Singelloop 2012

A few notes after the Utrecht Singelloop 2012.

The general feeling is of a certain disappointment. The result is a PR, but I only improved 6" over my last 10K time, while I was aiming for 40:00. In fact I was reaching the necessary pace (6:40) easily.

The race felt extremely hard to me for the pace I (thought) I was running at. I later realised why. I don't want to blame external factors I have no control over. I just want to underline for my own sake which variables I need to keep under control.

Here a short account of the race: the weather was perfect, 16C, no wind, sunny. The race course is pancake flat with good asphalt and a few  stone paved streaks. The organisation was good and efficient. I may however point that there was no distance information whatsoever on the route until km 7. 

I would say that my main points of failure were; pacing, stamina, foot strike , confusion and GI distress. All my own fault and preventible. One external annoyance was as always the clumsy slow runners  staying in your way. I had indeed taken this factor into account and placed myself on front of my cathegorie's starting gate. But I am not going to bother about factors that are not under my control. I will discuss the four minus points that I have to blame to myself:

Pacing : I paced myself too fast at the beginning. Not consciously but as a result of a completely wrongly calibrated Nike+ Sportband. The sensor marked 5.73 miles when I crossed the finish, so that it was 1/2 a mile short. I initially wanted to pace myself on time but I forgot to preprepare the bracelet with the splits. The result was that I was pacing myself too fast while I was reading  that my pace was low. The obvious result was that I went tired too fast. I was unable to make a second faster half and I failed to properly sprint in the last 500m.
Lesson learned; never again neglect the paper strip. Convert the paces to metric and rely mainly on instinct during the first 2 miles. TRAINING: train to race on feeling.

Stamina : I wasn't feeling 100% well during the day and a few days before. Stress at home, lack of sleep because of gaming (!) and a certain loss of training perspective during the holidays, skipping some trainings and cutting some others short.
Lesson learned; sleep! Videogames can be retaken, sleep not.

Foot strike :  the flats do hurt. They are 1/2 size too small for my Morton toes, it hurts a lot after a few days training in them (black toenail) and I tend to clench my toes instinctively. The hard sole is also not too good for my type of forefoot strike and fast pacing. 
Lesson learned; USE THE F****G FORCE LUKE! The MT10 would have been the better choice. The canvas would have been great too. It sounds ridiculous, but they are a great choice for street running. And don't forget the WTF factor. With either I would have been able to make full use of my forefoot strike, winning a minute at least.

Confusion : this is directly related to pacing. I lost my sense of pacing and distance completely. It's true that there was a total lack of km markings until midrace, but I should have known as can't rely on km markings anyway.
Lesson learned; remember to print the splits strip. Use the Garmin preferentially, it's not so bulky. Use metric in the splits strip. Do at least 2 calibration of the pods before the race. TRAINING: train in metric some times.

GI distress : I need to be much more careful with pre-race food. Curry rice with chili was not a good option. Nor was it to start with creatine  loading as this induced a lot of  bloating and liquid retention, with an influence on my sleeping patterns.
Lesson learned; stick to your good habits, do not neglect these or relax your self discipline. The week before the race should be like a Zazen practice; be mindful, concentrate on the race, keep the discipline of a monk, stay sharp as a samurai.

That's a lot to accomplish. Regarding point 3, the only long term option would be buying a new pair of flats as I can't see myself racing a marathon in the MT10. I will nevertheless try to run the next 14 miler in them at near-race pace to see how it feels. Haemolytic this morning was very high after the recorders run.

I am now not too confident about the results next October 21 and I may lower my expectations to a 1:39 like in Egmond.

 As of the fatasses clogging my path I have already taken the best possible measure: getting a competition license.


End of the Season: Setting goals for the intermediate period

short sum up

Well, the season is over for me. Now I will take a rest and plan the next season and what to do in between.

My plans are first two full weeks of complete or almost complete rest and after that two or three months of alternative training.

My wish list includes bodybuilding (my all-times favourite for these periods), rope jumping and "fun runs". The latter means to just pick a place or a time, put on my huaraches or whatever I fancy and run. No GPS, no HRM, no nothing, I actually plan to just  check the time on my computer's clock before elaving and after return, and that just to keep track of the burnt calories.

Regarding nutrition and calories this time of lower effort is ideal to start an Intermittent Fasting diet (one or two days a week, no complicated 36/12 stuff or so). 

The first two weeks I am not going to do anything and I am not going to restrain my eating patterns in any way. Later I may want to increase the intake of calories, etc. 

More about that when I do the planning.

Tomorrow after the last race (Spieren voor Spieren 2012) I will make a recap of the entire season and decide what to do the next season in terms of setting goals and decide races, etc.


  1. Keep weight under control
  2. Improve upper body strenght
  3. Improve feet musculature
  4. Have a lot of fun

For goal #1 I will start the Interval Fasting program on May 7. (this means two weeks from now).I will have to add a "notes" entry to my cronometer.com nutrition log to keep track of the nutrients.

For #2 I will surely go back to Scooby's proven workouts and maybe add one or two different workouts. Another option would be crossfit, I will maybe try a week or two with crossfit. The problem with the latter is on one side that it will be difficult to fit into my working week and it's  too noisy to do early in the morning. Well, I will see. And there is also the fact that I want to target a specific group of muscles; the upper body, while I already do an extensive workout for the core muscles and legs.

For #3 I will obviously include a lot of minimal running in huaraches plus the foot strenght workout. 

For #4 I will just go out and run, no clock, no nothing. Just enjoy. Slow, no hurry and surely with huaraches as often as I can.

The goal is to reach the new schedule in perfect shape and reloaded.



New PR at Utrecht Jaarbeurs Marathon 2012

Awesome. Quoting Hannibal Smith "I love it when a plan comes together!".
21 weeks of training with two excellent highlights: 1:39:xx at Egmond, almost untrained and 3:21:47 (official) at the Utrecht Jaarbeurs Marathon 2012. My placing is 27th among my age group and 130 of the total (!).

This actually means 7 minutes less than my wildest calculations. I would have been quite happy with 3:30 - 3:45 (Boston qualifying time). I was actually happily keeping the pace with the 3:45 and the 3:30 pacemakers but I went annoyed by the crowd and the balloon hitting my face.

I loved it. I was able to run almost the whole run without water or fluids which means that I was perfectly hydrated and carb loaded. I hate the idea of running with my hydration backpack, I will better leave it for the next season when I start doing ultras. If I had carried it I would have been able to carry a couple more of gels and make an even better time and the weather today would have allowed it, but I hated just thinking on carrying extra weight.

Another result of the training was that I was able to foresee the moment when I was going to "hit the wall" and stop at a watering hole to refuel. The timing was perfect. My pace went down at the end but I had accumulated enough buffer to reach my goal below 3:30. And as I already said I wouldn't have minded ending at 3:45.

When I finished I was rather hypothermic and extremely confused. During the last miles I almost lost my way a couple of times and I wasn't sure if I was already over the finish line or not so that I kept on sprinting some more yards. I walked to the Jaarbeurs Convention Centre and laid myself down for a good while, my lips were blue and I felt prickling on my tongue.  But after a hot coffee, warm fries and an alcohol free beer I was again as new.

Another "injury" that I suffered is a bloody nipple. Again. It's the second time I chafe my nipples in this run! The first time was in 2011 during the Jaarbeurs Half Marathon and then this year. It's like a course set on this place or so, because I never had any issues anywhere else. LOL.

Besides of that I am perfectly fine and ready to run for a PR on the next 10K here in Hilversum!!!

As a said: I love it when plans come together.



Recipe: Demon's Blood

I just invented a new hellish Cocktail: Demon's Blood!!!
The recipe:
  • 200ml of Red Beet Juice (best if biologic!) and of course, chilled from the fridge!!!
  • 1/2 clove of Garlic grated in the cheese grater or mashed, your choice
  • A dash of salt, I use Jozo Bewust (a Dutch brand), that's 68% potassium salt plus normal sodium salt
  • Pepper from the mill (black and straight from Avernus)
  • Tabasco sauce, dunno, 5 drops at least!!! 
This is a hell of a nice drink! Tons of carbs, tastes awesome, fresh, with the performance enhancing effects of beet juice, the anti-inflammatory effects of capsaicin and pepper, the circulatory enhancing benefits of garlic, the metabolic boost of capsaicin and a shot of potassium to compensate for the after-workout!!!
It doesn't quenches your thirst, it kills it dead!

I am thinking on adding a few grams of flax seeds and put it in the blender to add more nice stuff, but for now this will be enough!



Weekly Recap [week 11]

Week 15/18 for Utrecht Jaarbeurs Marathon 2012

So-so week in terms of performance: I started strong on both strength and running training but ended with an injury in my right elbow. I skipped a 4 miler recovery run on Saturday to go to Amsterdam with my wife and I cut Sunday's 20 miler short at 14.8 because of the pain in my arm and GI indisposition. In fact the second thing was caused by me goign to run in the evening instead of going in the morning before lunch, as planned. I have however learned a valuable lesson: My GI issues are not related to any special circumstance or diet but just to the fact hat it's not a good thing to run with full belly. Thus, problem solved in this regard. And as I never eat before a race except a gel or two and some liquid I will be more than OK.

Key Trainings:

  • Both, the strides and the VO2max session went quite good. I did the strides in Anna's Hoeve on a road so that I had more control over the actual distance. I was able to notice a failure of the Garmin 201 as it made one of the strides longer. The result was 2-3 points lower than my usual >5. During the VO2max run the result was above 44 while the standard is 40-42. That's good.
  • I runt the medium long run on Friday at marathon pace (the whole run) and with flats. My legs were still a bit stuff but afer warm up I gained a lot of momentum and speed.
  • Sunday's 20 miler was a mess: I was injured at my elbow and decided to make it a slow fun-run. I had to stop twice for a pee. At mile 9.80 I got a bad cramp in my belly and had to stop in the woods for [censored]. I fortunately use to carry paper hankies with me. At mile 14.8 I decided to stop because my back was hurting a lot caused by the extra strain of the elbow injury. I also got another belly cramp so that I just walked back home.  


  • I did 1o minutes of rope jumping which went quite nicely skipping most of the time. I stil jump too high so that it seems more like a pliometrics drill than proper rope jumping, but nice anyway. My calves were quite stiff during a few days.


  • Elbow Injury: During Friday's 11-miler my right arm was somewhat uncomfortable, I loosened the GPS and noticed a 'snapping' feeling, like a tendon moving from place or similar. Once at home I noticed that the elbow joint was (and still is) swollen to huge proportions. It hurts when I touch the Ulna and also the Flexor digitorum muscle 5-7cm from the elbow joint  and the Biceps brachii. Checking the internet I have found three possible causes: A displaced tendon, a biceps strain or a hyperextension injury. The cause is strength training.

Measures taken: RICE and Ibuprofen 3x400mg. A bit of tape on my forearm works also quite nicely, the movement of my hand is not affected. I bought a cold/warm therapy bag filled with some blue liquid that can be used for both things, works wonders(!). I am skipping strength training completely this week and doing elliptical instead to burn the necessary calories. I will anyway reduce the volume of weight lifting these last weeks. As the root cause is a muscle imbalance I will be doing some easy strength exercise for the hand extensors using a proteín container filled with 2kg (or so) of sand.  


First Medum Long run in Huaraches !!! Wooooooooo!

This was a a crazy week in regard to minimalist running:

Last Wednesday I had a strides session scheduled. I normally do the strides in flats but before the strides I run between 4 and 8 miles at recovery pace (well, kinda). And I thought that it would be a great idea to do all the recovery session in huaraches. What I do is to put my flats into an hydration backpack, strap on my huaraches and run to the place where I do the strides, there I normally change into the flats, do the strides and run back home...

Wednesday it was raining, windy and the temperature was 5 C, rather chilly, but the run to the park was awesome. I thus decided to try doing a session of 6x 200m strides in huaraches. It was a disastrous session: My right strap loosened and cut my skin (both things!). I strapped it in a hurry at home as I did not wanted my wife to bitch about me running in the rain with "these things". I managed to keep the right huarache on for at least some meters every time and I strapped it during the 30 seconds of rest between intervals. Oh, I forgot to comment that I am stubborn as a whole stable full of mules. So that I did the whole set. During the last one the huarache completely loosened and repeatedly hit my left foot... but I did it! After this ordeal I did the 6 sets of normal strides in flats.

Today I decided to do the scheduled 11miler in huaraches. I ended up with a huge skin abrasion this time on my left foot. Did I already mention that I am 'a bit' stubborn... and I also have a high pain threshold. So well, if I have managed to run home with a broken toenail and bleeding like a pig and with ITBS a simple abrasion  will not stop me even for a second. Yes, I know,  "there are people runnign ultras in these things", and I do know what I did wrong. Nevermind: As soon as I grow a callus it will stop hurting... either that or I become more careful strapping the huaraches (I use the traditional style).

The run itself was fantastic: On asphalt, dirt road and concrete. A nice long and relatively steep hill and a short a really steep one.

During the descent from the hills I noticed that the heel strap seems to get looser and at some points it almost feel. I need to address that trying a different way of strapping.

My calves felt stiff during and after the run and somewhat sore but nothing a few hours or rest and sleep cannot cure. I was actually more afraid that the balls of my feet would feel more sore but they are demonstrating run after run that even when they start to hurt a bit while running on hard surfaces they do not hurt afterwards, I can feel a sort of stiffness (to call it something) but it's not discomfort or even burn, just that  you feel that you have run... not a bad feeling at all because they somehow feel strong.

Running in huaraches does feel good and it is working improving my form. I have said that I am stubborn but I am not stupid and in case I sensed real danger of injury I would stop immediately as I don't want to miss the next two races and throw 23 hard weeks of training overboard.. It just happens that besides some abrasions. minimalist running is proving to be both fun and extremely effective.