Happy New Year - Let's kickstart it with some karaoke, shall we?

I hope you all have a great, bubbly and safe (be careful with all this firework!) New Year's Eve!

Have a Runtastic 2011!

Ran: 1.8 miles / 3K with Lordie


Three Things Thursday - the 'There's a Throwback Thursday in here' post

Ran: 5 miles / 8K with the dogs - 42:50 minutes + Cycling: 30 minutes
1. My new Newtons were sparkly white when I opened the box less than 24 hours ago. This is what one lousy 4.5 miler does to new running shoes. Lucky for me, I'm not going for the fashionable and crispy white look. I like it dirty. ;) Yep, I said 'I like it dirty'. And no, I'm not referring to 'that', I'm referring to trail running. ;)

Aren't they pretty? ;)

2. Tomorrow is New Year's Eve 2010 already. Another year has gone by. As for my private life: it wasn't a walk in the park. Not the easiest year, at all. But I do feel like all these personal 'battles and bumps (to be honest...some were mountain-like bumps) in the road' made me a stronger girl - mentally.
As for running: I do realize that this may sound corny, but it honestly seems like just a week ago that I picked up running (January 2010). And I'm still in awe over how much my life has changed (for the positive) in these past 12 months. It's been a heck of a ride, but I truly feel like this is where I'm supposed to be right now, and that this is the 'real me'. And I haven't felt like that in a long time. A long long time.

3. Last but not least: the post Kevin (http://halftriing.blogspot.com/) has been anxiously waiting for all week. Throwback Thursday!
This is me. I must have been about 2 years old in this photo. The photo was taken in France, on a summer holiday with the family.
As you've probably already noticed, I'm sporting the 'preppy European girl' look. Lacoste shirt: check. Striped Bermudas: check. And, yes, I am a girl. Hence the hair. I actually had the same haircut as my mom back then. And Twiggy. And Agyness Deyn. One might even say that Agyness stole my look. I won't hold that against her. That's just not the kind of person I am. ;) Plus, it looks better on 2 year old Me anyway. ;)


The Bucket List - part two

Ran: 6.2 miles / 10K running group practice Cycling: 30 minutes
Did you miss the birth of The Bucket List? If so, you can read all about it here:

Last night I did some research (yep, I'm taking this Bucket List thing pretty serious) on the five year Bucket List. Ergo, I was googling for cool races to put on the list. And then I came across this video. Start the video at 3:35 minutes. Sit back, and enjoy.

So, now you probably understand why I HAVE to do this race sometime in the 5 years to come, right? By putting it on the 5 year Bucket List I'll also have a couple of years to save my pennies to register and pay for the trip. And yep, the runners actually have to do a trek to one of the base camps. Because the start is at one of the base camps. And you'll have to hike up there. Just saying that again. Since I'm a bit worried that I might feel the urge to actually run up there. But let's not go there for now. ;) Doesn't this race seem amazing? :)
Oh, and while we're at it. I also did some research on the 'Climb the Matterhorn' plan. Apparently you need to be a Level 4 rock climber (not the level 4 indoor wussies like myself, but actually rock climbing - I know now that there's a difference between indoor licenses and the actual rock climbing license). If you're not a level 4 climber, the guide (I'm not stupid enough to try it without a guide) won't even take you with him. Guess who will be spending a lot of vacation time driving back and forth to Switzerland in the next 5 years to get her Level 4 rock climbing license...


The Bucket List - the shortened version

Ran: 4.5 miles / 7.2K with the dogs
Just a couple of days left in the year 2010. Soon enough we'll have a whole new year to fill with races and other fun (or not so fun) stuff. ;)
My resolutions for 2011 are...NONE!
Everyone around me seems to be talking about New Year's resolutions. Quit smoking, pick up a hobby, eat less meat, spend more time with the family, spend less time in the bar. All good/ambitious resolutions.
I'm not a New Year's resolutions' kind of girl. If you want to quit smoking, quit today. Feel the need to get into a healthier lifestyle, join the gym - today. And if you want to spend more time with the family, just do so! Don't get me wrong, I do realize that starting off a new year with these resolutions must feel like you're onto something 'great' and off to a fresh start. I just don't get why you would wait till January 1st. Call me nutso. Or a party pooper.
A bucket list?
However, I love lists. Love, love lists. And especially checking things on these lists. Plus: writing 'done' on a list; great feeling!
And I do have a lot of things that I would like to do in the somewhat near future. And I'm afraid that I might forget about some of these things. So, what I'll do is, instead of working on New Year's resolutions, I'll make a bucket list. A 'special' kind of bucket list that is. Not the 'old school' things to do before you die list. Nope, I'm making a 'bucket list' for 2011 alone and a separate 'bucket list' for the next 5 years. Why? Because it's my bucket list! :)
Weird? Corny? You tell me!
I just know that - for example - I really really really want to climb the Matterhorn in Switzerland. But I also know that I won't be doing that in 2011. Because I'll have to turn myself into a rock climber before I give it a shot. And I don't have time for that this year. So, that would be on the 5 year bucket list.
What I can do in 2011 is try my luck at a triathlon. That one would be on the 2011 bucket list. Especially since I can't bail out when it's on the list. I'm working on some kind of 'punishment system' for not doing things on the list for random reasons. (Ofcourse, an injury etcetera would not be included in this system. Being injured is a punishment itself) If you have any thoughts on the punishment system: please do share. ;)
Leaves me to this: do you have a written down or 'secret' bucket list?


Manic Monday - Runners must sound like total nutcases to non-runners...

Cycling: 30 minutes
It's been crazy busy at work these last couple of weeks, and I'm still freaking out over the pile of case files on my desk. So, I don't have time to write a meaningful post (as if I ever write meaningful posts, but let's not go there ;)), and will just post a video. Personally I think this is hilarious. Do I really sound like this when I'm training for a marathon? Probably... I'd like to apologize to all the non-runners out there. But I won't stop babbling about running. Just so you know! ;)


Merry Christmas!

Saturday: ran 6.6 miles / 10.5K with dogs - 58 minutes
Sunday: ran 4 miles / 6.5K with dogs

Lordie and I wish you and your loved ones a merry, fantastic and sporty Christmas!


The night before Christmas

Cycling: 30 minutes
I wish you all a wonderful Christmas Eve with your loved ones.
This clip from the Mr Bean Christmas episode always makes me laugh out loud. For those of you that are into the British, sarcastic kind of humor (I am!!!), eat your heart out:


Three Things Thursday

Ran: 4.5 miles / 7.2K + 30 min of cycling

1. With The Calf feeling slightly better I'm slowly easing back into running longer distances again. Adding miles to my runs every couple of days. The PT adviced me to add one mile at a time and to listen to The Calf. If it's painfree on a run, it's okay. If it's not, I should not add an extra mile on the next run. That it's slippery outside doesn't really help the pain, but does help strenghten my muscles.

2. Since I'm out on the road again (although not at the mileage pre calf strain yet, but still), I have completely fallen in love with Buff scarves! I already used those for skiing, but apparently they are also great for running! Great way to keep your head and neck warm in these chilly temps!

Plus, they come in great and fun colors. I love this one:

3. In my opinion the runningskirts.com twins deserve an award for their Subzero Hoody. In this winter weather I eat, sleep and live in this thing. I can't get over how comfortable this jacket is! It's soft and keeps me warm (but not too warm) on my runs. Great piece of running gear!
Check out www.runningskirts.com for more great winter running gear!


Wacky Wednesday: Inspirational running quotes

Ran 3.6 miles / 5.8K + 30 min of cycling
I'm a big fan of inspirational running quotes. Such a big fan that I even have one on my Christmas card. For those of you that received one: I apologize. ;)
I love how these quotes can make you feel that there's some sort of higher meaning in being a runner and in running itself. Some quotes are so inspirational that I even get a bit emotional just reading them. Okay, you can stop laughing now. I'm a total douche, I know.
These are some of my favorite quotes:
- "The greatest pleasure in life is doing the things people say we can not do"
- "Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall"
- "All it takes is all you've got"
- "Don't bother trying to be better than others. Try to be better than yourself"
- "Do a little more each day than you think you possibly can"
- "Stadiums are for spectators. We runners have nature and that is much better"
- "No one ever drowned in sweat"
- "A lot of people run a race to see who's the fastest. I run to see who has the most guts"
- "Get going. Get up and walk if you have to, but finish the damned race"
- "Running is one of the best solutions to a clear mind"
What is your favorite running quote?


Throwback Tuesday! - The Sorority Years and Why I should stay away from fire...period

Ran: 3.2 miles / 5K Cycling: 30 minutes through heavy snow
If I don't post this now, I'm pretty sure that Kevin (http://halftriing.blogspot.com) will put me on his black list, so, here you go! Throwback Tuesday!

The Sorority Years

Sporting some kind of combat-like cheerleader outfit. Why? I don't know. It probably seemed like a great idea at the time.
Why I should stay away from fire...period

Summer 2006, Kenya. Shortly after this tourist trap / ritual the chief asked my mom whether or not she would sell me to him for 50 cows and 20 goats. He was willing to pay her in dollars in case it was too inconvenient for her to travel with all this cattle. Such a gentleman...


Push 'Repeat'!

Cycling: 30 minutes
How bad is it that I can't get this song out of my head since yesterday's workout. The beat of this song is just great for speedwork.
So, Katy, push 'Repeat'! I'm off for a run! "Baby, you're a firework"!


Canicross in fresh powder - The "Can you say instant happiness?" post

Saturday: ran 4.5 miles / 7.2K with the dogs
Sunday: ran 2.5 miles / 4K with the dogs

I guess I don't need to explain to you all how much fun this was, huh?


How to train for an ultramarathon, or 'How not to' - my 78K training schedule

Cycling: 30 minutes
After some (okay, a lot of) tossing and turning, I've decided on the schedule that I'm going to use for the 78K Swiss Alpine Marathon in July 2011. Seems far away, but I need to start the ultramarathon schedule in February (that is, in a little of a month from today), and need to get my base training done before that. Yeah, tight. Let's see how The Calf holds up. I'm adding miles to my runs every week now, and am able to run 4 miles/6.5K now without any serious calf pain. My sports MD and PT told me recovery should take about 8 weeks. It's been 6 weeks now, so, not too bad.:) Progress, slowly, but still: progress. ;)
The Schedule
I decided to work with a Hal Higdon Ultramarathon schedule for my first. To me, it seems like a safe pick. One of the guys in my running group did that same 78K race a couple of years ago, and used a similar schedule. Hal Higdon advices the runners to use the run/walk breaks-method for the 26+ miles /42K+ runs. And advices the runners to do at least a couple of long runs on a very hilly course (that is, a course similar to the one you're in training for). Seems like a plan to me. Since Holland is as flat as my hair after finishing the NYC Marathon (the proof is in the photo...), this means I will have to spend a lot of time in my car driving back and forth to southern Belgium or Germany to get some serious mountain runs in. And you know what? I'm actually looking forward to that! :)

Want to know what the schedule is? Here you go!

Only thing I'm not too sure about: running 75 mile/120K weeks. Ouch. That is going to hurt! :)
I know some of you already did an ultra distance race. So, what schedule did you use? Please share. :)


Three Gifts Thursday - The 'Santa, baby' post

Santa Baby

just slip a pair of under the tree
For me

Been an awful good girl
Santa Baby
So hurry down the chimney tonight

Santa Baby

A too
Light blue
I'll wait up for you, dear
Santa Baby
So hurry down the chimney tonight
Santa Cutie
Fill my stocking with a
And checks
Sign your 'x' on the line
Santa Cutie
So hurry down the chimney tonight


Are they just trying to sell me those bulky stability shoes? - The 'Stability Shoe' debate

Looking at this slow motion video of Haile confused me a bit. He's obviously an overpronator. No way of hiding that. Nonetheless he's in racing flats (no stability), which means the pronation is all over the place. He's injury free most of the time.
Makes a girl and fellow overpronator wonder. Are they just trying to sell me those bulky stability shoes? Do I really need those? Recovering from the calf strain my bulky Asics GT-2150s make it worse, and my Newtons let me run relatively painfree. Wouldn't it be a better idea to work on my gait, the strength in my lower legs and my running form? And alternate stability/motion control shoes and barefoot running shoes in my training cycle?
I guess I could call this 'Opinions wanted Wednesday'. :)


This is an intervention!

This is it! Enough is enough! We've had it!

We've been your faithful companions for almost 28 years now. And although we're quite funny shaped (too long, way too long), we've always been happy to have you as a 'human'. You might even say that we loved bragging about you. You always took good care of us. And we smelled nice.

However, some time around January of this year (2010, in case you don't remember), that changed. And we're not talking 'started painting her toenails black' changed. No, our 'human' decided to pick up running as a hobby. Let's just say that it went downhill from there...

The running was bad enough. Callous all over the place. Toenails growing yellow and falling off. Not to mention the smell. But we could cope with that. I'm not saying we were happy campers. No, definitely not. But we were willing to give you your 'moment'. Honestly, we were just waiting for this 'thing' to pass, and for you to sell your running shoes and start wearing heels again.

You made it pretty clear to us that that was not going to happen. You know how we feel about that.

And now you've added swimming to your training schedule. You just had to hit that pool, didn't you? The running alone triggered us enough as it is, but you had to stretch that torture as far as you could.

The straw that breaks the camel's back...

So, consider this an intervention. We've had it! Things will have to change!

These are our demands:

- weekly pedicures;

- at least 2 rest days per week;

- every run will be followed by a foot rub;

- the same goes for every swim;

- every time a toenail tends to fall off, you'll contact your GP about this.

In case you did not give in to these demands by 1 AM next Friday, we will go on strike. How about that, Silly Girl?


How not to run the Swiss Alpine Marathon 2011

So, does anyone know where to buy 'How to avoid bad encounters with wild animals?'. Might come in handy, since I plan on spending more time on the trails. ;)

Did you ever 'run into' a wild animal on one of your runs?


The joy of Dutch Winter cuisine - Split pea soup with sausages

Let me introduce you to a precious gem from our high class Dutch Cuisine. Yep, I'm totally being sarcastic here. However, Dutch food might not be considered 'classy', but it is tasty and perfect for those chilly nights in winter!

Split pea soup with sausages
(serves 4)

What you'll need:

- 12 oz of split peas
- pork chops (10 oz)
- 3.5 of bacon
- +/- 2 tablespoons of salt
- ground black pepper
- bay leaf (about 1/2 a leaf (dried))
- 1 potato (diced)
- 3 carrots (sliced: chunky pieces)
- leek (one, large) - (sliced)
- 3 scallions (diced)
- 2 sausages (large)
How to prepare this little gem:
1. Wash the split peas. Drain the water from the peas by sieving through a screen. Bring the split peas, pork chops, bacon, salt and pepper, bay leaf, potato, carrots, leek and scallions to a boil with 0.5 gallon of water. Let this simmer for about 30 minutes. Stir regularly.
2. Add the sausages to the soup. Let this simmer again for about 10 minutes.

3. Remove the pork chops, sausages and bay leaf. Slice the pork chops and sausages and add to the soup again. Season the soup.

Serve the soup in 4 bowls with thick slices of bread. Enjoy!


Three Things Thursday

1. Amy (http://agiletoes.blogspot.com/) told me about these:

Check these babies out at www.dirtgirlgaiters.com!
I've been looking for gaiters for a while now. With all the trail running and my plan of running a 78K mountain/trail ultramarathon in 2011, I really needed a pair of those. And, yes, I did find several brands that produce trail running specific gaiters. But those are all black. Boring! Not to mention that the gaiters that I found on the internet were pretty pricey.

Imagine my excitement when Amy told me about these! One teeny tiny problem: there are so many great designs on that website! Impossible to pick just one!

2. Slight change of plans for 2011. I originally planned on running several marathons, aiming to PR on all of these and running several trail ultramarathons. Maybe a bit too ambitious. Especially with this bleeping calf strain.
Change of plans:
Swiss Alpine Marathon 78K race pic

I still plan on running all of these races. However, my main priority will be the Swiss Alpine Marathon 78K in July 2011. Every race that takes place in the first half of 2011 will be entered for training purposes only. PRing would be great, but not the main priority. Pfffiewwww. I feel much better just saying that. :)

I truly feel that my body will thank me for this. Not to mention that this approach to 2011's racing schedule will leave me more relaxed and less stressed out.

3. I'm following T's (http://racingwithbabes.blogspot.com/) example: I'm emptying out my closet. Every item that will not be worn in the next 6 months, as well as every item that I am not too crazy about, has to go. Part goes to charity and second hand, but I'm also willing to let everyone around me benefit. So, if you're a size 1 runningskirt and looking for a skirt, check out yesterday's post:


Update: both of the skirts are taken! Thanks! :)


Wednesday market - Runningskirts!

A couple of months ago I purchased these two running skirts from runningskirts.com.

I bought these two babies for a specific race. Me and my outfit were all set, and then the race was cancelled. I've never worn these skirts, and the color/design is just not something I would wear on a training run. Plus winter kicked in in Holland, which means that I won't be wearing any runningskirts until May 2011. And then there will be new designs out. ;)
Ergo, I'm willing to send these skirts to the girl that will wear them and is in love with the design. The skirts are the runningskirt-style (briefs) and a size 1 (wms 0-2). As long as you pay for the shipping costs (about $12 - $15), it's okay with me. Just consider this an early Christmas present...
PS: I'm willing to give them to some one that wants to wear it herself, and not sell it to some one else. That would take away the whole idea behind it. :)
Update: both are taken!


Oh no, you didn't!

It happened... The thing I swore would never happen. The thing I knew with absolute certainty (if there is such thing) would never happen. The thing that just would never happen. Period!
But it did...and within 9 months after me swearing I would never do it.

I registered for my first triathlon.

OK, pick your jaw up from the floor. I'm not kidding.

Some of you (Kevin @ http://halftriing.blogspot.com/) already saw this one coming. I didn't. Hit me by surprise.

So, what happened? Cycling is what I did for the commute to work, right? And swimming is what I would solely do to keep me from drowning? Or when recovering from an injury, and with the sole purpose to get back to running as soon as possible?

True, all true. But then I got seriously injured, and was forced to spend hours per week on the bicycle and in the pool to recover faster and not lose a lot of fitness in the meantime. Guess what, I actually liked it more than I could've thought when I started the cross training. The blisters on my butt caused by cycling in my running shorts (Big mistake. Big big mistake...) didn't cause a hatred towards cycling. And even drinking half the pool learning this bleeping freestyle stroke couldn't make me not love swimming.

And then - before I knew it - I registered for my first tri. The way my mind works...

So, there you have it. Silly Girl Triing. Just for once. In July 2011. And just to figure out whether or not I like triathlons. I'm not saying that I'm going to change the name of my blog. I love running too much to do that. And with these ultramarathons coming up next year, the triathlons will just be in my schedule for the 'fun!' element. For now. Somehow I wouldn't be surprised if I - in a couple of years from now - find myself registered for an Ironman... Again...the way my mind works...

Oh, and yes, ofcourse I also registered to meet the hot guys in Speedos. Duh...


So what, I'm still a rock star

Four weeks since the New York City Marathon. Four weeks since this bloody (Grade II) calf strain. One week of icing, limping around on crutches and resting the calf. Three weeks of lots and lots of cycling, swimming and physio therapy. No running. My sport injuries specialized MD made it pretty clear to me that running is off for at least 6-8 weeks after a calf strain. And the way my calf feels today, I shouldn't rush it. I lost strength in my left leg due to the calf strain, which leaves me with a limpy stride when I do try to run. I keep telling myself that I won't loose lots and lots of fitness as long as I keep cross training. I keep telling myself that I will battle this injury and come out of it a stronger and more determined runner. Fortunately I don't have any full marathon planned till mid April 2011.
Four weeks of total and utter crankiness.
I know the MD is right. I know my PT is right. I know getting back to running too soon will only make it more likely that I will get another calf strain in the near future. And cross training isn't that bad. I'm even developing some sort of puppy love for swimming. I don't even mind getting water in my ears or my nose anymore. I'm not the same girl I was this time a year ago.
But still...cranky. I want to run. Running is what I do. Running is what keeps me sane. Running is what makes me feel alive. Do I still qualify as a runner when all I do at the moment is cycle and swim? No matter how depressed I feel due to the not running, I feel the answer to that is: Heck, Yes!
So, for all the injured, cross training, runners out there, I'm quoting Pink:
So what, I'm still a rock star
I got my rock moves
And I don't need you ('you' being the injury, ofcourse...)
Did you ever have a running injury? If so, what is the longest period of time that such an injury kept you from running?


Three Things Thursday - Cold weather running essentials

1. The North Face Hybrid Windstopper Running tights. Windstopper: enough said.
Those are 'fitted tights', meaning, they have a somewhat 'loose fit', compared to 'normal' tights. I find this extremely comfy for the trail running I do in winter.

2. Salomon XA PRO 3D Ultra Goretex running shoes. Goretex + Contagrip running sole = instant love. By the way, this doesn't mean that I'll be neglecting my Inov-8 running shoes. :)

3. For the extremely chilly runs in low temps: Vaseline. It will keep your nose from freezing off. Promise! :)

What are your cold weather running essentials?


I'm so excited, and I just can't hide it!

Today I registered for this (registration opened today - that's how big of a nerd I am. Plus the registration fees are sort of cheap when you register early):

Swiss Alpine Marathon 2011 - July 30th 2011

To do a bit of this:

78K on mountain trails, baby! :)

The only thing between me and this race is 8 months of training. And a road trip to Switzerland.
Now, how do I train for a 78K ultramarathon with a 2230 meter / 7317 ft elevation? Uhm...I guess I have some figuring out to do. ;) Let's start with adding some miles to the long long runs. :)
And guess what, I couldn't be more excited. I actually got a bit teary eyed when I clicked on the 'Register' button. :) 'Cause this race is actually 'more than a race'! :) And now stop laughing at me! ;)
Do you want to join me? :) You can do so, or just check out the race on http://www.swissalpine.ch/.
If you'll excuse me now: I have some screaming and dancing to do. :)


Mushy Monday - Cold weather and Trail Running

This photo was taken in March of this year, while on winter vacation in the Swiss Alps. Oh boy, do I love to go out for a run on those trails!

Oh boy, I just started running then - bad bad running form!
Looking at this pic makes me actually want to book a plane ticket and head over to Switzerland to spend the weekend in those beautiful surroundings! On the other hand, it might be better to wait to do so till I can actually run again (!%!~^!^!^!@^ calf)! ;) :)
Cold weather running rocks!
I absolutely love running in cold temps. As long as I have my The North Face Windstopper tights and my Mammut softshell on, I'm fine and good to go. :) I would honestly pick snowy cold weather running over hot summer running.Just looking at snow makes me smile! :)
Last winter was pretty freezing in Holland, so I'm prepping myself for the colder temps. I already have the Inov-8 Terroc 308 trail running shoes for running on snowy and slippery trails. Since those have a mesh upper, and might result in me having frozen toes, I'm looking into the Salomon GoreTex trail running shoes. I still have to do some research on those, and check out where I could try them on, but they sure do look promising!
Ahhh, I can't wait till my PT tells me that's it's okay to head out for (at least) a slow jog! :)
Do you love cold weather running? If so, how do you layer up and what's your pick in shoes?


Reggae, Man!

Cycle: 60 min on Saturday
Cycle: 60 min on Sunday
Today is one of those days. It's snowing outside, and when I woke up this morning I felt like putting on my vintage Reebok high tops, wearing a hoodie and boyfriend jeans, chilling out in front of the TV, and listening to Reggae. Jewish Reggae to be precise. Not that I don't like Bob Marley, but this guy, Matisyahu, knows how to hold a beat. ;)


SGR says: this is just a serious case of Vagina Envy

Yep, that's right. Vagina Envy. More specific: Running Skirt envy. Big time!
You won't believe what those silly guys have come up with this time. Seriously, you won't!
Running Kilts!
Again, I'm not kidding! Don't believe me? Check out www.runningkilts.com and the photo below:

Actually I, for one, think this is hilarious. I was laughing out loud while I was browsing their website. They even have a 'Free pattern and sewing instructions' section on their website. Too freakin' funny! The same goes for the 'Testimonials' section!

Well, I guess with all the years of us girls wearing running shorts (and 'stealing' those from the guys), we sort of had this coming. ;) And now I just can't wait till I spot a guy in a running kilt. :)

Do you think that the Running Kilt will ever be the running gear of the moment? And, if you're a guy, would you try one?


Counting my blessings - The 'Giving Thanks' post

Bicycle: kicked it into gear for 60 min - 20 min strength training
We don't do Thanksgiving in the Netherlands. Why? It might have to do with the fact that we didn't have the whole Indians / Pelgrims thingie. ;)

But I do think that it's important to count your blessings. And by picking Thanksgiving to do so, I'll be reminded of my blessings at least once a year. And that's just what this girl needs to keep herself from becoming a Negative Nancy or Debbie Downer.

Don't mock me, I'll mock myself...

In case you didn't already notice. I'm the girl that doesn't take herself too seriously. I have this non-lady like, black, sarcastic sense of humor. Add a welcome dose of self-mockery and a looong ponytail, and there you have it: crazy old Me! However, being the sarcastic muppet that I am, does make me sometimes forget that I have a lot to be grateful for. And believe me, there's a lot I'm grateful for!

1. For starters, my Mom. If it wasn't for her, I wouldn't be able to spend as much time running as I do. Not only does she cheer me on like I'm Haile himself, but she puts up with me whining endlessly about injuries. Plus all the pre marathon talk... Yeah, she's pretty much SuperMom to me.

2. My dog and two cats. I love them to pieces. Apart from the office, my dog comes with me where ever I go. I can't even put down in words how much he means to me, and how much I love that crazy poodle.
3. The pile of bricks I call my home. It's old, it's got character, and it's mine. Plus, it has beams, a Tord Boontje lamp and a chandelier. That doesn't suck either.
4. The gift of running. You knew this one was coming. 11 months into running, and it has given me things I couldn't have imagined to be possible.
5. Curry, and more specific: shrimp and crab curry.
6. Public transportation not being overcrowded and being on-time.
7. Hot Chocolate - with mini marshmallows.
8. Compression tights.
9. Waking up on a Sunday morning, opening the curtains, and the first thing I see is fresh snow and a bright blue sky.
10. Winter running weather.
11. Having my annual check-up and my MD telling me that I'm healthy and fit.
12. Good friends, that will even put up with my marathon training cycle OCDs.
13. Fitting into my skinny jeans. During the holiday season.
14. Telemark skiing.
15. A Christmas Dinner without a dress code. Hello, sweat pants!
16. A running buddy that sticks with me, even when I'm recovering from an injury.
17. Service dogs and the volunteers training them. Without her service dog, my Mom wouldn't be able to be as active as she is.
18. Books, and being able to read. Shouldn't take that for granted.
19. The Swiss Alps and mountains in general.
20. Frasier re-runs on Comedy Central. Yeah, I'm a nerd, I know. Get over it.
21. My current relationship status: single. Doesn't suck. Doesn't suck at all. :) I kind of love having the entire bed for me, myself and I (okay...my dog has taken over 75% of it, but you get the point). :)
What are you grateful for?


2XU Elite Compression Tights review

Bicycle: 45 min - kicked it into gear Slow jog: 5 min (yeah, didn't work out as I hoped it would)

Can you say 'love at first sight'? Actually it's more like 'love at first work-out', but you get the point.

When I was in New York for the New York City Marathon, I did some (okay, a lot) of shopping. Mainly running gear. At Paragon Sports I bought the 2XU Elite Compression Tights, because I had my hopes set on these tights helping me recover from The Calf injury. Also, they might help prevent other injuries.
This is a running blog, and the few followers (apparently not only my Mom reads it...Yay!) that I have, are also runners. So, I guess I don't have to ramble along about the benefits of compression tights/socks/etcetera, do I? ;)
Love them!
Since I'm still sidelined from running, I've been wearing these babies on my visits to the gym bicycle. And they did not disappoint me! Compression on all the right places, and the fabric is so soft! Compared to other compression tights, these 2XU tights have higher denier on the tights, and that results in more support. My calf loves these tights!
2XU promises improved performance with these tights.That I don't know about. I haven't run in them yet, but on the bicycle I didn't feel like I could go further, faster. The main benefit of these tights, at least in my humble opinion, is in the reduced recovery time. And in my book reduced recovery time = A-OK! But for 'A-OK' you'll have to pay $140... Yep...Ouch.
Check out their website for additional info: www.2xu.com.
And, yes, 2XU should send me a free pair, and a giveaway pair, for doing this review. In case a 2XU rep is reading this, I already love your tights, and I'm more than willing to write an awesome review on them. ;)

This is how they look on me. I wear the Small, since I'm 5'9, and the X-small would be too short for my Dutch legs.


The ghost of races yet to come: Vol. 2 - New York, Chicago or Toronto

Lesson learned: 6 hours of cycling a week + no cycling specific shorts = blisters where you don't want them. Add 2 hours of swimming, and the chloride that comes with that...Ouchie ouch ouch! Enough said.
This injury won't make me love running any less. So, I'm planning next year's races. Fun stuff! And I'm having a hard time deciding what my international fall marathon for 2011 will be. And registration opens soon, and I'm aiming for the 'cheapest' registration fees! So, I need to make up my mind. To help me do that, I'm starting a poll here!
What I've come up with:
1. New York City Marathon (I have some things to settle with this beast...)
2. Chicago Marathon
3. Scotiabank Waterfront Toronto Marathon
Please tell me which one you'd pick! And if you have any other great options, please do share!


It ain't gonna look pretty...

Due to the calf injury I'm stuck with cycling and swimming for the time being. And yep, the PT said I can't pick the one I prefer (cycling - obviously), I'll have to stick to both. So, I'm spending the hours I used to spend on the road (on 'in between training cycle weeks' or 'slow weeks'), on a bicycle or in the water now. 6 fun hours of cross training a week...and 2 hours of strength training to get those muscles going.
I'm okay with the bicycle. I'm Dutch. I was practically born on a bicycle. Cycling on one of those bikes at the gym, working it out at 100 rpm, and reading a book / watching TV while I'm doing that, is perfectly fine with me. No biggie there.

But this girl does not like to swim! Never has. Don't get me wrong. I can swim. But in my opinion, swimming is something you do to keep yourself from drowning, not something you do for fun. Honestly, I don't even like going down one of those slides at the pool. Getting water into my ears...Yeugh (okay...in my defense, I did have serious medical ear problems when I was little, and to this very day getting water into my ears still hurts).
Well, to make a long story short and not to bore the heck out of you, I decided to put on my big girls pants and just get into that pool - last Wednesday. And although I suck at the cool crawling thing you see at triathlons (I'm taking swimming lessons to learn to get the speed in for the next couple of weeks - apparently my crawling would suit an 8 year-old...thanks swim instructor...), it wasn't that bad. At all! Only down point...I was wearing a two-piece (I don't own a bathing suit), and let's just say that that wasn't the best of ideas.
So, since I'm dedicated to come out of this torn calf injury thing stronger than I could have imagined before, I will hit the shops for this beauty:

Yep, it's a Speedo...gross! And I will look like a hippo in it...gross!
And one of those (the water/ear thing will continue to be an issue):
I know...old-fashioned. This girl likes her gear 'retro' - get over it.

Plus one of these (chloride and contacts - not the best combo...):
Yep, that's how dedicated I am: I'd even wear a Speedo! ;) Anyone up for pictures? ;)
Did you ever have to stick to swimming/cycling due to an injury? If so, did you bounce back stronger than you could've imagined?


The ghost of races yet to come - The 'Swiss Alpine Marathon 2011' post

What does this girl do when she's sidelined from running for a while due to a calf injury? Plan future races! Is there anything else that I could do? ;) (And yes, I know I'm cheating on Three Things Thursday... ;))
And I hope to have this precious gem in my future: the Swiss Alpine Marathon 2011 (July 30th 2011) in Davos, Switzerland. I ran the K42 marathon distance last summer and instantly fell in love with this race. When I read that registration for 2011 opens by the end of November, I started counting the days!
Fingers crossed that my body is up to it, but I plan on running the 78K ultramarathon distance on July 30th 2011. The course and crowds are amazing, and it's really something that I look forward to! Excited yet? Watch this inspirational video, and I'm pretty sure you'll be counting down the days till registration opens with me! Also, check out their website: http://www.swissalpine.ch/.

The Race
The Swiss Alpine Marathon race weekend has different distances to offer. Therefore, literally every runner and non-runner can join in the fun!
The 'big races' are held on Sunday, but there are several kids specific races on Saturday. I cheered the kids on this year and had a great time!
Summarized the Swiss Alpine Marathon offers the following distances on 'Race Sunday':
- 11.3K (elevation of 150 meters)
- 21.1K Nordic walking / Walk (elevation of 680 meters)
- 21.1K (elevation of 680 meters) - this one is specifically for runners
- 30.7K (elevation of 320 meters)
- C42.2K (elevation of 450 meters)
- K42.2K (elevation of 1890 meters) - this is the one that I ran last summer
- 78.5K (elevation of 2260 meters)
The K42 and 78K take you mainly through mountain terrain, which means that you will be running/walking (at some points the elevation is just a bit too much to handle) on mountain trails. You might need trail running shoes for this one!
The town of Davos
The days before the Swiss Alpine Marathon weekend the town of Davos (Switzerland) fills up with runners. The atmosphere is amazing, and you can truly feel this 'running buzz' buzzing around town.
It's a lovely town in the Swiss Alps. Wonderful fresh and clean air. Lots and lots of hiking opportunities. A lake to swim/sail/surf at. Too many restaurants to mention. Great swiss, high quality food. It's a modern and quite big town, so, you'll find tons of shops and all the big brands. You can definitely tell that Davos is one of the famous Swiss ski resorts.
I love Davos, and love visiting the town. The Swiss Alpine Marathon is a great excuse to visit the town in summer!
Who is joining me in the 2011 Swiss Alpine Marathon?