Nice run and then a…cassis

And there you are with your carrot and onion face. Tough you signed up for the 'I Pass' challenge. Because you have to get fitter if necessary, and you want to take action. No alcohol for a while is a good resolution for the new year….right? And it's so easy to say; I'm going to go to the water for the time being…….But is it imagination or will the beers suddenly all taste better?

I am writing on Saturday 28 December, fifteen minutes after the end of the Brabantse Kluis Trail, a beautiful running event near Aarle-Rixtel, where I was able to run more than 30 kilometers over the heath, through the forest and along picturesque streams... to chat about the beautiful route and the beautiful weather that we were able to enjoy today. We behead the well-deserved finisher's beer. Old acquaintances join in, new friends are made. Just do another round; we're there anyway. Talk, laughter, deep conversations.

Then suddenly it is Sunday, January 5, 2020, around 2 o'clock. I have just completed the Leenderbostrail, more than 50 kilometers through and around the…..right…….Leenderbos. The same club that is currently sitting at my table is back. I get a vision. The well-known finisher's beer is also shining there on my table, and just when I want to open it, it is taken away: "You fit, right?" Laughter and cheers. I shuffle unobtrusively, head bowed, to a small table in the corner. A glass of cassis and a vega bitterball are in front of me. A large illuminated arrow appears above my head, with neon letters flashing; 'HE FIT'! As in a painting by Pieter Bruegel, the beer foams and flows liberally on the large table next to me. There are real bitterballen! And cubes of cheese! There is laughter… and pointing. To the fool with that glass of sting. Then watch him sit. A feeling of loneliness comes over me. For a moment I'm about to sob, until I realize it's all just perception.

Yes, I'm going to miss my beer, and oh how difficult it will be to have to say 'no' as one of the few. But I've done it before, and I really liked it at the time. And I don't do it for nothing; in four months I will be running for 40 hours through the mountains and then I will need my body badly. A nice stick behind the door, because I really want this. And so I will have to be careful with that same body. Or to speak in transport terms; you also don't put kerosene in the tank of your truck.

It will certainly not be easy in the beginning, precisely because you are so focused on the 'not allowed'. Because everything that is not allowed, must. Precisely because it is so nice to have a cold beer after a long working day or a nice run, it will take some getting used to. But I also know that it ultimately makes me better and stronger, fitter and healthier. That I'm going to sleep better….etc….Not that I'm buying a lot for that at the moment, and yes, I encourage myself but you have to do something. It's all about the mindset. And actually I am secretly very curious about the coming weeks, what will it do to me, what will it do to my sport and my body, and how much I long for my beer. Fortunately, I've never been averse to a challenge, so we'll just grab this one. We're going to experience it.

Finally, I wish all my fellow combatants a lot of strength and perseverance, because luckily I am not the only one who is going to start this disastrous plan. We're going to do this together!


Until next week!


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