Should I…?

As I type this it is 11:29 pm in my timezone. It’s still 21° C out there (or ~70° F) and fairly humid. And here I am, wondering whether or not I should go for a late night run.

The reason I’m pondering that question at all is that these conditions are still not ideal for exercise. But at least they’re better than during the day with temperatures easily exceeding 85° F. During the day I managed to keep myself hydrated and I maintained a regular exercise regimen for the past weeks anyway, so I should be fine. But somehow I need some more incentive.

Now this is where it gets interesting. As I mentioned, I stuck to my exercise schedule for the past weeks and I would hate to kill my streak. I’ve already noticed that it helps me be more disciplined in other areas as well, which had some nice side effects. I can’t waste that just because I wasn’t in a running mood, can I? Certainly not when the other “athletes” in my circle keep their cycling and running miles coming in and I get notified on Strava right away.

So I find myself in a position where objectively the course of action is pretty clear and I just need to push myself to actually doing that. As far as exercise is concerned I’ve always found this video very helpful. So if you yourself are in doubt if you should run: You should and here’s why:

“Rise and shine.
6am and your hand can’t make it to the alarm clock before the voices in your head start telling you that it’s too early, too dark, and too cold to get out of a bed.
Aching muscles lie still in rebellion, pretending not to hear your brain commanding them to move
A legion of voices are shouting their unanimous permission for you to hit the snooze button and go back to dreamland, but you didn’t ask their opinion.
The voice you’ve chosen to listen to is one of defiance.
A voice that’s says there was a reason you set that alarm in the first place. So sit up, put your feet on the floor, and don’t look back because we’ve got work to do.
Welcome to The Grind!
For what is each day but a series of conflicts between the right way and the easy way,
10,000 streams fan out like a river delta before you, Each one promising the path of least resistance.
Thing is, you’re headed upstream
And when you make that choice, when you decide to turn your back on what’s comfortable and what’s safe and what some would call “common sense”, well that’s day 1.
From there it only gets tougher.
So just make sure this is something you want.
Because the easy way out will always be there, ready to wash you away, all you have to do is pick up your feet.
But you aren’t going to are you?
With each step comes the decision to take another
You’re on your way now
But this is no time to dwell on how far you’ve come.
You’re in a fight against an opponent you can’t see
Oh but you can feel him on your heels can’t you?
Feel him breathing down your neck
You know what that is?
That’s you…
Your fears, your doubts and insecurities all lined up like a firing squad ready to shoot you out of the sky
But don’t lose heart
While they aren’t easily defeated, they are far from invincible
Remember this is The Grind
The Battle Royale between you and your mind, your body and the devil on your shoulder who’s telling you that this is just a game, this is just a waste of time, your opponents are stronger than you.
Drown out the voice of uncertainty with the sound of your own heartbeat
Burn away your self doubt with the fire that’s beneath you
Remember what you’re fighting for
And never forget that momentum is a cruel mistress
She can turn on a dime with the smallest mistake.
She is ever searching for that weak place in your armor
That one tiny thing you forgot to prepare for
So as long as the devil is hiding the details, the question remains,”is that all you got?”, “are you sure?”
And when the answer is “yes”. That you’ve done all you can to prepare yourself for battle THEN it’s time to go forth and boldly face your enemy, the enemy within
Only now you must take that fight into the open, into hostile territory
You’re a lion in a field of lions
All hunting the same elusive prey with a desperate starvation that says VICTORY is the only thing that can keep you alive
So believe that voice that says “you CAN run a little faster” and that “you CAN throw a little harder” and that “you CAN dive a little deeper” and that, for you, the laws of physics are merely a suggestion.
Luck is the last dying wish of those who want to believe that winning can happen by accident.
Sweat on the other hand is for those who know it’s a choice.
So decide now because destiny waits for no man.
And when your time comes and a thousand different voices are trying to tell you
that you’re not ready for it,
listen instead to that lone voice of descent,
that one voice that says:
“you are ready”
“you are prepared”.
It’s all up to you now!”

So rise and shine.

It will pay off…

via Daily Prompt: Triumph

Whenever you start working for something, you might not start seeing the results straight away. But you’re putting in the effort and that’s what counts.

The interesting thing about learning curves, I found, is that they are far from linear. You’ll go through a rather long period of failure and/or disappointment, where there is hardly any progress at all. But that period is crucial to your progress, as it gives you not only opportunities to learn but also experience in what not to do, or rather what to do better. Given time, you will end up doing much better than you ever thought possible. You will achieve a breakthrough and this triumphant sense of achievement is a more than suitable reward for all the hard work you put in before.

More importantly, however, it is the perfect incentive to keep going. You’ll think to yourself: “If I made it this far, how far can I go?” You yourself are the only one who can answer that question…

A Heartless Winter

Author’s note: And here it is, the first part of my creative writing experiment. With temperatures as high as they are, this was really difficult to write. But this might help you to feel cooler, if nothing else. Midsummer was a couple of days ago, so ‘Winter is coming’, after all. Anyway, I hope you enjoy this, I’d really appreciate your feedback in the comments. But please be honest and/or offer constructive advice as to what I can improve on. Best wishes, SigmaTheta

Continue reading

Creative Spark Update

I’m rather excited to announce that I’ve finally started writing the creative writing story I promised. While I still struggled to pin down a specific idea, I eventually decided to just have it randomised, at which point I found this great site called “Short Story Ideas“.

I let this site give me an Opening Line, two very brief character descriptions, three random words I had to incorporate into my writing and last but not least the title of the first chapter. It was surprising how easily I came up with a scenario that would tie all of those together, but putting this onto paper (or rather a file) will take me some time.

For now, I can only leave you with the Opening Line:

“She stared into the Darkness.”

Feel free to write in the comments what you would expect from this line.

So long, Sigma Theta

“Die Heide brennt” – SC Paderborn optimistic to stay in the Bundesliga

Today’s 31st Bundesliga Matchday was full of suspense, especially in the race against relegation.

The big winner today was SC Paderborn, who won 2:1 at Freiburg to climb to 14th place, now one point ahead of the first relegation place (16th place). Meanwhile, VfB Stuttgart lost 2:3 at Schalke and Hannover played 2:2 in Wolfsburg. Hamburg could take that 14th place if they win at Mainz tomorrow.

Paderborn are still to play against Wolfsburg (H), Schalke (A) and finally against Stuttgart on home ground. A prediction as to which teams are relegated depends heavily on speculation, of course, but presumably, a home win against Stuttgart would be enough for Paderborn to stay in the league. And given Stuttgart’s performance at Schalke today, a draw against Schalke is not out of reach for Paderborn either.


The phrase “Die Heide brennt” is a quote from Paderborns goal tune and literally means “The heath is on fire”.

The Road to Berlin

Today the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League were drawn. The resultant matches promise high-class football and tension to the final whistle, with FC Barcelona vs. FC Bayern Munich and Juventus FC vs. Real Madrid.

FC Barcelona vs. FC Bayern Munich

So far, Barcelona haven’t really been tested, it seems. They comfortably won their group against Paris St.Germain, Ajax Amsterdam and APOEL Nikosia. In the round of 16 they defeated Manchester City twice (2-1 and 1-0) and then went on to eliminate PSG in the Quaterfinals with 3-1 and 2-0 victories.

Bayern on the other hand have been struggling. After a straight-forward Group Stage win, problems started in the Round of 16, when they drew 0-0 in the first leg against Shakhtar Donezk. At this point, slight doubts started to surface, as to whether Bayern was really capable of reaching the Final on German soil, as has been the clear goal from the start of the season. These doubts were shattered however, when they trashed Donezk 7-0 in the second leg at home to secure their place in the Quaterfinals. Facing so far undefeated FC Porto, Bayern’s injury problems became a serious issue, as the likes of Alaba, Robben, Ribéry, Schweinsteiger and Javi Martínez were unable to play. This and catastrophic individual errors of Dante, Boateng and Xabi Alonso lead to a 1-3 defeat at Porto’s Estadio do Dragao in the first leg and chaotic days followed. Team Doctor Dr. Müller-Wohlfahrt quit after supposedly being blamed for the long-term injuries of the players and in consequence also for the defeat to Porto. The doubts resurfaced and speculation began, whether Pep Guardiola would be sacked in case Bayern were eliminated in the Quaterfinals. Bayern, however, went into the second leg determined to turn the tie around and eliminate Porto with the support of the fans and the confidence represented by their famous club motto “Mia san mia”. As a result, they ended up leading 5-0 at halftime, the final score was 6-1 and they advanced to the Semi-Finals.

Fans have been looking forward to this match for a long time. The latest meetings between the two were memorable: in 2009, Barcelona eliminated Bayern with 4-0 and 1-1, while Bayern avenged itself in 2013 with 4-0 and 3-0 wins. Both teams have been regarded as the best football teams in the world in recent years, Barcelona won the Champions League in 2006, 2009 and 2011 and coined the famous Tiki-Taka playstyle with Pep Guardiola as their Coach. Bayern has reached the Champions League Final in 2010, 2012 (the “Finale Dahoam” in Munich) and won the competition in 2013. So the last meetings also saw the winner of this tie move on to win the entire competition and it seems likely that history is to repeat itself in that regard. The question is, who will qualify for the Berlin Final?

FC Barcelona have failed to reach the semi-finals last season but with their new signings Neymar and Luís Suarez as well as Lionel Messi playing at his best at the moment, they’ve returned to their former glory that has won them the UCL 3 times. They’ve won the latest Clásico and lead the Primera División by a two point margin over Real Madrid.

FC Bayern are still haunted by their 2013 Treble, the teams performances have since been compared to the standard of that season and mostly failed to live up to that expectation. So far, 2015 has been no exception, the team is one win away from defending its Bundesliga title, but they lost to Wolfsburg (1-4) and Gladbach (0-2) in the Bundesliga and to Porto in the Champions League. However, most of these problems originate in their bad luck with injuries, for most of the year, Guardiola had to make do without 7 or 8 injured players, at one point he couldn’t even provide 7 substitutes. As a result, there was little to no opportunity to give key players a break, even the recently recovered Thiago had to make 3 starting appearances in a row after just coming back from a year-long injury. In light of this, Bayern’s performances were admirable and the home wins against Donezk and Porto show that the team are able to play top-quality football in spite of all this, the psychological effects of the 6-1 comeback against Porto and Pep Guardiolas knowledge of Barcelona’s team could give them the edge over Barcelona. The key to this tie will most likely be the Defense, as both teams have world class offensive personell – Messi, Neymar, Suarez on the one side, Lewandowski, Robbery, Müller on the other – but sometimes lack defensive stability, as evidenced by Bayern’s errors in Porto and Barcelona giving away a 2-0 lead over Sevilla. This tie is to close to call right now. In theory, FC Barcelona are slight favorites in this duell, being the slightly more stable team in defense and not so plagued by injury, but if Bayern can achieve a draw at Camp Nou they are likely to use that advantage on home ground and advance to the Final.

Juventus FC vs. Real Madrid CF

Juventus was the team everybody wanted to be drawn against in this Semi-Final because they were seen as the weakest of the Final Four. In the Group Stage, they came in second behind Atlético Madrid, and left Olympiakos and Malmö FF behind to advance to the knockout stages. The Round of 16 saw them matched up with 2013 finalists Borussia Dortmund whom they beat twice, 2-1 in Torino and 3-0 in Dortmund. In the Quaterfinals they faced AS Monaco and in good Italian tradition, Juventus managed to pull through with a single goal scored in the entire duell (1-0 in Torino, 0-0 in Monaco).

The latter also applies to their next opponent Real Madrid. On their way to the Semi-Final, the defending champions won their group against FC Basel, Liverpool and Ludogorez Razgrad and eliminated Schalke 04 in the Round of 16, but it was a closer tie than they would have liked. Real won 2-0 at Schalke but lost 3-4 at home and just barely avoided elimination against the German underdogs. The Quaterfinals saw the ‘derbi madrileño’, Real Madrid vs. Atlético Madrid. At Atlético’s Vicente Calderon Stadium, both drew 0-0 but in the second leg at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, a late (88th minute) winner by “Chicharito” Hernández saw them through to the semi-finals with a 1-0 on aggregate.

Earlier, I wrote that the winner of Barcelona vs. Bayern is most likely also the designated Champions League winner. That is because neither Juventus nor Real Madrid have so far managed to play at the same level as Barcelona and Bayern. While Bayern had its difficulties, they were able to turn these into comfortable victories in the end by stunning home match performances, which Juventus and Real could not do. Juventus is a very strong side in the defense, having conceded only 5 goals in this Champions League season, but this comes at a price: with only 13 goals scored in the entire season to date, they are still below what the other Semi-Finalists scored in the Group Stage alone. Their strong defense however, might be enough of a problem for Real Madrid. The spanish side struggled to score against Atlético and created only one goal from countless chances throughout the 180 minutes in the Quaterfinals, despite the players they can line up in the attack, among those Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema, Toni Kroos and Luka Modric. On top of that, their defense turned out to be remarkably shaky this season, especially in their Primera División encounters with Atlético (0-4) and Barcelona (1-3) and the home match against Schalke (3-4), when they where just one goal away from a knockout. Keeping all this in mind, plus the fact that so far no Champions League Winner was able to defend the title, I’d say that after two close matches, Juventus will eventually qualify.

FINAL PREDICTION:

This would see Juventus and FC Bayern through to the Berlin Final. Given that I believe the Winner of the Barca vs. Bayern Semi-Final to be the Winner of the competition, I would bet on Bayern Munich to lift the trophy on June 6th.

Do you agree with my prediction? If not, then let me know in the comments who you think will win and why. I’m looking forward to your opinions!

so long,

SigmaTheta

“Chewie, we’re home”

Well… I’m hyped.

Unless you’ve been living on the other side of Endor you’ll know what I’m talking about. There is a new Teaser Trailer for Star Wars Episode VII – The Force Awakens. And within seconds it got me excited like a little kid waiting for Christmas presents, everything about that trailer was just spot on, perfect:

a bit of nostalgia with Mark Hamills voice-over, Darth Vader’s helmet, the crashed Star Destroyer, etc. Not to forget that final shot of Han Solo and Chewie aboard the Millenium Falcon that just wants to let you know that it actually is still Star Wars even though it comes from the king of lens flares.

But there’s also a taste of the new things to come, a new story, with Luke saying: “You have that Power [aka. the force] too”. In the context of his speech (“The Force is strong in my family…”) that would imply that he is talking to his (or Leia’s) son or daughter and that (s)he is to become a Jedi.

Long story short: I can’t wait for December to watch this.