Bart’s blog

Op deze pagina vind je berichten over mijn prestaties op wedstrijden, trainingsweekenden en trainingsstages. Wil je vaker updates? Volg mij op twitter, instagram of facebook!

Born on a sunday

Sunday 24th of september 1995, that’s when I was born. I’m what they call a ”sunday-child” and most of the time that seems to make sense. This year I appear to have run out of luck a little though. Then again, I didn’t actually run that much…

Only a couple of weeks ago I was in Sankt Moritz for a training camp at altitude. Now you may ask yourself why you’d go there when you’re still building up. Personally I found it to be an obvious choice, as I want to go for it in every single possible way. With or without injury doesn’t matter, I’ll give it my absolute all. Things started to look better steadily, but once I got home it went sideways.

When you go into surgery for something like haglund, there is a possibility for scar tissue to form. Though not much scar tissue has formed, it seems to be just enough to give troubles at a still too low trainingload.

Now I could go straight into surgery, but then there is a possibility (though smaller) that scar tissue will form again. The other option is to try shockwave-therapy. The latter we choose out of safety, but it will take another 6 weeks till the next check-up at the hospital. After that I may have to get surgery if it doesn’t work out after all.

In the weeks to come I’ll just keep doing what I’ve done since I was 15 years old, give it everything I got in every possible way. There is no way of knowing when I’ll be back, but I do know that I will be…

Running through the streets of Sapporo (Japan) on the #Metaspeedsky

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Life as an injured athlete

Although I may think there’s a lot more to life than just running, it will probably not surprise you that it’s the thing I like to do most. I got this weird heelbone problem that suddenly kicked me out of the game. Right now I can finally start building up slowly, but that took me over three months. In the meantime I decided that I did want to go away for a while. Therefore, I went on trainingcamp to Bad Dürrheim in Germany to go cycling and aqua jogging, so I could maintain my endurance-level. My first day on the bike I managed to fall and create a small fracture in the left elbow and an effusion of blood in the right elbow.

I was born on a Sunday, and most of the time that seems to make sense in terms of luck. This year though, everything went wrong so far. You might think my luck is through, but somehow I’ve still been smiling for almost all of these 4 months.

How can you be happy, getting set back for months and seeing others do what you love most? That’s the question I’m trying to answer today.

Part of the answer is just experience, I haven’t always been like this but over the years I learned to accept things the way they are. Though some things may have been a little harder to accept, I’ve used everything to my advantage. Basically, after a lot of hard work, I seem to have found that general state of happiness.

At the olympic village with Khalid & Jill

Think of life like this: how do you know what opportunities a certain event creates? Right, you don’t. Every little event in life creates a stream of new possibility’s, both good and bad. An event itself may be bad, but there may as well be a very positive event coming your way because of it. That’s why I saw no reason to be sad about having to recover for such a long time. Instead, I used it to improve on other aspects in life. For instance: I created some better habits, made more music and joined in extra social activities.

When I was on trainingcamp, it basically turned into a weird holiday as I wasn’t allowed to train for a week with my slightly broken elbow. I just decided to let go a little and spend some extra time exploring the settings of my camera.

So what did I think, seeing others run while being sidelined? I actually didn’t bother that much. One year ago (maybe even less) I would have felt like absolute shit, but not now. After all these years, I know exactly what I want and how to get it. It may take time, but I’m patient enough to trust my coach and the process we set out. My races in the spring of 2021 showed me that there’s already more in there for the marathon, and in the last months of this year I’ll still get a chance to show it. All I need to do now is remain calm and reservated; look at the plan; execute every detail without complaining, and then….

See you in the second half of 2022, and no matter what: keep smiling.

Foto: Arjan Baggerman
Pacing 32k for the 2:11:30 group during the Amsterdam Marathon
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A ride through your marathon

When you start your marathonadventure, lot’s of questions are bound to pop up in your head. What am I supposed to do with food and drinks? How do I taper? Is there a way to keep on running fast after 30k? In this blog I aim to answer as much questions as possible based on my personal experience. If there are still questions you want to ask, feel free to send me a private message on Instagram or through the contact form on my website.

So, let’s begin. Or even better, begin the final preparations. In the last 2 weeks before the marathon we taper. Tapering basically means: To do just enough to not lose your fitness level while making sure you’re filled with energy on race day. In my case we work with a gradual taper over those 2 weeks, but the easiest approach would be to do 2/3 of what you normally do in the 2 weeks prior to race day. This is a general rule which can be found on lots of websites as well. I can assure you though, this rule is good one.

Now we come in the last days before the race, where you’d probably wonder what to eat. With this part I’ve tried two different approaches: carb-loading and just increasing the carb-percentage. After using the first approach I felt like it was the day after Christmas, so I definitely don’t do that anymore. You want to eat well, but you’re also training a lot less due to your taper. In my opinion, just increasing the amount of carbs compared to fats and proteins is more useful. Apart from that I also eat low fiber food, to make sure there is no ”pit-stop” necessary (yes, I’ve been there, in the dixie at my first marathon…). Of course, eating is very specific so if you want to be absolutely sure about what you do you should ask a professional dietician for help.

Now we’ve arrived at the big day. You feel excited, the music is playing loud and you toe the line with thousands of other (soon to be) marathoners. As tempting as it may be to fly away once the gun goes of, that is not the best idea. With other distances you might get away with it, but I can guarantee you this so called marathon is a different kind of challenge: a ”beast to be tamed”. Personally, I even start slow in distances that are a lot shorter than the marathon. Think of your body like a car, if you go full gas when you drive away in first gear, you’re not exactly driving efficiently. In case of a marathon, keep in mind it’s a really long ”ride’ with limited fuel.

Fueling myself with Maurten during a long marathon session in the Swiss mountains

Let’s say you’ve been smart and patient these first 30k of your marathon. Then you have started just a bit on the slow side and tried to grab a drink at every drinkstation. Whenever you don’t feel like your stomach can handle the carbs, just rinse your mouth with the drink. Somehow your body then thinks it gets the sugar it so desperately craves and still gives you a little boost after all. Remember though, drinking is very important, especially when you take a little more time to complete your marathon. When you consider the types of drinks you might use it’s important that you’re drinks are isotonic (contains a certain amount of sugars plus salt and minerals), when you only drink water the risk of getting things like cramps is a lot higher. Most of the marathons give away isotonic drinks at the stations, but you might want to have some friends or family on the side handing over your preferred drink. Drinking is important in all stages of the marathon, you may not feel you need it yet after 5 or 10k but you’ll be very thankful for grabbing that early drink in the later stages. Very important side note on this subject: drinking too much can cause problems as well and practicing drinking in training can ”upgrade” your stomach so that it can handle more.

In case all has gone quite well up to this point, your body may still start to feel rather bad, but it’s relatively okay. You can not feel good in the next kilometers, unless you actually went way slower than you’re capable off (which is probably not what you’d want as well). Now it’s time to go survival mode.

For me, that always meant using a special mantra: knees, breathe, calm. Those three words would repeat in my head for all of the 12.195km’s still ahead. As you go further and further your legs will start to feel more and more like lead with every stride you take. That’s what the word knees is for, to remind me to keep lifting those legs properly. Next up, breathing properly will make sure you get in enough oxygen to keep you going. The last word is maybe better described as trying to become thoughtless. We all have lot’s of thoughts in our head, especially when we become this tired wreck. The less thoughts you have, the less energy you are wasting on thoughts. All your energy needs to go to that one goal: survival.

So there you are, taking your last strides towards the finish line. You can think about recovery and stuff, but for now I’d say you deserve to lie down for a while. Well done!! You’re a marathoner now (if you weren’t already).

Foto gemaakt door Arjan Baggerman

Good luck to everyone competing in Rotterdam or elsewhere!

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Why I run

Being injured and unable to run for a long period of time makes you realize just how much pleasure it actually brings you. Even without it I’m enjoying myself, but it definitely isn’t the same. So what is it that makes me like something as simple as running? That is what I’m wondering about and what I’ll try to describe in this blog. Not just to you, the reader, but to myself as well.

Now you may think it’s something like being able to order your thoughts, or even better: not think at all for once. Though finding order in the thick cloud named thoughts or actually being somewhat thoughtless are quite beautiful, this isn’t a proper description. Maybe it’s best explained by taking you on a ride through my world, the world of a marathonrunner.

When I walk out of the door for my 10th run of the week I know it’s going to be a long one. At the end of a long week full of training, studying and plenty of other activities you would think I’d feel tired. Today is longrun sunday however, the day where the marathoner in me feels most alive. Just me and my pair of running shoes going on a crazy long ride. In my live I’ve got everything figured out, all is well and although I may not yet have everything I want I’m very thankfull for all the things I do have. When I start to run today, I actually don’t have a clear direction. After all this time I know my neighbourhood and the city’s surrounding it all too well, so I don’t need that direction. In short: I’m free. That sense of freedom may be one of the most important parts of the description, but it is defenitely not all there is.

We’re one hour in, and I’m far from done. As I’m cruising through the streets at about 16km/h I feel light but strong. Though I like to run with others as well, I don’t mind going such a long time on my own somehow. So what do you think about during such a run? In my case, and I think that counts for a lot of runners, it’s a mix of the finding order (for instance magically finding the solution to my math homework) and not thinking at all as I previously mentioned. Sometimes I find myself ending up somewhere not actually knowing how I got there, I basically went on auto-pilot for minutes or maybe even as much as half an hour.

Now I’ve turned away from the asphalt, as I saw one of those funny off-road paths. Maybe I should go full on cross-country in ‘’my backyard’’? There is a forest about 200 meters from my apartment with a very cool mountainbike route leading up to a plateau. Being fully focused on the paths before me and always thinking a few steps ahead enables me to keep up a relatively high speed. As I’m running up and down the hills and small paths, chasing through corners and attacking every hill, I find myself slightly out of breath at the top. Normally I don’t take breaks and go on straight, but I want to check this view again. As I look around I can spot small parts of Nijmegen, which is a full half hour drive. The view is beautiful, as always. It may not compare to some of these crazy places I’ve been over the years, but still…

At this point you may see that just putting one word to it won’t do justice. What I do know though, is that when I’m allowed to enjoy that feeling again, I’ll enjoy it more than ever before.

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Onder het mes

Het is maandag 7 februari als ik de deur uitstap voor mijn eerste marathonblokken sinds tijden. De marathonvoorbereiding is echter al lang begonnen. Na veel uren op de fiets en crosstrainer voel ik de wind weer langs me heen glijden terwijl ik met ruim 19km/h over het fietspad ren. Veel langzamer dan marathontempo ga ik niet, ondanks dat het zo lang geleden is. Als ik kan lopen gaat het goed, maar het probleem is dus dat ik dat de laatste tijd niet veel kan. Sevilla is al afgezegd en ik ga nu voor Parijs, maar ook daarbij ervaar ik een constant gevoel van twijfel.

Heb ik dan iets geks gedaan wat dit alles kon veroorzaken? Niet dat ik weet… Als ik 2 dagen later bij de fysio binnenstap krijg ik het nieuws dat de slijmbeursontsteking achter de achillespees weer terug is. Hoewel het nog steeds heerlijk was om in de Portugese zon te verblijven besluit ik nu toch echt naar huis te gaan en bij Petra Groenenboom (sportarts) langs te gaan. Hier is meer aan de hand, dat kan niet anders.

Achter de achillespees zit een soort van kussentje, daar ontstond telkens de slijmbeursontsteking. Wat ik niet wist is dat daar dus achter bovenin het bot geen afronding zit maar een puntje dat in dat ‘’kussentje’’ prikt. Hierdoor ontstaat de slijmbeursontsteking en daardoor ook irritatie bij de achillespees. Waarschijnlijk heeft dit er al heel veel langer gezeten, alleen gelukkig nooit zo erg dat de achillespees echt flink beschadigt is. Komende dinsdag ga ik het bot laten bijfreezen en het herstel daarvan zal gelukkig een stuk sneller gaan omdat de achillespees nog intact is. Toch heeft het tijd nodig, een lange tijd. Naar verwachting duurt het 3-4 maanden voordat ik weer echt een normale trainingsweek kan draaien.

Nou zou ik verwachten dat het me meer moeite kost om dit te accepteren, zeker omdat ik niet gewend ben om er lang uit te liggen. Zuur is het zeker, omdat ik me niet kan plaatsen voor de toernooien en het EK marathon maar eens in de 4 jaar plaatsvindt. Toch heb ik het inmiddels wel een plekje kunnen geven, ik weet namelijk dat mijn voorjaar al weg was en als ik hier vanaf ben kan dat mijn voornaamste klachten laten wegvallen. Constanter door kunnen trainen en vrijer lopen dan ooit, dat klinkt me als muziek in de oren. Uiteindelijk kan je elke situatie beschouwen als een kans, een kans om jezelf beter te maken. Zo zit ik op dit moment heel veel op de fiets, iets wat ik vroeger nooit deed maar waar ik nu zeker de meerwaarde van zie. Hiermee mis je de schokbelasting terwijl je wel je benen en hart-longsysteem flink triggert. Daarnaast zal ik deze periode ook gebruiken om op andere vlakken me nog beter te ontwikkelen.

Natuurlijk staan mijn benen te popelen om te gaan hollen, maar er zijn gelukkig veel meer leuke dingen waar ik me mee bezig houd. Als je het mij vraagt is hardlopen nog steeds een van de mooiste dingen die er zijn om te doen, maar hoe blij ik ben hangt niet af van slechts een bezigheid. Er komt een moment, na heel veel alternatieve training (want sterk terugkomen zal ik zeker), dat ik mijn eerste stappen weer mag zetten. Dat gevoel, hoe stijf en stroef het ook mag gaan, daar kijk ik wel heel erg naar uit!!

Foto: Klaas Jan van der Weij

Hoe ik het de komende maanden ga aanpakken? Precies doen wat ik moet doen, niet meer maar ook zeker niet minder. Niets of niemand houdt mij af van mijn doelen, het enige wat nodig is, is tijd en geduld.

Tot in het najaar!

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Don’t just run the race

take pleasure in being in it!

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