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!

Looking back…

2016 was all about pushing the limits; I became an ultra-runner, broke my 10km swim PB during the Big Brutal Swim, cycled farther than ever before, and the high-point of the season was (obviously!) The Double Brutal (and a big thank you to whomever placed the buoys; the longer swim-course made it possible for me to break my 10km swim PB for the second time this year!). I expected the year to be hard, both physically and mentally, and it was… But it was all worth it! Over 622(!!) hours on the road, in the water and on the trails meant that I became stronger (both mind and body), and I never before had the focus that I’ve had this season. It all paid of; finishing The Double was the main goal, finishing in fifth place was something I never even dared to dream about… And yes; there was pain (a lot of it…) involved in the race, but still, It was less painful than I expected it to be (but seriously; I did suffer A LOT during the race…). So a perfect season, ending with a perfect race…

New plans…

Unfortunately, the little voice in the back of my mind that once told me The Double would be a good idea didn’t really keep quiet… So I started thinking about The Triple… For all who think that choosing a big goal is easy; it’s not… I really wanted The Triple, but I also knew that if I wasn’t motivated enough, I wouldn’t be able to make it through the hard training-year… So a lot of soul-searching followed: why did I want The Triple; was it ‘just’ a logical next step (not the right motivation), or was it because there a drive coming from deep within?? (this is, obviously, an extremely simplified version of the process… It involved a lot of long and interesting conversations with people who know me very well). Then it was time to map out a global training-plan with the coach to see if it would be possible, and by this time I started to feel the excitement coming back… And although I told myself not to make any decisions before december, I knew a few weeks before december 1st that I was going to sign-up for a new great adventure…

Looking forward…

So december has been all about getting back into structured training, and finding a way to fit it all in the busy schedule. It’s been challenging at times; after the off-season I’m not used to the creative planning that’s involved in the work/life/sports balance anymore, but I’m getting back into the rhythm…

Now I’m back pushing hard on my run intervals, getting some hours in on the bike, and still try to jump in the open water now and again (it’s getting cold though… The last swim was in 7 degree water, not the most fun swim of the year!).

2017 will be a year with even longer training sessions, longer races and more logistical challenges (unfortunately a day only has 24 hours…), but I’m convinced that I’ll find a way to make it work (with the help of the people around me who have been quite patient with me last year!). One thing that has definitely changed is the attention that my little Triple-plan attracts: last year I could train and race pretty ‘anonymously’: a lot of people knew I was doing something crazy, but no-one really knew how crazy (myself included). This year it’s different… The day that I registered for The Triple my phone exploded… It’s amazing how many people are following the journey, and it gives me a lot of energy, but I’m also going to have to find a way for that not to become too distracting…

It’s going to be an epic year, hope to see you all somewhere along the way!

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