Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Eve in Holland

Workout of the Day:

Run 4 snow miles (with a dog)

Rest 6 hours

Farm Chipper #2:

50 hay bale OH squats

50 pushups

175 m fireman carry (82 kg)

50 box jumps (single leg balance)

30 tree pullups

175 m fireman carry (82 kg)

Today turned out to be quite the Christmas Eve. I woke up at sunrise to meet Wilemijn (Niels’s girlfriend) and Able (dog) for a trail run at the park just outside of town. Besides being beautiful, this scene offered a formidable challenge. I was in charge of Able, which meant I was responsible for his sporadic need to scatter his scent, chase other animals, and generally disrupt my tempo. Combined with the snow covered, slippery trail conditions, these were 4 of the longer miles I can remember. I finished in just under 30 minutes and felt pretty cooked.

After getting some food, resting, and cleaning up, I rejoined Niels, Willemijn, and the family for a real Dutch Christmas experience at Grandma’s house. We arrived pretty early so we walked around her property (amazing!) to see what kind of interesting workout I could put myself through before dinner. What I ended up doing more than worked up an appetite. OH squatting with a bale of hay is very awkward, very messy, and exhausting on the shoulders. Following that with pushups just exacerbated the fatigue. I carried Niels for the fireman's carry and, suffice it to say, he weighs more than my sandbag. In fact, he weighs exactly the same as I do, so this turned out to be a true bodyweight test. I didn’t stop running the whole 175 meters but it was a fight to keep upright by the end. The alternating jumps were a nice twist on standard box jumps. Using a wooden bench, I jumped off two feet but only caught myself on one, alternating each repetition. Then, turning to the tree pretty exhausted, I kind of hit a wall. The pullups were brutal and the branch was so hard to hold on to. Getting 30 took me 6 sets, and they were not easy. Still, I got through it and prepared for the home stretch. The final 175 meters to the finish with Niels on my back felt like a mile. Again, I didn’t stop, for which I am very proud, but my heart rate must have been around 200 beats per minute when I finally set him down back by the barn. I collapsed in the snow immediately and didn't move for 5 minutes. In total, the routine took me 15:25 to complete.

Afterwards we headed in for a feast, some presents, and some time off our feet. This marks my first Christmas away from my family and it's a tough pill to swallow. I'm so lucky to have met people gracious enough to include me in their celebration. The depth of my appreciation is difficult to relate, but the thought of spending this season alone was not one I was at all comfortable with. As it turned out, I shared in a rich and engaging experience with interesting people I won't soon forget.

Happy Holidays.


  1. Pull ups were awesome...crude, challenging and oh so cool! i'll be searching for a tree in the woods this weekend! Merry Christmas

  2. As always, crazy creativity. And those dogs are awesome. Merry Christmas, bro!

  3. ummm i see a stoller in the mix. i assume the baby is the time keeper? or maybe just there for support, it's difficult to tell

  4. I love that fireman carry. Have to include that in one of my workouts soon!