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Parkour. At Home in the Anonymous City.

Better future lives – but also futures of mere survival – seem to take place in rural areas, while the cities are left to rot and ruin.

At best, in utopias, cities are creative and efficient conurbations, but keep people in their cocoons of technology and in a state closer to convenient slavery than self-chosen lives; at worst, they are foreseen to become dangerous ghettos.

Either way, the city remains antipodal to nature, wilderness, the outdoors, and any sports that can help us rediscover our being bodies and living in places.

People who think like that obviously haven’t seen enough of parkour.

DSC_0975Parkour, yes, that “sport” where young people jump from rooftop to rooftop, the elegant and artistic attempt at getting from point A to point B in the city in as exciting – or efficient, or direct – a way as possible… and the discipline / sport / practice that has often appeared in just those kinds of movies that show the dangerous and decaying city.

From 2005 to 2008, I did field work studying the “tribe” of parkour practitioners via participant observation, in Vienna (Austria) and Riga (Latvia), like the cultural anthropologist I was academically educated to be.

Now that parkour and the related freerunning have become a more established, if still stranger, part of the (“sports”) landscape, and as I am writing for the public (rather than trying to join the ranks of the academically constipated), it is time to look back at parkour, and forward.

It is all the better a time for that, perhaps, as Christopher McDougall’s “Natural Born Heroes” (see my review of it here) has put a spotlight on parkour.

The Challenge(s)

Of course, parkour did and does attract some young people through insane stunts presented on YouTube, but they typically seem to be disabused of such notions very quickly when and if they go to traceur’s (parkour practitioner’s) meetings where they encounter people with more experience.

Additionally, even basic moves turn out to be challenging enough for the beginner (and still being practiced a lot by the advanced), anyways.

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They are often easy (as in, not highly technical), but take quite enough of a different approach from everyday walking to be challenging. After all, how often do you use your hands or get down on all fours, jump and balance on various surfaces, let alone get your ass higher up than your head in a jump or vault, when you are just out walking?

One issue has been notorious, though: Parkour, if done strictly, does not do the somersaults and similar flashy moves that attract many – and make them go right on to freerunning which does whatever strikes the fancy, the flashier the better (or so it sometimes seems).

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As many of these things go, online discussions about (or in strict parkour circles, against) flashy moves and competitive approaches – Hello, Red Bull Freerunning Championship – tended to get rather heated.
And in actual practice? In “real life,” people of both camps mingled and had few (if any) problems with each other.

What is particularly interesting now, years later and with the focus on at-home-making, are two factors in parkour, of fitness and of views.

Parkour and Fitness

P1010062One, as pointed out in discussing McDougall’s Natural Born Heroes, is that parkour is one of the best examples of a practice that isn’t a sport, isn’t for fitness in the common sense, but makes all the more fit.

It is not bad for endurance and only too good as strength training, and it works on both in order to be able to move between places, be they at the same level or higher or lower.
It all seems so useless and like child play in today’s world, but it is among the most fun and, should anything untoward happen, useful things. The skills it gives are just those we tend to be missing, and the ones most needed.

Imagine you are on vacation on the coast and a tsunami rolls in, and you will want to be able to get to higher ground.
Imagine your house catches on fire, and you’ll want to be able to get out quickly – let alone, help others.
Just think of aging and of how many seniors break their hips because they are neither nimble nor good at balancing, and you may appreciate what parkour focuses on…

“Etre fort pour être utile”

It’s all about function a normal body should be able to perform (and as argued before, we need to focus on function rather than, to give the particularly problematic example, on weight). If it basically looks like child’s play, an adult should be able to do it even better, no?

Parkour Paths…

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Secondly, starting the practice of getting from point A to point B, not in the way of the automotive GPS-enabled driver or the subway-using pedestrian but as an agile body moving through an environment on his/her own power – and it certainly doesn’t have to be an urban jungle, parkour came out of more natural environments – develops a different view.

Especially in urban environments which are “normally” just moved through on designated paths, each for particular types of movement, it is a fascinating experience when you start picking out new possibilities all the ledges and handholds and bars and steps and sundry other surfaces would offer for alternative paths, up, down, across, and over.
It makes you see the city anew and in different ways that arise very quickly and grow as your abilities do.

Not a bad experience to make and have…

Running among the Ramps

Trails of Spring 2: Wild Leeks in the Leitha Mountains

In Austria, and particularly its east, I’ve lived for the longest time. So, it is just natural that I’d think I know this place and find little of interest in it anymore. Jaded and inured to the charm…

Running on the Pannonian Plains

And running on the Pannonian Plains does have its distinct charms

To make myself really at home here and remember that there’s a lot I don’t know and can yet explore further – not to forget, to have the fun of doing so – it helps to find contrasts.

For one, there is that nice contrast between spring – with a topping of snow – further into the Alps and the rather more advanced turn to spring at lower elevations, in the east.
(This year though, interestingly enough, I couldn’t honestly say that this is quite how it is. In the lower parts of where I go in the Alps, the fruit trees are blooming at the same time as in the Pannonian east…)

Of course, there are always the cycles to get at home in and to see again, in their new iteration.

There are the circles I run in and always see somewhat anew, whether that should be because something out there has changed with the passing of time, or whether it is because I have changed, seeing something differently, knowing something more, or getting faster or slower.

Pannonian Circles

Pannonian Circles

And, turning from winter to spring, the wind gets slightly – and sometimes, much – warmer (we hardly ever have no wind here), and it’s been time to see the wild leeks emerge again… and to use them.

Running among the Ramps

Running among the Ramson

This, too, has become quite a theme as my interest in food (not least with www.chilicult.com) has become stronger.

These wild leeks used to be what the poorest of people would have eaten, and what anybody who was anything didn’t want to be caught using (or so says my 93-year-old ‘aunt’); like so many things, they have turned into a spring delicacy that is found on restaurant menus same as in supermarkets, in sausages same as in breads sold in the spring.

Amusingly, considering the carpet of these wild leeks one can find in the Leitha mountains (Leithagebirge) – and actually, also where I go in the Alps – they also sell at rather high prices.
If 100 grams are 3 Euro, then what I sometimes step on, as need be, when I go running through those forest paths must be hundreds of Euros worth…

Leeks, Leeks, More Leeks... and Big Foot Between

Leeks, Leeks, More Leeks… and Big Foot Between

My running there still ranges somewhat widely, along the ‘mountains’ whenever I can, as a big part of the fun is getting into this area designated with the same word as mountain ranges in the Alps, in some select trail segments almost looking the part… but mainly being nothing much more than hills.

Yet, it can offer different views than other places there – another kind of contrast – again:

Still, running here when the leeks have emerged looks little like a classical training run on which time and distance matters the most; it gets slower and delayed whenever the fancy – or rather, the amount of food to be foraged – strikes.

Then, rain jacket and running vest also suddenly find themselves being used not to protect from weather extremes but to serve as wild leek carrying system; the 3L volume is tested well ;)

OR Helium Jacket, Salomon Sense 3L Vest - Leeks Delivery System

OR Helium Jacket, Salomon Sense 3L Vest – Leeks Delivery System

24H Burgenland Extrem 2015

Getting Home: From Beijing to the 24H Burgenland Extrem

We are, only too often, all too used to the peculiarities of modern life that we know as normal – and for that, we are in all the greater a need to actively make ourselves at home.

At the beginning of last week, I was still in Beijing, finishing my teaching contract and visiting the last of the city’s Buddhist temples I decided to write about (looking for projects with which to make myself at home there); at the end of the week, I had given a presentation on why one should do so and walked (if “only” 60 out of 120 km) in this year’s edition of the 24H Burgenland Extrem event.

The very possibility to easily go and live in another country, the facility of worldwide flights, the ease with which information on so many a thing can be found, the free time and photography tools available, the comparative lack of violence and danger in many a place, the fascination and willingness of many a person to participate in extraordinary events… it all makes contemporary life comfortable, full of chances – but perhaps only too much so.

Just working there, even Beijing is hardly exotic. It’s just a drag.

Case in point: ‘Stay indoors’ they say when the air quality gets really bad – and this is what a simple Smart Air filter looks like after a half-year’s use for just a few hours each week:

Smart Air Filter

Smart Air Filter, 6 months later…

Adding some deliberate projects to engage in, as I mentioned before, it was (and has been) a lot more interesting.
Such projects can be done everywhere, though.

Having come back to the Austria I never quite felt so at home in, in all its familiarity, it was time for just such a project, a second go (number one was a complete tour last year) at the 24H Burgenland Extrem(e) Tour.

This year, I didn’t feel quite so good and didn’t get some gear I wanted to have for it, but I wanted to give it a go, anyways.

After all the bad air in Beijing, even with a bit of a cold (or after-effects of the air quality?), wintry landscapes with a bit of snow, blue and cloudy skies, clean air, and people sharing the interest to “Live. Love. Move.” seemed just the thing to get back to making myself at home here.

The Pannonian countryside showed itself from its wintry, changeable side, though:

At the start, it was just slightly cold and pretty dry, enough so to think that this would be the least extreme of the tours so far.

There was not much of a sunrise to be seen, but it was there, red and nice among the clouds.

A little later, a bit of a drizzle started and still seemed pretty comfortable (but already made me stop taking pictures).

And then it had changed into a downpour that went on for hours, only interrupted when it turned from rain to heavy sleet and then into a veritable cascade of snowballs.

The last 5 km to Apetlon turned into a march through rain and snow, with gloves that weighed a ton because they were sodden with water, with water sloshing in the shoes, thoughts of death marches running through the head.

I could have gone on, I thought to myself, but there’s a power in turning towards sense and heading home – and since my wife is waiting for me here, this is much more home than it has ever been.

The clean air was still good, being back with my wife makes it abundantly clear to me that the adventure I mainly seek now is to be with her and make her happy – and with the importance of gear this tour showed again, it’s the perfect transition:

Next up, after all, is another visit to the ISPO to see what’s new in the world of gear with which to make oneself at home.

Afterwards, it will be time to continue with ordinary life, but also with making it extra-ordinary.

You’ll see.

Activity Today

Fitbitten – Places and Practices for Life-Tracking

Lifetracking, in the use of devices to measure and record data about one’s life, has been on the rise for a while, certainly in terms of media reports and sales numbers.

Considering how easily we cheat ourselves into thinking that we are living better or worse than we really are, it seems a great idea to get some concrete numbers.
In all the promise of what it will do for us to measure our everyday activity levels and, if we want to also do that, get support from – or get in competition with – others, though, a lot of the focus is on either marketing-speak or crazy personal stories.

The Craziness of (Writing about) Life-Trackers

Sometimes there are statistics, but as such numbers show, a lot of things now classified as life-tracking are actually nothing new and high-tech, but rather such simple practices as stepping on the scale and worrying that one’s weight hasn’t gone down, or writing down one’s blood pressure or glucose levels.
In that area of life-tracking where it is actually needed the most, for people who have to track a chronic concern or run the risk of getting worse, however, new tools are not usually being made…

Craziness and compulsion, instead, seem to be what those life-trackers who get the most play for their writing have come to.

David Sedaris, for example, wrote on the ways his FitBit made him throw the weight of his usual wacky personality behind every step he took, just to have one more step in the machine memory of another day.
A writer and runner for Outside magazine / Outside Online had also gone that route, finding in Nike Fuel an addictive non-substance that seemed to give substance to her life, even as it took control over routines – until it broke and she went from withdrawal to a re-discovery of the joy in running, just for the joy.

Personally, even as someone who runs to run and very much avoids letting measurements dominate the training, I can attest to the same influence: I have used a FitBit off and on for years now, and sometimes I do catch myself wanting to carry it around with me while headed into the shower, for example, for fear of not getting these steps recorded.

It’s the same routine that so many a report on ultramarathoners and fitness enthusiasts gets around to: Focus on the most peculiar outgrowths of such practices, rally the supporters to come to the defense, get the critics to pile on, garner attention.

Meanwhile, a person who is more relaxed in his/her use of life-tracking devices is just too quiet on that front to be of note – but there’s something to learn about the potential of fitness and life-tracking technology in it:

One of the big drivers in the growth of such devices’ adoption is the promise that seeing your daily activity levels will make you move more, thus leading a healthier life. If it’s not enough by itself, use social sharing capabilities to get one or the other kind of feedback.
Promise you’ll be more active and get support and encouragement to reach your goal from others, plus the pressure to reach it because others are watching/checking.
Challenge yourself and others to reach your goals and/or be better – more active – than others in your social circle.

The idea is not bad, and it can work.

Character and Good Technology

We don’t want to overlook that people have different characters, however.

Some are competitive and will be motivated by the competitive aspects. Some of those will go overboard with it and end up the subjects of stories like the above, discussing their ‘addiction’ to ever-higher activity numbers.

Some won’t like that aspect, won’t want to so much as feel slightly pushed around by a device on their wrist or in their pockets and just stop using it. (Or fall into the grip of a gimmick like the Pavlok that promises punishment for failure, going even deeper into the “tough” approach to life we seem to be increasingly in love with – to our detriment, but that’s for another story.)

Some will find a middle way. Or simply a way that works for them. – And that’s the path to look for.

Good technology, by which I mean a technology that works well and fulfills its purpose, has to be noticeable enough to fulfill its purpose, but also invisible enough to disappear and not be a bother. That, I think, is the big challenge for the makers of life-tracking (and other) devices.

It’s the overlooked problem that can be seen with smartphones. They are so noticeable in their over-use because they are communication devices, thus need to send notifications and make themselves, or really, the info, noticeable. At the same time, the more visible they thus make themselves, the more of a burden they can be. Another notification asks for attention, another period of work or relaxation or social time is interrupted and made to lose much of its value.

Interrupted work means that attention went somewhere else, making it take longer to finish the work.
Interrupted relaxation isn’t relaxation at all.
Interrupted time in general means not being truly in the moment, together with others, experiencing something deeply, but getting lost in the maze of virtual and actual contacts, between attention and flow in the experience and attention being given to the technology, neither here nor there.

But then, the technology can be made to be less obtrusive, better at filtering the important from the inessential. And we ourselves can work with it differently.

There is no real need for the vast majority of notifications, and there is little need for an activity tracker to give constant reminders.

The Place for Life-Tracking Devices

All the recent migration they have made, out of the pockets and onto the wrists, is just the wrong step, then. Rather, tracking devices (and notifications) need to disappear, only to be checked at the end of the day to see how things went.

A daily review is a much-recommended step towards a responsible attitude towards your life, anyways – not just for activity levels.
Constant checking and control, however, are the dream of an autocratic regime of social control, but neither the good habits nor the good (flexible and resilient, but not unstructured) freedom of a better life.

Activity Today

Between the Amibit3’s ‘active recovery’/’activity today’ and the FitBit, there are now two devices telling me how active I’ve been… (in somewhat different contexts)

The way activity tracking seems to be moving onto the wrist by disappearing into watches is a very interesting step, in that regard.

Suunto’s Ambit3 line has gone that way, adding activity monitoring to these devices’ stable of tricks. However, their use of it is really for a better recommendation of recovery times, not (yet?) for life tracking – but that may come, and the watches offer greater benefits in the tracking of sports/training activities than lifetracking gadgets.

Withing’s Activité follows a similar notion, and a very different one at the same time, in integrating activity tracking (and further benefits of having app integration via BTLE) into what looks and is for most purposes a nice-looking timepiece, not a gadget.

Apple’s watch will also, of course, offer activity and/or sports tracking capabilities.

FitBit in Pocket

Still the best place for an activity tracker, if not in a watch: Disappearing into a pocket. (And yes, part of the clip has broken off.)

As for my FitBit, that’s in my pocket.

I still like it to get an impression, if and when I want to, of the activity levels (or lack thereof) I have been at, besides dedicated training sessions.
Two of my current Fitbit’s predecessors broke, but the company always replaced it, which was nice.

The iPod touch I got, among other things, for testing the Movescount app that works with the Ambit3 has also proven a good choice for the FitBit, as it allows for direct syncing between the FitBit and its app via BTLE.

That way, it is possible to monitor activity levels easily, as well as quickly adjust the alarm, for example – and the vibration alarm, given that the Ambits don’t have vibration alarms (but rather, alarms for waking one up in the middle of a snowstorm to get out in time for a sunrise on a mountain peak), is a nice thing to have in everday life with a partner who likes to get up later.

Having a look at the statistics, sometimes, is good for realizing that I’ve been moving way too little in my daily life now, thus would do well to move more in my daily routines – but I also know that Beijing, where I am now, is not the ideal city for outdoor sports (given air pollution).

A day like yesterday, on the other hand, I wanted to go out for a run after I had been walking around in town, and it was good to see that my running around on that “little walk” had actually covered a distance akin to a half-marathon, making further training a not-so-great idea. This time.

Life needs a balance like that; having numbers on life be measured is a good antidote to cheating oneself – but learning how to act on them and using them well is another balancing act to decide on and integrate well into a life. Preferably, before you get fed up with the gadget that promised so much and just end up putting it into the next drawer.

Clouds Driven Up the Mountain

Backtracking from the Grossglockner

The Suunto Ambit2 (my tool of choice for an exploratory lifestyle to get at home) gets trackback – and sometimes, the power you need most is that to turn right back around

My plans for this year’s running had included quitting with races and just going for runs on some hiking tracks that would circle around interesting places.
After all, getting at home requires making oneself at home, and no better way for that than on tracks, whether rail or hiking/running. Experienced with attention, they avoid the virtualism of going places without really being there, and they shape knowledge of places – and fitness, in the case of runs – instead.

Last weekend’s weather sounded good enough to give the circle around the Grossglockner a try. And with the Ambit2 having recently gotten a new firmware, adding trackback to its bag of tricks and giving it more GPS (power saving) options, there was another reason to try something out. Continue reading

"Just drive to the end of the concrete road..."

You Have Arrived At Your Destination…?

With globalization, virtualization, and all those things supposed to have been making the world a flat global village in which places don’t matter because it’s all the same everywhere, we’ve been seeing the return of geography, with a vengeance. We supposedly know everything about every place, can go everywhere virtually – and aren’t really there anymore. Continue reading

Withings Body Scale Dashboard

A Body in Tracked Motion – Life Tracking vs./for Better Technique

Moving comes naturally to us; running might even have made us, as a species. It does us good, physically and psychologically. Our “modern” lifestyles, though, oftentimes make us look as if we could just as well be rooted to a spot – and the consequences for health are grave.

In coming to be at home in our bodies and in this world of ours, better than we often have been, motion thus has a pivotal role to play.

It’s especially interesting as we have been making this natural action one that is also technological. Continue reading

Walking during the Kirchdorf Über-Drüber-Marathon

Everyday Fitness: If You Can’t Run, Then Walk

A year ends, a new year starts, gym memberships go up – but it’s not the solution, it’s perhaps a part of the “disease” that we think we need fitness centers for our health and fitness. And no, it doesn’t necessarily take running, either.

Walking during the Kirchdorf Über-Drüber-Marathon

Walking during the Kirchdorf Über-Drüber-Marathon

Of course, I sympathize with Scott Jurek, ultrarunner par excellence, when he suggests that “if you can walk, you can run.” As much as I’d like it to be true, though, I know that it isn’t even true for me, once I’ve gone a certain distance, and it’s even less true for many an other person.

As long as you can move, in some way, however, you can move – and to be in good health and get to better (or at least not worse) fitness, a body must move. Continue reading

VC-NewYears-Track

Full (Vienna) Circle Into the New Year

How do you make yourself at home where you are, as you are, but with growth and learning?

For me, in 2012, this was very much about physical activity around the places where I live. Often enough, truly around, seeing how I usually run in circles – and tried to circle around Vienna. The prior (second) attempt at that had failed, so I decided to give it a third try, and to make it all the more interesting – and perhaps harder – by doing so from New Year’s Eve into New Year’s Day, all through the night.

One City. One Night.

VC-NewYears-Track

According to my trusty Suunto Ambit – see the “move” here -, in the end, it was 16 hours 25 minutes on the go, 100 km (as recorded with 10 sec GPS fix; the recording at 1 sec using the GPS Track POD – which I did not recharge – stopped after 15 hours 45 minutes when it was at 100.5 km – “move” here).
Ascent: 1488 m.
Funnily, the calculated training effect was only 3.6 (according to Ambit/Movescount; 4.3 according to the t6c)…

While others met to party, count in the new year, get inebriated and then play with fireworks out in the cold and crowded streets, I ran (some of the time) and walked (a whole lot more often).

Trying to write about all the reasons for doing so, all the experiences gained by doing it, presents a strange problem:

The only reason is that I’ve become fascinated by the idea of being able to cover great distances, on foot, preferably in one go. So, to see if I could do that – in this case, by getting around Vienna – I did it.

The hiking paths that lead around town are there, so I used those… and besides, I certainly wouldn’t want to forfeit a chance at seeing more of town so intimately, reduce the event to nothing but its physical side, and run 100 k in the Prater park/amusement area (in a circle that’s 2.5 km…), or a marathon indoors.

Why this date?

New Year’s Eve was a time when people would be out and about, so that it wouldn’t be so strange, lonesome, and devoid of sensory impression to pick that date, and it would be a good end and beginning to the years – or I’m just rationalizing that, because I really don’t care too much about extremes of stimuli such as fireworks.

Why do it alone?

Why not?

Why self-supported?

Again, why not? It’s possible, especially now that temperatures are lower (meaning that not as much water is needed), it actually helps reduce impact (You ever really noticed all the plastic trash left behind after big marathon events?), and it raised the stakes.

What equipment did you use?

As mentioned before, the Suunto Ambit for recording heart rate and track as well as for the navigation. (In fact, I completely went without a map this time, just the route saved to the Ambit. Not the most highly recommendable approach, but the only time I got lost was when I thought I didn’t need to follow the pre-set line…)
For clothes, the usual CW-X Insulator tights and top, a Windstopper top, and eventually also an insulated jacket… yeah, it got cold.
Shoes: Salomon S-Lab… which once again proved to be rather too small in the toebox.
For carrying water, food, etc.: Ultimate Direction’s Adventure Vest (the Peter Bakwin model in their new Signature Series), which I’ll probably want to review soon… it held up perfectly.

Wasn’t it particularly difficult at night, alone, in the cold?

It was easier, in a way.

Being alone also means that you have only your own pain and exhaustion to deal with, are free to decide how fast or slow you want to go, whether you want to rest or not, without having to care for someone else.
Going through the night means that there is at once less to be seen all around, including distractions from the path in the form of other trails that look nice, but also that the wide views one sometimes gets are all the nicer.

Coming out on top of Vienna’s ‘mountains’ and having a sweeping vista of the whole of town, lit up at night… pretty fantastic. Seeing fireworks all around at midnight, as much as it also appalls me how much money is being pulverized and how much pollution is caused by that, was a nice added bonus.

Also, soon enough, there was no turning back. I couldn’t really have stopped and gone home at 2 a.m. when none of the public transport I’d needed was running.

Did it hurt?

Yup, of course. Right knee after only two hours or so, legs more and more, feet in particular, and ever worse. Pain is not the point, perseverance is. The hurting was helpful, as it were, because it made me slow down, not worry about the time it would take me, but only trudge on and finish. Embrace the pain, and you will remain :-p

Any lessons learned?

The still of the night may not be the usual time for us humans to be around, but that makes it all the better a time to be moving, sometimes. The senses are rather more acute, it is all the easier to pick out the rustling in the underbrush, notice the birds spooked out of the trees by one’s passing – at the same time at which the deprivation of so much visual input throws one back into oneself all the more.

Light, of course, becomes an important concern – and it’s fascinating to see how disturbing the bright lights with which we try to advertise and make high speeds safe are, whereas the motion at a natural pace, on a moonlit night like this was, is very often easier when using only moonlight to navigate in.

Sunlight, as in the passing of the days, becomes more noticeable again as well.
Starting out in sun, seeing that light fade away rather quickly (but spectacularly), getting back in the early dawn… it’s all a natural rhythm that we have forgotten so much.
Nature doesn’t care much about the new year as we celebrate it; it’s all about the sun and its solstices. Winter solstice was a few days ago, and it is the resumed lengthening of daylight that is of the real importance. Nights are getting shorter, days longer, the coldest days of winter are yet to come – and we have made ourselves more widely independent of these cycles at our own risk, same as we have gained a lot of capabilities by mechanized transport, but also forgotten and lost a lot: even a large part of our sense of being bodies, needing to be in motion, requiring a sensible balance between activity and comfortable passivity if we are to be good and become better.

What’s next?

Having done one strange, grand, great… whatever… feat, the expectation is always that there will (or even must) be more. 5 marathons plus this in 2012 – how many races will you run this year?

Fact is, this was also meant as a kind of test to see if I could and would want to participate in the Lavaredo Ultra in the Dolomites, which would run overnight, through the next day, and potentially through a second night. The Traunsee Bergmarathon would take place only a week afterwards, making for a challenge to work up to.

Both of these would interest me, in particular, because they’d qualify as (somewhat) local events to me, and they are very supportive of their local character (in the case of the Traunsee mountain marathon) and of their environmental responsibility (Lavaredo).

I won’t be able to do too much because we’re planning to spend this summer in China (it’s necessary), and I’m not really tempted to do something like the Vienna City Marathon again. Or actually, I am somewhat tempted because it’s a race early in the year and would be fun to compare times from last year to this – but thinking of the masses of people and the waste caused with the only “green” aspect of note being the pride in how quickly the trash will be collected and disposed of, without even a thought as to how to avoid it (at the Lavaredo Ultra, in contrast, participants *have* to bring their own bottles and there will simply be no disposable cups)… Not with me

So, it’s undecided as yet, but I will certainly focus more on the intrinsic motivation of the exploratory, active lifestyle (and its presentation here), rather than the extrinsic motivation of races to put on the calendar.

And if you are close by and want to join me, get in touch.
If you are somewhere else, get in touch with the land right at your feet, go out and explore, smell and taste it – get at home in it.