Sunday, September 16, 2012

Did I mention...

that I am an IRONMAN!!!!
Yup! It's true! On July 15th 2012 I swam 3.8k, biked 180k, and ran (mostly walked) 42k to finish my first (and probably last) IRONMAN in 14 hours and 23 minutes.
One of these days I will get around to writing that race report. Call it delayed gratification on my part :-)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The longest ride...

This week is my last "big" training week before starting the taper to Ironman Zurich. As usual I did not stick to any training plan (even thoughnI bought and prepared several). But I did manage to survive 192k on my road bike yesterday. The legs and the nutrition were absolutely fine, but the bike fit is poor... I had to stop every 25k to stretch the neck and shoulders. Despite that, I am confident that I can make the 10 hour cut-off of the bike... On to a 15K run in the rain...

Friday, May 25, 2012


Ironman training will be briefly interrupted this weekend for a good cause. I will be participating with the NHTV running team in a relay race from Paris to Rotterdam to raise money for cancer patients. You can follow us on Please consider donating and/or cheering!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Training Update

For once, my absence from blogging isn't because I haven't been training. On the contrary, I have been training VERY consistently. So, obviously, there isn't much time left to blog about anything. As you may or may not (care to) know. I am currently training for 3 big (for me) events: the Rotterdam Marathon, the ROPA run (along with the NHTV team) and the Zurich Ironman... My #1 priority is to not get injured, #2 is to be in good shape to finish all three events without getting injured, and #3 to finish them all smiling.
I have been using the bike trainer DILIGENTLY!
Training wise, I'm in pretty good shape. I have managed to build up my training to where I can fit (quite comfortably) about 10 hours of training in each week, with most of it happening during the week. Right now, the mix is heavily tilted towards running (about 50% of my training hours) for two reasons: the weather (too cold to ride outside) and the marathon in April. As soon as it gets warmer, I will start building up the weekend long bike rides. That should add another 5 hours of training each week. I will try to maintain that during March and April and start building up the training even further (to about 18 hours) in May and June by doing some more swimming. Despite spending a fortune on one of the Training Peaks plans, I have decided that what works best for me is just keeping a routine and go slow. I'm definitely NOT into complicated workouts that require too much math. Training is for me (whether it involves swimming, biking, running) a time to relax. I already overthink work, can't ALSO do it during leisure time ;-)

I ran 10K on a frozen beach today... Happiness!
 Between training and work, there isn't too much time left to socialize. To solve that quandary, I have started using training time to hang out with some good colleague/ friends. 5 x 500m go by so much quicker if you know that at the end of each 500 you can chat a bit again. Same for the cardio sessions at the gym: the chit chatter makes them go by so much quicker!

Tried something new: wall climbing!
So, all in all, training is going really well. I did miss out on most of it last weekend due to a crazy snowstorm. I did run right after the snowstorm, when all was still nice and soft. But the snow froze and it got too slippery to run my planned 15 miler. Below is a summary of my training so far...

Week 1: 4.5 hours (including Egmond Half Marathon)
Week 2: 7 hours
Week 3: 8.75 hours
Week 4: 11 hours
Week 5: 8 hours (only 1 hour weekend training due to snowstorm)
Week 6: 8.25 hours (with hopefully another few to go)

I'm trying to put it all in a spreadsheet with nice graphs and all. But I'd rather spend the time training. Instead I use the Runner's World calendar.

The Low Tech Option, Just as Effective
Happy training y'all!

PS: for those wondering, training 10+ hours per week does NOT contribute to weight loss.Only to an increased appetite...
PPS: I do foresee some difficulties in future training due to vacations/ family visits but they are so TOTALLY WORTH IT!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Egmond Half Marathon - Race Report

So... yeah... I'm a gazillion race reports behind, but I updated the race page so you can go and sneak a peak there. The fall 2011 season has basically consisted of me running many races for which I was not trained or prepared for. Also, I got to re-run some of my favorite races of 2010 at a much slower time....
Egmond aan zee half marathon was no different. I ran this year's (2012) edition a jolly 15 minutes slower than last year's (2011). BUT, I also ran a total of 69 miles in December 2011, vs a whopping 131 miles in December 2010. So... yes, training helps. Which is why the motto for 2012 is train more, race less (but more on that in a latter post, in the meantime see the side bar for clues) --->

So... Egmond 2012... Well, I enjoyed this year's edition EVEN MORE than last year. First of all, the day starting with meeting the lovely Renée (also known as pinkypie) and her husband. Totally made my day! She ran the 1/4 marathon while I had coffee and apple pie with Ron (maybe not the wisest pre-race fueling strategy but it did not bug me). I chit chatted with them a bit too long after Renée's race and still had to make my way to the race tent area to drop my bag. That took forever so I missed my 12:34 race start. Whoops! But not to worry. Another buddy was running the 1/2 and had a start time of 13:00 so I lined up in that corral. Once we started moving I decided I really needed a last minute bathroom stop so scored a free porta pottie (I hate those things). Best idea ever!

I started the race really slow. I was aiming for 10 min/miles (unlike last year's 9 min/miles) but except for the first one (9:47) I was even slower than that. Once we hit the beach (miles 3 to 7) I settled into a very comfortable 10:15 to 10:45 pace made even better by the wind in our backs. Fortunately I had dressed very well for the occasion! I was only occasionally glancing at my watch, no pressure! The run was gorgeous. Last year, we had the wind against us and I was almost 2 min/mile faster!

Once we left the beach and hit the dunes, I kept the slow pace and enjoyed the scenery for another 2 miles. Around mile 9 we turned around for good and got the wind against us again. Don't know what happened there, but I picked up the pace .Despite a strong headwind, the next 2 miles were at 9:50 pace (including slowing down once for water and a second time when I saw my buddy), then I had a mile a 9:27. By then I really thought I'd be toast, but I picked the pace even further for a final 8:36 mile... This is the second time in a row (last time was Nijmegen Zevenheuvelenloop 15K) where I found myself with a very decent quick at the end... Very enjoyable!

All in all I had a great time at Egmond. I love how within one race we get to experience so many different conditions. It makes the race go by so much quicker!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Race Report - Singelloop Breda 5K & Half Marathon

Yup! I did both! I signed up for the half marathon through my gym for 7.5 EUR (something like 10 USD) including entry, tech shirt (and a nice one too), refreshments and food afterwards, and goody bag... But then, my cousin and her friend decided to do the 5K and I thought it would be fun to join them.
Start of the 5K (from the Singelloop official pictures)
End of the 5K!

The start of the 5K was at 11:00. I picked them up at the train station and we made our way to the start. We ran together, I just adjusted my speed to theirs. I had my camera with me and I would occasionally speed up, find a nice corner, stop and take a picture of them. It was really fun. We finished in 35:51 and got a medal... My cousin and her friend were suffering a bit from the heat as it was already 23C (73F).

We had a drink in town, and then I went home to change (into my Half Fanatic singlet!!!), eat, and DRINK. It was getting really hot out there, and I figured I should get as much fluids in before the race as I could, especially since I did not have enough time to really eat anything serious... Again, my training was pretty minimal, except for that 1 10-miler two weeks prior...

The half marathon started at 14:00. It was close to 27 C (80 F) and we all know (well at least I know) I do not do well in the heat. So I placed myself completely at the back of the group. I must have been one of the last people to cross the starting line... The run consisted of two laps of about 10 K each.
Before, showing off the Half Fanatic singlet!
The first lap went very well. I was being very patient and deliberate with my pace. I think all my 5Ks were within 1 minute of each other. I was really really hot, but I took advantage of every kind person volunteering to drench me with his or her garden hose. I had also taken my Nathan handheld along for the ride, filled with Nuun + salt+ water. Three minutes before the end of the first loop I was lapped by our friendly Kenyans. The pack zoomed past us at an incredible speed. They finished, we started lap #2.
Mile 2: still happy!
Nathan Handheld Exchange at mile 7

The second lap was much harder. It was just too hot! And... I don't do well in two lap courses. It's kinda boring if you ask me... My legs were cramping up, I was running out of water, there were fewer spectators... Fortunately, my hubby was waiting for me with a second Nathan (same recipe). Also, a visiting buddy had found a spot where he could see me every 30 minutes (and document my disintegrating state by taking a picture) and then raced to the finish to see me there. It was a great motivator to keep going.
2 miles to go!

Well... I finished!!! In 2:09:31, so my second worst time ever (after Utrecht which was even hotter) but really, it was fun and I did a great job nutrition and pace-wise.

Dam to Dam Race Report - 18 September 2011

I am 3 (!!!) race report behind already, with a fourth one coming on this Sunday... So this will be brief!

The Dam tot Dam is a HUGE race that has you run the 10 miles between AmsterDAM and ZaanDAM. It's a beautiful course, along many small, cute (and very wealthy) villages. I wasn't planning on running this race but a colleague received three Nike sponsored entries and offered me one... How could I refuse?!
Unfortunately, due to circumstances, I was the only one of the three actually running the race. He was kind enough to come to the start on Sunday morning to give me my number.
The race was fun, albeit wet. Thirty minutes before the start it started pouring and it did not stop until we finished. I was (very) untrained for this race (like usual) so I had zero ambitions beyond finishing...Instead, I focused on pacing (and enjoying myself...). I figured I might as well make this race part of my Ironman training...
Best outfit choice!
 Miles 1-3. The first mile was the toughest as we went throught the Ij tunnel. By Dutch standards this was a very long and steep downhill, followed by a very long and steep uphill. It did not really bug me to say the truth.
Miles 4-7. These miles were beautiful, I was having a good time! There was some faraway thunder & lightning!
Miles 8-10. The thunder & lightning got much closer. I was worried that they would cancel the race and I was SOOOO close so I picked up the pace...

I finished in 1:35:33. This was my first 10 miles so this would also be my PR :-) I did not care much about the time, but realized that 10 miles is a fantastic distance. It's like a half-marathon without that last, painful, 5K... Hmm... I guess that also means I should not run 10 miles at half-marathon pace... But you know, it was great training for the Singelloop half marathon two weeks later...