Thursday, November 01, 2007


I did it!

Okay, it's taken me nearly two weeks to get round to writing about it, but I'm happy to be able to say that I have now completed my first marathon!

It was a fantastic experience, and I enjoyed it so much that I'm even starting to think about which one I want run next.

The picture was taken just after I finished.
The guy in the background looks pretty excited, but I just look knackered!

The best bits:

Crossing the finish line with a cheesy grin on my face

Telling everyone about it at work the next day and re-living the whole thing

Feeling totally fit and invincible (about two-thirds through the training)

Being part of a little 'Sunday running team'

Being amazed at what my body can do / put up with!

Spotting people I knew in the crowd just when I needed a bit of a lift

Hearing my name called out on by the commentator as I came in to the finish

Getting to run into the Olympic Stadium

Treating myself to new running gear as a treat afterwards

Managing to raise money for the Marie Curie Cancer Fund

Surviving the whole thing with no significant injury

The worst bits:

Discovering whole new levels of leg pain after around 30km!

Having to have a cold bath after the race

Being so sore for a couple of days afterwards that I swore every time I stepped off a curb

The lack of supporters along the way for most of the route - very few people in Amsterdam seem to care much about the Marathon

Feeling like I'd been hit by a car after having 'a bad run day'

Worrying that every little ache or pain will put me out of the race (last third of the training)

Gavin (my training buddy) having to drop out through injury

Having to wake up on a Sunday morning and go out training for 3 hours instead of lying in

Spending a fortune on massage, physio and chiropractor bills.

Now I have to find another goal to motivate me, before I become too used to sitting on my sofa eating M and M's. It's nearly time for the start of the snowboard season.... time to get some different muscles in shape.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

On the mend

Okay, I'll stop moaning now. I've been to the chiropractor who re-arranged practically every bone in my body, invested in an hour's massage and a days rest and hopefully that will do the trick.

I've just been re-reading the story of Cliff Young, which puts all my whinging into perspective... if you've not heard of this guy before, you must read his story.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

A bad week for running

I ran this morning for 2 hours... just a slow pace, around 18km... and it was terrible. Now I feel like I've been hit by a truck. Both knees are killing me, my back is locked up and I'm exhausted. Please, please, please don't let this happen on Marathon Day. I had a rotten cold for a few days during the week but I thought that I was fully recovered. Let's just hope this is just a bad day and not a warning for the race. Something is telling me I should rest up for a while, because what we did today was less than half the distance I need to run in two weeks time. Aaarrgggghhhh....

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Three and a Half Hours Done, Another Hour (???) To Go....

I know I run the risk of becoming a bit of a running bore, but bear with me for another three weeks until the Marathon obsession phase ends. In the meantime I'm going to keep writing about it. It's hard not to, as I seem to be spending more and more hours every week getting ready for the 21st October.

This week I made a couple of personal breakthroughs... firstly on Wednesday by running 5km faster than I've ever done before during a morning training session in the Westerpark and then today in the Amsterdamse Bos by running the furthest(and longest) that I have ever managed before. It's so rewarding to realise that all the hard work is showing itself, especially as my new i-pod chip has a great little gimmick that means that either Paula Radcliffe or Lans Armstrong congratulate you direct into your ears when you do so! I realised today that the movement sensor is callibrated all wrong, so the graphs below aren't 100% accurate, but at least it gives me some idea of what I've been doing:

I was completely wiped out after the run today. It was pretty cold and poured with rain, so by the time we got to the end point I had pools of water in my shoes, was covered in mud and was fantasising about large slices of cake and warm baths. Luckily Elise 'guardian angel of runners' Samperez collected us and walked our little limping group to her place for hot showers and big servings of homemade lasagne. Never before has lasagne been so appreciated (or disappeared so quickly). The picture below (thanks to Jakob and his high-tech Sat Nav toy) shows the funny tangled-up route that we ran. I'm glad that the good people at Phanos were navigating and not me!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Dam tot Dam Race 2007

After all the hard work and preparation that leads up to the Dam tot Dam race (an annual 1o mile/16km road race between Amsterdam and Zaandam), I'm happy to say that it was a really successful day yesterday. The sun shone, the skies were blue, everyone was going around with big smiles on their faces, and no one collapsed of heat exhaustion. Phew. Every year the task of organising the work team gets bigger, with more and more runners getting the bug. This year I had 100 runners and 15 crew to look after, both at the start line and at the post-race hospitality in Zaandam. Here I am with Elise and Elisa, just before we left for the start line. Cheesy grins all round.

I ran a tough race this time, and my lungs were fit to burst by the time I reached the finish line, but I did what I set out to do, which was to (finally, after 4 years of trying) break the 1 hr 30 barrier.... and I did it by the skin of my teeth (1hr, 29mins, 44 seconds!). That's around 4 mins faster than last year.

The rest of the team seemed happy with their results too, but even happier once they got their post-race massage and a couple of cans of cold beer!

Lots of photos of the day online here. Also funny videos of me looking knackered at various points during the race here.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

28km down, 14km to go....

As the Amsterdam marathon looms nearer (just five weeks to go now) the training runs are getting longer and longer. I'm now in the habit of getting up early on Sunday mornings to slog it out around various routes for an increasing amount of hours. I can't walk down stairs without saying 'ow, ow, ow' out loud every Monday morning, but it feels great to be breaking a personal record every week, and still to be standing after three hours on the road! I guess that running is good for the soul, if not for the knees.

I run with a little training team of colleagues (Gavin, Elisa and Jakob) which is really motivating and makes those Sunday runs much more enjoyable. We've been getting creative with our routes and finding places in and around Amsterdam we've never been to before. Today the team were treated to 'Lucy's Four Park Special', all planned in advance on Google Earth (what DID we do before the internet?) involving loops of Westerpark, Vondelpark, Rembrantpark and Erasmus Park. The graph above is due to my new shoe chip, that connects with my i-pod, allowing me to upload the data from each run to a website which tracks my progress. It's all very 21st century... all I need now is bionic knees and there'll be nothing stopping me.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Pimp my bike

I got to Centraal Station on Thursday night after work and went to collect my bike, which I'd left locked in its usual spot (amongst the other billion bikes) and realised that someone had nicked the front wheel. There is nothing unusual about this, as it's a well-known fact that the junkies help themselves to bikes (or parts of bikes) on a daily basis round there to sell on the street. However, I was really annoyed because I had to drag it home 2 miles or so. Dragging a one-wheeled bike is not an experience I would recommend. Not only was it extremely heavy, but the world and its dog seemed to think it was okay to comment/laugh/inform me that I'd lost something/offer to nick a wheel off someone else's bike on my behalf, etc, etc.

Instead I carried on dragging until I finally reached my local bike repair store, where it remained locked to a lamppost until the next morning (when I could get a second hand wheel fitted). They only had one wheel available, so now I have a black bike with a white tyre, which looks a bit strange. This just added to the fact that my poor old oma fiets (grandmother bike) really has seen better days. I bought it from new around 3 years ago - it looked so sweet and shiny with a giant silk sunflower tied to the handlebars. Now it's covered in rust, someone nicked the sunflower, the dynamo lights stopped working, I lost the mudguard and bent my pedal. Despite all this I'm stupidly attached to the thing, and have been known to pat it on the saddle every now and again as if it were a dog. I'm just happy that the junkies took the wheel and left me the bike... it's usually the other way round.