Delft – Maassluis – Delft

Today’s walk was the longest yet until the Vierdaagse itself – 39.1km.  The route took me through the Vlietlanden to Schipluiden, Vlaardingen and Maassluis, mostly walking along the waterside.  A good route, and the early part to Vlaardingen and back would make a nice Sunday walk, with a bit of bird spotting thrown in.

I ended up taking an unexpected break about 20km into the walk, when I came across a man collapsed on the side of the path.  He was being assisted by another woman, who had called an ambulance, so I stayed to keep an eye on him whilst she tried to bring in the paramedics, who were stuck on the wrong side of a hump backed bridge.  In the meantime, a police man arrived on a motor cycle.  After some questioning, and the aid of the Breathalyzer, it appeared that the man was not seriously ill, but seriously drunk. 

Zandvoort aan Zee to Katwijk

This weekend’s walk was in the opposite direction from last week’s, south along the coast from Zandvoort aan Zee to Katwijk, with a small detour through the Nordwijkerhout along the way.  Unfortunately, having taken the Garmin along with me and recorded the route, I managed to wipe it out in my relief at reaching Katwijk at the end.  Fortunately not before I knew how far I’d walked – 25km.  As you can see, it was a typical grey, rainy day.

Scheveningen to Noordwijk

After a few weeks hiatus, I resumed my training for the Nijmegen Vierdaagse today with a walk through the dunes from Scheveningen to Noordwijk, about 20.5km.
The weather wasn’t ideal – muggy and overcast, and about halfway into the walk, very rainy.  For the sake of experimentation (and because I hadn’t charged up my GPS watch) I only used the iPhone (with the MapMyRun app) to record the route… very effective, but it also drained the battery very fast, so I stopped recording at Katwijk.  By the time I arrived in Noordwijk and wanted to look up the bus information, the battery was completely dead.  Not the smartest idea, thus.


Vancouver Sun Run – 10K

So, the name gives it away… I was planning to run 10K today.  Instead, since the training hasn’t exactly been going to plan, I decided to walk the event instead and consider it training for the 4daagse.  And since Mum is out here with me, I dragged her along too for the ride!
The truth of the matter is that despite I always tell everyone that I’m visiting Vancouver, my Grandmother lives in a neighbouring city rather than Vancouver itself, and we very rarely make it downtown.  So, it was actually quite good fun to go into Vancouver, first on Saturday to pick up our start numbers, and then again today for the race itself. 

We were lucky to have fantastic weather, resulting in an amazing turnout of 51,417 participants.  Not for nothing is this billed as Canada’s largest 10K.  As walkers, we started in the last group, and didn’t manage to get over the starting line until about 10.30.  As the official race start was at 9am, we had a lot of hanging around.

The route took us past the cathedral, and to the tip of Stanley Park, home to the Vancouver Aquarium, which is one of the places we always used to visit when I was a kid, and then primarily along main streets around the edge of town, finishing up at the ice hockey stadium.  I couldn’t help but think that if I ever decide to run a marathon, it would be pretty cool to do it in Vancouver.  It’s a city that can’t help looking good, with the water and the backdrop of snow covered mountains.

Vierdaagse Training Progress:
Total distance: 79.9km / 49.9mi
Longest walk: 25km / 15.6mi

I’m still looking for my first sponsor for the Vierdaagse! You can sponsor me here: http://www.virginmoneygiving.com/natashahadfield 

Nijmegen Vierdaagse – Asthma UK

Today is World Asthma Day and therefore the perfect moment to unveil my (not very momentous) plans.  I’ve decided to use the opportunity of taking part in the Nijmegen Vierdaagse to try and raise some money and awareness for asthma research, via the charity Asthma UK.
Some of you know, probably a lot of you don’t, that I have asthma myself.  Most people won’t have seen me use my inhaler, because I hate using it in public.  My colleagues may have seen me sneak out of a meeting for a quick break, but you probably wouldn’t have known that that was the reason why.  Asthma does interfere with my life on a daily basis.  On a good day, it’s nothing more than remembering to stop and take my medications, even though I may be running late for work, or exhausted after a long week and a Friday night choir practice.  On other days, I could spend the evening on the coach struggling to breath, and putting my running plans (and everything else) on hold.   And then, after a disrupted night’s sleep, having to get up for work again in the morning.  
But on the scale of asthma, I’m one of the lucky ones.  A bad day means I’m struggling, but it doesn’t put me in hospital.  Asthma might slow me down sometimes, but for others it can limit even the most basic physical activity.
And that’s why I want to fundraise.  Not for the people like me, but for those who can’t gain control over the condition with the medications currently available, and who battle constantly, not only the disease itself, but from the side effects of the drugs they need to take.  Deeper understanding of asthma could transform their lives.
So, anyone that wants to offer support, you can do it in the following ways:
  • leave a comment on the post so I know you read it 🙂
  • ask me how the training’s going, and I’ll be glad to bore you about it!
  • take a look at Amy Anaruk’s compilation of peoples’ stories at A record of breathlessness
  • and best of all, donate something to the cause via my fundraising page

Venlo Bloesemtocht

Second training walk today, this time in the town of Venlo, in the province of Limburg and on the German border.  I had a hard time finding the starting point of the walk (the price you pay for writing down the wrong street name, and not simply printing out the map), which ended up adding almost 5km to the total walking distance.  Getting directions wasn’t helped by the fact that I sometimes had a hard time following the Limburgs accent.

It wasn’t a great day to be outside, and as a result I got drenched in a couple of heavy rain showers.  Despite that, it was a pleasant walk, which had the novelty of crossing the border and taking me into Germany (meaning that suddenly everyone I came across greeted me with ‘Guten Tag’ instead of ‘Goede Dag’).

As with last week’s walk, everyone I spoke to along the way was very impressed that I’d traveled from Delft to come to their corner of The Netherlands.  The organizers were so pleased to have someone travel from so far, that they gave me a special memento of the day, and also very kindly gave me a lift back to the train station at the end of the day.

This week’s walk certainly felt easier than last week’s, helped in part, I imagine, by the fact that it was less hot.  At the end my feet were less sore, and I was pleased to find that I’d also kept up a faster pace.  Still a long way to go before I’m walking 40km, but things are going in the right direction.

Waterland Wandelmarathon Volendam – 23K

Amongst all the emails that I received whilst I was away, was one from the organizers of the Nijmegen Vierdaagse, telling me that I have managed to get a place in this year’s event. For those not in the know, this means that come July, I need to be ready to walk 40km, 4 days in a row. Time then to start training more seriously.
In order to spice up the training, particularly on the longer runs, I’ve decided to take part in some organized walking events, of which there are quite a number each weekend, scattered around the country.

Today took me up to the town of Volendam for the first one, the Waterland Wandelmarathon. Volendam is in the province of North Holland, on the shore of the IJsselmeer (former Zuiderzee), which meant that I took the train up through the bulb growing area this morning whilst they are at their best.

The walk started out with a long trek through the polders, taking in a couple small villages, before following the dyke alongside the IJsselmeer for 6km to Edam and then back to Volendam.  As I started at about 10.30, I think most of the walkers on my route had already left.  In any case, whilst there were always one or two other walkers in sight, the route was never crowded.  Only once we reached the final kilometres and the harbour in Volendam did it get incredibly crowded, due to the huge numbers of tourists visiting the town.  By that time my feet were pretty sore, and I wasn’t too impressed at all the people who kept coming between me and the finish!

All in all a good walk, though one that’s left me slightly terrified of the final 40km distance!

Looking forward to 2010

So, now the question is, what do I have planned for 2010?  Well, amongst other things:

  • Taking the RSCM Silver Award
  • Trying to run a half marathon, and/or trying to run a sub-30 minute 5K.  Actually, from where I’m standing right now, just getting running again would be a good start!
  • Completing the Nijmegen Vierdaagse (4 x 40km march)
  • My first Level 3 Open University course, in Infectious Diseases

And, of course, somewhere within all of this, I need to fit in some travelling, to destinations as yet unknown!