Posted by: Jack Hope | Wednesday September 26, 2012

Running Against Depression 6: Laufen in Deutschland

Country Road Outside of Filsum, Germany

Well, it’s a week late and not quite as successful as I was hoping for but here is my posting on running while in Germany. Unfortunately over the course of the trip I only managed to go running all of twice, which now puts me more than a bit behind on completing my running program.

But you know what? That’s okay.

Life gets in the way sometimes. That’s reality. All I can do is cope with it and move on. The important thing is that I don’t stop.

And I am not stopping on moving towards my goals of being able to run in next year’s Sun Run. Moving forward to my goal no matter how much life intervenes is the most important thing. And there have been some important lessons either learnt or heavily reinforced by this experience too.

Make the Time

I already know this one. Everyone already knows this one. But we still need to be reminded of it almost all the time. When something matters to you, when staking out a new habit, making the time is the most important thing we can do.

But it goes deeper than this too. Running is “me time” and “body time” where I often just shut down most of my conscious thoughts and just worry about huffing and puffing and pushing myself through another 20 metres or so. It’s an opportunity for me to listen to music and not think about anything, including what I’m going through.

It may sound odd that I feel that need for this kind of time and space but even though I am not currently working, there is still so much to fill and distract during a day, whether it’s laundry, or Doctor’s appointments, or household chores, or Twitter or my cat’s MSNBC habit. Having some time where I can shut down all of these distractions has considerable value to my mental health.

Making the time for things like this remains a critical skill that I need to continue to work on and build.

Countryside of Ost Friesland

Ask For It

My friend Angela was very gracious to host me during her wedding and to make time for me during a very busy and hectic time and I am very grateful for that. I can say that I happily got a lot more of her time than I had ever hoped for.

But there were some times during my stay when there was some sitting and waiting, while her and Frederick were attending to their various obligations. I don’t begrudge this at all, a wedding is a huge undertaking and in a place like Filsum it involves a great deal of the local community.

These however, would have been perfect opportunities for me to go for some of the runs. All I had to do was just ask to be excused for 45 minutes. No one would have objected, no one would have thought less of me and my presence wasn’t at all required. Why didn’t I? I’m not used to speaking up and asking for the things I need.

That’s something else that I need to work on and not just as a lesson for running but also a lesson for life.

Pavement Really is Different and Shoes Count

My running shoes are lousy. I’ve only been doing this for a few months and I wasn’t at all sure that this would turn out to be activity that I liked or wanted to keep doing it. So I’m using a pair of shoes that I bought for the gym ages back that hadn’t had a lot of use.

When I went to Germany I decided that since these shoes were already lousy there was no reason to burden myself with the extra weight and that I could use my comfortable Skechers walking shoes for the runs I was hoping to do.

Turns out though, that bad runners still beat out good walking shoes.

Throw in some running on pavement and it added up to some sore feet after the runs that I did. Which is a good lesson that if I do mean to run properly on vacation then I need to make sure I go properly equipped for it.

It also means that it is now time to buy some real, proper running shoes.

Farmland around Filsum, Germany

As you can see from the pictures, the area around the Village of Filsum is primarily agricultural. It’s all very close to the country’s western border with the Netherlands. As a place to visit, it was certainly relaxing and out-of-the-way. And getting out for runs in the country air was definitely enjoyable.

Ost Friesland is cattle country, albeit primarily dairy-farming rather than beef farming like here in Alberta. And the scent of cow is strongly on the air.

Filsum offers some great opportunities to enjoy that ‘me time’ and then chance to shut down the outside noise. Moreover, despite the difficulty in making sure that I got out and ran as frequently as I wanted to, I enjoyed the chances I did get to run and I want to run more during future vacations and travel opportunities.

Once again though, what stands out most for me is that old adage from Confucius: It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.

I’m not stopping and I’m going to keep going and find out where my run down this road is going to take me.

Next Up: The Complete Run Down with Pictures!



  1. What is your cat’s MSNBC habit?

    • Not once, not twice, but thrice since my return from the Bundesrepublik I have caught my cat all alone in the family room, television on (no idea how that happened) staring intently at MSNBC. It’s getting a little weird to say the least.

      • One clever kitty!

  2. Ok Jack, what’s up? I haven’t seen an online presence from you in almost a month and you haven’t responded to messages or comments since this post. Where the heck are ya?? I hope you are ok.

  3. Jack? Where the heck are you? It has been a month since your last post. Whether you like it or not, I am praying for you. Hope you are ok.

  4. K Jack, Went through the storm and am back online. I was hoping you had returned in my absence. Hope you are OK ❤

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