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Egmond Half Marathon – wind behind!

January 8, 2012


English: Egmond aan Zee, Netherlands - Lightho...

The Lighthouse, Egmond on Sea

Egmond Half Marathon is one of the “classics” in The Netherlands. It begins in the little seaside town of Egmond and has a famous beach stage.  That is 7 km along the coast, then up on the downs, through the wood, a little more down and back to the town.

The beach stage is always the talking point, as you can imagine. In 2009 the race was cancelled due to the snow. Last year was my first year and we had sun and wind from the side. The sand was hard. THIS year – unbelievable with the weather we have had. FOUR days ago – there was no beach due to the wind and the rain!

Today we had wind BEHIND – almost unheard of! Not good for the hair but it did make the beach part just a little easier. As you know, I have been running to heart beat so a little slower. I started the race at c. 5,15 mins per km – faster than training. So I wondered if I could keep this up. For some reason I was placed in the first start pen for the recreational runners. So, even at that pace, people were passing me. I just focused on running a steady pace and enjoy the sun and the sea!

As we approached the end of the beach stretch it started to get busier and I was trotting past quite a few people. At first I thought that it was a bit odd, then I realised that we had caught up with the Business Run. It made getting off the beach – which is always scrappy as you scrabble up the hill – messy!

At the top of the hill where the downs begin, just to add to the chaos, was the drink post. I always almost never participate as I carry my own products (see The latter experiment was to see if I would be able to ingest the protein during the run. The idea was to see if I can use it as “food” and not have that empty feeling towards the end of the race.

As we came to the downs, conversely, where we had benefited from the wind on the beach, the following few klms on the downs, was tougher. It did not seem as crowded as the previous year but were battered by the wind. The “hills” felt extreme compared with the flatness that we had just experienced. In places it was muddy.

People made a good effort to keep to the right if they were running slower. I was also time-challenged on the down as you will see from the run keeper profile.

After the downs there is a stretch on the cycle path. This was very exposed and windy – it was great to get into the woods. The air was fantastic and it was fabulous to breath it in!

It was starting to hurt and some people were walking. I passed my “friend” Hans who I had met just before the beach – he was walking. “Kom op!” I shouted – “jahoor” he called back – although he did not sound very convincing.

It was good to have the encouargement of people on the way. Just to hear your name or have someone call something positive. This really bucked me up as we rounded the corner to the last major challenge! I had forgotten about the hill at c. 19 klm. Its a 10 m elevation over a shortish – it feels long – period. For me its just at the stage where I am thinking – great almost done now push forward a little faster then BANG! Its there! A man yelled come on! and I was able to see his encouraging face – I changed my whole posture. Head up – upper body more up right and PUSH FORWARD.

We entered the town again.

The count down began 1 km, 750, 500, 400, 300 – it still seemed endless – BUT I could see the finish – I kicked forward – I was SO determined to be well within the 2 hours.

Fantastic to go over the finish – not too crowded – nice to walk! Runkeeper seemed to think that I had run less km!! Picked up medal and enjoyed the walk and a few stretches to the changing area. I rang Joost who told me that my time had come through – 1 hour 54 mins 45 secs – great – under 1,55 – very pleased.

The winner? Dawit Wolde, from Ethiopia – in an amazing 1 hour 46 seconds – 54 mins faster than me – I guess that he thought the 46 seconds was a blow 🙂

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