April Runs

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Archive for the tag “10km”

My virtual co-runner

Although between our houses there is a 1000 km gap, we run together quite often. Making an appointment with her is so easy that I almost never refuse to go, even though it involves early morning getting up. The only thing we need is the itch to put on the running shoes and start.

How does it work? Before each run, we agree on time, music selection and running course – while I lead her through the cycling paths around Leiden, she shows me her own surroundings in and around Prague. So today, this is where we were (well, me only virtually):

Of course, after each mutual run there is time to chat and enjoy a drink or too… It seems like we are bringing RunningFreeOnline and DailyMile to the next level. Thanks, Iva!

10.1 km to the harbour

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).


Sinterklaas approaching

Early morning I dressed up and ran outside. How else a perfect weekend can start? I had no plans regarding the destination or distance, just decided to follow the gracht to the river and see depending on how I would feel after a mile or so. The sun was slowly coming up and the world around me was quiet and beautiful.

From the river, I turned to ‘my road’ and followed it till Leiderdorp park where some early birds were already walking their dogs and others playing field hockey. Luckily for me, there were still more than enough quiet paths to follow.

I even spotted something rather romantic (I think?):

My body felt good – no aching, no difficulty or discomfort with my belly, breathing nor legs so I just ran further down the road,

until I reached this windmill:

Ant close to that spot it hit me: today is the day when Sinterklaas (the Dutch version of St Nicolas or Mikulas, if you wish) is coming to town. All the Zwarte Piets (Black Pete’s, his helping buddies) were waiting already along the road:    According to the tradition, he is supposed to come from Spain on a steam boat – but I guess today I saw the modern version:

And so my run was again great: totally unexpectedly I got a chance to watch this show…

9 km.


The weather in the past week was so bad that I actually checked the calendar several times to make sure that it was indeed mid July… My evening runs were almost all wet and windy and we made no outdoor plans for the weekend as the forecast was not promising either.

But then I read 12Honza’s blog note and after I placed a comment on how other people’s action kick starts me, it seemed weird not to go out. So here is another evidence of what Honza calls the chain reaction: Saturday: 10.3 km in rain and wind; Sunday: 8 km in similar conditions plus 34 km on mountain bike on top of it.

To illustrate my words, this is a Sunday morning picture of a popular lake beach near Leiden. During regular summer weekend it would be packed:

To be completely honest with you, at times it actually stopped raining. I took this picture as we were starting the car after our run :-).

So wherever you are and whatever you do, do not complaint (it is enough that I do it!), keep running and never, never give up. The sunny days will come!

Juneathon Day 10: Bike

Woke up to the sunny morning so off we went, to the beach again. This time, we started running from Noordwijk, through the dunes in the SW direction.After 3 km we came to the bridge across the old Rhine and turned towards the beach to repeat some barefoot running.My calves felt surprisingly good (here is your answer, Fairweatherrunner) but running with cold/wet feet took its toll – I had to make a quick sanitary stop. This is where I was hiding, still barefoot:We continued for about 5 km, reached the north end of Noordwijk, put on our shoes again and checked the local market. The fresh ‘Hollandse nieuwe’ (a raw harink from the new season’s catch) tasted excellent! Back to the car and home….

… where I felt restless enough to grab the MTB and hit the road again. Alone this time, through the field of nettles as high as myself,   being closely watched by the local population.The round trip took 48 km. I am finally tired and done for today and 1/3rd of Juneathon is behind me. How was your weekend, everybody?

Juneathon Day 7: Random Route

It was yet another rainy Juneathon run tonight. V did not want to join me (of course you don’t have to, honey, feel free to stay at home and cook us a dinner in the meantime…) and I felt like running downtown and see if I could discover something intersting. First, I came across this machine:

I actually had to run a circle around it to find out what it was. It looked like a self service beer taping device with bar chairs or something. After a moment it hit me: an outdoor fitness apparatus! Well great, next season no subscriptions for indoor gym – just climb on this blue beast and enjoy the ride!

About 3 km further down the road, as I was running alongside the canal, my legs were sore and nothing much was happening, I started wondering why I picked running rather than any other sport. For example one that enables you sitting during the training:

Luckily this minor meaning-of-life crisis passed rather quickly and I plodded on into one of the municipal parks. It stopped raining at the momnet when I was passing this beauty:  Back at home, the dinner was indeed ready. Juneathon Day 7 is done and dusted and after 10 km I am tired and off to bed.

Juneathon Day 3: Münster

It wasn’t quite a regular Saturday yesterday. For over six months, we were looking forward to that day as we would be going to Munster, Germany. Not that Munster was ever a top destination on our list. But there was one difference yesterday: Anna Netrebko was performing there, at the open air opera recital at the Munster Castle courtyard. Ever since our first summer in 2008 when we travelled to see (and listen to) Netrebko, Villazon and Domingo in Schonbrunn, Austria, we knew we would try to attend a similar event again.

So when I spotted the Gipfeltreffen der Stars tickets in pre-sale last November (!), I spent the Christmas budget in one online credit card transaction.

The weather forecast was promising everything but sunshine, at one point there were snow clouds expected. Well, no elements could stop us from unpacking the evening gowns from the cupboards  – we just added 2 supersize umbrella’s and long winter coats.

After arriving to Munster, it was actually dry and sunny and we had about 4 hours to the event so we walked to check the castle surroundings to find out more about the location. First of all, we were thrilled to discover that our hotel was merely 922 m away from the venue entrance (thank you, Garmin!). The stage was already there and the stars were practicing. Jonas Kaufmann was last minuted substituted by Ramon Vargas but Anna was there).

We had enough time to walk through the historical city centre and even spotted some wildlife:

Turns out Munster is actually a very nice place to walk around. We bumped into many nice historical buildings but also shops, café’s, restaurants. The city is well kept, green and pedestrian friendly. The weather was still so good that we actually decided to conquer a bench in front of the castle so that we could listen to Anna rehearsing as we were chewing our dinner sandwiches. Already at that point, it was a perfect day.

Back in the hotel, we dressed up (the sun was still shining and for a moment I was convinced the winter coats were a nonsense) and slowly walked (heels slower than running shoes) to the castle. Of course there was enough time to enjoy the sunset and the fact that we were sitting practically AT the stage:

The concert was great. I know I am slightly biased but hey, this is my blog. (The winter coats were necessary, umbrella’s remained unpacked).

The ‘afterparty’ was twofold: first a quick coffee in a smelly Italian restaurant on our way back to the hotel and then the champagne part… So this morning I woke up with a hangover and a hammering sound in my head (rain drops). Somehow I managed to get up, look up my running gear and hit the road. It is Juneathon after all. Luckily I was well prepared: I googled some walking/running paths in Munster prior to our trip and as my head was still aching, I simply followed the paths. First the Promenade, a famous 4.5 km round path around the city centre:

It was all green and car free and the leaves kept me dry while running.

And then the second loop, a 6 km long path around the Aasee lake:

I connected both the routes to one 10.2 km door-to-door run, returning to the hotel wet and happy, just in time for breakfast. And then we packed, checked out and hit the road again, equipped with 2 kg of fresh strawberries from the nearby strawberry farm. A good weekend!

Why I got up early today?

Just a quick one to share 2 early morning pictures with you. I took them at my “stretching place” at the entrance of a small harbour, about 5 km from our house. There is a narrow dead end street leading there but the water along it is so cool that I don’t mind running this stretch back and forth. It always makes a nice and quiet (but windy) 10 km run.

3 days to go

This morning the organizers of Leiden Marathon sent us a reminder that our race is to start in 3 days. As if I did not know! I have trouble in falling asleep for days already, my metabolism has gone crazy, my legs feel heavy (after 5 km of running yesterday evening I had to stop!), my breath is shallow, both knees aching now, not to mention my mind and the voices in my head that keep telling me that there is no way to manage a 20+ km run! What is going on?

I guess it is the pre-race stress and I keep calming myself down that everybody feels it one way or another and that it is a good thing as it helps me to get focused. Or am I just fooling myself? Let’s not forget I was not making any proper long runs in the last month, my body has probably already forgotten my first (and last) 17km training run…

Nevertheless, on Sunday morning, I am predetermined to be out there and fight everything that comes across my path (myself to start with). My first priority is to finish the race. If things go well I would be very happy with any time under 2:30.

P.S. No explanation for this move – but I did register V and me for the 10 km Mattoni Grand Prix in Prague on September 8.

Paris Mon Amour

Paris is always a good idea. For sore soul, for happy days, for a weekend mini-break. After our flight to Cyprus was cancelled (grrrrr), Paris quickly came up as a good alternative.

We departed on Saturday morning and managed to drive quite smoothly up until about 2 km from our hotel where the traffic jam finally caught us (Saturday market at Blvd de la Chapelle). After a quick check in we took the metro to Champs Ellysees and started to walk and window shop… all the way down to Place de la Concorde, through Jardin des Tuileries, Louvre and to the Seine embankment. The weather was so-so but the spirit (and coffee) were excellent. We walked and walked and as the rain wouldn’t stop, we decided to cross the river and eat (and drink) at one of the tiny places in Rue de la Hachette.

Then several hours and kirs later it was time to head home. V suggested to try to get some calories burned by walking back to our hotel at Montmartre so we did. The evening was rather dry and we walked and talked and enjoyed it all the way.

On Sunday morning my inner clock woke me up at 6.35 am. What to do, what to do? As so many times before, I was struggling with myself: shall I turn around and fall asleep again to finish my sweet dream or shall I dress up in my running gear and sneak out for a quick 3 miler? My kind readers know the answer, I am sure.

So here I was, cold and clumsy with my hangover, trying to locate my Garmin, shoes, socks and one metro ticket (just in case)… In front of the hotel at Place d’Anvers it finally hit me: I am going to run down town Paris. I stretched extensively (my physiotherapist wouldn’t be a happy camper if reading this report so stretching in order to loosen up my knee a bit might be a small bribe for her) and started running. The city was still asleep, with its Sunday early morning smells and sounds. At Place de la Republique I took a wrong turn and before I knew it, I was not returning towards Montmartre but actually going down to Seine, passing Place des Vosges (Catherine Deneuve)… Hmm, 5 km done, about 4 to go if I wanted to run back to the hotel. Well, I still had the metro ticket so I decided to continue as long as the knee let me. And then suddenly Garmin beeped 8 km and I thought ‘10 looks better than 9’ and hopped around Montmartre a little longer…

Back in the hotel, after a quick shower I still managed to get a bit of a sleep (10 minutes or so) and it was time to get out again J. We decided to go to one of the large antique markets just outside Porte de Clignancourt. And how else to get there if not by foot? It was a great day again, with more walking and talking and some bargaining at the market stands. In the afternoon we had a good late lunch at Place du Tertre and after that slowly started heading home…

All in all, the weekend in Paris was probably healthier for us than Cyprus would be:

Walking: 12+9 km; Running: 10 km.

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