Monday, August 22, 2011

1,000 hits!!

I noticed on my ticker this morning that this blog has just surpassed 1,000 hits!

To celebrate, why don't you leave me a comment and say hi!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Where I walked last week: Amsterdam - Amstelveen- Ouderkerk aan de Amstel

I'm skipping my long walk this week in effort to give my knee a chance to heal from a small injury. It has been bothering me since wadlopen, nothing major, but it gets pretty sore after my long training walks. I'll take this opportunity to write about last week's walk, however, since I haven't done that yet.

Last week I finished a training walk of 20 miles (32 km)! This was a big milestone because it is the distance we will be walking each day during the 3-Day event. For the first leg, I walked from my house in the northeast part of Amsterdam, to the Olympic Stadium in the southwest part of town, where I attended a short meeting with one of the sponsors for our upcoming race. Since the sponsor just happens to be a running store (de Hardloopwinkel), I took the opportunity to buy another pair of shoes that I could rotate with my existing pair. I wore them out of the store and walked the next 15 miles in them and my feet still felt pretty good afterwards! Seeing my new, VERY bright pink shoes against the grey pavement has a great motivational effect.

Aren't these the loudest shoes you've ever seen?!

After that I headed to Amsterdamse Bos, and dropped off some flyers for the race. Speaking of the flyers, my talented friend Natale at nat + neo created them for us and this is how they turned out:

I left the Amsterdamse Bos and walked to Amstelveen, where I took the opportunity to stop by my in-law's house for a drink and a sandwich before continuing on to the second half of my walk. From Amstelveen I walked across a polder to Ouderkerk aan de Amstel. A polder is a low-lying piece of land that has been reclaimed from the sea, and approximately 27% of the land in the Netherlands wouldn't exist if it weren't for the highly ambitious engineers that figured out how to hold the sea back with dikes and levies.

From Ouderkerk aan de Amstel, I followed the Amstel river back up to Amsterdam. The entire walk ended up taking me seven hours, including stops. My legs felt very tired the last couple of miles and I had to bribe myself with an ice cream cone to continue on rather than calling Eric to ask him to pick me up (hey, bribery works as good on me as it does my kids!). My legs felt pretty stiff the next morning, and it wasn't until the end of my second fitness class of the morning that they start to loosen up. I probably won't walk this far again before the 3-Day, but I am glad that I got one 20 miler under my belt!

This Last week's walk: 

Distance: 20 miles (32km)
Time: 7 hours
Weeks Left: 4
Amount Left to Raise: $338 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A month from now...

In just one month I will be in Seattle, participating in the 3-Day for the Cure. Right now I am really looking forward to being together with my teammates. Having walked many training miles by myself, my experience until now has been pretty solitary. The good thing about all those lonely miles, however, is that I have had many opportunities to reflect on why I am doing this. I think about my mom and the struggles she endured during her long battle with breast cancer. The news of the cancer returning (twice), infections that wouldn't go away, treatments that were delayed, and her worry that her grandchildren would grow up never knowing who she was.

Her youngest grandchild-- my son, Luke-- was 3 months old when she passed away. She missed meeting him only by a few hours. She was sick for so long, but yet, her passing still seemed to come so suddenly, and without enough warning. Looking back on those final weeks there were plenty of warning signs, but she was so determined to ignore them that it made us doubt them, too. And she had rebounded plenty of times before... 

I know that I will be surrounded by people who have been affected by breast cancer during the 3-Day and some of those people will be battling, or have battled, breast cancer themselves.  I'm happy that I will have Katie, Kasha and Donna at my side during those emotional three days.

Me, Mom and Kasha

Friday, August 5, 2011

Where I'm walking this week: Alkmaar - Bergen - Duinen

The starting point for my walk today was Alkmaar, a quaint city about 45 minutes north of Amsterdam most known for its cheese market, which I apparently missed by only an hour. Bad timing! Or maybe it it's better that way, otherwise I would have been weighed down with a kilo or two of cheese for the rest of my walk.

I started out in the touristic center and was eager to make my way out of the city and away from the busyness. Once outside Alkmaar, I walked through pastureland to a village to the north called Bergen. I saw approximately 500 lovely houses that I wouldn't mind living in, if only they were in Amsterdam instead of Bergen.

After Bergen I walked through the Bergerbos (Berger Forest), which transitioned into sand dunes, and eventually, the beach along the shores of the North Sea. Again, I hardly came across a single other walker and the dunes were particularly desolate. I poured out a quarter cup of sand from each shoe once I made it through that area. Now, I admittedly have horrible navigational skills but I thought the whole area was poorly marked. Today was the first time I walked with my new iPhone and if it weren't for Google maps I'd probably still be wandering around in the dunes. I am happy to have the option of using Google maps now, but I also hate spending more time looking at my phone than at my surroundings.

Final Destination

Once again, this walk ended up being shorter than planned and I was only able to squeeze in 9 miles in the time that I had. I walked an additional 3.5 miles this morning though, while walking the course for the upcoming Mom in Balance Run for Pink Ribbon. I think next week I will stay close to home again so I can get a long walk in without losing time traveling.

This week's walk: 

Distance: 9.3 miles (15km) + 3.5 miles (6km)
Time: 2 hours 30 minutes (first walk of the day wasn't timed)
Weeks Left: 6
Amount Left to Raise: $478