April Runs

… hikes, kickbikes, skis and more

Archive for the tag “Katwijk”

Barefoot Sunset

Yesterday evening, instead of sitting in front of the TV, working at the PC, reading or ‘enjoying’ the evening shopping, I was on the beach, running. As always on the beach, I had no shoes so as I was running, the sea water was cooling my feet. My only task was to look under my feet not to cut them open by the sharp shells or not to step on a jelly fish. Other than that, my brain was empty. I realized that if those were my only issues in life, life was not too bad.
Around me, there were still children playing in the water (and their parents who couldn’t manage to get them out), dogwalkers with their wet hairy buddies demanding yet another ball to be thrown into the waves, surfers waiting for the next best wave. Everybody seemed relaxed and enjoying themselves.


Then around 9.30 pm the sounds calmed down a bit and it looked as everybody chose a slower pace. Some of the people stopped talking, sat down and looked towards the west. The daily natural theater performance has started: the sun was setting down, quickly turning from huge heavy orange ball to a tiny burning red spot above the horizon.


And I was standing there, barefoot, with sweaty T-shirt and wet feet, among all those people who I didn’t know and they didn’t know me. And somehow the world was in harmony.
Enjoy running!

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Summer?

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 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…).

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.

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…

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