For the Love of Orlando

The internet is great isn’t it?

I’ve been blogging for nearly 5 years and while I know I’m not consistent (but hey, I could be soon) I’m at least honest and try to give you my own personal take and opinion on things. This is not to say that my opinion is RIGHT or that you should do/say/act/whatever like I do, so please… be yourself.

But don’t be someone who just shows up at my blog and decides to have a go at me. Seriously. Why are some people so quick to make rude comments and judgements about MY personal experiences and thoughts? Didn’t your mother ever tell you “if you don’t have anything nice to say then don’t say anything at all”?

What am I talking about?

This:
Ten Reasons I will Never Do the Color Run Again

This stupid post has more hits now than my Tommie Copper post (which got me nothing, by the way, even though I mentioned to Tommie Copper that it was getting a lot of hits and hey, how about some stuff to review and more free advertising?)

So I didn’t personally like the Colour Run, is that wrecking your day or your life for the love of Orlando?

Boo Frickin Hoo

Boo Frickin Hoo

Get over it – there are plenty of people like me who did not like it. It does not have to be for everyone and thank dog for that! Life would be fairly boring if we all had the same opinion.

I know this is just ranting but honestly I just wanted to get it out. This is my blog. These are my experiences. If you don’t like it then just kindly leave. There’s no reason to slam someone you don’t know just because you don’t agree with them.

PS: Orlando…
orlando

Time for (another) Change

Hey. Wow. So it’s been a while.

I have actually started two other blog posts and either not known how to really put all my thoughts together or just not been able to finish. There’s a lot on my mind.

First of all – I feel like I’m falling apart. Mentally and physically. The stress of work is having a big affect on my emotional (mental) well being. It’s been like this for months. I’m not super happy. I don’t dislike my company or my colleagues and I feel like I have a very good deal in general. At the same time, after 7 years, the changes in the last several months are leaving me with uncertainty and feeling insecure about my own abilities. Which is crazy. There is nothing to be insecure about. Sometimes it only takes one vague decision with no clarity and one not so nice person to break a person a down. That’s where I’m at.

Also, I’m just really tired. Seven years of a 4 hour plus a day commute and trying to fit in the rest of my life in the little spare time I have is really wearing me down. I have been attempting to run on a specific schedule, which mostly I manage to do, and I have joined the social running club which I’ve managed to participate in three times. I’m trying to get to the gym and do make it on average once a week. However. There is no improvement. Not with running. Not with weight. In fact I ran yet another (my 4th in less than a year) Half-Marathon one week ago and the result was OK but I would have thought by now there would be some improvement.

I’m not only tired but I feel like my body is breaking down. My feet are tingling and I struggle to sleep. My legs and knees randomly hurt. My back is constantly bugging me. I started going to acupuncture about 4 weeks ago and even if it’s all a bunch of hooey I am feeling slightly better. I’ve stopped sweating at night, which often was waking me up at night. My feet are still bothering me, and I will eventually go the doctor if it doesn’t stop (I had blood tests done in the summer and there was nothing to indicate any problem like with thyroid or diabetes).

I signed up to do the Rotterdam Marathon in April, but I have now made the decision to NOT participate at this time, even though I have been training. The reason for this being that when I ran the CPC Half last weekend I felt like I had nothing more I could have given after 2.5 hours. There is no way my body can take 5+ hours of running. There is a 5.5 hour time limit at Rotterdam. A few weeks ago I thought I would just do it and see what happened – as in, if I had to be picked up due to time limit then at least I tried. This week I pretty much made the decision; it’s not worth it to put my body through that. This means that next week’s race – a 30KM (prep for the Rotterdam) will also be scrapped. I will continue running but with less pressure mentally and physically. I have a race on the 30th (12K) and in May we go to Millau (in France – 23.7KM). I might do another Half in the fall, but for now I need to take a break.

I need to make quite a few changes in my life, some will be very hard decisions, but in the long run, decisions that need to be made for my physical and mental well being. It’s crazy how the longer we don’t change, the harder it is to actually take action and the more fear we have to make changes. I am thinking of ways and now taking action to overcome these fears. That’s about all I can say about it for now, but I really hoping that my decisions now will mean good things for the near future.

change

A Good Start – January Update

If you know me by now then you know that two weeks and nary a post from me is pretty normal. I am the Queen of Good Intentions.

So here’s a few things:

1- I started the month/year with choosing to stick to a healthy way of eating, rather than stress eating, not planning, comfort eating etc. I had a first weigh-in where I lost 2KG, then the next week I gained 500gr and promptly had a meltdown. I’ll say it again, dieting (which, let’s face it, when you feel compelled to get on a scale once a week to monitor your progress, that’s what it is) is a total mindf*ck – I’m pretty sure I felt bad for about 5 days until the black cloud of failure finally dissipated and I was able to move on with my life. Third week weigh-in brought me a loss of 1.1KG. So, I’m at least closer to that number I always seem to be at (80kg) than I was at the end of the year. I’m logging in to MFP every day to keep the thought in my head to stay on track and most days I’m fully logging my foods.

2- I started with a personal trainer (actually the same one I had last year) and while we had a great workout, where he even complimented me on my fitness level, I could hardly walk for days afterwards. really tough on keeping up my running workouts. Last year I was annoyed that he was constantly cancelling our appointments at the last minute or just not showing up (how did I forget that???) and already our second appointment was cancelled a few hours before I was supposed to go. Thing is, I arranged to work from home on these days and have worked out my running days around these trainings so it was just not cool to have it cancelled. I hope this is just a fluke and we can continue on next week (with more upper body and core work than legs).

3- We (Hubs and I) joined a running group here in ARNHEM! (yay!) and we did our first run Wednesday night with the group. As much as I love meeting new people I am also quite nervous about it. So when I meet new people in my 2nd language it’s a little bit overwhelming but I’m super happy that I pushed through that. I was pretty worried that I would be the slowest and hold up the group, but I feel like it was a good healthy challenge that I needed. Yes I was in the back, but there was another girl with me and we just kept on going even though the group would stop and wait for us a minute or two. After the run we hung out and had a beer and chatted and it was just really nice. I have wanted to join a running group for a long time and I totally get why experts say “run with a group or a buddy”.

The Egmond aan Zee Half Marathon 2 weeks ago was good. It was tough but it was good! It was beautiful, sunny, amazing. My whole team did really well. I was the only girl in the group though so I knew from the very beginning I would be the last one in. It doesn’t matter to be last it matters to do it, right?
hm_starbucks_5926

obligatory loo-queue photo

obligatory loo-queue photo

Everyone said the beach part would be the hardest part – 7KM on the sand and the tide was supposed to be rolling in approximately 1 hour after we got started. To be perfectly honest the beach was NOT the hardest part for me at all. The sand was pretty packed and I just ran consistently on the right. In fact my feet didn’t even get wet until about 9KM into the run (with 1 left to go on the beach) and that was fine, since you kind of know it’s going to happen, right? No, the hardest part for me was the dunes, I completely lost all steam trying to climb up from the beach and the next few KM’s were just really hard. The ground was not super stable and the path was very narrow so I struggled a lot with all the other runners.

photo courtesy of Egmond aan Zee website

photo courtesy of Egmond aan Zee Half Marathon website

Finally we reached the bike path in the dunes and it was a little bit easier to run again. I lost quite a bit of time though getting through the dunes that I *just* made my goal time of 2 and a half hours… however… the course turned out to NOT be 21.1KM… it was only 20.8 apparently! I checked with several guys on the team and they all confirmed, 20.8KM. Official time 2:30:11. This was the third time I ran Egmond, but the first time I did the Half.

Of course my husband kicked total arse at 1:47:03 – his second half marathon (first was in October) and 6 min faster than the first. Not only that but it was his 46th birthday!! What a way to start out your birthday, with a Half Marathon race!!

egmond_6544

egmond_3653

I have some other things going on, things in the works, and I’ve been training (always training) but I’ll save it for the next update.

How’s the start of your 2014? Have you run a race already? Started a new exercise class? Got a new gadget or started a new food or exercise program? Tell me what’s up with you!

2014: Time to Choose

So we are now a couple of weeks into 2014 and finally I have figured out how I want this year to be for me.

A lot of people have goals or themes or a word that they’ve decided has meaning to them.

I often have had words that I’ve used to get me through something or words that I’ve thought of to describe myself. Words like driven, determined, disciplined. And I can still use those words as I feel like I am those things, at least much of the time and but mostly when it comes to training for a race.

I don’t think I’ve been very driven, determined or disciplined with food. Well, it’s a fact actually if you look at the fact that I gained weight over the past year. I did a modified paleo thing for quite a few months and was super disciplined about it but it’s just not sustainable. I knew that when I started it – though some would say I was projecting failure – but I did it because my personal trainer suggested it and because, well, why not, I’ve tried loads of other things, right?

So as I was thinking, how can I refocus, how can I actually reach my goal weight at some point in my life… I mean I’m doing this for almost 5 years now…what is it going to take?

And then it dawned on me -

I have to CHOOSE this.

I have to CHOOSE to not let stress get to me by overeating on junk, chocolates, comfort foods, etc.

I have to CHOOSE this. I haven’t actually chosen this for a really long time. I have been going through the motions. I know what the right thing to do is and what the right things to eat are and generally speaking I do pretty ok at that since I’ve managed to maintain my weight for the last four years.

But it’s time now to CHOOSE. I’m going to CHOOSE what’s right for me and I’m going to CHOOSE my own goals over stress and I’m going to CHOOSE to think in the long term rather than this very second.

I don’t have goals per se. I just want to have control over my life, my food choices, my schedule, my stress levels. That’s what I’m going to work on this year. This is the year I truly CHOOSE what’s going to get me where I want to be.

i choose

What is your word for this year? Or do you have specific goals you set?

That Obligatory Year End Post

Ok maybe not obligatory, but all of the cool kids are doing it, so…

2013, what a year, eh?

I started off being pretty excited about the Berlin Half Marathon – I was scared but felt like I was ready to tackle the distance again. I have to say for this event I trained the most and was the most serious about food and keeping to my schedule. In fact, it kind of proves that when you really stick to something, like a total package, you can really achieve your goals. I ended up running the Berlin Half in 2:23:24 which was well under my desired 2:30:00 time and almost 19 minutes faster than the first Half I did in April 2011. I’d say as far as running and training goes, this was my best race so far.

While I was training for the Half I also ran my fastest 10K yet (and have since failed miserably to beat it or meet it… in fact these days I’m slower again) in March at the CPC Loop in Den Haag. I loved this run even though it was BITTER cold and I couldn’t find my people after the race for quite a while. I used to live in Den Haag and I miss it terribly sometimes, so I was just really cool to run there and have a great PR of 1:00:50.

I ran a LOT last year. In fact I ran a total of 15 races, even one race I won not only an entry into, but also a EUR 100 certificate at Run2Day for my contest entry. I ran races I never thought I would run and I ran with friends, my husband and even my stepdaughter. I also ran a few times with new Twitter friends which was, for me, really special. I don’t have a real running group here in NL and I wish I did, so at least knowing there are a few people out there who are not my colleagues or husband that want to run with me makes me feel like this is really what I’m meant to be doing. At a certain point your social life changes, if you run a lot, so having running friends to add to your circle is just really nice.

I ran another Half Marathon in October which I did not think I would do, simply because I thought doing one would be enough. Hubs lost the weight he wanted to lose (because men just think about it and they lose weight, right?) and got way more serious about running and I suggested he do a Half Marathon, so we signed up for the Lisbon Rock ‘n Roll Half. We both had a great experience though we both expected a bit better for time (it was super hot) and the course itself wasn’t über-gorgous or anything after the initial start off the Vasco de Gama bridge. Nonetheless we had a fantastic time.

Other than running there was of course the amazing time I had in Portland for Fitbloggin. It is really hard to understand for outsiders how amazing it is to attend a conference like this and meet all of these amazing people in one go. Honestly, my life is richer for having many of these people in my life and while we are not in the same place throughout the year I know there are people out there I can call a friend, it may just take longer to cultivate the relationship. Being that we are constantly online and in touch though, that definitely helps. (Sadly, I will not be going to Fitbloggin ’14, there are other financial obligations and choices made so I have to skip it this year. If you ever think you’d like to go to Fitbloggin, I can totally recommend it. You will be welcomed with open arms.

If I talk about the rest of my life last year, there is one word I have to describe it: stressful. As with many companies sometimes things become stressful and dynamic and rolling with the changes isn’t always easy. It’s also not easy to accept that you can NOT change, as it make a career switch, as it may just not be the right time for you. While I won’t put the details out on the web, I do think at this point it’s no secret that I want to do something else in my company, but I need to remain focused and accept how things are at this very moment so I don’t drive myself mental. I would be lying if I would say I was not disappointed this past year with how everything panned out, but I won’t let that disappointment discourage me or make me perform my current job less than what is expected of me (from myself as well as others).

Another disappointment is my weight. I know it’s not the be all and end all, but I am seriously so frustrated. I know that part of it is in my control and I am in a tailspin of believing it’s never going to happen anyway so I really need to fix that mentality. I have no idea yet how I’m going to tackle this but to be open and honest with you all, I am up 4KG from from last year this time and I only have myself to blame. I started the year out quite well but I really lost it somewhere around after the Half Marathon in April. I find dieting (which is what I’m in a constant state of doing, regardless of whether i talk about it or not) to be such a mental screw (sorry for saying so … but I could have used the “f” word) and it’s totally wreaking havoc on me. I think I have some deeper issues that need to be solved or losing weight will always be a struggle. Or let’s say, losing it and keeping it off forever will be the actual struggle, since I’ve proven about 3,682 times that I *can* actually lose weight. Being overweight (which I am, ladies and gents) means I also do not progress much with running. Another frustration is that I can’t really belong to a running club or group because I don’t meet requirements (running 5K less than half an hour for example). I know I am being stubborn when I say I do NOT want to join a beginner group because I’m not a beginner… but let’s face it, there are no advanced-yet-tubby runner clubs out there yet. Perhaps I should start one?

The highlight of my year was definitely my trip to Rwanda (and I was chosen to go, so this I can be very happy about work-wise). It was really life and perspective changing. I won’t forget all of those beautiful children’s faces, or going to the coffee farms and picking coffee cherries, or the amazing colleagues I met. And I won’t forget that feeling I had of real purpose when I was helping to build the health clinic. I long to go back to Africa and wish there were more vacation days and less working days a year so I could do EVERYTHING.

While I do have plans and hopes and wishes for the new year, I’m not yet sure how to put all of those thoughts down, so I don’t have a list per se of what I’m going to do in 2014. I know it’s going to be a pretty epic year, but to what extent of epicness, I don’t know yet…

Hope you all had a brilliant year and I look forward to seeing you in the new year! Tell me what your highlights were!

Damage Control

In order to turn this bus around I decided this morning to get on the scale and face the music. It’s not all that bad but it’s not good either as it’s not really going in the right direction.

As you know I tend to hover around 80 KG give or take one or two in either direction. Clearly the emotional eating or binge cookie in my face smashing is not doing a huge amount of damage as I’m still active. But … active as in the bare minimum and not the amount that I would like if I had a good balance of work – free time – sleep. The number: 81.6 KG.

So what am I whinging about? I’m whinging because I’m letting things slip out of control daily, I’m letting all of the stress and frustrations make the decisions for me rather than doing what I know is right. No harm in a cookie, right? Well, there is when it’s a 300+ calorie cookie that I’m eating every day (if not more than one). And there is harm when you are eating that cookie even though you told yourself that you weren’t going to have one, no matter what. There’s harm when I’ve eaten what feels like half my body weight in almonds because “well at least they are healthy”. The behavior is what I don’t like and the behavior is what needs to change.

I’ve actually logged into MFP again today and started logging my food. And… I have practically nothing left for dinner. This is the frustration part. Trying to eat healthy and in moderation, having all my fruits, veg, watching my carbs, even trying to limit my dairy intake (I am still convinced that I have a slight allergy to dairy), but I still need to refine this. I did have two soy lattes today and I could have just had one. So I found one thing where I could say 130 calories. That’s not going to help me with dinner. How do I change and not be hungry?

What I ate:
AM: smoothie: 250 mls almond milk, spinach, juice of one half of an orange, a small beet, an apple, a banana and some ginger, double tall soy latte, 3 rice cakes, 2 eggs, 1TBL of unox sauce (it’s a sort of mayo/mustard sauce), 2 cups of coffee on the commute

Lunch: two chicken thighs marinated in sweet soy, olive oil, lemon juice, spices and approx. 60gr of thinly sliced sweet potatoes

PM: apple, salad of romaine lettuce, 2 tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, yellow pepper, olive oil and white wine vinegar. Skim French quark with 70g total blueberries and raspberries, 10g almonds and 15g hemp seeds, double Tall Soy latte, Tall mint tea
3 bottles of water (1.5litres) over the course of the day

So I could cut out the soy lattes. I had approx. 1 TBSP olive oil in my chicken and 1 TBSP in my salad. I’m not a huge fan of cutting out fats, rather I believe that we need fat to keep our bodies running smoothly (am I wrong??). I could cut out the unox sauce, and replace just with mustard. But the rest? Tell me, tell me what you would do differently, how can I achieve eating well and not feeling hungry and still have some calories over for dinner?

Part of the random eating as well is due to hunger. I just give in at some point. I have long days and need to not feel like I’m going to pass out at any second. I know there is nothing wrong with being a little bit hungry, that I won’t die, in fact I probably won’t even pass out, I may just get a headache, right? The thing is, and I really don’t know why (I’ve thought about it and analysed it and still can’t figure it out), I just really can’t stand being hungry. I’m not talking peckish, I mean that emptiness in your stomach and the low blood sugar feeling. I know that part of what I need to do to fix the problem is just eat what I have (in other words, the veggies that I tend to carry around for days) instead of buying something because it’s better (or rather tastier).

So, while I’ve gone over today (because as of writing this I still haven’t had dinner, I’m still on my way home from work), I am at least turning the car around to get back on the right road. Hope I don’t run out of gas or get a flat tire on my way back.

How do you stay within your food limits daily? Do you think that my complaining about eating cookies in unwarranted? That a cookie a day keeps the doctor away?

The Road to Hell

The Road to Hell Is Paved with Good Intentions

You know that saying, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions”? Well guess where I’m heading towards?

I do have good intentions. Most evenings or mornings I prepare my food for the new day. I pack my gym bag. I take very little money with me so I won’t buy any junk. I tell myself, the new day will be different. It will be better. Brighter. I will be less stressed. I will follow my training schedule. I will eat well and drink all of my water. I will get my 10,000 steps.

And lately, the last couple of months, if I’m totally honest have been completely the opposite, with only a few days really being completely how I intend them to be.

Oh and I haven’t weighed myself in weeks because, what’s the point?

image courtesy of www.dailyvowelmovement.com

image courtesy of www.dailyvowelmovement.com

But seriously. I’m not eating well. At all. I can go the whole day following the right track and then be working late, have to wait for my train and suddenly i find myself stuffing my face with cookies. Or something. Anything. I’m stressed and unhappy and OBVIOUSLY I AM USING FOOD TO MEDICATE MYSELF.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it once more – I know better than this. I know it doesn’t help. Not even for one second. I have not only been stuffing my face but also skipping my runs and workouts. I know where the unhappiness comes from, though I’m not sure it’s total unhappiness rather more like frustration, stress, feeling roadblocked, feeling unsupported. I am not talking about health and fitness here, I’m talking about the other part of my life that is effecting all other areas… work. This is all stemming from work, wanting to change, feeling stifled, doubted, blocked.

There are days I have all the right intentions… I will go in and I will be positive and I will be zen with all. And not 5 minutes after reading my emails I’m angry again. I could literally cry every day. OF COURSE I KNOW THIS IS NOT GOOD. I need to get it together.

I’m having to dig really, really deep to get control over the situation.

On Friday after postponing my Thursday run, I decided I would run on Friday at lunch. Then on Friday morning I decided I would run after work instead and asked hubs if he would pick me up at 6:30pm so he could pick up my stuff and I would run from the train station to home. Unfortunately, the kids were late due to traffic so he wasn’t able to come and get my bags. I thought “fine. I’m just going home, screw this” (mind you I’d already eaten that cookie that I justified eating because of the run I was going to do). I walked towards the busses and then told myself: “if the bus is there, you can go home. If it’s not, put the stuff in a locker and run around the park anyway”. I got to the bus and it was there and then within a blink of an eye it pulled out to leave. That was my cue.

That was the universe gave me the message, loud and clear.

photo courtesy of www.awesomeaj.com

I was already in my running clothes, since I changed at work. I put my stuff in a locker and I headed out. I needed do do intervals according to my schedule and I tried, I really tried. I wasn’t going so well after 3 attempts at 3 minute sprints, so I decided I was going to run up and down the hills to do a bit of a fartlek type of session instead. It was raining a wee bit. I was starting to feel better. Only 15 minutes prior this was the last thing I wanted to do, but it needed to be done, for ME, for my SANITY.

I ended up with 6 KM. Unbelievable when it was looking like I was going to do 0 KM just an hour earlier.

the satisfaction of digging deep

the satisfaction of digging deep

The one thing I CAN do and should never ever ever give up on is running.

It’s my therapy. It lifts my spirit. It gives me confidence. It makes me feel like maybe, just maybe I undid a little bit of all those cookies the past month (or more). It gives me hope.

I need to get off the road to Hell. I need to turn around and go back to the place where I let nothing break my will, my spirit, my drive and determination.

It’s been months. Have you ever been a rut so long? How do you really ever turn around and get out of it?

Lisbon Half Marathon T – 1 and Day of Recap

Day T – 1

Usually when you are on holiday in a place you’ve never (or, ok, in my case only twice very briefly) been, you try to get in as much as possible, right? Not us. We are probably the people you don’t want to travel with. Our Motto “Relax. Take it easy” And not in the Mika way. We’re not scared or terrified. We are super chilled.

So basically, we spent the day walking (climbing hills), drinking coffee (climbing hills), eating (climbing hills), hanging out by the water (climbing hills), drinking beer (climbing hills) and in general climbing up and walking down hills to get wherever we needed to go. Have I mentioned it’s quite hilly in Lisbon?

Not Running Up that Hill

Not Running Up that Hill

It was absolutely glorious weather. GLO.RI.US. Too bad the economy is in the toilet in Portugal and I know too much about the bureaucracy there (my parents lived in the Algarve for 4 years) or I would move there in a heartbeat. It’s super cheap too. Even the expensive places are cheap.

As it was T -1 for dinner we knew we didn’t want to take risks so went to an “Italian- Portuguese” restaurant (ie a tourist place) for pasta. We actually saw several other runners there (it was obvious by the clothing) and at some point we met a Dutch guy who organises races in the Netherlands and trips in Europe for Dutch runners who want a group trip. Unbelievably, the guy lives in Arnhem! So we go all the way to Lisbon to meet a guy from the same city we live in!! Small world!

We had dinner and headed off to our apartment (climbing the hill) pretty early, got our gear all ready and I am fairly certain I was in the bed at 9:30. I wanted to make sure I was fully rested for the next day – a good race starts with a good night’s sleep!!

Race Day

Woke up, pretty nervous about the race. Still felt pretty sleepy even after almost 9 hours of sleep. We wanted to be out of the door by 7:45 to be sure we were at Oriente Station by 8:30. We were fully on schedule. Up, dressed, food, coffee, bit of water and out of the door. Down the hill and to the metro station was not but a few minutes and then we noticed… the metro station entrance is closed! WHAT??? OK. Keep Calm and Go to the Next Entrance. *phew*, it was open.

We were not the only runners at the station. Once we changed and São Sebastião there were a ton of runners everywhere! We arrived at Oriente just in time and merged into a queue for the busses. (Yes I said ‘merged’. To me, this means cutting in line, to my husband it’s “normal”; sorry that we are “those” people) The shuttle bus was the only way to get to the starting line on the Vasco de Gama bridge and the ride was a good 20 -25 minutes, allllllll the way across the bridge and then back. There was that moment before we got on the bus that I thought “OMG WHAT IF THERE ARE NO TOILETS AT THE STARTING LINE???” and thinking maybe I should stand in the queues for the portaloos at Oriente. However, there was nothing to worry about, plenty of loos on the bridge. By the time we arrived it was 9:15 and the walk to the loos on “our” side (the way was blocked off by fences – Half Marathoners on the right, fun runners on the left) about 10 minutes. We waited in the queue finally for the loos, 20 minutes… the sun was already blazing… totally wishing I’d had more water…

And... the wait for the loo is a long one...

And… the wait for the loo is a long one…

Once we finally took care of that business we walked up a little further to the start. This was it. About 3 minutes before the start we said our “good luck’s” and “I love you’s” and the Hubs walked up a little further and on the left to get a good starting position. 10:15 came along and we were off!!

On the bridge before the start

On the bridge before the start

the long walk to the start

the long walk to the start

Ready for it!

Ready for it!

The first couple of kilometers were super easy. Since we started “up” we could only go down. My first 3KM were pretty fast, in fact too fast if you ask me: 6.14/ 5:58 / 6.05 but then I thought to myself “run fast now to save up on some time later”. 4th KM was “slower” at 6.33 because we went up a little hill (surprise) plus I think at that point I drank some of the water I picked up at 2.5KM (they had bottles, not cups, AWESOME). Stayed pretty much in the 6:10 – 6:30 minutes per KM range until the 11th kilometer… at that point I was DYING. It was SO HOT. Every chance I had to get water I picked up a bottle, but somewhere between 10 – 11 I had to just walk and drink a bit. In the end I walked quite a lot, about 4 times more “The course is flat”, they said. “It will be easy”, they said. I did not beat my PR in Berlin, BUT I still came in before 2 hours and 30 minutes – official time 2:27:16.

(Sidenote: I love when this song comes on my playlist, even though I always get tears in my eyes; I always think of my friend Michael, who sadly died almost 5 years ago – I’m running this song for you, man and I love you and miss you every day)

All along the course there were plenty of water stations, live music, and I think about 12KM there was powerade drinks, at 14 there was fruit. I took advantage of every station. I must have had 2 litres of water to drink along the course and was still sweating like a mofo! I have to say this was a TOUGH race, well organised, but TOUGH for me because of the heat. Also, not the most beautiful course, but I loved starting on the bridge and the music was pretty cool along the way. At the end we got our medal, a goody bag and a free ice cream. Hubs came in at 1:53 – AWESOME for him, HIS FIRST HALF!!! He was waiting for me at our designated meeting point and afterwards we just hung out, got some grub, drank some beers and rested in the shade of the park near the water listening to live music.

Well deserved!

Well deserved!

Yes!!!  It's ALL about the bling!

Yes!!! It’s ALL about the bling!

What a great view after the race complete with beer and live music.

What a great view after the race complete with beer and live music.

Amazing day, amazing race, nice and relaxed afterwards. Once we got back to our apartment we finally could shower off all of the heat and sweat and got changed to go and have a relaxed dinner. We were both fairly destroyed physically once we finally put our heads to the pillows and got some sleep.

Have you ever done a Rock ‘n Roll Half or Full Marathon? If not, would you like to?

Lisbon RnR Half Marathon: Day -2

Greetings from Lisbon!

This morning we got up at the crack before dawn to drive to Eindhoven to catch a flight. It was super smooth getting there, unlike the last time we travelled from Eindhoven (when we went to Lithuania for the Depeche Mode Concert) and we were almost high-fiving each other until we found out that I once again messed up the baggage situation and only registered one bag instead of two (side note: I miss the days when you could just bring a bag to check in when you paid for your highway-robbery plane ticket, but ok, what are you going to do?). Got the bag sorted and headed over to Starbucks for some much needed caffeine and were just about to rush over to get through security when we discovered we had a 35 minute delay. A delay is better than being late to the airport and (nearly) missing a flight I suppose.

guess which bag is mine...

guess which bag is mine…

Everything was as expected on the flight, both of us very tired and I was having a headache (still, from the last few days) so we both tried to get a little shut eye. 3 hours later, safe on Portuguese soil! Once we collected our bags and got some money we headed off to the taxis. It seemed though that we ended up with the one angry driver who wasn’t exactly sure how to get where we needed to go (he was yelling at everyone who did something odd in traffic… if you’ve been to Portugal, you’ll know this happens often). We rented an apartment for our stay here, rather than a hotel – it just feels more authentic, you know? Eventually we arrived and our gracious host gave us some handy tips and information and we were off to the Expo.

Both of us were rather hungry and not yet sure of where/what/how we would eat something but even before we reached the metro station we saw a shopping center with a food court. All of the choices actually looked to be rather on the healthy side and we decided on a place called Hamburgerology – actually all of their hamburgers are 100% pure beef and NO BUN but instead jasmine rice! We both had the burger benedict; a burger on a bed of spinach with a poached egg on top and rice… YUM! I would have taken a photo for you, but alas, too hungry for photo ops!

I almost licked the plate

I almost licked the plate

Of course no trip through the city by metro is complete without stopping for espresso and local pastries (or chocolate in Hubs’ case) – one needs the fuel to figure out each cities transit system, no?

Here comes the metro

coffee and chocolate

Nom!!

Nom!!

Eventually we reached our destination and I have to say… the expo was pretty small! Picking up our race packs was a fairly easy process, though I had to use the “Third time’s a charm” motto on getting the right tee shirt. Hubs bought a cool shirt from the Rock N Roll Marathon Series and we probably looked at each stand twice and finally left. There was just not much going on. Mind you I only have the Expo experience from Milan and that was absolutely huge compared to this one.

First Half Marathon bib!!!

First Half Marathon bib!!!

After we left the expo (and returned to get a different shirt and left again) we pretty much just hung out in the amazing perfect temperature blue sky breezy sunshine for, well, ages… eventually we walked and had a beer and walked again and had an ice cream… and I finally decided to find a Farmacia to get some more paracetamol for my head which clearly needed some help.

that's the bridge where we start the race

that’s the bridge where we start the race

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because no blog post is complete without a photo of me in my sunglasses

because no blog post is complete without a photo of me in my sunglasses


We managed to find our way back to the apartment, unpacked our bags, checked if anything happened on the interwebz, and took a tiny little nap. The life of a Rockstar, I tell you!

Have you ever done a race out of state or country? how do you prepare for the race since you are a bit out of your element? Is ice cream or beer part of your agenda?

Done. Onto the Next One.

So Sunday… was the Posbankloop, which once again my husband kicked his PR’s ass. He’s such a rockstar!

First of all, it’s a smaller race. Not sure how many participants but probably 5000 or less. It wasn’t very crowded at the meeting point.

No huge crowds!

No huge crowds!

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Any of you who think the Netherlands is flat you are not correct. Yes, in the West it’s flat. Here in the east we have elevation. It’s not the Swiss Alps, I’ll give you that, but there is elevation. The photo below is the middle of the first big hill (up to 100m) which felt like it went on forever.

geertwevers@blogspot.com


The run was actually the most beautiful course I’ve run. I’m so lucky to live in this area of the country! And this race was in Velp, which is a 7 minute bike ride from our apartment (we always go to Velp for ice cream). I’ve run loads and loads in Velp and Rheden but I’ve never dared to run in the Posbank (this is the name of the nature area). I’ve tried to ride my bike there and the hills are just killer (in retrospect, the ones in Cornwall are more difficult, I’ll remember that next time I go out biking). Hubs went running there a few weeks ago and said “You would have hated that” when he arrived home. So, uh, ok, why did he want to sign us up for this then?!

Anyway, it was gorgeous, killer hills and all. I predicted 1:40 for my time. After we reached the top of the hill, I was really looking forward to catching up on my time lost a bit running downhill. Since my Chi Running course I know how to run downhill like a boss! And I was so happy, cruising downhill. Little did I know about “the wall”…

The next HUGE hill was literally just like climbing up a wall. And oddly enough, the ONLY water station on the 15K course was at the START of the wall. This was at like 11KM. ODD! NO WATER UNTIL 11K and once I got the water I could NOT get traction anymore to run up the hill. So I walked a bit. Thankfully I finally made it and could start running again, downhill. 1KM from the finish I started to really hoof it to the end. I just wanted a beer at that point. I was ready to be done.

I saw hubs waiting for me at the finish and strutted in with my best running position. Official time 1:40:00 EXACTLY!

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Too fast for you buddy!!
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Now I’m DONE. Onto the next one. LISBON Rock ‘n Roll HALF MARATHON in 4 days!!! ARRRRRRRRGGGGGHHH! Ready as I’ll ever be.

Have you ever experienced a race where you thought you would die of thirst before you hit the water station?

What’s the most beautiful course you’ve ever run?