maandag 30 november 2009

63 min
Start 16.30
No visible sunset, just an imperceptible fading of the grey. Did my fast circuit in 5.43. Ran for slightly longer than I planned as there was still enough light to see for a second round of the Eng. Then had a brief stop to do my good deed by taking the 4 bins for the block down to the collecting place for tomorrow morning. After this did another brief circuit down behind the Boni and round the nice new Georgian style yuppy flats - this is the right time to see in the lighted windows and see what the latest fashions in kitchen fittings are. Lots of conical type gleaming silver kettles were what I particularly noticed.

zondag 29 november 2009

Week Total 494

Start 16.45
Official time yesterday on the site was 4:53:30 so I rounded that up by a few minutes to include the skipping about warming up I did beforehand.
Woke up this morning with a tender feeling in my right ear. I suspect a mild infection from the chilly south-westerly that was blowing into it for most of the way.
Spent most of today on big cushions on the floor in my new naff Scotty-dog flecked pyjamas with my back against the radiator re-reading Born to Run (in English this time).

When the light started to fade I decided I should get outside for some fresh air and it was as easy to pull my running clothes on as anything else so took my well-earned new red reflective vest out for a sunset run over the Eng. Light effects were gratifyingly good and glittery, feathered red followed by muted blue and gold as the lid of clouds gradually closed. My ear already feels less sensitive than it did this morning and my blisters didn't object too much to my running after a few initial twinges. Leg muscles feel fine. What a difference from September when I could hardly walk properly for 3 days after the half marathon in Hattem. My body seems to have greatly improved its ability to recover from exertion since then.

zaterdag 28 november 2009

Zuiderzee Marathon - van Urk naar Zwolle

After getting up early to heat up the leftovers from last night's potatoes/onions/apples and cheese concoction for breakfast got to Zwolle in time to sign up, drink some tea, eat a banana and a nut filled energy bar before securing one of the front upstairs seats in one of the buses that was to take us to Urk. Nice atmosphere - like a school outing but luckily without the compulsory singing. The guy next to me had done the full distance in Amsterdam when I did my half there in October (and was going to a wedding in Scotland in the spring).

It was very grey and rainy on the way and there was a feeling of total absurdity that we were all voluntarily, no, pAying even for the privelege, getting on a bus that was going to set us down 42+ km away so we could run all the way back... At the start there was a run (ha) on the toilets as everyone made a last sanitary stop. The start was in some anonymous industrial estate where we had access to some sort of office/canteen block. Miraculously the rain faded to nothing by the time we were all ready for the off at 11am.Just plucked this pic from the site. I'm number 15. Note the neck warmer thingy which turns into a headband later when I get warmed up.)
The start shot was given by the mayor of Urk and before this there was a short silence as a mark of respect for the young boy who was murdered in the woods by another young boy in the village this week. (Huge news story here at the moment - nothing much ever happens in Urk usually...)

Ok, lets get the boring numbers bit out of the way before they slip out of my head completely.
5km 28.40
10km 59 +
15km 1:32
20km 2:05
25km 2:43
30km 3:19
35km 3:55
Missed the 40km board completely and can't remember what was on the one at 41km which I did see. Will have to check my finish time later on the site as I was too dazed to stop my timer, but I think it was about 4:53. There was one finisher after me who came in at 4.57. (She had a great finish with all the accompanying motorbikes and sirens! ;-)
Here a few more statistics plucked from the site. I came in 149th of the 150 finishers. Time 4:53:30 Average Speed 8,626 k/p/h Average time per kilometer 6:57

Did my usual too-fast start. Worst 5k was between 20 and 25. Took 38 minutes for this bit. I know a lot of people went past me here and I just felt I was dropping further and further back and it was still sUch a long way to the finish. At the end I was flagging seriously too - missing the 40k mark had me feeling that the end just kept getting further and further away...

But for the rest - it wasn't really thAt hard. The time mostly seemed to pass quite quickly. I never seriously thought I would have to stop. (Though I did occasionally think it was a very attractive idea!) The weather wasn't nearly as bad as it could have been. Stayed dry all the way, with even short views of the sun now and again through hazy cloud cover. Wind was sometimes quite hard, but not the gale force it could have been.

And there was a much friendlier atmosphere than in the huge city runs. When people passed me today they always acknowledged me and sometimes asked if everything was ok. For a while I was just in front of a pair of men who were chatting away about various 100km races they'd done. (Grandchildren were also mentioned - these were true running veterans!) As if they were out for an afternoon stroll... I'm always amazed that people have enough energy/breath to talk when running distances. It was nice to hear proof that this event is indeed one which attracts the real hard-core ultrarunners.

Ah well, I made it to the finish without walking, that was the main aim. This last photo is of the goodies we got in a bag at the end. Nicely designed medal. Red reflective vest for night runs. Banketstaaf (pastry with marzipan in the middle - traditional around Sinterklaas time here.) There was also a smoked herring (Urk is a fishing village...) but I gave that to Riny as it's one of the Dutch delicacies I've never learned to appreciate.)

Went off to Riny's houseboat (10 minutes away) to use her shower. (There were shower facilities there but I suspected I wasn't up to a quick businesslike shower and wanted to have some more space to myself.) Just as well really as I had a bit of a wobbly once I got there. When I bent down to put the bags I'd brought in from the car on the floor I found I couldn't really stand up properly again. I felt like an 84 year old hunchback. All my muscles seemed to be objecting to being used. My legs, my back, my neck. Hobbled to the shower and managed to get it going good and hot before having to abandon any attempts at staying upright. Spent a good few minutes on hands and knees wondering whether I really needed to eat something or really needed to throw up. Managed to avoid the latter and eventually got myself together enough to get dried and half dressed. Collapsed on the big comfy couch and rubbed tigerbalm and lemon oil into my legs while Riny got me tea and some dry bread (which was all I trusted my stomach with).

I've got a big blood blister on the inside of the ball of my left foot. Probably caused by the plaster I'd put on it beforehand to prevent this happening... I'd put a plaster on a tiny blister on my other foot (this is now fine) and thought I'd pre-empt one forming on the left one. Bad idea apparantly. Had quite a lot of cramps in my feet afterwards which I don't usually have any bother with. But now that I've eaten properly they seem to have gone. Around the 25k mark I had occasional strange feelings in my feet. Began half way up my shin and felt as if there was a string there and that everything beneath this string was a large numb bit of wood. Mostly in my right foot but sometimes in the left too. Weird. Not sOre as such but a bit disconcerting as I couldn't feel my foot touching the ground properly. And I really should have had thin gloves with me - sometimes my hands were so cold that I could hardly get my gelsachets open. (I used 3 at just over hourly intervals - there were bananas and mandarins at the water posts too.) So that's my list of 'injuries' such as they were. Not bad at all considering I wasn't really ready for the whole distance and haven't done more than a half in 12 years. Despite feeling briefly quite mangled afterwards I did actually really enjoy the day. Might even go back next year...

vrijdag 27 november 2009

Nog één nachtje slapen...

32 min
Start 16.30
Gentle(ish) sunset run about the Eng and surrounding streets. (No visible sunset - uniform grey Novemberness.) Did my fast circuit in 5.32, which is 3 seconds faster than I've ever done it before so I feel I'm as ready as I'm likely to get for tomorrow.

This is the running belt I've prepared to take with me. Complete with camera, water, 3 gelbars, a tiny bottle of lemon oil, some tigersalve, big plastic bag to pull on if I feel I need protection from the rain, identification card and money for the entry fee. It weighs 660g and I've just had it out for a test run. I'm particularly pleased with the holder for the gelsachets I made by cutting the top off a water bottle. Have discovered what I've been doing wrong before. When I had it round my hips it jigged about too much and tended to slide to one side. I've now pulled the straps tighter and have it higher up round my waist. This feels much more secure and comfortable to run with.

woensdag 25 november 2009

Start 7.45
Woke up before the alarm and as there was no rain battering the windows got myself up and out into the greyness. Saw a promise of pale brightness on the horizon so headed out towards the cyclebridge to keep it in front of me. Right on to the Klompenpad, nice orangey red light strip as the sun struggled to disperse the grey. It got swallowed by cloud shortly after it made its first appearance but I'm glad I was able to see it at least making an attempt. Running went fine - lot of wind along the Eem but nothing really problematic. Kept to my usual steady plod most of the time, briefly speeded up on the way back when some good jumpy music came along on the Scotland Introducing podcast. Did my fast circuit in 5.50 on the way home - not bad after almost 80 minutes running.

maandag 23 november 2009

27 min
Start 15.30
Was planning to run for longer but it started pelting with rain and it was getting in my eyes and I could hardly see (remember to wear a cap if rain is likely!). Still, I don't really mind rain, but when I saw a huge fork of lightning and heard the thunder a few seconds later I decided that running about in a huge open space in a thunderstorm perhaps wasn't too clever after all. I gave up and went quickly back via the shortest route to the built up area of town. And ach, I should probably be having a bit of a 'rest' week if I am going to try to go the distance on Saturday. I'm never quite sure where the balance lies between 'resting' and 'keeping things ticking over'... Did my 'fast circuit' in 5.45. Not a PB but I do have to put a wee bit of a brake on at the downhil bit between the field path and the street as it's still covered in wet leaves and I always worry about slipping there. The house that was recently sold and which has quickly acquired small flocks of new geese and black faced sheep has now added a couple of turkeys to the field at the back. Wonder if they'll still be there after Christmas...

zaterdag 21 november 2009

Week Total 500!

106 min
Start 15.30
Out to the cycle bridge on over the Klompenpad towards Amersfoort, bit through the backstreets and then back to the Eng for a last circuit there to make up my time. Short bit of interval training on the bit of farmroad with regular lampposts but mostly just slow and steady, speeding up very occasionally with a few bits of music. Stopped to talk to a beautiful and impressively well-built Bordeaux Dog who was barking madly at a fence behind some stables whilst simultaneously wagging his tail happily.

vrijdag 20 november 2009

Sunrise in the Vondelpark, Amsterdam

87 min
Start 7.30
Clear light getting brighter by the minute as I ran past the Concertgebouw and on to the Vondelpark (5 min away). Enjoyed running about in the company of so many other runners, dogs, bikes. Unfortunately had to cut my run short as I could feel my bowels declaring they really, well yes, enough information already. I did actually contemplate going into some bushes at one point but there are hardly any leaves on said bushes now so they're all a bit transparant and it was really too busy for this to be a viable option. Should really have started back for Hanneke's house earlier but I've never had this before when running and thought I'd easily be able to finish my 100 minutes before things got too, um, necessary. What a disaster this must be if it happens during an official run... Anyway, should be able to regain the lost 13 minutes tomorrow afternoon (my goal was to run 5 x 100 minutes this week). Ach, I had my camera with me but was so concerned with other things that I forgot to make any photos.

Later: on the way home spotted a rather nice bookshop so went in and bought myself an English hardback edition of the book I raved about after I got the Dutch paperback for my birthday.

woensdag 18 november 2009

101 min
Start 20.45
Ran about the hillier parts of town, keeping mostly to the better lit streets, bit of interval training when there was an inviting row of lampposts through a park. Last bit with my headlight on over the Eng. Went really well, steady pace without too much effort apart from the brief interval bits.

dinsdag 17 november 2009

An Impish Run

101 min
Start 15.00

Inspired by one of the women on the runners messageboard I also contribute to, who did a very muddy cross-country 15-mile challenge at the weekend (and whose board name is Impish) I decided that I could go for a run behind the stables when Julia was having her riding lesson this afternoon. It's vEry muddy there and usually I saunter along reading a book with my wellies on, whilst Dusty tippytoes around the edges of the worst bits in her supermodel greyhoundy way. Today I just stomped through the mud at speed, getting my shoes spectacularly dirty (note the contrast between the first and the later pics). Did 40 minutes with Dusty on the road first. Being a fast and long-legged type herself she looked very amused at my attempts at 'speed' and generally seemed to enjoy the novelty of me moving faster than I usually do when out with her. Then had a cup of tea and a biscuit (another very civilised element of the run Impish did - they were offered a teabreak along the route, I thought this was an excellent idea...). Then Julia and I went off to the stables and I ran for an hour there, first through the muddiest bits and then on for 20 minutes along the cycle path, doing an interval training between the lampposts (first 4 fast, 4 slower, later 5 fast, 4 slower). Reached the start of the polder and could have run round through the village on the way back but wanted to retrace my steps and take in the muddy bit again. Went really well, I enjoyed the contrasts of different sorts of running.

maandag 16 november 2009

105 min
Start 7.30
(Photo is to show the weird clashing collection of colours I pulled on this morning...)
Ran out to the cycle bridge via the klompenpad (53 min, first a warm-up circuit of the Eng) then turned and came back the same way (more or less, came straight across the main cycle path instead of going round by the allotments on the way back). Means I have a good 40+ minutes of the muddy/grassy paths. Should maybe think about going in to the woods to find some more off-road routes as I enjoy that better than having to share the road with all the illegal early morning traffic which uses the farm roads to avoid the tailbacks on the main roads.

zondag 15 november 2009

Week Total 310

Plus few minutes warming up yesterday then, but no watch so no real idea of how long. 10 minutes at most.

zaterdag 14 november 2009

(Bijna) de halve van Houten...

115 min
Which would of course have been a wonderful time IF I'd done the full distance. But apparantly something went wrong with the route because someone didn't point me in the right direction for my distance at the right time and I ended up doing 3 and a bit smaller circuits instead of the 2 larger ones I should have done. I'll have to look at the map to see what went wrong but the couple of people I spoke to at the end thought I must have done about 19k, which is about right for the time. (Have just looked at the route and according to my calculations based on the distances given it works out at 20k give or take a few hundred meters, so it looks like my 'real' time would have been comparable with Amsterdam.) Ach, I'm not really that bothered. I had a good trainings run of almost 2 hours in a place I don't usually run in. Lot of wind along the canal, but the rain stopped miraculously just before the start (it had been pouring when I left home) and the sun even came out now and then. I'll probably go back next month and see if I can do the correct distance then.
This photo was taken on the first circuit, most runners did 5, 10 or 15km so it was a lot busier at the start than at the end. (I'm the one with the snazzy silver and blue legs.)
Few technical points - forgot to take my Ventoline but had absolutely no problems with my breathing so I think I've got to the point now when I don't need it any more. Also forgot my watch so had no idea of what time I was doing. Found this a bit annoying at first but since I didn't run the official route the distance marks on the ground didn't make any sense anyway. I took a blackcurrant energy gel thing with me and took wee slurps of that regularly during the second hour. Finished feeling fine so maybe it helped.

woensdag 11 november 2009

100 min
Start 16.00
Was planning on doing the Klompenpad circuit but half way out noticed that there was a beautiful red gap in the all-grey cloud cover just above the horizon that the sun was sinking into so turned round so that I would be running into that rather than having it behind me. There was also quite a lot of (illegal - passing cars are not supposed to use that road between 4 and 7 in the evening) traffic which made running on the narrow road a bit dodgy; one white van came worryingly close, despite me running on the left to face oncoming traffic and having light-coloured clothes on. So went back to the Eng and ran about there till the last of the light was gone. Did 2 fast circuits with half an hour in between. First was 5.37, second 5.57. So not as good as yesterday, while weather conditions are more or less identical. And I took some Ventolin today, curious to see if this would be 'performance enhancing' as it is one of the banned drugs for some athletic events. Apparantly not with me then...

dinsdag 10 november 2009

95 min
Start 10.30
Great run. First 10 minutes warming up over the Eng then did my fast round in a PB of 5.35 (have done it once before in this time). Went on to do a steady Klompenpad circuit of about an hour, occasionally speeding up depending on what music was on. Back to my fast circuit and did it in 5.45 this time. I didn't even feel I was running flat out as there are a couple of downhill bits with wet leaves where I have to be careful not to slip. And this with no Ventolin. I really think I've more or less built up my condition enough to do without it now. I'll see what the lung specialist says when I see her next month but I definitely feel as if everything is working like it used to again now. Last bit home diagonally across the fields jumping over the rows of maize stubble.

zondag 8 november 2009

Week Total 310

90 min
Start 16.15.
Had planned to run in Amsterdam in the Vondelpark the morning after the night before but had forgotten to put the rest of my running clothes in the bag and only had my shoes with me. Shame because it was beautiful weather there and yet as soon as I got on the motorway to come home the mist came down and my run in Soest was very foggy indeed. Went great though. Had good music on the ipod and bounced along over the path (Klompenpad) from the edge of Amersfoort along the Eem to the cyclebridge. Was muddy but firm enough to run on.

vrijdag 6 november 2009

68 min
Start 16.45
So-so. Couldn't really 'get going' somehow although did manage a quite energetic spurt now and then when some good music came along on miPod. Realised after a while that I'd forgotten the Ventolin (again) and that I could hear a tiny whistle at the bottom of my lungs occasionally. However I suspect it's a good sign that I can forget to take it and still run a reasonable distance without any major symptoms. Shows that my lungs have built up a fair bit of strength so that they can now operate better without the medication which allowed them to be exercised properly again in the first place.

woensdag 4 november 2009

78 min
Start 12.30
Out along the Eem over the muddy sheep path. It was too slippy with well diluted sheep sh*t to be safe so I soon moved down to the grassier path at the bottom of the dijk. Got heavily rained on for a wee while but then the sun came out and my shirt was almost dry by the time I got home. Forgot to take my Ventolin but can do OK without it now that my lungs are in better condition, at least if it's not too cold and I don't try to go too fast. Did the 3min straight sprint in 3.10 with a headwind on the way back.

maandag 2 november 2009

74 min
Start 17.00
Good sunset run about the Eng and the neighbouring streets. Did my fast double circuit in 11.50 (1st 5.50, 2nd 6.00) After 35 minutes got a sort of stitch in my side, higher than the few other occasions when I've had this. Just under my ribs on the left. Kept running slowly through it, didn't get worse but didn't go away for a good while either. Ah well, maybe good for me to know what this feels like. It did eventually subside. Ipod stopped after 30 minutes. I'll have to take it back to the shop again...

zondag 1 november 2009

2 week total 299

Last week 158, this week 141, tissue-filled gap of a week.

Maple Leaf Cross

Start 14u
Ran this 3 x 3km route over dirt and grass paths this afternoon, even some soft sand now and then + one steep hill in each circuit. I took a wrong turning on the way there on the bike and arrived fearing I'd be too late to sign up as it was supposed to close for entry half an hour before the start. But it wasn't a problem and I just had time to pull off my long sleeved shirt, pin my number (with built-in chip)
to my shirt and get to the start. I've never seen one of these built in to the startnumber chips before, having only ever used the bigger ones you tie into your shoes.
I wasn't aiming for a fast time (ha, chance would be a fine thing! ;-) I just wanted to see how it went, was quite prepared to stop after 3 or 6k if I didn't feel great. At best I thought an hour for this 9k over rough ground would be fine, considering I do about 10.3kph over the half marathon on the road. First circuit I passed the finish at 17.30. Second was at 35.50 (18.20). Third (18.42). Hmm, still starting too fast then, whereas I felt as if the start was hard and it got easier as I went on. Must see if I can do something about this - the idea for running distances is that you keep enough back to be able to get faster as you progress. But anyway, I was delighted with the time, hadn't really expected this, so it looks like my week of little running because of a head cold hasn't really damaged the fitness I've built up over the summer. Cycled home in pouring rain and wind (the rain started falling lightly during the last circuit) soaked through to my underwear.