What happened this weekend? Week 35. 

Saturday I returned from Groningen in the late morning after a quick breakfast in town with Mike and his wife. 

After having a bite to eat I went out to meet Tashi for some clothes shopping. Didn’t buy much but was nice to be out. We grabbed a sub and headed to Craft & Draft on the Overtoom for some (you guessed it) craft, draft beers. I logged them all on Untappd (link coming soon). Returning home Andrew came over for a drink on the balcony where we discussed many topics including the relationship between happiness and the proximity of ones home to ones workplace as well as debated a few fundamentals of NLP (neuro linguistic programming) and psychology. Yes, it got pretty high brow pretty quick. 

Sunday, after a much needed lie-in, I pottered about the flat doing some tidying after having had pasta and a fried egg for breakfast in preparation for a long run with Andrew.

We ended up running just shy of 24km. Both of our longest runs ever. In my case it felt good until about 20. We tested the energy gels too. I found them surprisingly tasty. I was using isogel High5, Andrew a mix of the same and SIS. 

We also conducted a bit of a social experiment. I noted that people don’t tend to smile much when running. So we wanted to check whether we could get a smile out of people. To do so, we offered a random sample of runners running the other way a hand in which to slap a high-five and an encouraging saying such as “lekker bezig” or “keep it up”. We didn’t segregate based on any physical attribute but for the sake of our own safety, did not cross the pathway when in proximity of bicycles. We can conclude therefore that the majority of runners are happy to “share the love” as it were, when prompted. So, for the sake of anyone out there, next time you run, smile, wave, offer a word of encouragement, or do all three and add in a high-five! Who knows, you might just make someone’s day!

I rounded the afternoon and evening off by getting groceries, and pottering about some more, and finally by watching “Valley Uprising” an interesting documentary on the birth of climbing in Yosemite. Interesting stuff!

What happened this week? Week 35.

The week started fairly calmly. Catherine and I ran a cool 5km together to prep her for a race in the next few months. We’ve set some targets for her to work towards which we think are realistic and achievable. 

Wednesday morning Catherine flew back to the UK, leaving me in charge. Wednesday night I met up with a friend I hadn’t seen in 7 years. Pretty much the only person I’d vaguely kept in touch with from my one year of schooling in Paris. We had a good catch up at the Hannekes Boom in Amsterdam (a bar for which I am entirely not hipster enough). 

Thursday night I had the summer barbecue at work. Which surprisingly turned out to be great fun. I always thought work parties were rather cringey affairs where everyone is very self conscious, but it turns out my office likes a good party, as evidenced by them drinking the bar dry by 9pm when the party was due to carry on until late. (Cue much scrambling by the catering company). Despite my strongest affirmations that I do not dance I was proven wrong over a three hour period. 

Friday night I went back to Groningen for a goodbye party at my friend Sabines place. (Though I’m not sure what she’s saying goodbye to as she’s stuck in Groningen for the next four years to do a PhD, smartass). And crashed on my buddy Mike’s couch. It had been a long time since I slept in a sleeping bag, and it’s just reminded me how much I yearn for a camping trip! I’ll have to organise something sometime before it gets too cold (but is it ever too cold?….)

And that wraps it up. More on the weekend in the next post. 

    As an added bonus, we saw an amazing rainbow from our balcony this week! (Picture coming when I get more bandwidth). 

What happened this weekend? Week 34

Saturday morning was dedicated to the more householdy things. Washes, cleaning, the usual after a busy work week. We also baked a cake and Catherine got a refresher on rewiring plugs.

We arranged to meet Tashi at Sail to check out more boats. It was absolutely incredible. We decided to wait a bit and watch one of the locks do its thing. Good opportunity to sit in the sun.  

     We walked along the banks of the Ij and saw the multitude of boats going by as well as some boats moored along the quai, including a submarine, a Dutch navy S.A.R ship as well as a destroyer. Other interesting “boats” included a Citroen (see pictures). Moored alongside, there were some beautiful training ships from the Russian navy, as well as really old “pirate” style ships which looked like props from Pirates of the Carribean. 

   

  

  

  

  

                From Sail we legged it west to Matt & Helen’s for Matt’s birthday party. It was an excellent bash! Matt’s little brother is part of a Spanish style Mariachi band (promise to find out the correct name). Great singing and music and even a little dancing! 

   

  

       The trip home was excitin too! We missed our metro by a few scones so we had to take a train to Amsterdam central and then the last train to Utrecht which also stopped by our house. We were both exhausted but the train ride included a puking dog and a girl instagramming stitches on her leg. Sunday was a quiet day which included a run for me (the running date was pushed back to Monday). Got 12km in, and used the new shoes that arrived this week. They’re incredibly light and the support is good. As a forefoot striker I prefer less cushioning and they fit the bill. However the heel is fairly tight, adidas seem to size shoes fairly small. Worth considering if in the market for running shoes. Also a first, I made use of an energy gel half way through. Not too bad and accounting for the placebo effect, I found it gave me a nice little boost of energy. 

Early night Sunday to get ready for another week!

 

What happened this week? Week 34

It has been a quick week! At least it felt that way. Monday evening we threw in the towel and went to IKEA to pick a bed. The initial plan was to get something non-ikea, but sleeping on the sofa bed in the living room was getting a bit much, so we went for the quick fix. It was delivered the following evening at 11:30 (yes, it was late). 

Wednesday evening we had the pleasure of Andrews company. He came to drop off some energy gels he had ordered in exchange for some running shoes. (I cycled home after work on Wednesday looking like I had raided the shoe shop.  

And yes indeed Martin, the crate you brought to Holland for me has been given a new lease on life on my bike. (Soon to be transferred to another bike, but more on that in a couple weeks). 

To break them in, I wore my new running shoes to work on Thursday (my employer allows it, which is totally awesome). I got Adizero Feather Boosts, which in Andrews words, “are like second socks”.  

Sunday I’ll give them their maiden voyage as running shoes as Catherine and I go on a running date. 

Thursday I completed the building of the bed, but of course, we couldn’t sleep in it, as the mattress needs to regain its shape over 72 hours. :@ 

To cap the week off in style we went to Sail Amsterdam Friday evening to meet Matt & Helen for the firework display. Both Sail and the fireworks are very worth it! We will return Saturday afternoon with Tashi to check out the boats in more detail. (No pictures of the fireworks, as they never turn out well). 

 

Yes, all of those things sticking up are masts
  
This guy was very keen on the use of his foghorn
  
Not sure who this gentleman is, or why he’s in the picture, but Hello.

A quick drink at a bar by the harbour (frequented by French sailors, who had apparently decided to dress as stereotypically as possible, including stripey shirts, berets and pencil moustache…..honestly, all that was missing was a baguette and some garlic) and we headed home for some rest. 
  

What happened this weekend? Week 33

Quite simply, we moved house! Picked up a van on Friday night, and headed to the old house to pack the last few boxes after doing more cleaning at the new place. 

Saturday morning we picked up a few things we had agreed to pick up for the new place and reconvened at midday with our fiends Matt & Helen at the old house to pack the van to the top.  Then it was off to the new place to empty the van. This happened twice. Lastly we had lunch, at about 5 o’clock before returning the van and going to the hardware store to pick up some essentials for lamps and electricals. 

The evening was spent unpacking and setting things up. Our favourite baker (Helen) made a cake for the occasion.  

She allegedly threw it together quickly. (I couldn’t make a cake like that if I had several days). I’ll include a link to her blog as soon as she’s updated it. I’ve already placed an order for my next cake (birthday in January). Andrew also bought along a delicious banana bread. 

Sunday

We woke up ridiculously early for no reason. After breakfast we continued sorting things out (as it was too early to get busy with the hammer drill). Off to the shop at 11 to get light fixtures and then installing them. 

My buddy Tashi came along a little later and we headed to the local Decathlon to hook him up with a heart rate monitor (he’s the one I originally intended to run the Dam-tot-Dam with). Followed it up with a Thai curry cooked by Catherine. Absolutely delicious. 

For some reason we’ve ended up watching MTV’s Ex on the Beach tonight (Catherine has the remote). Suffice it to say that I’m judging the – ahem – protagonists, and my verdict is not positive. 

What happened this week? Week 33

This week flew by! It was my second week at work, so training was ongoing and there was still a lot to absorb. I go “live” next week with real responsibilities so that should be exciting! 

On Tuesday we got the keys to our new apartment! So our evenings have mostly been taken up with packing up our current place. 

Thursday we were treated to an excellent Balinese meal by our good friends Matt & Helen as a thank you for looking after their cat when they were on holiday. (We also got presents, which are totally awesome).

Every day I moved one of my rides over to the new place, so Wednesday was the turn of the old city bike (lots of effort, took 45 minutes),  

The red ligts are there for jumping, they stay red too long.
 Thursday the race bike (same old – 30 mins) and today the motorbike (no effort, 15 mins). Unfortunately from my new place the motorbike isn’t worth taking as going by road takes longer than cycling through the shopping centre, and as a result, kitting up for the race bike isn’t worth it either. But I am allowed a tax-free new bicycle through work, so a fourth bike may soon be added to the household! (Because y’know, why not??). 

Moving day tomorrow! Very excited!

What happened this weekend? Week 32

Friday night I was quite frankly so tired that I sat in the garden for a bit before dinner and enjoyed a beer. (Goose Island IPA). I actually fell asleep on the couch at about 9:30, so I figured I had better go to bed.

Saturday

Catherine had some studying to do this weekend so we went easy on the big activities and outings. Instead I serviced my bicycle, it needed the brakes tightening up to remove a bit of travel in the levers. I also gave it a bit of a wipe down, to make it shiny after serving commuter duty this week.  In the afternoon, we went to the woods nearby as I had spotted some wild garlic growing, and we fancied picking some for cooking. Unfortunately it turns out wild garlic is in season in May (probably the last time I went for a long run in the woods), so we didn’t find any. Instead we spotted a ton of butterflies of which I tried to take pictures and failed dismally.

The only picture I got

We also chanced upon some elderberry bushes and it seems it’s the beginning of the season, as very few were ripe. But I pulled the Opinel out of my pocket (I’m outdoorsy like that) and we took a few of the ripest berries home.   Upon returning home we needed to sort the ripe berries from the unripe ones and the stems and leaves.    Now we just need to decide what to do with them before the rot. (I’m thinking wine, Catherine thinks jam or cordial).

Sunday

A quiet day, we set about making something with the elderberries we gathered, cordial this time. We hope to gather more in autumn and make more exciting things then. I found a very simple recipe, though it turns out with the little handful of berries we gathered we made about a thimbleful of cordial. (I’m expecting it to be pretty sour (though it wasn’t)) The recipe is from  this link.
Sunday was wrapped up with a run of about 15km with Andrew (my Marathon partner in crime). Unfortunately his shoes aren’t up to scratch so we took it fairly easy (about 5:45/km average). After that we had pizza night and relaxed, to be ready for a new week of work, training, and other exciting stuff! 😉

IMG_0182

Recent history

Continuing on from the background page. I had best explain how we get from February (pre-Brussels), to August (post-Brussels). A lot has happened, which I will attempt to break down into a few categories. In any case, consider this a big update post that spans several sections.

This blog originally started in February, I was looking for a release and a place to post my thoughts and share what I got up to in training and in life. I’m going to use the usual excuse here and claim that life got in the way of any sort of regular updating of the site. By life I mean the demands of studies. As I was finishing up my Master’s degree I needed to focus hard on writing my thesis as well as preparing for exams.

Training continued, but to some degree as an escape from the rest, which I guess it is for many people. Regardless, I had signed up for the race in Brussels and I needed to make damn sure it happened (as I was running it with my friend Andrew, I needed to be able to do it and not let him, or myself down).

Brussels

The run up to Brussels was not strong. I had a backlog of work to do for school, and to top it all off, I was unwell and needed a cure of antibiotics the 10 days leading up to the race. The weekend of the race, we left for Brussels on Friday afternoon and checked into the Airbnb we had booked. After briefly scouting the neighbourhood in the pouring rain, we had a quick bite to eat and headed in for a rest and some sleep.

The next morning we went to check out the start line and pick up the starting packets.

Parc du Cinquantenaire
Parc du Cinquantenaire

After that we headed into town to check out Brussels. I quite fancied returning to the Musée de la BD (the comic strip museum), having been 9 years previously and remembering that it was quite good.

Later that afternoon we were joined by Andrew and we met up with another friend for some dinner (and unfortunately, no beer).

The next morning we woke very early (after entirely not enough sleep), to have breakfast sufficiently early as to not “review” it during the race. I stuck with classical porridge, but Andrew has a preference for microwaveable spaghetti bolognese (No, I don’t get it either)…

We got to the start line with time to spare, and proceeded to go for a last wee in the bushes, as the toilets were entirely too far from the start line, and not sufficient anyway. We were in starting group 2, having entered an expected starting time of 1:45 (hence the purple race numbers, which is cool, I like purple anyway). It took a while for everyone to funnel through the starting gate (our corral started 6 minutes behind schedule). There are unfortunately no pictures past this point, as the camera stayed with Catherine.

Dude, lets take a serious picture.
Dude, lets take a serious picture.
Dude, let's not...
Dude, let’s not…

At this point, Andrew drops what I consider to be a bomb: “I signed up for 1:40”. So, we went for it. I’ll gather the highlights of the race into bullet points, otherwise this might get a bit lengthy.

  • Km1: B”This seems to be going well”, A”Slow down man, or we’ll never finish”
  • Km2: It started to drizzle, fairly refreshing.
  • Km5: The tunnels start, my GPS watch loses signal and thus, the finish time estimator is trashed (no worries, I have my own calculator running along beside me…..the dude is seriously smart).
  • Km6-10, starting to get a bit difficult, as we’re aiming for 5min/km.
  • Km12 (or so), the energy drink station. It turns out Isostar tastes like lemony sweat.
  • Km16: “If this were the Dam-to-Dam, we would be done by now.
  • Km17-20: I really started to feel my heart pump now, especially as its all uphill from 17 onwards. Mild discomfort (agony) ensues.
  • Km20: last burst of speed and we cross the finish line in 1:43:13. I’m ecstatic, Andrew has barely broken a sweat (not really, but it feels that way to me).

For those who like data, here are a few highlights:

You can tell I was fatigued. I know that at that speed, my HR should have been lower, at least for the earlier sections of the race.
You can tell I was fatigued. I know that at that speed, my HR should have been lower, at least for the earlier sections of the race.

Jokingly, on the walk back to the apartment with our finishers banana, medal and bottle of water we joke that we should do a Marathon…. Well guess what?