The background story

Who is this guy? Why should I read his rambling? What’s the deal? 

 Fear not, I will answer all these queries and hopefully more. I’m a 25 year old English/French guy who lives in the Amsterdam region of the Netherlands. I work as a purchaser in a big sports apparel company. Not that my career path is particularly relevant to what I’ll be writing here, but it may indicate my predilection for sports, and data related to those sports.

I’ve run previously, usually not well or for very long. When I was in high school I was reasonably sporty. I got up to brown belt in Judo, swam regularly, and ate my mum’s cooking, which has always been lean, simple and healthy (though still delicious, except for steamed courgettes… sorry mum, I still can’t eat those).

During high school though, other priorities got in the way. Mostly in the form of partying and hanging out with the boys not getting up to anything very productive. Moving to foreign countries repeatedly dampened my will to integrate too. After leaving for university, the priorities hardly changed, and other than a brief stint in the ice hockey team (where we spent more time drinking than skating) my sports days were done.

A few failed gym memberships followed with non-committal decision to “get healthy”.

After my bachelor degree I got a job, as was expected. I lived with my girlfriend at her parents house. Her mum is from the heart of Bavaria and an incredibly good cook, and combined with no walking (I mean none. Really, 40 mile /70km commute both ways sitting in the car, or on my motorbike, walking from the car park to my desk, repeat in reverse in the evening, no further activity, and walking around shopping centres on the weekend, usually to find a place to eat) it showed.

I pondered the idea of continuing my studies. And I wanted to change things up. Cue the decision to move to the Netherlands and do my Masters degree.  With all the free time I suddenly had, I ended up with lots of time to think, and thoughs usually led to discontentment with my self-image, and negative self-talk. I gave running a few tries, but it never really stuck. I spent a lot of time in the train (despite moving to Holland with me, my girlfriend studied two hours away), and the constant to-ing and fro-ing made it difficult to establish any sort of routine. Nevertheless, I lost a few kilos, felt better, and by Christmas, family and friends commented on my looking a lot healthier and happier.

Making New Years resolutions stick is a fool’s errand, so I made none. I ran a bit in spring, but nothing substantial. As summer came, we went to northern England with my family and got some good walking in. But I felt I should be sprightlier. A month in France at my parents house was a revelatIon. Reunited with my (old) mountain bike, and with mountains (almost literally) in the back yard. I rediscovered the fun in getting out there and getting mucky. In autumn I returned to Holland for my second year and final year, and kept up running, albeit not as religiously as over summer. January 2015 saw a renewed will to improve, this time with the motivation of a goal. In talking with an old friend of mine who, to all intents and purposes, was struggling with similar issues (lack of motivation and drive). We cooked up the plan to participate in the Dam to Dam run in September.  But September is a long way away, and it’s only a 16km race. So I needed something more substantial to sink my teeth into. Cue the 20km de Bruxelles…


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