this long a distance??
Would have really been so much fun to watch people's faces. Probably, I wouldn't have even noticed the first 20km. On the other hand, I can do that in a couple of months still. :)


Running Rat Became Entertainer

You can see her shows almost daily in a small park in a German town called Leipzig. Most people there believe her obviously to be hilarious. You can see it in their faces as she runs by with her stoic face looking at her watch from time to time. 
But why is she so funny? She is wearing ordinary running clothes: black running pants, a white cap, sometimes a pink shirt which may be out of the ordinary to one or the other - but in general... 
But wait! What's that on her feet?? You have never seen that before!

They are called Vibrams and are believed to be the new trend in sports and health. I (and most peope around me) admitt that they do look, well, let's call it special. A runner wearing them looks even more special to grandmas and grandpas in the park and to the average uneducated park runner. 
Just a couple of minutes ago people stared at me as if I was from a different galaxy. 
However, it is kind of fun to watch people's reactions. I could hardly  refrain from laughing as I watched their faces. 
Not even one of the runners held his hand up to greet me as it is usual around here. They all stared at my feet and probably had severe thoughts about me having escaped the nuthouse.
Therefore, I am still quite relieved that I only run a couple of minutes a day to get used to these shoes. Why you should better start small I'll tell you very soon. 


Passing Exams and Marathon?!

Oh my, I am really registered at this marathon in April and actually do neither feel fit nor motivated. Maybe you know exam times when you do not even have time for a single day to relax (or to train). I feel quite burnt out, don't want to study anymore (at least not daily). I would prefer anything to English literature, essay writing and translations.
But I will make this exam! And do you know why? Because I want it. I made an affirmation. And I have a strong motivator: I want to start my first real job finally, have my own place to live and save for fabulous trips around the world (though that kind of collides with my wish for a dog). There you have it. If you look for me, I am studying.
On Wednesday everything is over (at least for a couple of weeks) then training starts again!! And I'll make the marathon as well.

pic by drexel.edu


HIT it!

Do you know these desperate times? Times when you have no idea how to handle your life? Times when you don't have time for friends or a relationship, not to speak of hobbies? I just have a time like that. It is awful. I study most of my day and have to work the rest of it to earn at least a little bit of money.
And the Leipzig Marathon is comming up! Only 47 days to train but no time at all. And I want to improve my time of course. I need to run the 42,2 km under four hours this time. I'll lose my self-esteem otherwise.

So, thanks to boyfriend#1 here is the solution for all this: HIT. Of course you can use hit also as a running training. I'll try for the next two weaks at least. Of course you'll never make a marathon with skipping the long runs altogether. But with HIT you can save a lot of time and improve your performance. See also here.

Then, let's try it. I'll keep you updated on this.


Futher Thoughts to Intermittend Fasting

Maybe I said it already. I love the concept of intermittend fasting! 
That brought me the idea I might try a thirty day trial. One day I faste until noon, the next I don't. This is really a nice thing. 
I felt wonderful about a week in a row. The pros were: I did't get all these aggressions when I can't run for a while. I usually begin to bug all people around me then by being either whiny or grumpy. I feel very clearly that I have to much energy in me then.
But I also bug myself then by being kind of unsettled sitting anywhere for a longer time.
Moreover, me - the never satisfied running rat - have a time in the day when I don't eat. This is very new. The only time I didn't eat before IF was while sleeping. And I really mean that. I practically ate the whole day through and dropped asleep when I stopped. 
Now that I don't have the time to run very much as it is winter and I need to study I was gaining weight each day. I rather lose weight with IF and a bit of training. Though I really hope it is not muscle weight I lose. 

But after a while there became more and more cons manifest: I felt light-headed and dizzy. Also, I was thirsty. Always. I could hardly schlepp all my drinks with me for some hours' work in the library. And I drank too much coffee, especially cappuccino. Then there was the heart-racing sometimes. I also prefered eating choci absoultely over anything healthy. And I just quit this bad habit. I don't want to start all over again.
And all those things happend though a drank a lot of juices, too. So there actually was 500kcal calorie income. But maybe this is simply not enough for a running rat.
Therefore, I cut back on fasting days again. I guess I'll do a lighter variation with fasting once or twice a week depending on the amount of kilometres I ran. I guess that might be healthier, too.


Intermittend Fasting

I did it. A fasted for about 24 hours. Actually not on Sunday because I was kind of hung over and needed vitamins desperately. 
Eventually, I succeeded to fast from Sunday afternoon to Monday. It wasn't really that bad. I thought it might get ugly but it didn't. 
I assumed that my mood would drop during the day and that I wouldn't be able to concentrate on my studies but that was not the case. 
Actually, my mood was perfectly fine and concentration even better than usual. Maybe that was because I didn't have to think about food, choci and sweets all the time? I also felt light as a feather and didn't have this annoying rumble in my stomach which I usually have when sitting too long and eating too much.

There were some annoying things, though: First, the drowsiness on Monday morning so that I needed a cup of coffee eventually. Therefore, it was not a perfect fast but much better than nothing. Some fruit juice was a nice breakfast and kept me from the worst starving feeling.  
Second, I had those really loud collywobbles after having the second tiny coffee. This was kind of embarrassing in the very quiet reading room of the library but I needed something warm in my stomach (apparently they don't sell tea there).But I suppose that was only because my stomach is not used to fast.
Third, my heart raced again and again for some time. This might have been due to the coffee, though. I also have to add that I drank about three litres of water, tea and juice only on monday morning until lunch. So whenever you plan to fast better take a couple of liquids whereever you go.

Monday afternoon I ate again. A little wrap with vegetables for a start. It made me feel kind of nauseous first. Should I have strated with something else? It could hardly have been too much because it was really a teeny tiny thing. I should do some research on that issue. By the way: of course I ate the whole evening afterwards. But I think, that's how it's supposed to work. I never ate a whole day's amount of food then but felt absolutely satisfied by some greens (and some choci).

In conclusion, I must say that I think I'll need some practise. If I can avoid the coffee and drink more tea instead I guess that my heart won't race. And I also think that I won't feel nauseous anymore. I'll stick with it for 30 days. Intermittend fasting is my thing!
Actually, my clothes feel bigger already... 


Old and New Issues

I found myself thinking that  it's really time for news here!

So in short (before I have to get back to studying) the topics I deal with recently:
1. Dark Chocolate Trial
I still stick to my just-very-dark-chocolate-trial (most of the time). 
First, I gave it up after the 30 day trial. Actually, I gave myself a couple days to eat all the choci-stuff there is. I consumed huge amounts. What it brought was a rash on the skin of my hip. First, it was only one side, then it was both. It wasn't really itchy but it also didn't look nice and when I left the milkchoci alone the rash left me alone, too. 
Running rat's mum made similar observations by the by. Of course, you can state now that this is probably a family issue but on the other hand it could as well have been a general body sign which may differ from person to person.

2. Gaining Weight  
I'm still getting fat sitting on my bud all day (I also get insanely intellectual but who cares?). As a consequence, I still look for possibilities to intervene. Unfortunately, sport is not really in the question as I simply cannot afford daily hours on running. 
Then I stumpled upon fasting again. I'm not really good with eating nothing for a longer period (as probably everybody else) but then I found a compromise! It's name is Intermittend Fasting. Not that it is an entirely new concept but now it has a name and a certain structure. You do it willingly and it shall help keeping you healthy (and slim). You can read about the benefits on wiki. Boyfriend#1 and me will start trying out tomorrow.

3. Sleep 
I wanted to write an article about sleep for ages already. I still haven't. But then boyfriend#1's sleeping issues made me aware again how gifted I must be. I usually sleep within seconds. 
So if you have sleep issues you probably want to do something about them. You'll soon be able to read an article about all the details here. 
In the meantime some very short advice: 
Skip coffee. Get up early, like at 6am - go to bed early, like at 10pm. Get a sleeping routine for your nights (like drinking tea and reading some book). Don't watch TV directly before you go to bed. Switch also your computer off early. Dim the lights directly before you go to bed and make sure that the room in which you sleep is really dark (and quiet of course) after you switched off your reading light. 
If you didn't know already: There are certain devices to track you sleep which also might help you if you have sleep issues. 
Believe me, with about 8-9 hours sleep a night you'll will feel much more rested, fresh and energetic.
I used to need naps during the day. But now that I have a daily routine (get up early, go to the library, sleep very early) I even sleep better than I used to (though I really rather have being-awake-issues than falling-asleep-issues). And my concentration span is longer, too.

4. Job Search
I still haven't got a new job. Though I'd really love to work for amazon if I can make it happen!

Now that was the short update. I'll post a longer one soon.



Dear readers,
I want to apologise that it is that quiet over here. Please understand, that the running rat is very busy with studying because of the exams at the end of February. On top of it, I also lost my job and therefore, need to write many, many, many applications. Anyone a good job for a smart, polite, hard-working student (exeptional is the 'horizontal business' of course)?

P.S. There is nothing interesting anyway. It is much to cold to run excessively and all the rest is on hold also because I have to sit in the library daily. So you don't miss anything. Exept of me getting fat.


Winter Rules Our World

A lot of snow over here! Which means: poor doggies with short legs, poor bikes that rust , poor bikers with broken bones and sleeping plants covered with a blanket of snow. 
Actually, only the runners don't think it too bad. I ran 22 km on Saturday and was amazed what nature can do. Beautiful!
But let me tell you: don't care for your looks and wear a lot of warm clothes. I also needed to drink a little grog after about an hour outside. Now I feel pretty nauseous. My fault.


Made your Race Shedule up yet?

Are you as hard-working and ambitious as running rat? Have a race shedule for 2010 yet? 
You should better get started to plan the approximate number of races you aim at and maybe you can already select which ones you're going to take.
 Remember: the earlier you register, the cheaper it is. Actually, I am registered for the Leipzig Marathon in April already (though this is rather because I joined the running group than because I am so quick in registering). Also, I planned to take the first race in March in a small place near our town called Eilenburg. I'll try to take the race offered at my company (though I take this race only because the company pays).  I'm also going to take part in the marathon in Palma de Mallorca in October. For the gaps in between I use local small races.
So this will make a ten-kilomtere run to begin the season, two marathons, one half marathon and some 10- and 20-kilometre runs depending general health and time needed for studying.

I am prepared. Are you?

If now they snow might be so polite to melt soon I can start training... Thanks.


10 Good Reasons to Join a Running Group

I finally did it. The first real sprint training!

Actually that was already some weaks ago already.When there wasn't as much snow, as there is now. And the good thing is, I'm going to do that regularly now. You probably would ask now why I am so sure about it. Well, I joined a running group in November. I would never be able to do that weekly on my own. A running group, on the other hand, is a thing that really helps. Why, you may ask. Well, there are several reasons:

1. You're not alone (and human beings are usually companionable beings).
2. You can get to know people very easily and maybe get new partners for training. 
3. You get to know people that are similar to you (at least concerning the hobby you never know): Sporty, active, out going. So then you always also have topics to speak about.
4. You get a bit of competition. This is very helpful for getting faster obviously.
5. You have a trainer can advise you concerning your sport.
6. You get motivation very quickly. If there is a nice man (or woman) there, even better. You'll never miss a training!
7. You don't have to stay in your lonely home at night because you got a date there. And important people have dates. Always! 
8.  With a running group you are likely to plan your training in advance. Therefore, you are also likely to becoming better (which means faster). 
9. You often get a cool shirt that tells you belong to a certain group. That's likely to give you more confindence in a race. Moreover, the running group guys are the cool ones! 
10. Sometimes, there are not only meetings to train but also informational meetings. In most cases there will be professionals giving some lectures about different topics concerning nutrition, health and other topics concerning your sport. I thought in the beginning I won't learn anything new there but to err is human!

So, if you are a more or less lonely runner, make the big step and join a running group or a club, get to know people and become more motivated, faster and even looking better than now!


Happy New Year!

Did you have resolutions for 2010? I had many (you probably, too). For example, I wanted to keep to my schedule. Run at least (!) 10 km per day. Well, I ran once in 2010 until now. I am impossible (you probably, too)!
My excuse: Over here, it snowed like almost all the time this year (What's yours?) You cannot really walk without slipping. I almost fell three times today and that was only on the way home from the library! How am I supposed to run like that? I tried yesterday though. 10km and it snowed like hell. I needed about three hours for defrosting. Boyfriend#1 took even longer. He ran in Vibrams (btw: good article about these shoes) and had frostbites in his toes.
So I decided: I give up. I simply leave it the way it is until the snow melts away. Living with the course of nature and all that. Because even when the snow melted my track will be rather consisting of one huge puddle than anthing close to a path. People in the Stone Age wouldn't have voluntarily went into a swamp to die either.
I gave something more up, too. Maybe you remember that my 30 day challenge ended on December 31th (well, I certainly did!). So I took that day and already started in the morning: I ate as much choci as I could. Actually, that was a lot. Something like two huge boxes of pure milk choci. Almost a whole pound all together. I didn't even feel sick.
Maybe that's the reason I can't go on like this with another 30 day challenge. I need choci! It's just too hard to live without it. I confess: Though, I made the resolution to stay with my new custom to only eat healthy sweets, I just can't. At least, I try to be a bit more sensible and only eat the 'bad' choci if I really have to. I try the healthy stuff first. I promise!

The good news is: We go on sports holiday on the weekend. I won't get down the treadmill until I  ran 25km. And I will swim and hike and use the sauna and all that. That's a promise, too.
Have a happy 2010!