What’s next??

After finishing my second marathon on the 8 th of October, I am still living with runners’ high. Completing this mythical distance of 42,2 km makes you feel like you’re invincible. In my case, it makes me hungry for more… But one very important part of running a marathon is giving your body the time to recover afterwards. You’d love to go out for a run again but it’s better to rest for a while and don’t jump in again too fast.

During the preparation of a marathon, I had my training schedule where I ran 4 times a week. After the marathon, these are gone and it feels like you are a bit lost. This is the perfect time to start planning the races you want to do next. During this period, you have a lot of different marathons so it gives you the opportunity to choose which one you want to do next. As you may have read in one of my previous posts, I have already subscribed myself for the Rotterdam Marathon in April 2018. I will try to run less than 3 hours and 30 minutes over there. My coach told me after the marathon of Eindhoven that this wouldn’t be a problem for me. For the past 2 years, I’ve made so much progress thanks to him but I also wonder where my limits are. There is only one way to find out Luk told me. Since my body reacts so well to the previous training schedules, he advised me to increase my training level as soon as we start preparing for the Rotterdam Marathon. This means I will have to do 5 work-outs a week instead of 4 like I did before. In that case, I will have to make some arrangements with Laura because I don’t want it to get too difficult for her since I will be out more. Most likely I will do the extra training after the kids are put to bed so she doesn’t have to do everything herself. Of course, I still have my duty as a dad as well! After a marathon, I try to spend as much time as possible with my kids. Last Friday was a very special day for us. For Quinn’s 4 th birthday, we went to Disneyland in Paris for the first time. There is no better feeling as a parent than seeing the sparkle in her eyes when you are walking around in this world of magic. We went just the 3 of us so it was a little bit easier. She enjoyed every minute of it and especially when she met Snow White. It was an unforgettable day for all of us!

Last weekend, The great Bruges Marathon was organized for the first time. I know a few people who joined this new marathon and I hear nothing but good reviews about it. Since I already ran Rotterdam in the Netherlands, I am most likely to join Bruges next year in October. I also talked about my goal to run 50 marathons before I turn 50 with my coach. He said it’s not impossible but he advised me to run 2 marathons in 2018 like I did this year. In 2019, I will probably run 3 marathons. In order to accomplish this, I need to remain fit and not to get myself injured. My coach also told me that I would be able to run faster after each marathon till I reach the age of 35. This came as a surprise to me but probably the difference will be less than what I have now.


Besides the marathon, I’d also like to run some “smaller” races to keep myself motivated. Next month, I will join “de Zevenheuvelenloop” in Nijmegem. It’s a very famous 15km race and the largest in the world with almost 40.000 runners in 2 days. In the past the world record for this distance has been broken here for a few times already, so I am very excited to see how the atmosphere will be. A lot of fellow IG-Runners will also attend this race so maybe I will get to meet some of them over there. As I want to finish less than 1 hour 15 minutes, I will have to step up on my training as from next week.

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Eindhoven Marathon!

Finally, it’s Sunday the 8th of October. After all the hard work for the past 6 months, it’s time to run my second marathon in Eindhoven.  I’ve put my alarm at 6.30 am to wake up in time so I don’t have to rush myself. Of course I woke up earlier than that! I had oatmeal for breakfast as that’s what I usually eat before my long runs.

My best friend Nick, who was going to follow me on his bike during the marathon, would pick me up around 08.15 am to go to Eindhoven. Laura and the kids would leave a little bit later, otherwise it would be too long for them to walk around and wait for me. The race would start at 10.00 am and we arrived at 08.45 am.  Marion ( Laura’s colleague ), also participated in the marathon and she already collected my bib since she was there the night before the race. We’ve met her in the hotel to make the final preparation.

The starting box was in front of her hotel so that was convenient. At 09.45 am we decided to go towards our starting position. My heartbeat was still fairly normal. After stretching a little bit, it was time to start! The marathon took off in the middle of the center so there were already a lot of people next to the road to cheer for us. My plan was to run an average speed of 5:00 – 5:10 min/ km. After we took off for the first km, I could pick up the pace I wanted and the feeling was good. After 2 or 3 km I saw Nick again waiting for me on his bike. Most of the time, he managed to follow us on the sidewalk but it wasn’t so easy as we assumed. My legs felt really good and before I knew it, I was halfway through the marathon. I was still running the pace as hoped, sometimes even a little bit faster. The weather was perfect to run in. Sometimes a little bit of rain but never longer than a few minutes. When we passed through the smaller villages around Eindhoven, the atmosphere was great!

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When we passed by the sign of the 20 km, I saw Laura and my kids. Did a high 5 with Quinn and kept up with my pace. It gave me an extra boost to keep going and I felt strong. A little bit further I saw Marion sitting next to the road unfortunately. She was having a cramp in her foot and she had to stop her race. I felt sorry for her. At the same point, I noticed my legs for the first time during the race. It was getting a little bit heavier but still, my pace stayed perfectly as planned. Nick passed me some gels during the race so I didn’t have to carry anything myself. The longer the race went on the more I noticed I needed them to keep up.

After I passed 34 km, I was experiencing some difficulties. I noticed for the first time I was slowing down and I couldn’t accelerate straight away. Although I was slowing down a bit, I was still catching up with a lot of runners. Nick asked me if I started my final sprint already but I didn’t have that feeling at all. After a few kilometers of struggling I managed to pick up my pace again as before. I knew I was still on schedule to run the time I’ve planned. The last part of the race was the same like the half marathon of Eindhoven I ran a year ago so I knew what was waiting for me. There was a long road through a forest before we would enter the center of Eindhoven again. As soon as we entered the center again, it gave me a boost to push for the last kilometers. There were a lot of supporters next to the road. Around the sign of 2 km I saw my supporters again. Although my legs were getting really tired, I kept pushing to keep my pace. After a few more turns, we turned on ‘Stratums End’. It gave me goosebumps to see how many people were standing there and shouting to keep going. I took the final turn and saw the finish line. An amazing feeling was taking over my body as soon as I saw the time on the clock. Perfectly as planned! I wanted to run the marathon between 3 hours 35 min and 3 hours 40 min. I put my arms in the air when I crossed the finish line in 3 hours 38 min and 10 seconds. I took a few minutes to catch my breath before I went further down the road to collect my medal, a drink and a banana.  Laura, my kids and Nick would wait for me outside McDonalds so I had to walk over there after the race but luckily it wasn’t that far. Everybody was very happy and Quinn wanted to see my medal as soon as she saw me. After a while, my parents arrived as well. I didn’t see them during the race as there were too many people.

All of this wouldn’t be possible without the support of my family and friends. I am very grateful that they gave me the opportunity to run marathons. After a shower it was time to go back home to eat some good Thai food and drink a Singha beer together with my family and Nick’s family. I would also like to thank my coach because I would never be able to run like this without his help. On to the next one!

Marathon week!!

Hi Everyone,

This week is all about the marathon I will run in Eindhoven on Sunday! How did my final week looked like? How did I prepare myself during the final days? You can read it here in this post.

Besides the marathon in Eindhoven, I will also know if I got in for the London Marathon 2018. I subscribed for the overseas ballot. During the first week of October, everybody will receive a magazine or email to let them know if they got it or not. At this moment I still didn’t get any news… On social media, I see more and more people who got in or were rejected. I don’t have too much hope anymore to get in. For the London Marathon, there were more than 380.000 people who entered the ballot. Since there were only spots for 40.000 runners, the probability was 1 out of 10… It would be great to get it but if not there is always a plan B or a plan C. I prefer to run marathons in as many different places as possible so I won’t run the same marathon year after year. If I don’t get in for the London Marathon, I will subscribe myself for the marathon of Rotterdam on the 8th of April. As I was writing my post yesterday, I’ve received an email from the London Marathon that I didn’t get in unfortunately. So I subscribed myself for the Rotterdam Marathon.

So how does my final week of preparation look like? It all started not to the way I’ve planned it. On Sunday morning when I was lying in my bed cuddling with my daughter Quinn, she accidently poked my left eye with her finger. The next day, I felt an annoying pain in my eye. The following night, my eye was tearing a lot and in the morning it was completely red, so I decided to go to see a doctor in case it gets worse. She confirmed what I’ve expected. My eye was inflamed so I had to stay at home from work from Monday till Wednesday. I’ve had mixed feelings about if after hearing this news. It scared me a little that I wouldn’t be able to run as I hoped on Sunday but it also gave me a chance to rest the next few days instead of going to work. I had to put ointment for 3 or 4 days and afterwards it should be ok, the doctor assured me.

I skipped my recovery run on Monday after I called my coach to inform about my eye. I had to do the run for Wednesday and Thursday, so I took as much rest as possible during my days at home. On Wednesday afternoon, my eye was already much better so I went for my planned workout. My eye didn’t bother me so I was happy. I was also very pleased about the pace I produced during my run. It always gives me more confidence towards Sunday. Yesterday, I’ve had to do a 50 minutes run and then on Saturday, I have just 30 minutes to prepare my legs for Sunday!

From Wednesday evening, I had a pasta menu until Saturday evening. Laura found some good recipes in order for me not to have the same pasta all the time since I also bring pasta to work for lunch. As I am not allowed to consume much fat during these days, I have to minimize the amount of sauce I use for the pasta as well. On top of that, no more chocolate or ice cream for me! I have to eat as much carbs as possible, so I also drink one liter of water mixed with the carbo loader from Etixx. Besides that, I can only drink water or sports drink. By doing so, my body should have enough carbs to compensate during the marathon on Sunday! Fingers crossed that nothing unexpected will happen during the final days, otherwise, everything should be in place to run a new PB in Eindhoven!

From 10 miles to my first half marathon.

As you have read in my previous post, I received my second training schedule. After one month of extra training, I was allowed to do my very first 10 miles race in Antwerp. Since I’ve ran a maximum of 14 km, I was a bit nervous if I would succeed.

April 17th 2016:  Antwerp 10 Miles

Since Laura was pregnant at that time, I had to go to the race on my own. Luckily, there was an app where she could follow my split times so she had an idea of how my race was going. I arrived in time and the journey went smoothly. Everything was in place to have a good run under a nice afternoon sun! It is a very popular race in Belgium, almost 40 000 people participated. Because of this, we had to start in separate waves and that was a good thing.

My coach asked to keep an eye on my heartbeat so that it would not go too high. This is to ensure that I would be able to reach the finishing line. When the gunshot was given for the start, I tried to find my way through all the people so I could develop my own pace. Since there were a lot of runners, it was quite hectic and I noticed on my sport watch that my heartbeat was already higher than I’ve hoped for. I decided to run at my own pace without focusing on my heartbeat all the time. There were a lot of supporters by the road to cheer for us. It gave me goosebumps. During the race, we had to run on the highway and we passed by 2 tunnels which you can normally only enter by car. The last tunnel was a tough one, with a distance of more than 2 km. First, you had to run a long part down and the end is a long way back up. The exit of the tunnel is less than 1 km before the finish line. My goal was to finish the race in 1hour and 40 minutes. I saw the pacer in front of me for a long time during the race. When we went inside the tunnel, the pacer was just in front of me. Lots of runners were struggling but I felt ok so I tried to catch up with him. When I went outside the tunnel, I’ve left the pacer behind me and I tried to accelerate for the last few metres. I crossed the finish line in 1 hour 38 minutes and 12 seconds. I was very satisfied about my result but I also felt that I still have a long way to go . Just before I crossed the finish line, I saw an old man lying on the ground whom was treated by doctors. I instantly had tears in my eyes as I thought about  what happened to me during my first race. The finish was very emotional because of this. On my way back home, I was very pleased but I also realized I’ll have to keep working hard to make more progress in the upcoming weeks/months. I wanted to run my first half marathon in October 2016 so I knew what I had to do.

As my training schedule continued, I felt my body getting stronger and running was getting easier with each run. In the next few months, I decided to run more races to get more used to the tension on race day. I wanted my heartbeat to get more stabilized before a race. Two months after my first 10 miles race I’ve had 2 other races. At the last one, I improved my personal record with almost 20 minutes! My new record at that time was 1hour 21 minutes and 56 seconds. I was so glad that I have made so much progress in just 2 months! In the meantime, I had to go for another testing to get my schedule for my first half marathon. A new thing for me in my schedule was interval training. After I’ve had my first interval training, I noticed that my sport watch was not good enough to show me all the specific details I needed at that moment. That’s why I decided to buy myself a Polar m400 which I still use.

October 9th 2016: Half Marathon Eindhoven

After 3 months of training, it was finally time to run my first half marathon in Eindhoven. I’ve gained lots of confidence in the past few months. My goal was to finish in less than 2 hours. Laura’s colleague was running the marathon in the morning, so we left early to cheer for her before it was my time to run. She already collected my starting number and left it at the lobby of her hotel where I could go and get it. We were just in time to see her start the marathon.

A few hours later, it was time to go towards the starting spot. I started behind the pacer of 2 hours to develop my own pace. After 6 km, I have already passed the pacer and I felt really comfortable at how I was performing. We ran through small villages around Eindhoven. There was a great atmosphere and a lot of people cheering for us. I really liked the mixture of the greens as we ran through the villages. As soon as we entered the center of Eindhoven, it was getting a lot more crowded next to the road. Around 1 km before the finishing line, I saw Laura and her colleague cheering for me. It gave me a final boost to dash for the last time. Running through “Stratums End” was an amazing feeling. It is the most famous street in Eindhoven with a lot of bars. People stood outside the bars cheering. You have the feeling like you are running on Alpe D’huez during the tour de France but with a smell of beer. After the final turn, I was happy to see the finish line. I finished in 1hour 52 minutes and 24 seconds. I was very pleased to finish my first half marathon in this time.

As it was very crowded, it was not easy to find Laura again. I’ve had to ask people if I could use their phone so I could call and tell her where I was waiting for them. After a while, I finally saw them. Unfortunately, I got the news that her colleague couldn’t finish her marathon. We made an agreement that day that we would run the marathon together next year. Eindhoven, I will be back!

Getting back on track.

After my incident, I had to take 2 months of rest before I could start running again. This time, I decided to do it the right way. A colleague of Laura’s, whom is also running, is guided by Luk B. and she advised me to contact him. He is a personal coach who works with the Sport Medical Training Centre in Ranst ( Antwerp ). I made an appointment with him to do an physical test in December. Meanwhile, I started running again. I bought myself a heartbeat sensor for my sport watch and took it slow in the beginning.

In September, I participated my next race. It was a 9km night run. This time, I made sure
I was well prepared. I finished the race in 55 min and 40 sec. I was so happy that
everything turned out well and it also gave me a little bit more confidence for
my physical test with Luk.

December the first, the time was finally here to go for my test. I was really nervous and didn’t know what to expect. The moment I met Luk, he made me feel at ease. We talked about what happened during my first race and what are my goals for in the future. He also asked me a few questions which I had to give a score from a scale of 0 to 10. These questions came every time I was there for a testing to see how I was feeling. After, it was time for the most important part. I had to run some intervals on the treadmill. I noticed from the beginning that my heartbeat was pretty high. I was still nervous but as soon as I went on, I started to forget about them. At the last interval, I finished at a pace of 12,5 km/h. After my test, I took a shower while Luk was analysing the result. By the time I was done, he had finished the report. The result was not what I’ve hoped for…

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For my physical condition, I scored 4/10 compared to the best runner of my age. I knew that I wouldn’t score 8/10 but 4/10 was a little shocking in my opinion. Luk explained to me how the score was calculated and he wants you to score at least 5/10 before you start running races. Since I wanted to run the Antwerp 10 miles in April 2016, I knew what I had to do. Together with my report, I have a training schedule for the first 12 weeks. If I could finish 80% of my training schedule, I should be able to make enough progress to run the race in April and my general score could progress to maximum 4,6/10.
The first thing I had to learn in my schedule was to run slow at a low heartbeat. At the
beginning, it was really frustrating as I had the feeling I wasn’t running. Luckily, I
noticed a difference after a few weeks. During my 12 weeks, I tried to complete my schedule as much as possible. The feeling was getting better and better. The schedule
has finished so it was time for another test with Luk. I was determined to do better than
last time. As soon as I got off the treadmill the feeling was much better than after my first
test. I was hoping that my score would be around 4,6/10 but the result was even much
better! This time I scored 5/10. Luk was really surprised by my result. 90% of the people
who followed the schedule needed 6 months to make the progress I’ve made.
It took me 3 months! This gave me a lot of courage to keep working hard towards the
Antwerp 10 miles in April. How I experienced this race you can find out in my next post!

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How I’ve almost quit before I even started.

Hi Everyone,

Welcome back. In this post I will talk about why I started running and what happened
during my first race.

Most men in my family gain weight easily and that was happening to me as well. My
friends would even joke about it. Although they have no ill intentions, it got me thinking.
I used to play many sports like football and tennis but since I have a family of my own, I
rarely played as I wanted to spend more time with them.

I started running beginning 2015 but not on a regular basis. Sometimes once a week,
sometimes twice but it also happened that I would skip a week. That year my colleague
Bruno told me there was a 10 km race in Brussels and asked me to join him. It sounded
fun to me so we both participated. At that time, I managed to run 12 km so the race
wouldn’t be a problem, I thought…

19/04/2015 Race day! 10 km of Brussels.

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The day before the race, we were building our kids playground in the garden. I couldn’t
finish it so I continued with the assembling the day after, right before the race. Suddenly,
I realised it was almost time to leave to meet my colleague. Without having any proper
food to eat or drink, I took a breakfast biscuit and water for in the car.

We arrived on time and the temperature was hotter than predicted. The race started on the track of the famous King Baudouin Stadium. We took a spot near to the front so we could get a good head start. I told Bruno to run at his own pace because I knew he runs faster than me. As soon as the race started I took off very fast, maybe too fast… I realized that I couldn’t keep up with that pace especially not on a hilly track like this one. I had to walk for a bit to catch my breath. After a few minutes, I continued despite not feeling at my 100%. Then the inevitable happened. I remember seeing the sign of Km 9 but from that moment onwards, everything blacked out.

The next thing I remember was me lying on a bed of an ambulance hearing voices of
people whom I did not know. I felt sick. I had to vomit and then I passed out again.
Suddenly, I saw a bright light shining in my eyes and I heard people talking around me.
As soon as they noticed I have opened my eyes, they started talking to me but I didn’t
know how to respond. It seemed like my body shut down completely. I got really scared and the only thing I could think of was my family. The people at the hospital asked me questions but I couldn’t remember a thing. I didn’t even remember our house number. Suddenly I thought about Bruno! He was checking out with the organization if they had news about me because I still didn’t pass the finishing line. After making several phone calls they found out I was in the hospital. They brought him over so he could bring my personal belongings.

My girlfriend and parents were informed about my situation and they immediately rushed down to the hospital. Bruno was not allowed to see me as I was in intensive care. After a while, someone opened the door and then I saw Laura. I was so happy to finally see her but at the same time, I started to cry. I still didn’t realize what happened to me. The doctors told me I passed out 2 times for a long time and they didn’t want to take any
risks. I had to stay at IC for one night. I could only be discharged to a normal ward if I
was feeling better the next day. I wanted to head home as soon as possible.
In the end, I had to stay in the hospital for 4 days. They did all kind of tests to see if
anything was wrong but luckily they didn’t find anything! Before I could go home, I
asked if I was allowed to run again. They said running shouldn’t be a problem but they
advised me to take it slow and not to run any more marathons… Maybe that was the
moment when they gave me the motivation to prove I am able to run any distance I want, as long as I make sure I am well prepared for it. I was so happy I could go back home to be with my girlfriend and little daughter whom I both missed a lot.

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As I had to wait for 2 months before I could start running again, I spent the time to
consider how I can manage and do better in the future….

Welcome!

Hi everyone

Thank you for taking the time to visit my blog. In my first post I would like to introduce myself a little bit and tell you more about what my blog will be about.

My name is Christophe. I am 32 years old and I am living the happy life in Kasterlee (Belgium) together with my girlfriend Laura and our 2 beautiful kids. We have a daughter Quinn ( 4 years ) and a son Mason ( one year). We like to travel, good food, wine and off course spend quality time together.

In 2015 I started running and to be honest… I can’t imagine a life without anymore. I really fell in love with it. To me it is a great way to discover new places and meet new people. Lately more and more people ask me for advice about running.  That’s why I thought it would be fun to share my story with others through my blog. At this moment I am preparing for my second marathon in Eindhoven,the 8th of October. My goal is to run 50 marathons before I turn 50. So here you will be able to follow my road towards my goal. I will start with some important things that happened in my life so you can get an idea of where I found my motivation to keep going.

I hope you guys will enjoy reading my blog and stay tuned for more soon!

Greetings

Christophe

 

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