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!

sock on

I’ve found the coolest knitting blog.  The author must be so cool in person.  I wish I was even half this cool.

She has a pattern in the latest knitty that I absolutely LOVE and have to knit.  For myself.  Check it out!

Q socks

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.

time flies, and so do I

It’s already Thursday and I don’t know where the week has gone.  Yesterday I flew to London for a meeting, and flew back the same evening.  I thought I would certainly see something interesting enough to take a photo of to post for you, dear readers, but I came up with nothing.  It was a lovely warm sunny day but I spent it either in an airport or a meeting room.  Such a shame!

People who think that traveling for business is fun and special are obviously people who don’t have to do it.  It’s tiring and boring and you feel that you would be much more efficient using a webcam and Skype.  There’s a lot to be said for sitting together face to face with people, but I wish scientists would get on with developing a way for us to fax ourselves around the world.

a little history…

I have knitters envy. I look around the blogsphere at all the knitting blogs out there and am so jealous that these people have so much time to knit! Where do they find the time? Not only the time, but they must not sit behind a computer 8-10 hours a day like I do and feel the strain in their shoulders. At the end of last year I had to stop knitting for 9 months due to RSI (repetitive strain injury) in my right shoulder. I was going to a fyio, having massages, trying to rest my shoulder and arm, but still the pain was terrible. For months. Finally after coming back from a vacation in New Zealand this April (with sacks full of yarn 🙂 ) I was able to start knitting again slowly. But it is a slow, stop and go activity these days.

Today is Sunday, a day for resting, reading, knitting, watching sports on tv. Right? Wrong! I spent most of the day behind my work computer (ugh, Windows). My right shoulder is again very painful and in knots. No knitting for me last week or for this coming week.

But I want to keep up the knitting bit of this blog (yes I know, I’m doing this on a computer, which is the torture hardware right now) so I’m showing you something I knit about a year ago.

Our next door neighbors have a little girl who is now just over 2.5 years old. She’s adorable. Not long after she was born I decided to knit her a sweater. I wanted it to be personal. So I knit a number 9 on it.

Her name is Nine, which in Dutch is pronounced Nina. I couldn’t resist the reference to the number 9 in English. I bought the kit for the sweater from Breiweb.nl. Knitting is NOT a big craze here in NL so you have to search around to get decent yarn. Anyway, when Nine was the right size to fit into this sweater no one was fast enough to take pictures of her in it. So all I have are these after-the-fact photos taken just the other day.

All you knitters out there who are taking photos of every project you make – carry on! I wish I had done the same. I have about 20 years of knitting projects that I have no record of whatsoever, which is such a shame. I kick myself for not having the foresight to document what I’d done. Ah well. I’ve started now at least!

Now, if I can stop working so many hours behind a computer, or win the lottery, or teach DB to give a good massage, maybe I can get more projects done like the other knitting bloggers!

Run for Your Life!

For the past 2 months I’ve been training 3 days a week. First I was training so that I could run the Dam to Dam race this month. But it turns out that we’ll be cheering for New Zealand at a rugby world cup match in Scotland that same weekend. So, I’ll have to do the Dam to Dam NEXT year. Believe me, this is a blessing in disguise.

I’m in no way ready to run 10 miles in 2 week’s time. No way. The fall back plan is to run the 5km race that is part of the Amsterdam Marathon on 21 October. So.

The amazing part is that DB is ALSO going to run this 5k race! Last weekend we went out and bought him running shoes. He’s doing this as a pure experiment. Maybe on 22 October he puts the shoes away and never wears them outside again.

You would think that after working out for 2 months I’d be ready and able to run a measly 5km (3 miles). And I almost can! I can run 3km easily enough. I can even do it in a good time (for an old lady). The problem is that for the next 5 days my legs are so sore I can just manage to walk! So, each Sunday I go to the park and run 3km. And spend the next several days recovering. Obviously I’m doing something wrong.

DB suggested I find a workout scheme on the internet and do what THEY say for the weeks between now and 21 Oct. Ok ok ok. I’ll submit to someone else’s plan. Someone who knows what they are doing. Someone who has a tried and tested plan. Here it is. I start on Sunday.