Tsunami in ‘S Graveland?
Sunday 27 February 30/32 k was on the training scheme for the Paris Marathon. I was quite excited as this was the first opportunity that I actually had to train with my friends in the Bergse Runners Club for the “Lange Doorloop”.
We rather nice route was planned in ‘S Graveland around the Natuurmonument property – sandy paths, a little bit of wood, pretty villages and very clean air. There would also be about 12 of us running so I was looking forward to having some company to run this distance. Apart from the Groet uit Schoorl race, I had only ever trained this distance alone and felt that, whilst I could reach the distance, I was not really pushing enough.
The day dawned. Grey, drizzly and miserable. I had prepared everything. A good breakfast with cereal, fruit, an egg and, of course, my usual supplements.
I even managed to find my drink belt, watch and heart band. A few layers of T-shirts and a mac like think… Off I drove.
I was one of the first there. When the others arrived enthusiasm was, shall I say, dampened! We had one supporter who was fantastic. Tables with drinks and fruit were set up.
The plan was to run 6 circuits of 5 k.
We started almost on time – a few mins past the scheduled 09:30 and a steady pace. At the last minute, given the rain, I thrust on a Mercedes-Benz cap that I had in the car. Up a “sandy”, puddley path. Fairly sheltered with trees on either side. We rounded the corner to cover some roughish ground which led us slightly down hill. At the bottom of the slope the ground under foot turned a little softer. A little further – and – yuk! we were slushing about in mud – I focused on finding some grass and less muddy areas.
Out of the mud and through the wood. This was rather nice. A few dog walkers with muddy dogs and we continued – it hardly seemed to be raining. A little further on and we reached the Provincie Weg – the main road to Hilversum. We turned the corner left and …ummm… just a little wind. I tucked in behind some of my fellow runners for some shelter. It helped a great deal – especially as we reached some more open ground and the wind was pretty much full on. After a km of this we turned left into the little, very pretty village of “S Graveland.
We continued on – rain was fairly constant – past the huge house on the estate of the Natuurmonument and, in no time, we were back to were we started – a little further on to run round a cone so that we would be sure of running the distance.
We started the 2nd round in good spirits in spite of the weather. By this time we were starting to form two groups. I was running with the “kop” group (in front) – it felt pretty good. I was starting to get the hang of the terrain – although my mac thing was not always playing the game (its now far too big for me…) that did not seem to matter. This time the windy part did not even seem so bad as we were laughing and joking as we tackled it (as I am small I could easily get shelter!).
Off we went for our third round. I could feel that the group was increasing pace. I got a bit stuck in the muddy bit. I decided to focus on me – they were certainly going faster and I was being too ambitious. So I let them go. This had consequences when I hit the wind. I focused in the blue board way up ahead that signaled the left turn I needed to make.
As I finished the third round – in the “extra bit” my friends were coming the other way and we greeted each other. At least I could not see the tail group so I was doing OK. I was determined that they would not catch me.
This 4th round would mean 20 k in my legs. The 1 k straight into the wind was starting to feel. As I rounded the corner to the village I told myself “next time round” and then only one to go.
5th round and I could no longer see the head group, although one had stopped (so I felt pretty good) as 20k – and also not the tail. I did greet more dog walkers and even people who had dared to come out in the misery with children clad in plastic and coloured boots. One labrador looked at me as if I was madder than him!
The windy bit seemed to be getting worse. To add to it, the water was increasing and I splashed though a great bit puddle – blast. Still only one more round to go. I was taking in plenty of liquids and had popped in some Sure2Endure at 15 k – as planned – so was not feeling too bad. Although VERY slow against the wind.’
In fact – I had slowed down considerably, I was sure of that. I felt sure that I would be caught up soon. But no sign – it was if I was totally alone!
Our supporter jogged with me as I came in to complete the 5th round. Would I continue – did I look that bad? Yes of course – good to have the company of another human for a short time.
So the final round! I could feel my legs now. As planned I wanted to try one of our new Winrgy Shooters on this last round to see if it would give me the boost to finish. Rather a challenge to open as I am jogging along. I usually drink it really fast and try not to taste it too much. Its not bad but its also not a very yummy taste, HOWEVER – this time it tasted rather good. I gulped it in stages – for it to taste THIS good I must be in a poor state.
I pretty much gave up on avoiding mud and ploughed through! THis was feeling tough – stay focused I told myself. Just the nasty windy bit – at the end of that I knew that I was “home & dry” (haha – yes a pun is intended!). Nasty the windy bit. I avoided the puddle. Now focus on the far away blue traffic board. I tried to sing loud songs – the A Team, The Eye of the Tiger – they did not seem to come – oh well not so far now anyway. Then just that village part – about 1 to 1.5 k…
And then it happened. It was unbelievable. It all happened in slow motion. I saw the yellow tow truck approaching at speed. All cars were speeding along the straight road next to me. Then it hit. The truck went though an ENORMOUS puddle. I saw the water, no WAVE, about to engulf me. NOTHING that I could do but keep on running. I did duck but that did not do much good. SPLASH! I was completely SOAKED – but I was that anyway so what did it matter. Well now it was deeper than skin deep. I turned and, running backwards, shouted some nice words at him. It was as if the weather said – hah! so you are nearly done now take that!
Nothing for it but to keep going. As I rounded the corner to turn out of the wind I could see two runners in yellow approaching fast. I pushed on trying to put on some speed. Just as we entered the grounds of the Natuurmonument they caught me up. I accelerated to keep up. We finished the last straight together – it was rather a struggle.
Finished! Wow that felt sooo good. It was then that I realised that quite a few of the group had dropped out in the 4th or 5th round!
It was a great feeling to finish – I looked at my watch – 2h 49 mins – not bad… rain and Tsunamis considered!
- It’s not too late to enter the 2011 Paris Marathon (foot4ward.co.uk)
- The big question (foot4ward.co.uk)
- The marathon myth (foot4ward.co.uk)
- Two books on Running (mfinocchiaro.wordpress.com)