Around ten o'clock on Monday morning, I set off for my first run of the week. Instead of hearing the familiar whirring of the treadmill under my feet, I heard the crunch of gravel, but not just any gravel—the gravel of a vineyard road near my in-laws, vacation gravel. The first song came on the iPod—"Quality Control" by Jurassic 5—and I felt that familiar spring in my step from starting a run with music that makes me think that I can run to the horizon, a feeling that generally evaporates by track two. On my left, rows of vines led up the hill to the foot of Anninger, partially shrouded on a misty, overcast morning; to my right, the rust roofs and church steeples of neighboring towns of Niederösterreich spread out for the few miles I could see as a speedy commuter train to Vienna zipped by. It was a lot to take in, this change in scenery, but with the exception of a couple of wet dogs and their unhappy owners, I had the whole morning to myself to try. At the end of the run, I was fatigued (it's true what they say, the hills really are alive here) but as I stretched, I felt that residual electricity in my legs, the kind that powers me through the day with a renewed appetite (figuratively and literally—I eat like a horse after running).
So goes the vacation. The kids happily play with Baka and Deda (grandma and grandpa) and all their cousins until they fall over, exhausted by hours of giddiness. We dutifully attend to our schedule, which mostly consists of lots of eating and catching up with everyone we've missed. We will undoubtedly be tired when we return but it will be a good tired, the kind that we need to keep going.March 22, 2007