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How far is 30 km?

February 15, 2011

Saturday was a dreadful weather day. Cold, WET, misty… SUNDAY Hooray! DRY. Twitter was awash with weather news so I set off in good spirits for the Groet uit Schoorl! Of course later than I had originally planned – I really must pack my stuff the day before….

Preparation – a massage. Although someone in the queue mentioned that it was necessarily good preparation (its always worked for me in the past). Time always seems to fly and I just managed to dump my bags in time – having briefly seen 3 members of the Bergse Runners Club (the organisation had run out of bag stickers so it was all a bit frantic) and then jogged to the start with others who were concerned about being late!

We filed into the start place for blue (i.e. slow people). It was all a bit of a mess and people with all sorts of coloured numbers were in this start block. All of a sudden the start block opened and where we had been carefully trying to stay in the correct block we were even more muddled. I never really did work it out.

All of a sudden I hear my name and Irma also from the Bergse Runners Club gave me a hug. She was also with a couple of other fellow members. It always amazes me that, even among thousands of runners,  I always meet people who I know.

When we started I ran with Irma for a little. Then I decided to focus on finding my own pace. I had forgotten my watch and I rather thought that may help.

The first 3 k were a bit strange – we wound around the village of Schoorl and I saw a few houses that I recognised from the walk to the start but I had no real idea where we were! There were some really nice houses with huge gardens – even a few for sale…5K seemed to go really fast. As I had gone over the start I noticed that 6 min had already elapsed. I was aiming to be within 3 hours so when at 5K the clock was on 33 mins I was thinking – I was just a little too hot.

We started to run through the woods in the downs. The air was refreshing and clean. I found a good rhythm. I still seemed to be passing people so tried to reduce the gas.  Although it was “busy” there still seemed to be plenty of room. A few chit chats here and there  – pretty much everyone seemed to be preparing for a marathon if they were running the 30 k. The kilometers seemed to fly by. I still had no real idea where we were or what direction we were going in. It was nice views and countryside so it did not really matter!

At a certain point someone shouted out, “turn right next time round” – round were we going round?  Anyway let’s just worry about the immediate course! A little hilly but pretty good going now. Still now idea where we were going – just round in circles?

I was still very occasionally passing people – although the crowd was thinning. As planned, at 15 k a slug of Winrgy and I popped 3 Sure2Endure – I was quite careful so they did not go down the wrong way! So far all to plan.

Then the exciting bit.  I had been told about the split. Until now the 30 k and the Half Marathon had been running together. At 18.5 k we split. There were people shouting instructions and the little boards were clearly showing the way. Never-the-less – this was it! “Mevrouw 30 k rechts” someone shouted – “bedankt’ I called back as I excitedly made the turn. I passed someone coming the other way – had he changed his mind?

Exactly as I had been warned – I was suddenly alone. Wierd, where I had been passing people – I was suddenly the slowest. I don’t think that I slowed my pace so I focused on the pace. I also did a quick body check – everything seemed to be fine. Sure I could feel that I had some km in my legs but it felt pretty good!

The lade who I had met in the loo who had said that she would run c. 2 h 30 min and had already run the NYC Marathon, seemed to sprint by. “ben je ok?” she asked – “jahoor” I positively responded – ummm was it she seemed to be steaming ahead…

We were running up and down and around and more people were passing me. Although I noticed that not everyone was running a regular pace and I over took a few of the folk who had passed me. 2 chaps had also asked how it was going and I had said good but they were obviously going better!

I focused again on the pace. I was now at around 22 k. “Hallo” said a friendly voice. We ran together and chatted for a bit. Yes it was his first 30 k race as well. He was just going to see if he could enjoy it and finish. He had a GPS watch that gave him the time for each kilometer. He said we were running c. 11 k per hour – c. 5 min 30 per minute. he was satisfied with this and we continued to run. Up a very LOOOONG hill – wow that I felt. Indeed we were a little slower…

We continued – go on if you wish I urged him beginning to feel rather exhausted and wondering if  I could keep this up. I mentally divide the distance in to 5k parts. So whilst my new friend was pleased when we hit 24 k I preferred to celebrate at 25k. We did!

Rather a strange bit were we saw boards directing us to 22 k or 27 k – so we could go round again! Off to the 27 k – it really did feel as if we were in a spaghetti bolognaise. At some stage we passed the 2 girls drumming Brazilian music for the 3rd time…

I saw friends whose running style I recognised. I ran alongside and we exchanged greetings. One of my friends did not look at all good. I usually have about the same pace as him so I was a little shocked. He was being “looked after” and they made sure that my new friend would look after me – so we carried on.

This was starting to feel as if I was really going to do it. Again a VERY nasty hill. My friend assured me that we would go down shortly. But this is your first time on this course? Yes but he knows people who have run this before. We continued.

Someone running beside us started to chat with a friend on a bike. We seemed to pick up the pace of the bike – oh and it was down hill. “Rustig” we did not need to go so fast.

So we really had a chance of finishing in 2 h 40 something  – a 4 in front of the minutes instead of a 5 – beyond my wildest dreams! Yes but focus we still had to finish. In about 10 mins then – less…

We re-entered the village of Schoorl. So where was the finish. 29 k wow! just 1 k to go! That last kilometer was rather strange. I really wanted to at least go for a sprint to the end. There were no indicators as to how much further we had to go – usually there is at least a count down for the last hundred meters. Up ahead the FINISH! But how far was it really? was now the time to go – or should I wait? In the end there was a little spurt – but that was what it was! Over the line the clock showed 2 h 40 something – WOW!!!

I waited for my friends and we all celebrated together!

It was only then that my new friend and I introduced ourselves to each other!

My netto time was 2 h 41 min 18 sec – with VERY MANY thanks to number 15088 Henk Borgman from Emmeloord!!


2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 15, 2011 9:54 pm

    Wow! Congratulations! It sounds like you had a great time at the race and nice time. We are proud of you.

    • February 22, 2011 10:52 pm

      Thanks Zeb. I was rather pleased. Must not rest on my laurels – a further 12 to go! Really I think that I train this w/e with some firnds from the club for 32 km.
      How are you guys doing?

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