• 5 Years… went by so fast

    This post is already way past due again, but I also didn’t just want to skip it. It’s too important for that.

    On 09/28/2014 it was there – the for me magical day. Before my emigration, I always told myself that I would give myself 5 years – no matter how hard it would get. 5 years before I’d give up; 5 years that I would fight for what I want. As you have all experienced with me, it really was 5 years with a lot of fighting. I have to admit, it was not an easy time for me.

    In between I always had to remind myself of those 5 years. I kept telling myself: Tina, if you don’t have a positive outlook on the future after 5 years, then get the citizenship and go back home again for a while. I have never expected that everything is perfect. I just wanted to know, see and feel that it will get better in the future.

    Interestingly enough everything started to change this year. It definitely wasn’t the magical super year (difficulties will always come along one’s way), but slowly and little by little everything turned out to be good. And then suddenly it was there: D-DAY!

    The 28th was a day like any other and I totally didn’t realize what day it was. In the afternoon then I pre-cooked my meals for the freezer. (I always like to do that with things like rice, quinoa and pasta. It saves a lot of time on hectic days.) So, as I was filling it all in little freezer bags and I was writing the date on the bags for the 20th time, it suddenly “CLICKED”.

    28.09.2014

     

    Damn, it is the 28th of September – today 5 years ago I got on a plane with the dog one way to San Diego and with that did the first step on my way to a new life. Suddenly I felt a little weird. One does get a little nostalgic with those kind of things. ๐Ÿ™‚

    5 Years ago at Duesseldorf Airport

     

    But I didn’t really think about it any further at that point. Until I thought about it again in the night in quiet on the couch. With all the difficulties in the last years, I almost expected to be leaving America after 5 years. But now I was sitting there and all I could think was: I’m looking forward to the future! ๐Ÿ™‚ It actually made me cry.

    I have found wonderful friends, turned my hobby running into my passion, and now I will start my own business with my new best “American” friend (only to point out that my best friends in Germany will never be substitutable! ๐Ÿ™‚ ). I have always wanted my own company and now it will finally happen. I simply can’t go home yet. How stupid would I be, if I went home now?!!

    2014 Soccer World Cup ย ย My new best friend Jessie Love my friends

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    NO, my life here is awesome, I am very happy and my adventures are not over yet!!!

    5 years, Tina! 5 years – This is only the beginning!!ย 

     

    Running is my big passionย  ย 1493533_10201728644231623_582768098_o (3)208457_4925004836713_1115488027_n
    735816_4470571756170_1116515031_o (1)1102724_10200837159425060_37574549_oย  ย ย 10410603_10203855979493675_1529620906747677054_nย  ย  ย ย 

    10694306_10203689175923690_4079159993727692486_oย  ย ย 1622446_10202300772174464_349580239_o

  • Sometimes it just sucks

    I had big plans. I wanted to be the adventurer Tina again. I wanted to feel like I am doing what I love and go out and do crazy things. Things that not everybody would do. Things that would make me feel alive… simply an adventure. That’s what I thought, when I excitedly agreed to run the Grand Canyon rim to rim to rim with a group of people on the 3rd of May.

    What that is? A runner will know. It is THE run, that a runner wants to do. It is crossing the Grand Canyon (yeah, I am talking about that big one in Arizona ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) TWICE! That means running from the South Rim down, all the way through and up the North Rim and because it was so cool, you also run the whole way back. In total it is about 46 miles and 20,000 vertical feet. It is an insane run in a majestic environment.

    Grand Canyon

     

    I was so excited to do this with my friend Jim, who was the one who invited me to join him and his group of friends. This was going to be just awesome! Finally I would be the adventurer again. ๐Ÿ™‚

    We started training, meeting up Sunday mornings to in the end even 6 hour runs. It was just cool! I even discovered that there is a little ultra runner in my dog. She was able to run up to 20 miles with me up and down mountains, if it wasn’t too hot. Crazy, huh?

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    I have never in my life run so many hills and I felt strong, I really wanted to do this!

    But then this happened as usual:

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    What exactly that means? My IT band thought it should probably start bothering me really badly. Just because… And let me tell you, guys… This is not fun. Once you get IT Band Syndrome (ITBS) you will know. Everything is fine and then when it hits you, it feels like someone is ramming a freaking screwdriver into you knee. ๐Ÿ™ It is really painful and unfortunately it doesn’t heal very fast either. Even if it would have healed within let’s say 4 weeks, it would have not been smart to go and run the Grand Canyon on it. On top of that, my dog sitter canceled on me for that weekend and I wasn’t able to find a replacement anyway.

    This is why I had to make the incredibly hard decision to cancel my adventure. Again I felt like… WTF?! Life constantly throws gigantic rocks in my way. I just can’t have what I want. Ever. But well, I guess that’s how it goes… Sometimes it just sucks!

    Good thing… The Grand Canyon won’t go anywhere and I will for sure do that next year. And then nothing is going to stop me! NOTHING !! ๐Ÿ™‚

    I wish my friends who will still be running that day the most fun and most incredible adventure of their lives and maybe some of them will be so hooked by the big canyon that they will join me next year! ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

     

    Just DON’T break a leg my friends !!

     

     

     

     

  • 4th of July – Long weekend

    Yippie, yippie, yeah… Since beginning of time, I finally had a loooong weekend again! Hehe… ๐Ÿ˜€

    That was so nice! I really enjoyed it. As most of you probably know, the 4th of July is a holiday in the US, the Independence Day. And as all the holidays, also this one is usually celebrated with a nice big party. But I used this holiday first to get on a nice run! ๐Ÿ™‚ Hehe… I know, “I am crazy”! ๐Ÿ˜‰ But, if you believe it or not, running makes my life better. When I run, I am happy!

    At Coronado Island they have the “Coronado Independence Day 15k and 5k” race every year. I did the 15km run and Gaby tackled the 5km. After Gaby had seen me running the marathon, she is completely inspired and wanted to get to running, too. So, I offered her my help and suggested that she should do this race with me. She did pretty well, I have to say. We only started the training a few weeks ago, and Gaby had never run before that. She mastered the race in 45 minutes! Not bad at all!

    Well, I on the other side, wasn’t as fast as I hoped to be. My goal was a time of 1:20:00, I did it in 1:26:38. Well, at least it’s close. Ich have to say, though that for San Diego it was pretty humid and they only had a water station at every other mile. My body was screaming for water the whole time. 2 miles can be really long when you’re thirsty.

    At the end I still sped up nicely, though. After the race I sat down in the grass with 3 cups of water and a dark red dome. Despite all that, it was a good race. Gaby had fun and I had done my workout before I went to the BBQ/Pool Party that I was invited to in the afternoon.

     

    ย  ย ย ย  ย ย ย  ย ย 

     

    The weather was really nice then. So, the grilling and pool enjoying with good friends was just great! We had a lot of fun, were pretty silly and the people made fun of me being a vegan. Yup, an absolutely perfect day! ๐Ÿ™‚

    The rest of the weekend, I finally got to do some stuff that had been kicking down the road since forever and I enjoyed a few really nice big walks with Amy. Can’t it be like that every weekend? I could totally get used to a 3-day work week! ๐Ÿ˜›

     

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  • I seriously did it!! I ran a freaking marathon!

    I did it! What can I say? I did it! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Unbelievable, but true! I’m still overwhelmed by my self pride.ย Hehe…

    OK, enough of that. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I ran a marathon, on June 2nd in San Diego, CA. It was my very first one and it went so much better than expected:

    The night before, Sophie and I made sure that we would get our typical pasta carb load dinner in. So, we wanted to go to this one good restaurant that I know in Hillcrest. When we finally found parking and got to the restaurant, we were surprised by the amount of people there. It was prom night for the high school kids and of course they had to choose that restaurant for their dinners. Well, we walked back to the car and decided to go for California Pizza Kitchen instead. The only thing is, the whole driving-around-part made us lose so much time. I was planning to get a nice pasta dinner, watch “The Spirit of the Marathon” to get in the right mood and then pack everything together for the next morning. Instead, we got our dinner at 9 pm. Well, no more watching the documentary. Instead, we ate and took care of our stuff for the race. We had to get up at 3 am already, so nothing went according to my plan already then. We plastered our legs and feet with KT Tape and made sure that we had everything we needed.

    When we finally got to bed it was already 11pm. Yeah, really nice 4 hours of sleep. I wished… no, instead my stupid student neighbor decided to yell out the F-word all night long. No clue why! At 11.45 pm I yelled out my window and told him: Could you yell F***k a little less, please! He didn’t hear me, so ย I closed the window andย we had to sweat. Nice, now it was just another 3 hours of relaxing sleep.

    We got up at 3 am. Man, I hate to get up that early. ๐Ÿ™ At that point, I realized that I was even still full from my pasta dinner! ๐Ÿ™‚ Anyway, we got ready, I made myself my typical pre-run peanut butter-banana sandwich and we left the house at 4 am heading to the Old Town Trolley station. We decided to take the trolley to the starting line because I didn’t wanna have to look for parking at 4.30 am in the morning. And they also had a few extra trolleys for this event that would take us directly to the starting line.

    A lot of other people also left from Old Town, so we already had the first few interesting conversations at that point. After a little bit we all realized that the trolley was late, though. It was supposed to leave the station at 4.38 am and arrive close to the starting line at 5.01 am. ย At 4.55 am the trolley finally came, but it was totally packed. The trolley driver told us, that there was another one coming in 5 minutes. So, we all decided to take that one instead. It came 5 minutes later and we all sat down. After a while, we all started wondering and looking at each other quizzically. “Where we driving in the wrong direction?” Dammit, dammit, dammit!!! Yes, we were! That stupid trolley driver did not go the way he was supposed to. Instead he took us all the way downtown. I started panicking, watching the time. It was already 5.30 am. The race started at 6.15 am! Oh my God, would we be able to make it? If we got there too late, they would downgrade us to the half marathon. I absolutely did not want that to happen!! I trained sooo hard for this!

    OK, we decided to not freak out, just switch to the yellow line and drive back up. When we got to 12th & Imperial (downtown), the trolley driver said through the speaker “Guests can switch to the yellow line to El Cajon”. El Cajon?? That’s east inland. What about the other direction?? Nothing! We got off the trolley, and I am talking 40 panicking people here, when we realized there was no trolley back up. Oh shit! What are we going to do? I started running around looking for people to ask. Finally I found a man who told me that there was a shuttle bus approximately 3 blocks down. It was already 5.40 am! I had to hurry! I didn’t wanna miss the race! So, I started running! And if anyone should say, I’m not a leader, they should have seen what happened then. The 40 people behind me, just followed!! ๐Ÿ˜€ Everybody started running! So, it was me in the front and 40 people following me, running 3 blocks to the shuttle bus! Hihi…

    When we finally made it on the bus (thanks, they let us in without the necessary wrist band), it was already 5.45 am. Luckily the bus driver understood our dilemma and drove like a crazy! He snuck past long lines of cars at the freeway ramp and made a right turn from a left turn lane. All that, just to make sure that we would make it to the starting line in time. We finally got there at 5.50 am!!!

    Wow, sooo many people! Unbelievably cool! Suddenly I got all excited and was looking forward to the race. All this energy on one spot was just so contagious. Ok, so we ran to the gear check trucks (they took our bags and delivered them to the finish line) and then we had to go to the bathroom. I REALLY needed to pee. No way, I could start the race without going to the bathroom. BUT, there were 3,000 bathrooms for more than 30,000 people! Yeah, you do the math! There were crazy lines everywhere! Well, we picked one seemingly shorter one and waited. And waited… and waited… I kept nervously checking the time. It was already 6.07 am! As I said, the race started at 6.15 am! Then I asked all the half marathoners in that line (they had half hour more time before their race would start), if they let us go to the front and luckily they did. So, we went to the bathroom, ran to the starting line and made it with only 2 minutes to spare! Oh my God! I was already stressed out at that point!

    But guess what? As soon as we stood there with all the others runners, the whole stress was gone! We were just excited and looking forward to the race! There were soooo many people, though. We couldn’t believe that we were being part of this. And then we heard the countdown… it was time! We were really doing this! ๐Ÿ™‚ Yay!!!

    We felt sooo awesome! From my first step on I was smiling and I literally didn’t stop until the end! Hehe… it was just great!

    Our plan was first to stick with the 4:25 pacer. We thought that was a good starting pace. It’s comfortable for us and we can still have a conversation. I totally wanted to avoid to get too excited and run like crazy already at the beginning. I wanted to be one of the smart runners that save their energy for the second half. And we did it, we were pretty good at staying at this pace. We didn’t think we would be able to keep that up for the whole time, though. When we first talked about our estimated finishing time, we always thought 4:30 would be really great, but we don’t expect that to happen. 4:45 would still be good, but we would be pretty much happy with everything under 5 hours.

    Well, we were in a much better shape than we thought, I guess. The 4:25 guy was the whole time directly in front of us. Even when we walked at the aid stations to get some water or Gatorade, we caught up with him relatively quickly again. It was so easy for us! I felt so good, sooo much better than I felt at the 20-mile training run three weeks before. Soo much better! The weather made it pretty easy, too, though. It was like maybe 60 degrees Fahrenheit and overcast. Just perfect! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Anyway, we ran and ran and ran… I did feel my knees and feet on and off, but it was really not so very bad. And between you and me, I ran on Tylenol (Acetaminophen). ๐Ÿ˜‰ I have read a lot about how athletes do that before and during a marathon. And since I have had my knee and feet pains already for a while, I didn’t want that to be the reason for not finishing or having to run in a miserable condition. And… hell yeah, I will totally do that again! It didn’t completely prevent the pain, but it took a little bit the edge off. It made it a lot easier for me.

    On top of that, I really made sure that I got my nutrition in. It’s very important in long distance running that one refuels the body with carbohydrates, electrolytes and potassium frequently. I drank as much Gatorade as I could, but I also had a total of 400 calories in Cliff Shot Blocks. I really like those. A lot of people can’t chew while they’re running, but the gels like GU are just too gross for me. The shot blocks taste like sweeter gummy bears.

    I had so much energy, that made it all so much more fun. But I really have to say that running with such a mass of people and then all the spectators shouting and cheering at the sides of the streets just make the whole marathon experience complete. I felt so motivated and pushed by everyone! ๐Ÿ™‚ It made me not even be scared of the part that we would run on the freeway 163 at mile 20, which was going to be one mile uphill! At mile 20!! During the training I have always been so afraid of that part, but once we got to mile 20 during the marathon, all I thought was: OK, now just 6 more miles!

    OK, I have to admit the freeway was a killer! Holy cow! That was really exhausting. All the way uphill. Man, man, man… But Sophie and I pushed through and ran the whole way up. We did not walk. I was really proud of us at that moment. We are such tough bitches, aren’t we? ๐Ÿ˜›

    Well, that would not be the only hill then. There were a few more following, but I was so determined to finish strongly that I just ran up all the hills as if they were nothing. Sophie already thought, I must have switched the Tylenol with Speed or some other drug. Once we got to Pershing Drive, we had about 2 more miles to go and from there it was more downhill than uphill. I just wanted to run fast so badly.

    Sophie and I have agreed on finishing together already before the marathon. We said, it is the most important thing that we do this together. So, when Sophie’s knees starting hurting really bad on that downhill part I held myself back and stayed with her. I gotta admit that I always ended up getting faster and had to slow down again, though. But I still think, you know, it could have been me, too and I would have totally appreciated not to have to go through that by myself. It was our thing and we would finish together… not matter what!

    Once I saw the finish line my whole body was so hyped up that I couldn’t stop myself anymore. I looked at her and shouted: Come on lady, we’ll finish this thing! And then we ran, we ran as fast as we could, we collected every left spark of energy we had and crossed that finish line! ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

    Oh my God! What an amazing experience, the best feeling in the world! I was so overwhelmed, I dind’t know, if I should cry or laugh. And then I was also totally out of breath, so all that came out of me was a weird wheezing whimper-like sound of excitement and exertion, and happiness!! I was the happiest person in the world, for sure!

    Oh wow, I just realized, I have been using exclamation marks like a crazy ๐Ÿ˜‰ But how else can express the feeling that I had at that moment? I guess, I can’t. I can just say, imagine yourself reaching the biggest accomplishment you have ever dreamed of, something that makes you feel like you are able to do anything in the world, something that makes you feel so damn bad ass that you think everybody else has no clue!

    That’s what it feels like to finish a marathon!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Sophie and I finished our first marathon with a time of 4:28:06! Yes, even better than our highest expectation. ๐Ÿ™‚ ย  We are already looking forward to the next one. It’ll probably be the Long Beach Marathon in October. Now I wanna see what I can do, when the whole course is flat. Let’s see how fast I can get. Hehe…

     

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  • Just 2 more days til my first marathon!

     

    Oh man, oh man, oh man….

    It is really just 2 more days until my first marathon. I am really excited! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Hopefully everything goes well! I believe, I could hardly live with the disappointment, if for some reason I wasn’t able to finish the marathon. But actually…. the only thing that would keep me from finishing is, if I lost a leg or broke down unconsciously or something…

    My typical running aches, like my poor knees and my feet are not gonna stop me from crossing that damn finish line. Not even, if I have to drag myself at the end, or I would also crawl across it, if necessary. ๐Ÿ˜›

    I have trained so hard in the last 6 months. When I just think of all the miles that I have run. That is just really crazy! I have always thought about running a marathon, but who would have thought that one day I’m seriously doing it?

    26.2 miles, 42.195 km!!! I mean, hello?!?!? Am I nuts? That is really crazy! I’m gonna be running for almost 5 hours on Sunday morning. That sounds like it’s not even possible! If I hadn’t run already 20 miles/32 km (in 3.45 h), I wouldn’t have ever believed that I am capable of that.

    Well, for everyone who would like to follow and see how I’m surviving the marathon: The chip on my shoe is connected to a tracking system that frequently publishes my times on Facebook! Every time, I’ll run over one of those time tracking pads on the ground a post will be sent out. Isn’t that cool?

     

    All of you, please cross your fingers for me! I could use as much luck as possible! ๐Ÿ™‚

     

    This is the marathon course: red = Marathon // blue = Half Marathon