View from the end of Westerdok
A much faster boot-up time this morning and I was even awake enough to take the camera with me. Out through the Jordaan sidestreets to Lindengracht, right to Brouwersgracht and left at Prinsengracht and under the tracks to Westerdok.
(l-r) Het IJ, Westerdoksdijk, Westerdok
All the way along behind the houseboats and then right at the end along the IJ waterfront.
Het IJ from the Palace of Justice
Quick detour over the bridge at the Paleis de Justitie then past the back of CS, round under the tracks at the end of de Ruyterskade, along Prins Hendrikkade back to the Brouwersgracht and home.
That’s the end of the first six months. Not quite half-way – today is day 181.
Summer has come to Amsterdam – well at least it has this morning. This afternoon it could be hailing and nothing would be amiss. A spectacular day, far too warm for the heavy, long-sleeved winter running top a semi-conscious me pulled out at 6:01.
An achey back and a sunburnt head with half a summer cold stuffed inside meant that it wasn’t one of those “glad to be getting up to go running” days, but I got round, albeit slowly. Out to the Nassaukade and around to the back of the Leidseplein, across to Prinsengracht and back along there until my path was blocked by a lorry trying to make a corner which was like getting round the Monopoly board with a half-brick. This sent me up Passeerdersgracht and along Lijnbaansgracht for a bit, then zigzagged back through the Jordaan to end up on Anjeliersstraat and home.
Nice dinner out with friends last night and a late night. Everyone was still asleep when I got up at 8:45 – another scorcher of a day underway already.
Vanilla run, down to the Paseo which was already busy with walkers and runners. Along to the patos and back, quick nip into the bank on Av Sofia and home. Very hot already and lots of wise early beach bodies.
Castellers practice last night and I was given the chance to try at being one of the baixes (bottom level) of a practice tower of what would be a four of seven (quatre de set), so (in other words, it’s complicated to explain) I had two levels of adults above me, then sharing the weight of the pom de dalt which is two biggish kids with two little ones on top of them. As it was the first time the experience was utterly novel – the difference between that and having one level less on top of me was breathtaking. The knowledge that there’s no way you can move or get out from under the crushing weight on your shoulders until everyone is down safely, Jordi standing in front of me talking calmly, asking if I’m ok and to let him know immediately if anything’s wrong, having to remember to breathe and to try to push out my chest to remain in the right position, getting my left arm in the wrong position until it was speedily corrected, the endless wobbling, the little squeeze on my shoulders from Laura (who was the one actually standing on them) after she got down, just the fact that they thought I should be able to try it… an amazing life-affirming experience that will hopefully happen many more times in the future but will never again be the first time. Wonderful.
Deep breath. Today was another skating competition, this time in Vic. Last of the season, for us anyway. We were away early and got there in good time. Great performances from all the Sitges girls and Rebecca was fortunate enough to come out top of a 1-2-3 for Sitges in her category. Some days you think she’s done brilliantly and she gets nothing, some days you think it was hmmmm…not bad and she wins. Today we all thought she’d done a really good job and deserved it. Says smug father.
Desperate for a siesta when we got back so I ended up going out for the run at just after 6pm. A really hot day today – up to about 36 degrees in Vic, more like 30 here. By that time the force of the sun had pretty much gone but I still took to the shade for the first half, running along P Vilanova to the Jardines de Terramar and then to the patos, and home along the Paseo.
Sarah’s just been out after me and has done a 5k in under 27:30 so a good sign that she’s ramping up for the GNR which is in about 11 weeks.
Some of the 5km runs are just plain biscuits. Get out, do the 5km, tick off the day and I’m done until tomorrow; doesn’t touch the sides. Today’s was a crumbly chocolate cookie with chocolate chunks in it… dipped in chocolate.
For a start I had company – by a quirk of logistics the kids were both staying elsewhere last night (Rebecca on an organised trip, Alexander on an impromptu sleepover) and Sarah was back from a business trip. So this morning we had the chance to go for a morning run together before work. Nothing ambitious or death-defying about the run itself – I took it quite easy so that Sarah could run with me and we could talk. Down Av Sofia and along to the algae pond that the ducks’ inlet has turned into, back to the Terramar and round the block by the side of the Jardines, then back to the Paseo until 5km ticked over. Another impeccable blue sky and the heat slowly leaching into the air, promising another scorcher.
Sarah then suggested we go for a swim in the sea, which to me was a bit like suggesting I eat a chair. “What, now?” “Yes, why not?” Why not indeed. Along to Kansas and Alberto Beach, shoes and socks off and into the fabulous clear warm Mediterranean. Full-on dip, absolutely gorgeous. Sarah did a bit of a practice swim – she’s a great swimmer and is dying to do La Travesia which is the annual 2km route from the Terramar to Fragata Beach, but has been nervous about it. Waves, jellyfish, ugh. None of that today and the sea may as well have been a swimming pool, just tranquil and calm as far as the horizon. Good to be alive. We got out and walked home (Sarah barefoot – me, a bit more concerned about evading any type of injury, in my socks!).
Yesterday afternoon I had a follow-up Radio Sheffield interview with Howie Pressman. Really a reiteration of why I’m doing the #5kaday4aruk and a bit of an update on the heat of the summer.
So another day ticked off, but ticked off in triple choc rather than blunt pencil.
A bit of a novelty run today in the heat (I know, why??). Along to the Oasis, over the main road and up under the arches. Along the back of the train tracks and the station and then the sharp left up to the Poble Sec shops. Quick stop at the bank and then continued along past the ambulatorio to the “broken heart” sculpture (if you ain’t been, you won’t know). Continue up to the Rugby Club, and for some mental reason desired to run down and up the path to the train track – I had it in my head that I’d do a few of these but one was more than enough in the heat!
Back down to the Av Sofia roundabout and along P Vilanova past the autofarmacia and round the block. Back down to the main road and back up again to finish. Phew – lots of hills and hillitos today, a good work out.
24th June is the day of Sant Joan (or San Juan, or as you may be more familiar with him, that bit-part extraordinaire John the Baptist) and is a public holiday here in Catalunya. This is a great excuse – though I’m not sure of the exact order of chickens/eggs here (day off => party or vice versa) – for the night before to be a huge fire and fireworks party – think Guy Fawkes mixed with New Years’ Eve.
We’ve done a few of these and I really don’t mind giving it a miss – I’m one of the Blue Peter and John Craven’s Newsround generation that remembers Fireworks Night as the one where you hear about people losing hands and eyes in silly accidents. As a parent it scares the willies out of me despite actually loving the madness and the revelling that goes on here.
Last night there was no debate – the kids turned up with a packet of little “bombetas” (sorry I don’t have the English vocabulary – twisted bits of paper filled with gunpowder that bang when you drop them) and sparklers, courtesy of Miquel (thanks Miquel). They played very happily in the front yard with these and were so zonked from their day – still adjusting to life after school – that by 9:30 they were both asleep.
Today is another gorgeous summer’s day here in Sitges. A little cooler which is lovely for us runners but still must be an awesome day to be at the beach – and in fact so it seems as it was pretty packed when I ran behind it just now.
Popped to the bank on Av Sofia then along to the church, slapped the mermaid’s stone and then alllllll the way back along to the patos/Golf. Back along to Av Sofia and home. A great run, felt like a million dollars and kept up a good pace (would have been even better if I hadn’t had to go to the bank!).