The road to new challenges ahead

The road to new challenges ahead

I have been slacking a few months regarding blog posts, basically because I’ve been busy with all kind of (fun-)things I want to share with you in this post. So sit back, get a drink and a snack because this is going to be a long post 🙂

Let’s do a short look back to Athens in November 2017 that one learned me to always stay focussed and keep believing in your own goals and ways towards them, even though there can always be obstacles in between.

After Athens I was ready to start putting some sticks behind the door (typical Dutch saying, does that also work outside NL?) and I started looking around for some next adventures ahead. There’s so much locations even only within Europe to choose from! And the fact that I have this hobby of running Marathons AND (ultra-)trails even makes the options almost infinite, which is cool 😉

you book something very cool ahead so you have to work your ass towards it

As with the majority of the runs I did, the next one also popped up through social-media and got my interest; The Lysefjord Inn 2018 on June 2nd, an Ultra-trail which is in Norway and has a subtle length of only 62km and 2500D+ which makes it an interesting one, my longest Ultra up till now. So guess what, this one and the surroundings of those Norwegian fjords are not to miss out on. So I registered. Cool. (wait, I did what?!). So here’s the stick-behind-the-door principle, you book something very cool ahead so you have to work your ass towards it, because you NEED to participate, simple but effective, right?

Hill climb training in NL… I do hear you think. How am I going about that in this supposed to be fully flat country. Well, I can tell you a little secret.

Having the Iceland experience still fresh in mind it was clear I needed to focus on those D+’s to get through those 62km’s. I think the distance running alone should be doable for me, but those D+’s can really mess around with your legs. In 2016 I ran the E51 Eiger Ultra Trail, in Switzerland which is 51km in length and about 3300D+, the latter I remember the most. There were literally people walking backwards, downhill because the muscles were completely done and the knees by then the same. This walking backwards I luckily did not do but actual running was not one of the options for me either after about 11 hours (finish time just above 12 hours), still not bad for my first Ultra in the mountains.

Hill climb training in NL… I do hear you think. How am I going about that in this supposed to be fully flat country. Well, I can tell you a little secret. There’s quite some interesting options available to do so. The options range from stairs-climbing to bridge sprints to ascending-roads up to the dunes-coastal areas in Schoorl and surroundings. The stairs climbing you can basically do everywhere, but my preference are long and steep stairs, because they mess you up the best 🙂 The bridge-sprints I prefer to do on a cycle-bridge pretty close by my house; it’s called the Nescio Brug and it’s actually a really good option for hill-sprints! It’s supposed to be even the steepest-climb cycling bridge in NL, damn am I lucky or what?!

I really love this bridge in my trainings, what I mostly do is hill-sprint-repeats on the steepest ascend (south-entrance) and repeat it about 15 times or until it really starts to look goofy because the legs are full 🙂 Another fun part of these sprints is that you almost always overtake the cyclists struggling their way upwards and you sometimes have a kind of race with someone with a big ego. (and those e-bike ppl, really?!).

 

Another favourite of mine for the trail-training sessions is the coastal-dune areas surrounding the little village Schoorl in the north-west part of Holland. This area has the highest dunes in NL and they reach up til 56 meters, which creates lots of options! Besides the fact it actually has hills, it also has a huge variety in terrain and excellent sceneries. I mostly go for a 30km round which I have as a course in my Garmin F3HR. Those 30km have about 500D+ in total, so there you go, in NL, in that flat country. And those 500D+ aren’t just nice and flat ascends, nope. It’s an interesting mix of sand paths, stairways, loose sand, branches, tree-roots growing all places, uphills, (fast!)-downhills, ‘wild’-cows, beach, sea etc etc. Loads of fun and definitely not to be underestimated! My favourite time to start running there is Sunday morning before 9, super quiet and so beautiful! (if you want directions, just let me know).

Being all excited and things I will run Rotterdam, I became ill last week (March 29th) with a hefty flu

During my training sessions I was also planning ahead of other possible matching races to do in between the coming remaining months and the race in Norway on June the 2nd. My first ever trail run was a 22km in the most southern part of Holland called ‘De Koning van Spanje’ (the King of Spain) which runs over the beautiful surroundings of southern Limburg and they have several distances available (up till a 89km combination Ultimate over three days). I noticed the 43km distance with 1250D+ and water crossings, which looked like a perfect training again for Norway, which then will be a month after. Well, I guess things are clear to you now right? I will be running those 43km on May 6th, which planning wise is a perfect line up for me.

BUT, there’s still a gap in April… and I also still want to do some pure tarmac-training as wel (read: a marathon). Now, there’s a marathon in Rotterdam in April, which I did run in 2016 also and loved it. But those prices are going pretty uphill also, a bib would set me back €81 including a hideous shirt. That took away the fun for me, so looking for alternatives.

In the mean have done quite some hill-stairs sprints in my close neighbourhood and ran the dunes in Schoorl about three times April was nearing and I still wanted to do a marathon somewhere. It was end of March and I saw a running-friend of mine placing his Rotterdam bib on facebook for sale because of his injury. Which totally sucks for him (and I know…) but created an opportunity for me, since the price was much friendlier this time. So I decided to buy it from him, two weeks ahead of the marathon 😉 I love last minute decisions like these. Being all excited and stuff that I will run Rotterdam, I became ill last week (March 29th) with a hefty flu, while I was telling everyone I was not caught by that flu-thing going on. Fever went up to 39.6C at peak and then you start to wonder about that Rotterdam thing….  at moment of writing it’s April 3rd and i’m recovered for 90% now (which I think is still pretty fast recovery) but obviously did not run for about a week and a half, I guess I’ll be fine during the marathon but it will not be a fast one..

 

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