« Trailrunning, travelling alone
Thursday 19 December 2019

Just running

Ok, I had to tone down a bit. I was planning to go to do all these beautiful forest trails this winter al over Northern Ireland! I entered myself to the first two. But reality let me know I needed to tone it down a bit. I was stressing myself out pushing to longer distances and trails far away. I am a confident driver but driving on the left in a English car on these roads still takes a lot of concentration. So driving to far away trails is taxing, running them also but in a nice way! But then driving also back felt all a bit too much.

So, abended that plan. New plan: no competitions or trails for this winter, just running for the joy I get out of it. No surprise that after that decision I ran my easiest 6k ever! Pressure gone, and running just for running. Only when I feel like it and I can change my plans any time.

For some variation I did a nice 15k coastal path, walking, challenging since it was a bit icy all the way.

My training sessions with the Ward Park Runners go better and easier all the time so I know I am making improvement.


Tuesday 6 August 2019

Mount Stewart, run the trails

Finally I dared to subscribe for a trail since I moved to North Ireland. Last year I started trail running and did 3 trails in Holland.

After 4 month of getting used to this very new and for me challenging land for running I planned a trail. Around mount Steward is a beautiful forest in which I had walked. Most races here are on the road and I just want to be in nature and enjoy myself. So I selected Mt Steward, run the trails of 10 k. Still some road and a lot of very rocky paths and of course some hills!

For me this was going to be test. First of all if I could complete the whole 10 k. Secondly how far away I was time-wise from my trails in Holland. Lastly, could I stick to my “barefoot” running technique?

After an afternoon filled with rain it cleared up in the evening. Some 500 runners gathered for a 10 k and a half marathon. Of we went, I positioned myself at the back of the pack. First some bits of

road slowly climbing on long hills. I had switched on my metronome on 180 to keep me centred. Most of the first half turned out to be a mind game! Going uphill – no pushing just hang back, small steps, just lift my leg, no pushing. When I pass someone I need to remind myself to stay quiet in my pace. When

I am passed I need to remind myself not to tag along going to fast. Because going downhill is the toughest for my body I take does bits to relax into, going slow. 1k mark in 10 min = nice. 2k mark in 10 min = nice. 3k mark in 10 min = nice. 4k mark in 10 min = great. 5k mark in 8 min = wow. 6k mark, where is the promised water point – my rest point? There, at 6,2k water and rest, for I have done great! From here some really rough stony path show up and some more shorter hills, my feet are complaining so I take it easy and do some walking. But keep on running because it looks like my time will be really good. Somewhere I have accidently switches of my Strava, what a pity! But this is a chipped run!

I finish this 10 k in 1:21 min.! Faster than ever and not really tired. The following days no real stiffness. I kept to my barefoot running skills and this combined with the trainings with the Ward Park Runners here in Bangor set me up for this fantastic trail!

Saturday 27 July 2019


Running in the summer in my trail running shoes gave me sweaty feet and I do not like sweaty feet. So I bought some sandals to run in: Xero Amuri Cloud to be precise.

So I took them for a test run to Groomsport over a small rocky track and back over the road. Starting out really carefully and slow, will they stay on, are they to tight, will I trip, lots of thoughts turning around in my mind. Quietly I become more confident and it felt so liberating and free.
Coming to a beach I took them of and walked just enjoying the lovely weather and all the people on the beach having a day out. After the beach I cleaned the sand of my feet and put them back on. Here a small track started and I felt more confident, just throwing my feet down relaxing into to ground. I had to get used to the load noise I was making, but it was a good way to announce my arrival to others 😉
The small track really got rocky and here and there I even needed my hand scrambling up or down. But the sandals were great – as if they were not even there! I loved every minute of it and went further along this track right into the marina of Groomsport! I had never been this far which say a lot about my new foot wear. Here I turned back and stayed along the road back into Bangor.

Saturday 27 July 2019

Over enthousiastic

Ok, I have to admit I was a bit over the top, being super enthusiastic about how everything was going. Because running every day and then doing swimming in the sea as well was a bit too much. A week later I was totally drained and had to rest up.

Some basics, like the real training of the muscles takes place on the two rest days afterwards ….. Or that the swimming might feel totally easy but my muscles told me at night that “a lot of them had had a serious workout”!

So I did a week of resting as in no running or swimming! The following Saturday there was a 650 swim “Pickie to Pier” for the yearly vintage seaside revival festival. And guess what I did it in 18 minutes 😉 which is really good considering I had never before swam such a distance let alone in the sea with big waves! Next Monday we did the same interval training as the Monday before and this time I did great and got me some Strava awards!

Now I will be back on running 3 times a week: Monday the WPR training, a small run and a long run. Although I love the swimming I will keep that on once a week for now. See how this goes. You will read about it next time.

Wednesday 26 June 2019

Getting there …

At last I can say that I have landed here in Bangor, North Ireland. Because last week I sort of upped the training. I went for a run or a swim every day and totally loved it!
The swimming here is in the sea and is the best thing I ever did, still getting used to the waves. It is a nice change if I think my running needs a break. Or just go swimming in the morning and running in the evening because I could.

To get back to my running. Now I have been training with the Ward park runners (WPR). I still have to hold back a little. Like when they plan a long hills session for 30 minutes … I did really well but stopped after 20 min. I mean even they say it is a hard training so who am I, from Holland, to think too lightly about it.

The good news is that in the day’s after a training like that I hardly feel it, instead of the one week being crippled the first time I joined. So this week I will probably go for both the Monday and Wednesday trainings. Why? Because I am contemplating doing a 10 k on a mountain ….. Last year in Holland I did a couple of 10 k trail runs, nice and easy on my minimalistic shoes, then it took me 1,5 hours with the walking here and there. I would like to see how I will do over here …

So lots of training ahead and the luxury to have lots of time for it.

Friday 7 June 2019

Northern Ireland – Bangor

It has been a quest how to get comfortable running in this new enviroment. Coming from Holland I am used to completely flat terrain to start with, here nothing is flat. Even when locals tell me a track will be flat, for me it is defenitly not! I was also used to running on the tracks of the forest that I found everywhere I lived. Here in Bangor most of the path are of concreet, the coastal path and all path in the parks.

Running on minimalistic shoes (Vibram) my feet struggled with the concreet. Now I only run on my minalistic trailrunning shoes (Vibram V-trail) who, with the added profile, give my feet just that little extra comfort.
My feet were not the only ones complaining. My hips, the joints, also had theire problems. Since there was no flat, the going up and most importantly the going downhill took some getting used to.

It took me two month of taking it really slow to get comfotable running around here. To further improof I joined a running crew here in Bangor for weekly trainings and challanges.

For now running along the coast still gives me a feeling to be on a holliday …

Monday 8 April 2019

A new start in 2019 … in Northern Ireland

I had a few hectic months! I packed up my whole life in the Netherlands and moved to Bangor in Northern Ireland. A stressful and busy time, but on the 30th of March I arrived in Bangor.

And of course I started to explore the outdoors of this coastal place. Everything goes either up or down, something quite new to me. And going barefoot will be a challenge, with all concrete path in the parks and rocky grounds if you go to a forest.
I have started with short runs around Bangor to see how my legs would hold up, but they are doing great.

Next Wednesday my “stuff” will arrive from the Netherlands with my trail running shoes. I cannot wait to seriously start running here.

Wednesday 9 January 2019

A good start of 2019

Today I had the whole day free and no appointments scheduled a luxury that I do not often have, but what a feeling of freedom does that give already. Outside the weather is quiet a bit of a gray winter day with 5 degrees. So a lot of time and I am really looking foreward to a run from Den Dolder to home.

As usual, I am a little too warm dressed, but when I am waiting on the platform for the train that scarf is really nice. I have my racing vest with me and this time some water and later on my scarf can go in there. Keys, telephone, public transport card and some money are also practical to store and I am very happy with this gift to myself ;-).

In Den Dolder I start my Strava and Endomondo apps before I start my run. I run easy and I hardly have to pay attention to where I put my feet down. The route is well known but now the miles slide so easily past! According to the apps, I set my personal record with 5 km in 36 minutes, how cool is that. The pace of 7:11 is also new!

Really a super start of the new year! This year I want to try to free up more time for running. If it works 3 times a week. Doing nice trail runs and searching for joint training sessions.