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’).

a snowy marathon…

Early February I’m running a ‘night trail marathon’: basically a marathon (although the course was slightly short) through mud and snow… And I started the ‘race’ with the best race-number one could have on a marathon; number 42… The plan is to go easy and take no risks whatsoever; the main goal is not to get injured, so I’m trying to find a group that goes at a pace that feels good, and I hope to stay with them… I’m feeling a bit lazy; I’m running really relaxed, staying in the back of the group, just following the lights of the head torches in the dark forest. It’s really nice to have some people in front of me; when the course gets too slippery there’s always someone in the front of the group who yells, so you know when you need to pay attention!

After about 30km the pace drops, and I decide to leave the group behind, since I don’t want to run even more relaxed than I already am… It’s a beautiful course; through quiet, snowy forests, and with a little hill in the end. Unfortunately, I did miss an icy piece of the trail on that hill, so I did manage to crash hard before I got to the finish-line… Luckily there’s no serious injuries, other than a bruised ego (and some pain that was gone a few days later…). At the finish line it’s time for some hot soup, and then there’s another marathon in the pocket!

a long run…

At the end of the month there’s a long run planned, and I thought it would be a good idea to combine my run with a visit to my brother… He lives about 75km away, so that did sound like a good plan at the time…

The downside from running point-to-point however, is that you might have a challenge when the wind isn’t really in your favour…

After 30km my legs feel terrible, where I normally feel quite good at this distance. But all I can do is carry on… The long, long roads, with no shielding from the wind are taking their toll… Not only is it becoming a physical battle, the mind also wants to give up, but i know that if I cut this training short my confidence will drop below zero, and that might just be the end of the season… So I just keep running… Luckily, big brother Daan appears after 45km, so he’s cycling next to me during the final hours of the run. It helps a lot, just keeping my mind of the pain, and he helps me break up the last part into small parts, basically running from one short break to the next, and then trying to get the engine started after every short break… Ouch… When we’re nearly there, there’s 74km on my watch, and although I really wanted to go for the 75km mark, there’s just no energy (and willpower) left to go for an extra loop… This was a day that might just be called ‘a really, really hard training day…’

So, mainly a lot of training this month, not too many ‘big’ stories, but we all know that training is all about consistency. So I’m just doing the miles, every week trying to find the balance between training/work/general life stuff (sometimes it’s easy, sometimes it’s not), and enjoying the whole process along the way… I’m looking forward to the next few weeks; again some long runs planned, cycling hours are increasing, and we’re getting closer to The Oner, which will be one of the highlights of the early season!

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