8:33 PM Dear running, dear Africa. Today is a special running dedicated post! I always love to sum up how my training or recovery goes — simple stuff. Updating you or any running interested person, but this also feels like a diary!

It's always good to write down success or down moments to remember how far you have come!

Write down your favorite moments and highlight them in your favorite color to always smile about those.
Today's post is the most special #dearrunning post yet. In the moment, I feel powerful, strong, and excited! The last days of the #dearrunning challenge are happening and I just returned from Africa! With creating this current challenge, I definitely noticed that running challenges are the ones which are the most fun to me (tell me how you feel about it).

As a runner, this is something I love doing and it's nothing new. I am able to work on my performance and I can focus on strength, posture, and miles, which I hate doing here and then. Also running during winter time is the best! This challenge is really the perfect beginning of a fresh year – make this unsexy season your sexy season! Remember spring and summer are here soon ~

I noticed that some days of my challenge were making me tired, because I wasn't used anymore to work out every day. I was looking forward when Friday was on its way and I could rest a little bit! My tiredness was gone fast when I took some special time off to treat my body a little bit.

Remember to always listen to your body.

Ginger and cinnamon oil, massages, foam rolling, massive stretching, meditation. Damn, yoga helped me tremendously (2 years ago I refused to hit the mat to do yoga). I really enjoyed this me time so much that running the next day felt too easy. I continued working on my breathing – the perfect rhythm comes and goes... any tips from pro runners??

I felt good and excited. Ready for Africa!!
My first trip to Africa was on and half of my suitcase was packed with running, hiking, and swimming stuff. I wanted to be as much active as possible. Escaping from winter was a delicate idea, heading back to a comfortable climate where I can finally wear running shorts again, haha.
Now my first day in Africa was wild. The bar said 23°C and I was afraid that we missed summer already, since 23°C in Germany is a mild and smooth warm day, no African vibes. Super wrong!! The air was hot and it dried your mouth out! The streets are hot and with all this light, you have to take care of the sun! Even when you think a cooler breeze later might save you, don't underestimate it.

I started doing my stretching and warming up sessions in my hotel room, but I didn't feel ready yet to move outside! I was still calm — at least I keep myself moving! Cape Town felt a bit chaotic first and I wasn't sure if I find a smooth running route where I could test myself. Every day I warmed up and prepared myself, just in case... I am ready.
One thing which was driving me nuts until the end of my trip was the weather. As soon as I left the house, I was completely wet. I am sweating super fast, but it was funny that my head kept cool and I never felt dizzy or any aches.

On my third day I finally found a route which was honestly my dream route to run — the Waterfront/ Sea Point starting at Victoria Wharf. They got great running routes starting small from 2,5k or 5k, exactly what I wanted/ needed. Unfortunately, I was a bit off with my #dearrunning challenge, but each day I was walking through Cape Town so much, it was fine to me — just like I said keeping moving is important! If you follow me on Instagram you might remember my story when I asked you if I should go running... it was the holy chosen day where I finally wanted to fight against Cape Town's crazy climate, altitude, and conquer this beautiful running path! It was raining!! The whole sky was grey and I was standing fully dressed in front of my window making the saddest faces. You, my community, said no, I shouldn't go! I discussed a bit with myself and finally realized that cold rain might be the best blessing I could have for not struggling with the heat! I went outside and no lie, the rain was gone...
I walked down Loop Street and I looked for puddles, any proof that it really just rained 5 minutes ago! This is insane. The air got super warm and steady again. I looked up and the sky was blue. Ohhh boy. At the Waterfront,  my starting point, I looked down to my feet, trying to send them blessings and good vibes before I start. I took a deep breath. Look at this beautiful ocean....This was something I looked forward to the most: running next to the ocean and get lost in this deep blue and turquoise beauty. I took another deep breath. I turned around and no one was there. Maybe some other runners? No. I decided to run up the hill first, pain before pleasure. Let's go! It was around 1pm, I wore my long tights, a tanktop, and a hat - protection comes first. I felt like I was melting in my running uniform. Nevertheless, I continued cheering myself. This goddamn heat is killing me.
I'm tired.

Wow. I felt my eyes burning.
My body was sending me the weirdest signals to tell me to stop.
I didn't want to.
Inside my head, I was having the party of my life: celebrating every step, being happy about the fact that I finally hit the running paths in Cape Town — it took me too long to get there to stop. I wanted to cry, because my performance was so bad and I feel embarassed. Ugh, and in the next second I stopped.
I gave up.
I couldn't run.
I just couldn't. I tried to move my feet and feel the ground – getting one. I failed.
In my head I just wanted to have a smooth run with no pain and a lot of fun! I wanted to conquer the streets — and conquering sometimes means that you might lose a battle here and then!
I didn't give up just like that.
I decided to speed walk a little bit and try some intervalls here and then, sprint, slow down and get faster again. This was the perfect workout in this moment! Deep inside, when I practiced this freestyle routine, I felt heartbroken and sad, because I couldn't believe that I wasn't able to run - something I enjoy so much.

I looked down at my dirty Nikes. Was it the shoe? I don't have a lot of experience with the my latest pair. I remember last summer when I ran during 36°C and I was so happy to have finally won the battle to train during the hot season. With this experience, I thought Africa would be easy! I guess I was wrong.

Damn, Africa, you are pretty tough!

I thought about this girl that I met on the plane and she told me that if I really want to run, I should do this in the early morning hours, like really early! I was laughing because I thought she was joking. Now everything was making sense to me. She was right.

Man, this run was a crazy experience, but like I said in the beginning, experiences are here to learn something new. Creating memories or special moments you will never forget. Yes, I hate how bad this run was, but I appreciated my body and the surrounding a lot!
Running next to the ocean was all I wanted - my biggest dream to be honest.
Right now, while I'm writing this, I feel happy that my body works so well with me. I am surprised how much I learn about my body each day and it's even better that I start caring about it so much. Earlier, I would have ignored pain or such - injuries here I come. Now I try to stop when I feel pain or an uncomfortable feeling. Self-care is highly needed - every day!

Cape Town, your hills and weird weather really killed me at a certain point, but experiencing you was a true blessing. Sometimes you didn't let me breathe, then you stopped me, but you never let me give up my dream. You kinda kicked my butt and I'm very thankful for your pure and honest attitude.

Cheers to more worldwide running, because running is not just running.