Friday, October 3, 2008

finding my stride? the jog blog

oh I'm not having a very good day. It's 4:30ish p.m. in Berlin on Friday afternoon as I start writing this, a holiday here because it is the day of German Unity, and my children have united themselves in getting on a bus to Hamburg to visit their grandparents (my mother-in-law is much better, thank you), and their father has united himself with his bicycle (I am still almost completely divided from mine, though the built-in lock whose key was lost, thereby grounding the bicycle for a month, has now been sawed off - but that's another story) to go check out the Holocaust Memorial and, in the former East Berlin which is of course now part of the great glorious united capital, the German Museum.

That all sounds fine of course, but we started off on the wrong foot this morning and it has taken me all day to try to get back. I want to call sister-in-law #2 who had hip replacement surgery day before yesterday; I want to read more things online and start more books; I want to write e-mail to various dear friends, and call Cynthia, and think more about my novel and how planning the novel is and is not like planning a trip for my family (really!) - but I thought maybe a jog log blog would be the right thing for me right now, sort of emotionally neutral and yet finally very positive, so here goes.

Since the jog I last wrote about there have been several short jogs. And then there was yesterday's. But patience! In order:

last Saturday, 54 minutes, glorious weather, first half hour or so with hubby and then a little farther on my own

Tuesday, 50 minutes, 7400 steps (a little slow, should have been 7500 or more), cold, really quite cold, the first half hour or so. My fingers were very cold. The main interesting part was that I was jogging back along Berkaer Straße (which leads past a post office, which I had vaguely noticed, and several sort of shopping areas, and two big supermarkets, and some administrative centers) - anyway, I had jogged out along Berkaer and was jogging slowly back home and passed a woman who sort of said to me as I jogged past her, are you going to go past the post office? I wasn't actually exactly sure, I had a vague memory of having passed a large yellow building or rather a large building with bright yellow boxes and signs (generally the giveaway in this country), but I wasn't sure, so I said yes, but then I said where is it? She said up there, and pointed. So I said yes. She said nothing. So I said, did you have something you'd like me to mail for you? (I actually said "should I "reinschmeißen" something for you", i.e. should I throw something in for you.) She said yes, please, that would be fantastic. I took the postcard she held out, said happy to do it, and off I went. Then she called something after me, and I had to turn around to hear: You see, she said, I'm going to the school (I guess I was supposed to know where the school was and how that would prevent her, but it didn't matter to me, I was happy to jog the thing forwards). 

So I took the postcard along, I decidedly and assiduously refrained from looking at it because that would have been rude and robbing her of her privacy, and I tossed it into the mailbox (I did look to see whether it needed to go in the "Berlin zip codes" slot or the other one, and to tell you the truth I don't now remember which it was), and I jogged happily home having struck one for humanity and connectedness - in truth I did nothing of the sort, she made the gesture but I was tickled to be part of it!

That was Tuesday. I was warm by the time I got home. Also after that I went to Weight Watchers, and all was fine, and I will post about that as soon as I can.

Then came Thursday, which is yesterday, and here is what I am very pleased about: I jogged for 120 minutes. 2 hours, hooray. 17728 steps, again a little slow, should hve been 18000 (or put another way, that distance should only have taken me 118 minutes - but again, if I put it that way, wasn't all THAT slow - for me).

And Diane, no butterfly lanes for me this time, or red pine paths, or cicada ways. I did finish up with a trot out and back along the Path of Everlasting Woods, but before that I went jogging through city streets, very decidedly urban. 

First I jogged Felix to school (he was on his bike, as usual; he went an hour later than usual because they were going on an outing and not to class), then up and along Hubertusallee and curving around a couple streets and hitting Bismarckallee above Johannaplatz, very pleased that I knew where I was and headed out along it thinking to go towards town, and finally finding myself back at the crossing where Felix always hits the button to get a green light to cross - I'd gone the wrong way, towards home and not towards town.

Got myself turned around, went urbanly jogging, through Rathenauplatz where the huge sculpture in the middle of the 6- or 8-way juncture is 2 large sixties-style cars embedded in concrete (one nose down, one pointing out), across the S-Bahn (Schnellbahn, = fast train - it's the other intraurban train system here besides the underground U-Bahn) tracks, and then along those same tracks for a long way along Seesener Straße (just somebody's name I think) and then curling back, just before hitting Hohenzollerndamm (Causeway of the House of Hohenzollern), crossing over Westphalian Street and Brandenburg Street at some point, and crossing the Ku'damm, the Kurfürstendamm (Causeway of the Electors!), Berlin's once-beloved and touristy and now rather rundown but still touristy artery leading to the Memorial Church and the zoo - anyway, I crossed the Ku'Damm a couple of times and I won't go into all the streets I went down and up because there were a lot of the time, but I thought as I jogged, I do have to reassure Diane it wasn't all butterflies, red pines, and cicadas this time. 

I was pumped. I was psyched. I was actually kind of tired by the end but not so tired I couldn't have gone another half hour or hour, I'm pretty sure, if there had been somebody to cheer me on. So I came home and googled runs in Berlin, and there's a 10K a week from Sunday, and a 9K through the woods in November, and another 9K through the woods on New Year's Eve and a 4K through the Brandenburg gate on New Year's Day - and Jenny might fly in from Bloomington to join me in the spring for the half-marathon in April or the 25K in May!

One at a time. I asked sister-in-law #1 about doing the 10K with me next weekend; she joined a friend for the last 8K of the Berlin marathon last weekend (jumping in as an unregistered runner is called "schwarz laufen" - "running black" - a takeoff on "schwarz fahren" I'm pretty sure, which is riding the bus or subway without a ticket) (fyi I'm quite sure this is not a racist expression but referring rather to going under the radar, i.e. unseen, i.e. in the dark . . .?) - ANYway, I asked dear s-i-l #1 and she was a little dube, also because she might be traveling down to visit s-i-l #2 at that very time, who will still be in the hospital recovering from her hip replacement surgery. So we shall see. 

Thank you so much for listening. I'm pleased about yesterday's jog. And Susan, inspirer of my pedometer, I can tell you that the total on the pedometer yesterday was 28981. I think I might have done more one day in Berkeley in the summer - it was Max and Kate's last night before going back to Bloomington, and after jogging and walking I guess during the day we went out for sushi at night. Felix was on his crutches still, and the first place we went was closed to kids as of 8 p.m, so we were going to go much further, so some went home for the car to drive him and get the wheelchair I think, while others of us just walked and walked up to the gourmet ghetto. That night I also walked around the block with Max for a little while before going in for the night, to have a little one-on-one chat and PUSH THE NUMBERS UP FURTHER. And yet, and yet - I gained weight that day in Berkeley.

Yesterday, post-jog, which all by itself of course pushed the pedometer numbers pretty high, I also walked to the grocery store and back with my weight vest on, and walked up and down the stairs a bunch of times, and walked over to the main building of this institute and back for a fancy dinner for the fellows and their families. And I didn't gain weight. but I might be today.

Feeling so much better now. Time to call my little sis-in-law.

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