There are a lot of different ways one could "take on" Germany. One could, for example, take on the anti-Muslim, anti-immigration book Deutschland schafft sich ab just written by Thilo Sarrazin. But since this not exactly a political blog, you probably know that's not what I'm taking on. And I'm not talking about the Berlin Marathon this Sunday. Nope, SR and I will be taking on the mountains in central Germany in the Brocken Marathon.
I have, of course, mentioned this before. And you probably are thinking this is old news. But I just want to talk about my training, which is actually much more important than the race. I finally was able to run a long run yesterday (after suffering foot problems seemingly related to my beloved Ecco Bioms) and it was over the larger hills in Næstved. They are called åse (pronounced ohseh - sort of). It's some glacial term. I have run them fairly regularly since we moved to Denmark 22 months ago and I had always gotten winded to the point of walking - that is until yesterday. I had 3 hours of full-on åse and didn't have to walk on one hill. Liking to believe I am a scientist of daily life, I am trying to figure out why this is. Well, the only possible explanation is Invar (intensity + variation :)). Almost every day I work out repeatedly at what I perceive to be my VO2 max either in running intervals, swimming intervals, biking hills or doing this crazy step dancing stuff in my stomach-butt-thighs pulse class. Hills, as far as I understand it, are a great way to check the status of your heart and lungs. And, unless you have some lung illness, it is the heart which is the limiting factor. So I am deducing that my heart is doing well. Now I just have to work on keeping up my endurance (ie making time for long runs) before the marathon the second weekend in October.
I have also had a lot of hill races lately, which in hindsight, seemed to be a great workout. I am consiering adding a hill 10k race, Maglebjergraeset to my schedule in 2 weekends. I know Helle will be there. SR will again be working :(.
This is probably a good place to explain - last month I thought I was pregnant yet again, had two positive pregancy tests and then had my period the next day. Chemical pregnancy. The OB-Gyn in Duluth had warned me my uterus wouldn't be ready for a baby to implant the month after a miscarriage. I found myself wishing those super sensitive pregancy tests didn't exist - I just didn't want to know. So I'm not pregnant.(end of the aside)
To give you an idea of these åse, I snapped a picture, which I freely admit is quite crappy. And it really just resembles a regular hill in the woods.
Further along on my tour of the åse, I saw something that brought me back to my childhood.
Who knew it was so easy to get a Super Mario power-up on a run in the Danish woods?
These guys were everywhere and if you ask any Dane, they'll go on and on about the poisonous nature of these mushrooms: one lick and your deadly fate is sealed. This particular toadstool is called Amanita muscaria. It is true that if you eat about 15, especially if they are green or yellow capped, you might die. But if you boil them, you can eat as many as you like. And I guess they taste good. SR has suggested I prepare them for my lunch some day in front of his mom just to see the reaction. It is tempting.
But then what on earth appeared among the toadstools but a Lorax, apparently proud of just having eaten a stomach full.
And then an SR to keep him out of trouble.
A day in the magical åse.
And then, since I'm talking about people "taking on" Germany, here is a song from a Danish female musician living in Berlin who is starting to make it big there. The piano part is just so haunting - I can't help shivering.
It's called Brother Sparrow by Agnes Obél.