April Runs

… hikes, kickbikes, skis and more

Archive for the tag “April”

Juneathon Day 4: Panbos

Around 7 pm the rain finally moved inland and as I was thinking about how much concrete/paved road my knees can have tonight, I suddenly remembered how I used to enjoy the long walks with April. Back when she could walk and run well we used to go geocaching a lot. So there came an idea: why not to return to some of the splendid wild sand dunes areas but a bit faster this time? In a few minutes I was ready to go. Since V is out there with her tennis club tonight, nobody did the shopping. They only edible items I could find were 4 hard old gummi bear. I grabbed them and left the house.

The entrance to the Pan van Persijn area is about 15 minutes driving from our house and the landscape is everything but flat and boring. This is where the trail starts:

About 2 km further it passes a rather impressive wall of concrete which is the remaining bit of the WWII Transatlantic Wall, the former 2600 km long defence wall that Germans built between 1942-44 to protect ‘their’ new territory against the anticipated Allied invasion:

After a piece of history, a bit further I bumped into tiny houses of the local inhabitants (unfortunately nobody was at home):

Then suddenly the path took me out of the forest and I continued running through the sand dunes. No music in my ears, just me and the path – there was so much to look at all the time:My feet were enjoying the soft surface, no knee pain at all. I guess for the first time in weeks I will finally suffer from good old muscle ache – no sore joints for a change. At the end of the trail I returned to the forest again. I wanted to run further but something was telling it is better to stop when it feels the best – I can always return to Panbos for further exploration.

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Juneathon Day 1: Shoes

Many things have changed in my life since I joined (and completed) my first Athon in January this year. First of all, our beloved April passed away and I keep being grateful for the idea to name my blog after her. (My own original idea was Wounded Knee as my knee has been playing games with me for the past 2 years but heeey, no pain – no gain!)

Furthermore, I now consider myself a runner. I have been running (and racing) since January and enjoying it every time. Throughout the months I found out it is not for the weight loss or to tick off some imaginary box. No. I run because I like doing it. I like to feel the air in my hair, to smell the river next to me on a summer evening, to feel the fresh water drops on my body when having a shower after the run. In particular, I like the endorphins hitting me each time after about 4-5 km of running :-).

Juneathon jogging challenge: Run every day.

In January, I managed to exercise every day and came to a total mileage of 400+ km out of which 130 km was running. In June, I want to go out there running each of the 30 days. The total of 100 running miles would be great, the other activities are less important.

Juneathon blogging challenge: Make a picture at each run.

Today, on Day 1, I present you my running buddies.

Until recently I only had one or two pairs of running shoes and it was fine. But 2 weeks ago, the shopaholic girl in me couldn’t resist a major discount on the Salomon trail shoes and Asics Nimbus. Both these new pairs are probably the cheapest shoes I’ve ever bought so don’t blame me… As the matter of fact, I took the pair of Nimbus for their Juneathon maiden voyage today and they ran great!

April: 4 Oct 2003 – 13 April 2012

Shortly after being diagnosed with a serious illness, our beloved April has died on Friday night. She was brave and cheerful till her last breath. We do miss her very much.

http://hejrom.rajce.idnes.cz/April_2003-2012/

Happy Easter Running

The Easter weekend is almost over and it was good. My mother and April enjoying themselves with good food, talking and cuddling, me and V spending two mornings on the road (10 and 12 km). Both our runs were easy going and rather enjoyable. We managed to run next to each other, talk a bit, focus a bit, get tired but not too much… I think we found a pace that is ‘runnable’ at the 1/2M next month. Mum is leaving tomorrow morning and this might have been the last time for her to be with April.

Btw, this is the picture we chose for our Team AprilRuns shirts:

Running therapy

Eversince we’ve heard about April’s illness, my urge to run grew. As written previously, we have established a proper AprilRuns Team now and registered for a real race (scary!) – so we need to train. Early in the morning V hit the road to her tennis club to participate at her competition and I started thinking where to run and what to wear on a not-so-sunny-but-soon-to-be-very-warm day. I drank large coffee and decided to repeat my longest run to Rijpwetering. Some 16 km. Did I eat breakfast? No. Did I use bathroom? No. I just did not think about it…

… until km 3 when the full bladder announced its presence and demanded me to find some bushes. Usually I am rather kind to my body’s requests but I cannot do the impossible. This is South Holland in March, there are no bushes, trees, leaves, terrain obstacles – NOTHING to hide behind (especially not when wearing yellow):

I decided to run to the next village and try to find an open restaurant. But then again: this is a Sunday morning in South Holland: people are either in the church or on a bicycle so no restaurants to welcome wandering runners in need. Did I turn back and hurried home? No.

By the time I reached km 8, the bladder problem got a competitor: my right knee. Not my left knee, the injured one that I’ve been pampering for 2 years now in fear that it collapses one day. Not at all. It was my totally healthy and strong right knee that went on strike. So here I am, in the middle of nowhere with no money, no bushes, full bladder and needles in my knee thinking what are my options. I figured there was only one way to get home…

As I ran on thinking how desperate or embarassing would it be to ask the car drivers passing me by to give me a lift, another 2 km passed. And then running surprised me yet again: all of the sudden the knee pain was gone and so was the bladder-urge (note I did not wet my pants!). I ran additional 5 km or so home bringing the total to my new maximum of 17.2 km (and my week mileage to 40 km) – no pain, no problem.

At home, April’s wagging tail was welcoming me, her eyes suggesting to have a large brunch in the garden. And so I quickly showered and went to sit outside to play the neverending game of dropping pieces of cheese and ham as I was eating so that April could be cleaning all of them…

Bad news and The Plan

April’s arthrosis got worse during the past months, she suffered especially from painful swelling in her right front leg.  Several days ago we took her to the vet again and insisted on an x-ray. Unfortunately the results were not good. The pain and swelling are caused by an aggressive bone tumor (osteosarcoma) and it seems like the cancer is spreading into other parts of her body already. Without going into much details, the facts are devastating. She probably only has weeks to live. Except for some pain management, there is nothing we can do for her. No words to describe how we feel. There is a lot of quiet moments, tears and hugging. The good thing (as long as there is a good thing about this situation) is that the pain killers seem to work quite well and April is all happy and vital.

Yesterday evening I took V for a run along the river. I thought it would do us good to go outside together for a change. It was a nice quiet evening and as we were running, without much thinking V said that she would like to run a race with me and The Plan was born: we registered for the 1/2M in our home town.

It is a crazy idea – except for V’s tennis competition and my biathlon races 20 years ago, we have no experience with races. We never even ran 21 km in one go! But somehow, yesterday evening out there, thinking about us, the dog and all important things in life, we formed the AprilRuns Team that will participate in the Leiden Half Marathon on May 20.

Does it make any sense?

Janathon Day 23

Shall we start with the weather forecast again? Heavy rain and wind so strong that it almost blew April away (130 pounds of muscle and bone, 4 large feet with long claws). So yes, dear reader, you know that an outdoor run was out of the question. In the gym I chose the elliptical – to allow my knees to rest tonight. 60 minutes and 10 km further I am back at home, showered and fresh, thinking about some take away healthy dinner.

Janathon Day 17

One of the advantages of having a dog is that one is forced to go outside 3-4 times a day. So I thought. Eight years ago, just before picking the white fluffy puppy, I was picturing myself and April running on the beach, summer and winter, sun and rain. In my silly view, April would become a kind of my personal trainer – one that does not yell.

Little did I know about a Great Pyr: the most stubborn, lazy and independent breed one can pick. These large white hairy dogs are bred to live independent lives in the mountains, to guard and protect their flocks against predators of all kinds. They are survivors and they don’t need anyone (especially not me!) to tell them what to do.

Soon after bringing April home, we discovered that there is a new boss now. April will run if and when she wants to (stimulated by cats, huge chunks of cheese, dry pig ears,…). And she won’t move one bit if she doesn’t feel like it (being sleepy, seeing me in a morning rush,…). She will not run to fetch a ball that we threw into the sea (Why do you throw it away if you need it, stupid?) and she will definitely not run with me on early mornings anywhere. She will not even walk with us on the leash to places she does not want to be at.

At the same time, she loves us to bits and whenever she spots anything remotely resembling any kind of danger to us (= her flock), she is ready to sacrifice her life to protect and rescue us.

She is the biggest friend one can wish for: calm and cuddly and happy and funny at all times.

But the running thing (or gym work out as tonight) I have to do on my own…

Last day of 2011

April runs? Not quite… April usually does not spend any time by wasting energy, especially when physical activities would be involved. But as the only alternative name of this blog we came up with was Wounded Knee, I figured involving April was a better choice.

Why blogging? I signed up for Janathon 2012.

Two years ago I broke my left knee (yes, it is possible) while skiing and after the recovery I started seriously considering impoving my physical condition and loosing weight. This resulted in several months of thinking and doing nothing until I found a great gym. I joined on September 1 this year and regularly attended all 4 months. The result so far is rather astonishing. I lost weight and I started running. And although I might be the slowest jogger that crosses your path, I am out there :-).

Oh, for those who want to see April, here is probably the best shot:

So today we had a resting day, just a short walk downtown. Getting ready for the D-day tomorrow.

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