Saturday, 21 October 2017

I ran a Marathon this year!

Last week I finally ran the marathon! I made it. It was an unbelievable experience. After dislocating my knee last year I was not sure I would ever get there. 

In November last year I was training my leg joints to complete a full cycle on a bike. In January I carefully started running again. I basically started from nothing, and BOOM in October I ran a full marathon!

The last 4 weeks before the marathon I still was not sure it would happen. My calves were tired and tight and I spent two days a week at my physical therapist to try to get them ready. I started training with special socks that compressed my calves, and running felt so much more tiring. 

I was not sure if I should try to run a marathon with these socks if my body was not used to it. I fell into insecurity. I decided to use them anyway and just accept that my time would be slower. As long as I did not run myself an injury.

It was a long and hot run -it was 20C outside- and it took me longer than I expected. It was amazing, exhilarating, scary, exhausting, energising, and I could not have done it without the people cheering me on.

My mind kept telling me I should stop. It was too much. But I pushed through, and with a couple of walking breaks -especially uphill, because socks- I managed to put a little sprint in when I crossed the last 500 metre mark. 

Best medal I ever had!

Sunday, 24 September 2017

2nd try || Training for the Amsterdam Marathon || 4 weeks to go

wait, what? Just one month to go??!

Just one month before the big day. I have to say, who knew? Last November I was still relearning how to ride a bike after a bad knee injury. Now I'm running a marathon in 4 weeks! Crazy what the body is capable of.

I went to a physical therapist on Monday, to see if we can work on my tight calves, before an injury happens. And I have to tell you, the dry needling to loosen it up was absolutely brutal. But, the next day, really all was fine. So off I went to yoga.
Wednesday I took my loose calves out for a short run. Thursday and Friday rest day :)

And then Saturday was the day I took out my new compression socks for a long distance run (also advised by the physical therapist). The first 5K was horrible. The socks were soooo tight, running up hill felt impossible. The best visual I can give you on how it felt is when you put your cat or dog in socks or shoes for the first time, and they kind of forget how to walk, that's how it felt. Like your muscles forget how to work. I managed to squeeze out about 22-23K. 

Monday I'm back at the physical therapist. We'll see if the socks make it to the start of the marathon...Right now, I'm not sure...

Sunday, 17 September 2017

2nd try || Training for the Amsterdam Marathon || 5 weeks to go

The marathon is creeping closer and closer. Am I ready? I'm not sure. I think so...

Monday I did a morning yoga stretch, which got me ready for the week. Tuesday was an other early morning, with a 4K run at 7am. So, not me to get out so early. But I did and it was amazing! And that evening I was at it again, with a vinyasa yoga class.
The rest of the week it was raining cats and dogs, so I was a little less active. And then Sunday was my first 30K! Crazy!
I participated in the 30K of Noord, which is a run through the fields north of Amsterdam. And it went so well! It was amazing.
But knowing I will have to run 12K further than that in a few weeks is very, very scary.

And, on top of that (or because of that) the last week, I was not so good...And I have all of the excuses...It rained. A lot. Like. A lot. And work was stressful and busy (I know, exercise is especially important when stressed, but you know what, I did not listen to that voice, I'm human). 
But then on Saturday, even when I really did not feel like it, I ran 8K at the Damloop by Night in Zaandam with colleagues. Running my own little tempo, until I reached the 6K point and then speeding up all the way to the finish, finally getting rid of some of the stress of the last week. It was liberating. Just the endorphins I needed. I know. You told me so.

Sunday, 3 September 2017

2nd try || Training for the Amsterdam Marathon || 7 weeks to go

Errrr, 7 weeks...More and more the thought of possible failure creeps up. Or, maybe the even worse thought of, "what if it takes me 6 hours, or longer and the sweep car comes pick me up"?
I try not to think of it. It's too scary.

So what did I do the last two weeks, to dull this fear down a bit?

I got back from Bristol on Monday. Tuesday I took a sweet little break from working out. A good prep for Wednesday, when I ran my farthest run yet, 26K. That.Is.So.Far.I.Cannot.Believe.It! Took forever too. It was extremely warm and sunny. But it felt amazing at the same time. On the right track, right?

Thursday I spent the day in the car travelling to France where we had the best slow vacation in a long time. We were sleeping in this cute and luxe studio, on French castle grounds, surrounded by nothing else but woods and farms. And we did not leave the grounds for en entire week!
We did not have to, there was so much to do. Friday we went swimming in the pool, where I did some arm exercises. And we played table tennis.
Friday, swimming again, practising head stands in the shallow end of the pool. And some table tennis. Saturday, more swimming, playing with head stands and balancing exercises. And we went for a 45 minute walk. Sunday I did a 30 minute yoga sequence. And of course, more swimming, and more table tennis.

I ran into the new week with a 5K run. It was far too warm. I really found it very, very tough indeed. Temperatures reached 33 degrees Celsius during the day. Even when running later or earlier in the day, was really too much. I don't know how some people do it. And of course, the daily swimming and table tennis happened. Tuesday we took on the tennis court on the grounds, where I tried to teach my significant other how to hit a ball the tennis way, and not the squash way. Wednesday was a very, very wet day. But I put in a full body work out, doing exercises for arms, legs and my core for 45 minutes to an hour. Think; lifting small weights, planks, dips, push ups, jumping squats, and many, many others. We ended the day with an other short tennis playing session.
And, alas, Thursday, an other day spent in the car back home. Friday was a rest day. Saturday I did my errands, which turned out to be a lot and in a lot of different places across the city. According to the google fit app on my phone I spent 2 hours and 35 minutes on my bike! Thinking back, this is probably about right...
Sunday was another long distance run. 20K, mostly through IJburg and Diemerpark.

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

2nd try || Training for the Amsterdam Marathon || 9 weeks to go

Monday started with a 5k run, short but sweet. Tuesday was my regular yoga session, vinyasa. Where I sweated through many a vinyasa plank. 
Wednesday was a rest day, and then Thursday I ran through the most amazing sunset over Amsterdam for 8K. Is that pick sky not super inspiring and motivating to get outside?
Friday I smashed out a 20 minute HIIT workout I found on Youtube. And I finished the week off with a 20 K run, through Amsterdam, up to the North and through the fields near Ransdorp.
And back to Monday! Swimming for 30 minutes in the medium lane, brought my heart rate right up. 
Tuesday I was back to my Vinyasa yoga and Thursday I was off to Bristol for the UK Barista Championship finals, sitting on the Tamper Tantrum panel. And we did a lot of walking. A. Lot...

Also...just 9 weeks to go...that is scary!

Monday, 7 August 2017

2nd try || Training for the Amsterdam Marathon || 11 weeks to go

What a hectic couple of weeks it has been. The days are flying by, and as I wrote down 11 weeks to go, I had a little panic attack...just 11 weeks to go? That's officially less than 3 months! Let's recap the last two weeks. I went for a 5K run on Monday two weeks ago. Taking a day off on Tuesday and back to vinyasa yoga on Wednesday. On Thursday I had an interview with a coffee magazine, so that was my day done. I did spend some time walking through Rotterdam. And finally I moved my long distance run to Friday as I was flying off to Lima, Peru on Saturday. It was a lovely run, 18K through the East of Amsterdam. I split it into 3 sets of 6K, taking some energy gels after every set. Overall I was able to keep a stable speed. Then from Saturday till Saturday I was in Peru! It was an amazing trip where I travelled to the North, to the regions of Cajamarca and Amazonas to visit coffee producers. And although I spent some time climbing steep coffee slopes in the mountains, I mostly sat in a car all day. So time to step it up again this week!

Sunday, 23 July 2017

2nd try || Training for the Amsterdam Marathon || 13 weeks to go

Monday, I woke up at 6 am. Which is absolutely ridic for me. I am a notorious sleep-in-er. But I went, I got up, and I biked off to a hot yoga class. I've been to a hot yoga class before, and I have really not enjoyed it. It was too warm, too busy, too clingy and honestly a little dirty. But this time I went to a new yoga school, Equal, on the Middenweg in Amsterdam. It was sweaty, dripping from all of my pores. But it was grand. Best feeling ever. Will probably repeat. Tuesday, I wanted to go to my regular vinyasa yoga, however I did not. Because migraine. Wednesday I still was not on top of my game, plus it was 30 degrees Celsius outside. I did go to a yin yoga class on Friday, stretching everything out. And then Saturday I went for a 10K run through Diemen. I closed the week off on Sunday with a half-hour walk along the waterfront near my house. So all in all, an okay week. Next week, the long distance run will be an 18K...not looking forward to that yet. So I will need to put out a neat route, so as to inspire myself.

Sunday, 16 July 2017

2nd try || Training for the Amsterdam Marathon || 14 weeks to go

I had a lot of fun this week. On Wednesday I had dinner with friends. I made my home made whole wheat wraps, filled with all kinds of delicious, from minced beef with corn, to black bean salsa, and fresh tomatoes and bell peppers. On Thursday I had dinner at my mum's. And then on Friday I had a BBQ party with my colleagues plus partners, hanging out side all day, enjoying the beautiful weather! Alas, that also meant that, as I'm usually late to rise, late to run and exercise - meaning I only move my ass in the evenings-, that I did not do that much of movement this week. Ups....All I did was some vinyasa yoga on Tuesday, and then Saturday I went for a 10K run one way and a 10K bike ride back. It was a beautiful run though. Past the Flevopark, along the water. Two bridges, which I took in stride and then I nice 1 K through the North of Amsterdam, along fields and meadows filled with cows. Oh, and I cleaned my entire house on Sunday. On a week like this one, I think that counts...right?

Sunday, 9 July 2017

2nd try || Training for the Amsterdam Marathon || 15 weeks to go

It was a short workout week, due to a thunderstorm and some dinner parties. Nonetheless I got some good workouts in. 
Inspired by Sarah's Day, I'm trying to add different types of workouts to my weekly exercise.
Trying to sweat, trying to tone, getting outside to do activities and having a challenge.

This week started off with a 6K run on Monday, where I ran through Diemen, trying to find beautiful green stretches that were not paved. 

Wednesday was a tone day, with a one-hour-and-a-half vinyasa yoga workout. And while thunder and lightning was keeping me from running outside for an interval training, I spent the evening with a HIIT workout.
And then Saturday I spent 14K outside, running along the Amstel river to the centre of Amsterdam, running back past Artis, the zoo, and finally ending up in the beautiful green Flevopark.

Sunday, last day, I still want to do a challenge. I'll probably see if I can run up some stairs a couple of times. 

Sunday, 2 July 2017

2nd try || Training for the Amsterdam Marathon || 16 weeks to go

16 weeks to go...

Monday I went for a 30 minute run. And it took a lot of willpower...for the work day was long and stressful. I did not leave the office before 18:45. But knowing that a run would help me put some dopamine against the stress and irritation I was feeling, eventually helped me pull that door closed behind me and got me on a 4.5km run. Blazing through the streets with 2 Many DJs blasting in my ear, using irritation as fuel...until Spotify changed the game by suddenly skipping to Bob Marley's Don't worry about a thing, and I realised, that I shouldn't have a too emotional of a reaction. All bad things will pass. Everything will turn out allright. 
My calves felt extremely tight after all that energy, so I ended with a foam rolling session.

Tuesday, Vinyasa Yoga day! I try to get at least one yoga session in a week. I enjoy Vinyasa because it's a perfect balance of strength and stretch. It helps me align and straighten out, find my balance. But it also strengthens my core, legs, shoulders and arms.

Wednesday I tried something new: calisthenics. Calisthenics, for those who do not know, is a form of body-weight training that uses your own body as a weight. It's intended to increase not only strength and muscle, but also fitness and flexibility trough movements of pulling, pushing, bending, jumping and swinging from bars and rings.
It was given in this old industrial hall, which have it a real rugged feel. And of course, this one week I went, they did an extra intensive training....Where they not only focused on strength, but on endurance. Meaning, where they usually do 3 rounds of 12 pull ups, it was 3 rounds of 20. And where they did 3 rounds of 12 push ups, it was 80-120 push ups in total (see how you get there, just as long as you get there). Needless to say, I was sweating in all sorts of places and for one hour barely had time to catch my breath. Nonetheless, it was heaps of fun. The atmosphere was good and all the people there were really kind, helpful and encouraging of each other and me, the newbie.
But...the muscle pain, is so, so, so horrible. The next day was fine. No real issues. But Friday and Saturday where horrible! I could not stretch my arms for the life of me.

In order to help stretch my muscles I went to a Yin Yoga class on Friday and spent most of Saturday foam rolling my arm muscles.

Sunday was a day filled with garden work, and I closed the week off with a walk.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

2nd try || Training for the Amsterdam Marathon || 17 weeks to go

After two weeks of totally bumming out of running -seriously it's too hot here right now- I decided enough is enough. It was time to dig deep and find a new type of willpower to make my body healthy, slim, strong and marathon ready.
Especially after an aunt calling me out for becoming more 'sturdy'...what does that even mean?

Monday I ran 3 kilometres In the dying heat, which in the Netherlands is about 28 degrees Celsius. Although it was evening, I tried to follow the trees as the sun was still blaring down.
After, I spent 15 minutes on legs and 10 minutes on abs in a HIIT workout form. Talk about breaking out a sweat! Dripping all over the floor!

Tuesday was Vinyasa yoga day. Starting the workout with a good old meditation and slow stretch, working up through loads of moon and sun salutations and almost to many high planks and Vinyasas.

Wednesday. We had a goodbye dinner for a colleague at work. It was a lot of fun. I did not do any workout other than my daily bike ride to and from work.

Thursday my body felt really tired and my bones kept cracking and my legs ached. I was not feeling it.

Friday was a little better. I decided to do a slow yin yoga stretch via YouTube. Getting ready for a 10k run tomorrow!

Saturday: and so I did that, a 10k run. It took some convincing to get up early to avoid the heat. When I woke up our cat Luna was snuggled up against me purring away. After some cuddles I got up anyway, and stepped out into the rain. Hashtag goals achieved!

I finished the week with a nice 30 minute walk on Sunday.

--- --- ---

Next week more running, more yoga and a calisthenics class?

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Back at 10K

Today I ran for 70 minutes. The sun was shining. There was a soft breeze. I ran my way down the Amstel river, past row boats, big white farm houses and past gorgeous green fields. The road was filled with runners, bikers and old men fishing. 

It has been a struggle getting here. The past couple of months have been extremely busy and filled with travel, making getting out there and running a challenge. I travelled to Addis Abeba, Nairobi and the Nyeri region of Kenya in January. Then off to Athens, Greece in February to judge their coffee competitions, only to fly out again to North Carolina a couple of days after getting back from that. Then in March I was in Belgium for the weekend for an other coffee competition. 

All this travelling has been hard on my knee, especially when flying. And so I have had to skip some training sessions. And I do feel the knee being a little bit more unstable when running longer than 30 minutes. However, overall, it's been great and the legs are doing fine!

I started doing some private pilates lessons, which have strengthened my core stability very, very quickly. It's quite expensive though, so I might have to find some other activities for the core the next couple of weeks.

As of tomorrow, the training towards 22K starts. As we are increasing the mileage, less sessions can be missed. Wish me luck!


So how am I getting to 22K? I combined some training schedules I found online.

Training schedule - running three times a week

week 14 || 40 minutes, interval training 7x4 minutes, 80 minutes
week 15 || 30 minutes, interval training 10x2 minutes, 70 minutes
week 16 || 40 minutes, interval training 10x2 minutes, 80 minutes
week 17 || 45 minutes, interval training 6x5 minutes, 90 minutes
week 18 || 50 minutes, interval training 6x5 minutes, 95 minutes
week 19 || 50 minutes, interval training 6x5 minutes, 100 minutes
week 20 || 40 minutes, interval training 7x4 minutes, 110 minutes
week 21 || 45 minutes, interval training 7x3 minutes, 115 minutes
week 22 || 50 minutes, interval training 6x3 minutes, 85 minutes
week 23 || 30 minutes, interval training 6x3 minutes, 22K

Now to find a half marathon event in week 23!

Sunday, 29 January 2017

New Beginnings...and Running Schedules

2017 has begun. It marks the end of many things, one of them being the end of my physical therapy. And so it also marks the beginning of a new running schedule!
The plan? Run the Amsterdam Marathon for real this year. So 42KM in October. Meaning, the schedule starts today! 

As I've not run, really, since August 2016, and basically not only not run but not done anything, it's important to start slowly. Minute per minute, to avoid new injuries and the oh so scary shin splints. In order to get to 42KM in the fall, I've split the training into three blocks. Block 1: build up to 10KM. Block 2: build up to 22KM. Block 3 build up to the marathon. 

First up - block 1
I found this schedule a while ago online. Unfortunately I cannot remember where. But I have adopted it into my calendar. It should have me up to an hour of running, or about 10KM on the first of April. Let's see how I go, I'm looking forward to it! And that is halve the work, right?

I'm starting on week 4 in the schedule, so my schedule will look as follows:
week 4 - 6x2 minutes
week 5 - 12x2 minutes and 6x3 minutes
week 6 - 8x3 minutes and 10x3 minutes
week 7 - 12x3 minutes and 6x4 minutes
week 8 - 8x4 minutes and 10x4 minutes
week 9 - 12x4 minutes and 6x5 minutes
week 10 - 8x5 minutes and 10x5 minutes
week 11 - 12x5 minutes and 6x10 minutes
week 12 - 3x20 minutes and 6x10 minutes
week 13 - 1x60 minutes and 1x70 minutes (sounding off the bell for the next round, building up to 22K) 


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