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Z… to Z… 2017 (6th training)

This started off as a reluctant training. The expected weather was not that good, I really wanted to add to my miles and I had a drop in motivation again. But I went! From probably the youngest forest in my country to the as claimed oldest forest near Putten. Little did I know it would be old!

Back in the woods I realized that walking the countryside made me miss one thing: the constant chatter of birds. The walk started off in the town, but as soon as I left the last house behind me, the singing intensified. So did the rain… Lucky for me, the predicted hail and thunder never hit me.

Already in the first stages of my walk, I passed some sort of hills. When I found a plaque I read that excavations at the sites revealed these were prehistoric burial mounds. The forest instantly had a new feel to it! Unfortunately, it started to rain more and somewhere I took a wrong turn and had to find my way back to the planned route. I got there, but during a quick stop I came to the realization my app had stopped working and did not record most of my hike.

As if all of this wasn’t enough, my left shin started to feel painful again, compensated on the right by a sore ankle. But things could have been worse. I finished the walk, which after these little challenges felt like a real victory. The forest was a beauty and I lost a lot of time taking pictures. I have no idea how much I walked in the end, the route should have been almost 15km. If it was, the distance was not the most challenging part of this training.

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Z… to Z… 2017 (5th training)

I am not sure if I should share here every short 5km momentum-walk I do. There is not much to say about challenge or difficulty during the walk. Also, it is always in the same place, the woods near my house. Off course I make pretty pictures, but they start to look alike. So, I will share a few pictures here and then they are to be checked out on my Instagram!

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Z… to Z… 2017 (4th training)

Don’t get me wrong, I love the forest and I love walking there. Preferably encountering as little people as possible. But for today’s training I changed scenery and it was a very pleasant surprise, probably also due to the almost summer-like weather.

Because I needed to be at my friends house at 1PM, I drove to the town of Leusden for my walk. I made my own route using Google Maps and it should be about 13km long. For the first time I packed a backpack, bringing food, water and clothes. Also, I changed shoes! I am now walking Cloudfoam shoes by Adidas and my shins feel much better!

I walked the countryside, passing fields of green. The views were wide and I could not stop smiling. I really felt happy! The first half of the walk I was passed by few cars, cyclists and motorbikes. I snuggled some horses, chatted with a dog-walking resident of the farm and had not a care in the world.

The second half of the walk took me alongside the water over a bike path. It got really busy! It felt like the entire country chose this route to enjoy the weather today. The upside was that everyone was in a good mood. In the end the route was only a little over 10km, so I did not really add to my miles. Still, it was a great learning experience outside my comfort zone in the woods. I will definitely walk the countryside more!

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Z… to Z… 2017 (3rd training)

I lack momentum. Maybe it’s the weather, I don’t know. Just to get the feel back, I decided to do a short walk after work: 5km and just around the corner of my house. Needless to say, I love it. That’s why I don’t get my sudden disappearance of motivation. Even after a whole day at work, I have enough energy to walk the walk.

As I said before, the forest near my house is pretty. Spring is really on it’s way and the amount of flowers starting to bloom grows and grows. The trees get their leaves back and buds are all around.Did I encounter any trouble during the walk? No, off course not, it’s just 5km. Maybe I’ll do more of these short walks alongside my increasing training for the big one. Just to keep momentum.

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Z… to Z… 2017 (2nd training)

Last week I proved (mainly to myself) that I had no trouble walking 10 kilometers without pause. Yes, I did have sore muscles the day after, but that is just prove you’ve done something. I do have some concern about my shins. After a long walk or run they usually feel strained. This is something I have felt frequently, but not that much I felt the need to see a specialist about it. Let’s see where this week takes us.

The route for today I chose from the Route.nl app, containing both cycling and walking routes in The Netherlands in various distances. I chose one little over 10km and close to home. Little did I know that about half the route was over unpaved paths and with heavy rains the last couple of days, some parts were really muddy. It got worse around the 5km mark and I had no choice but to walk straight through the water, knowing full well it meant walking the second part with wet feet (note to self: next time, pick a cycling route, for it will follow paved roads).

On the bright side, the second part had only paved roads and with the sun coming out it wasn’t all bad. Mentally I was doing a lot better than last time, knowing I had no trouble walking this distance. Before I even knew it, I was on the way back to my car. The birds sang a different song today, sounding more like spring and mating season.

There is one cause for concern though. The entire way, I felt pain in my left shin. Last week it was only after the walk, but now it was constant. I will look into some exercises this week, hoping I can help the strain a bit. But having done yoga this same morning already, I might eventually need to visit a doctor. For next training I will add some distance.

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Z… to Z… 2017 (1st training)

I have taken an extra day off, the weather is getting better and the time has really come to start my training. I wanted to start slow, walking 5km to see how my pace would be. I tried to plan a route using Google Maps and just wasn’t getting what I wanted. I knew about a pretty place, but that route would be over 10km. Well, I’ve got to start somewhere.

After a small drive to the starting point I was off. The walk was predicted to take about two hours. I figured I could do without water, mainly because of the fear of needing to pee along the way. Not wanting to be disturbed, I turned off my phone services. I do bring my phone in case of emergency, but also to track my walks. To do so, I use Map my Walk by Under Armour, a great app showing pace, distance, route and history.

Having no idea about shoes and clothes, I am starting my training on the Asics Gel Cumulus I bought for running. Since I haven’t really done that in a while (and not planning to in the near future) I figured they do offer the comfort and support. For now, I just put on jeans, a sweater and a jacket (which turned out to be too hot in the end).

The route followed only paved (bike) roads. I have made the assumption that will be the case for the official hike. My path took me through the woods near my home and I encountered more animals than people: Curious horses and beautiful singing birds. The first signs of spring are actually showing on the trees. These provided the much needed distraction, because I kept questioning my ability to walk these 10km.

In the end it turned out I am able to walk the distance. It was actually quite easy if it wasn’t for my own mental self doubt, physically I am up for it. Now I build on this.

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Z… to Z… 2017 (intro)

As mentioned in the about section I live in the tiny town of Zeewolde. Ever since we moved here in 2011 I noticed the Z… tot Z…(Dutch) posters: complete a 110km hike through our province within 24h. I was intrigued and put it on my mental bucket list. Off course I always saw the posters about a week before the start, so that left me with no time for preparation. This year is different.

About a week ago I thought about the hike and figured I’d have plenty of time left if I started training about now. I tried to get some people involved, but all it did was give them one more piece of evidence I might be crazy. Being a loner anyway I still decided I will walk this walk, albeit alone!

To make it less lonely however, I will report my training sessions here. It will give me a review of how far I’ve come. It will also give you something to read and see some scenery from along the way. It will be spring soon, which should make for some pretty pictures. And after that summer, and finally the big walk itself on September 8th. Please bare with me…