What's going on - what's going on - dumdiedum

So, what's been going on?

I am still running. Training. Running bug is still very much there. ;) Don't you worry about that. Ha!

Current plans: I hope to do the Goofy's Challenge at the Walt Disney Marathon this January. And the Brocken Challenge in February (a 50-miler / 80K). And the Eco-trail de Paris (50-miler / 80K) in March. I really hope to hop on a plane to Boston in April...to run the Boston Marathon. :) So, those are the planned races all through April. And I have already planned some races after that. I can't help myself. ;)

Apart from that, I'm still busy being self-employed. :) 


Physically, it pretty much sucks at the moment. TMI ALERT! In my last post I wrote about stopping birth control pills (detox to the max, hun!). Still very much sucky. The whole waiting for your cycle to find its way thing is no fun. I used to be clockwork regular before starting BCP, so that's what you're hoping for. And now it's just waiting till 'ya know what' comes. Frustrating. Especially when you read all these stories about it taking 6 months to a year on average. And 29 days into my cycle (I used to have a 28-day clockwork cycle) my tummy is bloated. Not charming. Not fun. Very uncomfortable. And no signs (cramps, headache, etcetera) of 'ya know what'. Doesn't help my running - the elastic band on running tights hurts. Blah! So, we could state I'm still freaking out. My current obsession: I've had numerous x rays and ct scans, and even an IVP, diagnosing the gazillion kidney stones I had in my early twenties. Ergo, I'm now worried like crazy that these messed up my cycle. Again, this bloated tummy does not help my running. 


On a completely different note: I have discovered the most delicious vegetarian sausage rolls out there. Check out Fry's Vegetarian. :)


I quit... Birth Control Pills that is.

I quit.

Birth control pills that is.

For the non-female readers - you might want to skip this one. Actually, guys, I strongly advise you to skip this one. I might lose all my non-female readers over this. Uh-huh.

A little while ago I gave up caffein. Not completely, though. I do allow myself to have caffein on race days. Result: on these days I go all out on Coca Cola - ergo, I hardly sleep the night after. Nutso. ;) The difference that the caffein detox made, is pretty remarkable. I have not regretted it since. 

And since I had jumped onto the detox wagon with the whole caffein thing, I figured, why not get rid of these hormones I've been taking: i.e. birth control pills (there are other ways, you know). I'd been taking these babies for 12 years now (got on BCP just a few months before I turned 18 - and was clockwork regular). Got on BCP for obvious reasons: heavy bleeding and cramps when I was having my period (too much info, I know), and well...birth control. Plus, every single one of my friends was on BCP. So, there really was no harm in taking BCP, right?

Well, I could not have been more wrong. I've stayed on BCP ever since. Even when I wasn't in a relationship. You could say I continued taking them out of pure laziness - a bit like a bad habit. Now I can only say I wish I would have stopped taking BCP earlier. 

I took my last BCP on October 28th, had the start of my withdrawal bleed on November 1st (too much info again, I know - get over it), and after that my body was forced to start 'working' without the monthly hormone shot. Not fun. Not fun at all. Last week I suffered from nasty headaches. A bit like tension headaches. Add this charming acne outburst on my chin and all sorts of non-fun activity in my tummy to that (ouch - seriously, ouch!), and I am proud to introduce you to 'BCP suck fest 2012'. 

Getting off birth control pills

According to my GP my body is - as would be the case with every girl quitting BCP - hormonally imbalanced as a result of quitting BCP (oh, perfect). Apparently it can take 3-6 months, even up till a year, for things to get back to normal (as in similar to before I started taking BCP) again. And that's 'on average'. Are you effing kidding me? There seem to be pills that will kick start the whole thing when it's not working properly, but still.

My GP explained to me, that my body needs to ease into working the hormones all by itself. Ovulating seems to be 'a thing', since BCP has prevented my body from ovulating in the last couple of years. Ergo, my body has to figure out how to ovulate again. And how to work these LH and FSH hormone thingies. Plus, the whole monthly cycle and getting your period side of things. It needs to figure that out again, too. My GP advised me to carry around tampons 24/7. Again, perfect! Another advise: get yourself a pack of ovulation tests to check whether or not the LH-levels in your urine are fluctuating. Hello, embarrassing moment at the check out counter.

For those of you that have been reading this blog for a while now, you can probably figure out how I've been feeling about this whole ordeal. Yep, correct. I am freaking out. What the ef is going to happen. Will everything work? How long will it take? What if it doesn't? Oh yeah, you betcha I have Googled this thing for hours and hours. Insert: total freak out mode.

Birth control pills and running

As for BCP and running - you'll get a zillion hits on Google on this one. Livestrong.com gives a pretty 'main stream' opinion on it:

The effects of birth control pills on running are varied. Some athletes have reported reduced muscle endurance, while others cited a lower rate of injury. Some studies have even discovered increased protection from bone loss as a result of taking oral contraceptives. Runners who prefer to reduce menstrual flow during competitive running can see their cycles decline to four per year, according to Dr. Cathy Fieseler.

Source: http://www.livestrong.com/article/321839-running-birth-control-pills/#ixzz2CCMSgv9g

Running and your monthly cycle

Which brings me to this. We all know the (possible) effects of long distance running and a 50 miles + / week training regime on a female body. Even though my BMI (19) and my fat percentage (19-20%) are within the healthy range, I'm still worried about this one. Freak. Out. Mode.

Needless to say, I would never have started taking BCP if I'd known about this side of things.

What are your thoughts? Are you on BCP? If you where and quit taking them: what's your story?


Amsterdam Marathon Recap

Long overdue. I know. Mea culpa. Mea maxima culpa. I've been slightly preoccupied with other things. Enough said. ;)

As for the Amsterdam Marathon... Here we go.

Date: October 21st 2012
Where?: Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Goal #1: training run - just a fun sub-4 was what I was aiming for.
Goal #2: trick running buddy John into thinking I wanted to PR and I needed his help to do so - that way he would finish this thing. And John finishing this baby was the main goal of the day. (seriously - 3 weeks after my BQ at the Berlin Marathon, I was not going to try to PR again. Pretty hilarious that John bought the whole 'PR' story.)
Outfit: a pretty adorable Nuu Muu dress. Yeah, I can brag about this one. ;)

Let me just lead you through this year's Amsterdam Marathon photo by photo. Sounds like a plan, huh? (photo courtesy: Ans de Boer and Bjorn Paree)

The Start

The 9:30 AM start is pretty cool, since it's in the Olympic stadium. Pretty cool. John was in the corral located behind the corral I was in, so we kind of sneaked him into my corral. Yeah, that's me - living on the edge, baby.

Very crowded start. Narrow course to start of with. Enough said.

Needless to say we elbowed our way through the first 10K. And headed out too fast. Yeah, baby. I like me some positive 'I sure did mess around' splits.

Half Marathon point

Just before the half marathon point John's wife Ans, my mom and a friend of hers were waiting for us. With fluids and energy gel. All part of the play to trick John into crossing the finish line, instead of DNF-ing at the 30K mark. 

The course was less crowded at this point - holding an okay-ish pace. We hit the half way point at a relaxed 1:53-ish. 

25K in

Hello Bjorn! The only guy that is able to take 'non-embarrassing' race photos of moi. And boy, did I try to mess these up.

Definitely my favorite photos of the day. Marathon-photos.com - I didn't even include your overpriced crappy pics in this race report. :)


Ran into a couple of older guys talking about qualifying for Boston. With the post-BQ jitters still in place, I hopped right in. Fun talking to them - even more fun seeing them meet their goal. However, at this point John was no longer talking to me. He was suspiciously silent. At that point I realized the whole '30K point is getting closer' thing was what was going on. In the last couple of marathons (in which marathons he was on BQ-course) he had to drop out at the 30K point (cramp, tummy issues (which were caused by a parasite - yeugh!)). 


A sigh of relief next to me. We had crossed the 30K mark. Good bye 30K demons. John was going to finish this baby.


Jasper was waiting for us with more fluids and energy gel. We took some time here to readjust John's compression sleeve (quad) and have some Coca Cola. 


I'm a pescatarian. However, I do cheat once in a while. This happened to be the case 2 days prior to this marathon. I know I should not have red meat before a long run - it messes up my tummy. Big time. As in 'I need to throw up, but I'm trying to hold it back' messing up. Ouch. Not fun. 


The Vondel Park part was fun - the part where John has a cramped up leg wasn't. A short stretching session seems to fix the problem. Meanwhile, I'm still regretting the whole 'red meat' thing. Will I ever learn?


Mom, Els and Ans are waiting for us. Right before entering the Olympic stadium to finish.

The finish

There we were. Nearing the finish line. John was going to finish this baby and had showed those DNF demons who is boss. A short sprint and...done. 

3:49:27. For a fun run, I'll take it. Plus, we had fun out there. And didn't kick each other into the Amstel River. That's a plus.

Ans caught us after the finish. In our ubercharming blankets. 

This photo pretty much sums up the day. My absolute favorite pic of this race.