Saturday, July 5, 2014

Training in The Netherlands

This week I have been travelling in The Netherlands for work. I stayed on for the weekend and came to Leiden to visit friends and the city I lived in for 11years from 1996-2007. I spent many a good hour training on the streets, cycle paths & canals so it was great to be able to put on the running shoes and get out on those same streets to relive the past and to check out if anything has changed. After a rainy morning and afternoon I ventured out late in the day when the sun was out and the temps were rising quickly (as was the humidity). But as I remembered, there are no hills in Holland (except the small bridges over the canals) but the country makes up for it with the wind.

I ran a circle around Leiden following the Singel Canal which circulates the city. Now you'd think the wind at some point would be on all sides as you run a circle. It began in my face as I ran west in a clockwise direction, but alas it continued to blow in the face almost the entire time no matter if I ran in a north, east or southerly direction!

Leiden is a city and municipality in the Dutch province of South Holland. The municipality of Leiden has a population of about 120,000, but the city forms one densely connected urban area with its suburbs Oegstgeest, Leiderdorp and Voorschoten. The larger Leiden agglomeration counts 332,000 inhabitants which makes it the sixth major agglomeration in the Netherlands. Leiden is located on the Old Rhine, at a distance of some 20 kilometres (12 miles) from The Hague to its south and some 40 kilometres (25 miles) from Amsterdam to its north. A university city since 1575, Leiden houses Leiden University and Leiden University Medical Centre. It is twinned with Oxford, the location of England's oldest university.

As The Netherlands are playing in the World Cup 1/4 final later this evening  I thought sporting their national colours would be appropriate :)
It was a really fun run and a great leg stretch after last weekend's Åre Extreme Challenge. There were some lovely bridges on route and with boats parked outside of houses could this be Venice of the north? I've paddled the canals here in the past, these were and are a lot calmer than Åresjön last weekend!

I return to Sweden tomorrow, looking forward to seeing the family again after a couple of weeks away, then starts the training for Cykelvasan in August.

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