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?

Ice Age

frozen in motion
frozen in motion

While the whole of the Netherlands was out skating on canals and rivers yesterday, we were out running on the beach.  It’s the only place you can run that’s not covered in ice and snow these days.  At least that’s what I thought.

Since I hadn’t run in over a week, I only managed 30 minutes, but that’s ok.  I had time to take some photos.  I was really surprised to see waves frozen in time.  Not frozen in a photo, but literally frozen!  Here are photos I took yesterday.  Since the weather is warming up I think these waves will melt in the next days and the water will be flowing again.

All photos were taken with my iPhone 4S, which continues to impress me with it’s image quality.

shells frozen in place
shells frozen in place
under dutch skies
under dutch skies
quiet beach
quiet beach
Bloemendaal in February
Bloemendaal in February
cold blue
cold blue
frozen waves
frozen waves
frozen waves II
frozen waves II

Escape!

This morning we were up early to go for a run in the Kennemerland dunes.  We left especially early so that we would be home early to  watch the Australian Open Final.  Here it is 4 hours later and they are still playing tennis.  We could have slept in!

It was COLD this morning.  When we started out it was -1C/30F and sunny.  Despite the weather there were a lot of runners out.  I wore double layers on my legs, triple layers on top, a hat and running gloves.

At the half way point I came up on a small group of sheep with long shaggy wool, looking quite content in the weather.  Most of them were on the left side of the trail, behind a small electric fence (which wasn’t on), but a few were outside the fence, on the other side of the trail.  I ran a little farther and then turned around to get some photos of them.  Right when I turned around I saw how they got out of the fence!

First the black one….

Then the white one followed him….

Who would have thought it was so easy for them to jump the fence!  Here they are, on the “free” side.

My caption: “Don’t turn me in! I’ll trade you wool for your silence!”

At the end of the run, back at the parking lot at the football fields, there’s a small cemetery with flowers planted here and there.  Look what’s blooming already.

It’s been such a mild winter that the Spring flowers are already coming out.  This can’t be good news for farmers.  The timing is all wrong.  I am looking forward to April though since April is the new June here in NL.

Weekend Photos!

Here are some guys swimming in the sea at Bloemendaal.  A summer photo?

Nope.  These crazy guys were swimming this last Saturday when temps were hovering just above freezing.  You can see that by the way the horse riders are bundled up.

And here am I bundled up, in my lovely blue knitwear. 🙂

We didn’t spend very long at the beach.  We walked from Bloemendaal north nearly to Parnasia, and back.  Probably 3 or 4km is all.  Afterwards we had lunch in the year round beach cafe at Bloemendaal.  In the afternoon I made some raisin date bars to take as snacks to the Vondelpark run for the next day, Sunday.

Sunday we were up bright and early, packed up and drove to Amsterdam to join friends for the Vondelpark run.  You have your choice of 1, 2 or 3 laps around the park.  Each lap is 3km.  K. and I did 2 laps.  DB did 3.

It was pretty informal and relaxed.  Here’s the start for the 1 and 2 lap run:

Here’s a photo of some random people, coming around through the park.  This is the 3 lap group:

See how lovely and sunny it was!  Of course that means it was cold.  P. sat under the outdoor heat lamp at the Blauwe Teehuis all morning, since he’s not a runner (no matter how much we encourage him), but he had to wait for us to run.  Here’s a photo of DB making his way around.  He’s fast!  He did the 10k in 48 minutes.

We went home tired but satisfied.  My run was 6.7km and K. and I ran it in 44:50.  I’m happy with that.  I didn’t kill myself for it.  Just treated it like another training day.  It’s the most training I’ve done for about a two months!  I’m glad to be getting back on track.  Ha!

After dinner we just hung out on the couch.  Bas the cat was happy that we were tired and wanted to hang out with him.

On My Way

This is the road to….. a better future?  I think so!

This photo was taken Sunday at the half way point in my little 6km run in the dunes.  As you can see, it looks more like Spring than Winter.  We haven’t had any Winter so far this year.  The important point about this photo is that I was RUNNING again.  I seem to always need/have a running break in December.  I can’t seem to get out of the hibernation feeling to keep my legs moving.   I already feel the days getting longer and the stress and uncertainty of the last few months is finally leaving me.  I’m feeling more energetic by the day.

Today I also passed an important milestone.  I went to the BLTC in Amsterdam and had my interview to get into their CELTA training school.  I had to take a 1 hour test on grammar and writing and then give a 5 minute lesson on a language topic.  You won’t believe this – heck I still don’t believe it – but I got ALL the answers right on the test!  I was sweating that thing!  I guessed on some of the grammar.  I mean, I can write a decent sentence and I know when something is “wrong”, but do you know what the “present perfect continuous” tense is?  I had studied up (good thing) but still have a hard time keeping all the various verb tenses straight.  My 5 minutes of teaching didn’t go as well, but hey, that’s what they are going to teach me to do, right?  Right.

So, after chatting with me, and reviewing my test, I was told that I’m IN and I have the very last place available in the course that starts 30 January.  It’s a 13 week course and is very intensive.  I expect to be very busy with the course, and knitting designing.  I’m very excited to start!  This is a whole new direction for me and I’m really excited about it.

I had another success today too.  A friend asked me to update her web site for her and I said I could do it.  It’s not a blog, it’s a real content site.  It’s made in Joomla, a content management system (CMS).  I’ve never seen Joomla before (this blog is made with WordPress).  But what the heck, it can’t be that different, right?  AND she had lost the user name and password so I had to go into the SQL database and run a query that would create a new user.  Eek!  At least I had access to that via the web host site.  Anyway, to make a long technical story short, I managed to remove a page, change a menu, remove some links and images and not crash anything at all!

All in all, it’s been a pretty damned good day!

Foggy Inside and Out

Friday morning was like most mornings lately, grey and foggy. I hadn’t been running in a long time due mainly to illness. I made a firm decision that I would go for a run Friday morning, no matter what.

After running about 8 minutes I had to stop for a stoplight. It was then I felt my lungs burning. I walked a little while and tried again. After another 8 minutes or so I started to wheeze and my lungs burned again. Ok. I get the hint. I’m not yet over this chest cold. I’ve been hacking and coughing up stuff for 2 weeks now and I’m pretty tired of it.

It was nice to get outside though and see some ducks and cows and people walking dogs. Today, Monday, I am feeling better and I’m coughing less. I should have gone for a run yesterday but the weather turned colder and windy and I just didn’t want to put my healing lungs through it. I think that was the right decision.

On another topic, I really start to notice how my speaking and language has changed since living in NL. A friend, on her blog, was commenting on how people use the word “anymore” in ways she’s never heard before. Like “Is this allowed anymore?” I find myself using “anymore” like that these days. Where did that come from? No idea.

I have noticed lately that American accents sometimes take me by surprise. I listen to a lot of podcasts and I hear Americans saying “fer” instead of “for” and it drives me crazy! I hate that but I hear it all the time, from people who are journalists and professionals on tv and radio. And have you listened to Planet Money in the last months? They start to sound like teenagers to me, especially Caitlin Kenney who pronounces words like she’s 12.

Am I just getting old?