Day 307: First day of Fall

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Rejoice! Fall is here!

I love autumn. It’s my favourite season by far. Summer is great and winter and spring both have wonderful things about them, but nothing beats fall. Maybe part of the reason is that I was born in the fall; nevertheless, there is some magic in the fallen leaves and rainbows and the colours of the foliage. Not to mention that the weather is absolutely perfect for running.

Today, finally, after being ill and generally slacking, I ran. It wasn’t a good run or nothing special, but I made it out of the door (what was hard). The Morat-Fribourg race is in just 10 days and I better get some form back before it happens. Moreover, this race is mostly uphill so I even took the tiny little hill in the park today. It’s going to be a challenge to run 17k uphill; after all, the Netherlands is flat as a pancake and it’s hard to find anything remotely resembling that.

I can’t say I am particularly proud of the run today, but I have to make the best out of the last four weeks before the Amsterdam half marathon. My registration letter has arrived already, so this thing is real. Kinda scary, too.

Distance: 5km
Time:       32:42

Do you like to run in the autumn?
Which is your favourite running season?

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Running Portugal

In August, I visited my aunt who lives in Lisbon, Portugal. I spent an amazing time there; the city and its surroundings are absolutely beautiful! Of course I had my running gear with me, and I would like to share with you some of my experiences on running in this wonderful environment.

First of all: Lisbon and its surroundings are full of runners. Running is a popular sport among both natives and tourists, and there are plenty of ways on comfortably getting around on your feet.

Sightseeing: Get ready for some hills and stairs

If you plan to do running and sightseeing at the same time, Lisbon has a treat for your hamstrings, as it is located on seven lovely hills. The views from the top are absolutely amazing and definitely worth the climb, even if, like me, you simply walked the entire way. For obvious reasons, you will find most of the runners somewhere else; along the river.

The River Tagus

Lisbon lies on the bank of the beautiful river Tagus with stunning views and promenades which span the city. Not surprisingly, these promenades are some of the favourite places for runners. Moreover, there are trains and metro lines very close to the river, and the tickets are very affordable, so it is really easy if you decide one day you want to go to the Expo area and run along the river there. It is really pretty and full of modern architecture. If you want a break, there’s the Europe’s largest indoor aquarium and plenty of spaces to sit down and relax.

Belém

Another wonderful area with a convenient promenade along the river, topped off with a multitude of green parks, architectural monuments (both old and new) and museums worth visiting. If all that running around makes you hungry, I can recommend a delicious Italian-style pizza in the restaurant at the Museu Coleção Berardo (modern art gallery).

Out of the city – beaches!

There is a train line which connects Lisbon to its suburbs all the way to the picturesque city of Cascais, and all along the riverside and oceanside there you can find beaches.
I dedicated my old pair of running shoes to the sand and it was spectacular. The water was very cold (too cold for me to swim in, and that’s not something that happens often), but the plus side of it is that it cools the air down at the very edge of the beach making it pleasant to run even when the temperatures are very high. However, if you dream of beaches that span for miles, you’ll have to make your way around some old timey fortifications which dot the coast.

Cascais and Boca do Inferno

Conveniently reachable by train, Cascais is not only a picturesque port town with a beautiful small palace, a Paula Rego museum and a wonderful park. If you follow the road further down the coast, you’re in for a visual treat: it is lined with black cliffs. You’re in luck, because there’s a path right along them where people are free to bike, run or walk. Just be careful when you do want to step onto the rocks themselves, they do tend to fall off without warning…

Equipment

Everyone has their preferences on what to take on their runcaction, but I have a couple of tips based on what I found useful during my stay in Lisbon.

  1. I know this is obvious, but sunscreen is an absolute must if you do not want to end up severily burned. I also recommend having a running cap and a hydration bottle even if you do not run very long distances. It can be very, very hot.
  2. At the same time, it can also get cold all of the sudden. Even though the weather was splendid all two weeks I spent there, there was one exception: an afternoon/evening when a long-sleeve running tee was much more sensible.
  3. Beach shoes, or a pair of running shoes dedicated to running in the sand. There can be sharp stones, shells and jellyfish there, so if you decide to run barefoot, be careful!
  4. LED and/or reflective gear. The day is not that very long in Lisbon in August and you want to make sure you will be visible on those dark mornings or evenings when you go run.
  5. Some sort of GPS to guide you home in case you get lost. Portuguese people are extremely kind and helpful; so helpful that, when you ask them for directions and they do not know the correct route, they will still try to guide you the best they can. What might result in you getting lost even worse.
  6. A bikini that fits under a running bra/running shorts (or running shorts that can get wet). Just in case you want to take a dip in the ice-cold ocean after all that running!
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Running on the beach!

What are your tips for running on holidays?
Is there anything else you want to know about running in Lisbon and surroundings?

Day 299: I’m ill

An old Jewish proverb says: man plans and God laughs.

Yesterday I decided to stick to yoga and dance and run the next day, aka today. Don’t get me wrong: the yoga felt great after a month’s break and the dance class was awesome.

And then today’s morning happened, when I woke up late for work with a slight fever, major muscle pain, a cough and a running nose. I can pretend to live in denial, but to everyone who can put 2 + 2 together that’s a flu. And a flu with a fever means no running.

To be honest, I have no idea what to do about it. I am going out there in the rain and cold as soon as I am better, but what about the training? Should I try to catch up some of the skipped runs, or just pick the plan up as it goes? There are three races I am looking forward to in October, and I am getting into some serious doubt I will make it through the first one…

How do you deal with running and training when ill?

Not yet dead

There’s no way to hide that any more: The last two months I have been struggling with running. Greatly. Partly because of how busy I was at work and during my amazing holiday in Portugal and Switzerland.

However, the half marathon in Amsterdam is in just 5 weeks, and I have 2 more races before that. It is about time to get back on track.

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Hereby I am making a promise to myself, taking you all as witnesses, to follow and complete my training plan and get ready for the big event. Maybe that’s going to help me keep myself accountable.

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At the same time, I have some holiday experience and recaps to share with you. Here is what you can expect the following weeks:

  • My subjective guide to running in Lisbon, Portugal
  • Tips on running while on holiday
  • Recap from my holiday
  • Product reviews of some of my running gear
  • Going back to my beloved tribal fusion bellydance
  • The recipe for the best pizza crust you have ever made (stolen from MRB)

In meantime, I would like to invite you to my instagram for a sneak peek of what’s to come and more frequent updates!

What have you been doing this summer?
Any plans for races coming up soon?