It’s my second week of Training and today I was supposed to walk 10km but for good measure I made 14,5 of it. But today something weird happened. I was walking along a ditch it was quite deep, narrow at some points and wider at others.
At some point I realised I couldn’t take my eyes of it and actually felt the urge and just jump across it. Not wanting to lose my speed I kept searching for the best place to do so. And I found it, I was up to my ankles in mud, looked to the other side and figured I could probably do this without falling in. I walked up and down a bit and realised I was hesitating. And there it was: “What if I fall in? My iPhone will be totally fucked!”
I stood there for about 5 minutes looking at the water and then just carried on walking. As I kept walking home I started to think what it was like when I used to be a kid. I honestly never thought about: “What would happen if ..”
I grew up in Austria, in the country side, mountains, lakes, woods, lot’s of adventure! No, I can’t ski and no I didn’t walk around in a Dirndl all day or ran down the hill singing: “The hills are alive!” Honestly, I didn’t…
Anyhow, I was out and about all the time. In summer I would leave the house at around 08:00 and return late in the afternoon. I would play Cowboys and Indians (I was a Cowboy) , The three Musketeers (yes I was d’Artagnan a lot) , raced through the woods, jumped from heights which now make my knees jerk (I am afraid of heights now) rolled in mud and just did what I thought was fun.
I remember one day, in a field close by, some builders arranged huge mud mountains, obviously it didn’t take long for us kids to climb up and down them, at some point someone grabbed a stick and we started to jumping from one to the next. How long did it take for me to fall into the muddy water? About 30 seconds. I was covered in mud from top to toe, and just carried on jumping around. When I came home my mum was, … hmm ‘pissed off’ is probably softly spoken. I looked like a pig that had rolled in mud all day. Cleaning me up took ages, especially with my long hair. So she yelled at me, I looked at her like a kitten; she forgave me and the next day? I ran to the mud mountains and did the same thing again.
Or the day when I really wanted to eat a melon, and all we had was a whole melon. My father was a butcher and we had a butcher’s shop, so it took only about 5 seconds to realise.. “Oh if I go into the shop and grab the meat cleaver I can slice the melon in half!” So that’s what I did. I put the melon in the middle of the big wooden table where my mum used to chop meat, grabbed the meat cleaver with both hands … I thought if I reach back quickly and smash it down hard it would cut through it in one slice. But what happened: I lifted the cleaver hard and quick and hit myself hard on the forehead (luckily with the non-sharp end of the meat cleaver). The meat cleaver fell to the ground and I actually saw stars for a moment and developed a big huge blue and black bump on my forehead. My mother was furious; I was about 12 years old (don’t give me now how irresponsible my parents where, they weren’t, I was stupid).
And then there was the day I was out and about with my mate, we stood in a field with two horses. All of a sudden those two horses started galloping and then they started galloping towards us. I swear I peed into my pants. I honestly thought they wanted to kill us. So my friend and I started to run for our lives (we were kids aye). We ran towards a barbwire fence, I used to be quite a chubby kid and I remember thinking “You just jump like they do on TV, when they do the sprint hurdle run.” The fence was around 120 cm high and the closer I came I just thought “Jump Jump Jump” and so I did..My legs went into a perfect split and then my jeans caught the barbwire and I went face down on the other side with my leg hanging in the barbwire. My friend was laughing with tears and I was just happy ..because: I nearly made it!!
Naturally if we meet again on the rare occasions that I am home and we talk about that day, we both cry with laughter.
Or Krampus time in Austria (helper to St. Nicolaus), it’s a fun time. Young guys dressed like the devil run behind you to beat the shit out of you with a “Rute”. A ”Rute” is made weeks beforehand, you take the branches of a birch and put it in soap water to soak. The longer you do that, the more they hurt when you are hit (naturally I was a Krampus myself when I was a kid). But 2 weeks before 6th Dec (the day when the adults dress up as Krampus) you have youngsters roaming the village from around 5pm. Their targets anybody who walks around (usually not adults but younger children, like me at that time). So you had the Krampus and you had the Krampus chasers. Every evening I would get dressed, a legging, pyjama bottoms and jeans, two jumpers and a longish coat, plus shoes which allow you to run fast (not to slip on the snow) and so I would meet up with the usual gang of to the Chasers. What would we do? Tease the Krampuses until they would come running after us! It wouldn’t take long for them to do that, but oh boy once they did..you better be quick and find a place to hide.
I remember lobbing myself across garden fences, hiding anywhere I could, 6 or more of us would be hiding in a doghouse being so full of adrenalin and pure fear (seriously, it hurts if they catch up with you). I ran around the village for 2 or more hours. Sometimes we would make them so angry that they organised themselves and they tried to corner you, catch you - anything - and we would run, run run run like the wind. Most of the time with fear but often also laughing hysterically. When I used to come home, with red cheeks and big eyes, my mum would patiently listen to my heroic stories. It was awesome. When I was older, I only attended the big run on the 6th of December, they boys in town would have their targets, sometimes I would be one and I was still as scared as I was when I was 10 years old. Even now when I go back home during this time, I know I get nervous. Oh my sister, who is now 51, still locks herself up in the toilet on the 6th December, because she is even a bigger wuss than I am. So I said it.
So these are the moments I was thinking of today as I was walking back. It really started to bug me, I didn’t jump because of my freakin’ iPhone – or because I could have been soaked and then had to walk home. So I decided, in my coming 740km training walks, I will just do what comes up in my head and not be such a grown up wuss anymore. Because for a moment I was a kid again today and then I messed it up by being too worried what could happen, and I don’t want that actually. It is good to be a kid again from time to time, the grown up world catches up with you soon enough.
To the grown up kids of this world!
(Is this the first post you read and you wonder why I am walking and training? Youyou want to make a donation for alzheimer ? Check here )