Sunday, January 2, 2011

November 2010 and the Nijmegen Zevenheuvelenloop

*** This is post 4 in a series of 5 posts meant to catch up on five months of blogging absence***

Things got back on track (well almost) in November. I started getting inspired in my training, and I got better at fitting workouts in before and after work. I think I had trouble running in the dark in October, but by November I was used to it. I ran one 15K race, the Nijmegen zevenheuvelenloop, and it went well (finally). My parents and our best buddy from the US came to visit, so we had some delightful times with them.

Race of the Month: Nijmegen Zevenheuvelenloop (15K)
I entered this race on a whim. It just sounded like fun. Zevenheuvelenloop literally means: the run of the seven hills. Now, if you are familiar with the Netherlands, you will know that the Netherlands are FLAT. So I thought that the race was misnamed and the hills would be a bit of a joke. Ha. Ha. Ha. Those were real hills, but the race was still a ton of fun. Ondrej and Dan (our buddy from the States) came with me to Nijmegen. While they went in search for lunch, I went in search of the changing area. This race is huge (I think about 25,000 which in the Netherlands is huge). However, it was extremely well organized, with areas available for people to change and leave their (non-valuable) things. Once I got changed, I went to find the boyz and joined them for a drink (the non-alcoholic kind of course).

The Run
The start was freezing cold (another sub-zero day) so I kept all my clothes on. I really needed to use the restroom, but the lines were huge, and the smells terrible so I abstained. I was in the last start group, and the winner of the race (Leonard Komon) achieved his world record before our group even started...
The Elevation
The race itself was great. I started strong and kept a good pace. I felt I was giving it a hard effort but I was pretty consistent. There were indeed 7 real hills so it was hard to keep an even pace. My first two miles were sub-9 minutes (warming up). Mile 3 had a good hill and took me 9:17. Mile 4 was a bit congested and I was struggling to get some layers off (gloves and sweater). Miles 5, 6, and 7 were the bulk of the hills and took me 9:28, 9:19 and 9:31.  The last 2.35 miles were all downhill and took me 9:06 and 8:43 with the last little bit taking 8:53. I finished in 1:25:34 (1,149/2,133 in women up to 34 years old). It was not a great time, but it was the first race in a long time where I felt I was doing well. All good!
Looking pretty happy!

Training this Month
November training went pretty well. I came back from my Greek vacation rested and ready to resume training. I was looking forward to the hour changing, in the faint hope that there would be light in the morning again. That was not to be, so I just learned to suck it up and run no matter what the weather. I think this helped me keep on track with the running. Except for the couple of days after the zevenheuvelenloop, where I was battle a cold, I was very consistent with my runs, most of which took place before work. One memorable run was on Sunday 28 November. We went (again) to this little town that is simultaneously in the Netherlands and in Belgium. I did my long run (8 miles) of the week there, in freezing cold weather (-8C). However, despite the cold, the landscape was beautiful and the run felt (almost) easy. 
Two days later, I had my first run of the snow season. The Netherlands can be cold, yet rarely have a lot of snow. This year however we got piles and piles of it. 
I did not know it at the time, but November 30th was the first of many many snow runs. The slow paces tell the story...
Total running for November was 77 miles according to my log (80.2 according to Garmin, I round down on my log), and 30 miles of biking, no swimming. I gave up on the cross-training which I think is one of the reasons (along with faulty shoes) why I was on the verge of an injury.

Life and Home reports will have to wait, I forgot my pictures in Europe...  

Next and last in this series: December and the Run Into The New Year 5K

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