The past few weeks have been a challenge, my health took a beating. But you just got to get back on the horse right?
Yesterday I ran 3.5km with a colleague who is starting off with running, and that is always fun. We ran along a path near the office to the background sounds of sheep and lambs which I had to stop and take a picture of.
Short but sweet and it’s enough to get back on the horse. With enough sunshine and lambs bleating it’s hard to find an excuse not to run.
Not in emotional terms, but elevation terms. My run yesterday took me to -7m and no, I wasn’t running on the ocean floor.
Fun eh? Holland. My route was rather all over the place, I really just didn’t want to plan this run. I knew I had to burn up about 7km of pavement and didn’t particularly care what pavement that was. I headed into Oud West, with two streets the Ooievaarstraat and the Reigerstraat (the stork street and the heron street). Two beautiful pieces of old Zaandam leading down to the Westzijde, and the monolith Verkade biscuit factory.
I turned back into town, and through via the Russiche (Russian) buurt with it’s cobbles and narrow footpaths. Death trap pavements here, broken pavement, cobbles and hardly no street lighting, but so much nicer to run than a straight well lit path. Maybe I was seeking out some difficulty.
I ran over the bridge to the island out on the Zaan river. A little island of rich people, since all the houses are modernist masterpieces with his and hers cars parked outside. Designer kitchen tables with no body eating at them and big bunches of flowers straining for a look out the window. I got that feeling when you look at people’s posesssions and you feel like your leafing through the latest have-to-have catalog. That chair, those curtains, that lamp. Curated designer living, that despite all efforts of exclusivity, is identical to what the neighbours have done. When I run there I feel like I’m in zoo. I feel so alien, understand it so little. I am and came from somewhere so different. It’s what people are supposed to aspire to I guess. Not to worry, I don’t have half a million yet.
I ran twice around the island, like many other places where rich people live, it has a great views. Lights on the water, benches on the grass. The paths are well lit here. I passed a few runners, people saying hello. No one else out just one disgruntled dog walker peeled momentarily from the couch.
I looped back over another bridge back onto the main land and then up into the Havenbuurt (Harbour) with old small houses. Everything smaller, smaller lives. Warmly lit living rooms with big TVs. I like running here, similarly deadly paths but it’s time travel here and the streets have great harbour names. Bangkokstraat, Helsingborgstraat, Rigastraat. These streets were once filled with very drunk sailors from every corner of Europe. It’s what was on the island before they cleaned it up, or urban renewed or whatever they call it. In any case the people in the Haven don’t want to change and are they are fighting to keep their streets the same. Rochdale might just get their way though and upgrade history.
Sounds like a case for the A-Team.
I came home after a 8.7km and 55mins of running .I’d seen so much and it’s not even bright yet.
Shoes: KAYANO 19
I’m running with MY ASICS.
that’s what running is. It’s so bloody good at getting you around, into and along places. It’s helped me come to the conclusion that the centre of Zaandam is pretty much the ugliest part of the whole city. Most of the places where I go running around here are more interesting if not always more pretty to look at than the recent work they’ve done in the main street here. The Gedempte Gracht (the dammed canal, which ironically they have now un-dammed) is like an old lady with some new plastic surgery: unconvincing, sad and you wonder who should be sued.
Apart from observations on my town, nothing much happening, it was snowing here at the weekend, which kept me inside on the couch. But thank god, I got the guts tonight to just go run and not think about it too much. I didn’t even check the weather before going out, it would only turn into an excuse. What helps, is listening to some music. Yep, maybe the strangers I passed thought I was crackers as I sang along….better things to do better things to do than remember you….but life’s too short to really think about that…
Those tinkling high notes on piano are just awesome to run to…
I’m posting photos from my runs on instagram now, since I just like the tool and I’ve always taken photos on runs I like keeping them all in one place. That feels like shameless self promotion, but I guess I tend to talk a lot about the city here and it’s useful to put images to those words sometimes. For all it’s faults it’s not a boring place to look at.
Overall a good run, nearly 6km and not a bother with strength or breathing. Ready for more but building gently and can’t wait for more light in the evening and a change to summer time.
Plan: I’m running with MY ASICS.
That’s the goal. Run often. Not too bothered about how far or even where these days.
I’m enjoying the feeling of victory when I put a baby to bed and put my running shoes on. You feel superhuman. Granted I’ve only managed it a few times, but I’m allowing myself these victory celebrations over “I’m tired” and “work to do”.
I noticed I was beginning to hate my old running route here in Zaandam so I’ve gone for something totally different, running around the town itself, exploring neighborhoods and streets I never usually go into. It’s such a satisfying experience with the added anthropological delight of Dutch people leaving their curtains wide open. Of course what you notice is that everyone is just at home settling their dinner in front of the TV.
On Saturday we took the Smallee out for her first spin in the running buggy, oh what fun, until she got cranky and tired. Houston we have a screamer-and yes you could probably hear her in space. Girls are such dramas, right from birth. What was rather weird was that people either really liked we were running with a baby and happily shouted their approval at us, or shot us dirty looks which had ” you’re really not running with a BABY are you!!!??? Are you crazy!?”. Both of those communications occurring before aforementioned screams.
Pity nobody looks at the parents in McDonalds like that. Runners as usual are the crazy ones.
I’m currently running on the GEL KAYANO 19
Things don’t happen unless you make the time. Find it somewhere.
I’m trying to find time to run. Now I just need about 40mins to get out run, and get home. I feed the baby and then don’t give myself the chance to be distracted. I put her down to sleep and then straight into the gear, watch on, phone, headband a goodbye and enjoy being a runner again.
One thing I’ve noticed in these last few sessions, is that they are not nearly as tough as it was back when I first started to run. I think it took me weeks to be able to get around our block in Amsterdam. Back then it my body had no idea what was going on. The pain, the burning lungs, heart ready to explode in my chest. Yesterday I ran nearly 5km and it was fine. It wasn’t easy, I was kind of relieved it was over when I got home, but it wasn’t a battle.
I feel for people starting out with running, they always come to a point where they ask how can anyone enjoy doing it. The problem is that they are in the middle of the biggest battle of their running lives and they just don’t realise it. If you can just keep going and get over that wall of pain then every run after than will be better.
Maybe there will be pain later on, but the crucial difference is that when you’ve run for a while, you know deep down you really can overcome things. A beginner doesn’t know their own strength yet, it just feels like been beaten down all the time. If you know a beginner, support them. Finishing that first 5km is as big an achievement as a marathon. It’s the difference between being beaten and coming out on top. And everyone deserves to come out on top once in a while.
Sept 6th 4.8km in 35mins (GEL KAYANO 19)
I got a visit from the shoe fairy. I’m feeling very lucky to be testing a pair of GEL-KAYANO 19′s for our footwear team. The KAYANO has come a long way and boy are they bright.
I’m running by myself now, the Man stays at home with the Smallee. I take music, though all the those finger wagging safety people will say I’m taking my life in my hands. I’ve always thought that if “they”have got you that scared they’ve taken something from you already.
The parks are at the height of their summer glut. The air was heavy with dust, pollen and smells; as if everyone had just shook out their holiday bags before putting them away. I crunched along a few paths, noticing where they’ve resurfaced or changed the route since the last time I ran there a year ago. It seems so long ago.
I turned out to be the intruder, passing two groups of teenagers gathered on park benches. The Dutch call them “hangjongeren”, roughly meaning “hanging around young people”. A scourge of Dutch society, though I’ve observed their greatest crime to be putting their feet on the bench seats. They just sit around and play with their phones. Now and then I catch the whiff of a joint. The cool people have their scooters with them, the plebs count their blessings to be invited and bring an old bike. What a horrible stage in life it is. Utter boredom most of the time.
A guilty pleasure came on my playlist, an Adele song, Chasing Pavements. This is where I feel I have to defend that choice, but I’ll avoid that quagmire and move on. She sings- “should I give up or I should I just keep chasing pavements?
So I thought, should I just keep going? Do I just keep running different paths and streets for the next 10 years? What if they don’t lead anywhere or to anything? How much of running has do with goals? It begs the bigger question of how much of happiness has to do with success?
Sometimes it’s hard to tell the two apart. The cold-hearted competitor inside me says you must run a 3:30 marathon someday and EVERYONE is doing triathlons so better throw one of those in too. But why bother? Why not just run around and enjoy the view?
It’s so easy to turn a hobby into another little thing on that to-do list. And God knows the whole point of it is to get that to-do list off one’s mind.
So here’s to non-success. To something not quite failure, but just…..doing it?
Fri. Aug. 31st 4km in 00:26:03 (GEL KAYANO 19)
Sun. Sept. 2nd 6.1km in 00:39:30 (GEL KAYANO 19)