April Runs

… hikes, kickbikes, skis and more

Archive for the category “Travels”

Kulovy blesk

Casto se to tak sejde, ze na cestu do a z Prahy mam sotva dva dny a do toho pochuzky, navstevy, zarizovacky a sem tam pivo. Nejinak tomu bylo i minuly tyden: odvezt kamaradovo auto do Kamenice nad Lipou (out of all places!), najit spoj na Prahu, vyridit x schuzek, pospravovat a pozarizovat vse potrebne pro maminku, probrat dulezita temata s brachou a jeste stihnout aspon jednoho kamarada a par piv.

Ve vysledku vykazala tahle bleskova akce super parametry. Povazte sami, behem dvou a pul dne totiz:

  • 3x za sebou vstavam mezi treti a patou hodinou;
  • 4x jedu vlakem;
  • 2x absolvuji rodinnou seslost;
  • 2x se cpu a piju pivo behem ITB veceri, behem nichz vedle me sedi:
  • poprve vejdu do Trailpointu a seznamim se osobne s Evzenem;
  • 2x vybehnu: 9 km s UltraJitkou, potom 8 km s Tucnakem – potkavame RIDa;
  • vyzvednu kolobezku (zase uz!) u Ladi Blahy, kterezto setkani demonstruje propojenost ruznych svetu: sveruje se mi, ze (neuspesne) montoval cyklotasky na kolobku Advidovi;
  • 17 km jedu na Mibu GT Split pres Prahu;
  • 12 km projdu Prahou.



… a vysmata.

Takze kamaradi, mame vas radi – vsem diky!

Tilburg running…

… or an industrial trail around the city where we are today.












Cyprus, Austria, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, The Netherlands… there are days when I am almost loosing the track of where I am. Time zones and temperatures change and so do apartments we stay in. And the grand mothers and other people around us… The kids don’t seem to mind too much as long as they can play and RUN around.

And funny enough, RUNNING is my anchor to this chaos as well: Despite the heavy logistics of our autumn moves, I am out there more often than ever. And I am enjoying every mile to the max.

autumn leaves

Early misty mornings, late wet evenings, flat windy stretches, muddy hill paths: This year, I run them all.

Back in Villecroze

In 2012, we spent a great week here – with lots of (trail) running, swimming, hiking and kayaking. After the wow-we-are-having-babies break in 2013, it was time to return to this small Provencal village and check the paths through the local rocks again. What I found on ‘my’ paths was stone, stone and more stone:

CIMG2925 I am not a good runner so balancing among moving rocks was a bit of a challenge. After the initial sounds of despair (non-publishable) I decided to turn the lemons into a lemonade and actually went running every morning. I thought my Hoka’s would help me but funny enough the absence of feeling the stones under my feet due to their extensive cushioning was more of a disadvantage – my ‘regular’ shoes served better.  And I admit, on occasions, the paths were actually great:
CIMG2920All in all a good week resulting in 65 km in 6 days and 1000+ vertical meters. I am slow but I am out there.

Oh, and there were some regular roads and good old stairs as well:



Cyprus revisited

Business trips are boring or may be I am just getting old… hotels, flights, meetings, long working hours – instead of my family, my own bed, my running routine. This past week brought me to Limassol  and as I had nothing to do on early mornings (no babies fully awake at five o’clock)  and late evenings (no babies fully awake at midnight), I ran. My foot is still hurting but little by little it is getting better. Funny enough running hurts less than walking.

I have been flying down to Limassol frequently and have witnessed how the city has changed during the past 10 years or so. The municipality has invested a lot in making the down town area much more attractive to tourists. Along the Coastal Road, all the way between the Old Port and the Tourist Area, there is a biking path with bike rental spots: for a couple of euros a day one can grab a bike out of one of the automatically locked bike holders (they open up upon deducting the payment form your credit card) and go – and when you are done, just lock the bike elsewhere in town again.

Also, there is a renewed board walk between the river mouth and the Old Port and it is even enlightened. The first morning I went there it was rather busy with all the pensionado’s doing their early-morning-before-breakfast walking but other than that, it is a good bit to run that stretches over several miles – one can watch the sun arising from the ocean and that always is a good sight.

The one thing that you have to be really careful about is the driving on the left. As some of you already know, I got hit by a car cutting left as I was crossing the street on a pedestrian cross. People here are not accustomed to joggers. Other than that, Cyprus in October is sunny and warm, the sea is full of swimmers, wine is good and the sphere relaxed…

45 km in 6 days.


Foto0224Foto0219 Foto0226 Foto0227 Foto0248 Foto0245

Sofia and why I should not be going to Bulgaria again

How many bad (running) moments can one possibly experience in the capital of Bulgaria in the short period of 2 days? Hmmmm, let me think…

I arrived to Sofia on Sunday night predetermined to spend my ‘free time’ there (about 2 hours a day while the rest of the world was asleep) by running and/or walking through town. The first night I managed quite well. Despite the fact that the 1.2 million city should be the buzzing centre of the Balkans, nothing much was happening there on Sunday night, the streets were mostly dark and pubs empty – ideal to walk and enjoy and get ready for the Monday morning run.

Getting up at 6 am is what I can do like nobody else these days as the babies trained me well. By 6:30 on Monday I was out there in the rain entering Borisova gradina, the local (dark) park. Of course I did my research: one end of the 4-cornered park I was going to run in is almost in the city centre and its three remaining sides are bounded by main streets with lots of traffic. No way I could loose myself there: when simply following the edges, after 3-4 km I would eventually and up where I started. The plan was easy 7-8 km (two loops) followed by a relaxed coffee in the local Starbucks before the day really starts.

I started running and after 3 km checked the time – there was plenty of it so I went on and on and on only to realise that despite the fact that I had now ran 5 km, the loop was still not closing. At 6 km same thing. Short moment of panic – but I could still hear the traffic from one of the main streets on my right hand side and surely I was turning all the time. 7 km, deep forest, the panic grows. My running time is almost up so where the hell is the park exit? And how comes I am standing at this wooden bridge? Where did the water stream come from? I was not crossing it before, was I? 8 km. To cut a long story short, by 8:00 I was standing in the middle of a busy road that was completely unknown to me trying to stop a car, bus, taxi or find anybody who could help me. Of course, suddenly none of the people I approached understood any of the languages I was using (boy, my Russian is quite rusty…) or simply did not want to waste time with a wet sweaty runner. 10 minutes later a taxi driver with a vintage Lada finally stopped and probably did not understand me either (definitely not the bit where I was explaining I had no money at all) but somehow guessed what would help and turned his car towards the city centre (= exactly the opposite direction than I was running). Quarter of an hour later he dropped me at my starting point and let me leave his car and still was there when I came back 5 minutes later with several coins to pay for saving my life…

After this experience, I knew Sofia was full of surprises and I should better be prepared well when running. Tuesday morning, 6:30 am, identical starting point, GPS on, map in my hand, money in my pocket. I started well: Ten minutes into my run I found a nice geocache. Half an hour later: PANIC! I could not recognise my surroudings at all. There is something odd about running in Borisova gradina: for the second time in two days I lost my way. This time luckily I was able to organise my own rescue and by looking into the map it was rather easy to return home on my own but boy, was I surprised that I took a wrong turn somewhere yet again. But never mind, this time I even had a moment for a delicious Starbucks macchiato. By then, I was convinced I used my share of tough luck. Little did I know about what would happen later that day in Plovdiv…

Later that day, as I was thinking about how high price I paid for those two runs, I finally experienced the most scary Bulgarian moment: at the end of a business meeting I went to the toilette. As I was ready to flush and leave, the door would not open. I realised that the lock was stuck with the key in it and started bouncing at the door. Quickly somebody came and tried to help but even with a set of metal tools he did not manage to open the door from outside. In the meantime, inside my living space of 1.5 square meter it was getting really hot. So here I was, Tuesday afternoon, in Plovdiv (out of all places), with a plane leaving from Sofia within a couple of hours, locked at the toilette with no hope for rescue. Is this how my life is supposed to end?

In the middle of those thoughts I have noticed that the toilette door had a rubber isolation strip and I could try to remove it and see if something would show up underneath. By the time I removed 2 cm of the isolation, my fingers were bleeding but I continued stripping the rubber pieces. Under them, there were metal parts of the door frame that I managed to bend (again with my fingers) and short after that I completely dismantled the door and found my way to freedom.

My only thought was the airplane and how to get to the airport quickly. Luckily, in the light of the above, the last adventure was not as bad: at the airport, an old espresso machine poured steam all over me but that did not remove smile from my face: as I saw my airplane at the gate, I knew I would make it home anyway.


Morning runs and Hortus

Back from Austria and Czech republic, we are slowly returning to the ,normal’ rhythm. Despite my original plans, July did not see me running more than 80 km and there was hardly any weight loss. The good thing is I feel I am getting stronger and what’s most important, the children are doing great. Now that their sleeping habits improved A LOT, I often have time to run after 8 pm and/or before 7 am. Hitting the 100 km mark in August therefore must be doable. Here some pictures from my Saturday (9 km) and Sunday (12 km) morning runs:Foto0029
Foto0031And because one should do more in life than running, here pictures from our Sunday afternoon in Hortus Botanicus, one of the oldest botanical gardens in the world (and certainly the oldest one in NL).


Finally summer!

It took quite a while this year but the weather finally makes us believe the summer has started. Of course we celebrated it by a proper bbq:010720131832
290620131811But before that, I managed my longest run of 2013 so far: 14 km on Friday night:
050720131837And today of course it was a perfect day for a beautiful hike with the girls in the forests and dunes around Panbos:

Friday in Salzburg

The beginning of the third trimester caught us in Piesendorf again and as running really does not bring any joy anymore, we decided to switch to walking. The weather on Friday morning looked like packs of snow are going to come down on our heads – so why not to look up a city trip. Our choice quickly fell to Mozart’s pre-Xmas Salzburg.

For a change, we left the car parked in front of the house and took a train.301120121469With one stop over (in Zell am See), it took us less than 2 hours to get to Salzburg Hauptbahnhof which is about 2 km from the bautiful city centre. As we were walking along the river Salzach, the runner in me couldn’t have passed this sign unnoticed:

301120121479The biking and walking/jogging paths along the river are actually very inviting for a city run and there were quite some runners there. So Salzburg is definitely a place to return to once my belly gets flat again!301120121476

301120121477Austria has historically so much more in common with Czech republic than The Netherlands and after 12 years in NL, I always feel there like being at home. Especially with the Christmas tree and all the traditional Christmas cookies. V always teases me that the vanilla ‘rohlicky’ are actually Ausrian – which is of course not true!301120121485




For the music lovers, the house of Herbert von Karajan here301120121490


and Mozart, of course:


Leiden Halloween night run

Here a couple of pictures clearly showing why running outside is better than chasing the treadmill…

Rhine river downtown, bridge “Koornbrug”

Church “Hooglandse Kerk”

Windmill “De Valk”

City gate “Zijlpoort”

  Happy (belated) Halloween!

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