Thursday, March 22, 2012

Kid Denglisch

I should keep a journal at work and write down the cute things kids say.

Today on the way to the park, one of the girls told me:
"My love animal is a dog"

"My favorite animal is a dog"

"Mein Lieblingstier ist ein Hund"

How that got mixed up:
Liebe in English means: love. Liebling-- followed by another noun within the same word indicates a favorite something. It can also be used as a term of endearment, i.e. love, sweetheart, sweetie, etc etc. So when broken down in a five year old Austrian's mind, Lieblingstier becomes literally "love animal".

Other things that kids say on a random basis are correct English words, but in German sentence construction:

For example: "Can you please me this open?" or "Can I a paper have?"

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Hello? It's Your Body Calling... Are You Listening?

I've noticed two things this past week in regards to listening to my body:

1. Increased hunger and cravings:
I've been a RAVENOUS monster. Seriously, I have been hungry round-the-clock for a good week or so. I've increased my eating a bit to accommodate my sudden increase in hunger. I'm trying to still eat mostly vegan, so at least I know I'm not pumping my body full of extra junk food crud.

I've been craving, and therefore eating, so much more fruit.

Sometimes during my long runs the idea of a nice cold beer sounds rather appetizing.

The cravings of fruit and beer probably mean that I'm depleting a lot of glycogen in my body and that I should make sure I'm getting enough carbohydrates in my diet.

As long as I continue to eat a balanced diet, even if it is more than normal, I'm sure I'll be just fine, since I'd like to shed a few pounds in my midsection.

2. Injury Prevention
Up until now, I haven't had any problems with injuries, with exception to the bout of plantar fasciitis I had in the early winter. Running actually has helped to strengthen that foot muscle, and I haven't had any problems since it originally healed (before beginning training).

My injury prevention program has included stretching and hydration. Since I wasn't feeling anything before, other than a bit of muscle fatigue, I never iced or elevated a thing.

Until today.

The past two weeks I've increased mileage, as well as the intensity and speed of a couple of runs. Today I woke up with--ouch--a bit of shin pain. My foot bone where it meets my leg bone also felt a bit painful. (Preface, yesterday I did a very fast 10k with lots of hills).

Thankfully we have ice packs at school for the kids, and during my break and quiet times I iced my legs. As I write this I'm also sitting with a bag of frozen veggies perched atop my leg.

I might skip my 5k jog scheduled tomorrow if the pain hasn't subsided and just do it on Friday, or not at all. The race is in about three weeks, and I don't want to risk an injury.

On a cheerful side note, my roommate told me she wants to be there at the finish line to watch me complete the half. Some of my friends also said they hoped to make it, and that maybe they'd make some posters of encouragement.

That's enough motivation to keep doing what I'm doing!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Sports Bars

I'm really excited because I purchased a pack of sports fruit bars. Really, I think this is the most exciting purchase I've made in a long time.


Saturday I ran my long run of 10 miles in 1:54. I was pretty happy with the time, as it was a comfortable pace that wasn't too hard and not too easy. That means when race day comes, I hope that I'll run a bit faster due to the extra adrenaline.

Halfway through my run I started to feel really hungry and like I was burning up all of my energy. That's probably true, because I had only had some fruit and a piece of bread a few hours prior. Soon the hunger turned into slight nausea, and I was worried I wouldn't be able to finish.

But I was a trooper and made myself finish while shaving off six minutes from the last 10 miler I had done a couple weeks prior.

After finishing I ran to the supermarket at the underground station and bought some post-run snacks: a banana; my favorite bread roll filled with nuts, seeds, legumes and carrots; and a cold bottle of sparkling water, all for under two euros might I add. I've grown to love sparkling water here; I find it so refreshing and satisfying, especially after depleting all my electrolytes.

My familiar snack didn't have the effect that it normally has; I was still light-headed, tired and weak.

So I'm going to try eating a sports bar during my next long run. I'm not sure if that will be the trick. Perhaps I just need to be more conscientious about eating a healthy, well-balanced meal before my runs.

My review of the sport bar to come next week!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

10k at Schönbrunn Palace Grounds-- personal record

We've been spoiled the last few days with copious amounts of sunshine and warmer temperatures (although I hear that they are having a heat-wave in the United States right now-- unfair).

City life is great and all, but one of the downsides is the lack of direct sunlight due to the tall buildings everywhere. Sure it's great to see a blue sky, but I just want to bask in the sun. That often means finding squares or parks where there are fewer tall objects to create shadows.

A few days ago I was thrilled with the blue sky and needed to get in a run, so I took the U-Bahn (underground) out to Schönbrunn Palace because I was sure with the large open gardens I'd get in lots of sun. Unfortunately, I forgot about the very tall hedges that line the whole park, so part of my route was actually in shadows.

I love running at Schönbrunn. It feels surreal to run around the gardens while looking at the former summer residence of the Habsburg monarchy. In a way it's actually kind of fun to run around all the tourists snapping photos as a way to show that yes, indeed, I am a local here who goes running at the palace (a bit arrogant perhaps, but it's still fun). However, I can't imagine how many photos I've been in.

Another great thing about running there is that there is a very steep hill with great views of Vienna. Normally I'll run up the hill at the end of my run and reward myself with the view.

This past Thursday I managed to run about 10.25 km in about one hour, while finishing with a very uncomfortable semi-sprint up the hill. I pushed myself pretty hard just to get in the 10k in an hour, and I was very tired running up the hill; it was the first time since junior high where I felt like I could actually throw up from running.

Even though it was a normal training day and on a Thursday, I managed to set a new PR for myself-- another milestone during training for my first half.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Old School Transportation

Perhaps my last post was a bit too presumptuous in thinking that trying to eat more vegan was causing me some fatigue.

Maybe I was feeling tired and out of it because I hadn't run that day.

An evening in with a pizza that didn't even taste that good (I burnt it) and lots of Sex and the City hardly had the effect I had hoped for; I was still as restless and tired as before. In fact, I tried to go to bed extra early and fell asleep much later.

Today I felt nearly as exhausted after work-- I'm telling you, those kiddies wear me out sometimes--and I left for a church Kinderbetreuung (day care/supervision) meeting after work, which I knew would last for a long time.

I really wanted to go running, and knowing that I'd be pressed for time with work and the meeting, I geared up, laced up my sneakers and went to the meeting dressed in all my running gear. After the meeting, and a small portion of vegetarian lasange, I ran home. 

It was fun, a new way of jogging. I had to get myself home somehow, and I was pressed for time, so why not use my feet for transportation? I actually wanted to go a longer distance, but seeing as it was already 9pm when I began, I did the 5km short distance home in about 31 minutes, a few minutes shy of taking public transport with the transfer and walk from the stops. So, ha! I'm faster than Wiener Linien :D

After my run I felt GREAT. Of course it's now 10:30 pm and I am wired. Clearly my body is used to running and I start to feel tired around the time when I would normally go for a run. I think that yesterday my body just wanted me to take it on a run and release some endorphins.  However, I'm not expert on nutrition for athletes, but I think that as long as I watch my protein intake and keep on running, I'll be just fine!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Vegan + Endurance Running + Little Protein = zZzZz

So this initial energy from switching to a nearly vegan diet has completely caught up with me this week and I'm starting to feel really drained, weak and exhausted.

I'm not sure if that has to do with working with the kids today, or viruses, but usually after work I have enough energy to go running.

Today I'm DRAINED beyond belief.

I started googling endurance running and diets, and apparently I should be more concerned about my protein intake that I had been. I recently started carb-loading, which was a new thing. But I never had worried about my protein intake before. I just ate a balanced meal and called that good. But perhaps my rabbit-like diet of vegetables, fruits, a bit of bread and some nuts and beans just isn't doing it for me protein-wise.

I mean, I have this huge craving for a large cheese pizza. So I'm probably missing out on important proteins. After all, I've been building so much muscle in the last weeks with all the training. Those muscles need some protein!

On the other hand, I could possibly be coming down with something that has been making its way throughout preschool and the elementary school. One of my colleagues was sick today, and I lost my voice this weekend (it's slowly coming back), so I wouldn't be surprised if there's some virus brewing inside my body. (On a side note, I feel like the norm has been slightly sick ever since January. Ugh, the joys of your first year working with children.)

So, as a precautionary measure, I'm staying in tonight, resting, and filling my body with protein. I'm supposed to go for a five or six mile run today, but the thought of it makes me afraid I'd collapse halfway through of exhaustion.

It's a hard decision to make; the race is in about one month, and I want to make sure my body is built up to its fullest. However, I don't want to overdo it and wear myself down to nothing.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Art Gallery

My weekends have become very predictable.

Friday nights are usually spent at home relaxing in front of the computer/TV or with a book. Or I'm out with friends.

Saturdays I sleep in, go on my long run, go to the supermarket, cook and do one of my predictable Friday night activities.

Sundays I usually get things done that need to get done and then I go to church.

So interesting, I know.

Therefore I must say that I am quite proud of myself that I broke the cycle and did something different last night and with actual cultural worth. My roommate takes part in this art group that has a new exhibit every three months, and with each new exhibit they have a gallery opening with the artist, a DJ and wine and beer. So instead of putting on my sweatpants at 7pm and expecting a night in front of the TV, I put on some real clothes and headed with her and her friend to the opening.

It was like being in another world. The art scene. The cool kids. The hipsters--seriously, there was a 20-something skater guy with a long curled mustache.

Here's the thing: I don't really know art. At all. How this is possible, I'm not sure, since I come from a family full of professional artists. Normally when I visit an art museum, I'm in and out within twenty minutes. I enviously look at the people who take their time with the pieces and wish that I could understand what they were seeing. I can identify pieces as pretty, strange, boring and colorful. That's about the extent of my art vocabulary.

So I'm giving myself a major pat on the back for walking around this gallery with a wine spritzer in my hand and taking my time at each piece to describe what I saw and what it could mean IN GERMAN to my roommate and her friend.

And it was fun. It was new. It was different.

I kick myself time and time again for not taking advantage of all the culture opportunities here in Vienna. The city is saturated with culture and art from art galleries, to opera, to theater, to dance, to film.

So, perhaps, here's a start to trying new things with new eyes.