Saturday, April 21, 2012

Spring is in the Air

Finally, it seems like spring is actually here! I've been so excited seeing blossoms around town. Especially on the magnolia trees! There are at least 4 of them with in a few blocks of campus and I think it's the combination of the pastel-pink colour and the sheer size of the flowers that makes me feel so giddy.

I always enjoy seeing a little bit more open each time I go out for a run or in the case of this tree, when heading to the gym. Unfortunately this is something I don't do often enough to make it worth it these days. As soon as it was nice enough outside, I completely lost my motivation to go there to workout and I switched to running outside. As could be expected, I'm enjoying that a lot more than running on the spot in a sweaty room and have been exploring the area around the outside of the city a lot more lately. My routes keep changing and sometimes I just take a trip down the small streets heading out into the countryside, through the little villages and other days I'll head into the forest where things are just starting to turn green. I've been falling in love with running again and have been feeling a lot better lately because of it, both physically and mentally!

The past 3 weeks I've also joined the university's running group and now Johanna comes too, which is awesome since it means I'm not all alone at the back of the pack! When I went on my own the first day, I guess I was picturing a running group formed so students have the chance to have someone to run with and to be able to meet other runners - kind of like what you get at the Running Room at home, only all students. Well... that first day, I was the only girl besides the coach and the guys were all pretty quick, especially compared to me. This was a pretty decent hit to the ego - I mean I hadn't been working specifically on speed, just on building up distance and getting my muscles and endurance back. After a few months, I'd built myself up to managing to run 11.5km and I was feeling pretty proud of myself! All of a sudden, I was struggling to get around the track - alright, I haven't been timed on an 800m sprint since high school and it was extremely difficult to stop myself from attempting to keep up with the group of guys I was running with.

But I went back the next week. With backup! Through the sprinting games Johanna and I may be holding the team back, but at least they can divide us between the teams to make things fair. If I was there alone, there might be fights breaking out over who has to take the girl on their team...

Participating in this group training is not only beneficial to push me harder than I would on my own, but it gives me a feeling of normality which I think I've been seeking for a while. My days used to be packed with lectures, working part-time, skating, volunteering and whatever else was interesting for me at the time. Although I know I can't just jump back into quite as much as what I used to do, I've kept things pretty quiet and have been cautious to gradually increase activity and stresses where possible, with the hope of a smoother recovery.

Since January, I've been working out at the gym, running and a couple weeks ago I began climbing weekly at the university again. A more relaxed addition to my week is the new handicraft that I'm learning, bobbin lacemaking (Klöppeln). If you think this is something that's more for an older generation, you might be right. The group I've joined meets Monday afternoons 2pm - 5pm and I believe a majority of the ladies there are grandmothers. That hasn't been a problem, in fact that means that there are often wonderful, homemade goodies during our coffee break, oh and everyone has been very warm and welcoming too!

I've learnt a lot already and have gone from making bookmarks to practice different stitches, to making small decorative items using different types of joins - I'll show you on another day, so stay posted.

This first non-bookmark project is a Hexentreppe (direct translation: Witch's Ladder). The beauty of this is not that I spent forever creating 2 one meter long strips, but that 3 of the most basic stitches are incorporated in it. Between these 2 pictures you should be able to pick them out.

Some of the other ladies have begun working on the same table runner pattern and I might be allowed to start making one too. It looks like quite the challenge though!

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