May update…

It’s a weekend filled with good company, camping, talking about past and future adventures, and three days with three races… The campsite is packed with teammates, some who run one day, some two and I run for three days (well, that shouldn’t be a surprise…)
The first day is easy, it’s a small scale night-trail of about 17km, and it’s all about going slow and conserving energy. On day two I run 32km, and it’s getting hot… So things start to hurt a bit, but I’m still having fun! On day three there’s only a marathon to go, with quite some elevation on the course… Luckily my friend Jeroen, who has some fresh legs since he hasn’t been running the previous days, decides to stay with me, and we’re off for a nice long run. A beautiful but hard course follows, and my legs are trying to tell me that it’s been a long weekend… Jeroen speeds away from me at every climb, and I tell him that if he wants, he should run his own race, but he decides to stay with me. Until at a certain point I reach the top of the hill and he’s gone… So now I’m on my own, and I’m fighting my way through the race, hoping to see the final aidstation after every climb… When I finally reach the aidstation Jeroen is there waiting for me, telling me: ‘let’s go, I’ve been waiting forever…’. Continue reading “May update…”

April update – ‘Oner’ race report

My April update is a long one, and 95% of the post is a blog about a race that I (spoiler alert!) didn’t even finish… Well, it’s still a story worth sharing!

The Oner 2017

When a race is advertised with the line:

this is a serious tough event with only 50% of the runners normally making it to the finish line’

you know you’re in trouble… The Brutalevents ‘Oner’ had been on my list for a while, and this year it seemed to fit in perfectly; a nice, long, hard and hilly run in preparation for The Triple in September… So I signed up, did my training, packed my bags and headed over to the UK (sounds easy, right?).

When signing up for The Oner ultralegend James Page immediately invited me to stay with him and his family for a few days. So I spend most of Friday afternoon talking about various ultra-adventures, watching a rugby match (not that I really understood what was happening on that field…), and just relaxing, and enjoying the company. Friday-night Martyn joined us, he would be marshalling with James during the Oner, so they were also in for a long weekend… More stories about big adventures followed, and I think I was the quietest at the table, just trying not to think too much about the day(s) ahead… Continue reading “April update – ‘Oner’ race report”

March update

It’s late March, on a Monday night, when I try to walk into the physiotherapists office. The conversation might seem strange to a non-ultra-athlete:

me: ‘I ran 76km yesterday, and now everything hurts…’

PT: ‘that’s perfectly normal… Let’s try and patch you up again…’

With The Oner coming up in April, March has been all about running long. Just like the previous months there has been some swimming (mostly in the pool, some out in the still pretty cold open water), bike-sessions are getting longer (6 hour recovery rides now feel like relaxed training-days), but most of the time has been spend running… Continue reading “March update”

February update

Just as last month; the last weeks have been all about running… There’s some cycling and swimming as well, but those are not the long training-sessions (well, not yet anyway…).

So running it is… Short interval sessions, long runs, even longer runs, on the road, on the trail, it just goes on and on and on… The body is feeling good (although I’m writing this post a day after a 74km run, and the body is trying to tell me something about that…), the mind feels strong, so every week I’m feeling like I’m a step closer to the big goal in September! (and the ‘smaller’ goal in April, a little run called ‘The Oner’). Continue reading “February update”

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”