April Runs

… hikes, kickbikes, skis and more

Archive for the tag “sand 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…).

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Juneathon Day 5: Panbos Revisited

Remember yesterday I said it was so nice in Panbos I would be back – ehm, it took exactly one day in the office to return there. This time I took V with me and we ran together, chatting. The funny thing is that my time was exactly the same as yesterday (when I was not chatting at all). So here is how the dunes looked today:

And here is a special milestone as promised to Fortnight Flo – unfortunately no mileage on it:

The one picture that I’d like to share with you brings memories from my childhood: I used to attend a scouting group focusing on biology named Alcedo (Latin for kingfisher). Here he is:

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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