Bring on the speed work!

Today is a good day! For the first time in what seems like eons, I’ve been able to run more than 10k consecutively and comfortably. Last Thursday I somehow wasn’t even able to run 6k without stopping (twice!), but today I did over 11k without any problem. Strange…

This means that I can finally start doing some speed work to work towards running a 5:59 mile, since I promised myself I wouldn’t start speed work until I’d reached the 10k mark without too much trouble. This to prevent injuries from doing speed work without a decent aerobic base. I’m looking forward to it! I will definitely keep the long and easy runs in my schedule as well though, I’m still a long distance runner by heart so I wouldn’t want to miss the feeling today’s run gave me for the world.

Also, I just love the feeling of being able to get out for a run on a Tuesday morning. This time it was a coincidence, I quit my previous project last week and my next one doesn’t start until tomorrow, but this is yet another reminder for me to work towards a professional career where I don’t have to trade time for money (i.e., move away from billing by the hour). I love my freedom!

Progress on other list items has been slow since we’ve got our hands full raising our two sons. I expected that though, so it’s not that bad, plus, things are definitely getting better compared to the first two-three months of this year.

More progress next time!

Long-Distance-Running

New beginnings

I am glad to report that after almost three months of little sleep, hard work and lots of bottles of milk I am back on the running track! It were only two miles or so, and certainly no longer than 15-20 minutes, but you have to start somewhere… Hopefully this marks the start of my second running ‘career’.. First, I’ll try and tackle the 6 minute mile goal before the end of the year, then it’s on to distance running and completing the 12 half marathons list item. As the year progresses, the broken nights and sleep deprivation should gradually disappear, so things are certainly looking good, running-wise.

Needless to say I thoroughly enjoyed being back on the road, breathing fresh air, letting my body do some actual physical work again after three months of not much more than eating, working and sleeping!

Back on the road!

Pilates novice

For the last four or five weeks (I’m ashamed to admit I already lost count) I have been attending weekly pilates classes in an effort to do something about my chronically short muscles. Especially my hamstrings and calf muscles sometimes feel they should be twice as long…

Although I haven’t noticed any permanent results so far, I really like following the classes. It’s only an hour per week – at least for now – but it finally makes me feel I’m doing something new and active with my life again. This is a feeling I have missed out on for way too long.

I’m definitely sticking with it for a while, if only just to see what the longer term effect on my body stability and flexibility will be. Classes are reasonably priced, so that’s no reason not to go, plus it gets me out of the house. Which is always a good thing.

I’m also already starting to think about trying out yoga as well. Especially the somewhat more active yoga varieties are starting to appeal to me more and more. Who knows..

But in the meantime, that means another list item completed!

A pilates exercise

#99 – Climb the Alpe d’Huez by bike

The Alpe d’Huez is probably the most famous climb in the Tour de France history. It has been the background for many historic victories and dramatic losses. This is one of the reasons that many amateur cyclists climb it (or attempt to climb it) every year. I would like to be one of those that actually makes it to the top on bike one day. It will require some serious training though! Especially finding enough hills to practice on in a flat country like the Netherlands might prove to be a challenge…

The Alpe d'Huez

#68b – Walk across a country

Note: this item replaces #68 (no alcohol for a year), which I feel is no longer in line with what I want to do and achieve in life.

Inspired by stories I’ve read about people undertaking long hikes I would love to one day take off and cross a country from north to south (or east to west, or vice versa) walking. A very good candidate would be crossing my home country of the Netherlands by completing the almost 500 kilometers of the Pieterpad.

To keep it a challenge, crossing a tiny country such as Monaco or Vatican City (which you can cross in an hour or two and still have time for a coffee halfway) won’t count.

The Pieterpad route

#45b – Cycle from Land’s End to John O’Groats

Note: this item replaces #45 (run a sub 20 minute 5k), which I feel is no longer in line with what I want to do and achieve in life.

This one is in the same vein as #44, but completing the classic cycling route from Land’s End in southwestern England to John O’Groats in northern Scotland (known as LEJOG, or I might do JOGLE the other way round) is a very specific thing I want to do once in my life. This route normally takes cyclists around 10 to 14 days, which makes it a great trip for a spring or summer holiday.

Land's End signpost

The route

#96 – Go ice swimming

Even though I’m not very good at it, I like to swim in open water (much more so than in a pool). I do have a couple of swimming related items on my list already, but there’s always room for one more. I’d like to at least once try out ice swimming, just to see what’s it’s like to submerge into freezing cold water. I have been swimming in pretty cold water in the past, but this is definitely one step further!

Ice swimming