Week 6: Blustery brutals

  • Hours on the run: 4:31
  • Kilometres: 48
  • Calories burned: 10 flapjacks
  • Times I felt like stopping: 3
  • Runs in the rain: 2
  • Endorphins: 1,5 million
  • Flying distance: 10 metres
  • Soundtrack: Bang my head – David Guetta + Sia

Wind! Lots and lots of wind this week. Too many lentils!

Sorry, just kidding. I’m talking about that relentless 50km/hour earthly type of wind. The kind that, in the right direction, has you sailing along, flying without trying. Turn a corner and bam! Earphones angrily ripped from your ears; invisible walls to punch through; saliva whipped out of your mouth and plastered to your chin. Delightful.

On days like this, the only thing you can do is go with it. And try not to run backwards. I tell myself that it’s the Dutch version of hill training, and I should embrace it. I also tell myself it takes less effort to breathe when the wind is slammed into your airways. That’s got to count for something?

Retail therapy and dark nights

This week saw a new addition to my running wardrobe (doesn’t happen often – running gear is ridiculously expensive!). I’ve kept my one and only pair of running tights going faithfully for seven Dutch winters but before the hole in the butt gets any more offensive, I thought I’d treat myself to a new pair. It seems running tights have come on a long way in seven years! These New Balance beauties feel just like a second skin – so silky smooth, I couldn’t stop stroking my legs the first time I put them on! Plus they have the right sized pockets in all the right places – a runner definitely designed these!

Taking them out for their first spin, I’d like to think it wasn’t just the tailwind that had me cruising along effortlessly but my newfound aerodynamics…. oooh yeah they’re a keeper!

New Tights!
Happy Feet – First new pair of running tights in 7 years!

Week-night runs are still dark at the moment, with little in the way of visual entertainment:

Interval training
Lamppost spotters heaven!

Still, it’s the ideal time for interval training – no distractions! This long stretch of path is perfect for breaking out a sweat – no corners, curbs or uneven patches to trip you up. Nothing else to do on a path like this except ramp up that speed and get those lungs burning!

Confidence boost

The week ended with a half marathon in the dunes north of Amsterdam, where there are actual hills: the Groet uit Schoorl Run (nope, still can’t pronounce it!). Although my training schedule doesn’t have me doing a half marathon for another couple of weeks yet, I signed up for this one months ago (it’s a really scenic course), so I thought I’d try my luck.

That of course led to a lot of nerves yesterday, a sleepless night, and huge doubts that I was ready for the distance…

Well, I was amazed. It was one of the most enjoyable half marathons I’ve ever run. Perhaps it was the new energy gels (love them!), the new running gear (love it!), or the music: there was no hitting of any walls, and no point at which I thought, woah… how much further?! And that was despite the pouring rain at the start!

Groet uit Schoorl Run 2019

I also discovered one of the advantages of running in the Netherlands: Tall Dutch men – fantastic wind breakers! Just tuck yourself in behind a couple of them, and cruise when it all gets a bit blustery. Thanks guys!

During organised races like this, most of my concentration is on keeping a steady pace and the people around me – either overtaking people who have slowed down, or being overtaken by faster runners. There isn’t really a time when I’m thinking about things going on in my own life (like I would on runs by myself). That’s why it was quite a powerful moment when, around the 17km mark, my Dad suddenly came into my mind, so clearly, out of seemingly nowhere. It was really as if he was communicating with me – telling me he was watching and cheering me on. That really gave me a boost to speed up over those final kilometres, and to finish strong.

This race definitely lifted my running confidence, although I’m still unbelievably daunted by the distance I’ll need to cover in 76 days’ time. Best get back out there training… but first a much needed rest day. Yes!

Groet-uit-Schoorl Half Marathon 2019
Smiley orange guy managed to smile in every single picture. Happy chappy!
Groet-uit-Schoorl Half Marathon 2019
The girl in front of me showing so much emotion 800 metres before the end… Me – just an awkward hand wave!
Groet uit Schoorl Run 2019
How cute is this guy making a little heart to someone in the crowd. Bless!

Soundtrack to this week: Bang your head by David Guetta and Sia. Sums up that wind!

Please consider sponsoring me for the London Marathon. I’m running for Chance for Childhood, a charity that protects children from the devastating consequences of extreme poverty, conflict and disability.

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