Monday, February 25, 2013

TwitRun in the dunes

I always ask myself why do I love running so much? Is it only because of the feeling you get once you finished a run? The answer is No... not only that.... It is true that running by yourself after a hectic day at work brings peace to your inner soul....That quality time with yourself is just so powerful, you are the boss of yourself, you choose to go slow or go fast, to push yourself above your limits...This is YOU time....

Running is also a social event, where you get to know people talk about the same interest with lots of passion while being out there in the nature and that is also part of why I love running!
Around Christmas I joined for the first time a TwitRun organised by Martin (@MartinVNoort) in the dunes of Heemskerk. I enjoyed so much running out there in the nature and on the side of the beach, I was already eager to join again. Few messages on twitter and the date was set for February 24th.

Since I am not the only person who love running in the dunes, more people wanted to join but everyone had a goal or certain kms to reach. Martin thought of dividing the long run in 3 groups:
- Group 1 starting at 9 am who will run a 10 km
- Group 2 will join group1 at 10 am for a 7 km
- Group 3 will join both groups for a 14 km run
This puts group2 at about 21 kms and group1 at a total of 31 kms and this is the group that I was part of along with Christine (@ChristineTanguy) my running friend that I met while training for my first Marathon during the Phanos training session in Amsterdam and she is currently preparing for "Marathon de Paris", Ron(@RonDaalHuizen) and Martin both are in training for Rotterdam Marathon.

After I picked up Christine, we arrived at Martin's house just on time. We left all 4 of us towards the dunes, after couple of kms we were already in the country side, no one was out there beside few bikers now and then. It felt as if we were in the middle of nowhere, no sounds beside our whispers and the sound of our feet pounding the ground. A cold breeze and some wind which faded out when we were running between the trees. It is so peaceful that you can get lost in the nature. Few hills up and few hills down, the uneven road makes it harder than running on asphalt but it can only make you stronger. I definitely felt my legs and my knee while running but the nice company and the view made me forget my current state. Out of nowhere I saw a nice restaurant and made me think that in the summer would be great to run again here in the dunes of Heemskerk and then have lunch with our families afterward. I think PeuterD would love to run around and Martin said the food is yummy! :)

Switching between Dutch, French and English, the first hour went by so fast and then we arrived to the parking lot where group 2 (@runningMarcel, @bleeker, @RobHoogeboom and Edwin) was waiting for us to join for a 20 km run. So thoughtful of them they provided us with bananas and water. A small break and we hit the road again for a 45 min run before group 3 (@Nielsky, @langzaamaan and Bianca) joined us. Some chocolate and sport drinks were also provided.... what a team spirit :) !! Thank you it was well needed!!

Few minutes break and before we get too cold we headed to the heart of the dunes for the last 14 km. Few words here and there and time flew by again. I always enjoy running the last few kms in a faster pace... few speedy kms with Christine, then with Rob and Niels and then the last km with Martin. Martin just like last time impressed me in how fast he can run!! Chapeau!


We arrived to our final destination with a BIG smile on everyone's faces. Some of us ran a personal kms, some ran pain free, some reached their weekly mileage and some ran a marathon in one weekend ;)

To end this beautiful Twitrun in a special way, Martin and his wife Lia were kind enough to invite us for a treat and coffee. Thank you for the hospitality! Wendy(@WendySolar1971) who is suffering from an injury also joined us for the yummy treats and nice motivational talk. I dropped Christine at her house and headed home to enjoy a nice afternoon with my boys!

How could my Sunday have been better than that ?

Monday, February 18, 2013

Schoorl Weekend

De Groet Uit Schoorl Run the race where last year with a broken heart I stood up on the side of the road and took pictures because I was Injured and I couldn't run the race. This year again signed up to the 30 km and the goal is to finally for the first time run a 30 km race in Schoorl.

On Saturday mid-afternoon we headed to Schoorl. After checking in our hotel, we went to the book Presentation of "Het Hardlopers Kookboek" The runners Cooking book. It was very nice to be there, talked to many inspiring athletes and coaches ...These moments are something I enjoy so much.

After a nice autograph on my new cooking book from the authors Mirjam and Barbara we headed back to our hotel to enjoy a nice dinner with Petra, Andrea, Merit, Ronald, Eric, Harm and my hubby.

The next day after a nice breakfast with the same group beside Merit and Ronald who were staying in a hotel few minutes away, we went to the sports club for the tweetup. A little bit late but still managed to take a foto :)
Eric, Me, Ronald, Ton
Marek, Merit and Thierry
After wishing everyone good luck, Ronald, Marek and myself headed to the start. Ronald and Marek planned already the pace they are going to run, as for me since I never run a 30 km race before and since it is my first 30 km since 2011 I didn't have a specific time....Well...not really... Secretly the night before the race I checked my split time of the Beirut Marathon 2011 and the Amsterdam Marathon 2011 and I noticed that my time at 30 km point were 2:13:16 en 2:16:38 respectively...I thought something in the middle should make me deep in my little heart I wanted to run a sub 2:15 but then again it has been ages since I run a 30 km I wasn't sure how my knee will handle it....

The start gun took off at 11 am, the first few kms I thought to keep Ronald and Marek in a good company ;) but then after 3 km I let go...I already know, no way I can keep up with their 4:10 - 4:15 pace for 30 km... I thought Egmond aan zee run is the most beautiful run but Schoorl was even nicer! Sun was shining a nice white coat was all over the trees the view was just breathtaking!

How my race went?
It was a strange feeling, I felt I would go weak then get stronger  and again weak then stronger and so on the whole way... I didn't feel it was a solid run that is for sure and normally I do! I am not sure why I felt like that! I also had few times stomach pain but then it goes away! I made sure to take my gel on time and tried as much possible to stay hydrated but this is always a challenge for me. Somewhere on the course it was really Icy I literally jogged that part, I was so scared to hurt myself! Unfortunately that same section I had to run it again after I passed the 21 km point and I almost walked it!! that is how Icy it was!

Somewhere just before the 21 km @RunningRonald run next to me and tells me that he couldn't keep up with Marek... he was not the Ronald I know, he looked disappointed of himself I tried to push him to stay with me but he said just go... It was just not his day!

Around 25 km, I felt something stretching in my knee, I had no pain but I could feel it!! Please not now I said to myself!! I was like in a panic mode but thanks god that it didn't got worse and I crossed the finish in 2:14'40"

At that moment everything stopped, nothing was hurting anymore, nothing mattered anymore...I DID IT!!! I did it the way I wanted it to be and I can't be any happier!!

Couple minutes later I see Ronald and Merit, Both of them were not super enthusiastic but I was quiet Hyper :P and tried to put a smile on their faces!!

Fast, I picked up my stuff from the sports club and headed to the hotel to see that Petra, Andrea and Eric the 3 of them run a PR at the 21 km race...Congratulations!! A fast shower and hit the road to our one week ski vacation in France.

For people who don't know me my favorite sport is skiing and will always be... Why? This picture explains it! Nothing can beat the feeling of being on top pf the mountain ready to cruise as fast as possible your way down to the bottom!

Who is coming down with me? :)

Amazing black slope
Unfortunately being in the Netherlands I don't get to practice it at all ...I started skiing almost as soon as I started walking... I ski raced in world Championships and many University races.... so going on a ski vacation after a super nice weekend in Schoorl can not be any better!!
With Hubby before the Apres-ski ;)
 I had no plan to run while on vacation but the temptation was too big! I managed to have few snow run at 1700m altitude and to be honest I felt out of shape... Maybe the combination of skiing and the altitude made me feel like that but still I had a blast!!


I had an awesome week with my family! PeuterD already took ski lessons in the garden before we left and there he enjoyed himself. He loved the snow and he is ready to become a good skier like his mommy :-)


                Today back to work but Countdown tot the next Vacation: 3 weeks to Go!!