As far as small-scale events go, this one is as small as it gets… Only 12 athletes showed up for the first edition of the Terheijden Long Course Weekend: swim 3.8km on friday, bike 180km on saturday and run a marathon on sunday, sounds like fun!
After being brought to the swim-start by a local farmer it’s time to get into the choppy water. The first 3km we have to battle the waves and the wind, and with so few swimmers in the water it’s a solo challenge. I’m working hard, and after what seems to take forever I get to the only turn on the course: after 3km I turn right for the final 800meters, finally a bit more shielded from the wind. When I exit the water I look at my watch and am pleasantly surprised: a 1’07 swim is a new personal best time! Now time to get some food and rest before tomorrows ‘race’….
…when everything goes according to plan… until it doesn’t…
(The Oner: 132km of running over the UK south-west coast path, with lots of hills, and an average dropout-rate of 50%)
After not finishing Brutal Events’ The Oner last year (short version: I timed out at checkpoint 8 (90km) after a hot day with a ‘sub-optimal’ amount of food and electrolytes…) I knew I had to come back for a second chance…
This year Coach Jacomina would race as well, so it was nice to have some company during quite a few of the long runs in preparation! To be well prepared we flew to the UK a few weeks ago to run parts of the second half of the course. We knew it would be hilly, but the real challenge this year would be the mud…
Dorset, April 7th 2018 – raceday
Registration is fun and easy; after picking up the timing-chip and gps-tracker, it’s time to have the bag checked (a safety issue; just to make sure that you have everything needed to get through the night in one piece…), and then it’s time to catch-up with some of my Brutal-friends….
When the mini-buses drive to the start (race HQ and registration are at the halfway-point), the length of the drive does indicate that it might be a long run today…
Precisely at midday we start running; the sun is shining (that’s a plus, since everyone anticipated a lot of rain), the view from the coastal path is beautiful, and the first hills are really, really steep, hard, but fun! So fairly happy I reach CP1 (where I’m welcomed by Jim with the words: “glad to FINALLY see you run…”, that’s the downside when athletes and crew have seen you at your lowest of lows in previous events…). Continue reading “The Oner: 2 – Me: 0”
It’s a sunny day on the bike, and I’m riding on the Brutal course. Somewhere during the terrible climb to Waunfawr I know the climb has to end after the next corner; I know from last year that it’s slightly longer than you would think, but this time, after that next corner, someone decided to move the little village even further uphill! I forgot; the climb isn’t ‘slightly’ longer, but it’s ‘a lot’ longer (and steeper!) than you would think, even if you know the course!
The Big Brutal Swim is always a good excuse to come to Wales and do some training, and enjoy the pre-Brutal nerves. A week of swimming, cycling and running around Snowdon it is, with all the variations in the weather that you can expect; it’s been cold, rainy and stormy, but also nice and sunny… Continue reading “August update…”
Sometimes I forget that it’s only been 4 years since my first irondistance-race… What once started as a ‘once in a lifetime’ thing turned out to be a serious addiction, and it kind of spiraled out of control from there…
So after my debut at the 2013 Challenge Roth I’m now back on that course again, but just to do an easy swim and bike (and run, although that was not on the actual course, and with the heat it surely isn’t ‘easy’) on te days before the race, so that I’m totally free to support some friends who are racing in Roth this year. It’s great to be back, the atmosphere is unlike any other race, and when the gun goes of on race-morning I feel kind of sad that I’m not in the water myself… Continue reading “July 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…”
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”
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”
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 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…
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”