This is the aftermath of my first run in about two months.  Yes, it’s muddy out there.  I managed a measly 4km before a very sore hip muscle decided to flare up.  If it holds me back from running regularly I’ll have to go to the physical therapist again.  AGAIN.

Speaking of therapists, and medical expenses, I’m changing insurance companies on January 1.  I am still on my previous employer’s policy and now I’m joining DB’s employer’s policy.  It’s actually going to save me 30 euros a month!  Never mind that it’s going to cost him about 30 euros more per month.  Win some, lose some.  Or as our big friend Cruyff says, “elk nadeel heb z’n voordeel”.

On the Road Again

This morning the weather was cold, clear and crisp.  Perfect for running!  We headed to the dunes of Kennemer National Park.  This photo is the start of our tried and true running route.

This was DB’s first run since the Amsterdam half marathon last week.  He set out to run for an hour.  Me? I set out to start all over again.  I did 2 minutes jogging / 1 minute walking.  I intended to do that for 30 minutes.  I ended up doing 40 minutes.  My condition is better than I expected it would be.  My legs felt fine.  BUT, I have a problem still with a big hip muscle I pulled back in June.  I went as far and did as much as I could before that muscle really started to hurt.  Damn.  Always something getting in my way.  My body is never in the shape I want it to be in.  I guess that’s the same for anyone who strives to do more than they can!

I got part way down the path when I came to a large meadow.  Suddenly a big buck with a lovely rack of antlers came bounding out of the trees and ran across the meadow.  Wow!  He was lovely!  And fast.  Far too fast for me to pull my phone out of my pocket and get a photo.  I went on about another half minute, and standing on the side of the trail, like the lost fawn that he was, was junior…

I managed to get this photo as he tentatively crossed the path, heading for dad (I presumed).  He was covered in fawn spots and was sprouting little baby nubs of antlers.  I continued on my way.

At the half way point I took this photo.  The Dutch skies were nice.

On my return I passed the same point I had seen the fawn and he was still there, munching away on some tender green grasses.  Hurry before the grass is all gone and all that’s left is frozen shrub!  He was quite close to the trail but didn’t seem to be too bothered about me.  I took several photos of him.  This is the best one.

This is only the second time I’ve seen deer in the dunes.  I regularly see the wild horses, the Highland cows, the sheep.  One time I saw a fox.  The Netherlands is woefully short of wild spaces and wildlife.  I always feel lucky and privileged to see these scarce animals.

The Natural

There he is, number 25780, the natural runner of the family.  This was his second half marathon in 3 weeks.  Three weeks ago he ran in Haarlem with a time of 1:45.  Three weeks later he ran in Amsterdam with a time of 1:43.  He was SURE his Amsterdam time would be slower than Haarlem.  I had more belief in him than he did!

The Amsterdam marathon began at 9:30am.  The half marathon began at 1:30pm.  The slowest of the marathon runners were still running when the half marathoners started coming in to the finish.  The photo below was taken in the Vondelpark, 4.5 hours after these people had started running.  Let me say it again.  They had been running for nearly 5 hours when they got to the park.  They still had 3km to go.  Respect.

DB was so enthusiastic after this race that he signed up for Egmond that same evening.  And I must admit that seeing all these people running (15,000 of them just for the half marathon) made me pretty enthusiastic too.  I signed up for the Egmond 10k.  It’s in January.  I have time to get ready.  Yes, January.  In the cold.  On the beach.  Yes, we are crazy.

Wind and Sea

Yesterday at 5pm we headed to Zandvoort to have a celebration drink and dinner at the beach.  We celebrated DB getting a new job!  And me too, getting a new job.  We’ve both been unemployed since the first of the year and starting very soon we will both be employed! Yea!

Well, yea for the income, boo for having to go back to work.  I really enjoy being unemployed.  I will definitely enjoy retirement, whenever and if ever that comes.  I’ll enjoy it, that is, if we still have enough money to do the small things we like to do.  Ah, everything revolves around money doesn’t it?

ANYWAY, we had dinner at Bruxelles-aan-Zee.

You will always get good “eetcafe” food at Bruxelles, the service is great and people are very friendly.  What more can you ask for?

Earlier in the day it was cloudy but later the wind came up and cleared away the clouds.  When we got to the beach it was very windy, but sunny.  After we ate we walked along the beach and I took photos of the kite surfers.

When we were at Lake Almanor in California it was also windy, but there weren’t any sail boats and no kite/wind surfers at all!  We were so surprised and couldn’t understand why there were only motorized things on the lake.  What a waste of flat water and wind!

The kite surfing looked like so much fun last night that I’m kind of tempted to take a lesson and see if I could do it.  As long as they could teach me how to turn around and come back to shore, I’d be happy.  It looks exhausting though.  I hate to have that little voice in my head saying “but maybe you are too old now”.  I hate that.  Maybe I’m just not strong enough to do it.  Got to get back to the gym…. never too old for that.

Old Turf and Music Weekend

This morning we drove to Sloterplas, in West Amsterdam, for our Sunday run.  It’s a 6km loop around a small lake and most of the running route looks like the above – nice trees and park setting.  This is my old running turf.  I just did a search of my blog on “Sloterplas” and am reminded that the first time I ran here was May 11, 2008.  Four years ago almost to the day.  Funny.  In my mind I thought it was actually a year earlier than that.  Time plays tricks on the mind often.

When we lived in Amsterdam and I ran here I would listen to Brenda Dayne.  Today I listened to Science Friday.  It makes the time and the running just fly by (again, a trick of time).  They talked about an extinct giant turtle the size of a Smart car, and why humans are omnivorous, and working towards a commercially available tomato that actually tastes good.  Science Friday is always interesting.

There were a lot of joggers making their way around the lake today.  There were also quite a few Muslim women doing a fast walk, and some even jogging, dressed as they are always dressed, in long dresses or pants and a long coat over the top, plus headscarf of course.  I can’t imagine trying to be sporty wearing so many clothes.  They must be sweating and so very hot in there.  Hats off to them.  That’s sporting dedication for sure.

After my short 6km run I took a few photos with my phone, trying to capture the feeling of so much green and water.  This is the best I can do.  It makes me feel peaceful – always a good thing.

The rest of my Sunday?  I finished sewing a top that I want to take on vacation with me – photos tomorrow.  And watched Pink Pop on tv.  Why pay to go stand with 30,000 other sweaty sun burned people when you can sit on your couch and get a front seat view to (nearly all) the bands?  Here’s a fun one we watched – “Boss Hog”, a band from Berlin who take Top 40 songs and transform them into Texas country-rock, complete with the hats, boots and Texas accents.  They were great fun!  If you live in NL, tune in to channel Cultura 24 to watch it live, or watch it streaming on your computer on the 3voor12 site, or listen to it on national Radio 3 FM.  Plenty of choices for choice music this weekend!

Green & Blue

Look at these colors!  This morning in the dunes we had glorious color.  The sky was so blue and the trees and grasses were that just sprouted Spring green.  Lovely.

It wasn’t warm though.  The air was crisp and cool, which is just fine for running.  I only managed 6km running and about 1.25km walking.  I’m having a hard time building back up to a reasonable distance again after the 12k at Zandvoort in April.  I don’t know why.  It’s just tough going.  What’s a ‘reasonable distance’? For me, 10k.  Once I can run 10k without feeling like it’s a death march at the end, then I feel like I’m well on my way to being a runner again.

And being able to run through the dunes to the beach, and back.  That makes me feel like a real runner too.

I know I’ll get there – slow but sure.  It’s just that none of it is easy.  Yet.

Oh! By the way! Tonight is the first episode of a new “Boer Zoekt Vrouw“!!  Yea! I love this show.  Tonight we will meet the new crop of farmers (haha, get the pun?) and then we’ll have to wait until the Fall to find out who got enough letters to participate in the show and who the women are and who falls for who and who is disappointed and who ends up getting married and living happily ever after.  Hope springs eternal; even more so for farmers?

Signs of Spring

This morning we went running in the dunes, as usual, but at least now it isn’t so cold.  No hat or gloves needed. Yay!

Here’s someone who’s toasty warm all the time.

She walked right up to me as I came running up the path.  She stood there quietly while I scratched her head.  I could feel the heat rising off her fleece.  I wonder when they will be sheared?  These are the same sheep I caught on camera escaping over the fence several weeks ago.

I was really distracted by the animals today.  I also stopped to pet the (not so) wild horses.  The ones next to the road in this photo were happy to let me scratch them behind the ears and pat their necks.  They were really friendly.

As you can see, it was really coastal weather today with the low fog.

You can tell Spring is in the air by all the bikers that are suddenly everywhere.  Just when you are enjoying having the dunes to yourself, these guys show up again to race through the dunes and make you nervous at every corner.  I wonder how many times they crash on these dune paths every year.

It’s another busy Sunday chez UDS.  I’ve just taken muffins out of the oven, I’m preparing another blog post, and then I’ll start sewing together my cardigan.  Gotta call Mom and make dinner.  Never a dull moment!