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Amsterdamage - lingerie and marathon edition

25 October 2012, 13:48

What a weekend! I’ve been to Amsterdam several times before, so I felt zero need to see the tourist sites (though I did take a boat tour, more for the hour of sitting than anything else!). For me, this weekend was all about sewing and running, my two favourite pasttimes! I flew in Saturday morning and fellow sewing blogger Lauriana met me at the station to drive to the legendary Kantje Boord.

If you’re not familiar with Kantje Boord (and let’s be fair, their website is appalling), it’s a specialty lingerie haberdashery and fabric store, and is pretty much the only one of its kind in the world as far as I know. But it’s pretty far out of town, well away from the usual public transport, so I was very grateful to be driven there and give my legs a rest!

I’d heard stories about Kantje Boord, and I was not disappointed! It’s a tiny shop, but it’s stacked floor to ceiling with everything lingerie, lace, and elastic you could possibly imagine, and in every colour of the rainbow.

There must’ve been several hundred different kits (with everything you need to make a bra and panties in matching colours), but I decided what I’d rather make is another Ruby Slip, but in camisole length, with matching panties, so I instead focused on the wide laces, of which there must’ve been 3-4 times as many as the kits! Once I settled on a lace, I then crawled around the floor to get matching picot lingerie elastics to match it and my fabric swatches I’d brought from home.

So here’s what I bought! It might’ve been a bit more than I pledged, but I stayed away from the tempting Wall of Crazy Lycra, and only bought pieces that matched what I already owned!

I got a stretch purple lace with accents of fuchsia and lime green (5m, since it was ridiculously cheap), plus matching purple lycra from the remnant bin, lime green panty elastic, fuchsia ribbons for straps, green bow motifs, and purple crotch lining. Then I also got beige netting for underneath my stretch laces from Paris, plus panty elastic to match the green stretch lace, beige crotch lining, beige panty elastic to match a black & beige lace from eLingeria.de, and several meters of black and white waistband elastic, since I could grab the ones that felt nice and soft. Also not pictured is a roll of neoprene-line bra padding, my only real frivolous purchase. All of the above came to €37, too! I’ve spent more than that on wide stretch lace alone at MacCulloch and Wallis!!

Meeting Lauriana was absolutely wonderful, too. We’ve been friends online for years and years so we instantly hit it off in real life, which was so much fun! She’s posted about her purchases here (and some of the above photos are hers, too!). After the giddiness died down, we feasted on chicken satay (plus a million carbs for me!) and she very kindly dropped me off at the marathon expo on her way home…

So yes, the marathon! It was my first marathon, and some of you may be thinking “oh, but she runs, I’m sure it was no problem for her”. Think again – that distance is no joke! I’d done all my training and got three 20 milers in, but it was still really tough. And up until this year, I’d never raced farther than a 10km, so keep in mind that this is four times that distance!

It was my absolute perfect running weather – cold, cloudy, and with a hint of drizzle, and I was nervous, but as ready as I’d ever be. I’d wanted to finish in under 4 hours, but my “gold medal” time was 3:45, and to achieve that I’d need to run at 5:20min/km throughout (that’s 8:35min/mi). So I started off at my “easy” pace, which ended up being 5:05min/km, and that felt good. I was a freaking machine, maintaining that up through about 28km, when it started to feel tough, and I slowed down considerably from 30-40km, just keeping the momentum going and counting down every single km marker. I had two cheering zones from my running crew on the course, but my GPS running app, Runmeter, lets my Dailymile and Twitter friends speak comments into my ear while I run, so I had cheers of encouragement from about 30 different friends from all around the world, including some who’d gotten up at 3:30am to cheer me on! I cannot stress enough how much this helped me to carry on during that stretch of 10km when it was a real struggle.

But at the 40km mark, we turned the corner out of Vondelpark, and I passed where I was staying and I knew it was only a short 2km to the finish, and that gave me the boost I needed to pick up the pace again, and – I’m still not sure where this came from – but I even managed a sprint finish into the Olympic stadium to finish in 3:48:23!! Which, umm, I’m stupidly happy with.

As long as they don’t change the rules, it means I should qualify for a Good for Age entry into London 2014, which is otherwise impossible to get into. I hobbled back to my running crew’s hospitality zone for recovery shakes and hugs, then back to where I was staying for an ice bath (my host brought me tea and chocolate truffles to make it easier! Bless!), which I really think did help with my recovery. I had a few spots of chafing and two enormous blisters on my toes, all in brand-new places, but I was otherwise intact.

Oh, and not only did I run a marathon, but I ran it in leggings I’d sewn myself, three years after I had a bone marrow transplant.

If I’ve inspired you to start running, I highly recommend following a Couch to 5K programme, and sticking to it. Running takes a good few months to become enjoyable, but trust me, it does eventually! And seriously, I owe this marathon completely and entirely to the amazing Run dem Crew, who have transformed my running and confidence and made me believe I could do anything I put my mind to.

(Full photo album here, if you’d like to see more…)

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  1. Disappointed that the 26 miles weren’t done in just lingerie (it was the ‘Dam, after all…) but I said it before, and I’ll say it again: Respect is due.

    I know it sounds trite, but damn girl, that was an achievement. I’ll never be that good, and know how much work you put in, it makes my mind boggle how great a runner you are.

    Dat time. Look at it again and revel in it!

    Stray Taoist    Oct 25, 01:59 PM    #
  2. Congratulations! Continued health and success. God Bessie’s you.

    — Eva    Oct 25, 03:16 PM    #
  3. The blisters – wowzers! (And don’t you have teeny tiny toes.) You’re an utter inspiration. I don’t know how you do it, but I’m so pleased for you.

    Did You Make That?    Oct 25, 03:47 PM    #
  4. 3:48:23 is fantastic!!!! Well done, you are amazing and an inspiration :)

    Stefania    Oct 25, 03:55 PM    #
  5. You are a total inspiration! Really.

    K-Line    Oct 25, 04:19 PM    #
  6. Congratulations! So very happy for you!

    Far    Oct 25, 05:54 PM    #
  7. I didn’t realise you’d had a bone marrow transplant. Well done on your running achievements. As for the sewing supplies, the Netherlands is a small country like the UK and yet they seem to have more of a selection of material. There are four or five online places you can get lingerie stuff that I know of in olde England and that’s it.

    — Patricia O    Oct 25, 05:59 PM    #
  8. As an American ex-pat from the part of the US of A where I am from, you know we don’t have anything like Kantje Boord here. So I am jealous. I am sure I can troll the internet, but it is not the same as being there in person. You can touch everything, and I bet that store even has its own “smell”. And great job on the marathon. You are an inspiration in so many ways. Thanks for posting pictures of Amsterdam. One of these days…

    — susan    Oct 25, 08:47 PM    #
  9. Love the blog title! Huge congratulations to you on completing your first marathon and in such a great time.

    allisonC    Oct 26, 12:57 AM    #
  10. I read your blog all the time but I’m not very good at commenting (sorry). I’m so impressed with your race! I recently did a 10 k about a year after having my son and can see how running can become addictive. I still have a ways to go but get inspired by people like you to keep at it

    Wow is all I can say. Awesome job.

    — Alexandra    Oct 27, 01:46 AM    #
  11. Woo hoo, go you! That is an excellent time, and fabulous to get a London spot.
    I have only done a 1/2 marathon, and that is far enough for me ! I am very impressed with people who do the whole thing, and in your own gear, great stuff!

    Kbenco    Oct 27, 12:37 PM    #
  12. We share the same pastimes : sewing and running.I’m far behind you for both, but you do inspire me ! Congratulations for your fabulous marathon. You can be proud of you ! What is your next goal ?

    karine    Oct 27, 01:05 PM    #
  13. Very well done Melissa. You deserve real credit for finishing in that time.
    I have been running the Couch to 5K plan (again,and again…) to help my bone density. I really can’t imagine running a marathon.

    Love the lingerie purchases!

    Kim Hood    Oct 27, 02:45 PM    #
  14. I am very touched at your strength and fortitude. Big big big congratulations to you!
    (Also on your haul!)

    anneinseattle    Oct 28, 05:18 PM    #
  15. Congratulations to you, very well done!

    — Teddie    Oct 29, 10:12 PM    #
  16. wow, this is an impressive time ! The 30km “wall” is a well known phenomenon, as I’m sure you already know.

    Congratulation ! You inspired me to, maybe, try a semi next year ? :)

    Rose    Oct 30, 08:51 AM    #

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