How are you doing lately?

Really, right now I should be writing a travel article for my magazine and an advertorial for a client (excuses to my editor and my client). Instead I am blogging. Somehow I couldn’t bring myself to switch from that mood of writing for an audience in mind and just writing, diary-style. Maybe there should not be a difference between the two. Whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing, I don’t know.

After last month’s African post, you haven’t heard from me again. Ironically I had been busy, travelling. In the span of one month, I had two weekend trips, in Madrid and Umbria, and a week’s holiday in Germany. Sometimes if you ask me where I was two weekends ago, I wouldn’t be able to remember right away. I kid you not, travelling is exhausting, especially short trips.

And so now I am back in the Netherlands with loads of work, killer deadlines and in dire need of a detox. At least until my next weekend trip in two weeks.

I hoping to blog about these trips soon but for now let me share with you a new passion of mine. This has been giving my travels a whole new insight.

Running 

I got into running in March 2014, after deciding that  a €54 monthly gym membership I seldom use is ridiculous. I needed a stress buster, after travelling, dining out and shopping miserably failed to counter my ever mounting stress.

At first I would run short distances at least once a week, just to sweat out and clear my head. Then I started coercing the husband to run with me, because, it’s always nice to share the pain and frustrations (running can be painful and frustrating).

During our trip to Barcelona early this year, we discovered how running is the best cure for a hang-over. Sweating out the alcohol very early in the morning after a night of binge drinking, with the cold wind blowing on your face and your body palpitating and screaming to release the toxins – that’s the best kind of high. So we got hooked!

No we are not fanatics. Until now we only run maximum of three times a week and only lately have we ran our farthest, which is 15k. We still haven’t joined a competition. Running is really just a stress reliever for us. Of course in addition to keeping a healthy lifestyle. Recently I hit the big 30 and I realized that extra effort is desperately needed to keep that “in your 20’s” look.

The little nook I discovered in Rome while running. You can see the Trajan columns and the top of the Il Vittoriano.
The little nook I discovered in Rome while running. You can see the Trajan’s Column and the top of the Il Vittoriano.

Running while travelling

I make it a point to run whenever I am travelling, no matter how late my night went or how hammered I became. Running is a fun way to discover places you would otherwise ignore. In Rome for example, I took a wrong turn while crossing the Colosseum and ended up on a hill overlooking the Trajan’s Column, completely devoid of tourists. I enjoyed this scenery for a while before continuing to Piazza Venezia. 

In Germany, we ran through the vineyards of the Mosel Valley and appreciated the beautiful surroundings more than if we would have gone by car. In Tuscany last weekend, my friend and I probably injured our knees running up the hill near our villa but we enjoyed a breath-taking Tuscan sunset even for a fleeting moment, not to mention, see the rolling hills up close.

Our running view in the picturesque town of Reil in Germany.
Our running view in the picturesque town of Reil in Germany.

Limitations

The best thing I have learned from running is acknowledging the limitations of your body and not pushing yourself to the brink of death (or insanity). People close to me know how I work hard whenever I have a burning goal in mind. I would squeeze whatever that is to my already crammed schedule until at one point I would break down (that’s when I would travel, eat out or shop). Everytime I run, I am confronted with the fact that I am a human being, not a machine, so I cannot rush things to perfection. I have to give myself time to recover whenever exhaustion overwhelms me.

Sweat-drench in Rome. Don't be mistaken, those are diluted drops of Amarone running down my face.
Sweat-drench in Rome. Don’t be mistaken, those are diluted drops of Amarone running down my face.

In running, you cannot go too fast, too quick. You have to take the time to plan, build up your speed and strength slowly, and keep the pace for a while before you move up to a more ambitious pace. And running demands to be completely incorporated in your lifestyle. For instance, you cannot eat too much fatty foods (deep-fried, crackling pork belly anyone?) a day before running because there is a probability of suffering a very painful side stitches during your run. That means eating a balanced diet.

And most of all, you have to have discipline to go out and run regularly, no matter what the weather conditions are, otherwise it will punish you the next time.

Pretty much the lessons you need in life – in my life at least. Maybe I should go out and run to get inspiration.

How about you? How are you doing lately?

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