Archive | October, 2012

Amsterdam Marathon – Marathon No 5!

24 Oct

The build up to Amsterdam followed on from my summer of Ironman training and recovery. It was great to have an aim for the autumn and alongside Vitruvian middle distance, I enjoyed having a focus for training.

Following a tough race at Vitruvian, my training then all appeared to be going well. The long runs I did gave me confidence and all was looking good for Amsterdam! I was really excited about running my second marathon since heart surgery and seeing what I had left in my legs after  a busy year!

Our weekend in Amsterdam was pretty epic, meeting great people and seeing the sights! We made sure got enough rest, sleep and carbs though. Got a few strange looks ordering pasta AND chips :) Compared to a triathlon, it was a whole lot less stressful with organisation!

I was running with one of my best friends and it was brilliant to share the race day experience with her. We got to the Olympic stadium on time, got our positions in the start pen and shivered in the drizzle before the start. This definitely put me off from ever running New York! Once the gun went off, I started off comfortably sitting at 9 minute miles, which was my intended marathon pace. I felt good and confident I could see this through. My head was in it! The miles soon ticked off and all was going well.

Once I got to around 12 miles, we ran along an out and back section along the canal where I could see the half way point. The wind picked up and I tried to tuck in behind other runners to shelter. I believed that I was on track to go though 21k in around 1:58. That’s when it all went a little bit wrong! My legs just couldn’t keep up the pace and I slipped down to 9:05, 9:10 then 9:15 minute miles. I decided to have a gel early in a bid to get some energy and did what I could to perk myself up. I was still determined to chase my goal time, so stuck it out for another couple of miles.

I went through halfway in 2:01 and was a bit disappointed but having run a couple of negative splits for long runs in my training, I thought it was still possible to push on.

After umming and ahhing before the marathon about taking music to listen to, I was really glad I had it for the next few miles. That horrible feeling when you are fighting the strong urge to stop, walk or even give up might just have been too much without my trance-y beats! The middle part of the race is a bit of a blur but as all my marathon photos show, there was a whole lot of pain! In all my races post surgery, there has been a time when I needed to use imagery to get me through a tough section. I usually imagine being in the doctors office being told I couldn’t exercise, or wouldn’t have made 40 or being in hospital post surgery being very frustrated – all dramatic images! None of this worked this time, I was just too far past being able to think clearly!

As I approached the 30k marker, I had a bit of a scary moment where I went really dizzy after stopping briefly to get a drink from the water station. I ran through this and it went off but it was at that point that I subconsciously gave up on 9 minute miles. To be honest, 10:30 felt like an 8:30 pace to me, I was out of breath, exhausted and just wanted it over!

I’ve never been so pleased to see the finishline! I saw the 4:15 pacer just ahead of me so gave it one last push to finish in that time. Not a pb for me, which was initially disappointing but on reflection, I gave it all I had on the day. A marathon is never going to be easy so I’m pleased to have another under my belt! No reason for things to end like they did on the day! The only reason is a whole lot of physical tiredness, which only decides to rear it’s ugly head in a race!

Amsterdam was a great city to visit, had a laugh with friends and really enjoyed the celebrations afterwards! I was pretty tired after Vitruvian but now I have tiredness on a whole new level. There’s only one thing for it, REST REST REST! – for now anyway :)