A running update and two confessions: I run because I like cookies and don't want to think for a while.

Markus Eisele
Another not so technical blog from me. If you want to get the latest, hottest and most interesting stuff around Java, Kubernetes, Modernization and things that move me on the technology side of things, find me on the bird side, Mastodon, LinkedIn or even Bluesky. 

 I haven't written a blog post in a while (again) and still, I'm trying to get better at regularly reflecting on things around me.  This blog somewhat is a continuation of my earlier thoughts around health, nutrition and how to find a path back into a healthy balance between responsibilities, goals, and health. My running journey now lasts a little longer than 6 months. It still feels very unreal to me, that I am actually capable of running 10km and more without getting out of breath. But I am. When I get asked, why I started and what I enjoy, I usually reply: I like cookies. And I do enjoy not having to think for a while. What looks like a joyful or sarcastic answer isn't. Let' me try to explain:

I am running because I like cookies

While medical issues were the original reason to lose weight and start exercising, running somewhat sneaked into my routine. What started with Apple Fitness and regular 30-45 minute walks around (like literally around) my hometown helped me to get to a point where it wasn't putting enough physical load onto my cardio-vascular system to even break a sweat. I could only walk that fast and wasn't really getting my heartbeat up anymore. But having written about my simplified picture of calorie intake vs. burn rate, I had to find a solution to this. That is where running came in. Because I simply wasn't ready to let go of my beloved cookies. And burning around 600 active kcal / day gives me that flexibility together with the rest of my diet. Some stats: On average I burn between 15k and 20k kcal per month with workouts. Roughly averaging around an hour a day of effort. I do not really do cheat days though. Which means, to protect my joints and body in general I switch between running days and walking days. To make up for the load difference, I tend to walk between 1 1/2 and 2 hours or at least a minimum of 10k steps per workout. This combination right now comes in at a total of almost 250km walking and running per month. Sounds impressive? It's the consistency that makes it look impressive. Think about how easy it is to spend an hour a day on anything. I just workout. And always remember, that I didn't start at the top. The stamina to do this was build up over at least 1 1/2 to 2 years. What is equally important to me is the routine. And the many friends I made on the way supporting me with cheers for my workouts. I have some very special friends sharing their workouts via Apple Fitness (thank you two! You know who you are!) but I am also on Strava for those of you in need of some extra cheers and motivation, I'll have it ready when you need it! Follow me and let's connect

This part of the answer is actually true. I like to eat and I can not risk gaining weight again BUT I also want to eat cookies. Hence, I am keeping my original balance of intake vs. calorie burn in tact with running. Do not get me wrong. I am not advertising sugar or simple carbohydrates and I am also not trying to sell you cookies as a solution to anything except my personal cravings at this point. If you can do without and still are happy, please do. I can't :) 

I am running because I like to not think for a while.

But enough about numbers. The other reason I like running is that I do not have to think. Despite the fact, that I am doing it comparably regularly, I am still a new runner. Most people I know run for pretty much their whole adult life and I was a darn late starter on this adventure. This directly results in much slower times and higher training loads compared to experienced runners. Or in other words: I have to be mentally present to finish a run. I can not just go out and assume I will get it done and let my thoughts wander off to nice places. I have to keep a certain focus (at least after some kilometers into the run). While my legs know exactly what they are supposed to do by now, this little guy on my shoulder keeps trying to convince me that nobody is chasing me and we ran enough by now and it would be time to stop this madness and just continue walking back home so we can go and eat some delicious cookies. This nemesis is the voice I am having very little conversations with. I am trying to stay deeply focused on my overall system status (joints, heart rate zones, sweat dropping in my eyes) while keeping eyesight onto the distant finish. All this includes a nice side effect: My brain is busy. Like in: I can not mull over future things or follow my fears or general unhandled problems in my life. This hour is dedicated to not only clearing my blood vessels and getting my heart pumping, it is also brain silence. And yes, I am technically still thinking but not about the things that make me worry or unhappy. I am happily busy and am able to let my subconscious do whatever it has to do. 

The second part of the answer is also true. I do not worry that much anymore. And while my long and slow runs tend to be below 140 heart beats per minute (supposedly Z2 for me) I am relaxed enough and not really work out from them at all. Giving me an opportunity to take on the workday with a refreshed brain. 

I am trying to jot down some more thoughts on running and my journey over the next weeks and months. Let me know if you want more of it. Remember, technical content will mostly be on my social media. Information half-life has become a lot shorter and I do not think it's worthwhile in my current situation to add a lot more blogging to it. I'd rather amplify what I do on other platforms (namely developers.redhat.com) and what others do on their platforms. Maybe I find the time to give this blog a new look and feel. Maybe.

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