Recap: Cologne Marathon 2015

So I think it’s fairly safe to say that training for Marathon Number Three was not optimal. I struggled sticking to the schedule and well there was summer holiday thrown in there and I was making excuses for drinking alcohol (something I gave up for Paris) and not sticking 100% to my diet. My last long run training was an absolute nightmare as well. However, the last few weeks of training and the last few races I ran (which were all training races) went really well and I was feeling strong, even as if I could DO THIS THING UNDER 5 Hours!

So as marathon weekend was upon us, the Hubs and I got our stuff packed, bought our groceries, threw everything in the car and drove the 2 hours to our destination. First stop, our airbnb apartment! Our hostess greeted us upon our exact, on-time arrival (I really have a thing about being on time so I loved that she was at the door right as we pulled up), showed us the ropes and then left us to our own devices. We immediately headed off to the expo. The tram was like a 2 minute walk from the apartment and 15 minutes ride to the city. Perfect!

The Expo was busy but not too bad. I guess we actually just made it on time. I’m more a fan of the pick-up-your-race-packet-early process and we didn’t arrive until about 2:30pm which, for me, is pushing it. We stood in a queue for quite some time and it wasn’t super clear how it was organised. The race organisation themselves would be printing the numbers on the spot this year for the first time, which I thought was a good idea environmentally and a bad idea logistically. We had to pick up the kit bag first and that’s what was causing the bottleneck. After that we were through the printing part quickly and smoothly.

expo queue selfie


Pinky expo selfie

not too busy expo

We spent a bit more time at the expo and the Hubs was worryingly looking at shoes. Because… he just doesn’t need more shoes right now! Ha! (“But I need racers!”)

no new shoes on race day

no you should not buy the shoes

And then we also tried a few samples here and there and we bought some socks. As you do at the expo. Most importantly I wanted to try the sports drink (Dextro Energy) that would be at the drink posts since this was the first time I would not be using my (or rather the Hubs’) hydration pack. Luckily I really liked the taste of it so I knew I would be able to stomach it during the race (I have a pretty strong stomach anyway, but to be sure I don’t like to drink new stuff at a race).

Of course we did the obligatory I-Got-My-Bib shots:

Pinky start number

Ron start number

And then we were ready to head back to the apartment.

kit bag

When we were finished we noticed that it was REALLY busy at the Expo. There was a queue all the way down the street! As we walked back to the metro we saw a lot of people dressed in traditional costumes. We found out later that it was German Unity Day and that’s why we were seeing a ton of lederhosen. I thought it was kind of funny/cute.

ok now it's busy

seen on our way back to the apt

Here’s me in my relaxation pose, back at the apartment, while the Hubs prepared our carb feast:


After dinner we got our gear (Instagram) ready!

prepping for the race

Ron Gear Check

Sunday – RACE DAY

We had a good night’s sleep (at least this is a recurring theme!) and since most of our stuff was prepped the night before we didn’t really have to think a lot about what needed to happen. We had both been carb-loading a few days prior to the race with our beloved carbo loader from Etixx and race morning was no different. We had breakfast and were out the door in plenty of time to arrive at the start. In hindsight, I did not eat as much as I normally do, and this would absolutely kill me later.

race morning selfie metro

We weren’t 100% certain on where to go so we just kind of followed everyone else and eventually found the start, the loos and the kit bag drop-off. The Hubs was in the first starting wave and I was in the 4th so eventually we had to say good-bye and good-luck to each other. I decided to go to the loo one last time (I always go when I arrive at the start even if I don’t have to, because let’s face it, if you’ve had a half liter of carb-load drink or water, you are going to have to go!!) and then try to find my starting corral. Here’s where I was totally confused. It wasn’t clear at all and I ended up in a further back corral initially but finally found someone who spoke a little English and they helped me get to the right area.

The start was a bit rough, it was quite crowded and slow-going in the beginning. I wanted to try this marathon based on heart-rate using the MARCO calculator and actually, it went really well for about the first 17 kilometers (as I was trying to keep my HR under 150). My 10K time was 1:06 and my Half was 2:20. It was a tiny bit slower than desired but I still thought I would finally make it under 5 hours! After the Half though my heart rate was going up and my speed was going down! I could not understand it. I started to feel like I was running through molasses. Could this be what the Wall feels like, I wondered?

By kilometer 28 I knew I was in trouble. I was starting to feel delirious and HUNGRY. And if you feel hungry when running, it’s too late. I was taking in my gels but it wasn’t enough. Until then I hadn’t stopped except one time for about 20 seconds to drink some sports drink (water I’m fine with throwing half of it over my face, sticky sports drink, not), but right before 28 I had to walk. I had to eat something and it had to be soon. So I grabbed my clifbar from my back pocket of my shorts and did my best to choke it down. It was tough though because I was also feeling ill. I had to make sure that I got enough to drink at the next water post to really get that thing down my neck.

From 30 to 38 it was an absolute nightmare. I would try to run and it felt like I was moving backwards. I was hardly moving! My heart rate was way too high for this! So then I would walk a bit and then try to run again. It was finally after 38KM that I was feeling somewhat normal again. But I was so upset. I couldn’t even hold back my tears anymore. I failed once again. Stupid body. Why can’t I just run a marathon all the way through!? At 40KM I was 9 minutes away from the 5 hour mark. It was not going to happen today.

Finally I crossed the line, picked up my medal and made my way towards all the great stuff they have to eat. Too bad I felt like death on wheels. I really wanted to eat a bratwurst but I could only choke down a pretzel. I also drank a coke (I never drink soda but it was super tasty!). I managed to find the hubs and burst into tears. I was so disappointed (I still am, to be honest, am emotional writing this). After about 20 minutes or so I finally perked up a bit. I ran my 3rd marathon! Until this year I didn’t even know I could run 1 marathon let alone 3!

marathon medal cologne

We had a quick beer in the center near the Dom and then because we were both kind of cold we stopped off in Starbucks to have a warm coffee before deciding what we wanted to eat. Then we found a “mexican” place (which wasn’t really Mexican, but my standards are high…) around dinner time where we could finally enjoy another well-deserved beer and some food.

after race bib shot

deserved beers

Eventually we made it back to the apartment, where we both had a nice long soak and a Tiger Balm rub down before hitting the sack.

after marathon soak

Monday, the day after. Ouch.

Since we had the day off we still wanted to take advantage in being in Germany’s Fourth Largest City before heading home. We had to check out by 11am so we slept in a bit, had a nice breakfast and then headed into town to try to gently but actively recover. We parked the car in a garage near the Hard Rock Cafe and stopped into Dunkin Donuts (we don’t have them in NL) so that we could somehow determine whether they were as good as Krispy Kreme (hahahaha!), we walked around a bit, got coffee, checked out the Lego store and then headed to the DOM for a little tour (of all the times I’ve been to Cologne, I’ve NEVER been in the Cathedral).

pinky with a woody

ice cream building

dom candles

dom selfie





AND OF COURSE we had to go to the Hard Rock Cafe for lunch!! It’s tradition!

of course we went to HRC

Finally it was time to go home. It was a good weekend and I still learned something from the experience. The race course itself was really nice, though there were some spots that were hard on the feet and it was NOT flat like everyone says! It’s a great city and in general it was very well organised. We had some confusion because we aren’t German speakers and I think if the organisation really wants to appeal to international runners (because this could be a good replacement if one doesn’t get into Berlin) they should accommodate just a little bit more to other languages or at least English. The finish line food set up was AMAZING, I’ve never seen anything like it and you could just fill up a tray full of food – fruit, sausages, donuts, pretzels, yoghurt, energy bars, etc – and take all you wanted.

Have you ever done a race where it completely went wrong about halfway through? Have you run any race where you felt like you were going to be ill or you hit a “wall” and it took you a while to feel better again? Have you finish a race and cried because you were upset and NOT because you did something amazing?

So much for regular blogging! (September Roundup)

Hey! So… my intention to blog more regularly was strong but not strong enough! Lots going on, so I’ll try to recap a bit:


its going tibia ok

So, SURPRISE, school is pretty hard. I still don’t quite have my groove yet. I haven’t really been to school since I graduated from Portland Community College in May of 1994. I just don’t know how to study efficiently yet. AND… studying in another language is just as hard as I thought it would be. I keep telling myself to feel the fear and do it anyway! I have also been reframing my words… so if I say “I hope I pass my exams” or “I really hope I’m going to remember all this stuff” or “I hope I’m going to be good at this” I change it to:

I am totally going to pass my exams.
I am going to learn this and remember it.
I am really going to be good at this!

believe you can

So mostly I’ve done anatomy and physiology but also we’ve had two hands-on lessons. I think I just need a little bit more time to feel more comfortable and confident about everything. After I finally catch up the blog I’ll be sorting out how I’m going to tackle my next batch of reading and studying.


I was waiting to hear if I got the job I applied for and … I GOT IT! and while this post is about September, I actually officially started on the 1st of October. It all went pretty fast once they actually made the decision. And I can tell you… so far I am so happy! What a huge change. From being thrown in the deep end with no training and hostility all around me to being welcomed, trained, and even already praised for picking up on some fairly important and urgent issues. Seriously, what a relief! This has made it a wee bit harder with school starting and then starting a new job but I can handle it. I don’t however have a new contract and I won’t actually know if I get a new one until probably March or April but that is also ok because I’m working on Plan B which will at some point turn into Plan A!


In my last 4 weeks of preparation for the Köln Marathon, I ran 120 kilometers and participated in 3 10 English Mile races! The first one I blogged about a tiny bit on my last post (Tilburg 10 Miles), the 2nd one was my hometown race, the Arnhem Bridge To Bridge (Run to Remember Freedom) – I needed to do more than 10 miles so before actually going to the race, I took the train out to Rheden and ran 10 kilometers to Arnhem Central Station where I met up with the hubs (He ran from station Duiven, 19KM). And this was my best year yet at B2B! 2 minutes off my PR and my beloved SocialMile was in full force cheering us on. At the end I picked up the flag and crossed the finish line like a boss!

2015-09-13 16.07.59-1

2015-09-13 15.04.05

I love running this race because it IS local – this means that many of my running friends from Arnhem and Nijmegen are participating so it’s just great fun. And of course one of my running besties, Babette, was there as well and totally smashed her own PR!(which was not surprising due to her training for Berlin!)

After the Bridge To Bridge, the next Sunday we were off to Amsterdam again to run the Dam tot Damloop. And actually this was my absolute BEST 10 Mile race ever. I actually had just *under* 6:00/km as an average pace. No idea how, but I was just fit and ready to run I guess! Amsterdam is SUPER flat though, so that helps for sure. This time we were with Meeus where I was able to catch up with Udjen, Edwin, Eva and Joanna.

Photo Credit:  Wietse Visser

Photo Credit: Wietse Visser

after these three races I had another really good few sessions and was feeling like maybe the marathon could be had for under the 5 hours but that’s another blog post…

Old gym,new gym

Even though I LOVED the gym I was going to, I decided it was time to scale back a bit. It was costing me EUR42 a month and I wasn’t even using half of the actual facilities and classes, so i decided to change to a cheaper, no frills gym, conveniently located in the building across from where I work. The difference is massive… in price and quality. EUR11 per month if I go between 7am and 5pm (and available all day Sat/Sun). It’s fine; the machines are clean, there are a lot of them and they all pretty much work! If I want to take classes I have to pay extra, but I’m not sure that I ever really will. Also, showers cost 50 cents for 3 minutes! But it’s fine. It’s safe and clean. There are quite a few meatheads there but I don’t really care. I just put on my headphones and do my thing and it’s all good. I’ve been twice so far (right before 5pm) and what I’d really like to do, once I get my work rhythm, is go at 7am and get it done for the day! This way I have more time to study in the evenings. That’s the plan anyway.

Coming up
Recap of Dublin (I know it’s very overdue!)
Recap of Cologne

and… soon we are off to Lisbon again, this time for the Rock n Roll Marathon (remember? I did the half two years ago!)

By the way, I have the feeling I’m talking to myself, so I’m basically going to take the pressure off and just blog when I can. What’s nice is having a record of the things I’ve done, am doing and am accomplishing. Life gets hectic and sometimes we forget to remember the details. So really, these are just my life’s details. I would have loved for the blog to be something engaging or inspiring and I think it’s run it’s course, but I will continue posting and just not worry anymore if I’m doing it “right” or not. If I’m NOT talking to myself, then I thank you for being here. xx

Random Tuesday Thoughts

Hey Everyone

hope you guys had a great weekend. many of you had a three-day weekend! I remember Labor Day… always around my birthday so I always celebrated by going somewhere or taking another extra day off. According to my time-hop, I’m still going somewhere in general for my birthday. What can I say? I really love to travel and that’s one of the main reasons why I wanted to stay “a little while longer” when my initial expat contract was up (… in 1997…). This year I did NOT however go anywhere, because, let’s face it, TravelGirl has done enough this year. I had a nice evening out with hubs, the bestie (M) and The Bloke (M) which is typically more vthan not, who I go out with on my birthday the past several years!

On Saturday I didn’t do much, but I did of course have a run in my NEW SHINY NIKE ZOOM VOMERO’S … YAY!! Hubs had to jump through quite a few hoops to get these since the color is not one that is typically IN the shop. I had about 850 KM’s on the last pair and so I was really due a new pair. My orthotics fit brilliantly in these so I decided to get the same model.

the Zooms!

the Zooms!

School was… OK. I’m definitely going to have to get used to learning in Dutch. Oh and at the moment I have to learn anatomy in Latin… which of course I hardly know the dutch OR the english words. Just imagine how smart I’m going to be!

Anatomy Jokes Rule

Anatomy Jokes Rule

Sunday we went to Tilburg to run with Meeus Running Club again in the Tilburg 10 Miles. I ran about a minute faster than last year. More importantly I ran STEADY and I ran the whole way. What a relief. It’s been AGES since I felt like I could run steadily. I have another shot this Sunday at the Bridge to Bridge right here in Arnhem!

Ready to Run with Meeus!

Ready to Run with Meeus!

Tilburg 10Miles, third year done!

Tilburg 10Miles, third year done!

The Job news is no news – apparently now the job vacancy is on hold due to some internal changes. I think what I will do is just accept what is going on right now, try to make the best of it and wait it out to hear the news. I could look for a new job but it feels like it would be a bit stressful when I’ve just started school. I don’t really want a job outside of Arnhem, but if I have to do that I at least want a bit of a rhythm with school, if that makes sense?

Oh and here’s something really random – that Fat People video by Nicole Arbour? I know it can be triggering and hurtful for people but I have another way to approach it. Stop giving her air time. Don’t pass around the video, don’t discuss it, don’t offer retorts. The best way to revenge on people like that? Ignore. Don’t give her your energy or attention. I realise many won’t agree with me but I just don’t see why we should give her our time. See? And now I gave her my time and that’s all I’m going to give. Because she sucks.

That’s all. Off to do my run before I don’t!

Tell me some random stuff about your weekend/ day / week!

Today I will:

Hello Friends!

So yesterday was my Birthday! can I get a “woot woot!” ?

well, in my case it was moorkoppen...

well, in my case it was moorkoppen…

It was also a rest day (week 10 training… that means 4 weeks to go) and it was also my first day at school!

I don't have a proper school bag yet, so Trader Joe's Chicago will have to do.

I don’t have a proper school bag yet, so Trader Joe’s Chicago will have to do.

To be honest, pretty daunting. Going back to school after 20 yars is already a challenge but now I have to jump into learning things like anatomy in latin (and Dutch! I don’t even know the English names for these things!). Holy majoley. I’m going to do it though. I will do this.

I’m waiting (somewhat impatiently) to hear about an internal job for which I’ve applied. I’ve had the 2nd interview, it’s between me and another colleague. Monday I felt confident. Tuesday I felt confident. By Wednesday my confidence started to slide. If I don’t get this job that means uncertainty. I will have to either look for and secure a new job before the end of April or … well, there’s no “or”. I think that will add some stress to the equation with school happening now. I will cross that bridge when I get to it, but I think the bridge is coming up around the corner…

The last days haven’t been great food wise, certainly not yesterday and now I don’t “feel” like doing anything. However:

what will you do today?

what will you do today?

Today I will do it anyway. I’ve got intervals on the schedule and tonight I’m going out with the hubs and two friends to celebrate the 47th year!

What will you do today?

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!!



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?

Recap: Dublin Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon

As you all know, this year I was selected to be one of the 100 rock’n’bloggers for the Rock ‘n Roll Marathon Series. As a rock’n’blogger I receive free entry to any and all RnR races I choose this year. There is no other compensation. All opinions are my own and my experience is purely in my own words. Just so ya know :)

Just a couple weeks after returning from Chicago, I was off again, this time to The Fair City of Dublin! I was lucky to have travel and running companions with me to add to the fun. We met up with Babette at the airport and started the weekend! Flight was good and we arrived on time to a gorgeous sunny day! M and I went for hotel check-in and then straight to the Expo. Since Babette was staying somewhere else we met up with her at the Expo a bit later. She was also with some ex-colleagues who were running as well.

The expo was small but really fun! We picked up my race packet and got the swag, walked around, ate cupcakes, checked out the stalls and M even got a really amazing massager for her back and neck. Once we were all done at the expo we headed back and decided to have a drink and dinner finally at (probably a very touristy) Irish (hahaha as if they aren’t Irish in Ireland) pub – SO MUCH FUN, YOU GUYS!! Irish music, Irish dancing and we were sitting RIGHT ON THE STAGE. Really enjoyed that, loads.

RnR swag bag (kind of odd)

Swag Bag Contents Dublin RnR



The Girls Ready to Rock

The Girls Ready to Rock

So much fun at the expo!

So much fun at the expo!

I'm a Leprechaun!

I’m a Leprechaun!

Irish Music For the Win!

Irish Music For the Win!

Girls Friday Night out in Dublin!

Girls Friday Night out in Dublin!

Saturday – T-1!

Saturday morning we were up and breakfasted (a new word haha!) and then headed out on a city bike tour. Since I want to keep that a bit separate, you can read about it here. In a word though – AMAZING! We were so lucky with the weather and seeing a city by bike is SO recommended. The tour we took was See Dublin by Bike.

After our tour, M and I had something to eat (one downside to the tour – no food or drink); I was ravenous and also needed coffee! It was good to have a bit of a nosh! Afterwards we walked around a bit, went to the supermarket to arrange some breakfast for me for the next morning and then had a bit of a rest. Later on we met up with Babette for PASTA – what else!

Once we had dinner, we then went for a drink afterwards (since it was early and we WERE in Dublin… gotta hit the pub!) and were hoping to have the same music and dancing situation but sadly it was not the same as the night before. So Babette went to her hostel and M and I headed back for the hotel. I had to be up early so I wanted to be fully prepared.

I got flat pinky ready, had all my gear out, my breakfast ready to be prepped (instant oatmeal – I wouldn’t make breakfast because I had to leave before it started) and M and I turned in for an early night to dreamland.

RnR Dublin Half Flat Pinky

Breakfast Prep RnR Dublin

Sunday – Race Day

I had a good night’s rest and woke up easily with my alarm, tried to be as quiet as possible so as to not disturb M. I got ready and ate my breakfast pretty much in utter silence! I was nervous because I hadn’t really been feeling that well and I was certain it would be pissing down with rain the whole day (which is fine for oxygen content but not so great when you have a cold). I left the hotel right on time and meet up with my friend Sue (we met in Paris!), her husband Graham (also met in Paris) and a couple of their running friends. It was SO awesome to see them again. And of course I was SO happy to be meeting up with Babette as well! We waited about 10 minutes on a street corner (ha!) and there she was in the tram, waving at me!

So grateful to Graham who took these photos of us!   I found out the day before that Sue and Graham were staying just a stone's throw from us - so easy to meet and go to the race together!

So grateful to Graham who took these photos of us! I found out the day before that Sue and Graham were staying just a stone’s throw from us – so easy to meet and go to the race together!

with Sue's running friends

with Sue’s running friends

We then walked to the start, which wasn’t far at all, maybe a kilometer in total. We did the usual routine: walk around confused, chat with each other nervously, selfie poses, wait in the queue for the loos, drop off the stuff at baggage drop, find starting corral. Babette had a faster corral start than I did, but I did eventually find Lois and Stephen (also met in Paris!) and in fact noticed in a corral selfie later that Lois was even in my corral!

Corral RnR Dublin

loo lines Dublin

Pinky 'n Babs ready to Rock!

Dublin RnR Corral

Corral Selfie Dublin RnR

It was raining but not hard and it wasn’t very cold. Eventually it was time to start!

I absolutely LOVED the first Half of the Half! It was just amazing to run through Dublin and it felt pretty good, not too crowded or with pushy runners all over the place. We went up a couple of hills but they weren’t as dreadful as I had imagined. Many places I had seen the day before because of the bike tour! So, bike tour, again, for the win!

I started to struggle a bit around 14 or 15K. My breathing was off, it was humid as well I was feeling the fact that I’d been ill and probably needed more recovery and rest from all of the jet-setting I’d been doing. By the time we reached Phoenix Park I was struggling. However, I always do my best to maintain a positive attitude and I try not to let too much negativity in my head space. A couple of things: I loved the music! I’m so glad I’ve committed to running without music during RnR races so I can really appreciate what the race organisers have come up with! Also, RnR always and I mean ALWAYS does 100% on taking care of the runners during the race. Plenty of loos (didn’t need them this time) and fully stocked water and sport drink stations. I will continue to run RnR races even when I’m not a rock’nblogger because of the total package. Anyway! I loved running in the park. And by the way, HUGE park! I even stopped near the US Ambassador’s house for a selfie. Because, you know, I’m patriotic and stuff.

Mile 10!!

Mile 10!!

Yay! Halfway!

Yay! Halfway!

Catching a few other runners in Phoenix Park

Catching a few other runners in Phoenix Park

Selfie with the Wellington Monument

Selfie with the Wellington Monument

Yeah. Not so sure.

Yeah. Not so sure.

The music rocked!!

The music rocked!!

In front of the US Ambassadors residence

In front of the US Ambassadors residence

By the time that I was coming up to finish, Babette was waiting and cheering for me and she jumped in at the end to help me get over the finish! YES!! Another medal for the collection!

My lovely Babette came and ran with me over the finish!  <3 her!

My lovely Babette came and ran with me over the finish! <3 her! [/caption] [caption id="attachment_3334" align="aligncenter" width="625"]Rock n Roll Finisher! Rock n Roll Finisher!

We Did it!!

We Did it!!

Afterwards there was a 5K fun run but I decided 1 Half Marathon was enough for that day. We changed some of our clothes and managed to find M at the finish as well. Then, we walked over for me to collect my WORLD ROCKER medal!!



Unfortunately it was raining pretty steadily and a lot of people left. A sad day for the bands who showed up to play for us. I got a coffee and spent a few moments texting Sue (from DoThingsAlways) and I was able to find her as well! Sue actually is a rock’nblogger too, she lives in Canada but is originally from Scotland. I’m so lucky to get to meet people from all over with this fun little hobby of mine.

with the amazing Susan, another Rock'n'Blogger!

with the amazing Susan, another Rock’n’Blogger!

OF course by the time we got back into town (great transportation set up by the organisation as well) we HAD to hit up the HardRockCafe for our food and beer reward. NOM!!

Food Rewards after the Half!

Food Rewards after the Half!

I would love to do this race again! Now that I know about the hills, I would love to try it when I’m not exhausted and have been sick! It was not my best race ever but I can say that I really enjoyed it! So if you ever get a chance and want to Rock and Run Dublin, I definitely give this one two thumbs up!

The Dublin By Bike Experience

During my rock’n’roll weekend my friends M and Babette and I took the opportunity to do some fun sight-seeing in Dublin by bike!

I’ve done bike tours in Berlin, London and now Dublin. To be honest, because I’ve been a couple times in Berlin it gave me the confidence later to bike by myself in that huge city whilst the hubs was running the marathon. I cannot recommend bike tours enough! Plus, you are active! beats a bus tour with a pre-recorded interesting history message that you will sadly forget later!

So, if you are in Dublin I recommend See Dublin By Bike. Tell Seán I sent you!

One tip: Bring water and snacks. It’s about 4 hours of touring and there was only a tiny snack break and no water. I was absolutely starved when we were done.

The tour costs EUR 25 and includes your bike, helmet and safety riding vest. TOTALLY worth the cost!

Without further ado, I share my photos with you and hope this speaks for itself!

Statue of JJ wife

James Joyce

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2015-08-01 12.35.10

Modern Dublin

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selfie Dublin B

selfie Dublin M

More Guinness stuff


yo, babs

My Guinness

My goodness


group shot

the Pope was here

St Stephens

St Stephens Cathedral

Dublin Casle

beautiful day

near Trinity


Dublin Castle Gate Blue Sky

Modern Dublin II

Dublin Castle Gate

Near Trinity College

The guys have several tours available, including a U2 tour! I am hoping to take the hubs there for a fun weekend at some point to do another tour. But, uh, I’ll wait until the weather is a wee bit more predictable (if that’s possible!).

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).