July update…

back to where it all began…

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…

A day of supporting at a race like this is an event in itself; planning how to get from one part of the course to the next, and keeping up with all the timings so you can see everyone you want to see as often as possible is always a challenge, but we seem to manage just fine… Coming up at the famous solar-hill, where the crowds are huge, it’s really nice to be ‘on the other side’ of this race. I remember clearly how emotional it was to ride through this epic ‘wall’ of people, and to now be a part of that party is almost as much fun as actually riding through (also because you see the emotions of the athletes, most of them are mainly surprised and confused what’s happening!)

Then it’s of to the run course, to cheer everyone on, and then to the finish-line to celebrate! It was a long and extremely hot day (as it always seems to be in Roth), and unfortunately we had one DNF in the team.. But still, proud of all that took part in the race, and it was a great experience to be a supporter at this epic event! And a nice excuse to spend a long weekend training in Germany!

training in Belgium…

A week later I’m spending a few days in Belgium; with coach (and soon to be ‘double-brutal-finisher’) Jacomina I’m out for a long ride, and a two-day trail-run event. The long ride starts beautiful; it’s cold when we leave the campsite at sunrise, the first 75km lap is beautiful, but during the second lap I start to struggle… My energy is gone, I have (as usual) trouble getting enough calories in, and I just feel like crap… During the third lap it doesn’t get much better, and I just can’t push out any power… Some food helps, but only for a short while, and knowing that there’s a cold night coming, I decide to call it a day after 230km… Jacomina, as always, just keeps on going, and smashes a 350km training ride, and after a recovery-day it’s time to start a little trailrun…
The race is actually three races; on Saturday two 15km runs, and a 50km on Sunday. The first one on Saturday is a lot of fun; a beautiful, hard course, nice weather, and the legs feel great! I try to take it easy, since there’s still some running to do over the weekend, but I probably push a little too hard anyway…
The next run is a 15km nighttrail; again over a beautiful, but sometimes challenging course, and, as was to be expected, I crashed hard somewhere out in the forest… No serious damage was done, just a bruised body, and a slightly worse bruised ego…

Then onto the big one on Sunday: 50km, and by now I learned that these race-organisers don’t build an easy course! So the trick is to go easy from the start, and immediately I feel that my body is tired from a long week of training and racing… The uphills are a struggle (even more than usual), but so are the downhills, and even at the flat parts I feel the pain… It gets worse quite quickly, and before I know it I have to walk on the flat parts of the course… My knee is killing me, and at the 25km point I drop out of the race, frustrated, and slightly worried that something is damaged, with less than two months to go until the Triple Brutal

time to recover…

A week of rest follows, then an easy run, the knee seems ok… Then a run with some speed-work, still ok… So then onto my final ultra-run before September; I’m out for a double marathon… I run a three-lap course, so I can restock food and drinks every lap at my car. The first 40km are easier than I’ve ever ran 40km, and I get the idea to maybe not stop at 84km, but build towards the magical 100km mark… But then, without any warning, it feels as if someone puts a knife in my knee… I’m 800meters from a railway station, but even walking those 800meters is pure suffering… A short, emotional train ride back to my car follows…
The body breaking down when training hard and long is not something to worry about, but sometimes on these moments it’s hard to stay positive, and to keep believing in the Triple-adventure…

staying strong…

Right know all the injuries are gone (let’s hope I can keep it that way!), and the mind feels strong. With all the little setbacks it’s easy to forget that this month I’ve been doing a lot of running without any pain, did a long 360km on the bike (mainly in the rain) without any problems, and I did my first 11.5km openwater swim… The only reason I stopped swimming after that distance was that I got bored… If I had to, I probably could have gone for another hour… (good to know, just in case the buoys at The Brutal are in the same place as last year, which should make the course ’slightly’ longer…).

So all’s well, the countdown has started, and I’m looking forward to the Brutal Swim, with a nice week of training in Wales!

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