I’ve been avoiding large (marathon) events; why disturb the peace of running by yourself on a random dike in the Netherlands? However, I got invited for a run with the team of startpagina.nl and I couldn’t resist. It was also a great motivation for me to run throughout the summer. This run from Amsterdam until Zaandam is one of the largest in the Netherlands with almost 90.000 participants. I used to be very serious about my time; No talking, no sightseeing and straight to the finish. This day I decided to enjoy the experience. High fiving the little kids beside the road. Due to the warm weather, I drank some water at every stop (not something I usually do) and finished within my goal of 1h 30m. This was my third event I ran on my five fingers and I realize it’s not so popular in the Netherlands. (people keep asking about them). Arriving in Zaandam, I took the train back home. Leaving the town, I was pleasantly surprised with it’s center architecture. It looked typical Dutch but with a modern twist.
My father in law came over from Korea. A rare occasion so Suna and me wanted to do something special. Whilst planning his trip, we realized that during his last visit, we had already shown him most of the popular spots we knew. But not the southern provence of Limburg! After booking a holiday house, we decided to give him a full tour in that area, we visited Maastricht, Aachten (DE), Monschou (DE) and Spa Francorchamps. It was a nice week. Had a chance to run in the area, made barbeque in the yard, played games (go-stop is a Korean card game) and I got some reading done there. Since we were planning to visit Andre Rieu (small video here) we booked tickets on our last night there. People around me think Andre Rieu is a bit corny with his popular waltz music. Actually, I haven’t seen Andre play his instrument that much, but he is such an outstanding character, it really makes the show!
I was looking forward to this day. It would be all about summer. But instead, I got up in the morning and it was grey outside, and the rain was falling. I told myself it wouldn’t be bad and drove the 1,5 hr all the way up north to Enkhuizen. By the time I got there, the sun came through and I met the crew of this epic sailing event specialisterren.nl, our destination: Stavoren (on the opposite of the lake) and I quickly realized sailing isn’t about relaxing and sitting back. It’s hard work to halyard, make hitches and be cautious about what’s happening around you, all this with a lot of wind and rain in your face. As the only first timer, I thought we were don’t well and enjoyed our time out there. Until… we hit the seabed with our keel. Yes. We were going a good 7 knots, and suddenly we all felt a small tremble and a flinch in our velocity and looked at each-other, grabbed what we could and a few seconds later, the boat hit the seabed and with a huge slam, and with a bouncing motion, we almost came to a full stop. Turns out we steered right into undeep waters (< 3 meters). We began raising the keel immediately and calmly waited the shallow waters out. In the end the crew inspected the ship, laughed that everything was ok, and we all continued our journey. Turns out the map did warn us of this, we just came in to quickly. An potentially dangerous mistake. Soon after this, we arrived at the Stavoren harbour and enjoyed a nice meal and shared the story with the second specialisterren boat, who managed to get there quicker than us. Suddenly I realized I was worried about the weather for nothing. The typical Dutch skies with a few raindrops here and there actually contributed to the experience. I got to appreciate the landscape and the country a little bit more. Back in the harbor, we reviewed the day and the team was planning to stay the night and head out the next day again. For me it was enough, happy to be back on land I drove back to our home.
Over the last few years, Sanoma thew some huge parties for christmas. However, considering the large downscaling the company went through in 2013, a huge party didn’t seem in order. There was room for a small party with a DJ. Nevertheless it was a great (and jam-packed) evening! I managed to borrow a google glass v2 from a nu.nl journalist for a while, the first time wearing glass was very interesting. Drank way to much at the party but had great fun.
Ran the ‘Bruggenloop’ in Rotterdam together with my dad and Gijs. The fifteen kilometers went smooth and I finished five minutes faster compared to last year. Apperantly there aren’t a lot of vibram shoes yet as people like this photographer insisted of taking a photo of only my shoes. There was one real barefoot runner, kind of risky because there was glass on the court. Anyway, Gijs thought it was funny how my shoes got attention and snapped a picture of the scene, right in front of stadium ‘de kuip’ in Rotterdam.
Joined a two month programme here at Sanoma, the so called ‘Performance Based Academy’. An inspirational event marked the kick-off last Friday, in the FOX theatre. There were speakers from outside the company as well; Tom Coronel – a race car driver and entrepreneur talked a bit how he made his e-commerce business into a success. He sells Plasma televisions and washing-machine’s online. Two takeaways from his presentation:
* Make use of all social media – produce product reviews and publish those on Youtube. This generates a lot of extra traffic to your site. When a product goes out of stock, be sure to go back add links to your latest video’s.
* Be different, Social media deal – Do not just show a plain share button. A better idea is to offer a discount to your customers when they share their purchase to their friends. You can make that part of the checkout process. A fun and unique feature!
The day closed with a nice dinner and a party. I’m looking forward to the rest of the programme!
I bought minimalist running shoes. Throughout human history, running barefoot was the natural way to run. Athletes ran barefoot until the 1970s. But then something interesting happened. The conventional running shoe was invented, heel cushioning, stiff sole and arch support would increase performance and reduce pressure on your feet. A claim that is unsupported depending on which source you ask. In 2009, Barefoot running was on the rise. Largely due to the Vibram Five Finger shoes, which offer protection but no real support, and you are supposed to run almost exactly like you would when you run barefoot. My friend Marc bought some Vibram five fingers and enjoyed them. I had just bought new expensive conventional running shoes. I decided to wait. I ran several half marathons on those conventional shoes, without injury. Until last month, they were up for replacement so I could decide again. This time I bought Vibram Five finger shoes. I was told to start slow on my five fingers, so I did. The first week after purchase I didn’t run. I just walked around the house with them one hour a day. The week after, I made a small run (3km). But at home I discovered I had a lot of blisters. I left them alone until the next weekend and ran 6 km with them. No problems. Today I ran 8km and enjoyed the run.
Besides running I have been wearing them during table-tennis as well. With both, the shoes felt very light and I felt flexible. When running, with conventional shoes and a vehicle is approaching towards me, it would be troublesome to jump on the sidewalk and continue running but with my minimalist shoes, I feel I have better balance. Putting the minimalist shoe beside the conventional shoe, the size and weight difference is staggering. I’m still getting used to my new minimalist shoes and running without socks but the vibram five finger shoes seem like a really good purchase.
I forced myself to run in 2008 to get in shape for a fun run. I didn’t like it at all. However, soon I enlisted in a half marathon and the habit of training and running a few kilometers stuck to me. Runs that stand out are the Marathon in Seoul , Shanghai  , and small runs on holiday in Hong Kong and San Francisco. After arrival in a different country, running can be a great way to get over a jet lag and to explore the area around your hotel. Back home, I’ve made it a habit to run a few kilometers every weekend. I don’t necessarily join big events but run because I like it. Especially early Sunday mornings; as there aren’t that many people out yet and I found a perfect round from my house straight to a river dike (I am in the Netherlands after all). Looking over the Lek river in either sunny, stormy or rainy weather is always serene experience. When I finished my Sunday jogging session today I noticed that I’ve already logged a moderate 800km on dailymile. I haven’t logged all my runs on this site, but try to do so to keep track of my progress. It’s fun to see those numbers accumulate over time.