Training | Bremen Half: Week 2

Training_Bremen_Half_Week2
Via DailyMile

So it appears I’m getting the hang of this training thing again. As much as I enjoyed my break after the Hamburg Marathon, it’s also nice to be working towards a goal again. Bremen Half Marathon, I’m coming for you!

Monday:  30 minutes of swimming. I always feel so accomplished after a swim, mostly for having stuck it out the entire 30 minutes. I’m not a fan of having to share the pool with screaming kids doing cannonballs off the diving board. It’s just not that relaxing. Yes, there are a couple lanes reserved for the real swimmers, but I’m too self-conscious about my slowness and poor form to join their lanes, so I make do with doing laps in the open swim part of the pool. Honestly, the pool situation could be improved. We’ll see.

Tuesday: Planned rest day. (But I did sweat completely through all of my clothes at the Mudhoney show, so there’s that.)

Wednesday: Unplanned rest day. Should have done my easy run, but just didn’t.

Thursday: Easy 3-mile run along the Osterdeich.

Friday: 3-mile tempo run + 15-minute strength training. 1 mile warm-up, 1-mile tempo pace, 1-mile cool down. At the moment, I’m doing my speed and tempo workouts by effort. It was incredibly warm and humid that evening, which my body is definitely not used to, so I didn’t want to set a pace that wouldn’t make sense in that kind of weather. For that middle mile, I settled into a pace that was challenging, but that I could hold for the entire mile (but maybe not for longer).

Saturday: Easy 3-mile run in the Bürgerpark. I was essentially running in the midday heat, so I took it very slow.

Sunday: 6-mile run, mid-morning, on one of the hottest days we’ve had so far this summer. Despite being drenched in sweat and drinking a liter of water during my run, I felt pretty solid.

That’s it for this week! All in all: four days of running, one day of cross-training, and two rest days. This week I’m going to make more of an effort to do more strength training and to get my runs in earlier in the week instead of bunching them all around the weekend. Hope you have a great start to your week!

Training | Bremen Half: Week 1

Bremen_Half_Week1
Via Dailymile

Friends, it is that time of year again: time to get myself in gear for the Bremen Half Marathon on October 2nd. I don’t want to go too crazy with the running posts, but you guys know running is kind of what I do for fun, so just skip over them if you’re not into it. Plus the Runner Beans and Ali On the Run are really inspiring me right now with their training updates for the NYC Marathon, so here I go with logging Week 1 of the Bremen Half!

My general plan is actually four days of running per week, including one speed or tempo run and one long run, plus a few runs at half-marathon pace thrown in here and there. I’m following a modified Hal Higdon plan using the paces from the Run Less, Run Faster book. I don’t want to completely abandon the Run Less, Run Faster approach since it helped me shave nearly 10 minutes off my half marathon time in under a year, but it also left me completely exhausted all the time and usually sick at least once per training cycle. Not good. So, let’s see how a hybrid version works for helping me get under 2:00 (or at least under my record of 2:04). I’m also trying to incorporate strength training (as often as I can) and at least one cross-training session (i.e., swimming or cycling) per week.

Honestly, the first week got off to kind of a slow start thanks to general laziness, terrible weather, and crazy deadlines at work. But I hope I’ve gotten into a groove that will carry me through to October.

Monday:  Rest day

Tuesday: 3 easy miles

Wednesday: Should have done my speed workout, but I ended up working til 10pm instead.

Thursday: The pouring rain drowned out my motivation, plus I was exhausted. (But not too exhausted to go to Breminale!)

Friday: Finally, my speed workout — 10-minute warm-up, plus 5 rounds of 400 meters as fast as I could manage, plus a 10-minute cool down. All of the running tracks that I know of are not located so conveniently for me, so I usually just find a straight away near the park or the river without too many pedestrians and rely on my GPS watch to tell me when the 400 meters are up. I definitely slowed down during my marathon training and my times are definitely not as fast as they need to be by the time of the half, but I’m sure they will improve over the next 12 weeks.

Saturday: 30-minute strength training at home using the Nike Training Club app.

Sunday: Just an easy 5 miles on one of first summer-like days we’ve had so far this summer.

That’s it for this week! I hope I have more to report to you by the end of Week 2. :)

Anyone else training for a fall race? Just for fun, or do you want to break a personal record?

InstaFriday | Jet Lag

Circles and squares. #designtriennial #cooperhewitt
Designed by Andreas Engesvik and Daniel Rybakken

It’s 8:30 in the evening and I’m writing this post to postpone falling sleep until my normal bed time. I arrived back in Germany yesterday afternoon after an overnight flight and survived somehow until 9pm. In order to establish some sort of normal rhythm, I put in more or less a full day in at work today, but I’m fading pretty fast .

In any case, my time in DC and NYC was absolutely wonderful and a much needed balm for my soul. It’s rare to find friends who are truly kindred spirits, who continuously inspire you, and who remind you that it’s still worth trying to make the world a better place. More photos and posts to come later, for sure.

And guess who I spotted on my way back to Germany at JFK, eating dinner with his family across from my gate? Oh, just Macklemore. I decided to just leave them in peace since no one else seemed to be bothering him, but I did glance their way about a dozen times while I was standing in line to board. :) Definitely made my flight, and ranks right up there with passing Philip Seymour Hoffman on the sidewalk in the West Village, and sitting across the aisle from Christoph Waltz once on a flight to Berlin.

I’m not sure I can construct many more coherent sentences, so how about you just tell me: how has your week been?

Travel | Heybeliada Island

Heybeliada Island

You’ll have to forgive me for keeping this post short on words and long on photos. It feels like the only thing I’ve done this week is work, eat, and sleep. But that’s not completely true — at least some of that work involved another trip to Istanbul, two nights on the 31st floor of a fancy hotel, getting upgraded to a suite larger than my apartment, and swimming in a beautiful pool after the day’s meeting was done. It was actually kind of worth arriving at midnight on Monday and catching a cab back to the airport at 6am Wednesday morning.

But I’m not here to talk about my most recent trip — instead I want to go back to my day trip to Heybeliada during my first visit to Istanbul! There are only a few Lira and about a one hour ferry trip separating downtown Istanbul from Heybeliada, the second largest of the Prince Islands. No cars are allowed on the island, so visitors mostly ride bikes or take a ride in the horse drawn carriages (which I wouldn’t especially recommend — those horses did not look like they were treated very well). My friend and I spent the day on foot, which was also wonderful.

We visited on a Saturday, which is prime time for visitors from the city, so the island was overrun with families and children. Unfortunately, despite circling the entire perimeter of the island, we didn’t find any public place to swim that didn’t involve paying a fee. But I did love wandering around and checking out all the beautiful old wooden houses — something of a curiosity in this part of the world!

Travel | Heybeliada Island

Heybeliada Island

Heybeliada Island

Travel | Heybeliada Island

Travel | Heybeliada Island

Travel | Heybeliada Island

Turkish Coffee, Heybeliada Island

Travel | Heybeliada Island

Heybeliada Island

In any case, our visit to Heybeliada was a nice change from the hustle and bustle of the city and a great location for a day trip! If you get going earlier than we managed, you can also visit the other Prince Islands on the same day.  For more photos from my entire trip, click over here.

What’s your favorite day trip in recent memory? 

Travel | A Week in Istanbul

Travel: A Week in Istanbul | No Apathy Allowed

It’s a little funny to write this post about my week in Istanbul when I know that I’ll be heading back there again the day after tomorrow. My (working) vacation had been planned ages ago and then I recently received an invitation to participate in a work meeting in Istanbul this coming Tuesday. So exactly one week after returning to Bremen, I’ll be off again to Istanbul! But before I do, let me share at least some thoughts and photos of the city. 

Unfortunately a bit of my travel excitement and anticipation was dampened by the terrorist attacks that have hit Istanbul and other Turkish cities this year. And indeed another explosion took place near the Grand Bazaar two days after I returned to Bremen. My heart breaks from all the needless suffering and fear, but I am so glad to have the opportunity to visit such a vibrant and energetic city! 

Friends and I stayed in the Alibeyköy neighborhood, which is about 20-25 minutes north of the center. With 15+ million people, the city is enormous and I felt like we expended enormous amounts of energy moving from one place to another. Istanbul has a subway system, but it wasn’t anywhere near our neighborhood, so we were dependent upon buses, which are prone to getting stuck in never ending traffic. Instead of stressing about it, we just went with the flow and didn’t hold ourselves to too strict of a sightseeing schedule.

Armed with guidebooks, cameras, and bottled water, we more or less just wandered the city. I loved walking through Taksim and Galata (modern day Karaköy) with no specific goal in mind. The architecture and dramatic contrasts between modern and medieval, Western and Eastern, fascinated me to no end. We walked over the Galata Bridge during the golden hour and climbed the hilly streets up to the Grand Bazaar — built in the 15th century, it’s one of the largest and oldest covered markets in the world, housing over 4000 shops in a maze of intersecting passages. Normally huge crowds in tight spaces aren’t my favorite thing, so I was happy to see that we reached the Grand Bazaar near closing time. This let us visit without the thronging masses. 

Another evening we took a ferry from Kabatas to Kadiköy on the Asian side of the city (Istanbul is divided between the European and Asian continents!). And on Saturday we took a day trip to Heybeliada island (which deserves its own separate blog post). Like any other big city, Istanbul can be an exhausting assault on the senses, so my favorite moments were sitting on the balcony of our Airbnb apartment in the evening, listening to the calls to prayer echoing from the surrounding mosques.

 Ok, so that’s enough words for now. How about some photos? 

Travel: A Week in Istanbul | No Apathy Allowed

Travel: A Week in Istanbul | No Apathy Allowed

Travel: A Week in Istanbul | No Apathy Allowed

Travel: A Week in Istanbul | No Apathy Allowed

Travel: A Week in Istanbul | No Apathy Allowed

Travel: A Week in Istanbul | No Apathy Allowed

Travel: A Week in Istanbul | No Apathy Allowed

Travel: A Week in Istanbul | No Apathy Allowed

Travel: A Week in Istanbul | No Apathy Allowed

Travel: A Week in Istanbul | No Apathy Allowed

Travel: A Week in Istanbul | No Apathy Allowed

Travel: A Week in Istanbul | No Apathy Allowed

Beautiful, isn’t it? For a few more photos, you can check out my Flickr album — and get a sneak peek of our day trip to Heybeliada, if you can’t wait for my next post!

Have you been to Istanbul? What are your favorite memories of the city? If you haven’t, is Istanbul on your travel wish list?

InstaMeet Hamburg

Rambler Rose ??? #wwim13hh
Rambler Rose. Via Instagram.

So you know I love Instagram, right? It is definitely my very favorite form of social media. And that love has quadrupled since I bought my very first iPhone last fall. So I didn’t think twice about signing up for the InstaMeet Hamburg last month, especially since I had so much fun at the last one I attended a couple of years ago. Even though the weather was unseasonably cold for April, I bundled up as best I could and took the train to our neighboring Hansestadt.

Pretty much as soon as everyone arrived at the meeting point in the Harburg area of Hamburg, it full on started to snow, rain and hail and pretty much didn’t stop for about an hour and a half. Let me tell you that carrying around an umbrella while trying to take photos is a bit of a logistical challenge, especially when your fingers are so cold you can barely make them move. Sigh. Despite the miserable cold though, everyone was pretty goodnatured and made plenty of jokes about Hamburg Schietwetter. We walked through the Harburg harbor area, along the water and through old industrial areas. Right up my alley!

The sheer quantity of photos I took was much lower than at the last InstaMeet, but I still have a few favorites to share with you, plus some outtakes that I like, but which probably won’t make it into my Instagram feed. You’ll also notice that while Instagram is famous for it’s square format, they’ve transitioned to allowing for landscape and portrait photos too (although they still appear square in your thumbnail feed).

Can't believe these tulips have survived and thrived in the sidewalk cracks of Harburg! #wwim13hh
Can’t believe these tulips have survived and thrived in the sidewalk cracks of Harburg! Via Instagram.

One final photo from the #wwim13hh before I sign off for the evening... (With more to come tomorrow!)
Via Instagram.

Half and half. ? #wwim13hh
Half and half. Via Instagram

Rain, snow, hail and a tiny bit of sun during today's Instameet in Hamburg. I'm only now starting to get the feeling back in my fingers. Brrr... #wwim13hh
Via Instagram.

Hamburg InstaMeet
An InstaMeet outtake

Hamburg InstaMeet
An InstaMeet outtake

Hamburg InstaMeet
An InstaMeet outtake

I didn’t stay as long as I wanted at the InstaMeet because I reached a point where I couldn’t feel my fingers or my feet anymore — but maybe we’ll have more luck with the weather next time! And speaking of next time, I seriously think that the Bremer Instagrammers should be putting together our own InstaMeets too! Who’s in?

Did you attend one of the InstaMeets happening worldwide in April? Did you discover any new Instagrammers I should definitely follow? (And don’t forget to follow me too!)

Balcony Garden | 2016

Balcony Garden 2016 | No Apathy Allowed

Wow, the weather has been absolutely fantastic around here lately! After weeks in April of snow, sleet, and rain, I feel like we’ve definitely earned it. Breakfasts on the balcony for the win! Who knows how long the weather will last, so I took advantage of the warm temperatures to spruce up my balcony and get it ready for the rest of the spring and summer.

Now that the stones on my balcony have been repaired so that they don’t wobble, I bought an outdoor mat to go under the table. The only thing that’s still missing is a sun umbrella, because, wow is that sun intense midday! I already have my eye on a couple, I just have to bite the bullet and figure out transportation. 

Last year I bought a small corner shelf for plants, which I promptly filled up during a sunny Saturday a couple weeks ago. Take a good look at these plants now, because there’s no guarantee that they’ll last the season. ;) Although, two of my geraniums did actually survive the winter in my apartment, so I must be doing something right. Now that it’s more or less finished, I have to say that my little outdoor space makes me so very happy.

Balcony Spring 2016

Balcony Garden 2016 | No Apathy Allowed

Balcony Garden 2016 | No Apathy Allowed

Balcony Garden 2016 | No Apathy Allowed

Balcony Garden 2016 | No Apathy Allowed

Balcony Garden 2016 | No Apathy Allowed

Balcony Garden 2016 | No Apathy Allowed

So, what do you think? I’m pretty happy with the results and am hoping for plenty of sunny days to spend out here. Curious about my previous balconies? Here’s a few posts from both Berlin (2011, 2012, 2013) and Bremen.