Thursday, October 31

Arapiles - trip 3!

Day one started out being very very cccccold.

For our first route, we decided on an easy, loong multi pitch route. As the total noob that I am, I carry everything with me:

I reckon this gear weighs about 10 kg (ok, maybe 5). Still, the advantage of leading means that on has a lot of photos of oneself while climbing, some of them accidentally cool.

One also keeps bumping ones head on the rocks, hence the ever always slanted helmet.

We got to the top of tip toe ridge and were met by beautiful views and flowers. Life is better with both.

We also met an echidna, Marian's first and my third!! Echidnas for president!!

Our next route was a more difficult 10, called Xena, which, as the name suggests, is a bit burly. Not a problem though, although to be fair the sight of the rock face is kinda intimidating:

After this we rewarded ourselves with steaks in hippie Natimuk.

We only had time for one route the next day, and this was Eagle's cleft, which, as the name suggests, is kinda airy and a bit runout. I was scared SHITLESS. This May or may not have been because Marian decided to make a super super strong coffee that morning... Anyway, no more coffee before lead climbing for me: to be fair, our last Thai adventures were suggesting this as well: my old heart cannot take both the climbing and the caffeine, sigh.

We got to the top of Eagle's cleft in four hours or so and had an adventurous retreat: you have to down climb through a cave, squeeze through a tiny hole in the wall and then downclimb a via feratta (
and then solo down a wall (beginners MUST rapel)

Thursday, October 24

Everybody, STOP!


Curtesy of Ionuca (she's blogging about the most awesome coolness of having a climber boyfriend/girlfriend, but all I could think of was OMG the rope!!!). Behold the BEST ROPE IN THE WORLD. I will not stop till I has it!!! (hint hint wink wink: i'm turning 32 next year goddammit!!!)

Roca Rainbow, 9.9 mm, 70m. Lurve it! D., it will probably drive you insane. Dodo, you will loves it I thinks!

Wednesday, October 23

Realization. Part 248

If you change your workout weights, effectively tripling the total weight, you WILL BE SORE the next day and you will not be able to climb. Duh.

Tuesday, October 22

One picture Tuesday

If one knows that there are better things out there than one is currently experiencing, why is one still enduring the nastiness? And this "nastiness" can be anything from bad relationships to  terrible phone coverage (I'm looking at you, Vodafone!) to bad jobs that make one unhappy, to having cats instead of dogs (not my problem). Hm ...

Monday, October 21

I love my iPhone

Wednesday, October 16


Different activities, different playlists.
  • Talking to students and doing lecture-y stuff: James Blunt - Bonfire Heart or Adele - Don't you remember or Starsailor - Some of us -- regardless, each and everyone of them on repeat on and on and on and on and on

  • Just before lecture on a Monday, 9am: ACDC - Thunderstruck

  • Research activities: no music or Beethoven

  • Writing grant applications: Rammstein - Du Hast on repeat because HELL YEAH

Tuesday, October 15

One picture Tuesday

My research group has a 3D printer! Soo psyched!!

Monday, October 14


Some things that I learned yesterday are:

  • one CAN run a half-marathon even if one has not trained specifically for it, if and only if a) one has previous experiences with marathons etc.; and b) one is fit-ish otherwise (for very specialized definitions of fit that is)
  • when one has ran loong distances before (I'm talking beyond 42 km, and yes, even though 45 km is only three km longer than 42, those three km are actually three eternities ONE AFTER THE OTHER), one finds 21 km to be very very short (see below)
  • motherfucking unicorns do not usually roam the half marathon paths (see below)
  • to run a half-marathon quickly and to ensure the safety of one's ankles might be two competing issues. I chose the ankle.
So yes. I ran a sloow 2:05 and loved it entirely, despite the thunderstorm and being shown, for 21km and two hours after that, that I am not as fast as I used to be (and I used to be very slow). I sucked it up, ran and made the best of it, and totally and completely loved it.

You see, somebody, a while ago, asked me if I noticed that women runners where slower than male runners. Of course, I could have answered quoting various female runners but instead I saw red and


One ankle injury and an overall meh running period (no running partner) later and it was no longer on, but I decided to run the half anyway with the general aim of beating said person by any means possible. Of course, I lost, by 10 minutes or so. Nevertheless, I'm very happy that I did not push said person off the track when I saw, at a u-turn point, that he was about 8 minutes in front of me. Nor did I pretend that I needed help or play the damsel in distress and then just cross the finish line first. 

I did however attempt to chase. And this, friends, is the point when actually training for these things makes a difference. I attempted to chase but my legs wouldn't, despite me feeling awesome then (at 15km). I did not listen to my legs but when I nearly fainted I had to stop, walk for a bit, and talk some sense into me. I did not find any unicorns in the path so had to suck it up and cross the finish line sort of running must mostly shuffling, not because my legs were killing me but because my pride was hurt. Ah well. 

Nevertheless, 21km is still a short distance. The weather and the overall scenery must have made a difference, because I found myself telling myself: "WHA! 7 km gone and ONLY 14 left! This is a breeze!" It's a good thing to tell yourself this considering the situation. And yes, don't run halfs without training. It's just stupid.

Saturday, October 12

The Universes are Conspiring

A while ago, I registered for a half marathon. I registered to prove a stupid point but also to get my ass off not running and start running again. Mostly the latter. Herein lies the problem.

I haven't been running half marathon distances ever since I injured my ankle in Montreal in ..., you got it, May. Godammit motherfucker shit monkey dishwasher gaaah.  Anyway. So not running long distances. I haven't actually become a couch potato of course, but did not run beyond 15 km for the Sea to Summit, and the 8ks every week for the Corporate Cup. My ankle is sort of ok now but not ok enough to get rid of the ankle guard.

For this week, I have been trying to get back into running to prepare me for the disaster that will be tomorrow's run. Because unless I meet a motherfucking unicorn on the trail, I will be lucky if a) I finish and b) (my sekrit hope) finish in a decent time (for various values of "decent" depending on the actual distance between my ambitions and reality).

And so, I tried running more. But could I? Of course not. I ran a total of 11km. The first time I ran 8 km at a decent pace. The next time I proceeded to run 5 km as fast as I could. I maintained sub 5 min/km for the first two km and then nearly collapsed for the third, so I only ran 3km. Because one trains speed when one does not even have proper endurance. Gah. I'm stupid. I couldn't run after that because jet lag got in the way and I spent every waking moment either being very very grumpy or thinking about sleep. Or being very very grumpy while thinking about sleep.

So today I was planning to run to school and get some work done here at work. However, the above got me to sleep for about 12 hours (I feel better now, who would have thought?!) and so I decided that I will come to school and run here. And then.  I. forgot. my. shoes. at. home.

I will grant that it is probably stupid to run today and run tomorrow, but still. I wanted to prepare!!! AAArgh. Tomorrow, I die.

Friday, October 11

Another day, another trek

This time around, it was Faja del Pelay. This was the first trek I selected for our hiking holiday, thinking that it would be good to ease into it rather than ATTAAAAACK the hills at full blast. I was right (I hope) but Marian thought the hike was boring. Behold the boring!!

It started off pretty schweet with some very delicious steaks blocking our path. Deliciously cute that is:

The sunlight refracting through the canopy made for some pretty shots, of which I took many many (but not as many as my geese - more on this later). If I could have a house right in the middle of this clearing (a tent would do), my life would be perfect!

This would be the view from my window/tent flap:

And she would drop in for coffee each morning:

The trek goes up pretty steeply for about an hour and a half or 600m. No pictures here as we were all busy donating our lungs to charity (man, i need to train...).

And then we reached a viewpoint (mirador in spanish), and were busy dropping our jaws for a while.

The view of the valley and the opposite range (we would go on it the next day btw) was stupendous!!

After this the trek proceeds on a flat path all the way to the beginning of the valley.

 Nothing special here and you might say it's kinda boring, if not for the fantastically awesome HAVE YOU SEEN THIS! view on the other side.

To be honest, I did not realize the potential of the place until we met the raspberries (boy what a distorted hand I have). These were nommed thoroughly (especially since by now I think I had met Humpty and Dumpty and had adopted them, ergo, I was slower, if that was even possible). I sampled every bush I found and I can confirm all were delicious.

Of course, the valley was still boring. NOT:

We knew it was still summer:
The place must look fantastic in the spring though ...

Some of us stopped to boulder, while others were carrying Humpty and Dumpty and could not be bothered.

There were some clouds at some point, just to add a bit of adrenaline, but otherwise we were strolling along the path:

In anticipation of the next day, we peered over some steepnessness - oh boy little did we know:

Our destination is the valley's end, aaall the way down there: 

CHECK.OUT.THE.SKY. No edits were done on this (or any I think) picture.

The waterfall was a bit meh, but still the water was very very cold, and it was very nice just to hang around.

The trek back to the carpark goes through the valley floor. It is paved (PAVED!) in some parts, so completely accessible to everybody (once they have hiked the 200m or so uphill that is)

The little waterfalls down the river are much nicer than the big one.

All in all, a beautiful 8 hour return trek that allows one to see a very beautiful valley without feeling that they will die. Boring? Hell no.

Tuesday, October 8

One picture Tuesday

And I'm back!! I need another holiday to get over the jet-lag and the past two days of work. Zzz. Some time to stare at the bubbles, run around chasing sticks and do other (gentleman-y) dog behaviors.

Wednesday, October 2

One picture tuesday

Probably the best edelweiss picture of the trip: