Week 26: workouts

Week 26 officially marks the halfway point of 2013.  It’s hard to believe how quickly the time passes.  New Years resolutions are long gone and have made way for promises of “someday” or “tomorrow”.  Marking the weeks with these “week in review” posts has been my way of keeping myself honest and aware of the fact that time is passing whether I choose to act or not.  It’s helped me stick to my goals and reflect on the choices I make every week regarding my health.  This week wasn’t the most productive, but considering the current situation (in Denmark with a long commute and no pool, bike, or gym) I’m still happy with the way things turned out.

On Monday morning I arrived to the office at 8:30am for the start of the second conference of my Denmark trip.  Since I had a long day of presentations to look forward to I took the day off from running.  Running in the morning can leave me a little drained during the afternoon, and listening to hours of technical presentations doesn’t help that situation.  Directly following the conference was a dinner party hosted by my advisor, so I spent the evening chatting about work and eating delicious food.  By the end of that night I realized I needed to add some slides to my presentation – it needed more background to connect with the very interdisciplinary audience.  Rather than stay up late, I decided to fix my slides in the morning after my run.

I woke at 5:20am on Tuesday to run 5k before finishing up my presentation.  This is one situation where this blog helped keep me honest – 5:20am was early considering the party the night before.  Within ten minutes of my alarm sounding, I was on the road.  I had planned to change my route, but with the early start I stuck with the familiar one.  I actually felt pretty great and ran the 5k in 27:37.  I made sure to stretch properly before showering and getting ready.  I worked on my slides during breakfast and finished a half hour before I presented at 9:15am.  Especially considering the last-minute changes, I was really happy with the way it turned out.  The rest of the day was spent at the conference and I don’t remember feeling tired at all, though adrenaline from the presentation and following discussions definitely helped keep me alert.

Wednesday was a different story.  The conference was over so I was back in the office for the usual day-to-day work, but I had a very hard time focusing.  At the time I figured it was due to the relative lack of activity (compared to the conference), but in retrospect I know it was that I was getting sick.  I was feeling dehydrated enough to have mild discomfort in my kidneys, so I forced myself to drink at least 2L of water.  I also had a strange pain on the right side of my throat (my lymph nodes, I think) and my right ear – apparently a sign of an infection.  Sure enough, by the end of the day, I could tell I was getting sick.  I went to bed planning to run a 5k the next morning, but only if I was feeling up for it.

When I woke on Thursday I felt terrible.  I didn’t hesitate to cancel my run (a sign of just how bad I felt), and I spent the day in bed.  I slept as much as I could, and I drank a lot of water.  By the end of the day I was feeling slightly better so, again, I went to sleep planning to run a 5k the next morning if I was feeling up for it.

On Friday morning I was optimistic.  I didn’t feel great, but I hated going so long between runs, so I settled on running only two miles.  I purposefully slept in late, so I didn’t get on the road until 8am.  I wasn’t feeling too bad, but at 1.8 miles I stopped for a traffic light and, out of nowhere, I became very dizzy.  I struggled to maintain my balance until the dizziness passed at which time I decided I was done.  There was no sense forcing it.  I walked the remainder of the way home.  My failed attempt at a run helped me see that I wasn’t done being sick – I spent another day at home in bed, determined to get well once and for all.  I managed to do a bit of work, but for the most part I slept.  I just couldn’t focus.  By the end of the day, though, I was beginning to feel better.

I felt bad about missing work on Thursday and Friday, so I considered working on Saturday.  In the end, though, my friends convinced me to sightsee as originally planned.  I bought a 24 hour travel pass and hopped on a train for Helsingør, the location of Kronborg Castle.  After touring the castle I hopped back on the train to visit the Louisiana Museum in Humlebæk, one of the best modern art museums in the world (so I’m told).  I was on my feet from approximately 10:30am-4:30pm and at the end of the day I was exhausted.  My legs ached.  It felt so good to sit down on the train ride home.  That night I planned out my route for the 13k long run, but I had my doubts considering the state of my legs.

Sunday morning was my long run – 13k / 8 miles.  I set off from home running south along the main road.  At mile two I reached the lakes that have running paths along their edges.  Unfortunately, I had to battle a very strong headwind for the next three miles.  If I hadn’t been so keen on seeing Fredriksberg Garden, I would have turned around early to enjoy some tailwind.  Around mile four I passed within just a few feet of a large swan’s nest and was very happy to find them all asleep.  I know better than to mess with a swan and her babies!


I was very happy to escape the wind when I finally arrived at Fredriksberg Garden.  It was absolutely beautifulThis is what it looked like where I first entered.  Within minutes I found myself lost in the middle of a peaceful forest, surrounded by other runners.  I must say: Copenhagen has some fantastic green spaces.

I spent the next mile running among the trees when I suddenly encountered a steep hill.  The city is very flat so this was a surprise.  At the top of the hill I found a little house and, to my surprise, when I rounded the corner I found elephants.  Yes, that’s right – elephants – in the middle of the park.  Well, in an enclosure in the middle of the park.  There were two babies and three adult elephants in full view less than fifty feet away.


Photo from http://www.panoramio.com/photo/9160070 (I didn’t have a camera with me)

I had no idea that Copenhagen’s zoo was within Fredriksberg Garden.  I stopped for a while to admire the elephants before I proceeded with my run.  Just around the corner I saw a large group of flamingoes and a couple Dalmatian pelicans.  Unfortunately that was all I could see from the path, but I was overjoyed to have seen these exotic animals on my run.  It was simply amazing.

With a mile to go I left the park to find the nearest metro or train station.  I had a vague idea where they were located, so I set off south.  I happened to just miss the Ny Carlsberg breweries (I had no idea they were there), but I did pass by some of their research centers.

Nearing the end of my eight miles, I found myself heading away from the busy part of town.  I briefly considered turning back, but I hadn’t had any luck finding a station so I pressed on.  At the end of my run I found myself on a long road that was very sparsely populated.  Within a minute, though, I saw the 1A bus drive by and I found a stop just around the corner.  I had six minutes to stretch before hopping on the bus that would take me directly home.  (This was very lucky!)  In total the 8 miles took 1:19:31 and I felt great at the end of it.

This week wasn’t what I had expected, but I’m still happy with the way it turned out.  Being sick away from home isn’t fun, but I’m lucky to have a good place to stay and daily contact with friends and family.  I’m a very lucky girl.