at home in... w| Gerald Zhang-Schmidt

Look Closer, Learn More, #GetAtHome In This World

Category: Austria (Page 6 of 7)

... to realize why you should step securely and not be afraid of heights...

An Outing Over the Traunstein

When All Hallows’/All Saints’ gives a longer weekend, go for a quick change of scenery – like to the Alps. With a lull in between rather worse weather, head up a mountain.

Or, of course, get outdoors wherever you are. Remember, you can even use the city to your sports adventure advantage ;)

So, this November 1, over I went to the Traunstein, over the mountain itself, and back again…

In the morning, from afar

In the morning, from afar

Schloss Ort and the Traunstein

Schloss Ort and the Traunstein

Closer still...

Closer still…

Below the mountain...

Below the mountain… where stones dropping off it can kill you…

Looking back to the other lakeside

Looking back to the other lakeside

At the foot of the Naturfreundesteig trail

At the foot of the Naturfreundesteig trail…

... which starts like this

… which starts like this

Looking back down on the road after the first minute of climbing

Looking back down on the road after the first minute of climbing

And then, moving on up...

And then, moving on up…

... and up...

… and up…

...up....

…up….

... up some more...

… up some more…

... to realize why you should step securely and not be afraid of heights...

… to realize why you should step securely and not be afraid of heights…

... and realize you have gained in altitude...

… and realize you have gained in altitude…

... and still need to move further up...

… and still need to move further up…

... and up...

… and up…

... and into snow...

… and into snow…

... climbing further...

… climbing further…

... to suddenly reach the hut that was the climb's aim.

… to suddenly reach the hut that was the climb’s aim.

And of course – like life, the economy, and everything – mountain trails can’t just climb up forever. The descent, though, can be just as exhilarating as the views gained from the climb, and maybe even more fun, giving new impetus and motivation…

Starting on down, with even more snow than here at the beginning...

Starting on down, with even more snow than here at the beginning…

... over this (Mairalm) trail's switchbacks...

… over this (Mairalm) trail’s switchbacks…

... with its rocky, gnarly, muddy track...

… with its rocky, gnarly, muddy track…

... until an end's in sight...

… until an end’s in sight…

... and back on the road home.

… and back on the road home.

TraunsteinRunde01112012

It was a long-enough way, both for the approach and on the way back.

Strange thing is, this was “only” 33 km (compared to the 75 km not quite a week before), but the power necessary for the climb and the pounding of the descent made for quite a bit more exhaustion. Today, the day after, I feel it rather more – and then again, not nearly as much as I used to.

You get used to what you do, and get deeper into inertia or impetus, towards worse or better – but more on that in a forthcoming post.

If you want to see more data, have a closer look at the map, or the like, the “move” is on Movescount. You are of course welcome to interact here, or there’s also the Facebook page for at home in….

On the run ;)

A Little Training Session – 75 km on the Vienna Circle

The Vienna Circle, as my regular readers  (if such a species exists) would know, is my first bigger step towards self-made adventures.

The usual way to get known as a runner, of course, is to simply train and train harder, participate in established races, and win them. It’s unlikely I’d ever win, though – and it would be the wrong aim.

Winning is for losers.

Don’t get me wrong.

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Vienna, Schönbrunn, Then and Now at Once

Vienna – Photos Between Time

Photography can be used to make oneself at home in a place, frame shots and look for spots, and get to see the familiar anew in the process.

Here, I took things a step further and added the dimension of time – which is not so unusual a thing, given our interest in historical photographs and illustrations – in such a way as for it to appear in the modern view…

WachauMARATHON

Race #5: The WachauMARATHON, A Lesson In Grace

This season of running events came towards a conclusion as planned, after all, with the Wachau-Marathon on September 16.

WachauMARATHON

Good thing I did, after all, go there:
For one, the time of the Schneeberg Trail run which I thought I’d do instead saw me struggle against a cold which had me decide to better not attempt it. (Hey, part of being “at home in…” definitely has to be listening to your bodily self.)
Secondly, it turned out to be a truly beautiful marathon, with pretty much all that I had hoped for – and a few other lessons.

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Race #4: The Linzer Bergmarathon, a Phenomenology of Pain

Saturday, August 25 saw me at the mountain marathon in and around Linz (Linzer Bergmarathon).

It brought to a close the mountain marathon cup in Upper Austria, the set of three mountain ultramarathons I participated in this summer – and where Paul Auster describes his memoir as working on a “phenomenology of breathing,” it seems that this could be described as a phenomenology of pain.

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Running Alpine Paths

Finding Myself on the Path to Hell…

… and the way is up, because it’s the Höllkogel (“hell peak”) I’m talking about, and it’s the path to better.

Snow in the Crags, August 1, 2012

Snow in the Crags, August 1, 2012

The backs of my hands hurt. You can see a distinct line where the shirt began, and find another color again on my palms. Sunburn.

I was dehydrated enough I partially re-filled my water bottle with some of last winter’s leftover snow to melt and drink that; with the water I brought and begged for, I easily drank a gallon in total – and needed more. What I had initially brought with me was just one liter (less than one-third of a gallon).

Ascending, my heart rate was pushing right into the red.

Repeatedly, I wondered how I ever made it up during the mountain marathon earlier this month. I thought that it would make more sense to turn around and head back. Yet, I drudged on.

Often enough, I felt weak and slow – and yet, passed all the other hikers, sometimes even running. With the backpack I was carrying.

In other words: I had a fun day.

Having recently returned from a few days in Latvia (photography from Riga, here; report still on the to-do list), successfully participated in the mountain marathon around Lake Traun, and spent almost two weeks in Italy (we’ll get to that in a following post, too), my wife and I decided to head to the Salzkammergut again.

I decided to move up the Feuerkogel and the Höllkogel again, after the trouble ascending the first during the mountain marathon, and having climbed the latter once before.

Otherwise, in the usual flat part of the country where we live, I don’t exactly get in much hill training – there simply isn’t enough of them – and these peaks are some of the first, but tallest, at the very beginning of the Alps. In other words, they are already mountains, but they can still be run up; they don’t have to be climbed.

So what?, you may be thinking now. What’s it to me?

You don’t have to care. Certainly not about the little stupidities  I made. In fact, I’d very much appreciate it if you didn’t comment about them.

There’s also, though, the lessons that make such running adventures the perfect training for life:

For a bit of adventure, you don’t have to go to far-away places. Your own backyard, often even literally, can be enough. You just need to get into the spirit; go out and explore. The alpine meadows held lots of interesting plant life, by the way, including Wolf’s Bane (aconite, which is highly poisonous) and wild oregano (which is tasty). The Almrausch was flowering, the bees were buzzing about, and the dwarf mountain pines exuded their fine wild aroma…

A bit of sun, and plants holding on

In the course of a run, there are steep ascents that make you barely able to walk on, bringing you to the point of wanting to just leave it be, robbing you of what feels like all your energy – and you may not even know why you are stupid enough to just slough on, one foot in front of the other. But you do.

And then, there’s a sweeping view that rewards you for all the effort, a descent that is easily run, bounding from stone to stone – and even on the next ascent, you now know that there’s more, and still more, energy in you.

Sweeping Vistas

Over time, not only do these experiences add up. You also look around, and you see that people of all different ages and body shapes are able to at least go for a leisurely hike here. Doing more and more, you see that the effort you’re making, as leisurely or agonizing as it may be, brings you forward.

Where only too many people decide that they don’t have the energy for anything but passive TV consumption and junk food, and get into a spiral that reduces their energy, fitness, motivation,… ever more, you do the opposite.

Go out, find paths that are hard enough you may sometimes think that walking them is hellish but that lead to ever – better fitness, greater health, more experiences and knowledge, a better character – and walk them. Or even run.

Do it well, and the pain will disappear again. What you have learnt, however, will be with you.

Running Alpine Paths

... to Ebensee...

Race #3: Around the Traunsee in the Bergmarathon 2012

Around Traunsee lake, over peaks and through valleys.

70 km distance, 4500 m altitude difference. Again.

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On the Run

The Race Really Gets Goin’… Marathon #2: Über-Drüber

Things are getting interesting.

Where the Vienna City Marathon was a classical road race with thousands of participants, close by my first home, last Thursday’s “Über-Drüber-Marathon” [site in German only] was around my second home region in Upper Austria, going up and across (hence, the name) more mountainous terrain, and having all of 37 finishers (and not many more participants, if any) in the marathon distance.

Some of the participants came from further away, but most were from these here parts, and many – if not most – probably came because they are locals or because they (like me) decided to try their running feet in this year’s Upper Austrian mountain marathon cup (Bergmarathon Cup [in German, again]), for which this is the first race.

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Wienwanderweg (Vienna hiking path) markings

Vienna Circle Ultra-Marathon – Around Vienna in a Day

Austria’s capital, Vienna, is rich in history, well known for its culture and architecture, in an interesting geographical location between the flat area of the Hungarian Plains and the Alps – and the very hiking trails surrounding the city offer great views of the diversity.

The urban and the rural, the old and the new – a circle around the city shows all of it. And, of course, it is an opportunity for a test of endurance that Vienna does not yet offer: There is the well-known Vienna City Marathon, a mass event of the usual 42.195 km in the spring, but where ultramarathons are concerned, there is little.

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