RockNRoll Baby! Liverpool Half or Full Giveaway!

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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.

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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

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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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What I learned from My First Marathon, Part I

Hopefully I can get this down in a coherent fashion and don’t bore the pants off of who is left reading my blog (thank you, kind reader, if you are still with me!).

One thing I’ve learned whilst marathon training; you simply cannot do it all. Especially if you have a job where stress and overtime are constant factors. At some point you have to make choices and try to find a balance. My balance in this particular period has been to stick with the schedule as much as possible, but unfortunately that means I did not really cross-train. Unless you count the walking and biking I do on a regular basis. I also went a few times to the physio and regularly to sports massage. So, in a nutshell, I did everything I could within my means. What I do notice is that my fitness level is quite good – after my longest run in training (32KM), I was sore but nothing more than usual. Also the next day, I only really had pain in my left calf and I went to sports massage that evening and came home taped. I’m so glad that that run went well and that I did it together with Kim; this gave us both the feeling that we could both actually run 42.2KM!

Another thing I learned; carb-loading and maintaining weight is possible! I can’t believe how much I had eaten the last few weeks before the marathon and how hungry I had been! This was not like the hungries I had for years (during my 4 year “plateau”), this was different. This time around I chose different foods in which to carb-load. Fruit, yoghurt, quark, oatmeal, multi-grain bread, crackers, vegetables, nuts. Oh, and the occasional chocolate!

Marathon training has definitely been an experience. Different to Half-Marathon training and with now having run several Halfs (official and non-official) in a very short period of time, 21K now seems as “easy” as a 10K. Sounds trite but how I feel at the moment, as the hubs says, “You eat Half-Marathons for breakfast”.

Here are a few tips I have for those considering running a marathon (because now I’m an expert and these things have never been said before… haha!)

1) Follow a training plan. Really. You can go willy-nilly if you want, but if you want structure and a good feeling that you can run the distance, follow a plan as much as possible to fit your schedule and life-style. Cross-training helps too. You may not be able to train 6 days a week and that’s ok. But then train at least 3 times running and 1 x cross-training (bike, swim, do core work, for example). Don’t just run the same tempo all the time. Do I training as intervals or hill training, 1 as easy / marathon tempo run, 1 long run.

2) if you can, join a local running group to meet like-minded people who you may ultimately be able to train with. Trust me. Running for 2 1/2 or 3 hours completely alone is like stabbing your eyes out with a dull spoon. What an absolutely God-send my running group has been to me! Kim and I did loads of trainings together and when we weren’t training together we were running the races together. Which leads me to my next tip:

3) Participate in local races where possible. Seriously. Run all the races. 10K’s, 15K’s, 10milers, Half-Marathons 25K’s, 30K’s. They exist. Find them, sign up and run them. This not only covers your long runs during training, it gets you totally in the mood for the big day. I’ve run so many races since I started training that I’ve actually lost count! I found this to be really crucial to my training and my progress.

4) Skip alcohol. Yes, I said it. Don’t eat all the things just because you “can” or you are “starving”. This is hard. But possible. You can have the wine or beer and eat all the things in celebration of your 42.2 achievement.

5) Fueling is important during training. Test out different types of gels, shakes, bars (not the kind that serve beer – see tip 4) DURING your training so you know exactly what to do during the race. If you fuel properly, you will not hit the wall.

6) Respect taper week. Basically follow your schedule. Don’t take risks the last couple of weeks. You could get injured and how crap would that be if you decide to go all out your last week (taper week) of training and you can’t run the marathon.

7) Get a few massages. Sports massage. Not that kind of fluffy, nice-smelling, new-age music in the background type of massage. Go for the deep stuff. You’ll need it.

8) Rest. Make sure you are getting enough sleep. You are asking a lot of your body during your training. Get the sleep you need.

9) Test out new shoes, orthotics, clothes, hydration packs, etc., WELL before race day. Don’t do new stuff on the day! This goes for food as well!! Stick with tried and true!!

10) You will be freaked out. You will wonder if you can do it. You can. Trust in your training and you will see for yourself. If you have done everything you possibly could then you truly will be amazing. You will be a marathoner!

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March update (yes, mostway through April)

Wow, I’m great at this blogging thing, eh?
Honestly I do not know how people are able to post weekly let alone daily!

Anyhooters -

March Update!

Tons of running – 205 KM’s! TWO HUNDRED AND FIVE. that’s insane!

Back at Goal Weight Range – 70KG is my goal weight, and a few weeks ago I stepped on the scale at 70.6KG. Officially I’m allowed 2KG over to not have to pay but i would like to actually get down to 68 for a fluffier cushion. Obviously that cushion won’t be on me physically *wink* !

Burpee challenge – Fail! I made it a few days. Yeah. I suck at challenges. I do think they are a great exercise for the core and I did have good intentions. We all know how the road to Hell is paved, though, right?
burpees

Do All the Exercise Fail – yeah. This is hard. I wasn’t able to balance work – life – running – gym. I’m going to get back to the gym next week and make an appointment for a new core program.

Got new orthotics, which led to new shoes – these ones are much, much better than my first orthotics. Unfortunately they did not fit well in my new Brooks I purchased for the marathon (since I was already running in the same shoe, I did not want to take risks), so I had to get new shoes. I ended up with Nike Zoom and against all advise you read or hear, went out the very next day and did my longest run ever with my running mate Kim, 32KM!

New Awesome Neutral Kicks

New Awesome Neutral Kicks

Races in March:
8 Kastelenloop – this was supposed to be 30K, however, I didn’t manage the time limit cutoff so I was re-routed to go straight through on the course and lost 2.5KM from the total. It was hard not to be discouraged, but at the same time it was fine, I still did (at that time) my longest distance. I was well on course to make the time limit to run the full 30KM but there was quite a bit of running on dirt paths which really did my feet in. I did not have my new orthotics at this point, but this is the reason why I chose to get new ones. Also of note, the name suggest Eight Castles along the route, I didn’t really see them! Running with so many great friends made this day a total success in any case!

CPC HALF Marathon Den Haag - I ran this race last year and struggled a bit. Back then I was still trying to get the hang of running and fueling up at the same time. Last year I ran it at 2:30:40. I was also somewhere around 80 KG. This year I was at least 7 KG less and in much better shape. I’ve learned a LOT about food and running since. This year I ran it at 2:13:41. A significant change! Once again running with so many awesome friends. It’s so great to know so many people from such a simple hobby as running.

Stevensloop Half Marathon- this one was brand new in Nijmegen, one we were all looking forward to for a long time (we don’t have a lot of city Halfs on this side of the country, so close to home). SocialMile was in full force this day, most of us participating in the Half (there was also a 10 and a 5K). Amazingly enough, I beat my PR again on the Half, coming in at 2:10:56.

Races Coming Up (besides Paris Marathon)
Hilversum 10K
Gothenburg Half
Amersfoort Half
Liverpool Half
Chicago Remix (5K Saturday/ Half Sunday)
Dublin Half
Arnhem Bridge to Bridge

You could say it’s an addiction!

Hope you all had a great March (and are fully enjoying April!)

Paris Marathon post in the works!!

March is the Month I Hit Goal Again

Sometime right before I started marathon training, I decided I really wanted to get back to my WW goal of 70KG. At that time it was something like 6 or 7 KG to lose and if I would be really serious about my training and my food, it should be possible to do that by the end of March. The Marathon is on the 12th of April, so that would give me a few weeks cushion, but really, the idea was end of March.

Reality is sometimes different than desire, as we now know.

And as we also know, the only one responsible for all the decisions and choices I make is me. And the same goes for you. We can blame work, school, the kids, traffic, holidays, whatever… but actually we all have the choice, right?

And I’ve had a couple of months where my choices and decisions weren’t great, but at least I’ve still got my running which keeps me in a fairly safe place for now. However, yet another thing we know:

bad-diet

I can’t complain too much because I have lost a little bit in that time. Last week I went down 800 grams… this week I went up 800 grams… reminds me of the 4 years I spent going from 80 to 81 to 80 to 82 to 81 to 80 … get my drift? Not fun. I don’t want do that again.

So, how do I intend to reach my goal of 70KG by the end of March? (by the way this would be 68 on my home scale!!) So glad you asked!

1) Food logging – has to be done and needs to be honest. Of course it’s a royal pain in the arse and sometimes makes me feel even more like food runs my life but let’s be really open here – when you have “always” (even if in your head) had a weight issue, food will “always” be somehow in the forefront of your mind. Well at least in my mind. Food has always played a really weird role in my life (from not being allowed certain things to watching my family members being unhappy about their weight and dieting to sneaky eating and disposing of evidence so no one would know) and perhaps if I accept this it won’t be such a big deal.

2) Water Drinking – will this have profound effect on my weight loss? I don’t know. What I do know is that I have not been drinking enough water lately and that effects how I feel after longer runs. This can be easily rectified. 2 litres per day, minimum.

3) Exercise - all of the exercise!

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this includes more than just the bare minimum that I’m currently doing (running). Therefore I will be not only covering my running program outside or at the gym, but I will start up on my corework again. And just for fun:

4) 31 Day Burpee Challenge – BRING IT ON! #496burpees – want to join me in the challenge???

5) Zero Alcohol (actually until race day). I managed to get through most of February without, but I know of one night in particular that I had a beer or two, one evening I had a shot of Ouzo when we were out for Greek, and a few weeks ago I had a glass of prosecco at a local expat friends shop open-house. So, from now until race day (and, to be honest, I probably won’t be able to drink much anyway), not a drop.

6) No candy, cookies, junk at work (also not at home, but work is the place where it’s most available). And I’m not saying I can’t have this stuff, I’m saying “I don’t eat {insert what I don’t eat}” so that it’s a statement of behaviour rather than restricting myself from it. To be honest, this crap ADDS ABSOLUTELY NO VALUE to my life, my body or my state of mind. I’m eating this crap because of stress moments and this is not the way to handle stress.

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So, 3.8 kilos in a month. Is it possible? Sure. Is it realistic? I don’t know. But I’m going to try like my life depends on it, because actually, my life DOES depend on it in the long run.

The ups & downs of marathon training

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It’s week 10 and to be perfectly honest, the last few weeks of training hasn’t been going that well.
at least as far as following the schedule goes anyway! And already I’m starting this week with skipping today’s workout. I’m going to rectify that by leaving work at 3pm tomorrow to do my intervals and THEN run later with my running group.

I feel fine physically, in fact I feel better than ever!
Last week I went to Weight Watchers my official weigh-in was 73KG.
73!
Remember the days of bitching about how I’ll “always be at 80KG”?
Those days are OVER my friends!

I’m having less issues with my feet (foot tingling issue) – but back at fysio just to see if it’s related to my back and if there are any signs of a hernia. Fingers crossed it’s just needing to learn a better way to sit to protect my back and nerves from getting pinched.

Recovery is pretty amazing too, after long runs – I expect to be sore the next day but no real twinges of any pain or discomfort. I’m getting regular massages as well (but trust me, these are not the relaxing kind!)

The biggest issue? My head is not in the game.
Work takes so much out of me and even when I say I’m not going to work late or that I’m most definitely going to go to the gym, I don’t keep my own appointment with myself.

Why is it so hard to keep appointments with ourselves?
Honestly I think most of us are concerned with not letting others down, being on time, etc.
Yet I’m the first person to cancel with myself.
I know that this is partially because I’m kind of SICK of intervals on the treadmill and it’s nearly impossible to get up to the right speed outside AND maintain it.
Then my brain kicks in “Why is it so hard for me? why is it easier for everyone else? why can’t I just be faster without all this effort?”

problem

Seriously. I would consider myself a fairly ridiculous person in this scenario. After all this time still my biggest enemy is myself.

The mileage numbers are pretty insane though. Since I started I’ve run almost 400KM. 400KM in 9 weeks. Good thing I bought new shoes already! And while I’m skipping workouts I’m also freaking out about the actual marathon. Will I make it? Of course I will. At least I think I will.

and seriously? how awesome will this be??

paris1

Do you also have issues keeping your own appointments? how do you keep your focus?

PS: I’m trying to get to Fitbloggin15… but, the flight is way out of my budget and I’m thinking of not going now. I really hate to ask, but Robby suggested I give it a try… I set up a GoFundMe account to raise the balance I need plus a cushion if the price goes up again. Would you consider helping me? Even $1 would get me closer. I would be so very grateful. My budget for the flight was EUR700 and the flight is now EUR1000 (and I want to get to Albuquerque to see my family afterwards, but if I spend the EUR1000 on the flight to Denver I can forget about that *sobs* )

Hello, friends, it’s been a while…

Good grief, I can’t believe it’s been so long since I posted. That was totally unintentional. For real. Lots has happened and that is one of the reasons it’s been difficult to sit down and write.

All the good things + all the things I didn’t want to talk about, of course. Silence is not always good. Especially from someone who shuts down when it’s all too much.

Anyway, here’s some of what’s been happening:

I’ve done 6 Races. 6! Of these 6, two have been Half Marathons. Exactly one week ago I ran the second half marathon, and I broke my PR (from Brussels- which I sadly didn’t write about, even though I was training for it all summer, which I PR’d from Berlin) by 5 minutes! FIVE MINUTES! And guess what? I wasn’t even trying. Another of the six races was a 25KM race. In my opinion this is completely nuts but of course there is a good reason…

Marathon Training!

Yes Marathon training is in full force. I’ve officially finished week 8 of 16 training weeks. To say I’m slightly freaked out about the marathon is an understatement. I ran 26K today, which is now my farthest distance and honestly, lots of kilometers actually hurt. It makes me sound like a jerk maybe, but I can just run a Half Marathon now. I know the distance. I know how to fuel for it. My legs and body understand the distance. It’s after 21 kilometres where it gets interesting. I still need to learn to fuel and hydrate properly. I need to test out compression. I need a new hydration pack that doesn’t sway back and forth on my back. Obviously this will continue to get interesting. I’ll keep doing races and organised training to keep up the motivation. Let’s face it, if you have to run alone and figure out a route of 30KM or more by yourself that’s pretty tough.

After the marathon we are signed up for several races, and there’s another reason for that as well!

I am officially a 2015 Rock ‘n Blog team member for the Rock ‘n Roll Marathon series!



So on top of Gothenburg Half Marathon in May (not part of the Rock ‘n Roll series, just something we planned a while ago), we will be totally rocking Liverpool (Me the Half, Hubs the full) and I will be doing Dublin (hopefully with some friends from NL but at least I’ll be able to hook up with some people from the Running the World Facebook group.

The cool bit… I get to GIVE AWAY an entry to Liverpool and I will be doing that very soon! The Rock ‘n Roll series is supercool; maybe you remember that the Hubs and I ran Lisbon in October 2013? Great organisation, live bands along the way and an awesome party afterwards! I an AWESOME discount code for my friends and readers to use, and believe me, you WANT to run at least ONE of the RnR races! Watch this space, the info will come shortly!

The thing I haven’t been wanting to talk about… my new job. I’m fairly miserable (to say the least) and even though there are brilliant side-effects (no commute, more sleep, weight loss), that’s about it. The stress is getting in the way of my training and makes me feel like hell. I am not certain how much longer I can take it. In the meantime I have to deal with it as much as I can, but it really is not a happy situation

So that’s the nutshell version of the last however-many-weeks. As of next week I’ll be back on the regular blogging circuit again.

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So, what have you been up to in the new year?

Big Things, Little Things

The last 10+ days have been full of big and little things. I believe we should celebrate as much as possible to keep things in perspective. This is a particularly hard lesson for me when it comes to work, but I don’t want to digress right away into that subject, so…

First of all, I decided to have TWO WINNERS for my giveaway! YAY! Elizabeth and Denise will soon be sporting new RoadID’s and keeping safe on the road with their fitness journeys. Thanks to everyone for participating!

Last weekend I ran my fourth Zevenheuvelenloop again with the Meeùs Running Club – to “jog” your memory, last year I won an entry in the Tilburg 10 Miles with Meeùs including EUR 100 gift certificate to Run2Day and was automatically a member of the running club with that entry. Since then I’ve run a few times with them and it’s so great! Safe place to put your stuff, normal toilets (no Dixis!), catering, beer, etc. And of course entry is always free with them! The Zevenheuvelenloop (7 Hills Run) takes place in Nijmegen which is very close to home. Several members of my local running club were also running, plus the Running Junkies (Amsterdam based group). Joanna was there, as well as Babette whom I haven’t seen since LAST YEAR’S 7HL when she was pregnant with her baby boy (who is since born and pretty much the most adorable baby ever). Was great to see J & B especially since it had been a while and luckily we were all running for Meeùs so we could hang out a bit before and after. Since Babette wasn’t pregnant this year we decided to go for 1:35 to have a slight and nice improvement for me and a kickass improvment for B. Though it was chilly and rainy (not as cold as last year in any case) we basically went for it! Babette and I ran pretty much the whole way together which was very helpful for me when my legs felt super heavy at 12KM until we literally ran into Joanna at 14KM. I was glad B gave it her best sprint at the end and didn’t wait for me – I was literally 20 seconds behind her at a finish of 1:34:34. Once again, ladies and gents, a Personal Record (how many is that this year???).

Babette and I keeping warm before the start

Babette and I keeping warm before the start

L - Babette, me, Udjen, Eva, Joanna before the race R - me, Joanna, Babette with our Blingy Bling

L – Babette, me, Udjen, Eva, Joanna before the race
R – me, Joanna, Babette with our Blingy Bling

After the race, the very cold 3 of us hobbled over to the Vereniging (where Meeùs was located) changed, ate, met up with Hubs,Udjen and Eva (Running Junkies) and then eventually headed to De Hemel (in town) to meet up with some SocialMilers. Great day indeed.

Still trying to get to the gym but work is fairly demanding at the moment – hoping this will change very soon – working on my new program which involves mostly body weight exercises, lunges, squats that sort of thing. Once Marathon training starts I’m going to have to be much more dilligent with getting my workouts in. Right now I’m not really training, so as long as I get there 2 times a week, it’s ok.

I went to the podiatrist as well this week – seems my orthotics aren’t 100% correct, or rather, they could be better. Also that horrible tingling in my left foot most likely isn’t going to go away because the chance that it’s a blocked nerve is really high and the only thing that helps with that is time. Boo! However, lately I’ve been laying flat in bed (so the millions of pillows have to go) or a little bit bent at the knees (laying on my side) and the tingling is less. As far as the pain and issues in both feet – also very likely that I have another neuroma (BOO!!!!) but orthotics could help but I may need to have an MRI later which could lead to (very worst case scenario) an operation (BOOOOO!!!!!). In my right foot it’s probably just painful from overcompensating and will also go away with time (definitely no stress fracture or something like that).

no surgery, please!  doesn't fit in marathon training schedule!!

no surgery, please! doesn’t fit in marathon training schedule!!


And last but not least, went to WW (skipped last week) and FINALLY the scale went down again. Loss is 1.5KG which is a total of 7.1KG since end of April. NOW WE ARE GETTING SOMEWHERE! According to WW scale I have 5KG to go to be back at goal weight. For the first time in 5 years I really feel like I might reach my goal early next year. Now to survive all of the treats and holidays that are ahead.

Speaking of which – what is your best tip for surviving the holidays without wrecking everything you’ve worked for???

What I’ve Gotten Out of Joining a Running Club

While I know there are tons of articles out there about the benefits of joining a running group or club I just wanted to share with you my own personal experience.

One thing I wanted for a really long time was to join a group so that I wasn’t constantly running alone. While I love my alone time most of the time, it’s also sometimes really hard to be motivated to go out and do it, especially if you are training for something (yes, I know it’s a personal choice to train to do races, etc.; that doesn’t mean it’s easy all the time). I joined a group via Facebook that my friend Joanna belongs to here but I was always either intimidated at their running level or I just couldn’t make the runs in Amsterdam (I planned on going after work one night and my fear pretty much kept me from going the first time).

So in January of this year, the Hubs mentioned to me that he saw a group on facebook called SocialMile. I thought, “yes! that’s it!” A group that runs together and then hangs out socially after the run for a drink and a chat. A group whose policy is to stay together no matter the level. While I was nervous (because this was also a Dutch social group for me – another hurdle to get over), the Hubs and i went together to our first run on a cold, dark January Wednesday night.

Since then we’ve done countless runs with SocialMile, I can’t imagine not being part of this group!

Here’s my reasons why you should join a running group:

Meet people who share your running passion – not only will you meet people in your hometown who share your passion, it’s also a great place to make friends. It’s possible you don’t like everyone on the same level, but at some point you will meet someone that you feel you could really develop a friendship. Especially important if you don’t know a lot of people or don’t have a real social life (like me for example – my friends were my ex-colleagues, plus my bestie M here in Arnhem).

Have a regular running appointment every week in your diary that no one can touch – it’s so easy to skip out on a workout or a run because of other people or work things that come up. Joining a running club with scheduled runs means a real commitment to yourself and you are worth it! I haven’t missed many SM runs – only a few where I wasn’t feeling well or had a big race coming up or when I was on holiday. Many times I don’t even feel like it, but I go and I never regret that I did!

Support and Motivation – know how great it feels when other people recognise that it’s going better for you, or that you’ve lost weight, or just express how great it is that you are doing a Half Marathon (or that you had your best 5K or whatever!)? You get that a lot with a group and you are also able to give back.

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A little dose of healthy competition - as much as I hate to admit it, the need to NOT be the one at the back of the pack drives me to push a bit harder. I am still often in the back but not so much anymore.

High chance of improvement – Improving your fitness level, your speed… basically you are improving because you are running at least that one time every week and you are driven to not be last.

Do fun stuff with fun people outside of the regular running dates – I have done many races and random runs with my SM’ers, and we share opportunities with each other if we are able. For example, my Starbucks team had extra entries for the Dam to Damloop, so I was able to offer them to my SM’ers. A group of us are all going to Paris in April next year as well for the Paris Marathon. The fun stuff just keeps on manifesting itself!

Access to Information by being a member of an athletic union – get discounts on races and running gear at local sports shops. If you are injured or just want to know your fitness level, often members of the running club know about how to get sports and fitness tests, refer sports doctors, sports masseurs, trainers and the like. A wealth of information and references is basically at your disposal.

For me personally, it’s helped me on a social and language level and I’m super happy and grateful to be a part of the group. If you are thinking “should I?” or wondering if you would be good enough, just stop right now and check out your local area running clubs. There’s no reason you shouldn’t at least try. If it’s not for you or not the right group you can find another group. Most people I’ve heard from have had only positive experiences. What have you got to lose?