January update

January seems to have passed without any epic stories (which sometimes is a good thing…). No races, just consistent training… and training… and training… It seems that the open-water season is finally over (although most swimmers would have said that a few months ago…) The first outdoor-swim of the year was a short one, and even with the full winter-kit on (gloves, booties) I didn’t stop shaking for quite a while… Turns out that 6 degree water does not make for a nice and relaxing swim… But I have to say: I do like those short, cold sessions! Unfortunately winter has started, and when there’s people ice-skating on the lakes where I usually swim, I know that it’s a good excuse to go to a nice and warm pool…

Continue reading “January update”

December update

Early December I’m at the start-line of a small-scale crosscountry run. It’s only 9,5km, and I know it’s going to hurt… When the gun goes of I realise that the last race I did lasted nearly 36 hours, so how hard could this one be?

Well… Let’s say that on this multilap-course I went through all the stages that I went through during The Double Brutal; the first laps were fine, during the final laps I only wanted to sit down, sleep, vomit and cry (in no particular order…). But all I could do was keep on running, and at the finish-line I knew it: short distance racing is really hard!

Continue reading “December update”

Scary moments…

What’s the scariest moment in the whole process of racing long distances? Is it when you realise that it’s only one week until the start of a race? Picking up the race number? Or when you enter the cold water of a 10km swim, and you know that now there’s really no turning back? Or is it months before that; when you fill out a registration-form, and then finally have the guts to press that final ‘enter’ button?

I remember those key moments: signing up for my first half ironman, my first marathon, and my first longdistance triathlon. At the first two I was pretty stressed, but really excited that I registered, at Challenge Roth I was mainly surprised that I got in (Roth sells out in record time, so it’s about typing fast, and being very lucky…).

Last year I signed up for The Double Brutal Extreme Triathlon (read my full race-report here) and although I already decided to do that race months before I registered, this was still a big moment… Sitting at home with my laptop, I had just committed to something that was seriously big… This was going to consume my life for the next months, and even then; I would still not know if I would even make it to the finish-line (I didn’t even know if I would make it to the start… Since it was going to be a hard year of training, so you never know how the body and mind respond to that!). Since I already knew for a while that I would do this race, you would think filling out the paperwork is just a formality. Not so… Now it was official, so this was one of those HUGE moments in preparation… And signing up for The Double Brutal was definitely one of the scariest things I’ve done in my life… Not much would ever top that!

Well… I’ve just done something far worse…

Triple Brutal registration is completed… See you in September…

the Double Brutal Extreme Triathlon – race report

Normally, a story about an extremely hard race ends with thanking the Support Crew involved. Unfortunately, most people skip those last lines of a race report, so this time, let’s start with The Crew… Let’s just say I could never, ever, ever have finished without the most awesome team I can imagine; both in Wales (Eline, Ido, Maike, Robert and Stijn) and back home (too many names to mention, but all those involved in my year of hard work, you all know who you are!). Seriously; racing an extreme race is a team sport, and although I’m the one who crossed the finish-line, in the end, it’s a huge team that made it to the finish!

So, back to the beginning… Although I might mention The Team again somewhere later…

Continue reading “the Double Brutal Extreme Triathlon – race report”

August update

Early August the big pre-race panic (or should I say ‘PANIC!!!!’) started to get to me… Although I am physically in great shape, the mind starts to play tricks on me. Self-doubt is a problem for me before every big race, but for a double, that feeling triples (or quadruples)… So, after a short search into the psyche of someone who thinks a double is a good idea (which should all-ready be reason enough to doubt ones sanity), the result is that I book a plane to Wales, and enter the Big Brutal Swim… Last year I did the 10km swim, and ran the ‘easy lap around the lake’ (I just keep calling it ‘easy’, let’s hope that helps with the pre-race-nerves…) and partially up Snowdon. I didn’t get a chance to ride the bike-course though, and that part of the unknown causes most of my current stress… Continue reading “August update”

July update

long cycling…

It’s 9AM, and I’m only 500meters from my house. When I check my Garmin I smile, I’ve never cycled as much on a single day as I did today… When I realise there’s still 200km to go my smile gets bigger… This plan (both the training-session of today, and the Double Brutal) is insane… But definitely the good kind of insane!

I take part in ‘The Tour of 12’, a cycletour through all the 12 Dutch provinces. There’s a 2 and a 3 day event, but there’s about 30 crazy cyclists who plan to ride the Tour in one day… At one second past midnight we start riding for a 400+ km adventure… The group breaks into small parts, and after the first 15km I’m riding alone. Nicely following the gps-route, until I get the feeling that my gps is sending me the wrong way… That’s not really a good way to start the day! Continue reading “July update”

June update

night riding…

I smile when I exit my street. It’s 2.30AM, and I just decided to add a small extra lap to my bike-training, just to make sure I reach the seven hours that were planned for today (well, for tonight, since it’s been about riding in the dark and dealing with tiredness on the bike…). The legs feel better than they ever felt after a long ride, and mentally I feel strong; I just did a hard and long session, mostly in the dark; it was one of those moments when you realise what you’re training for…

Finally, after 220 kilometers, I get home. Happy, and knowing I’ve got the same session planned two days later, I try and get some sleep, hoping that I can forget that tomorrow morning there is a hard interval running set planned… (sometimes I think that my Coach must really hate me…). Continue reading “June update”

May update

Just a short blog update, there’s been plenty of miles of swimming, cycling and running, but most of those miles have been quite boring… Well, from a blogging-point-of-view anyway, the actual miles weren’t boring at all, I really enjoyed most of those, but no-one would be interested in every inch of road that my bike rides… With race-season well under way, I hope all of you are doing well, in training and racing!

training, training, training and more training…

There comes a point during a hard interval that you just háve to check the watch, and see if you’re almost done. I’m on my bike, and I feel as if I’m about to pass out. Surely, I must be 90% done with this set? I check the watch, only 30 seconds remain. I feel lightheaded, but I make it through… Continue reading “May update”

April update

a perfect day on the bike…

Halfway through a 150km bikeride I start to really enjoy myself… Riding over a perfectly flat course, knowing that the next corner is over 25 kilometers away, I start to get into a steady rhythm. Then I see my current speed on my garmin. Oh crap… 56km/hour, and I’m going easy… That could mean that either I’m in the best shape of my life (might be true, but even then this situation would be unlikely), or that the way back home is going to hurt, and hurt a lot… Let’s just say that, with no real mountains in my regular training routes, the Dutch way to train for The Brutal is to use the wind… The final hours of that ride were perfect wind-training hours, and yes, they did hurt a lot…

Trail-run-triple… Continue reading “April update”

March update

The bike rides are getting longer (but still easily manageable), swim is about consistency, and just like last month, March has been all about running. Running long, running longer, and running even longer than that…

And although it’s been all about the run, I was happy to do my first 5km of the year (in a nice and warm pool), and did find the (mental) strength to go back into the cold open water for a short kilometer… The open water session would be a nice test for my full-winterproof brutal swim-kit: wetsuit, extra vest, gloves, booties. Unfortunately, I left the booties at home, so the feet were hurting once they touched the 10˚C water… First swim with gloves on was pretty nice, so I’m probably using those for the swim!  Continue reading “March update”