Sunday, April 20, 2008

It's tulip time again...

Pink and purple, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

Yes, it is the middle of April and the tulips are out, whole fields of them in the west, towards Leiden, near where Fred works. You can see the splashes of colour from the plane as you come in to Schiphol. I am seeing if I can persuade Fred to come along and cycle around there, albeit, taking the train either there or back, depending on the wind direction... but I think he would rather just go for a walk in Amsterdam this afternoon.

It looks to be a nice sunny day outside and, despite the fact that it has felt mostly quite cold recently, it has been reasonably sunny and dry.

Yesterday, I went for my second run - the Geinloop, along the River Gein, in the countryside south-east of Amsterdam. I had run it a few years ago and decided to give it another try after my 7.5 km last weekend, this time increasing the distance to 10 km. It was a cold and windy day and I already felt tired in my legs before even cycling against the wind to get to the start on time to register. And, feeling something in my right leg , it would have been very easy to have stayed at home... but I did not want to give into that.

Whereas last weekend I was just happy to be out running again and finishing in one piece, this week, I had further to go and wanted to run a better time than the week before. In this way, I was less relaxed than the previous week, with the result that I probably started a bit too quickly and paid the price during the rest of the run. Somehow, the kilometers went by very slowly, as I kept on at one pace, feeling it all in my legs. We ran to a turning point at 5 kms, where I coukd see I was running a reasonable time and then we had to run back, against the wind. By now the field was quite stretched and there were not too many people just ahead of me, it always being an incentive to overtake someone ahead of you. Anyway, in the struggle to remain relaxed (which is always better) and not to go any slowly, I managed to keep up a reasonable pace up tio the end, not feeling too bad in the closing stages.

I came back with a time of 47 minutes and 35 seconds, which was about a minute faster than the pace I had run the previous week. So progress. Always a great feeling to finish, a sort of high and a sense of relief combined with a sense of achievement. It was only two months ago that I started running again after three years of not running - and I remember cycling along the same route those weekends we had that lovely weather back in February. If I had thought I would be running 10 kms in 47 minutes within two months back then, I would have been very satisfied.

I had the wind to help me cycle the 10 kms back home, where I had a toasted sandwich and had a nice hot bath, followed by a late afternoon sleep... a just reward. Eric came round for dinner - he had cycled 55 kms in 85 minutes earlier in the day and had also had a bath and snooze. Fred cooked us a lovely dinner (as usual) a Sexy Salad from Jamie and a nice aubergine/potato/tomato dish from Rick Stein. Accompanied by our Argentinian wine - Griffigna - 3.89 euros a bottle from the Vomar.


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