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5 mins off Personal Best – Harderrun – 15 km!

September 16, 2012

The Harderrun is organised by friends of mine in JCI Noord-West Veluwe. It made a nice “long run” on a Saturday evening as part of my training to achieve 10 km in 45 min.

The competition offered the possibility of 5km, 10km and 15 km. If you know me a bit already, I cannot run short distances if a longer one is on offer. I have been using 15 km as my D1 (lower heart rate) longer distance in my training programme. As a result my time has been very slow – around 1:30. My PB is 1:18 and in general my times in “competition” have been a little over 1:20.

I was struggling with a goal for my end time. If I want to run 10 k in 45 min, what should 15k 2 weeks before be at? And what would be realistic. At 25 mins per 5 km then I would be at 1:15 – that sounded too fast so I set a goal of 1:20. Given my previous 15Km times, this still seemed fast to me.

We almost did not get there as we had taken my new Mercedes SLK to a gathering of the SLK Club in Zeeland – about 2 hours drive from home. We had to leave early – and it was tempting to stay and drive open top by the sea all day. Still it was part of the programme and we had committed to our friends.

The run was 3x round a 5 km route through Harderwijk. I usually like countryside, open spaces and water so it did not inspire me that much EXCEPT these would be the conditions for the Utrechtse Singelloop so it was good training.

We started off at a good pace. I thought just a little too fast but still if I wanted to reach 1:20 then I needed to be aiming at 5 min per 1 km so… As I thought, running past houses was not that inspiring and I wondered if I would be able to find my way if I did not have anyone to follow. Around 400 people started – many in the 5km and 10 km races.

Setting a good pace

Liz – setting a good pace

The first round seemed to be further than I remembered 5 km being – although runkeeper was doing something funny and seemed to think that I had run LESS than 5 km 😦

What boosted me was – as ever, the support on the way. A few people on the street shouting words of encouragement is all it takes. Even better that some of my friends were at various points on traffic duty and shouting my name.

I thought the second round would be harder and that I would not keep the pace up. Runkeeper analysis does show that I slacked off slightly BUT I did not feel any real pain. I was one of the only ones running with a drink. Water was provided (and horror of horrors something that was being mixed in a big barrel marked up “Gatorade”). I found the hard plastic cups difficult to drink from so stayed with my own energy drink every 3 – 5 km.

I focused on each of the 5km rounds. The second round I caught up with a tall man in a white T-shirt and hung on his shoulder for a while. He seemed uncomfortable that a woman so short should challenge him and eventually got ride of me by upping his pace.

I was really “riding high”, it was a sensational feeling. Could I keep this pace up. I focused on pace and my running style. In the BergseRunners Training the previous Wednesday, Theo had focused on running style. He had us focus on using our legs like a bicycle chain. Ensuring that the knee was raised sufficiently, having a small light touch with the front of the foot. He had also made use shorten our steps and pump our arms – guess what you automatically go faster!

With all these thoughts spinning round my head – I embarked upon the 3rd round. I really did feel amazing. More words of encouragement and “pet af” (literally – “hat’s off”!). I also heard some of boys shouting to each other – “here’s the winner”. I did not believe that as I had seen a few more women running the 15 km although non were in sight at the moment.

I started to “lijken pikken” (pick dead bodies) as I ran past tired runners. At about 2 km to go I spotted “white T-shirt man”. He was not far away – could I “pik” him too? I felt up for it…

My friend leaped out and photographed and made a film of me – fab! What a great woman it felt as if I was on air – so this is how it feels to be a winner!

I was approaching “white T-shirt man” and out of nowhere appeared a boy on a bike. He rode onto the parcour. Ah – he was something to do with my “friend” and he seemed to be riding with him. My “friend” picked up pace. I followed him.


There was just 500 m to go. I was now feeling the pace in my legs but there was no real pain and the “high” was just getting better. I focused on the finish and pushed into a sprint. I could hardly believe the clock – 1 hour 13 mins something!!

I congratulated the two men who had come over the line about the same time. One of them being “white T-shirt man” (I almost caught him!) and went back to stare hard at the clock. It was true!! 5 minuted off my Personal Best – incredible!!

I stayed to clap in other runners. Then I heard my name. I approached one of the officials – yes! I was third!! Sensational!! It was also great to be among friends for this “historic” event!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 17, 2012 5:33 am

    Wow! Van harte gefeliciteerd met de 3e plek en een dik pr. Die 45 minuten grens ga je in Utrecht echt doorbreken.
    Met een flinke afstand ertussen zullen we op 30 september proberen onze doelen te halen. Ik ga aan je denken en voor je duimen.
    You can do it!

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