Corana quarantine, week 5

Time flys and nothing much is changing so I felt like I didn’t have much to share over the past weeks. Here’s a little update from within my quartine bubble:

  • There’s finally an update on the move to the new appartment! I should have the keys by the end of next week if all goes to plan, so I’ll probably be moving next weekend. My dad will be helping with that as there’s no way I can do everything by myself. And most of my stuff had already been moved back to my parents house anyway.
  • Hopefully I’ll be able to arange for an internet connection at the new place quickly, otherwise I’ll have to go and work at the office (I’ll be the only one there and it’s only 10 minutes away so it’s not a big big issue. But I’d rather be staying home
  • Work has been exceptionally busy the past 3 weeks. Loads of cool projects but it’s getting to be a bit much.
  • I’ve been on my indoor cycling trainer a lot. This week I did 230km and 9,3 hours (of which just 27km and 1 hour was outside).
  • Been watching previous seasons of De Mol while training indoors. I haven’t had cable TV for years so I haven’t seen any of these before and they’re good fun to pass the time.
  • Haven’t seen my girlfriend in 3 weeks and it’s really tough. We video call everything and watch TV “together” but still, I can’t wait to hold her once this is all over.

Next week’s update promises to be bigger, with hopefully some good appartement-moving next.

Hope you are all heathly and staying indoors, ‘till next week!

Corana quarantine, week 2

Some thoughts after the second week of working-from-home/social-distancing.

  • The current measures have been prolonged until April 19th, and possibly May 3th. Making the move the new appartment on May 1st highly unlikely.
  • The lease of my current place ends on May 5th so I’ll probably be moving back in with my parents untill I can get into my new place. Not decided yet but we’ll prepare and pack for the “worst” case.
  • I went to work at the office on Thursday. My studio appartment got too small, there was a lot of construction going on next door (= noise) and I just had to get out of here for a bit.
  • Work went better than the first week. Still some ups & downs but I managed to stay focussed a lot better.
  • Working some overtime on Saturday and not really minding it.
  • Projects & work seem to still be coming in at the office, good to not have to worry about that
  • Video-calling with the parents and my sister (who lives in Bucharest, Romania) was great and will become a weekly thing
  • Making it a habit to check in with friends. Just a quick text or a “good morning”.
  • Did lots of bike courier runs to deliver and pick up face masks packages. Good to be out on the bike and see (from a safe distance) other people who are keen to help out.

Hang in there everyone, and stay indoors.

Corana quarantine, week 1

Considering the extraordinary situation that is happening all around us this week, I wanted to get some of my thoughts down somewhere.

I tried writing something longer but I couldn’t quite put it in words so here’s a short(er) list.

  • I was supposed to move to a new appartment on April 1st. That got pushed out to May 1st. I can stay where I live now until May 5th so we’re good for now.
  • The place I’m currently living is a small studio appartment. Usually it’s fine since I’m not there most of the time. Working from home and not going out means it feels tiny.
  • There were some slightly panicy and last-minute shopping trips with my dad but each time we arrived at a store that had just shut its doors an hour earlier.
  • “Disconnecting” from work is proving to be really hard. I sit at my desk to work and when the day is done there is nowhere else to go. No commute, no transition.
  • Not forcing myself to try and do anything productive in the evenings, or at least trying to.
  • Thank god for Zwift and indoor cycling. I’ve been riding each day after work and that creates some sort of seperation after the work day
  • Missing the girlfriend like crazy. We work in the same office so we’ve gotten used to seeing eachother every day for most of the day (we don’t live together yet). Thank god for video conferencing.
  • Volunteered to help deliver some sewing-kit to people around town so they can make face masks. Felt good to help.
  • Sleeping remarkably well.

In the end, my family and friends are ok and healthy and so am I. I’m stressing out about the move but there’s nothing I can do the change the situation so we’ll have to take it as it comes.

Maybe untill next week.

Stay safe. And stay indoors.

Onboarding new coworkers with Craft CMS

This is the blogpost version of the presentation I gave at last week’s Craft CMS meetup in Ghent.

At the office, the team I’m on consists of a project manager, backend developers and frontend developers. The number of developers has grown and shrunk over the past year, from 4 to 6 back to 4 to 3 and back to 4. Each addition is someone new to the company and someone new to Craft CMS.

So we’ve had to run through the “getting started with Craft CMS” thing a bunch of time. Here’s a summary of our experiences, the resources we used and a bunch of things that aren’t specific to Craft but that can apply to any new developer joining your team.

Experience level

The first very important thing to take stock of is the level of experience (and/or formal development/CS eduction) the new team member has.

  • Is it their first job out of college?
  • Have they been building React apps for the past 4 years?
  • Do they have a background in Drupal/Expression Engine/another CMS

We also have a couple of interns every year, which mostly fall into the “fresh out of college” group, but for interns we do things a bit differently, more on that later.

Before we get to Craft CMS

The first must-have dealbreaker basic skill that we need (if not require) is knowledge of git and version control. Literally every line of code we write ends up in git, and it is how a manage and deploy any of our projects so if there is 1 prerequisite, this is it.

Craft CMS

The first resource we turn to for specific Craft CMS is CraftQuest. Ryan is a great teacher and has a massive amount of content available on Craft.

So we start off new co-workers with his “The Craft mindset” course. This covers the Craft specific idioms like section types, assets, field, users, elements, matrix fields, etc. There’s also a demo site they can build along with the course, to get a feel for the CP and twig templating.

Give them something real to build

Having to come up with and idea or a subject to build a site around isn’t always easy, and it probably wouldn’t be very representative of the types of projects that the team is build.

So the next “task” we tend to give a new team member is is to build (part of) a project that the team recently completed. Something small and simple, but a real project. That means it has clear requirements, it was wireframes and a design and someone on the has actually built it already. We start them off with a fresh Craft install with nothing in it and give them a week (or 2, depending on the scope) to try and build the project.

This gives a way to feel out a couple of things, but most importantly: are they ok with asking for help when they inevitably get stuck on something.

Another important note here is that whatever they end up building is ok. This is not a test and there are no wrong answers. We’ll do code review every other day, but more the steer them in the right direction to the explain things than to point out errors.

Up next is building a project or a bigger feature along side another team-member. Their code won’t be used but it’s a good exercise to go through the entire project flow: project kickoff, wireframes, requirements, testing, client training…

We’ll repeat these last 2 steps as often as is needed. And they could take anywhere from 2 weeks to 3 months, depending and the person and their experience.

Next is of course a real client project. With that comes doing estimates, building it on time and on budget, launching it, the works.

Maintenance & support

Aside from building new projects, we also like to a roll new hires into doing support for existing projects. These could be recent projects in Craft, older projects in Craft 2 or even Expression Engine sites, custom PHP stuff, email templates, ….

Working on these projects brings along a whole new set of constraints and requirements and being able to adapt to this is very useful.


After the new hire is integrated into to the team and in the project rotation, it can be easy to quickly forget how new they still are, even after 4 or 6 months on the job. To keep tabs with how things are going we like to do 1-on-1 meetings:

  • With the project manager / team lead. Honestly, everyone should be doing these, not just new people.
  • With a fellow team-member, rotating which one and every 2 weeks. This is a time where they can ask questions about projects, issues, something they didn’t understand very well, something they’d like the know more about, etc… These can definitely tail off when both parties feel they aren’t needed anymore.

To summarise

All this depends on the person you have joining your team. This could take 2 weeks and they could be working on an actual client project in week 3 on the job. But it could just as well take 2 months, depending on their level of experience, with Craft, web development work in general and overal work experience.

Thoughts, remarks or want to share your own experience with this? Find me on twitter

Building a Craft CMS scaffolding package

When I posted about the Craft CMS starter repo we created at work, a couple of people were very interested in how to build something like that for themselves.

So’s have a look at how we’ve done things.

Not that this is not a step-by-step or line-by-line walkthrough but more a high-level overview with some examples. If you’re trying this out for yourself and you’re stuck on something, feel free to get in touch and I’ll try help you out 🙂

Screenshot of our custom Craft install script

(We call our starter repo our “base install” so that’s what I’ll be calling it in the post)

composer create-project

We’ll be relying on Composer’s create-project command to turn our site repository in our “base install” repository. Running the command, (eg composer create-project statikbe/craft) will clone the repository and run composer install afterwards.

That means that the repository you start from should have all the plugins, templates, etc you want to have installed when starting a new project.

For your repository to work with composer, you have to register it with Packagist. In our case, that means it’s a public Github repo.

Project config

In Craft CMS 3.1, the project config feature was added. When project config is enabled, site & plugin settings are written out to a yaml file, making it easier to share settings between environments.

In the case of our base install, we’re using project config to seed our new project with the settings/sections/fields we have in that base install. That way, we can change/fix/improve things in the CP and commit those changes, to use them in the next project.

How to install

Let’s take this step by step. composer create-project statikbe/craft path/to/folder This will:

  1. Clone the base install in the folder of our choosing
  2. Run composer install, based on the composer.json we have in our base install
  3. Run the commands we’ve specified in the post-create-project-cmd. In our case that is:
  • Copy over .env.example to .env
  • Copy over .gitignore.example to .gitignore
  • Run composer dum-autoload
  • Run ./craft setup/welcome to remind users what to do next

Then we install Craft CMS, like we would in any other project. This can be done in the browser or through the command line. We’ll use the later since that’s what we’re using already.

./craft setup

This will run through the regular Craft installer (asking you for database credentials, installing Craft, creating a user).

At the very end of this process, the install will check if you have project config enabled ('useProjectConfigFile' => true in config/general.php and if a project.yaml file is present, both are true in our case). It will then try to apply the settings from that project config file to the newly installed Craft site you just created, meaning it will install plugins, create sections, create fields, etc, making it so that our new project now has all the same settings/sections/fields/plugins as our base install.

📣 If the settings from your project config are not being applied, search Craft’s logs for can't apply existing project config: and that should tell you what went wrong.

After Craft’s install script, we added one of our own. Let’s have a look at that now.

Our custom install script

The install script we have in our repository can be run by entering ./craft statik/setup , which translates to “running actionIndex from console\controllers\SetupController in the Statik module”.

The first important thing to keep in mind is that in this part of the installation process of our new site, Craft CMS is already installed and we can leverage it where needed. Like we do by running a console command from a module.

And the second trick up our sleeve is environment variables. More on that later.

You can fellow along with our controller here as we have a look at a couple of examples of command you can do.

We could add these options and values in 1 large script, but part of making this reusable across projects (and for possibly for other people) means that we wanted to have options as to what we use where & how.

Disabling project config.

While we use project config to manage settings in our base install and we have to have it enabled there, we don’t use it in our actual projects. So in our setup script we have an option to disable it.

Step 1 is to have to config setting set to an environment variable, like so: 'useProjectConfigFile' => getenv("PROJECT_CONFIG") ?? false

Step 2 is asking the question in our setup script.

In our case, we ask if you want to disable the setting, with the default being true. You can phrase it the other way around or ask just about anything you can think of. You’ll get a boolean value in return and based on that you can proceed or do your thing. In our case that thing is setting an environment variable.

Adding placeholder images

The other example we’ll look at is the function we use to add our placeholder images:

(You can find the $this->executeShellCommand we’re using in this function in the same class right here)

The idea behind this function/question in our installer is that we want to add a set of placeholder images to our new site. As you can see in the repository, we have 4 placeholders in there. When you choose to add the placeholders, the command will:

  • Create a test folder in our /files volume
  • Copy over the placeholder files to that test folder
  • Removed the original placeholders folder
  • Run ./craft index-assets/all to re-index all assets, thereby adding the files we just copied to the CMS

These are just 2 example of questions we ask during our installation script, you can find the entire script/controller here.

Moving the different questions/functions to a service is probably cleaner and something that is on our to-do list

I hope this write-up helped out a couple of people that want to try setting up something like this 🙂. If you have any feedback or questions, feel free to tweet me, email me or ping me on the Craft Discord server.

Craft CMS - Making user name fields required

When dealing with fields on the User element in Craft, you can make the custom fields required just like you would any other custom field on an entry element. But a user also comes with a firstName and lastName field, which you can’t make required.

When building a site that relied on theses name fields a coupld of weeks ago, I decided to have try and solve this. Here’s what I came up with.

When listening for the Element::EVENT_BEFORE_SAVE event on the User::class class, we can check if we have a first & last name before saving, and mark the element as invalid .

Then we add an error to the appropriate field using ->addError(). That will make validation fail, returning the user to the add/edit user screen, with the add alert under each field.

You can add this piece of code to the init() function of a module to make it work.

Having a very “in the zone” week at work 🚀 7577211E-92B8-4902-A16E-45363284892E.jpg

Think I’m about ready to go all-in on this thing here :) Let’s see if I can get my Craft CMS install to spit out some kind of export that works here :)

Lunch break ☕️ E565B91A-A5CD-490E-BE40-5AC28C789E2F.jpg

Indoor cycling with Zwift

After looking around online & comparing indoor trainers for a while, I jumped in head first and got myself a Wahoo KICKR Core about 5 weeks ago. Even though it’s my first indoor trainer,

I went for a fairly expensive one for a couple of reasons. Noise, or the lack thereof, being the primary reason for getting the Core. Weel-on trainers are less expensive but they also make lots more noise. And since I live on the third floor of a less-then-optimaly insulated apartment building, my downstairs neighbours probably wouldn’t be to happy with me grinding out my training a couple of nights a week.

That studio apartment is another reason why I wanted to get an indoor trainer. I store my bike inside my small apartment and I have to clean it in here too. Fall & winter weather can be quite nasty here, which results in a muddy and grimy bike after even short rides outside during this season. That, and the fact it it’s already dark outside when I get home from work, not the beste motivator to get any riding done.

So I got the Kickr, got a mat to put it on reduce the vibration & noise some more and so far it’s been great. Just over 5 weeks in and I’ve done almost 1000km! And even more crazy 14000 meters of elevation. I’m definitely happy that I decided to make the investment and I think I’ll be great for my form and condition come spring :)

First day off since my Montréal trip in September. Some sleeping in & catching up with things I’ve let dwindle for too long. And probably a little bit of cycling too.

Wasted Rita x The crystal ship

Roadtrip Romania - part 1

This summer, the girlfriend and myself took to Romania for our main summer holiday. Inspired by my previous visits there, and by the fact the my sister moved there earlier this year.

Day 1: Travel & Bucharest

Our Tarom flight from Brussels landed at Henri Coandă International Airport just after 2pm, the flight having taken 2 hours and 50 minutes. We collected our luggage and made our way to the bus station. There are 2 bus lines that run multiples times per hour from the airport to the city center so that transfer went pretty well. We got off at Cișmigiu Park, which was right next to our hotel. We stayed at Upstairs Boutique for the first night. (The location could not be more central and with the rooms situated back from the main road it was quiet as well. The room and bathroom were brand new and fine. Breakfast the next morning was below average.)

After checking in and dropping off our stuff, we headed into the old center for a walk. I’ve been to Bucharest a couple of times before so I took us along a tour of old buildings, churches, communist buildings, parks, etc. We ended our tour on Piața Revoluției (Revolution Square) and had drinks at Artichoke Social House, a nice & quiet spot under a gallery. Right of the main road, in the shade and with a cool breeze, it was the perfect spot to wait for my sister. She was heading to the city center for dinner with us and her boyfriend, to celebrate his birthday. We stopped by the hotel to freshen up, passed by a supermarket to pick up lunch for the next day and then we headed over to the restaurant. We had dinner at Caju, which was great (you’ll need to make a reservation a couple of week in advance if you want to get a table).

Day 2: Peleș Castle & Brașov

We had a quick breakfast, checked out and took a taxi to the place where we would be picking up our rental car. We rented with Klasswagen, which was a 40 minute drive out of town. Traffic was light and we made great time getting there. The girlfriend handled the paperworkas she would be the one driving (I don’t have my drivers license) and after that we were off on our 5 day road trip. First stop: Peleș Castle.

After an 90 minute drive we parked the car (which cost 20 RON/€4,5) and walked the rest of the way up to the castle. Once at the start of the castle grounds it was pretty busy with other tourists and groups. We had brought bread & jam for lunch and had a little break in the sun before going into the castle. We got in line for tickets to visit the castle and choose to do the extended tour, that cover both the ground and the first floor. We also got a photo permit so I could take photos inside. After that we kind of luckily got in at the end of an English tour that was just about to start. There weren’t any times or schedules listed anywhere so not sure how that would have worked out otherwise.

The tour group was quite large (and loud), which was a bit of a bummer. But the rooms of the castle were really beautiful so it was well worth it :). The tour lasted for about 45 minutes and then we were outside again. Time for some/lots of photos. The girlfriend is a bit of a history & castle nerd so the level of excitement for this part of the day was really high 😀.

After our visit to the castle, we headed back to the car and made our way to Braşov. We’re staying at Drachenhaus With Bran Castle nearby, the town and hotel had Dracula references in abundance. (The room and breakfast were fine here and the location was as well. Smaller then it looks too, would stay here again)

After checking in we explored the town a bit and then went to dinner at a pretty good Italian place and ended the evening with an ice cream.

Day 3: Braşov & Viscri

After breakfast we headed to a small coffee shop across the black church (the girlfriend is also pretty crazy about churches so there’s that :)) and then we headed to the main square to join the free walking tour. There were only 9 people in the group and the lady guiding us around did a great job. It made us want to spend a couple of extra days in the city but that would have to wait for another time. It was also really interesting to hear the history of how the Saxons ended up in Transylvania (our next stops would also be Saxon villages & town so this history lesson was good to get us started). After the tour and lunch, we visited the Black Church (Biserica Neagră), checked out the city’s fortifications and then we head for the car. Braşov was definitely the biggest surprise for me on this trip and I’d love to go back again for a couple of days!

Our next stop was Viscri, a tiny village where I have spent many a summer and which I was eager to share with the girlfriend :). The drive to Viscri went smoothly and took us just under 90 minutes. We were staying at Dorin’s place, where I had been a bunch of times before. We said hello, dropped our stuff in the room and then we headed out into the village for a short walk. The village is mostly known for its fortified church, and the entire village fall under a UNESCO World Heritage. After dinner we headed out again to watch the cows come home. Literally 🙂. Every evening a shepherd brings home all the cows and goats from the people of the village and they make their way to their stables to be milked.

Day 4: Viscri & Sighișoara

After breakfast we had arranged a horse and carriage ride around village and the surrounding hills. That took us about an hour, after which we needed some shade and rehydration. Then we headed up to the fortified church to visit the church, the museum and the climb up to the tower. The church itself is from the early 13th century, built by the Saxons that inhabited the village and region at that time. After a late lunch we packed our bags in the car and headed off to our next stop: Sighișoara. That’s for part 2, so check back soon!

Concrete jungle - London, November 2018

Berlin - September 2018

Music Instruments Museum - Brussels

St. Maartensdal

Beach run - Blankenberge


Bello Gallico 2017 - verslag

Koud, kouder, koudst. Dat vat deze wedstrijd wel samen. En droog.

Gelukkig maar. We kwamen mooi op tijd aan aan de start. Nummer ophalen, GPS tracker ophalen, en nog een laatste keer materiaal (en reserve materiaal) checken. Iets voor 12 gingen we allemaal naar buiten, een bonte verzameling van hoofdlampen en rode lampjes op rugzakken. Stipt om middernacht begonnen we er aan, direct het bos in voor het eerste stuk van 22 kilometer tot aan checkpoint 1 in Florival (moest ik opzoeken, echt nog nooit van gehoord). Vanaf kilometer 10 begon de groep uitgespreid te geraken en zag ik de loper voor me nog maar als een rood puntje in de verte.

Ik starte bewust echt op mijn gemak en kwam iets voor 2 aan op het eerst checkpoint. Een glas cola, 2 bekertjes tomatensoep en een handvol chips en ik kon er weer tegen. Op naar de volgende op kilometer 36. Het water dat ik bij me had in mijn rugzak was ondertussen ijskoud en daar was mijn maag niet helemaal mee akkoord. Kleine slokjes en af te toe een hap van een koek ging wel, maar meer wou ik niet riskeren. Misselijkheid in combinatie met veel klimmen en dalen zorgde ervoor dat ik pas om half 5 op CP2 aan kwam.

Daar nam ik mijn tijd om water bij te vullen (niet drinken zou nog veel erger zijn), om mijn regenbroek over mijn andere aan te doen en om op te warmen. Op dit puntje viel de koude eigenlijk nog best mee. Een droge bandana in mijn nek, een droge muts op mijn hoofd en ik was er klaar voor. 24 kilometer tot CP3, waar ik Bram zou zien. Ondertussen waren mijn bovenbenen redelijk verkrampt: constant in de koude wind en dan klimmen en "snel" proberen af te dalen begonnen hun tol te eisen. Op dit stuk van het parcours kwamen we ook langs op stukken trial die ik zelf al gelopen had, dus ik wist ongeveer wat er ging komen, dat was leuk!

Tussen 6 en 8 's ochtends werd het wel merkelijk kouder en had ik voor het eerst écht koud. Af en toe haalde ik een deelnemer van 160km in, maar verder liep ik dit stuk zo goed als alleen. Iets na half 9 kwam ik aan op de 60km, bij checkpoint 3. Bram stond me op te wachten met mijn reserve schoenen en een hoop eten voor het laatste stuk van de race. Hier wisselde ik ook van broek, base layer, shirt en schoenen. Alles droog voor het laatste stuk. Gelukkig had ik ook nog een paar warmer handschoenen bij want mijn handen waren echt ijsklompen op dat moment. 2 tassen soep, wat chips en een hand smurfen-snoepjes en daar ging ik weer.

Nu kwam er een stuk vanhet parcour waar ik letterlijk elke week loop, perfect om er weer aante beginnen en van kilometer 60 tot 70 ging het echt goed. Ik liep toch meer dan dat ik stapte (of dat sneller ging laat ik in het midden, maar mentaal was dat toch een overwinning). Dit was ook het moment dat de zon op kwam over de bevroren velden. Ik kon niet anders dan stoppen om een paar foto's te maken. Een paar kilometer verder zag ik een een ree weglopen en dan blijven staan in de ochtendzon. Zo'n momenten zorgen ervoor dat je die koude nacht en je pijnlijke benen even helemaal vergeet :)

Kilometer 70 tot 80 gingen een pak minder vlot: korte stukjes lopen met lange stukken stappen. Mijn benen hadden er duidelijk genoeg van en ik had te weinig gegeten in de uren er voor om nog veel energie te hebben. Mijn voeten daarintegen waren nog verdacht fris, met dank aan de vele modder en mijn goede schoenen. (Ik liep de eerste 60km in een paar Salomon Speedcross Vario’s, waar ik nog maar 70km in gelopen had sinds 2015. Dat paar zit zo goed en heeft het meeste grip van alle loopschoenen in mijn kast.

Op CP3/60km wisselde ik deze voor een paar Hoka ATR Challenger 2’s. Minder grip maar veel maar steun.) Nog een laatste keer de weg over, en dan nog dik 2 kilometer. Moet lukken. Stukjes lopen, stukjes stappen. De laatste kilometer vond ik *ergens* de energie om nog 3 mensen in te halen en om verdacht snel de zaal binnen te lopen (de finish was binnen op het podium). Aangekomen op 12:19. 80 kilometer op 12 uur en 19 minuten. Zeker geen geweldig snelle tijd maar daar gaat het eigenlijk nooit om voor mij :) De ouders en de zus stonden op me te wachten aan de finish, dat was zeer leuk. En de vele berichtjes van vrienden en collega’s door de nacht waren ook geweldig. Dat lijkt misschien iets klein maar na een uur of 3 op je eentje lopen door een pikdonker bos doet dat meer dan je denkt :)

Aan de finish: 30 uur wakker, dood op, alles kapot maar zo blij!

Nog een paar bedenkingen af om te sluiten: Gelukkig was het droog, want deze temparturen + regen (wat dan sneeuw zou geweest zijn) + deze afstand, dat zou me niet gelukt zijn. Dan zou ik op 36km zeker gestopt zijn. En als ik nog ooit een race in de winter loop moet ik echt een oplossing vinden voor dat koude water, dat heeft me nu echt dood gedaan naar het einde toe. Ik ga ook eens uitkijken naar een horloge met een betere batterij. Mijn Suunto was leeg op kilometer 70 en ik heb er in het verleden ook al een paar keer problemen mee gehad. Misschien terug een Garmin? Nu rustig recuperen en over 2 weken misschien de eindejaars corrida lopen hier in Leuven :)

Er even tussenuit: Edinburgh & Glasgow

Het moet ergens midden september geweest zijn wanneer ik deze vakantie plande. Ik kwam net terug van een weekje werk-verlof op de Yonex Belgian International.

"Je hebt nog keiveel dagen verlof staan, plan die eens in! Niet nu en niet in december want nu en dan is het mega druk". - T, onze Project Manager

Sinds we eerder dit jaar in Glasgow waren, stond meer van Schotland zien hoog op mijn lijstje en Edinburgh + omgeving leek me een mooie start. Het enige moment waar een weekje er tussenuit paste in de (werk)planning was eind november. Weer-gewijs zeker niet het beste moment om naar Schotland te trekken, maar niets wat met een winterjas en een muts niet doenbaar is :slightly_smiling_face:

Edinburgh: check. En net op dat moment zag ik dat de ticketverkoop van de Scottish Open net begonnen was. In Glasgow, eind november. En zo geschiedde :)

Nog een halve dag werken en dan: 2,5 dag Edinburgh en daarna met de trein naar Glasgow voor 2 dagen top badminton.

In Edinburgh staat uiteraard het kasteel op het programma, en ik heb m'n loopschoenen mee om een toertje te doen rond en op Arthur's seat (zie de foto bovenaan deze post). Daarnaast stap ik zeker ook het National Museum of Scotland eens binnen en zal ik toch een paar keer whiskey whisky moeten proeven :slightly_smiling_face:. En als het weer echt tegen zit: met koffie en een boek kom ik de dag ook wel door.

In Glasgow zal het vooral badminton kijken worden, maar een bezoekje aan de lokale boekenwinkel en uit eten met 2 kennissen van daar mag zeker niet ontbreken.

Ben je zelf al in Edinburgh of Glasgow geweest en denk je "daar moet Jan zéker naartoe", let me know

Terug naar de Highland Fling in 2018

In april dit jaar liep ik in Schotland de Highland Fling, een wedstrijd van 85km langs de West Highland Way en Loch Lomond. Het was een geweldig wedstrijd en een ongelofelijke ervaring.

Mijn race kalender voor 2018 was nog helemaal leeg dus toen inschrijvingen voor de Fling van volgend jaar open gingen 3 weken geleden, schreef ik me toch maar in. Iedereen die wou deelnemen had 2 weken om zich in te schrijven in de loterij, waarna er een duizendtal deelnemers uitgeloot zouden worden. Eens geselecteerd had je een week tijd om inschrijving te bevestigen en te betalen.

En maandag morgen zat er een mailtje van Si Entries in mijn inbox met een link om me officieel in te schrijven. Lang heb ik niet getwijfeld :) Inschrijving + bus vanuit Glasgow naar de start geboekt!

Training gaat de laatste weken ook redelijk goed. 3 tot 4 keer lopen per week, geen blessures en hier en daar een long run. Midden december loop ik in Oud-Heverlee een 80km dus daarvoor zit alles op schema. Nog een paar langere trainingen in het bos plannen de komend weken en een paar keer 's nachts lopen (de race start om middennacht) en ik ben er klaar voor.

Podcast tip: NPR's Embedded

Ik luister wekelijks heel wat podcasts. Er zitten een paar vaste waarden tussen die ik al een paar jaar wekelijks volg, en er komen er regelmatig nieuwe bij. Het laatste anderhalf jaar is er een stevige dosis Amerikaanse politiek en actua bijkomen.

Het ganse lijstje deel ik binnenkort wel eens in een post hier, vandaag wil ik jullie voor deze meegeven: Embedded van NPR.

In hun eerste "seizoen" brachten ze een een deep dive in gebeurtenissen uit de actualiteit die een ver-van-ons-bed-show zijn en gingen daar dan redelijk diep & gedetaileerd op in.

In het seizoen dat net startte richten ze hun spreekwoordelijke pijlen op de geschiedenis en de mensen rond Donald Trump:

De eerste aflevering gaat over het reality TV programma The Apprentice, waar Trump zijn start keer op TV en wat uiteindelijk voor zijn grote popularteit zorgde.

Zeker de moeite om te volgend! Je kan de aflevering hier vinden, via Apple Postcast.

Breaking 2 + lees tip

Op zaterdag 6 Mei probeerde Nike, samen met 3 wereld klasse lopers, het 2 uur record op de marathon te breken met hun #breaking2 project. Je kon de ganse marathon live volgen en mijn wekker stond dan ook om 5 uur ’s morgens die zaterdag. Uiteindelijk haalde Eliud Kipchoge het net niet, in 2:00:25. Machtige, ongelofelijke prestatie. Maar toch met dubbel, want het was hen (deze keer) niet gelukt

Deze week kwam ik op youtube deze korte documentaire tegen over de #breaking2 poging, met een paar interviews met de lopers zelf en een blik achter de schermen van hun leven. Zéker de moeite om te kijken! Kipchoge won vorige week nog de marathon van Berlijn met een tijd van 2:03:32 (de 7de snelste officiële tijd op de marathon afstand ooit).

Ik las een in Augustus ook een boek dat hier mooi bij aansluit: “Running with the Kenyans: Discovering the secrets of the fastest people on earth” van Adharanand Finn (Amazon,, Goodreads). Over hoe lopen voor vele Kenyanen een uitweg is, een kans op een beter leven, en hoe ze met training omgaan. Zeker de moeite om te lezen als je meer wil te weten komen over de achtergrond van de meeste Kenyaanse lopers.

(Finn schreef daarna ook “The way of te runner”, over lopen in Japan)

Dodentocht 2017

Vanavond is het zover. De dodentocht. 100km. 100km lopen.

Voor de eerste keer zover lopen. Voor de eerste keer een wedstrijd die 's avonds start en dus de nacht door lopen. Het zou droog moeten blijven tot een uur of 3/4 vannacht, vanaf dan geven ze regen.

Mijn rugzak en schoenen staan klaar. Ik besloot uiteindelijk om toch te lopen in mijn trail schoenen (de vorige versie van deze). Mijn schoenen voor op de weg zijn versleten, ik moest er begin juli nieuwe bestellen maar besloot dat toch nog niet te doen. In deze trail schoenen liep ik de voorbije weken 2 keer rond de 35 kilometer, helemaal zonder last, pijn of blaren aan de voeten. Stick to what works dus.


De organisatie voorziet een makkelijke manier om wandelaars (en dus ook lopers) te volgen: hier kan je deelnemers zoeken op naam of nummer (mijn nummer is 6453).

Ik hoop/gok/schat ergens tussen de 12 en 15 uur te finishen (dus tussen 9 en 12 morgenvoormiddag), maar zoiets inschatten in praktisch onmogelijk. God weet wat er allemaal kan fout lopen...

Tegen dan zal ik ook wel wat steun en aanmoediging kunnen gebruiken, dus jullie mogen me altijd een berichtje sturen (facebook/twitter/instragram/sms). En vroeger mag natuurlijk ook altijd. :)