donderdag 27 mei 2010

Running on Mojitos: Marikenloop Race Recap

I did another race two weekends ago. It was a girls-only race called the Mariken run, after Mariken van Nimwegen a famous historical woman from Nijmegen, the city where the race was held. It is a big event where about 8000 women participate in a 5 or 10k race.

Of course I did the 5k, because I still (probably never will) don’t feel like running for an hour. I was hoping to set a PR, so the night before the Boyfriend and I went out for dinner with friends and had a blast and way too much alcohol. :P Seriously, I was supposed to drive home; we went by car because I wanted to take it easy and not get home too late because of the race the next day. Halfway through dinner I realized that I had had too much wine to be able to drive, so we decided to take a cab home. But since it didn’t really matter anymore, we ended up in a nice bar drinking cocktails and staying out late. :P

Luckily, I wasn’t hungover the next morning so I happily left for the race, together with a friend from my gym and both our boyfriends as supporters. I figured that the race was going to be either great or a real struggle because of the indulgences of the night before.

Hanging around before the race:


Getting ready to go to line up at the start/warming up:


Warming up was at a soccer field. They made different sections for different speeds (you had to give up your expected finish time when you signed  up). During warming up the race started and section for section the field emptied.

I marched over to the start. Unfortunately I was in a different field than Leonie, my running buddy, but that was ok. I am not much of a social person when I am running anyway. Way too busy panting and trying not to trip over my own legs. And off I was!

km 1: It didn’t feel as bad as I expected! I was just running, trying to find my pace and watching the spectators.

km2: the spectators were gone, now all I saw was a huge mass of women running through the woods in front of me. A very cool sight! And still feeling great!

km 3: Almost at the halfway point there was a water post and I got some energy drink. Huge mistake, probably wasn’t thinking. For the rest of the race I was a sticky mess. I also got cramps in my liver area, probably because of trying to drink disgustingly sweet crap from a cup while trying to run at the same time. So I slowed down, then walked for 30 sec and started to run slowly again.

km 4: was feeling better and just kept running.

km 5: I was suspecting a good time, but I had no watch to confirm it. The spectators were back (a lot of men, surprisingly :P haha). I even managed a sprint for the last couple of 100 meters. There were a lot of people at the finish line:


Sorry for the massively lightened up photo. I don’t know what they Boyfriend did, but most of the pictures turned out pretty dark.

I have a picture of Leonie finishing (find Wally):


But my finish pictures were unusable, so here are the official photos somewhere right before the finish:



When I came in I saw the time: 31.48. At first I was disappointed, but then I realized that because it was all timed by chip that wasn’t my time since I wasn’t in the first section to start anyway. Turns out…. I did set a PR!! 30.15 min


At sign up, you could enter a phone number and they would text the finish time right after the race. Pretty cool that I didn’t have to wait until the next day to check the website for my time. It says: Daisy has finished the Mariken Run 5k. Netto time is 30.15, congratulations with the achievement!

You might recall that this is the exact same time as my first race but I have concluded that that course probably wasn’t 5k since there weren’t even markers on the course.
Again no time under 30 min, but it is my fastest to date and includes a very slow 3th kilometer. So I am happy! We can conclude:

I run very well on mojitos!!

It was Leonie’s first race so we celebrated both our PRs with a beer afterwards. Again sorry for the bad quality pic, I am hoping to get one of Leonie and then I will exchange it.



How do you prepare for events like races etc.?

Stay tuned for my next challenge in the sports area….

woensdag 19 mei 2010

Chronicles of a PhD candidate: part I


Just about 30 weeks to go until The Book is supposed to be ready. I write a post-it each week and stick it on my desk to remind me that the end is near. :P

The week started of bad because the coffee creamer was still nonexistent on our floor. I was forced to get my own coffee (I am the only one using creamer) on the floor below us. That floor is really creepy with all the grey colours (ours is yellow) and you never see anyone there. I could go to the floor above us, but they were out of creamer as well.

Later that week I had a phone call from my prof who, as always, talks in riddles. It is always a challenge to find out what he is expecting of me. Usually he’s very surprised that I did X (which I was supposed to have finished weeks ago) and assumes that I have done Y (something that hasn’t even made it to my to-do list yet). But I managed to make him think I am right on schedule and really know what I am doing. We are meeting next week, so I have until then to come up with some proof.

Other good things this week: I had Thursday off because of a holiday. Friday was couch potato day work from home day, because the university was closed that day as well.

woensdag 12 mei 2010

Race Recap: Bemmelloop

Last weekend I ran another race! I can happily say that this was a good race, even though my time keeps getting worse.

I wanted to do one practice race before the bigger event that is next weekend. I felt so bad after the last race, that I really wanted to get my confidence back before I was going to run with 10.000 other girl on the 16th.

So I went there with two other girls from the running class at the gym (they are able to run for over an hour now, wow!). The weather wasn’t so good, but that was ok. At least it kind of stopped raining during the race, which was good. It was cold, however, and there was quite a lot of wind.

The race started just outside a running track of an athletics club. the running track would be the last couple of 100m of the race.


The girls in black, one in front of me, the other one just behind me, were my running companions. After about 1k, one them had to slow down because the pace was too high for her. So I ran the rest of the course with the other girl.

I was determined to take it easy, at least until the 4k marker and just have a nice and happy run. I wanted to prevent having to pass that running track crawling and gasping for air. We got photographed twice: once at the 3k marker when we got off a long dyke. I ran together with Jolanda, she was also there in the other race. She was really unhappy with the photos taken then, and she was determined to smile and look happy for the camera this time. So we did! Here we are, laughing, cheering and waving at the photographer, as well as trying to run down the steep road off the dyke.

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Being total goofs, bahaha

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Just after 4k we were a little more serious (tired? haha). Jolanda was still cheering, but I was tired and mentally preparing myself for the last part. We had to run outside halfway around the track and  then come on the track for 300mts.

Go Jolanda!

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This is where the kick-ass photos of me start:

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See that look on my face? Pure professional focus…bahahaha. I was thinking: oh thank god we’re almost there, now let’s get this over with before I crash, please.

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When we got to the track itself I put on a good song, put in both of the earphones and went for it. As soon as we got on the track the woman with the blue jacket who was running behind us the whole time, passed us. I took it up a notch and was able to keep up with here. The last 100m I gave it all, I passed Ms Blue Jacket like it was nothing, caught up with Ms Pink Jacket who was running way in front of us, left Jolanda behind, and sprinted with giant steps towards the finish:


I was feeling so awesome sprinting that last part that it took me a few moments to realize I was already there and could stop running. haha :P

I ended up with a time of 30.50 min, 4 sec worse than the nightmare race a few weeks before and way slower that my first race. I still think that maybe that first course was shorter, as it was the only course where there were no km markers along the way. But I am happy with how I felt during the race, I had fun, didn’t push myself over the limit (we even chatted every now and then) and finished very strong.

So, goal accomplished! I feel confident for my next race now!

maandag 10 mei 2010

Weekly review

Let’s see what happened last week:


I forgot to write it down, and now I forgot…


It was memorial day, we have 2 min of silence and remember all the victims of WWII. After that I went swimming with a friend, like I do every other week. We had fun catching up and chatting away the whole time.


After reminiscing on the victims of war, today we celebrated the Liberation of the country after WWII, but also freedom in general. I went on a bike ride in the morning, my first ride with hills. Man, was that hard! I never felt my quads burning like that. After the bike ride I was pooped for the rest of the day, so we ended up staying at home relaxing together instead of going to one of the Liberation Festivals.


I worked at home  an extra day because the Boyfriend needed the car. It was nice sitting at my ‘new’ desk all by myself for the first time, but I did not get a lot done. But today was the day I came up with the Chronicles of a PhD candidate idea!


Back to work again, not very much else interesting going on.


I went for another bike ride in the afternoon. It was kind of windy and not sunny at all, but it was lovely nevertheless. At first I had a hard time, because I had a set pace in my mind, but once I let that go, I could just enjoy the ride and the scenery. I biked the wrong way and ended up doing 56 instead of 49k. As if it wasn’t enough of a challenge already! You might be wondering what it is with me biking so much all of a sudden. I’ll tell you soon!

At night the Boyfriend and I went out for dinner and a movie with my brother, Ruud. We went to a tapas restaurant and the food was really good. Too bad we had to wait for it for sooooo long. It really cost them their tip. They were so slow serving the food that we didn’t even have time for dessert anymore because the movie was about to start. We walked back to the cinema and watched Kick-Ass. That movie was so funny! It was a lot more violent than I thought it would be, but I was very good.


Today was Mother’s Day, so as a good daughter we  went to visit my parents. My sister was there too and we had a good time hanging out. Didn’t do much else, except of course watch several house episodes.

Oh, and I sported my vest today, which I have meant to show to you for some time now.


I made it myself! It is double layered tricot; the top layer is a little shorter than the bottom layer. Oh, sorry that it’s a bit blurry, the Boyfriend does not have a steady hand. And oh, nevermind the mess in the back. We still have to put back our dead plants on the balcony, from when it was painted a while ago. (the green one is fake…)
Here is another one that is a bit more clear. Nevermind the crazy face. It’s so annoying how many pics you have to shoot before you have one that’s decent, let alone perfect. P4070078

And yes, I have purple shoes!!

To come back to the topic of perfect and decent photos: I refuse to pretend that I am perfect, so you’ll have to be ok with the decent ones that sort of show what I really look like. As far as you can see that frozen in a picture anyway.

I’ll leave you with the best picture of the set: a close-up that turned out good because I didn’t look at the camera haha. And you can admire how well I did on the stitching of the garment, lol.


Have a great night!

Do you have pictures of yourself that scare the living daylights out of everyone? What did you do with them?

I have plenty, and I got rid of some of them, but family is holding several of them hostage, probably will use them against me on my wedding or something… :P

zondag 9 mei 2010

New Feature: the Chronicles of a PhD candidate

Hi guys! The other day I was utterly bored with my work; I experienced a complete lack of motivation to do anything and my mind was flooded with thoughts, insights and whatever else, both related and unrelated to work. I get this more and more often, but also the deadline for my thesis is getting closer and closer. I just don’t find much joy in the project anymore. Or at least not enough to keep me motivated every day. It’s not like I hate my job, I’m just stressed out by it.

Since I have about 30 weeks to go until my ultimate deadline, I figured that I have to find a way to make this tolerable, preferably fun. I like to play and daydream and it is hard for me to do something I don’t find interesting. Luckily, I am able to find something interesting in most things, otherwise I wouldn’t even have made it through highschool (geography, anyone?)

So, I started thinking: How can I make this interesting, challenging in a good way, and fun? The topic on itself is interesting and I like doing research. I know my priorities and have a huge todo-list that I need to tackle in an efficient way. But…I wander off, playing and daydreaming all the time. I tried focusing using timers and rewards, but they don’t last for me. The only way I can do this, is turn it into a game.

Next step was to figure out what kind of game. I am not very competitive most of the time, therefore winning and rewards don’t work very well. The game should be fun on itself too. I like games that involve words, puzzles and organization/efficiency (for example solitaire).
So how can I use this to trick myself into thinking my work is a game? The good part about my work is that it is related to things I like:
- writing (=also word game)
- puzzles (= analysis of data)
- organization (= keep an overview of the results, but also the organizational aspects of conducting a study).

The difference with leisure games is that they look better and are usually funny. I’m sorry Prof X, but I don’t find a lot of funny things in my data (although, Prof X probably does not think there should be, but whatever). Here’s what I am going to do:

- Use more colour (typing papers, making notes, etc). I already use colour in my analysis, but I can expand that.
- Use different fonts: it is so much more fun to type if you don’t use Times New Roman (I know, I am a nerd). When I send something in I can always change it back.
- make more use of schemes and drawings.
- treat everything as an organizational game: organize data collection; organize data so that it means something: results; organize results so that it means something: conclusion; organize conclusions so that it means something: write a paper.
- make pictures of the process. And that’s where I got the idea of starting this feature. I don’t like to talk about my work a lot, but I can’t deny that it is a big part of my life. I want to start chronicling the last 8 months of my PhD until the birth of my thesis. This gives me the chance to put things in perspective and to try find the funny side. Like in those comedies where the situation is kind of sad, but the story is told in a funny way that makes you laugh anyway. Also, blogging about it, forces me to think of fun creative things to present my work week.

zaterdag 8 mei 2010

Daisy Do: Blog

Back with a new challenge! I have been feeling bad about my blog lately. I have a lot of ideas but I don’t really get to writing a lot. I would like to do more than 1 post a week, especially if that 1 post is just a weekly review. But making a post takes up a lot of time, and I only have that time on weekends. However, they say that if you want to build a blog you have to post every day, at least at first.

However, I am not willing to put that much time and effort in the blog (yet). But what I can do, is blog every day!
Introducing the new focus of the month:


Daisy Do Blog!

image found here

The challenge is really simple:

Blog everyday for at least 15 minutes.

On weekends and nights I have nothing to do, I will probably be blogging a little more. And on weekdays 15 minutes are easy to include in my routines. I already started with this challenge this week, and have several posts lined up now. That’s the whole point: I can just work on one post and publish it when it’s done and continue with the next one. The only one I want to publish on a specific day is the weekly review. But that one should be easy if I just add the review each day by the end of the day.

I really hope this will lead to me posting more, and also better quality of the posts.

So, wish me luck on this one!

Do you have a blog? If so, let me know!

donderdag 6 mei 2010

Daisy Do Read: evaluation

Another month has passed by. And wow, was April ever fast! It is time to look back at last month’s challenge: Daisy Do Read, and see how I did.


Daisy Do Read!




Until April 30th I was to try to:

- read for half an hour each working day;

- read for an hour each day on weekends.

I must admit that it turned out quite the challenge, because I noticed that once I am in bed I tend to fall asleep after 15 min of reading. So much for reading 30 min in bed. However, I also started reading 5-10 min during breakfast. The hour on weekend days turned out to be 10 min one day and over 2 hours the other day.

I read the following books:

  • Half of: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
  • I started Alice in Wonderland
  • I am halfway Around the World in 80 dates by Jennifer Cox
  • It’s on my list: a book about a girl who tries to fulfil the bucketlist of another girl who died in an accident they both were in.
  • some chicklit
  • some other chicklit.

Hmm, I notice a crazy tendency to read multiple books at the same time…

In the end, what do I think of the challenge?
I think it was a success because I really formed a habit. I always consider reading when deciding what to do and I have started craving it again. I am really happy that reading books is back in my life again!

maandag 3 mei 2010

Weekly review: Orange all over the country

Hi guys! Time to review my week. Again, I have trouble remembering what it was that I did each day. But I guess if I don’t remember it’s not really worth mentioning anyway.

Monday and Tuesday were regular work days. Nothing really special. I was supposed to go for an allergy test but it got postponed. Wednesday was my work-from-home day. I am proud to say that I have a desk again! I have not had a desk in months. The boyfriend took over my desk, using my computer when his died. He fixed a laptop for me, which I have been using anywhere except on a desk. But now, dear readers, I am back to my old self, having a desk with space to put work stuff and two monitors! And the dear Boyfriend (of the year) gave me the only flatscreen monitor we own (yes, we are old fashioned, but we just have not had cash to spend on computer stuff) and the wireless keyboard and mouse.

Thursday  was a pretty lame day again, nothing interesting happened. Friday was Queen’s day!


We celebrated the birthday of the Queen, but it isn’t even her birthday that day. But hey, whatever! It’s a national holiday so you don’t hear me complaining. Since I am about 90 years old, I don’t like to go into town to celebrate with the rest of the city. It is so crowded that it’s not fun anymore. Instead we visited a friend and my grandma in the morning. The afternoon and evening I hung out with a girlfriend, catching up and chatting away. I got home just in time to watch the firework downtown from my balcony.

Saturday we visited my parents and my other grandma and I didn’t really do much else. Sunday I had another race: I ran a 5k in some small village somewhere. It was cold, rainy, windy, and my time sucked. But I had a great time anyway. I’ll recap later. I spent the rest of the day with the Boyfriend, watching House episodes and enjoying the Boyfriend acting like a good housewife. :D

I will leave you with a picture of my favorite flower, the gerbera.