Saturday, February 14, 2015

What's coming up....

In January 2002 I ran my first half marathon in Egmond aan Zee, The Netherlands. This is a race unlike any other half marathon. It consisted of five kilometres around through the coastal village Egmond aan Zee, seven kilometres across the beach and nine kilometres through woods and dunes. What made it even more special was the day previous, I competed in the Egmond pier Egmond MTB beach race. This was a 36km race along the beach on a mountain bike....that was a leg sapper!

This was all training towards the first multisport races of my life in Åre Extreme Challenge and the Red Bull Dutch Extreme.
We took on many other challenges such as the Dijk tot Dijk MTB beach race, a duathlon and several other running races of varying lengths from 5km to 21km.

In a few weeks time on the 8th March, I'm returning back to The Netherlands to run the City Pier City half marathon which I first ran back in 2002 as part of that training. The direction of the course has changed slightly since then, but essentially it's still from the city of Den Haag, out to the coast (the pier in Scheveningen) and then back into the city once again. I'm really looking forward to it. Back in 2002 it was my first half marathon on a proper road surface (Egmond was mostly all sand!) and I thoroughly enjoyed it, although I do remember the last 3kms being those where my team mate Andy literally dragged me along with constant motivation ringing in my ears.

Living in The Netherlands, the winters are not like they are up here in Sweden. I was then able to put in plenty of runs on clear asphalt cycle paths and roads. Asphalt paths are something which I haven't seen since running before Christmas last year.
It's very early in the year for me for a half marathon and although my training started well, after a couple of runs in mid January I a developed an issue with my right calf muscle which stopped me running entirely. I managed through this period in the gym and nursed it back to recovery with weight training, rowing and indoor-cycling. Since then, things were going well again until I developed a cold last week which again has thrown a spanner in the works in terms of my running volume. It's always frustrating when initial plans have been thrown out but it's a good test and it just means I'm going to have to rely on base fitness and just enjoy the race. It will also probably be the first time I step out of my spiked IceBug Anima2's and into my road shoes other than on the treadmill. These next 2 weeks I'm going to try and get in some long slow runs and some speed work on the treadmill with some intervals and some tough tabatas!

In the meantime, the motivation hasn't waned and we've been waiting to secure entries to races throughout the year as their dates become finalized. Kolmården Extreme entry opens on the 15th Feb and we're excited to add this to our plans for the year. It looks a lot of fun, similar format to Åre with 12km kayaking, 12km running & 25km mountain bike. There's no mountain to climb over but looking at past pictures, there'll be plenty of vertical elevation to conquer.

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