September: Birthday Giveaway!

So, ladies and gents…

even though it’s MY birthday (tomorrow!) I want to do a little giveaway because I know that someone out there can appreciate a gift that I received but can’t use (because I’m in the Netherlands). Besides, I’m just that kind of gal. Share the wealth and all that!

THE Sports Authority.

THE Sports Authority.

Last month I received an über-cool Training Rock Box as part of my Rock and Blog team membership. In the box were some amazing things that I’m currently still checking out (more on the training rock box to come).

The BOX!!

The BOX!!

so many  things to help me be awesome!

so many things to help me be awesome!

One thing all of us on the team received was a $25 giftcard for SportsAuthority. This is what I want to give to one lucky winner this month!!

Don’t have a SportsAuthority in your neighborhood, or even your state? NOT TO WORRY! You can use the card also online, easypeasy!

So what do you have to do to win?

1) Follow me over on Instagram, on Twitter and/or on Facebook. You don’t have to do all three, one is fine. Tell me in the comments where you followed.

2) Tell me in the comment below what you would like to use the $25 gift card on. A new pair of shoes? A fitbit? a new spibelt? They have tons of stuff available so it could be anything!

3) Share this blogpost on Social Media. Tell me in the comment where you shared it.

That’s all. Simple. The easiest $25 you could possibly win!

It would make me happy to make you happy – I’ll run the giveaway for 21 days, so you have 3 whole weeks to share and possibly win!! Contest ends at midnight MY TIME (Central European Time) on the 23rd of September.

Obviously if you are not in North America the US or US Territories you will have the same problem as I have; They don’t ship to us I’m afraid! So, very sorry comrades, those of us in Europe, Asia or Africa can’t win. (update, or Canada! Sorry, eh!)

Disclaimer: As a member of the RocknBlog 2015 Team I receive entry to Rock ‘n Roll series races. I also have received the box above for my own personal use, to do with as I please. I have not been sponsored to do a blog post or a giveaway for SportsAuthority. It is my misfortune that I can’t use this gift, therefore I prefer to give it away to someone who can use it. All opinions of the races and the training rockbox are completely my own.

I love the smell of a fresh month!

YAY!  My Favourite Month!

YAY! My Favourite Month!

Ah, September! I always loved the beginning of autumn – going back to school, cooler temperatures, Indian Summer. Typically here in the Netherlands we’ll still have one or two good weekends with sun and everyone is starting something fresh and enjoying new beginnings. Personally, I too am starting something new, but I’ll tell you about that in a second.

So, I know I haven’t been consistently blogging lately and while I repeatedly say that this blog is really my story and can be written at any time, perhaps it helps get a bit more conversation going if I’m More consistent. I would really like that.

To be perfectly honest the last several months have been quite challenging. Yet also they’ve been a lot of fun and I’ve been all over the place and officially spent all of my travel money for this year, like down to EUR20. But, hey ho, I’ve had a great time spending it!

At the beginning of June I was let go from my job at work, but not let go from my contract. If that doesn’t make sense, it works like this: You can’t really get fired here in the Netherlands. You have a contract and you have to fulfill your duties of the contract. However, if you don’t, or you can’t, or it’s just not working out, your company has to pay you or make some sort of settlement to send you home. I went home for about two weeks until my manager could figure out with another department if my skills would be of some use to them. So, on the one hand, it sucked that I didn’t make that decision myself, however, my manager really wanted to help me and got me, albeit temporarily, another position in a different department. Everyone has been very good to me and it’s been a real learning experience of holding my head high even when it feels uncomfortable. I am looking for other work, internal and external, but I have time (until the end of April 2016) and hopefully something is going to happen soon that really suits me and the company who employs me (or the company I work for now. I have something in the pipeline, so cross your fingers for me!). So, that’s work. Oh and that couple of weeks was pretty much free vacation. Nice!

In July I went to Chicago as you know and I had an absolute blast. Not just running the race, but seeing my friends and just hanging out like I was one of the locals. I do miss living in a city like Chicago and maybe, if the time and environment is right, we (hubs and I) can move back. So nice having friends there. I miss my people. While I have great friends here in the Netherlands and I would miss them as well, there is nothing like having people in your life life that have been around for over 20 years. That we can just pick up where we left off, you know? It’s great.

Beginning of August I went to Dublin for the Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon and I’m going to tell you about that SOON. It deserves a recap post! Once I got back from Dublin, two days later hubs, The Girl and The Boy and I went to Crete! It was our 3rd time to Crete and the second time to Stalis. We just really enjoy it there and lots of people recognized us and were happy to see us again! Family vacation is always somewhat challenging and, not gonna lie, we had our moments (who doesn’t???) but overall we had a good time.

So now we are officially back at work and back at school which leads me to…

I am officially a student again!! After I was let go from my job I had a long hard talk with myself and decided that this was the time, RIGHT NOW, to do what I want to do rather than what I have to do to pay my bills. About 15 years ago I enrolled in a Sports Massage Therapy course but, without going into the millions of reasons, I ended up quitting after about 3 classes. I have never stopped wanting to do this however, so I asked MY sports massage therapist where she went to school, I went to an Information Evening and I decided to do it. On Thursday I will start! It’s an entire school year, every Thursday night. I’m going to do it, I’m going to work hard, study hard and I’m going to take the exam and then I’m going to pass it and be certified. I am going to do what I love rather than what I have been doing for all these years that I don’t really like. I am nervous, I am scared, I am filled with all sorts of questions, but I am just going for it and trust the process.

That means that my WW assistant gig is over and I have stopped my monthly subscription to WW all together, at least for now. I’m going to go once a month, and just pay the EUR 12 to make sure that I have a check in point. I will miss my leader and my ladies (and a few gents) that I’ve gotten to know over the past year, but school is the same night and I can’t be two places at once!

I’m now a 4 weeks and 4 days until my next marathon and then two weeks later we go to Lisbon. I have loved all the experiences with running this year, but I’m ready to do less! I know, I know… I did this to myself!

So here’s to the beginning of autumn and the awesome month of September, which also happens to be my birthday month! YAY BIRTHDAY MONTH!!

BIRTHDAY MONTH!!!!

BIRTHDAY MONTH!!!!

Do you love fall? Do you have plans for the new season? Do you have new goals? Something you really want to accomplish?

The Long Run – Mind games, loneliness and firing the voice in my head.

So as a crazy person who’s signed up for another TWO marathons, I’m just 5 weeks before my 1st of the two which means really stupid-long runs are on the schedule. Of course not as long as the stupid-long distance of the marathon itself and not as long as something really insane like an ultra. For some reason the stupid-long runs on Sundays always seem harder than the actual marathon itself (or do they?) and are much, much harder mentally than race day. Why is this? I don’t know. If I knew I’d patent up that knowledge and make a million bucks.

Today I had a 3 hour (30KM in my head, though that’s crazy thinking in itself) run on the schedule and all week I’ve been dreading it. Dreading it because I had to do it alone. If you remember in my What-I-Learned Marathon Post I mentioned that training with friends is really super beneficial. For Paris several of us were running the marathon so we organised the long runs. I was able to run with Kim and that was a total lifesaver. For Liverpool I didn’t truly train, I just tried to keep up my mileage and did 1 hard 30KM run on my own and 1 semi-difficult 25KM run on my own. Liverpool was for “fun” anyway so i wasn’t worried about it.

Does that mean I’m worried about Cologne or Lisbon ? A little. I haven’t followed my training very well. I’ve been travelling a lot for races and vacations and while I’ve tried to keep up my runs and/or get to the gym, it doesn’t feel the same. And I’m painfully alone. Which is actually fine for all the little runs, truly. But for the long runs it’s a different story.

Last week Sunday I had a very hard and painful long run. I walked a lot. There were tears. I felt like I never wanted to run again. And after I’d taken a wee break and told my husband I was somewhere on a dyke crying my head off but knew there was only 1 way back (over a huge bridge), I sucked it up and carried on. I got to the top of that dumb bridge and felt better. I was even smiling. As I came down the other side who did I see, but a suspiciously cute guy wearing a Paris Breakfast Run tee-shirt and knew it was my man coming to give me some energy. And as we kissed quickly and said “see you soon” I cried again, because, damn, that was sweet!

Anyway, back to my long run this week. 3 hours / 30KM on the books and dreading it all week. Yesterday I had a really good run actually (and hubs suggested I double the easy run because 1) it was an easy run and 2) I’ve been complaining that after so many vacations my weight is going up again) so I was feeling a bit better about the whole thing. I called upon socialmedia as well and took up the podcast suggestion to get me through. It was going to be ok.

Except for that blister I got yesterday. Damn, what crap timing. OK a bit of compeed and I’ll be fine.

So last night I set out all my stuff and I even filled the hydration pack a little less than halfway and stuck in in the freezer to make sure my water stayed cold the next day (This is a brilliant idea I got somewhere off the interwebz. Seriously, BEST IDEA EVER). I downloaded some podcasts ( I listened to Runner’s Academy ; so good!!) just to have variety, ate pasta for dinner, drank a carbloader and ate a raisin bun with honey before bed and set my alarm for 6:00. It had to work.

I'm ready.  It has to work.

I’m ready. It has to work.

Oh, but let’s not forget the niggly blister…

I got up, ate breakfast, drank coffee (thanks to hubs, the coffee was already ground so I didn’t have to wake the kids or hubs at 6:15 for my necessary fluids), drank another carbloader and at 8:15 walked over to the train station. The plan was to go to Elst (about 10km from here), run to Nijmegen (10KM) and then run bank through Elst to home. It had to work.

Hubs asked me “would you like me to meet you back in Elst and run home with you?” Would I like that!? Can we get a HELL YEAH?? So that was the new and improved plan. I didn’t have to be alone. Surely I could make it through 20KM without him and then the last 10KM would be a piece of pie!

Before - of course I can do this!

Before – of course I can do this!

The first 10KM were great actually. I got to Nijmegen (with a pee break because, coffee and carbloader) in 1 hour and 3 minutes. Just a tiny bit faster than yesterday’s run. Another pee break at Nijmegen train station and I texted the hubs that I was heading back to Elst. Surely I could do the next 10KM in about the same time?

10KM - check!

10KM – check!

It was not meant to be. My foot was hurting. It was getting warm. I was starting to get those thoughts in my head again. I was starting to get mad at myself. WHY CAN’T I JUST RUN ALL THE WAY THROUGH? STOP WALKING. PICK UP THE PACE. IT’S NOT THAT HARD. SURELY YOU CAN DO THIS. YOU HAVE DONE THIS BEFORE. MANY MANY MANY TIMES. STOP BEING A BABY!

Oh that inside voice can be so mean. I really should fire that chick and hire someone else!!

The 2nd 10KM was around 1 hour and 9 minutes.

Hubs caught me coming up to the train station.  20KM - check!

Hubs caught me coming up to the train station. 20KM – check!

Not so bad! I made it Elst station and there was the hubs, looking fresh and ready to go. We started off. OH MAN DID MY FEET HURT. STUPID BLISTER. G*$D(@*&%T WHY DID I GET THIS BLISTER YESTERDAY??? WHY DID THIS HAPPEN?? WHY ARE MY LEGS SO TIRED AND SORE. WHY DO I HAVE TO STOP ALL THE TIME?? It wasn’t but maybe 3.5KM and I had a total meltdown. You know, the ugly cry. Mad at myself again. Other people can do this, why can’t I? Why am I so lame? Husband puts his arms around me. Tells me this is just training. Sometimes it’s hard. It’s actually ok to walk sometimes. You’ve done this before. You are a rockstar! Come on, you can do this!

I made it finally to 28KM and there was the John Frost bridge. We had to cross it. Then it was 3KM home. Oh HELL NO. I was doing 30KM and that was it. I was already over 3 hours. 29.4 and I saw the bus. I got ON the bus, stopped the watch and got off 1 stop early. I started up the watch again and I ran the 600 metres home and stopped the damn watch for the final time. Some people call that cheating. I call it not having to walk on a blistered sore foot 2 KM home. 30KM. It was enough.

Thank DOG that's over.  I'm smiling, but it's forced.

Thank DOG that’s over. I’m smiling, but it’s forced.

Why do I do this again?

Why does that voice win?

How can I change it?

Do you have a meangirl/guy voice and if you do, how do you stop it?

On another note: my husband, what a guy, hey?

RnR Chicago – My Kind of Town! My Kind of Race!

skyline panorama You guys! I went to Chicago to run the Rock ‘n Roll 5K and Half Marathon!

Once again a little disclaimer: this year I have been chosen as a member of the 2015 Rock’n’Blog team and as a member I receive free entry to the races I participate in. Everything else is my own cost and all opinions are my own.

So a long time ago, I not only grew up in the suburbs of Chicago (from 1 – 10 years old) but I also lived in the city (from 18 – 21) but in 1990 I moved to Portland, Oregon, which is where I spent 4 years before I came to the Netherlands. Often I have feelings of homesickness for New Mexico, where I was born and where my family lives, but sometimes I long for the big city of Chicago. It’s been probably 22 years since I was really in the city properly and obviously 25 since I moved away. I still have friends there – which, when I have a longer layover, I try to meet up with, though hanging out at the airport is not exactly the same as being in the city – and I actually opted out of Fitbloggin this year to spend some time back in Chi-town with my homies and participate in Rock ‘n’ Roll Race weekend as a bonus. Since moving back to the US is still kind of in the back of my mind, I also thought it would be a good idea to see if I still had that “feeling” for the city or if it was just something that was sweet in my mind.

I’ll not bore you with the nitty-gritty of my entire trip, but suffice it to say I HAD A BLAST! So, so great seeing my friends again and being in the city was just WOW! I must have looked like a real nutter walking around with such a huge grin on my face!

I will say that while I was there I kept active but I may or may not have eaten all the things:

brioche and a lovely latte

brioche and a lovely latte

Maxwell Street Polish Sausage

Maxwell Street Polish Sausage

Not your typical deep-dish, prefer a thinner crust.

Not your typical deep-dish, prefer a thinner crust.

no trip is complete without mexican food!

no trip is complete without mexican food!

Italian Beef!!  not dipped, sorry to disappoint...

Italian Beef!! not dipped, sorry to disappoint…

Dutch pannekoeken about 10 minutes from J's house.  Had to be done!

Dutch pannekoeken about 10 minutes from J’s house. Had to be done!

I did however join a local gym for a week and went 5 times, I ran 10 miles the first Sunday after I arrived, I biked with one of my besties along the Lake Shore Trail and in the city, and of course I RAN the Rock ‘n’ Roll 5K and Half marathon, also with friends!

made it to the lake, not overheated, yet...

made it to the lake, not overheated, yet…

hot and sweaty, nearly back from my Sunday Long Run

hot and sweaty, nearly back from my Sunday Long Run

getting my sweat on at the gym

getting my sweat on at the gym

And J and I rode our bikes on Friday from the Expo back up to her place:

Our bikes for the trip - one was J's and the other I borrowed from my good friend R.

Our bikes for the trip – one was J’s and the other I borrowed from my good friend R.

Pit stop at the beach

Pit stop at the beach

Obligatory Wrigley Field Shot

Obligatory Wrigley Field Shot

In front of my old apartment in Lake View!

In front of my old apartment in Lake View!

The Expo
J was kind enough to go with me to the Expo at McCormick place so that’s where our bike journey actually started. Instead of biking down there and back, we took the bikes on the train. It was a really hot day and we thought this would be more realistic. Thank dog we made that decision!

My lovely J and I at McCormick Place for the Expo!

My lovely J and I at McCormick Place for the Expo!

Got the Guns out!

Got the Guns out!

Sadly, the closest I came to Meb. I was just too late.

Sadly, the closest I came to Meb. I was just too late.

Rock ‘n’ Roll 5K – Saturday

First of all. Races start so early in the US, you guys! OMG.

Because I was staying up at my friend J’s house I had about a 40 minute ride on the L. That particular weekend they were doing work on the L (of course, because it’s me and wherever I go there are transit issues). I wanted to get there particularly early so that I could first go to the hotel that me and my two friends (One from Fitbloggin and one from school) were staying at since we would all be participating in the events Sunday. I left J’s at 5am, with an overnight bag stuffed to the gills and made it down to the Congress Hotel without a hitch by 6am. I was easily able to drop of my stuff. And now… I had an hour and half before I had to be at the start, which was practically a stone’s throw from the hotel (PERFECT HOTEL LOCATION by the way). I putzed around a bit, and I think I ended up at Panera for a cinnamon roll as big as my head and a small (very large and not good for race day bladder) coffee. Around 6:50 I started walking towards the park (across the street) and over to gear check.

musta been a little mouse that took that first bite out before the photo...

musta been a little mouse that took that first bite out before the photo…

Once again, VERY impressed with the organisation. Gear Check was easy to find, though I hadn’t really studied my map much before the event and had to ask someone. Loads of porta-potties. Once I used the facilities a few times and dropped off my stuff it was over to the starting corrals, very near gear check.

Nobody really followed the rules for the corrals. Or at least, maybe once you were past corral 3, nobody cared anymore. I was in corral 4 but I saw people with numbers starting with 7, 9, 11… basically it was kind of a free for all. No damage done, at least not for me, I was there to have a shake out run, get a medal and then qualify for the remix medal.

It was hot, though, you guys. Honestly. 7:30 in the morning start time and I had sweat pouring off me. We started on time and there was a minute or two in between the waves so there wasn’t much congestion along the way. My 5K time: 33:56. I did stop somewhere around 3K to snap a few photos. Honestly I thought I was going to melt.

Honestly who gets up this early and is the only one at the L stop?  This  chick!!

Honestly who gets up this early and is the only one at the L stop? This chick!!

In the corrals

In the corrals

Corral Selfie!

Corral Selfie!

around the 3k mark.

around the 3k mark.

Smiling, but hot!!

Smiling, but hot!!

Best View Ever!

Best View Ever!

I did it!!

I did it!!

but MAN AM I HOT!!

but MAN AM I HOT!!

I wanted to go meet Meb but this is what the queue looked like:

The queue to meet Meb... a half hour before he was scheduled to arrive...

The queue to meet Meb… a half hour before he was scheduled to arrive…

To be perfectly honest, I just wanted to get something to eat and drink more coffee. I was supposed to meet-up with some other people (I thought) at 10, so I headed out to Cosi Chicago, where I had the most amazing squagel with cream cheese.

The Squagel.  So delish.

The Squagel. So delish.

Around 9:45 I headed over to where I was supposed to meet people, looked at the invite and saw that it actually started at 9. Oops! I walked in, recognised no one, stood there like a dork for a few minutes, felt completely out of place and walked out. Weird. Yes, even I am insecure sometimes!

At that point I had more time to kill and I basically walked around a bit, drank more coffee and then finally headed out to the Expo for the 2nd time to meet Bari (my Fitbloggin friend). Getting there, of course, was a breeze since I’d been there the day before.

Bari and I found each other easily, hung out at the expo a bit and then went back together to the hotel where we were meeting my high-school friend Becky. Becky and I hadn’t seen each other since 1988 or 89! Becky was running a little late so Bari and I enjoyed a brew together and when Becky did finally arrived we immediately went to carb-load (as you do). Bari was running the 10K and Becky and I the Half.

Bari and I at the expo

Bari and I at the expo

The Half-Marathon

Sadly all of my fears surrounding the Half-Marathon were going to come true one by one. I did not sleep well at all (serious insomnia and my foot was driving me nuts), I did not have a lot to eat for breakfast as the hotel breakfast was too late (or the race was just too d*^n early), it was already hot by 6 in the morning and humid to boot. I was sure this would be my most challenging race ever. Yes, even more challenging than a marathon.

So the girls and I were up and ready pretty much on auto-pilot (had only a half a cup of coffee as well) and out the door to our respective races. Bari had to go to a different start area, which was changed at the last minute (kind of a bummer) so we crossed the road from our hotel and said goodbye and good luck. Becky had to pick up her race packet at the Solutions Tent since she was unable to come to the expo on time. We also had different starting corrals, so we hung out a bit, checked in our gear, used the loos, did the obligatory selfie and said goodbye and good luck.

bit early for this!!!

bit early for this!!!

Half Marathon Selfie

Half Marathon Selfie

can you see I'm already sweating??

can you see I’m already sweating??

This was by far the hardest Half Marathon I’ve run and that pretty much because of the heat. Since it was a while ago and I don’t remember all the details by the mile, I can sum it up like this:

Good Stuff
1) I’m going to keep repeating myself – the RnR organisation is amazing. Most people in my corral were from my corral, so it wasn’t like the 5K the day before. And good wave timing. I never felt like I was being run over by other runners or that it was too crowded. Gear check was smooth, lots of loos, etc. There were even bananas available before the start which was great since I was only able to eat a half a bagel with jam that early in the morning.

2) amazing support along the way. Chicago supporters ROCK!

3) The city itself – honestly, what a GREAT place to run (ok RnR didn’t do that, but still…). Downtown is just amazing, the architecture, the art, the statues. Even if you don’t run Chicago, you should go there (but if you go, why not RUN??)

4) Water posts – exactly where they were supposed to be. A lot of people complained that they weren’t manned well and that the gatorade, for example, wasn’t mixed well at all. I only take water at the drink posts and use my own gels, etc that I have tested during my training. Also, because it was so hot I didn’t mind at all to get my own water, plus I was able to wet down my buff to keep my head cool.

5) medical stations with ICE – I took handfulls of ice and shoved them down the front and back of my shirt. life saver.

6) The Chinese Drummers on the edge of ChinaTown – this was, next to point 7, my favourite entertainment along the way. These guys gave me goosebumps! I almost stopped completely just to listen to them.

7) The Music Mile – in a word, FABULOUS. Honestly gave me so much energy.

8) The Finish – the organisation got it right again; medals, food, drink, anything you needed was available. ICE COLD TOWELS, people! I must have walked around with that on my head for a good 10 minutes!

On the Music Mile

On the Music Mile

I can't believe it but I made it!  Honestly from about the 3rd mile on, I struggled!

I can’t believe it but I made it! Honestly from about the 3rd mile on, I struggled!

Yes! the remix challenge Chicago is complete!

Yes! the remix challenge Chicago is complete!

Sadly I was not able to take a lot of photos along the way. I was too worried about my phone getting wet so I kept it safely in my pouch until the Music Mile.

Could be improved
1) For me it would simply be that there are more bands along the way. The reason I love RnR so much is the music along the way. It keeps me going. I am sorry, but stilt walkers as entertainment don’t do it for me. There were lots of cheerleaders and that was ok, but please RnR GIVE US THE MUSIC.

2) I was not able to pick up my WORLD ROCKER medal. This was a bit of a letdown. No matter where you begin your RnR journey, if you travel to another country after that, you should be able to pick up your WR medal. The medal ladies were super sweet though, so I can’t blame them for anything.

The three of us all struggled with the heat but all made it to the finish. That’s what it’s about, really! That you do what you set out to do, no matter the struggle or ease!

To date this was my 2nd worst finish time, 2:39:46. I wasn’t going for any personal records at any point of the trip or the weekend. And even though it was my worst, I’m still grateful that I can run and proud of the achievement.

Because we all had different end times, we agreed to meet up with each other once we’d all made it across the finish line. Once I finished, I went back to the hotel to shower and change and check in with the girls. I was starving so I decided to get something to eat or I thought for sure I would pass out. Bari caught up with me at post-race meal #1 and then Becky was in and we all came together for what was MY post-race meal #2!

Grub after the Half

Grub after the Half

Sadly the weekend with B&B was coming to a close. Bari had to head up back to Michigan and Becky a bit south of Chicago. We officially checked out of our hotel, hugged and said “until next time”.

I headed back up to J’s, took a wee nap and then she treated me to that delicious looking pizza that I posted above.

Personally, this was a trip and a race weekend I’ll never forget. I don’t regret flying to the US AT ALL to participate and was so glad I could make it a bit of a reunion vacation with friends. If you still aren’t convinced to do a Rock ‘n Roll race, JUST DO IT. Honestly, you will love it!!

There are still some races in 2015! That means if you use my promotional code RUNWITHPINKY you can get $15 off any Half or Full in the US or Canada* (*except Vegas!! Sorry!) and if you are in Europe and you want to run LISBON with me, you can use the code for a wee discount as well (€3, but the race isn’t as expensive as in North America).

Liverpool – Rock n Roll Marathon Day! (Part II)

On Sunday we woke up early to hit the breakfast bar on time. It wasn’t totally ideal but we did our best with carbs (cereal, toast, danish) and sweet things like honey and jam. We also had our carb-loader drink and prepared another to take with us. Since we were VIP we weren’t too worried about crowds, portaloos or checking in our bags. It was all sorted for us.

I think this should be my marathon shirt from now on.

I think this should be my marathon shirt from now on.

I invited my friend Rob (we met in Paris) and he had Adrian with him, a friend of his from York. I wasn’t able to arrange it to far in advance, but when we arrived at VIP it wasn’t too busy so I asked Jessica if Rob and Adrian could come up to VIP with us. She kindly obliged. Rob and Adrian were super happy about it as well!

Marathon Morning - with Adrian!

Marathon Morning – with Adrian!

And with Rob !

And with Rob !

We saw Nicky and Marc there briefly (the beauty and brains behind Running the World)- the were running the Half – and the guys and I nervously chatted before finally heading out to the starting corrals. I was in 8, then guys were in much faster pens (the Hubs in the first corral, Adrian in the 2nd and Rob in the 4th). So by the time we went to the starting area I was on my own.

Holy Crap I'm really going to do this again??

Holy Crap I’m really going to do this again??

I wish I was better at remember each mile. but the fact of the matter is, I’m so busy taking it all in with some crazy grin on my face whilst running that I forget some details. I do remember that I had to pee almost immediately after starting (yay?); I simply had had too much to drink before the start. At the first drink station, there were also loos (there were loos at EVERY drink station) so I made the first good decision of the race. I noticed later there were even queues to use the loos and I’m glad I went when I did.

We were so lucky with the weather – it really wasn’t too hot and not too humid either (it was supposed to rain but never did). Even with the hills (Hello. Why did no one tell me there were hills in Liverpool???) my pace was really good. At some point (I think around 7KM but not totally sure) I saw the first runners coming back around the other side of the road and they all had 1’s on their bibs so I had a good feeling I would see the hubs. And I did!! So, so awesome so see his smiling face!

Up one of the hardest hills were the High5 Support Crew – tons of students from a local university cheering us on and attempting to “help” us run up the hill! Was great though, even if no one carried me. There was a drum band, water and High5 energy drink. I stopped to snap a few pics and thank them for their support.

High5 cheering

High51

High52

i am smiling but these hills are killing!

i am smiling but these hills are killing!

High-5 to the rescue!

High-5 to the rescue!

Sometime around 10 miles (16K) I ran into Lesley! Lesley and I “met” on a spin-off group and we hadn’t had the chance yet to meet in person, so imagine my happy surprise that I found her along the way! We ran together until the Half Marathon point, where I wanted to stop and walk a wee bit. This was probably my worst decision of the race…

It was starting to get warm, i could see that others were also a bit affected by the temperature, but mostly I was just really feeling the hills in my legs. Luckily the bands along the way REALLY kept me going. And, something else I didn’t know about Liverpool? It’s so GREEN! We ran through so many parks (or maybe the same ones, I have no idea! ha!), it was just incredibly beautiful.

somewhere after the half

somewhere after the half

one of the awesome singers along the way

one of the awesome singers along the way

My favorite part, at 29KM was Penny Lane! As we came through we passed the corner and I could hear the music playing. I could feel tears welling up in my eyes. Growing up with the Beatles and running here in liverpool just made it so special. I know it’s uber-cheesy but I just thought about my dad and how the music influenced my life.

it's in my ears and in my eyes

it’s in my ears and in my eyes

Finally the beer and burgers from the weekend were catching up with me and I had to use the loo again. Nobody wants to talk about it yet we all know what a whole bunch of running will do to the belly when it has stuff in there that needs to come out. However, I have to say, the loos and water stops were so well organised! Clean loos and even lots of paper! Anyway, I’ll spare you the details, the tummy just wasn’t feeling it but I was able to solve that problem swiftly.

It was just after mile 22 when we came down a bit of a hill and ended up right smack dab at the river Mersey! What an amazing sight! I mean it really took my breath away! I stopped then and took some photos and admired the view for a moment. I then started running again and saw that quite close behind me was the 4:45 pacer. I picked up my pace enough to have him a bit further behind me. Alas, I just couldn’t continue. I saw George and we verbally High-Fived one another. This was by far the loneliest part of the race. I think if I would do it again, I would bring my headphones just for these moments.

what a view!

what a view!

the hardest miles

the hardest miles

Mile 23 -25 were just killer. FINALLY we came around where I could actually see the docs again and hit mile 26. I was JUST under 5 hours. I cranked it up again and sprinted for the finish! SPRINTED! What a bummer to come in at 5 hours and THREE SECONDS. So much for under 5 hours! I know it’s still a great accomplishment, but I can’t help but be a bit bummed. Why didn’t I sprint sooner? Why did I stop so much? Oh well, the things we learn, eh?

I came through the Echo arena again to collect my medal and once again felt like bursting into tears. It’s so hard to describe the feeling of accomplishment, especially when you still have doubts about your abilities and negative self-talk going on in your head. I was SO happy to be done! And who did I find after collecting my medal? Lesley!!

The Marathon Medal

The Marathon Medal

lesley and pinky

I collected my goodie bag and hobbled UP the arena stairs to go out of the building (who thinks of these things??? we just ran a friggin marathon!) and over to the FREE PINT OF BEER area and to pick up my extra medal for running both races in the weekend.

5K, REMIX and Marathon Medals

5K, REMIX and Marathon Medals

I got up to the VIP area where my man (who ran it in 3:16 even after having an altercation with some bikers and a tumble to the ground, ripping up his hands and leg) was waiting for me. Jessica was there but most everyone had gone. Rob and Adi had to get back to York. Marc and Nicky were off at Revolution celebrating. So, after finally getting off my shoes and socks and switching to compression socks, we made our way over to the Revolution bar with the other RTW’ers!

my poor dogs were killing me!

my poor dogs were killing me!

It was an absolutely fabulous time at Revolution with some truly wonderful people – I wish I had photos to share but I may snag a few off Nicky or Karen or Steve or Joni… It was finally time to go hobble to get food or it was going to be a liquid dinner and no after show for us!

I promise Part III won’t take as long as Part I and II! After Party and final thoughts coming up!

Rock n Roll Liverpool Marathon Weekend!

About to Rock the World!

About to Rock the World!

Before I start off with what a FANTABULOUS weekend the Hubs and I had, I want to add this little, yet important, full disclosure: As part of the Rock ‘N’ Blog 2015 team I and the Hubs received free race entries & VIP experience. However all opinions regarding my experience are entirely my own.

Phew. We got that straight out into the open!

After I ran Paris I was still riding high with emotions and pretty much decided immediately to change my race entry from the Half to the Full. I had the feeling I could have done it just a tad better, a tad faster, and thought, “what the heck”! I had the km’s in my legs and I continued with several long runs so that my body wouldn’t go into complete and utter shock at running 42 kilometers again after only 6 weeks. If I could do it all again, I would NOT run a marathon only 6 weeks after a marathon… yet I say that now and pretty much I will be doing back to back marathons in October… but I digress… *don’t be a dope like me, let your body recover!!

Anywhoo! Liverpool Weekend!! A week before we were meant to go to Liverpool I got a wee bit of bad news regarding my job and so I wasn’t sleeping very well (still not) but I did my best to stay positive. After all I wasn’t in trouble financially and the weekend was already pretty much planned so on the Friday Morning after my bad news we headed to the airport for our weekend of fun!

Flying over blighty

Flying over blighty

Since we arrived too early to check into the hotel, we dropped our bags and then walked to the expo! I love going to Race Expos and had no idea that they weren’t much of a thing in England! I expected it to be HUGE, after all it was held at the ECHO arena!

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We were wanting to not only pick up our 5K race packets, but also our marathon packets and hopefully our VIP passes. My understanding was also that we would be provided with a bag that we could use for both races for our after-race clothing. I also wanted to try and find George Melichar since he is our badass Rock n Roll Marathon Series Ambassador and just happened to be running Liverpool as well! Little did I know the Expo would be so tiny! We didn’t get a bag and we didn’t bring one, but we were sorted out with the guys from RunGeek who were selling official RnR Liverpool merchandise. It was super easy to find George since you really can’t miss the guy with the green mohawk and the VIP passes were in my marathon envelope so we were pretty much sorted within 10 minutes. We did get our finisher’s shirts already, and at first I was confused because I thought that was to be collected after the race!

rocking his new hoodie

rocking his new hoodie

We did have a look at the stands that were present and we spent time (and money) at the High5 Nutrition booth where I fell in friendship-love with Julian (we shared a love of the same flavour sports bar and the music of Marc Almond). After an hour or so, however, we were just really done, there was nothing more to see or do. As an expo lover, this was kind of a bummer, but I understand it’s just not a thing in England, so I’m ok with it.

showing off BOTH race numbers for Liverpool Marathon Weekend!

showing off BOTH race numbers for Liverpool Marathon Weekend!

We made our way back to our hotel via LiverpoolONE shopping center (tip: don’t walk miles and miles before you are running a race, you will regret it later!!), both put on our shirts for fun and headed off for a beer and a burger for dinner.

Selfie with our finishers shirts (not yet earned of course)

Selfie with our finishers shirts (not yet earned of course)

Oh for the Love of Pete!  WHY, Universe!!?  WHY???

Oh for the Love of Pete! WHY, Universe!!? WHY???



*Fun Fact – The Hubs has never had a KrispyKreme donut until our trip to Liverpool of all places. He agreed it was a good thing we don’t have KrispyKreme here in the NL since it’s like the cake-donut form of crack.

We didn’t want to be out late, so after dinner we headed back to the hotel and got flat Pinky and flat Fonzie ready for the 5K the next morning. There were some VIP events happening on the Friday night but we chose not to go so that we would be fresh in the morning.

Saturday Morning

Breakfast was at 7am and the race started at 9:30 so we wanted to be sure that we ate on time (no one wants to run even a 5K with a full belly). We arrived somewhere around 8:30 and ran into George almost right away (after of course a spectacular intro on the stage and a mohawk giveaway). I like to be at a race at least an hour early but I think we could have been a bit later in this case as it was a fairly small event. Hopefully this race will only grow in size because it was simply AWESOME!

Rocking With Geo!

Rocking With Geo!

shoe shot 5K

shoe shot 5K

Our 5K faces

Our 5K faces

I did not plan on “racing” this 5K, but I realised on Friday that it would be my very first OFFICIAL 5K! In all this time I’ve never run a proper 5K race, so I thought, hey, if I could get it at 30 min or less that would be pretty cool. In the end I ran it in 30:48, which is totally great by me! The 5K went pretty much around the docks and was a fun and easy run thanks to the participants and the crowds!

liverpool5k

With the 5K there was already a bit of music, which was a pleasant surprise, and quite some cheering going on. The weather was very fine and it wasn’t crowded at all. For a first time running in the UK I was just very happy overall with the experience. Maybe I’m imagining it but it just seems to be a more laid-back and friendly group of people than what I had expected. The funnest part? The 5K finished INSIDE the Echo Arena!! That was super cool, like running into a concert and you are the rock star everyone is waiting for!

After the 5K we were treated to VIP brunch which turned out to be quite a small affair; me, the Hubs, a few people from the organisation (Hi Jessica!) and a few friends from Running the World (a Facebook group). And, the lovely George as well!

After brunch, lots of coffee and chit chat we walked back to the hotel, showered and changed and then walked BACK to the Expo (I think we’ve now seen the Expo and the docks at least 10,000 times) to officially meet some of the Running The World group under the wheel for a meet and greet. After some photos and more chatting, we said “so long” and headed back to the hotel, but this time via the shopping center and shopping street. We had a reservation for dinner at 6pm, so we wanted to just take it easy, rest up and bit and then go for our carb load session and Jamie’s Italian.

Thanks to Karen for the photo!

Thanks to Karen for the photo!

YES!!  I puffy heart Jamie Oliver!

YES!! I puffy heart Jamie Oliver!

Jamie's Menu

Jamie’s Menu

OMG, dinner was SO good. Honestly, I was not at all surprised, only surprised I didn’t know there WAS a Jamie’s in Liverpool. I didn’t really do much Liverpool homework before we went though.

We ate, arranged a few items we needed (water mostly) and went back to the hotel to get our stuff ready for the next day. The hotel luckily had enough requests to do a (mostly) cold breakfast bar so at least we could eat there since we weren’t super sure what the VIP breakfast would be like. If I could do it all again, I would do something like a self-catering place so that I could truly eat properly before the marathon, like I did in Paris. But, ok, we learn stuff with each endeavour, right?

Liverpool – Marathon Day coming right up!

The Marathon Recap – Paris, the Big Day (Part II)

After a fairly restful night’s sleep, the alarm woke us at 05:10 so that we could eat on time and meet up with the rest of the group around 6:30am < insert yawn here > to take the Metro towards the Arc du Triomphe. There were 6 of us running and coincidentally a pair of each of us in 3 different starting pens. The earliest pen started at 8:50, then 9:15, then 10:05. So we wanted to be at the race no later than 7:45 to be sure that we could check in our bags, go to the loos, take pictures and walk each other to the starting pens to say goodbye and good luck.

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As we ascended onto the street near the Arc du Triomphe, we joined the manageable crowd making their way towards baggage drop off. There was a lot of nervous energy between our group and plenty of nervous-looking people arriving at the race. It was sunny, but not yet very warm but we were prepared to stay warm for that moment with layers and the plastic vest given to us in our goodie bags. Queues were forming at the porta-loos and people were randomly warming up or standing around chatting and laughing to get rid of nervous energy.

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We did some of our own group photos, the guys dropped off their stuff and we eventually headed towards the first starting areas.

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Suddenly, I panicked. By the time we walked to the starting pen for Ron and Martijn (who started the earliest) and then for Chantor and Vincent, maybe Kim and I would be too late getting back to the baggage area again to use the loos, drop off our bags, etc., so I stopped to make an announcement: Kim and I would not be going further. We would have to say goodbye and good luck and see each other later. I so wanted to see the Hubs off at his corral but couldn’t take the risk. I hugged my man and cried just a tiny bit which of course set Kim off as well! Now all of us exchanged hugs and kisses and Kim and I made our way back.

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We still had what felt like hours so we stood in line for the loos and made jokes and small talk with others in the queue as if we all knew each other and had been friends forever. The temperature was rising by now and the layers were coming off (I had space in my pack as did Kim).

Finally it was time to walk to the corral. More waiting for the loo (you never know!!) but this time it was too crowded and impossible to go again. We never made it before our start time, the line was just too long! Suddenly it was time to go, and that we did!!

Kim & Pinky in the Pen

To be honest the first few kilometers were like floating on air. While it was crowded and people were running a bit willy-nilly, I just felt incredibly happy. This was the day! We were running the Paris Marathon!

We were on target the first 5 kilometers. We stopped briefly at the first waterpost and continued onwards. The sun was out, it was getting warmer, the sights were amazing and the crowds were incredible! The bands along the way gave us so much energy. Before we knew it, we were 5 kilometers further and still on target. We planned on stopping at every post to be sure to stay hydrated (even though we had our packs – that water was for if we needed it in between). Sometime after 10KM Kim started to feel a bit off. We walked a bit, then ran again. It was still getting warmer. It was affecting how she felt. We walked again quite a bit around 16 kilometers. At 20KM we were slightly over our planned time but nothing major. By now I really had to stop for the loo. My 46 year old bladder could no longer continue.

Between 23 – 30 kilometers we walked and ran. But mostly a lot of walking. I was still happy and didn’t care much about the time.

Pinky and Kim Paris Marathon

We were running along the Seine and through tunnels with DJ’s and laser light shows! But Kim wasn’t feeling well at all. My right foot was hurting a bit. I knew what I needed to do and I felt pretty guilty about it. I was going to have to leave Kim behind. We made it through another couple of KM’s, hit another loo (for Kim; I stood outside and ate a raisin bun with honey) and then finally Kim convinced me to go on by myself. I cried when she said “Don’t worry! I still love you!”, we hugged and I started off on my own (well, with thousands of others on the course).

Some point soon after, around 35KM, everything just became a bit of a blur. I kept seeing the numbers… 36… 37…38… but honestly I did not notice much around me. Putting one foot in front of the other was the goal. I stopped a couple of times because my foot and calf were bugging me, but otherwise pressed on. I was in so much of a fog that I missed the wine stop somewhere around 40 kilometers!

Somewhere around 41KM I snapped out of my fog, came around a corner and saw my man and a few friends from our group cheering for me! I was nearly there!!

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Somehow my legs and feet kept going and I crossed the finish line at 5:12:52 and yes, I definitely cried! That ugly, chest-shaking, snotty cry!

I walked over to our baggage area and camped out waiting for Kim. She wasn’t far behind me, about as long as it took to get my bloody toes into compression socks! We hugged, sat down together for a bit and then finally made our way to the exit to meet our people again. tons of hugs and kisses and of course, the obligatory photo near the Arc du Triomphe.

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Afterwards the Hubs and I went together to FINALLY have a couple of beers and some grub and then joined the rest later at the apartment.

Celebratory Beer

I am now officially a marathoner!!

paris marathon map

Marathoner Pinky

Highlights of the Race:

1. DUH!! It’s Paris!
2. Crowd Support – absolutely phenomenal.
3. Drink and Fuel stations every 5KM. Also small bottles of water to take rather than flimsy cups.
4. The music along the way; rock bands, traditional horns, drum bands. ALL amazing!
5. Organisation in general. From the Expo and packet pickup to baggage drop off to clear instructions along the way to get to starting corrals, etc.
6. The bling is gorgeous!

Slight Irritations:

1. Not enough loos in the starting corrals
2. Bottle caps and orange/ banana peels all over the street at water/fuel stops. Pretty dangerous.
3. Groups of people running on the right, left and in between, very willy-nilly (that’s not the fault of the organisation per se, that’s people not really running by the “rules” ). It was hard to maneuver in the beginning.

Would I do Paris again? Well, I’ve already signed up for next year!! It’s a definite YES!

RockNRoll Baby! Liverpool Half or Full Giveaway!

RnR-300x217

Ladies and Gents, as you know, this year I am a PROUD member of the RockNBlog team for the Rock ‘N’ Roll Marathon Race Series! I had the pleasure of running Lisbon Half a few years ago and absolutely LOVED the experience. But then again who doesn’t love awesome entertainment along the route, plenty of water and fuel stops, and a great atmosphere? Oh and have I ever mentioned the BLING? The bling just ties the whole package together!

This year I’m going to be running 4 races in the Rock ‘N’ Roll Marathon series:

Liverpool– 5K Saturday and Half Marathon Sunday, Jun 13th and 14th for the REMIX! What is the remix you ask?

“Run the 5k on Saturday AND a race on Sunday and you’ll earn a third medal – the Remix Challenge Medal”

EXTRA BLING YOU SAY? WHY THANK YOU, THANK YOU VERY MUCH!*

HOW AWESOME IS THIS????

HOW AWESOME IS THIS????

Chicago – Who is nuts enough to travel to the US for a Half Marathon? THIS GIRL! To be fair I lived approximately half my US iife in either the suburbs of or the city of Chicago and I still have friends there that I haven’t seen for a long time. Chicago happened to be cheaper than Denver (which was originally my idea, to go to Fitbloggin) so I signed up for the REMIX as well (hello more bling!). One of my friends from High School lives about an hour away and she’s going to run with me. EXCITING! The Humana Rock ‘n’ Roll Weekend July 18th and 19th.

let's hope the bling is just as gorgeous as last year!

let’s hope the bling is just as gorgeous as last year!

Dublin – Another city and another race (Half Marathon) I am looking forward to visiting! The only time I was in Dublin was in 1996 for a long weekend and I didn’t have the same lifestyle then as I have now. So running Dublin is something I’m really looking forward to do. My bestie M is coming with me to support me during the race, but also afterwards with all the celebratory drinks. M and I can be found in The Fair City from the 31st of July until the 3rd of August. The race is on the 2nd of August.

DUBLINRNR

Lisbon – It’s pretty much nuts, but in Lisbon I will be running the FULL Marathon on the 18th of October. As I mentioned, I’ve already done the Half and figure with it’s 6 hour time limit I may as well go for it. Hubs convinced me (took a lot of arm twisting – NOT) to sign up (and sign him up) because he wants to get his World Rocker medal. That’s right, running a full or half in TWO or more countries earns you the WORLD ROCKER MEDAL.

photo from @ourkev on twitter, hope he doesn't mind!

photo from @ourkev on twitter, hope he doesn’t mind!

The Lisbon bling is also cool – this one from 2014:

If this is the Half Marathon Medal, imagine the Full!

If this is the Half Marathon Medal, imagine the Full!

So, here’s the fun bit – Liverpool is my first race this year in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon series and because of that I have a SPECIAL GIVEAWAY. I have here one free ticket to the Half or the Full Marathon on the 14th of June. Though I can’t giveaway the 5K race the day before, I highly recommend signing up to go for the REMIX challenge (3 Medals, 2 races, 1 Badass!). All you have to do to enter to win is COMMENT on this blog post and let me know why you would LOVE to run in Liverpool. After you’ve commented, go to the Rafflecopter widget to unlock that option, plus have the possibility for a few more entries. You have ONE WEEK to enter and win! Feel free to share with your friends as well!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Not able to do Liverpool? Want to run another race instead? Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon series continues throughout the whole year all over North America and the above locations in Europe. Using my discount code gets you $15 off registration of any Half or Full this year in North America or GBP 3/EUR 3 off a European race. So fear not, you can run with me in spirit as well, just by choosing another Rock ‘N’ Roll race!

RUNWITHPINKY for a discount!

RUNWITHPINKY for a discount!

*entry with my code is not valid for the 5K to do the remix challenge

So, ARE YOU READY TO ROCK ‘N’ ROLL???

The Marathon Recap – Paris Edition! Part 1

I know a few weeks have passed now but honestly it’s been tough to actually put the feelings into words for my first marathon.

When I initially started training I did have a time in mind for my finish. At some point I realised that time wasn’t really going to matter much, the point was to finish. Still in my head, based on hundreds of re-calculations, I believed I could run this race in about 4:45. Please, G-d, anything under 5 hours. That’s where my head was at.

Kim and I had trained together and had decided to try and run the marathon together as well. I was very ok with this. Kim and I have a similar pace so we both thought 4:45 was more than doable.

Fast Forward to Thursday before race day:

I took the day off work to take care of some last minute things; physio, pick up a headband from RunnersWorld, give keys to catsitter, pack, get a massage. I think I spent more time doing things like cleaning, dusting and reading the internet than packing. I had several lists of things I needed. I kept checking the lists but I also kept avoiding the packing issue. Eventually I got it together and had most of my stuff ready. Hubs came home early and we went out to dinner at our local cafe (and SocialMile meetup point).

Pre-Paris Dinner

Friday Morning – We’re off to Paris!

The 8 of us (one is missing from the photo, since she’s taking the photo!) load up in the van we rented and we head off to Paris.

Social Milers On Tour

It was a comfortable ride, with the occasional potty break (thank you small bladder!), love birds in front of us and hubs doing weird things along the way:

Banana Warrior

Kim_Chantor

back of the van shot

van shenanigans

Basically we got to Paris without a hitch, found our apartment, parked the van for the duration of our stay and since we couldn’t check in yet, we headed off to the Expo by Metro to pick up our packets and get excited about the coming days (because we weren’t excited enough yet of course!!).

paris expo

SalonduRunning

pinky wall

fonzie wall

Paris bibs

Luckily all of us running had our medical certificates accepted and Mr.Fox and Mr. K were able to change their start times (based on faster end times). We then also picked up our shirts for the 5K Breakfast Run the next morning. We looked around a bit at the expo and then left for all of us to get a coffee together before heading back to the apartment.

Once we were back at the apartment dinner was cooked up and served for the 8 of us and afterwards the hubs and I stayed in while the others headed off to the Sacre Coeur. It was time to rest since rest would be crucial for the next couple of days.

Saturday Morning:

Breakfast Run! Super glad I signed up for this and in total hubs, Kim, C., Mr. Fox and I headed off to the Arc de Triomphe after a quick breakfast in the hotel. And, let us not forget Mrs. Fox, our greatest cheerleader!

A kiss for Mrs. Fox

Right before the run, I “ran into” Stephanie, a Fitbloggin friend, and we had a quick chat before the start. Sadly I spaced and didn’t get a photo of the two of us.

The toughest thing about this 5K Fun Run was that it was realllllllly slow in the beginning… we were practically walking. OK, it’s a fun run and we aren’t meant to go blazing through the streets the day before the marathon but for some people the inability to even run at a slow pace (ahem *hubs*) is just a tiny bit frustrating. Anyway. During the run we noticed someone had a WESTERVOORT jacket on and if you have followed me for any length of time this name will be familiar… this is a neighbouring town where I very often can be found running. So Kim and I start chatting with the man and woman running ahead of us and it turns out to be Emma (and her husband), a friend of Sarah (who often comments – hey Sarah!) who I know only from the internet and a very brief encounter at the Stevensloop this past 15th of March. What are the odds, people!

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breakfast run

Also “ran into” Lois, Stephen and Andy from Running the World !

with RTW friends

After the 5K, Mr and Mrs. Fox headed off to do their own thing, Mr. K and S, our other cheerleader were off sight-seeing, so C, Kim, Hubs and I went back to the Expo. We wanted to catch up with Scott Jurek again, like we had the opportunity to do in Berlin.

pandf expo

with scott Jurek

Hubs had noticed that the Garmin stand was selling the Garmin I wanted to buy at a much cheaper price, so we also ended up there where I handed over a huge chunk of change for a new watch. It had to be done.

After walking around quite a bit at the expo we then finally returned to the apartment. Hubs was the chef for this evening and he wanted to get started early on the pasta so we could eat early. While he was preparing dinner I was preparing my stuff for the next day, feeling quite nervous again but ready as I could be. We then had a very tasty pasta dinner as expected. Then, to distract myself I also got myself ready for a short but sweet meet up with a few other RTW’ers:

RTW meet up

Then back at the apartment again and to bed. This was it!! Tomorrow I would become a MARATHONER!

PART 2 to come shortly!

What I learned, Part 2 – Practical Tips

When you sign up for a marathon, your first reaction is probably excitement, fear and shock all in one go. Oh, and then you will suddenly question your mental health. A whole marathon???

what-are-you-crazy

Once you start your training, you’ll get into the groove of things, you’ll be checking out what food is best and you’ll be doing all the stabilty and core work that will put all the other amateurs to shame. You, friend, are a runner, a runner in TRAINING for one of the most awesome distances, a race that not everyone can or is willing to do.

You’ve tested your food, your gels, your drinks, etc. You are now tapering. You’ve got a week or two weeks to go. The nerves are kicking in hard. Here’s how to prepare for the big day:

1) Carb-loading. Instead of eating all of the things, try a carb-loader drink. We used Etixx Carbo GY (not a sponsor, this is just what we used). The hubs used it a bit more than I did; I literally used it the week before for a few days and not the entire recommended amount. I did however use it the morning of the marathon so I did not have to eat a huge breakfast.

2) Eat dinner the night before EARLY. I think I mentioned this before. Eat breakfast the morning of AT LEAST 3 HOURS prior to the race. Take stuff with you for a bit more energy before you start. I took one SIS Gel right before I started. (again, not a sponsor, just what gel I personally prefer). I also had to small raisin buns with honey in my pack. I even ate one during one loo stop (for Kim, I didn’t eat it in the porta-potty! blech!).

3) Write a list of what you need for the race and then set it ALL out the night before. Everything. Safety pins, vaseline, underwear, bra, watch, sunglasses, hat, etc. Everything you could possibly need and want to have should be READY the night before. Do not mess about with this ladies and gents – you don’t want to forget anything!!

4) Check the weather starting a week before. Now check it like a crazy person again 300 times so you can prepare your stuff the night before for exactly what you might need for the race.

5) Get to the race EARLY. You’ll want to go to the loo (several times if necessary) and in fact even if you don’t have to go, stand in the loo queues as early as possible because you really don’t want to have to stop at the loos along the way. Not that it’s a bad thing (I stopped twice), but it will slow you down a tiny bit. Check in your bag and have warm top handy that you don’t mind getting rid of before the race. I had a foldable jacket actually that I stuck in my hydration pack.

6) Your Check In bag – make a list of what you want to check in as well and pack THAT back the night before. Things you’ll want: compression socks, different pair of shoes (some suggest flip flops but that’s not my style), a dry top, jogging/sport pants, a jacket, a small towel, deodorant, blister plasters (compeed) something to fix up your hair a bit, muscle cream, aspirin in case you have a headache.

7) VASELINE – works a charm if you rub it on and in between the toes. You can also use body glide on chafing areas. My underarm chafed for some reason (well, I do have bingo arms) for the first time so now I know to put vaseline there for the next race.

OK. So now DURING the race:

1) Everyone will tell you this and they are right – DON’T start out too fast! Really. You will need your energy for later! Start off at a normal pace and take it all in. YOU ARE RUNNING A MARATHON. If that doesn’t make you smile I don’t know what will.

2) Use your gels! Or whatever you trained with. Take them as specific times (I did one every 45 min, this is how I trained. However, you can take one every 20 minutes, though more than 3 per hour is not recommended. Tinker during your training to determine your gel times) and take them even if you think you don’t need it. YOU WILL NEED IT. TAKE ALL THE GELS.

3) even if you have a hydration pack – stop very briefly at the water stations for additional water, orange slices, bananas, raisins, wine, cheese. Oh wait. Only if you are running Medoc :) Seriously. Stop, take something, smile and move on. Gels and Hydration are going to save you from the Wall.

4) if you have to go to the loo, stop and go to the loo. don’t worry about your time.

5) Take it all in, enjoy the music and the crowds along the way and SMILE. There are cameras and a very expensive photo package waiting for you after the race.

6) The last 10 or so kilometers will most likely seem really odd. Just keep going. One foot in front of the other. Walk if you have to. Again, don’t worry about time. This is your PR for the marathon. The point is to cross that line with all that hard work and effort in those legs.

7) YOU FINISHED! now go and CELEBRATE. Eat all the things. Drink a beer. YOU JUST RAN A FREAKING MARATHON!!

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