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Rotterdam Marathon 15 April 2012

April 29, 2012

A year ago today I was running my first marathon! I remembered the evening that we had had before it with friends in Paris. Struggling NOT to drink wine. Trooping to the start via the metro along with others dressed in plastic bags with Paris Marathon logos.

So it felt a little strange to be in the car in the way to a train station not far from Rotterdam for the Rotterdam Marathon. Few people in plastic bags but many people in running gear with bags. It’s always such a good atmosphere in The Netherlands on the way to as race. Everybody talks to everyone. We compared notes re which distance we would run – Rotterdam also offers a 10 k and a relay marathon (in teams of 4).

ABN AMRO had kindly offered rather marvelous facilities in the De Doelen and the Manhattan Hotel. Changing was rather a luxury and the atmosphere was fantastic.

I always feel nervous before a race. Silly really – imagine if I really stood a chance to win :-). It was rather a mess and unclear which start area was where. We made and, although it was cold and windy coming from the station, it was not cold waiting for the start. I had also made a loo stop prior to the trek to the start and, although I usually need a last minute “stop” this time it was not needed.

I had trained more slowly and been advised to add in more resting. This meant that, whilst I had followed the training scheme to the letter I had not been so intensive with the wight training, cycling and cross training in the gym. Core training had also been less intensive. My Tanita scale had told that my fat percentage was above the 24% that I had been at for Paris. Still this is a new way and the theory was to run slowly and consistently and so run aerobic for longer.

Rather uninspiring background - and such great places to see in Rotterdam!

This was also an “in between” marathon for the Slachte Marathon in June so it was more of a training marathon.

After a rendition of  “You’ll Never Walk Alone”, and having received a number of encouraging tweets, we started. It was not that long that I was over the line. The start and the switching on of Runkeeper went tons better than on Paris!

I focused on my heart monitor – I wanted it to be around 140 beats/min. It really wanted to go faster. I struggled to run slower and managed to keep it below 150.

Joost had said that he would see on the bridge – the Erasmusbrug. It did not seem to take long to get there but I could not see him. Oh well on and on to the Feijenoord Football Stadium. Drink strategy was concentrated Winrgy – so 2 packets across 3 small drink bottles on my belt and use the drink stops on the way. Plus I had protein shake – ProXtreme – also fairly concentrated in the 4th bottle. A half hour before the start I took 2 packets of Sure2Endure and the pockets of my belt were stuffed with more! I also had some gels that I planned to start consuming earlier in the race than my 2 previous marathons.

I was still struggling with my heart rate but managed to find a pace that seemed to work. At 10 k I was aware that I was painfully slow. Not even averaging 10k per hour. Still – stay focused. I felt sluggish and almost lazy.

The surroundings were not exactly inspirational. The south part of Rotterdam is rather 19650/60s housing and apartments. You could tell when we were near a metro as there were more people – Including Joost and our friend Celeste!  and there were some quite barren areas!

Just before 20 k the 4 h 30 min pacer approached from behind. 4 h 30 min! I REALLY wanted to run 4h 20 min – didn’t I?!

I started to run with them. It was a little faster than I had been running and it felt really GOOD! I was a little afraid that I was breaking my strategy but COME ON! I had to go just that little bit faster. The kms seem to fly away. The Erasmusbrug on the way back was tough and the rather slow music was somber so did not help. Then I heard my Name! Indeed there was my mother-in-law with her sister and other family ON the bridge! That really helped!

Next year I will be there!

We ran under the Kubuswoningen. Such weird apartments. Now we were in business. Rather nicer parts of Rotterdam and on the way to 30 km.

Then it happened (again). It was very graceful. I had already been feeling stretched and I just reduced speed and let the others go. I was heart-broken. I realised what that meant. To take stock I actually stopped! and went to the loo! (in a portaloo!!). Had a talk to myself and carried on.

I saw the 40 km mark – on the other side of the road. How cruel!! We still had almost 13 k to go.

I had been looking forward to the Kralingsebos. It was leafy green and FULL of oxygen. I started to run with an Irish girl. It was her first marathon. She was struggling like me. We encouraged each other. I knew from Amsterdam Marathon that I had to AT LEAST keep “dribbling” and so we dribbled together. I kept myself occupied with her and a friend of hers who ran with us then stopped and then caught us up again. I guess that a different strategy suited him.

I had expected to see some rather posh houses. They were there right at the end of the park. Then I began the search for the 40K post. I promised myself that whatever, at this post I would up the pace just a “tikky”.

It was ages coming. A band struck up something like “on the road to nowhere” or something that seemed to catch me rather emotionally. I knew by this time that there was no way that I would better my previous times and I was almost in tears. Stupid really. No reason just REALLY emotional. I could feel my inner thighs beginning to protest.  Where was that 40k?

AT LAST! Now focus. I focused on my running style (for what it was after 40K!). Head up, trying to keep my body upright and not leaning forward too much. Length of stride decent and not a shuffle. I could feel it! It did seem that I was going faster – or did it just feel so?!

I continued – 750 to go. Could I manage a sprint? When to go the distance to the last 500 m seemed more like 1 k. Just a “tikky” faster. Legs REALLY protesting – get on with it. At last! The line! I had had a battle with myself – there was a stage when I thought that I would come in dramatically crying over the line. NOT THIS TIME! I was going to show EVERYONE that I could STILL make it in style. The commentator made some silly comment in Dutch about these people were really pleased to have completed the marathon. NO THIS person was extremely cross and frustrated that she had not been able to run faster.

It did feel SO good to come over the line – and YES – it was a sort of sprint finish (everything is relative) as you will see from my Runkeeper profile.

 

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3 Comments leave one →
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