Marathon (and other) updates

I won’t be running in the Shamrock Marathon this month. I had some substantial problems with my left Achilles’ tendon, and after some rest, a lot of physical therapy, a couple of shoe changes, and wearing an ankle brace, I think that’s behind me, as long as I go slow in building up to the distance. These problems started in late December. At that time, I changed my plans to run in the half-marathon event instead of the full marathon, but my Achilles’ problem kept flaring up, and I was never able to run more than seven miles without tremendous difficulty.

So now, I’m training for the Rock-and-Roll Half Marathon in Virginia Beach in September. That should give me ample time to train without hurting myself. I’m looking forward to it!

Other news:
La Sagrada FamiliaI’ll be going on vacation to Barcelona and Majorca this summer. I’ve dreamed about this for years. My dad will be coming along with me, and I think this is going to be an amazing experience for both of us.

I’ve been trying to studying both Spanish and Catalan this year, but I’m finding that studying two languages at once, especially if they’re closely related, is really difficult. The result is that I haven’t really studied much of either so far this year. I have a pretty good base in Spanish now, which I’ve been studying off and on for about three years, but my Catalan is very basic, and it’s tough to find good learning materials and anyone to practice with.

I love Catalan and really want to learn it (it’s like a cross between Spanish and French, spoken with a Russian accent); but I’ve come to realize that I need to give Spanish priority. That way I when I get there I’ll have a very decent grasp of one of the area’s languages. If I try to concentrate on Catalan alone for a few months, I probably won’t be very good in either one when I get there. (Sigh.)

I’m planning not just on going to Esperanto USA’s national congress this year as usual, but I may actually be giving a workshop in Esperanto there. (Public speaking in a foreign language! Just a couple of years ago that would have been unimaginable to me.)

4 thoughts on “Marathon (and other) updates

  1. Jon, I’m very, very happy for you. I’m certain you’ll have a wonderful time in Spain.

    But, if you don’t mind, is this your first visit? If so, you might get disappointed about the opportunities to practice either Spanish or Catalan. I was in another part of Spain (Ibiza) when I was a lot younger. I had practiced some Spanish and proudly ordered “dos vinos tintos, por favor”. The waiter anwsered… in perfect Dutch (he was Spanish).

    Both Barcelona and Majorca are areas that have seen tourists from Britain, Germany and the Low Lands for decades. I certainly don’t want to be a spoilsport, but if you hope to practice your Spanish, you might at first be a little disappointed. Most people on the “costas” and the islands speak English, German and Dutch. From my point of view, I understand the Spanish. It’s equally near impossible for a foreigner to learn Dutch in Holland/Belgium too.

    You’ll have to go outside the tourist areas and into the little villages to find people who don’t speak English.

    Apart from that, it is a wonderful country and I am sure it will be an unforgetable experience for you and your dad. When are you going?

  2. Hey, Margreet,

    Thanks for stopping by. And thanks for the “warning.” We’re figuring on about 5-days for the tourist sites in Barça, then start trying to experience more everyday life in the area, including day trips to Tarragona, Cadaques, Perpignan, etc. The last few days we’ll spend in Palma de Mallorca.

    I had read about the prevalence of English and German, but I am a little surprised about Dutch in Catalonia! Molt interesant, muy interesante!

    We’re going in late July.

  3. Hi Jon!

    Catalonia is very popular as a holiday destination or to live (semi)permenantly in the Netherlands and Belgium. Not exactly because of the culture, although we like that a lot. It’s very inexpensive. For that reason it’s popular with younger people and pensioners.

    I’m on a disability pension and have been thinking about moving to somewhere in southern Europe. It’s far easier to arrange a move to Catalonia or Alicante than any other place. There are Dutch services available (banks, shops, health insurance offices, legal advice) because there are already a lot of Dutch people living there.

    I’m looking forward to hearing your experiences.

  4. EEK! I’m totally jealous of your summer trip Jon. I imagine it will be a wonderful time for you and you dad. 🙂

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