3 weeks and counting….

In 3 weeks I have to run 5km.  I’ve been training, it seems like forever, just to get that far.  How’s it going?  Well, after missing 2 training sessions due to the lovely trip to Scotland (see previous post), I started up again this past Friday.  Actually I don’t feel like I completely missed my training in Scotland since we walked for HOURS in hilly Edinburgh and hiked up to Arthur’s Seat.  My legs were sore when we got home!

Probably work is having a worse effect on my training than a weekend away.  I’ve been working long, stressful hours lately.  Friday after work DB and I met up at the gym and it was about all I could do to talk myself into walking in the door.  I managed to run 3km (5min run, 3 min walk, repeated).  Ugh!  That was tough.

Today was better.  Yesterday and this morning I was suffering a migraine (stress again).  I have prescription pills for migraine, which do work, but I always hesitate to take them.  I think it is just wishful thinking – like the headache will miraculously disappear if I just wish hard enough.  Never happens.  So up out of bed at 6am this morning, I headed for the medicine box, then back to bed for a couple of hours.  At 12:00 I felt pretty OK so headed out to the park.  I walked to the Vondelpark (20 minute walk) then jogged 4km (jog 10 min, walk 3 min, repeat)!  I’m pretty pleased with THAT result.  And the BEST news is that my migraine has not come back.

Still on track to run that 5km race on 22 Oct!

Rugby World Cup – Scotland v. New Zealand

Last Sunday we were at Murrayfield to see New Zealand beat the crap out of Scotland. A closer game would have been more interesting – 0-40 was quite a wipe out – but still it was fantastic to be there. The atmosphere was almost more carnival than sports.

It was a lovely sunny day:

All Black supporters!

and we got there early to take in the sites and breath in the atmosphere. As you can see, we were All Blacks supporters and to be honest it almost seemed like there were as many NZ fans in the stands as Scotland fans! There were a fare number of Kiwi’s in the crowd, but a lot of Europeans, like us, showed up wearing Black. And then there were the other fans, like the Portuguese fans dressed as Scots (with an Amsterdam jacket!):

Portuguese fans

Portuguese fans

The Polish rugby team:

Polish fans

I’m guessing these guys came from Austria…

Austrian fans

The Swedish team:

Swedish rugby fans

The Canadian:

Canadian rugby fan

Elvis was there (actually this is only 1 of several Elvis’):

Elvis rugby fan

The Dutch were there to party:

Dutch rugby fans

The French were there being French:

French rugby fans

And of course, real Kiwi fans:

Kiwi fan

As it turned out, the highlight of the match was the Haka. I had just bought a video camera and have really excellent footage of the Haka, but as yet haven’t gotten it off the tape and onto the computer. I’ll be sure to post that link or film here once the technical issues are worked out. (I’m no expert on the Haka, but it seemed to us that this was something special and not the usual Haka performed. I’ll try to find out if it was….) Until then, here are a couple of photos:



Now, if only we could get world cup matches on Dutch TV! We do get TV5 (French TV) which has shown a couple of matches. I really hope they show the quarter, simi and final matches there. It IS the French Rugby World Cup after all! Go All Blacks!

All Blacks throw in


Last weekend we were Edinburgh. It’s taken me a whole week to get the photos uploaded, but still not properly tagged and labeled. We took so many photos! I also bought a new movie camera and now have to figure out a) how to get the movies loaded onto the Mac; and b) how to get them showing on this blog! That may take a little more time. Stay tuned for a link to YouTube in any case.

Why Edinburgh? Well, for the Rugby of course! It’s the Rugby World Cup going on right now and we bought tickets back in January to see Scotland v. New Zealand. More on that in the next post. But first, Edinburgh itself.

Edinburgh West Princes Street Gardens

It’s a lovely city! Much older than Amsterdam and very different in look and feel. There are a few “Amsterdam” style buildings in the old city (tall, thin, with ornate roof decorations) but most of the buildings are made of massive stone in a more austere style. In the center of the city, sitting atop the highest point of land, is Edinburgh Castle.

Edinburgh Castle

This photo was taken from the side of Holyrood Park, not quite all the way to Arthur’s Seat. We didn’t make it into the Castle itself, but we walked several times up and down the Royal Mile:

Edinburgh Royal Mile

We visited a shop and demonstration of Scottish Tartan weaving and of course did some whiskey tasting (both Saturday and Monday). The tasting room was not so busy at 11:00 in the morning. 🙂 :

Edinburgh whiskey tasting

We discovered a really nice mellow Lowlands whiskey called Auchentoshan and we bought a bottle of 16 year special edition at the Royal Mile Whiskey Shop. Mmmm lekker!

We also walked up to Arthur’s Seat. This is the hill at the edge of the old town which is part of Holyrood Park. I’m sure there’s a lot of history surrounding this landmark, but I haven’t looked it up yet. Anyway it was a lovely walk up with views from the top over the entire city and surrounding area, including the port and the Firth of Forth. Here’s a photo of me at the top (it was incredibly windy) and a photo of the view below:

Arthur's Seat

Firth of Forth

It was a very nice long weekend (except for the lousy hotel bed). I’m now very enthusiastic about going back to Scotland and exploring the countryside. There aren’t really any wild places left in the Netherlands but with Scotland only a short 1.5hr plane ride away (and pretty cheap with EasyJet) there are lots of wild place to explore in the Highlands. A mellow whiskey at the end of the day is a nice treat too!

Copper is soft

This is the result of 2 hours work last night. I’m referring to the little copper circle with the pattern cut out of it. There were 3 of us beginners out of a class of 11 students. We were sat together and given a small square of copper, a saw and teeny tiny saw blades. After 2 hours of hard work, voila, a pretty copper thing. Next week we’ll file it smooth and polish it shiny.

This was the first class called “edelsmeden” given by the volksuniversiteit in Amsterdam. Basically metal smithing/jewelry making. Like my mom says, “just what you need, another hobby”. Yeah, I know, like a hole in the head. But what the heck, it keeps me off the streets. And I learn some Dutch while learning something else fun. I hope in the end to make a ring. More photos to come!

How am I doing?

It’s been one week since I posted the training plan in preparation for the 5k on 22 October. How am I doing? Well, as I’m writing this I’m icing my calves.

Not to worry, this is just injury prevention. I have good news and I have bad news. The bad news is that my calves really hurt. The good news is that ONLY my calves hurt. The rest of my running body feels pretty darn good. I guess I should be happy.

Last week I had to change the running schedule a bit because of work. Long hours on Tuesday and Thursday meant that I did my jogging on Wednesday and Friday mornings. No big deal. Wednesday morning my calves hurt so much afterwards that I came home and put ice on them. Same Friday morning. And this morning. But things are looking up! The pain is getting less, not worse.

I’ve been scouring the running websites looking for info and advice. Is this just beginners pain and will go away as my body gets used to this? Or is this leading to something serious and I should lay off, or do something special or different? I’m especially careful because last year I suffered severely from shinsplints and had to stop running altogether for 3 months and was only just getting started. I didn’t find much online. Only really terrible horror stories which made me wonder if this is such a safe sport after all! What’s with all these injured people out there?

Yesterday I happened to be at the American Book Center looking for a book about Edinburgh (where we are going next weekend) and happened to find a book called “Chi Running” by Danny Dreyer. Subtitled “A revolutionary approach to effortless, injury-free running”, it seems to address what I’m concerned about. Or, as DB says, they put all the buzz words on the front cover so of course I bought it. 🙂 Maybe so. I’ll read it and let you know.

In any case, I’m still on track, still on schedule, heading for that 5k race!

Orteliusbuurt happenings

Two weeks ago we had a neighborhood block party. I don’t know all the ins and outs of how it was arranged (it seems a little complicated to me after several long explanations in Dutch), but Albert Hijn (local grocery chain) donated all the meat (!), there were two BBQs going, lots of potluck food brought by neighbors, tables and chairs set out at the corner neighborhood point, and fun had by all! There was facepainting:

Nine paints Alex And in the end the kids painted the adults (Nine paints my face in this photo). There was also a cook-off and guess who won? Well, I can’t take all the credit. Mom’s carrot cake recipe is the real winner. Everyone here loves it. Everyone asks for the recipe. I think I’ll keep it a family secret. 🙂

Here is a link to the website for our neighborhood. More photos can be found there.