Family Weekend

I’m sitting in a small village near Nijmegen, in a huge vacation house with…. oh I don’t want to count…. lots of kids and adults.  This is the yearly “family weekend”.  We get together and eat and drink and play and hang out.  It’s always a bit crazy and always fun.  I have photos to share, but I didn’t bring the card reader to put photos on the computer, so that will have to wait til later tonight or tomorrow.  For now, I CAN share our run map from yesterday.

G., I., and I ran the Dam tot Dam together, and yesterday morning was our first run since then.  We are all started to train for a half marathon, which we will do in one year’s time.  Yesterday our goal was to run 50 minutes, and we did that easily.  We’ve signed up to run the 7km race during the Amsterdam Marathon, which takes place in 3 weeks!  We’ll do that easily enough!

I used my iPhone and RunKeeper yesterday to chart our run.  Here are the results below.  RunKeeper has added some new charts for time and elevation, which is pretty cool.

We just started running down the road from the vacation house and would turn around about half way.  At about the 3km mark we saw a board sign “Deutschland”.  Ha!  We had no idea we were so close to the border.  We decided to run for a while in Germany, then turn around and come back.  Right over the border you can see that the houses are bigger and the bike lanes are smaller.  🙂

This is really a lovely area!  There are rolling green hills with farms and trees.  We found a pumpkin farm selling at least 8 types of pumpkins.  Yesterday we walked there and hauled 5 back and today we’ll go back with the car to get more.  Yummmm!  I can’t wait to cook with them.  They even have spaghetti squash which is the first time I’ve seen that in NL.  

The weather has been lovely all weekend, and I have photos to prove it.  Come back in 24 hours to see some lovely countryside photos.  I would be happy to come back here for a long weekend again.

Oh, by the way, thanks to everyone who left comments after my last post about the 16km Dam to Dam run.  I’m pretty proud of us too!  We aren’t stopping here – on to the half marathon – and you can do it too!  Even if it takes a long time and even if you get frustrated, don’t give up.  If I can make this, you can make your goals too.

We Did It!! Dam to Dam 2008!

Yesterday was the 2008 Dam to Dam race, from Amsterdam to Zaandam, a 10 mile (16.1 km) run.  I’ve been training for this thing for years. 🙂  OK, seriously training for the past year.  One week before I ran my longest distance ever, 12km.  Could I make another 4?  After running 2 previous short races (5km) I know that the enthusiasm and energy on race day carries you past what you think you can do, so I was pretty confident I could finish.  The 2 hour time limit was worrying though!  Could I make it in time?  

I was running with G. and I. who had also been training for the race.  G. and I have the same tempo and pace so we were sure to run together.  I. we expected to shoot ahead and beat us.

The morning of the race I was really nervous.  What made it worse is that we were in the LAST group to start at 2:50pm.  Ugh!  That’s so late!  I met G. and I. at the clothing drop and we lined up to race.  Here we are at the start, feeling fresh and just a little nervous.

Here’s what the start area looks like.

It was a very nice atmosphere, with music and well wishers.  Once we were on the way there were bands playing and people clapping and cheering us on nearly the entire distance.  Here’s a band set up in the middle of no where, just for us.

One highlight was running through the IJ Tunnel, normally reserved for cars only.  Going into the tunnel, people yelled and cheered and clapped and made a lot of fun noise.  The end of the tunnel is all up hill and suddenly everyone was QUIET, huffing and puffing to make it out of the tunnel.

These are the only photos I took along the way because it was just too much hassle to stop and shoot and then catch up with G. again.  And I wanted to focus on making it through the 10 miles!

Up until 10km I was feeling really good.  Then my right foot started to hurt.  At 12km the foot was fine, but everything else started to hurt.  At 14km we had a surge of optimism, and there were a lot of people on the sides of the road cheering us on, so we started to feel confident and picked up a little speed.  I. was far ahead of us, but she stopped and hung out just before the finish with DB, my mom and friends.  When G. and I finally caught up to her, the 3 of us ran the final 500m to the finish together.  1 hour and 58 minutes to run 10 miles, or 16.1km.  My goal was to finish within 2 hours so I’m very happy to have done that!

Here we are just before the finish.

We look pretty fresh, don’t we?  And we’re smiling!  I felt pretty good actually and so relieved to be at the end.  We got medals of course.

DB and Mom and friends also brought us flowers since we were such big winners!  Actually G. is the biggest winner since she ran so well under very trying physical conditions (which I won’t go into here).  Amazing G. and we’re so proud of you!

Would I do it again?  You betcha!  We’re already planning to sign up in a faster group next year.  It’s a bummer to arrive at the end of the day and all the party is over.  I didn’t even get to buy a t-shirt, which kind of annoyed me.  We’re also running the 7km race as part of the Amsterdam Marathon day in October.  And then the 10km Egmond race in January (actually listed as a Quarter Marathon).  Then there’s the Kikarun….. and NEXT year the Amsterdam Half Marathon!!!!  I guess you could say we are pretty happy about ourselves. 🙂

Now, how am I feeling Monday afternoon while writing this post?  Sore!  Mostly I feel like I didn’t stretch enough behind my knees and my hip muscles are sorest.  All in all, not too bad.  Hopefully tomorrow won’t be any worse!

Friday in Amsterdam

Friday Mom, her two friends and I went EARLY into Amsterdam to see the book market on het Spui set up and also to visit the Amsterdam Historical Museum.  The EARLY part was especially painful because the night before we had gone to The Movies for dinner and, of course, a movie (Brideshead Revisited).  And after that we managed to walk through the Red Light District – sorry no photos of that, but rest assured that Mom and friends were “impressed”, if I can put it that way.

Anyway, Friday morning we had breakfast at a cafe on het Spui and then once the stalls were mostly set up, we wandered around looking at books.

C. and R. found some young German tourists to pose with.  That’s me in the middle, keeping them under control.

After looking at a lot of old and mostly Dutch language books we ducked into the ABC and I spent far too much money on books.  Books and yarn – always my downfall.  After that we went to the Amsterdam Historical Museum.  It’s a lovely museum and well worth a visit, but it’s BIG and goes on FOREVER and once you are in there doesn’t seem to be any way OUT!  Mom was still struggling with walking and there are a lot of stairs in this museum so by the time we finished walking all of it we were all pretty tired and very hungry.  We headed directly to Cafe Luxembourg for lunch.  After lunch I surprised them with a visit to the Begijnhof.  There’s quite a lot of history to this hidden oasis in the city center as the first mentions of the houses is in the year 1150.  Follow the link for info.  It was another gorgeous day and we enjoyed being outside.  Here’s a photo of Mom and friends enjoying the beauty of the Begijnhof.

Friday was our last day in Amsterdam and we used the time to its fullest.  I think my visitors really enjoyed the day!

Sunrise Circle Jacket

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Sunrise Circle Jacket, originally uploaded by Julia V (jujustrickt).

Here is Julia V’s version of the Sunrise Circle Jacket. Mine will be an orangy-red in Rowan Summer Tweed, 70% silk and 30% cotton. Her jacket is a lovely example!

Vacation Days Continue

Mom and friends are enjoying their visit to NL.  Yesterday we had a nice day visiting the Rijksmuseum, then Rembrandtplein

then we were lucky enough to be allowed into the Tuschinski and to have a look around in the main theater.  It’s really beautiful and I’m glad Mom got the chance to see it.  The people working there were very nice and took the time to talk to us and let us wander around.

We had parked at the Stadsdeel/Opera House (Stopera) and walked over the bridge, over the Amstel River:

Last, but certainly not least, we walked over to Puccini – the best chocolate in the WORLD.  It’s expensive, but worth every penny.  We bought lots.

On the knitting front, I’ve finished the back of the Sunrise Circle Jacket (Ravelry link) and have started on the first sleeve.  So far so good!  Here are a couple of photos.  I’m really happy how this substitute yarn is looking.  I was afraid it would clearly show the increases or decreases, but the stitches all flow nicely and there aren’t any gaps or strange holes at all.

One week to go!

Only 1 week til the Dam to Dam race.  It’s 10 miles or 16km.  I have to admit I haven’t kept up the training as I hoped I could.  Too many other things going on I guess.  But I’m still on track to FINISH the race, but I don’t expect to do any decent time at all.  I just want to finish within the 2 hour limit.  

This morning I ran my longest run ever – 12.2km.  I stopped at the 1 hour mark to drink water and suck down one of those gel energy things.  EEEEWw!  Those things are disgusting.  But they work!  I never had an energy drop or felt really tired during the run.  I was having that problem earlier with longer runs (over 10k).

I am still trying to find new routes for these long runs.  Still exploring the neighborhood.  Today I ran out into the polder which I like a lot.  I took these photos.  It was drizzly and cool and perfect for a long run.  Now, I just need to rest up for the big race!!!!


I have FOs!

I haven’t been resting on my laurels you know.  Even with the moving and the visitors I’ve managed to make a couple of things.

First, I signed up for the Ravolympics over at Ravelry and needed to start and finish this Traveling Roses scarf during the Olympics.  Well, I didn’t make it due to the above mentioned other activities going on.  But I did finish!  I finished it about 10 days late.  What the heck.  I finally got space and time to block it and I like it very much.  It’s just as soft as you think Malabrigo yarn ought to be.  It will be wonderful to wear.  Here are a few photos:

As soon as I finished this, I also finished my spiral kitchen rug.  I was nearly done with it already so it only took about an hour to finish it off.  Here it is on my kitchen floor and yes, those are my red kitchen cabinets too:

You can see it’s a little wavy laying there on the floor.  It is, as I suspected, too light weight for a real rug.  I planned to make a second one and sew the two together.  At this point I really have no enthusiasm for making another one right now.  It’s been laying on the floor about a week now and it’s laying there OK.  I’ll just leave it for now.

I’ve also started the Sunrise Circle Jacket and I’m about 80% done with the back already.  It’s a fast knit!  I’m making it with Rowan Summer Tweed which is 70% silk and 30% cotton.  I really like how it’s turning out (photos coming soon) but knitting this yarn is not easy on the hands.  It’s like knitting rope, but much prettier.  The color is an orangey-red.  

Everyone kind of poops out in the evenings here so I have at least an hour of knitting every night while we watch a little tv.  Ahhh, I appreciate the down time and the knitting time!

Travels in NL

Since Mom and friends arrived, we’ve been visiting places around home. We haven’t been able to do as much as we’d hoped because Mom hurt her back just before she flew over here and she hasn’t been able to walk very well. Last Monday evening we went to a fysio (physiotherapist) down the street and he seems to have done wonders for her. She can now walk about 15-20 minutes at a time, which is a great improvement, and she can also walk stairs much much easier.

Tuesday we headed northeast in search of Menno Simons and distant relations. We drove over the Afsluitdijk to Friesland and then Groningen. We first went in search of the Menno Simons church and the monument in Witmarsum. The church was closed but we happened to run into a woman (at another church) who said to come back on Wednesday because the Menno Simons church would be open and showing quilts from the book Passing on the Comfort. We decided to continue to Groningen and to come back to Witmarsum the next day.

It was a gorgeous day and when we got to Groningen and checked into the hotel, we headed to the Grote Markt and found a terrace to sit and enjoy the sun. The city was FULL of students enjoying the weather before school and bad weather sets in. Mom tried bitterballen, but wasn’t too impressed.

Wednesday morning we headed to the Groningen Archief (archives) to search for a relative who supposedly was born in Groningen between 1699 and 1702. We found out that ALL the available information from that long ago can be found online and we could have done the same research from the comfort of our living rooms. You can search yourself here.

We then went back to the Grote Markt to wait for the Mennonite church nearby to open up. We sat in the sun and had coffee and a little lunch. R. enjoyed her Dutch tosti.

We visited this church, set back from the street. They had historical information about Menno Simons and the Mennonite church. Unfortunately they didn’t have anything in English, but Mom and R. bought a lot of post cards.

Then we were off to Witmarsum again where we visited the current Menno Simons church, with the original quilts from WWII

And the monument (me and Mom)

And the artwork church that sits on the site of Menno Simons first church.

Phew! It was a busy 2 days with enough driving and I’m happy to be home again. We were lucky actually to see as much as we did. We were lucky that the churches were open because they aren’t normally. And we were lucky with the weather. I hope it continues!

New Arrivals

Mom and friends arrived Wednesday morning from California. Schiphol arrivals area 3 was packed and I was lucky to elbow my way to the front of the pack to get a photo:

Then we had to get a BIG taxi to get everyone home:

Now they are busy settling in and making some first visits into Haarlem:

Mom is doing good to be standing in these shoes and walking around the city yesterday.  She put her back out 2 days before her flight and she’s been hobbling around here.  None of the ladies like the stairs in our house since they are only used to single floor living, but for Mom it’s really hard.  We’ve made her an appointment at a fysio in our neighborhood to try to get her back fixed up.  We’re planning to head into Amsterdam tomorrow, but we’ll have to see how much we can actually do.  At least in the big museums they have wheelchairs we can borrow.  Poor Mom!

But, they can all amuse themselves with our computers.  They are all pretty Geeky Grandmas. 🙂

New Routines

For the past 4 years I’ve been biking to work. I lived and worked in Amsterdam so biking to work was quite normal. If the weather was really bad I might take a tram, but even if it was just lightly raining I’d put on my rain pants and rain coat and hop on the bike. Biking in Amsterdam is not for the novice bike rider, even though plenty of tourists give it a try (and cause lots of problems for themselves and others). I tended to bike in the morning earlier than most people so my morning commute was relatively peaceful and stress free. Biking home however was more exciting, dodging tourists and other bikers and cars. Sometimes I was thankful for bad weather because fewer people were out on the streets.

Now I have a new routine. This morning I biked to the Haarlem train station and waited for the train to Amsterdam Centraal along with a hundreds of other people. Trains come every 15 minutes and it’s only a 15 minute train ride (normally) so it’s not really much of a commute, but still it’s a completely different feeling. On the streets of Haarlem at 7:45 in the morning are hundreds of bike riders heading to work. At 7:45 in Amsterdam the streets are deserted. It’s not easy to find a parking place in all this!

I have high hopes of being able to knit on the train. Last week I realized that it’s not possible to knit something that requires you to look at the instructions. There’s just no room on the train for such a maneuver. I’m still trying to finish this damn lace scarf that was supposed to be finished on the last day of the Olympics, as part of the Ravolympics challenge, so I took it with me this morning for the train trip. Last night I stopped knitting on it at the point in the pattern where I can knit 7 rows without looking at the instructions. Or so I thought.

I knit 3 rows and then looked at my work and then started to laugh. I messed up the count and the pattern was off. I’ll have to frog back those 3 rows. I continued to smile and put the knitting back in the bag and rode the rest of the way looking out the window thinking about what I SHOULD be knitting on the train.

I now have a train project planned. DB has been asking for a scarf for 2 years now since we came back from NZ. He picked out some yarn from Touch Yarns which we visited in Alexandra, on the South Island. He wants something really simple and basic. No stitch pattern. Nothing fancy. The yarn itself is the fancy part and it will carry the scarf without a pattern. I’ll do a simple 2×2 rib and not have to think about it at all. It’s the perfect commuter project. Here’s the yarn:

It’s fingering weight and I’ll probably use size 2 or 3 needles, making it a rather slow moving project. At 30 minutes per day I might just get it done for Christmas! 🙂