running log #17

Aaaaah these last weeks before the holidays are really kicking me in the shins. With a runny nose, a prickly throat and not to mention how many hours sleep I wouldn’t mind having these days, I started off sluggish on today’s run. Thankfully, I had my running club friends to chat with.

We headed out through the forest for the usual warm-up. On climbs, my legs felt a little heavy from Sunday’s hills.

We stopped at 5km to do some exercises. Then, we did some accelerations, or cartouches as we call them:

  • 5 times 50m sprint with alternated slow jogging
  • 5 times 50m sprint from standing start
  • 5 times 50m sprint uphill

And then slow run back to the starting point.

Though I started off sluggish, the accelerations are fun and we all pretend we’re in a race. In the end, I’m all worked up and energised and when we get back to the regular run, I feel like I could still run for a while.

  • Pain: 3/10
  • Fatigue: 8/10
  • Fun: 7/10
  • Number of times I thought “is this over yet”: 5000 (before the sprints)


running log #14

Sweet little run through the forest, alone. I am trying to fit in more and longer runs alone. Running with people and in a group is nice, but I’ve come to realise that it is also an avoidance strategy. Long runs on your own are harder because you not only have to run, but you also have to deal with your mind. And your mind can sometimes bring you down faster than your legs. Most of the time, actually.

Yesterday I chose to go to the forest at Chalet à Gobet, just north of Lausanne. It has a 12km Helsana trail winding through pine trees and pastures which are really green and leafy at this time of the year.

I started off light and breezy. Even though I like to run without phones and listen to the sounds of nature, I wasn’t up for the full alone experience and listened to a podcast to help busy my mind a little.

I crossed donkeys, birds and even two doe who swiftly crossed the path just in front of me. The trail went uphill in some places, downhill in others and I felt good most of the time.

However, after 6km, my right thigh started seizing up while running uphill. At 8km, I had a stomach cramp which was probably related with some abusive cherry eating just before my run. I slowed down for a few metres and then it was fine.

I ended fast, feeling good albeit a little cold. The aim now is to increase mileage while running alone.

Something I’ve noticed is that my HR is substantially lower on an equal subjective experience of effort. I wonder if it is the effect of training, the magnesium I’ve been taking or my polar which needs new batteries.

  • Pain: 5/10
  • Fatigue: 3/10
  • Scenery: 9/10
  • Number of times I thought “is this over yet”: 0
  • Feeling swift: 6/10

running log #12

Last night, the plan was to improve my tempo runs when I go alone. When I started running, running meant just running as fast as I could, for as long as I could. I never got very far on that mode. I always got tired, but most of the time I just got bored and this is when the “I’m too tired/I can just stop/when is this over” thoughts start creeping into my mind and ruin my perseverance.

With time and with training sessions at the club, I started grasping the meaning of different kinds of runs and how they can improve my strength, my endurance and all those fancy words that made my mind hazy when I picked up running magazines.

In tempo runs, you’re supposed to run at “comfortably hard” pace. Never a sprint, but a fast pace that you could keep up for a long-ish time, as you would in a race when you’re pulling out all your guns. The feeling is supposed to be something like “I can keep this up, but I really wouldn’t mind slowing down”. I’m not a specialist, but the internet has a lot to say about tempo runs.

Personally, I like these because they are challenging and they keep my mind busy on longer runs. I tend to get distracted with ruminations about stopping, impulses to take pictures of the scenery, any excuse will do. So, tempo runs make me swallow up miles faster, while getting my heart beat up and making my running more efficient.

Highlights from yesterday (to cross with my HR graph):

– Started off slow and sluggish. I rarely use phones, but yesterday I did and went off on a 20 minute slow run;

– When I hit 20 minutes, I started running faster for 3 minutes. I had decided to do 3 minutes tempo (at 5:00min/km) and 1 minute slow jogging;

– On the second interval, my Polar chest band kept sliding down to my belly (it’s been doing that lately and really gets on my nerves) and when I tried to adjust it, it came off;

– After the third interval I got weak in my mind and walked a little at the end instead of jogging slowly;

– After the fourth, I stopped to take pictures;

– On the fifth, I overtook a guy and felt really confident, running off into the setting sun;

– On the last one, my Polar band came off again (I realise there is a technical problem I really need to take care of) and I had to stop to get it back on;

– So I did a 7th interval, slightly shorter, to make up for it.

On the last few km back to the starting point, I felt lighter and a lot more energetic. The aim for the next few tempo runs will be to improve the lenght and the quality of the intervals (and less random events).

  • Pain: 2/10 (a little in the knees in the beginning)
  • Fatigue: 4/10 (mostly in the beginning)
  • Number of times I thought “is this over yet?”: 2 or 3 (in the beginning)
  • Self-challenge: 5/10

one second every day – august 2017

Here is August. Crazy, crazy August.

Something that comes to mind while piecing together this video is that it doesn’t really reflect the memory that I have of this year’s month of August. A crazy month, during which I struggled a little, bounced around a LOT of different jobs, got a little bit anxious about all of it, and tried to focus on the new job which will gradually take up most of my time and hopefully bring me enough stability to stop bouncing around.

The good thing about this video in particular is that it reflects the times when I was more relaxed, moments we tend to forget if we rely only on memory and on the general feeling of the month.

All in all, it looks like a pretty relaxed month, which started off with a day’s hike in deep Switzerland and a bonfire to celebrate August 1st, the Swiss national holiday.

As a result of a panicky decision-making process, I took on a funny and unexpected job as a cashier in a supermarket, one day a week. It is quite alright, but it didn’t help to add another plate to the already difficult job juggling. I’ll survive, though.

While I was busy making August the most stressful month of the year, everyone else went on holiday and a few friends asked us to mind their houses and their gardens. That meant we had a huge garden for BBQ and to relax in, as well as a gigantic surplus of tomato, cucumber, green beans and courgettes which kept us on our toes thinking about what to cook and eat so that they wouldn’t rot away. I ran less, but I went swimming a few times, went climbing, went to the gym and restarted Pilates classes, and pretty much every weekend we went hiking in the Alps.

I finally got around to taking some time to visit Bern with my little sister and, in the last week of August my auntie came to visit us and it was great that she could get a glimpse of our life here.

We spent a lot of time with the kids that I look after, who are in love with Z., and we even took them to the zoo, where we got to see a young lynx family with two babies!

Towards the end of the month, I slowly started my new job as a psychologist, which is making me quite nervous, but in a good way. I am learning a lot, and I am feeling challenged in every way. I am quite curious to see what September brings about!

one second every day – june 2017

June 2017 was a month for change. There were new professional endeavours, closing cycles, and overall it was a completely disorganised month. There were some difficult moments, but there were also some beautiful times. We went hiking in the Alps a couple of times. Z played in two gigs. R., who I hadn’t seen for 2 years, came to visit me and there was plenty of time to catch up with her. I went home to Portugal for a few days and we saw our family and our friends as much as we could.

Junho de 2017 foi um mês de mudança. Surgiram novas empreitadas profissionais, fecharam-se ciclos e, no geral, o mês foi a desorganização total. Houve momentos difíceis, mas também os houve muito bons. Fomos caminhar nos Alpes algumas vezes. O Z. tocou ao vivo duas vezes. A R., que já não via há mais de 2 anos veio visitar-me e tivemos tempo q.b. para pôr a conversa em dia. Fui a casa, a Portugal, por alguns dias e estivemos com a família e com os amigos tanto quanto pudemos.