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100 Mile Fitness Challenge logoAs you may or may not know, I’m participating in the 3rd 100 Mile Fitness Challenge from April-June. The first and second time I tried to walk 100 miles / 162 kilometers in 3 months, I only crossed the finish line with effort, in the last few days of the challenge.

This time… I’ve trotted my amount of miles a whole month early!

Of course I won’t stop now: let’s try to get to the next round number before July 1st: 200 kilometers (125 miles)!

Swan on nest

(Water) birds nesting; a typical May view

On Saturday Mr Gnoe and I went for a nice walk called Klopwandeling, taking a short cycling trip to get there. If you ever go on that hike (or either the Utrechtpad or Waterliniepad) I recommend stopping for a drink at Fort aan de Klop (closed on Mondays)!

A weird thing happened: we bumped into a couple we met in Cappadocia (Turkey) a few years ago. They don’t live in the area — just got here for a weekend outing. Ain’t it a small world?

ETA: on June 26th I ended my 2nd 100 Mile Fitness Challenge with a total of 147 miles = 235 km!!! Wow. I impressed myself ;)


Hyaku bento (#100)
A 100th bento calls for cake! So in the upper right corner of the first tier there’s a mini almond cake (in pink wrapping) that I found in elma’s surprise packet. It is sided by an Anpanman orange candy and a packet of soy sauce for my inarizushi on the left. In the middle there’s Maki’s carrot kinpira and a small container of pickled ginger on the right.

The second tier overflows with miso tamago and edamame sprinkled with shichimi on a bed of romaine lettuce. I usually like my boiled eggs soft so I tried that with this batch of miso tamago, but they really taste better when hard-boiled.

Hyaku bento might not look very special to you, but it is pretty rare for me to compose a 100% Japanese lunchbox. Confession: I prefer my edamame with FairTrade African Peper Mix but because of my Nippon theme I had to use shichimi, or nanami togarashi, a traditional Japanese mix of 7 spices. In which there are actually only 4, according to the label on my bottle: red chili pepper, sesame seeds, nori and lemonpeel. MIA: poppy seed, hemp seed and sancho (pepper). But let’s not digress ;)

This bento was my well-deserved lunch on a day-long hike called De Blauwe Kamer (‘The Blue Room’), named after a riverside nature reserve in Utrecht province. The day started out cold but got better along the way, so I had a nice time. Priorfatgirl had challenged us to workout for 60 minutes on April the 20th and somehow I managed to expand that into 6 hours ;) Of which I took 30 minutes to eat my bento btw. I also had some geen kukicha tea, apple juice and tab water. No hydration problems here ;)

This seems a good moment to tell you that I joined in a new round of the 100 Mile Fitness Challenge too, running from April – June. I just barely finished my 162 kilometers / 100 miles the first and second time, so I guess I need a little push to get going sometimes ;)

View of hiking area De Blauwe Kamer

Impressions of my day: WINDY, the smell of ground pinewood, water, cuckoo-flowers-a-plenty, traditional Dutch landscape, singing birds, crossing borders (the river Rijn is a natural divider between Utrecht province and Gelderland and I’ve been hopping across) and oh, did I mention it was windy?

There are some details about De Blauwe Kamer that might be handy for other people going to walk this Capitool route, but I’ve added those to this post in Dutch.

Additional remarks about the track in Dutch

Bunny Bento #96, March 30th 2010

You know how it is with rabbits… You start with two and suddenly there’s a whole bunch of them! So, bunnies galore in bento #96. Let’s make it my 2nd entry in hapa bento’s April B.O.M.B. Challenge!

Bunny Bento #96 en routeIn my usagi sakura bento box you find a Tofu Puff Bunny snuggling up to ordinary inarizushi, a bottle of soy sauce, rucola and parsley greens, a piece of snack tempeh and two avocado maki rolls. Yesh, I made all the sushi myself :) And it was goooooooood.

The snackbox contains homemade chuka wakame (seaweed salad), no.1 farmer’s cheese — nationally elected as ‘the best’ — and bunny marshmallows. On the side I had a mandarin and spicy rooibos tea.

Almost at the end of my hikeThe bunny bento hopped along on my hike today, where it got devoured on a bench next to the water. I walked the last 9 kilometers for my 2nd 100 Mile Fitness Challenge! Deadline is tomorrow so I’m right on time :) It was a nice trail called Kortenhoefse Plassen, crossing peat lands. A bit soggy at times ;) I especially liked the end, overviewing the lakes of Loosdrechtse Plassen.

So, what’s my end total for the 100 Mile Fitness Challenge?
163 kilometers = 101 miles. Yay!

100 Mile Fitness Challenge logo

Should I go for another round? I wouldn’t have gone out today if I hadn’t needed to trot those last few miles…

I’m a bit late with my January update for the 100 Mile Fitness Challenge because I came down with a very bad cold (a.k.a. the flu) after my last solo hike at Langbroekerwetering on the 26th. Because of it I have also missed out on two great hikes since then! :(

Still, I exactly achieved my monthly target of 55 kilometers (about 34 miles). I have not added an inch to that since. But I hope to be ‘up and running’ again next week ;)

Molenstein FollyThings are not always what they seem. What do you think this is? Church? Chapel? Wrong.

It’s Molenstein Folly. It was built as a barn with a dovecot in the tower and is now (presumably) a house. I like follies; I think they’re funny. On my first walk for this challenge in October 2009, I came by Stoop Pavilion. And I’ve also written about Austerlitz Pyramid in relation to Napoleon and a book I read about him: The Little Emperor by Martin Bril.

Another mission accomplished: I crossed the 100 Mile Fitness Challenge finish line in the company of some Wandelgrrls on December 30th, 2009! * whispers * There were two more secret challengers among them… :))

The original hike from Garderen to Putten got canceled because of the bad weather forecast, but 5 of us decided to go on another hike anyway: NS-wandeling Utrechtse Heuvelrug, from Driebergen to Maarn. We made a pitstop in Austerlitz, where we had some hot chocolat! The weather was fine btw; none of the promised rain, snow or ice came in our way. Still, we didn’t make a detour for Austerlitz Pyramide. But we did pass Stoop Pavilion, where I ate my Herfst Hike Bento on my first walk for the fitness challenge ;)

So, the numbers (drum roll): from October 20th – December 31 I walked 107 miles / 172 kilometers!

Better still, I’ll probably update this post later on with a new total because I am going to end this year DANCING. And in the new year? I will join in the new 100 Mile Fitness Challenge! Because I have had fun :))


Just another 6 miles to go before January 1st and I will have accomplished my 100 Mile Fitness Challenge! I started on October 20th and got 94 miles / 150 kilometers done within two months so it must be easy peasy getting there in time.

Last Tuesday I went on another 15.5 km solo-walk, from Terschuur to Amersfoort. It is called Barneveldse Beek, after the stream that runs along the track for about 2 km. I liked that part but overall this isn’t a hike I would recommend: I had to pass a lot of motorways as well :\ Thankfully it was a quiet day, but it will probably be horrible on Saturday or at rush hour.

The weather was absolutely GORGEOUS — cold, frosty and sunny! That made it a hike to remember after all. Look at some pictures if you don’t believe me ;)

Dutch windmill

I came by some kawaii donkeys (aren’t they the cutest animals?) and I even saw a Kingfisher — of course that one was too quick to photograph. So I had a nice winter walk this week, even though it is still officially autumn ;)

Something really bad has to happen to prevent me from accomplishing the 100 Mile Fitness Challenge in time! Oops, better touch some wood — no need to tempt the gods :\

Some other hiker got blisters and decided to go on barefooted?How am I doing on my 100 Mile Fitness Challenge? Great! I’ve passed the 100 kilometer / 75 mile milestones! The exact numbers are: 124 km and 77 miles. I am still in the running for this challenge!

I had two really nice walks this week: about 15 km around Nijkerk with the Wandelgrrls and another 15 km with wlfr (a.k.a. @variomatic) from Delft to Zoetermeer for the first stage of our new hiking project: Groene Hart Pad. We finished our other project, 163 km of Utrechtpad, last July. It took us about three years and the Groene Hart Pad is just a bit longer: 192 km… I hope we will be able to finish that in three years as well!

These boots are made for walking…

The picture of two hiking boots was taken on the walk with wlfr… It was really weird to come across these perfectly good shoes standing idly ‘in the middle of nowhere’! Well nowhere: the name Groene Hart signifies the still ‘Green Heart’ of urbanized Holland; the area around Gouda where cows for Gouda cheese need to graze ;)

Of course I already wrote a post about my progress in the 100 Mile Fitness Challenge on Tuesday, but to keep in sync with the other challengers I’m now writing my official Friday update — not in the least since my yoga class increased the number to a round total of 40 miles. Gnoe going strong! ;)

The highlight was definitely seeing some real cranes! Yes, I know that’s not a fitness triumph ;) But I would never have seen them if I hadn’t gone on that walk. If all goes well and the weather will be playing along, I hope to be going on two more hikes in the coming week… Looking forward to it!

Quickpicnicbento #87Today’s bento-for-two was assembled in a hurry before going on a 16 km (10 mile) hike across the Kampina nature reserve (walking from Boxtel to Oisterwijk). The picture was taken quickly too — there was no time to mess around with furoshiki’s etc. because Mr Gnoe and I wanted to be on our way before the cleaning lady arrived ;)

(So the clear background has nothing to do with your picture preferences, elm@! ;)

Wilde craneWe threw together some edamame (with African peper) and salsa picante as dip for a veggie nugget. Mini wiener sandwich rolls with garden cress, two boiled eggs, and a small bag of cashews to put in between the mini bread rolls. It may not look too great but it actually was quite good; kept us on our feet when we got tired & hungry.

The hike was wonderful, even though the weather could have been better; it was foggy and we even had some rain. Photos of our day can be found on Flickr. Today was extra special because for the first time in my life I have seen real life wild cranes! They are beautiful birds! Let’s hope they bring us luck, like the Japanese believe :)

I want to use the opportunity for a progress report on my 100 Mile Fitness Challenge. Last update was on the first day of autumn (Wednesday October 21st), when I had managed a total of 7 miles. My main ‘workout’ activities since then have been yoga, some cycling, walking around our city canal and last Sunday I danced A LOT on the Shabushabu, Oruutaichi, La Veuve Moustachue and maho+thaidisco concert in Rotterdam. I must have been swinging uninterrupted for at least two hours! It definitely was a great night out :)

I’m down to a total of 37 miles! And in only three weeks, since I didn’t join the challenge before October 20th. With 7 1/2 more weeks left of 2009, it must be possible to walk those 100 miles before January 1st!

Some strange coincidences happening this week. Today we met just one party of other hikers — including someone of my yoga group! That’s weird since the Kampina is in a whole different province. And the concert on Sunday attracted a maximum of 50 people… among which a former best friend of my brother I hadn’t seen in years! Holland really isn’t that small LOL! Many things happen in threes… what chance occurence will happen in the next few days???

Kampina Hike

Yesterday I went on a hike on the Utrechtse Heuvelrug (‘Utrecht Hill Ridge‘). If I want to participate in the 100 Mile Fitness Challenge I’ve got to get outdoors! I walked for 9.41 km and (in this case) I am also counting my cycling to the train station, so I’m 7 miles down for the challenge – 93 more to go!

For lunch, I brought bento #81, called Herfst Hike Bento because I like alliteration and ‘herfst’ is the Dutch word for autumn.

Top tier

  • Crackers
  • Crispy fried seaweed snack
  • Mini matcha muffin with azuki filling
  • 2 yoghurt coated apricots
  • Fudge candy
  • Corn cob
  • Watercress leaves
  • Cove-ripened goat’s cheese star
  • Fairtrade African pepper spices (hiding under cheese) for corn
  • Lemon infused extra vierge olive oil for corn cob

Lower tier

  • Falafel (chickpea patty)
  • Chili-tomato sauce for falafel
  • Mini carrot
  • Yellow Cabbage quiche (a.k.a. pie of slobber cabbage ;)
  • Garden peas with Fairtrade Basil Herb mix
  • Sundried tomato spread with another goat’s cheese star

I thought I had some edamame left but when I got the bag out of the freezer it appeared to be garden peas. No matter, I like them too ;)

CSA (& organic): corn, carrot, yellow cabbage
Organic: watercress, falafel, tomato spread

My hike took me through different types of landscape: estates, sands and moorland, but mostly forest. Which is preferable for autumn ;) Especially when you can enjoy the great weather I got! I should confess I took a wrong turn somewhere, but I got back on track quite easily ;)

Along the way I also released a bookcrossing copy of Almayer’s Folly for my 2nd round of the 2009 History Challenge at Stoop Pavilion (de Koepel van Stoop): a folly itself.

You can find the pictures I took on my hike in a special set on Flickr.

Gnoe goes ExtraVeganza!


Currently grazing

Challenge logo

Gnoe herding...