All in for science: 4 weeks on a keto diet

There’s this joke about vegans: „How do you know someone is a vegan?“ – „Coz they tell you!“ There aren’t any jokes about people on keto yet. Their life is pretty tough already.

Jokes aside. I joined a study from the faculty of psychology and physical performance institute of the University of Hamburg. This study aimed at two things – so I was told:
1: to examine the effects of a ketogenic diet among ambitious runners (non-pros, just „normal“ people), who basically don’t follow a strict diet/calorie intake.
2: to find out how a ketogenic diet would effect the runners‘ cognitive capabilities.

Why did I join? Good question…I found myself asking myself that not only once over the course of the 4 weeks. But then I always remembered that I have been a bit lazy due to some issues with my foot and hamstrings earlier this year, my food-training-balance was very off and last but not least I felt the study would be a great way to get back into some kind of routine and better food awareness. Plus, I enjoy testing out new stuff, supporting science, learning something new about all the scientific part of running, eating and rethinking my old and new habits. So I was all in for this keto experiment.

In all honesty though, I really had no clue, what I would get myself into. I knew very very VERY little about the ketogenic diet and how I could fuel for my endurance training. And even the information I got from the scientists before I started my four weeks as well as my online research wouldn’t be sufficient as to prepare me for the actual experience – the actual suffering (spoiler alert).

All I knew was:

  • you eat very little carbs
  • you eat a lot of fat

A few months ago, when I traveled around Jamaica I met a chic from California who was doing this keto thing. It was the first time I had actually heard about the ketogenic diet. My new friend loved it and enjoyed that she could eat all the meats of the world for any meal. Great for her, I thought. It just won’t work for me: No meat since 2001. Plus, I just love some cake or ice cream now and then.

So when I heard about the study I was skeptical, obviously. Was it doable on a vegetarian diet? How would it be just plant-based (=vegan)? I was considering doing it vegan, after having gone back to vegetarian last year in June, but with the limitations of certain ingredients and the probability of consuming too many proteins, which the liver can transform into sugar at some level which then would contradict the effects of keto, I eventually committed to the vegetarian version, which would allow me to consume eggs and dairy products, like cheese for some more fatty variation.

Before I dive into my personal experience with my ups and downs over the course of 4 weeks including some challenges due to a business trip, a spontaneous half marathon plus the results after the experiment and overall conclusion, here are the parameters of the study:

  • duration: 4 weeks
  • ø share of main nutrients per day: 10% carbohydrates, 20% protein, 70% fat
  • max 50g carbohydrates per day (no „regular“ carbs like potato, rice, pasta, bread – basically no grains allowed)
  • no (!) sugar (and nothing that contains sugar, e.g. jam, juice, junk food, even most fruits…)
  • weekly running: minimum 20-30km
  • weekly urinal test to check ketogenic status
  • ideally tracking of daily food & drink consumption in order to control share of core nutrients (I used the app „Life Sum“)
  • Overall: all participants of the study had to be in good physical shape & healthy,
  • Before: 2 pre-running tests (1x blood lactate testing on treadmill, 1x 45 minutes low impact run on treadmill) and 1 cognitive test (took place before the low impact run) as well as body composition check (weight, height, BMI, body fat)
  • Last day of keto: 1 running test (1×45 minutes low impact run on treadmill) and 1 cognitive test (again before the low impact run) as well as body composition check (weight, height, BMI, body fat)

Sounds like fun, right?

Right.

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Keto urinal stripes to check at least once a week. The more purple it is (third row from the top) the better.

###Here we go###

Week 1
Am I already in a bad mood because of the lack of sugar or am I just fantasizing too much? I already sensitized my closest co-workers that I would cut out all sugars and snacks soon in the hopes they wouldn’t bother offering me anything or just quit asking why I wouldn’t at least try a bite of some homemade cake.

Am I feeling more tired because of the lack of carbs or am I actually even more energized because I sleep better? I certainly fall asleep early and wake up easily with a ready to get started mood – EVERY SINGLE DAY. It’s not that bad actually.

Food shopping takes longer. I can’t automatically browse through the fruit and veggie section and put stuff in my cart – nope. I have to evaluate everything for keto compatibility. And Sunday evening becomes my meal prep time. I like it though coz I get to try out new recipes, spend quality time in the kitchen and really enjoy the process of cooking.

By the way, cooking takes longer, too. I weigh everything. I mean EVERYTHING. I write down all the grams per ingredients on post its and also weigh the final portion that I eat or take with me in my lunch box. Because I also track EVERYTHING. The app „life sum“ very quickly becomes my most used app on my phone – I probably open it more times a day than I check Instagram. The app helps to document the daily intake of carbs, proteins and fat, and hence it helps to stay on the keto path.

Training feels weird. I’m unsure if it’s because of the keto thing or because I’m just slowly starting to train again more seriously. My muscles seem overwhelmed.

Week 2
Going super low carb isn’t actually the hardest part. 50g of carbs per day is doable most of the time – cutting out all sugary ingredients turns out to be the key. I’m starting to miss a sweet snack now and then way less often and I’m fine nibbling on cucumbers or nuts if  I can’t curb my appetite.

Meal prep is still fun and I don’t eat the same every day. Then I learn that I need to do a business trip for one and a half days. My head starts to spin and I feel I’m letting myself and the science project team down: „This is impossible“, is what I’m worried about. What makes this whole trip so difficult – at least from my perspective – is the fact that I’m meeting a client for the first time. I don’t want to make it about me and my personal food dilemma that I got myself into – voluntarily. It’s a god damn business trip to make business and support the client in using our product the best way possible. So, there I am in my self chosen dilemma. Life is tough. I know.

Fast forward two days later: I survived. Not only did I get to meet a new client who’s actually quite nice, but I managed this whole encounter on a keto diet without having to tell anyone and making a big fuss out of it (writing all of this seems a bit ironic now). How did I survive/manage? Well meal prep again was key: I packed some homemade keto bread, hard boiled eggs, lots of nuts, and cucumber to snack on the train ride and to have some in case lunch and dinner would turn out disastrous. But neither did. Lunch was fine with a salad from the bistro and dinner was even more fine because we went to a tapas place. I couldn’t have asked for more oil on any of my veggie tapas.

I’m also able to go for a short morning run and the low temperatures make me go slightly faster. It feels doable, but somewhat challenging, probably because it’s so early….at least that’s what I’m telling myself.

Week 3
By now weighing my meals has become a habit, tracking is the most normal thing in the world. Planning and preparing my food for days at the office including snacks that I might need also before training (whether it is running, swimming or strength stuff in the gym) is part of my normal routine, now. Just like brushing my teeth before going to bed.

I’m somehow adjusting to the feeling in my legs and I’m finally able to go for „longer“ runs again of 15km. I also realize that a run without any stops is lot more enjoyable and pleasant for my legs. During week one and two they felt so heavy and every run felt like I was stuck in someone else’s body.

Week 4
Only few more days to go, is what keeps me going and to not cheat, even though I will  run the half marathon in Berlin rather spontaneously – 5 days before my last keto day. Now, I won’t go for a PB, because I haven’t trained for it. But joining my crew and the BTG crews for a running weekend basically anywhere in the world means: lots of confetti, lots of beer, lots of fun.

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Keto breakfast before Berlin Halfmarathon. 1 Avocado, 1 hard boiled egg and some blue berries.

To my surprise, the run is going quite well. It’s an easy pace for me, I could got a bit faster, but I’m staying with my friends. The gel I packed to use in case I might feel I really really need extra energy stays unopened. All I really need throughout the entire run is: lots of water and my brain to shut up. My legs and lungs just feel alright.

Just like with racing, this keto experiment turns out to be very similar: when you’re so close to the finish line, quitting seems just stupid. So I’m staying strong.

And then the final day has come. I’ve pictured myself stopping at a bakery after the final tests and buying a big loaf of bread – with a crunchy crust and a soft middle. How I would spread butter on it, a pinch of salt and pepper. Then I would also eat an apple. And maybe dip it in peanut butter. That is all I wanted, so I thought. No fancy Ben & Jerries yet, not a bag of chips or gummy bears. Just a simple slice of bread – or two, or three…or how many my stomach would allow.

IMG_20190411_194302Before that, however, I still have to endure the final tests. The cognitive test is actually quite fun again. But I dread running on a treadmill. It’s close to a punishment for me. I get why people say they hate running – if it’s on a treadmill, I feel you. Always go outside and breathe fresh air, feel the street and natural surfaces below your feet. Be one with nature. To my surprise, the 45 minutes are going by a lot easier than the first time. I manage to distract myself by thinking about work, this blog post and my first non-keto-food. Every 10-15 minutes, a blood sample is retrieved to measure my lactate. And then… it’s over. I’m a bit sweaty. Most of all: I successfully completed 4 weeks of keto. In a blink of an eye it’s all passé. I can’t help but actually smile a bit, when I exit the faculty and walk towards my bike.

###The End###

My first non-keto-meal however was not as romantic as I had pictured it. As it was after 9pm when I finally got to shop some food, there was no chance of getting some fresh bread from the bakery. But I was happy with what I got and went straight to eating once I got home. No picture/video documentation available for a reason 😉

Conclusion and the question of questions: Would I do it again?
The four weeks have shown me that a sugar free diet does a lot of good things not only in terms of numbers for your BMI (-2%), weight (-3,5kg), body fat (-4%), and heart rate (slightly lower compared to the pre-study test during the 45 minute treadmill run). I slept a whole lot better, I did not feel like needing a nap every afternoon, instead I was able to power through with my work until end of business day. I am truly convinced this side effect was caused by the (drastic) shortage and eventual abandonment of sugar and not in fact for the increased consumption of fat. 

Eating so much fatty foods was a challenge – especially after training. Eating a piece of cheese really doesn’t do anything for me after a training session. All meals tasted good though, obviously as fat carries flavor. I missed my regular protein shakes as a quick snack after a run, I also missed a simple apple, and I also missed the energy in my legs for the most part of the month when running. The amount of cheese, avocado and egg I consumed over the course of 4 weeks really bothered me. A lot of times I questioned the keto diet from an ecological perspective. But maybe that’s something to discuss separately.

I’m surprised though that I was able to train after all – maybe not as hard as I would have wanted to, but I still had energy. The first runs after having gone back to rather normal eating, almost felt like flying. No one needs to worry that I might break any major world records in any endurance sport now that I finally eat pasta again. I might still have a hard time getting to my 2018 level, but I certainly can see and feel the effects of a balanced amount of carbs every day that is slightly higher than 50 Grams and is still balanced. There you have it: Balance really is the magic word!

For me personally the keto diet is not my preferred choice of eating identity. I’d rather cut down the sugar then overdose on (healthy) fats.

 

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20 minutes self-motivation

You may not need 20 minutes – just the right mind set to put everything into perspective.

I have this „anti-talent“ of negativity, where I put myself down, and drown in self-pity. Challenge me in complaining and you’ll have a hard time keeping up. I wonder to what extend this is part of my German identity, as we are known for being very critical. You wouldn’t know about my so-called „anti-talent“ if you believed I’m this always smiling, #nevernotrunning sports enthusiast collecting one finisher medal after another, sharing kudos and throwing confetti around the endurance sports community.

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I’m not proud of this talent. Not at all. At the same time, it’s there. It’s still part of me.

It bothers me and oftentimes keeps me from doing things. It keeps me from meeting people. It keeps me from being a better friend and making the next career move.

Gladly, I am gradually learning to acknowledge my behavior and finding ways to deal with it and even more, actually finding ways out of those dark moments. This learning process isn’t easy, but every time I have an epiphany I’m learning to be proud after all.

One example – and I’ve thought back and forth about sharing it. But here we go:

I sometimes feel extremely unworthy of my running skills, especially when I start to compare myself with others. Running a marathon used to be something fun – I never took it too seriously. Overall though, running and being active felt good and made me feel better about myself. When I made new friends and new connections in the runner’s community this changed. Everyone seemed so much butter – some were for a fact undeniably faster! Running a marathon soon became a very frustrating topic for me and last year I told myself that I would never run a marathon again. You may think: why run a marathon in the first place? True – but maybe you have something in your life that makes you think and feel somewhat similarly. So, Dublin marathon in 2017 was my seventh and last 42k race. I did my first in April 2013, in Hamburg. Back then, I was happy when I finished and proud I did it. I learnt to be satisfied with my finishing time though I had hoped to run faster. I still wish that at some point I had been able to run this distance a lot faster and I’ve even developed a terrible jealousy of everyone who is able to run their first and every further marathon in less than 4 hours. 4 hours is a magic benchmark in „my marathon universe“. I’ve only managed to run sub 4 twice, barely. But I also know that everyone is different, every runner is different. Everyone trains differently, faces different circumstances and has different experience. Back in 2013, I wasn’t as experienced as I am today, I was a rookie. Still, I managed to finish and even signed up for my second big race the same year.

Is refusing to run a marathon ever again and being depressed when comparing myself to others an actual solution to jealousy and feeling bad? We all know the answer: No it’s not. So what could help to a) accept the facts, b) be satisfied with my own performance and c) genuinely feel happy for others and their accomplishments?

I realized that I can’t change how others run and how they finish a race. There will always be someone running, swimming, cycling, thinking faster then me. I can change the way I feel and think about that though instead of wasting my time and always thinking about them. It’s not easy. It’s a progress of one-step forward, hold, several steps back to the old behavior, denying, awakening, waiting, hoping, hesitating, admitting, breathing, lots of breathing, kicking my ass mentally, finally laughing, finally stepping forward again. Also, I can’t expect for others to hold my hand, have my back and galvanize me – all the time. There are people who are able to do so, but I also know it’s me who has to act to really change the status quo in my head.

For my marathon perspective I tried the following strategy and discovered a funny coincidence:

I looked at all my marathon finishing times since my first and last marathon. And while I’ve been shy to share them even with my close running friends, in the end and thanks to the internet they are archived in the event results and open to the public. So if anyone really wanted to know, they could find out easily.

#1 Hamburg Marathon 2013 (April): 4:12:20
#2 Venice Marathon 2013 (October): 4:03:43
#3 Hamburg Marathon 2014 (April): 3:57:26
#4 Stockholm Marathon 2015 (May): 4:00:19
#5 Hamburg Marathon 2016 (April): 4:05:31
#6 Berlin Marathon 2016 (September): 4:00:48
#7 Dublin Marathon 2017 (October): 3:52:50

I’ve had my share of explaining why I felt that Stockholm, Hamburg in 2016 and Berlin didn’t go that well. I’m not going there today again. What I want to focus on instead is  the following: 4.5 years of marathon running and a total finishing time improvement of nearly 20 minutes. TWENTY minutes! And Dublin was tough, believe me. The course is a biest compared to Hamburg’s nearly flat course. Also, considering the recent world record in the marathon distance set by Kenyan running legend Elliud Kipchoge: He finished his first marathon in 2:05:30 (apparently also in Hamburg and also in 2013). And  just last Sunday, he set the new record at 2:01:39 in Berlin – nearly 4 minutes faster. He ran super fast already in his first marathon, yes. It’s what he does professionally – obviously he’s also very gifted – and yes, comparing our improvements between then and now with another doesn’t make any one in the running world raise an eyebrow. Yet each one of us is running every km on our very own. He has pacemakers (if they can keep up), a huge sponsor, a coach, a team, a family, the running DNA – I don’t. See: different! Comparing is useless, a waste of time. I’m left with amazement though that any human can run so fast and I have nothing but respect for his achievement.

In 4.5 years I’ve also…
…experienced several job changes,
…a little time-out/sabbatical in Colombia,
…moved places,
…fell in and out of love,
…made new friends,
…traveled,
…got older obviously,
…dyed my hair from brunette to blond,
…got into CrossFit,
…started with triathlon,
…changed my diet from vegetarian to vegan,
…and who knows what else has happened in all this time besides the daily routine of life.

fb_img_1507670154304.jpgYes, 20 minutes is a fraction of 4.5 years, but in marathon running and especially my marathon universe it is a significant leap. And yet, so many rookies may run a lot faster, also, so many may not – in the end everyone still runs somehow. So my jealousy may even feel like an insult to all those who run slower, but that was and never will be my intention. I get that! When you’re only running for yourself, for pleasure and not for making a living when you’re a professional athlete, then running a marathon very quickly becomes a side note. It should though become a side note to boost your confidence and foster your will power and not one to make you feel weak. I get that, too. If something bothers you so much: fix it or leave it. I chose to fix what bothers me, at least in this case.

Today, nearly 5.5 years after my first marathon, I am even more experienced (and older…) than I was last year, both in terms of running as well as dealing with my inner demons. I am also learning a lot from my running for my professional life and vice versa. ROI (return on investment) is true in both worlds after all. I have learnt to focus on the facts first and not the feelings.

Putting facts into the right perspective can make a difference. I realized that it won’t get me anywhere but frustrated if I compare myself to others (I’ll never run as fast as Elliud). What matters in the end is that and how I have made a change compared to my previous self.

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I mentioned a coincidence earlier. I also had a look at my finishing times in the half marathon distance since 2012. It’s now been 6 years and 10 half marathons – funnily I also improved my overall finishing time by nearly 20 minutes. I have gathered so much aerobic capacity and improved my technique that I’m about to attempt a half marathon close to 1h30. It will mean that I need to run 5 minutes faster than my current PB set in July 2018. It will mean hard, very hard training and full commitment. It will mean that I will have to follow a tough training schedule. And it will mean the world to me. Does it mean I will succeed? Who knows. Does it mean that I might run a marathon again after all? Who knows.

20180415_105011For now it means I am making progress in dealing with my anti-talent and turning it into something good, turning it into a new goal, and feeling motivated and confident. Finally, when I see pictures of me after races I usually see a happy person. A person with a happy smile, someone who looks confident and powerful, sometimes even silly. If I didn’t know it was me, I might think she’s pretty cool. Yes, she has her story and view on life, but that doesn’t keep her from going out there and living it and even cheering for others.

Being active has become part of my identity and I am glad I found this passion even though it can be demanding both on the body and my mind. What I get out of it, for myself and even for others through cheering, coaching and exchanging stories, is beyond awesome.

I am sharing this today to open a up a bit more, trying to put all the learnings into words and a right order and hoping that I can also motivate someone else (whether you are a runner or not) to find their own way (back) to feeling valuable and good about themself!

Cuba in a backpack

14 days, 7 places*, 2 backpackers and over 1,300 pictures each.

This visual travel report is a selection of great moments and favorite snapshots, because I’m sure no one wants to read my diary-esque narrations. In the end, all I can say is:

Visit Cuba! Explore it, be open, dive in, relax, let go.
You won’t regret it.

 

*Havana, Vinales, Cienfuegos, Trinidad, Varadero, Las Terrazas and Soroa.

Helfen. Egal wie.

Einen Text schreiben, wenn der Kopf nicht frei ist und tausend Gedanken durch den Kopf schießen. Der Versuch das Erlebte zu rekonstruieren, und am Ende nur Fetzen übrig bleiben – und der Drang – wenigstens diese nicht zu vergessen, sie sich nicht zu schön zu erinnern.

Was ist passiert?

Ja, das ist eine gute Frage. Und jeder der dabei war, wird sicher eine andere Antwort haben – jede Perspektive ist anders. Bei mir fing es mit einem Geräusch an, denn ich war versunken in Reisebuchlektüre, gedanklich schon im sonnig farbenfrohen Kuba, körperlich aber noch im kalten Hamburg, auf einer kalten Holzbank an der Station Landungsbrücken sitzend, weil ich aufgrund eines abermals platten Fahrradreifens den Heimweg am Abend mit öffentlichen Verkehrsmitteln angetreten war.

Was für ein Geräusch?

Es fällt mir schwer, es zu beschreiben – es genau zu erinnern. Wie klingt es, wenn zwei Volltrunkene in dicken Jacken plötzlich auf die Gleise der Hochbahn fallen? Ein bißchen dumpf und laut und prägnant genug, mich aus der Lektüre zu reißen, gedanklich sofort auf Alarmglocken zu schalten, direkt zu wissen: Au backe, das hat sich nicht gut angehört, ohne dass es Schreie gab. Im gleichen Moment hörte ich noch leicht schmerzverzerrtes Ächzen, aber dann doch nicht viel mehr. Hanseatische Abgeklärtheit vielleicht.

Und dann?

Ich schaute auf. Ich sah in die Richtung, wo die beiden lagen. Ich sah umgehend auf die Anzeige, in wie vielen Minuten die Bahn kommen würde. Ich weiß nicht mehr, wie viele Minuten angezeigt waren – ich weiß nur, dass es 9 Minuten waren, als ich ankam und mich setzte. Lang konnte das nicht her gewesen sein. Es blieben sicher nur noch 5, maximal 6 Minuten. Ich stand auf – noch etwas gelähmt, vielleicht auch innerlich hoffend, dass die beiden sich eigenständig aufrappeln und auf den Bahnsteig klettern können würden. Konnten sie nicht. Taten sie nicht. Sie blieben liegen.

Teilnahmslos steckte ich das schlagartig zur Nebensache gewordene Buch in meine Tasche – ich ging hin. Und schaute mich um. Wer war da, wer noch helfen konnte. Ratlose Gesichter auf der anderen Seite – warum standen dort viel mehr Leute als hier, dachte ich. Vielleicht sah es nur so aus. Ich nahm wahr, wie jemand über die Notfall-Stele die Hochbahn informierte und war erleichtert – jemand hatte schnell geschaltet und das getan, was er in dem Moment tun konnte und für richtig hielt. Plötzlich stand da eine junge Frau vor mir mit Rastazöpfen – Typ Hippiemädchen: „Was machen wir jetzt? Wen kann man anrufen?“, fragte sie alle wenigen, die da waren. Alles was aus mir heraus kam, während ich die beiden auf den Gleisen liegen sah, mit offenen ratlosen, betrunkenen Augen und faltigen, aufgequollenen roten Alkoholiker-Backen: „Die Polizei?!“. Dann kniete ich mich an die Kante des Bahnsteigs und sprach die beiden an „Hey, könnt ihr mich hören, tut euch was weh?“.

Oder sagte ich es gar nicht?

Ich weiß nicht mehr genau, ob und was ich gesagt habe. Plötzlich kletterten einige Männer auf die Gleise und versuchten die erschlafften Körper, weil völlig zugedröhnt und in dicken, stinkenden Winterklamotten steckend, irgendwie zu bewegen. Beherztes Zupacken – egal wie, Hauptsache weg von den Gleisen. Erst half man dem einen, der etwas agiler wirkte, in die Senkrechte. Von oben zogen wir – ich glaube neben mir war das Hippiemädchen und noch ein Mann. Es war leichter als gedacht, doch der zweite lag noch unten und die Bahn musste doch gleich kommen. Und er – der noch unten lag – schaute nur ratlos in die Luft, mit einer blutigen Schürfwunde an der Stirn…ob er sich diese beim Sturz zugefügt hatte? Ich weiß es nicht – vermutlich. Das Blut war so hell, im Gegensatz zum Rest seines angestaubten Körpers.

Egal.

Egal wie sehr er vor Schmerz, oder Suff ächzte – ich wusste es nicht und werde es wohl nie wissen. Er ließ es über sich ergehen, wie ihm Fremde halfen, ihn zum Stehen brachten, ihn festhielten, damit er nicht umkippte. Wie sie ihn halb auf den Bahnsteig schoben – bäuchlings mit dem Oberkörper voraus, dann das rechte Bein hinterher, wie der restliche Körper hochzogen wurde, bis auch er schließlich komplett vom Gleis geräumt war. Die Helfer standen plötzlich auch alle oben und versuchten die beiden erst mal auf die Bänke zu setzen. Ob sie was brauchten, wurde gefragt.

Brauchten sie was?

Ratlose Blicke waren die Antwort. Sie hatten ja noch nicht mal um Hilfe gebeten. Sie hatten die ganze Zeit nicht einmal irgendwas gesagt, irgendwas gesprochen – mit uns oder untereinander. Einer deutete auf eine olle, schwarze Kappe, die am Boden lag – ich gab sie ihm. Jemand von der Hochbahn kam – sprach in ein Handy, suchte die Betrunkenen auf den Gleisen, die Helfer zeigten nur auf die beiden, wie sie inzwischen auf den Bänken saßen.

Und die Bahn?

Die war noch nicht da, würde sicher in jedem Moment kommen. Das Hippiemädchen telefonierte und der Hochbahnmensch fragte die beiden auch, ob sie Hilfe oder ärztliche Versorgung bräuchten? Ich zeigte ihm die verletzte Stirn des einen, der jetzt wieder die Kappe auf hatte. Die Betrunkenen sagten weder eindeutig ja, noch eindeutig nein, zuckten eher mit den Schultern und bewegten ihre Köpfe nach links, nach rechts. Also nein, interpretierte der Hochbahnmensch.

Langsam und vorsichtig fuhr die Bahn ein.

Was machen die anderen – Zeugen und Helfer? Wer steigt ein, wer bleibt? Muss man bleiben? Ratlosigkeit. Das Hippiemädchen sagte, die Polizei käme gleich – ich fragte, sie ob sie bliebe – sie sagte ja. Hätte sie gewollt, dass ich auch bleibe? Dass sonst noch jemand bleibt? Ich stieg etwas benommen in die volle Bahn, bildete mir ein, den Geruch der beiden Betrunkenen noch weiter zu riechen. Hätte ich bleiben sollen? Und ich fragte mich, ob ich auch nach ihnen roch – nach ihnen stank.

Und selbst wenn?

Einen Geruch kannst du wegwaschen und dir saubere Kleidung, aus deinem Schrank – in deiner Wohnung holen. Vermutlich haben die beiden, die da gestürzt waren, weder die Möglichkeit sich regelmäßig zu waschen, noch die Auswahl an sauberer Kleidung, geschweige denn einen Schrank oder ein Zu hause. Ich frage mich, ob sie sich selbst noch Tage danach an den Sturz erinnern werden – sicher werden sie weder das Hippiemädchen, noch die Helfermänner, noch mich wieder erkennen.

Würde ich sie wieder erkennen?

Gute Frage – selbst wenn….was dann?

In einem Moment – der wenige Minuten dauerte – allein das klingt für mich wie ein Widerspruch, denke ich doch oft, dass ein Moment nur ganz kurz sein kann und dann erlebst du einen, der sich wie Kaugummi zieht und den du in Gedanken rekonstruieren und mit Details wie die Bahnsteigs-Anzeige ausschmücken kannst…jedenfalls in einem Moment, da hilft man, ganz selbstverständlich. Im nächsten – der wirklich nur wimpernschlagkurz ist – gehst du weiter und machst nichts, weil du denkst, dass du nichts machen musst oder kannst. Wenn Betrunkene, die auf der Straße leben, eben auf der Straße leben.

Wichtig ist: hingehen und helfen ist in jedem Moment drin. Egal wie. Zupacken, Notruf anrufen. Egal wie.

 

 

Lieber  Herbst, du bist zu früh…

…und schon mit der Tür ins Haus gefallen, obwohl im Kalender noch ganz fett August steht, ein traditioneller Sommermonat auf der Nordhalbkugel. Du machst es dir ungebeten auf dem Sofa gemütlich, zuckst gleichgültig mit den Schultern und wunderst dich selbst, dass noch kein Weihnachtsgebäck in den Supermärkten zu finden ist. Dann wartest du eben, nicht wahr? Und blickst dabei deutungsschwanger auf mein Hüftgold, dass eigentlich noch im Wandlungsprozess zur Sommerfigur war…du meinst, jetzt bringt die Gymnastik auch nichts mehr, ich solle doch gleich wieder die kuscheligen Pullis anziehen.

Lieber Herbst, nichts für ungut, aber das geht eindeutig zu weit. Du gehst zu weit. Du bist zu früh. Und ich mag keine Zu-Früh-Kommer oder Frühstarter oder Drängler. Gilt für Partygäste, für Sportler, die den Startschuss nicht abwarten können, gilt auch für Sexpartner.

Warum hast du es dieses Jahr eigentlich so eilig? Siehst du denn nicht, dass wir hoffnungslos überfordert sind mit dem plötzlichen Herbstblues, obwohl noch überall Open Airs und Sommerkinos stattfinden?! Wir haben noch nicht genügend gegrillt, in Seen und im Meer geplantscht und Erdbeeren gepflückt, noch zu  wenige Sommer-Sundowner geschlürft und Eis gegessen. Ach, ich könnte immer so weiter jammern und dabei glatt vergessen, dass dein plötzliches Dasein, den Smalltalk vereinfacht und ich auch froh sein kann, dass ich mir jetzt auch keine Sorgen mehr um Sonnenbrand oder Mückenstiche machen muss.
Überlege es dir doch noch einmal, keiner wird dir böse sein, wenn du etwas später kommst. Ich jedenfalls hätte gern noch ein paar Wochen Sommer pur.