Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A new start ......

Yesterday, June 15th, we returned to the Netherlands after having lived in Calgary for 3 years and one and a half month. The flight back was very pleasant, we landed 45 minutes ahead of schedule and were in our hotel in Rijswijk at 12.30 pm already. Although rested well we decided to take the train to Breda to visit my (Liesbeth's) parents in the afternoon. Since the hotel is next to the train station this was all very convenient. Of course we were all happy to see each other again!
This morning at 10 am we had a viewing of a temporary apartment. It is in the middle of The Hague in the ambassy district and we liked it. It has only one bedroom but living room, bedroom, bathroom kitchen and dining area are all pretty spacious so it does not feel cramped. It is on the ground floor of an older house which is divided into two apartments and even has a little garden, a luxurious thing in the middle of a city. So we agreed on it immediately, we already have the keys and parking permit. Tomorrow morning we will move in. We look forward to exploring The Hague, we can easily reach the beach on foot (great for running!), bike or by tram (public transit), I guess that's about 7 or 8 km West.

From 20100616 Temporary apartment
Here is a picture of the exterior, I really like this type of older traditional town houses!

Tonight we went out for a run in the parks in Rijswijk. We both felt awful after only a half night of sleep, The bio-rythme is so strong that after a couple of hours of rest our body tells is its daytime in Calgary and that we are not supposed to sleep at such a time. Warming up felt pretty bad, but once we started doing intervals we immediately noticed that we could do a pretty high pace without too much heavy breathing. Must be the effect of being at sea level again. Too bad this effect wears off pretty fast! Sander kind of hopes it'll last untill Saturday afternoon, he is still determined to race a 10k that day. We'll keep you posted!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Goodbye and birth day party

Wearing Kristina's silver and bronze Olympic medals

Moving ....

Thursday, June 10, 2010

No, no bear ....

Wij hebben momenteel meer Engelstalige dan Nederlandse lezers op ons weblog, daarom gaan we over op het onderhouden van ons blog in alleen maar Engels. Voor de meeste Nederlanders immers totaal geen probleem, en het scheelt ons toch wel veel werk als we het niet meer tweetalig opschrijven. Hieronder het eerste stukje dat alleen maar in het Engels zal verschijnen .....

Sunday we hiked Cascade Amphitheatre on Norquay mountain near Banff. On our drive up the mountain to the trail head we already saw a lot of animals: a black bear, bighorn sheep and elk. About one hundred meters after leaving the skiing area there was a sudden loud noise in the tight shrubs, about 2 meters or so next to us. Then the true nature of people comes out: I led out a yell so loud they must have heard it in Banff, and before Sander even thought about acting on the sound I had turned around, nearly trampled him and was running away. I stopped after a couple of meters in a safe distance. Also safe because no animal had jumped out of the bushes to attack us. Sander was still standing in the same place, quietly, just observing what was happening. And it turned out there was only one very nosy deer that had been resting in these shrubs, no dangerous animals at all! Ah well, these Dutchies will never get used to Canadian wildlife, such weenies! So much for all the advice they give you in the national parks: observe, back away quietly, stay calm. I know now that we'd better never run into an aggressive bear, because I will just freeze, scream on the top of my lungs and do all the wrong stuff. Our whole hike we were loud and made lots of noises, just to be on the safe side, no encounters on our very last Canadian hike! Although it was just deer, we were startled and our mind was set on "wildlife".
The hike was beautiful, the last half was pretty steep, a good work out! My muscles were still pretty sore from my 10k run on Saturday, so the quads burnt on the way down too! Our reward was a beautiful meadow, surrounded by high mountains, the amphitheatre of course. Part of the meadow was still covered in snow but we found a great dry spot in the grass. It was so hot in the sun that we started applying sun screen. Oh, life is good!!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Hardloop weekend. A weekend dedicated to running.

Afgelopen weekend stond helemaal in het teken van hardlopen. En het was maar goed ook dat we geen activiteiten in de bergen gepland hadden, het was Holland grijs, nat en om het compleet te maken ... het sneeuwde. De dinsdag ervoor was onze auto verkocht, we deden het dit weekend dus met benenwagen, fiets en bus, pas maandag na het weekend hebben we een huurauto.
Vrijdagmiddag en avond hebben we allebei als vrijwilliger in een sporthal gestaan. Sander in de stand om onze hardloopclub te promoten en ik, Liesbeth, bij het uitreiken van de wedstrijdpakketen en t-shirts aan de hardlopers. Het was voor de wedstrijden van zondag, ongeveer 8600 deelnemers, verdeeld over marathon, halve marathon, 10 km, 5 km en de kinder timbits marathon. Die kinder marathon is echt heel leuk. Het idee is om in 20 weken 2x per week met je kinderen, familie, de buurt, school of een andere groep 1 km te rennen. Ze krijgen een lijst om de geleopen afstanden bij te houden. De resterende 1.2 km wordt dan op race dag gelopen en iedere deelnemer krijgt dan een marathon medaille, t-shirt en allerlei lekkermijen aan de finish. Leuk idee om sporten onder kinderen te promoten.
Voor het zondag was moesten wij zelf nog even heel vroeg op om al om half 8 's ochtends te vertrekken naar onze eigen hardloopwedstrijd. Sander en ik hadden ingeschreven voor een leuke race van een school die op deze manier extra geld ophaalt, hij liep 10 km, ik 5 km. Ik heb in het verleden de Singelloop regelmatig gelopen (7.5 of 8 km) en de 10 km radio Rijnmond loop maar 5 km had ik nooit als wedtrijd gelopen. Ik was nu wel benieuwd of ik een beetje een fatsoenlijke tijd zou kunnen lopen, we trainen hier immers best hard. Ik heb 25 min en 20 sec gelopen, was uitermate tevreden. Vantevoren had ik als doel dat ik graag inde 28 minuten wou lopen, dat doel is dus dik behaald. Sander liep in de 43 minuten, een tijd die hij nog graag zou verbeteren maar ik vind het heel hard en knap van hem! En oh ja, toen we zaterdagochtend opstonden lag er weer een witte deken over Calgary heen en was het net boven het vriespunt. De wegen waren niet glad, alleen de winteruitrusting met dunne wanten en mutsjes moesten weer tevoorschijn komen. Calgary verrast altijd!
Zondag alweer vroeg op, om 8 uur stonden we al in dikke winterjas met thermo ondergoed langs het marathon parcours als verkeersregelaars en natuurlijk om de deelnemers aan te moedigen. We hebben zo'n 4 uur doorgebracht in de koude wind, we konden die dikke kleding goed gebruiken. Natuurlijk nog wat Calgary Road Runners clubleden kunnen aanmoedigen, altijd leuk om course marshall te zijn!

This past weekend was fully dedicated to running. And that turned out really good since any outdoor activities in the mountains would have been really miserable with the cold, rain and snow that we have had in Calgary this weekend. Since we sold our car last Tuesday we relied on our own legs, bicycle and public transit (rental car will be there on Monday after the weekend).
Firday afternoon and evening we were both volunteering in the Calgary marathon expo hall. Sander was promoting the Calgary Road Runners in their both and I, Liesbeth was handing out race packages and t-shirts to the racers. The race was for about 8600 runners, divided over marathon, half marathon, 10k, 5k and the kids timbits marathon. The kids marathon is a real cool event I think. The idea is that kids run 1k twice a week for 20 weeks with family, friends, neighbours, school or any other organization. They get a fun list to keep track of their run distances and on marathon Sunday they run the last 1.2 km of their marathon. They get a t-shirt, a real marathon medal and some munchies. I think it is a nice event to promote sports and running for kids.
But before marathon day Sander and I had to get out of bed early, see all the snow on the ground and get oursleves ready for our Foothills Academy race. The school raises extra money for their programs this way. Sander would run 10k, I signed up for 5k. I have never ran a 5k race, only the Breda Singelloop (7.5 or 8 k) and the Rotterdam Rijnmond loop (10k). I wanted to know whether I could do a good time in a 5k after all our training. My goal was to finish somewhere in the 28 minutes, but I surprised myself with a time of 25 minutes and 20 seconds. Yahoo!! Sander's time was somewhere in the 43 minutes, he would like to improve this even more but I think it is very fast and I'm really proud of him! The hardest part of the race was the dressing right for it and taking enbough clothes to keep warm afterwards. A noce event, I can encourage everybody to take part in this race!
Sunday we got up early again and were course marshalling on the marathon course at 8 am already. We were layered in our winter coats, thermo underwear, gloves and hats to withstand the cold wind just above zero degrees for about four hours. We cheered on the runners, of course we got to encourage some of our Calgary Road Runners memebers, it was fun!

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