Blog Posts

My favorite moments of 2017

My favorite moments of 2017

Before we reach February and everyone starts to forget that new year’s resolutions are ‘a thing’, I thought I should hurry up and post a belated 2017 retrospective.   Last year has been the most turbulent running year yet. 2017 had fantastic highlights interrupted by […]

Running in Switzerland

Running in Switzerland

I have the privilege of travelling to Basel, Switzerland, to work with a customer at their head office. This is my first time in Switzerland, and I am absolutely loving it. I spent the first week cooped up in a drab hotel room without any running […]

My multisport debut: Unexpected success at the Ouderkerkerplas run-bike-run

My multisport debut: Unexpected success at the Ouderkerkerplas run-bike-run

Last Saturday I nervously made my debut to multi-sport competition. I took part in the Run-Bike-Run at the Ouderkerkerplas in Amsterdam.

In front of the course map with my bib number. The dark bags under my eyes are from not sleeping well because of pre-race jitters.

 

 

This race has a triathlon and a duathlon, and while the triathlon has many participants in different start waves, the run bike run had 8 women this year. I wanted to participate in this race last year, but when I studied the results of the previous years, I realised I would not only be the slowest but that I would finish last by a large margin. 

I calculated this by I simulating the race at home and doing a 5km run, 20km bike and 5km run.

Since then, I worked on my 5km speed, bought a much faster bike and have persistently trained the bike-run transition. I also drove to the course earlier this month and trained the run and bike routes.

 

 


I was very surprised to end up 2nd on the podium! 

I am equally amazed and grateful about the result. In 1st is Laura Gorter, who came 6th in the European cross-duathlon Championships in July!

 

I started out way too fast and averaged 4.5 km/min on the first run. By the fourth kilometer I was completely spent. Just as I contemplated running slower, one of the marshalls shouted that I was the second woman. This made me hang on to my position for dear life.

Final meters of the first run leg. I look much stronger than I felt.

Unfortunately hanging on to my position during the bike leg proved impossible. I was passed by many riders which meant I had to constantly slow down to make sure I wasn’t drafting behind an overtaking cyclist.  I was also passed by the woman in third and lapped (!) by the leading female.

I don’t know why the photo is blurred, it’s definitely not because I was going fast.

I started the second run on weary legs but still manage to finish the 5km in 25 minutes and move up one position.

Despite the rain, the burning lungs and heavy legs, the day was a resounding success. Special thanks to my significant other who had to get up early, stand in the rain and take photos. Without you, the day would have been awful and lonely.

Now it’s time to improve my bike time trial skills and work on my transitions – and to invest in some less short duathlon shorts!

Quote of the Week: Nick Symmonds on the kick

Quote of the Week: Nick Symmonds on the kick

Welcome back to the fortnightly instalment of our weekly segment: “Quote of the week”.   That’s right: Like with running, pacing blog posts seems to be surprisingly hard.   So, let’s talk briefly. About pacing.   It feels good pushing yourself too hard from the […]

Lessons from my first transition training

Lessons from my first transition training

It’s official. I am making my debut in the world of multisport events. Since this endeavour is more than a little nerve-racking, I’m starting out with a duathlon instead of the more traditional sprint triathlon. This particular duathlon is a run-bike-run and entails a 5 km […]

Quote of the week: “Pain is temporary”

Quote of the week: “Pain is temporary”

Since it’s July I decided to go with a Tour de France themed quote to kick of this brand new weekly series.

It’s the year 2003.

It is likely that you are the proud owner of a Nokia 3310.

Lance Armstrong is the envy of the world and the darling of the USA. If you are a cyclist, your spouse gave you his book “It’s Not About the Bike” for Christmas. If you are not a cyclist, you still got the book, but from your distant cousin who can not shut-up about his latest race bike.

In 2003 I was 14 and very much a Lance fan, bookworm and cyclist. When my dad bought me the book I devoured it. Henceforth my cycling career was forever enhanced. In particular by this quote:

Pain is temporary. It may last a minute or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever. – Lance Armstrong in ‘It’s Not About the Bike’

Despite what your thoughts may be on Lance, this is a fantastic statement to repeat when you feel your sporting resolve dwindling. If you are wondering what my thoughts on the guy are, let’s just say a lot of unpleasant and tragic things have happened since 2003. I sure wish I could still believe in the heros I had back then.

But I’m no longer 14.

And while even my Nokia 3310 let me down at some point, I can always do with a good mantra to get me through the last stretch of road.

High-light, middle-light and low-light of my Mont Ventoux Cycling trip

High-light, middle-light and low-light of my Mont Ventoux Cycling trip

Last week was our long awaited cycle trip to the south of France. I started training for this trip in March and even bought a new race bike that would be more suitable for climbing. I ended up getting the flu and not training the […]

Should you eat carbs during racing?

Should you eat carbs during racing?

I listened to an interview with ultrarunner and iron woman, Kate Driskell, on the podcast Marathon Talk. In the interview, she said that she used to fuel her endurance races with bars, gels and Gatorade. She felt sick and gained weight while training for Ironmans. […]

10 things I learned from my first sportive

10 things I learned from my first sportive

On Saturday I rode my very first Sportive, the Tecklenburg Rundfahrt in Germany. It was a 100 km route through West German countryside with 16 climbs; two with 20% inclines! I experienced the hills as brutal and continued to see the members of my group disappear around the next bend, leaving me to conquer the climbs on my own.

The Tecklenburg Rundfahrt 100km

We had very experienced cyclist in the group, who was happy to show the newbies among us the ropes. I leaned much about cycling events and about handling my bike better. Without further ado, here are 10 things I leaned during my first sportive:

1. Make sure you understand the terrain before you choose a distance.
While I knew I could ride the distance, I have never cycled this many hills in succession. Luckily we dropped the idea of doing the 160 km distance before we headed out! Lesson learned: Consider how tough the course will be when deciding how far you want to go.

2. If you drive to the event, get in the car dressed in your cycling outfit.
(Unless you know this is not the culture/setup of the event)
I decided to wear shorts in the car and planned to change at the starting area. Turns out you park anywhere you can find a spot in town, and head to the start on your bike, which could be a few kilometres away. Let’s just say this lead to quite a bit of stress to find a place to change while the rest of the group was ready to go.

3. The route is set out and clearly marked, but not closed off to other traffic.
There were volunteers at busy or dangerous intersections, but at all other crossings you had to make sure it was safe before you crossed.

4. There is no shame in walking up a hill with a 21% incline.
I saw many people pushing their bikes up hills; including fit looking guys with impressive calves and expensive bikes.

5. Anticipate hills, especially around turns. Adjust your gears in advance.
Many parts of the course consisted of a speedy decent with an unexpected turn heading up a hill again. This meant you where cruising on your big chain ring, forced to make a sharp right and finding yourself stuck in the wrong gear up a steep hill. Look ahead, anticipate, and make sure you shift in advance.

6. On the contrary, while climbing up a hill, don’t anticipate an increase in the incline and adjust your gear too soon.
I never realized I switched gears too soon on inclines. When you do this your cadence increases and you lose your rhythm. Instead, I need to wait until I feel my cadence slowing ever so slightly, and then switch to a higher gear.

7. When descending, look far ahead and in the direction you have to go.
This seems simple, but I constantly had to remind myself to look through the bends instead of looking at my front wheel.

8. Also, while descending, brake with short but hard bursts instead of hanging on your breaks endlessly.
Hanging on your brakes seems to be particularly dangerous when the weather is as hot as it was on Saturday. For fear of my tire exploding down a hill, I had ample time and motivation to practice this skill.

9. Part of the fun is to stop and take your time at the refuelling stations.
Fill your bottle from a hose, grab a banana and empty your bladder. Then hang around in the shade next to your bike until you feel like hitting the road again.

Eating Dutch currant buns at 36 kilometers

10. Technique and skill are just as important as strong legs.
Your legs will only get you so far. I constantly lost time by being in the wrong gear around corners or by carefully (too slowly) navigating the descends. On the other hand, I passed people on hills that had a gear shifting fail.

If you are in Germany in May next year, I would highly recommend the Tecklenburg Rundfahrt: A challenging course set among the beautiful farmlands of west Germany.

Literally, my Achilles heel

Literally, my Achilles heel

My last post was at the start of my marathon running journey. It was 21 weeks ago and I was pumped up and excited to get going with my training. Unfortunately, I failed in the number one golden rule of Marathon training: “Don’t get injured.” […]