30 08 2009

Word learnt today: German for Wasp (Easy enough – Waspe)

On Wednesday I saw a brochure at work for a Half Marathon nearby on Sunday. At that stage I was planning on flying to the next job on Sunday, so I went for a run that night to beat myself about missing the race. By Friday, the plans had changed, I would be in the area, but would have to work the Sunday. So I went for a faster run after work to further mourn the missed opportunity.
Saturday night (at 11pm), after working 14 hours and completely failing to carbo-load (salad for dinner doesn’t cut it) I get a call – my colleague thought that the work was going well enough that I could run if I wanted.

So I got up early, jumped on the bike and rode to Altötting – 15km up the road. Luckily the race was scheduled to start at 10:15 (why so late?) so I managed a late entry. I wasn’t expecting it to be quite so hot, or a course that was 17km of forest trails – it was pleasant and picturesque though.

I managed to stick to my plan pretty well, for the first half (go out easy, pick it up later). I think I ran low on energy at about km 17 – I just couldn’t go faster! Maybe I should have eaten better, or run less on Friday. It couldn’t have been too bad though, the outcome was roughly the same as my Houston Half time. And I can’t say I’ve been training.

So what’s with the wasps? Just after we left the start and town, we ran on the road for 3km, to get position and pace sorted out. I didn’t realise the rest would be trails, so I was just cruising along, enjoy the run. As soon as the trail started, passing became difficult. But I was just running slightly off the track (when there weren’t trees or mud) to pass people. At one of these (before km 4) a swarm of wasps were upset by something, perhaps it was having a few thousand people rumble past their home. They took a significant dislike to the Australian (I can confidently predict there were no other Aussies there) and tried to turn my head into Swiss cheese. One tried to hide up my shirt and another just wanted to make friends with my shoulder. Shoulder wasp was the dummy – he didn’t do any damage, but he was the only one I actually saw. I can only deduce the others existence by the lumps on my head and back and the pain. Man, it hurts. And I was slightly worried when my vision blurred and I started seeing big white blotches, but I kept running and my vision cleared (well, as clear as normal for running). The pain stayed until I found drugs much later (the first aid people tried to help, but their magic cream didn’t do much).

A pity really, having a massively sore head didn’t do much for the post race enjoyment. I don’t think I’ll be running too many Bavarian half marathons, so I wanted to enjoy it. Luckily I had a quick look around the (pilgrimage) town of Altötting before the start. I did hang around for a massage (never managed that before!), and a second stint in the medical tent, mainly to make sure I wasn’t going to develope a reaction to the wasp stings – before riding back to Burghausen, getting a subway and riding into to work.

Now I’m buggered. I suspect I’ll sleep tonight. I even took the elevator to the second floor. And had desert (mmm, Apfel Strudel… with Vanilla sauce… Specki!). AND took drugs for my sore head.


13 06 2009

Stefan and Sabine rightly pointed out that I haven’t written about the Trans Alp / Honeymoon trip that they took me on in June 2009. Which is now a full year ago (May 2010). I didn’t.  And I haven’t. But I did put some photos together.

It was, of course, good fun. Even if it did rain.


2 05 2009

Nightshift number… err. 6. It feels like more. It is Saturday night – so the computer tells me, I have no idea. It’s funny that I can change time zones by 12 hours and adjust within a few days, but I don’t seem to be able to keep it together for long when working all night.

At least I am able to walk or ride to work.


27 04 2009

I can fall in love pretty much anywhere in Spring. This year I seem to have found Bavaria at the right time of year. It is beautiful here.
Regensburg is actually a very nice town. But it lived up to it’s name (Regen = Rain) when I visited, 2 of the 3 days it rained, so it was hard to really love it. But it didn’t matter, I had fun with my Bock. I could continue with a touching remark on the value of having good friends, but I might miss some of those in Oz, and I might appear to be sentimental. We wouldn’t want that.

So I had to go to ‘work’ in Burghausen (Castle House). It is also a very pretty place. Apparently the castle, which is quite imposingly placed on a ridge above the old town, is the longest in Europe (at around a kilometre long – but only 50m wide). I’ve managed to get enough time away from work to look around, and it seems to be idyllic here. Really. Everything seems to be so perfect that it’s almost… kind of scary.

There is an exceptionally well maintained castle, above a the Salzach river and the very pretty, and also well maintained old town. Behind the castle, where there is some flat land, is the new town of Burghausen. Which is also new, very well designed… and (surprise) well maintained. There are green community areas, with climbing equipment (with gym climbing holds), fountains, artwork, bike tracks. Old people are riding bikes where there isn’t any obvious reason for them to be there – goodness knows what they are doing, surely it’s not just for fitness?? Is it? I haven’t seen a fat person (although there are a few crazies around), but plenty thinner than I. There isn’t any graffiti. People say hulo (or grössgot or something) in the streets. There are bikes everywhere. They try to engage me in conversation when I buy something (umm, err, Ich spreche kein Deutsch? Smile, wave, feel stupid). No one wears headphones. People are well behaved. No one will cross the street until the light goes green. What kind of utopia have I stumbled upon?

Well, one that I don’t understand any of the language. Again. I keep running into that problem. Stupid Australian who speaks only English.

Of course it is spring, the trees are blooming, the birds are singing, the sun is shining. Ahhhh. Perhaps it is the season that makes me see only good things here. Perhaps it is absolutely horrible in winter, and dastardly dull. That must be it. Or perhaps you get sick of (or scared of) such a well organised community at some stage.


For some lighter relief, I took a bike for a ride today, into Austria. A crappy hired city bike, through some farm land, dirt tracks, back roads and a forest, to a town I had pointed out to me on Google map. The town name is slightly amusing, and the signs at the town entrance allow one to snicker, although I found the town exit sign more amusing. No more of that allowed outside of here. A few weeks ago I was in Ibiza and missed out – I should’ve just come here.

But the ride was, as the few runs were in the last days, really nice. Everything is green, flowers are out, birds chirping. You wont be surprised to hear that, even the tiny back roads are asphalt and smooth. And on the horizon to the south, I was slightly surprised to see the Austrian Alps. They look bigger than I expected. I’ve been there before, but that was almost 20 years ago… and they are within easy riding distance if I had my gear and didn’t have to come back to work…

Perhaps I should hurry up and find some more adjectives to use to describe this place so I can move on. Everything is so nice it is sickening. I am not complaining, as a work location it certainly beats a few places I’ve been.