April Runs

… hikes, kickbikes, skis and more

Archive for the tag “dunes”

Juneathon Day 9: Barefoot!

After a windy night we woke up into a stormy morning. Hmm – I wonder if the wind calms down at all and if the sand dunes will shield us at all as we run against it. Those were my morning thoughts before we headed to a new running adventure in the dunes between Katwijk and Wassenaar. The area is beautiful, we knew that already – but the wind, the wind was killing. We decided to run through the dunes SW, to Wassenaarse slag, to have a coffee there, check our legs and plan where to go from there. It was cold.  Running against wind this strong, it felt like inside some kind of outdoor treadmill: my legs were clearly pushing but I was not moving forward at all. The initial 5 km took us about 35 minutes and we ended up rather exhausted. Coffee and hot chocolate at the beach saved us. Again, the feeling of Christmas holiday and skiing trip was setting in: apart from us, there were only dog walkers around and German hardcore holiday guests.

The wind was so strong we could hardly open the door of the beach pub as we were leaving and it was blowing sand and dirt into our eyes, ears and… well, just about everywhere. At that point, as we wanted to run back on the beach, I decided to take off my shoes. My first barefoot run was just about to begin.  Feeling the cold wet sand under my feet (in combination with running) was an entirely new sensation. I was so scared everything would start hurting immediately and I would have to stop quickly but nothing bad happened. Luckily I did not step on one of those:
V was running next to me checking all the time if I was okay and according to her, I looked very happy. And that is exactly how I felt.

We ran about 4.5 km back to Katwijk and it was with great regret that I had to put on my shoes again. I have no idea how my calves, shins and hamstring will feel tomorrow but I cannot wait to return to the beach for more.

P.S. Written with my gratitude to the Royal Netherlands Meteorology Institute: If they didn’t predict a sunny day we would have missed this incredible 11.1 km adventure!

P.P.S. Off to Oranje soccer game (now that Czech rep has lost so badly I might like to switch teams…).

Advertisements

Recovery Run Random Ramblings

  • Yesterday, 8500 happy people enjoyed the running day in Leiden. Well, 8500 minus 1. According to the local paper, one of the runners died of a heart attack after finishing the 1/2M race. I do hope that media won’t use (abuse) this personal tragedy to support the wicked theory of how unhealthy running is…
  • My legs are sore but I am already checking the calendar for future races (is this normal?) – perhaps a 1/2M in Katwijk at the end of September?
  • Finally read Born to Run. Should I slowly start testing my own barefoot running abilities? Will do so next time on the beach.
  • After surviving 20 km running, I am sure I can survive the dentist next week, too.
  • Should I opt for some proper training plan? I am a bit afraid that the regularity would kill my idea of the freedom that running brings. On the other hand, I could use some (semi)professional guidance in order to avoid the common mistakes.

… and then my 30 minutes were over and I ran home…

Dunes revisited

After admiring the flower floats at the Bulbflower Parade in Sassenheim yesterday (20 huge cars decorated with uncountable amount of tulips, daffodils and hyacinths), this morning I drove our guests to Keukenhof. This world famous tulip park is in full blossom these days. Also, it is packed with Chinese tourists. It was very early and I wanted to spend a quiet moment so I decided to return to the dunes again.

I chose the water supply dunes of Amsterdam (Amsterdamse waterleidingduinen), a natural area behind the North Sea beach stretching from Noordwijk to Zandvoort. Here the drinking water for the residents of Amsterdam is being ‘produced’ by the natural process of filtering the rain water through the dune sand.  After 12 years in NL, I still have trouble believing that so close to Amsterdam, the landscape can look this rough and beautiful.

The run took me about 5 km into the dune area. It was sunny and quite windy but most of all: empty. It felt like I had the dunes for myself – just checking the animal tracks, trying to spot some water birds and enjoying the fresh air in my lungs. After 10 km it was hard to get back into the car… but the Sunday breakfast at home (hopefully with some interesting updates of other bloggers) was tempting too.

Running the dunes

Saturday was our first morning without April – sunny and bright sky but the house was awfully quiet and we both felt rather empty. We decided to gear up with our new Team AprilRuns running shirts and hit the road to the dunes near Noordwijk. We have the 1/2M distance to run next month so why not to try how far we could go today.

We parked the car and quickly found a forest trail at the edge of the dunes. The views over the blossoming tulip fields were fantastic:

As we ran on, the paths started to fill up with bikers, hikers and other runners. Also, the paths started getting a bit hilly.

After about 7 km’s, we tested our fast-energy banana sticks (grrrr, awful) and decided to run further. Then at 10 km’s, our legs still felt fresh enough to continue and we decided to check the beach café nearby (well – sort of nearby). The truth is: we did not want to return to our quiet house… so we ended up with the total of 16.5 km, V’s longest run ever.

Post Navigation