I am Number 1247, minted on the hills on April 28, 2019.This may sound like the start of a promising android story, but it isn’t…Instead it is just another Saturday Spotlight… of someone who hasn’t been a runner for most of his life. Even worse, I always thought running was stupid. Bad for your knees. And what’s the point anyways? Let me read a book, play a game or have a drink together. Food anyone? Until you get older and the weight doesn’t stay off as easily anymore. Maybe visiting a gym a time or two each week isn’t such a bad idea.
Once I started, I actually liked the sweaty mess that I turned into on the treadmill. At some point, new motivation was needed, though, and I signed up for my first race, the Lt. Michael Murphy Run Around the Lake in 2017. This happened to be a rainy day, but already quite warm for June. The treadmill or good-weather-outside runner in me decided to wear a hoodie… please don’t ask. I finished in under 32 minutes and was quite happy, although the picture doesn’t exactly tell the same story.Rewind: I was born and raised in a small town/village in Northern Germany just a few miles west of the iron curtain — peak of Generation X. Other than the fear of nuclear fallout, in retrospect my childhood is an idyllic picture free of worries.
Living through it of course wasn’t all sunshine and flowers, but memories are selective and that’s a good thing. Before we knew it, the Berlin wall came down, Germany was reunited, and the end of the world turned into the middle of Europe overnight just when I reached my wild teenager days. I like to tell people about Hamburg. It is Germany’s second largest and surprisingly little known city in the North, but people who have visited it typically keep it in a special place in their hearts. I have lived there for 12 years and it was not exactly an easy decision to leave.
Yet, here I am enjoying the summers on Long Island for over ten years already. For me, warm days are good days (humid or not), although I have learned to appreciate the colder weather lately (purely running related). My partner and I are recent transplants to Patchogue and the move has been much appreciated by Seamus, a black Labrador Retriever, who has now taken reign over his own private backyard.By day, I am a physicist at Brookhaven National Lab which is home to the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (we call it RHIC for short). Our goal is basic research and we study the substructure of atomic nuclei by smashing those particles together at very high energies (at almost the speed of light).
In case you are wondering: No, this is NOT secret research. Come visit during one of our Summer Sundays (usually late July / early August). RHIC is currently the only operating high energy particle collider in the United States and you can take a look at the real thing!Lastly, thanks to everyone for creating such a nice community! I’ve been reading the Spotlights every Saturday since last spring and it feels like I know a lot of you much better than I actually do. This week it’s my turn, so don’t be a stranger and say hello.