Thursday, December 30, 2010

October 2010 and Amsterdam Marathon

*** This is post 3 in a series of 5 posts meant to catch up on five months of blogging absence*** 

October was a bit of a disaster. I fell of the working out wagon (post-race soreness, my hamstring was hurting and my teaching load grew exponentially). We had some nice trips to Aachen, Germany, and home to Greece. The Amsterdam marathon was the big event of the month.

Race of the Month: Amsterdam Marathon
I signed up for this marathon right after running my first half-marathon in under two hours. So, I was feeling pretty cocky, thinking I could definitely train for a full. Unfortunately, life got in the way (you've heard that before) and I toed the marathon line completely untrained. Two weeks before the Amsterdam marathon, I ran the Breda singelloop, relatively untrained. That half-marathon caused a lot of soreness, keeping me from running for almost a week (as if those two weeks would have made any difference). I tried to change my registration from the full to the half, but it was too late. Sooooo... Here is how it went down.

I spent the night at my aunt's an d uncle's in Amsterdam, walked (and got lost) to the train station where I took two trams and walked to the starting line. I had planned to wear a sweater and a jacket to the start and leave them there. However, it was literally freezing (1C/33F) so I kept them on until the start. The ambiance at the start was very good, the organizers were trying to have a new course record set (not by me ;-) so they had pulled all the stops. We started in the Dutch Olympic stadium, so it took a while to get stated.

First 10K (1:03:47)
I quickly took off the jacket and tied it around my waist before crossing the start. About 5K into the thing I started feeling warm enough to also take the sweater off. We ran through the Vondelpark, a very nice park in Amsterdam where I had never been before. I was feeling a bit apprehensive, body parts were already starting to hurt.

Second 10K (1:04:14)

This part of the race was along the Amstel river. It was very scenic and beautiful, with a small out and back along a windmill. I was feeling good, passed the half marathon point in about 2:15.

Third 10K (1:12:42)
I hit the wall shortly after the half-way point. Mile 16 to be very precise. I started my walking breaks around there as well. It did not help that this part of the run was along an industrial area, and therefore pretty ugly. Things looked better a bit further, when we rejoined the residential areas. My aunt lives around the 30th kilometer. About 2K before the place we had agreed to meet I started walking. My legs were completely cramped up.  They saw me walking up to them, ready to go home.
I had told them the night before that, if I decided to quit at that moment, they should remind me I only have another 10K. There was some negotiation going on. I handed over the extra clothes.
Handing over the extra weight

The last bit
And then I started that last 10K. Which incidentally took 1:25:49. I think I walked most of it... As I was walking through the Vondelpark, a woman spectating tried to cheer me on. I wasn't having any of it so she offered to run with me. That got me going, and she kept up for a good 500m. I was trying to cajole her into finishing the darn thing with me but her high heels would not allow for it. Still, this encounter inspired me and I kept running after that and until the finish.
I finished in 5:02:03. Not even achieving my C goal (A was under 4:30, B under 4:45, C under 5:00). The finish was bittersweet, the fast 1/2 marathon people were zooming past. In general, that last 10K was utter sufferance. I swore I'd never run another marathon and gave up on ever doing an Ironman. Of course, I changed my mind 10 minutes after finishing of course ;-)

Training for the Month 
Training was rudely interrupted by the two races and it took me a while to get going again. I spent three days in Amsterdam at the end of the month for a conference and logged some delightful miles running around in between banquets. However, I think was too soon after the marathon and my new shoes were not up to par, and I ended up with a very sore knee. I went to runners world, a major running store chain in the Netherlands to get fitted for new shoes, right before the marathon. The guy was extremely arrogant, completely dissing my current shoes. According to him, I underpronate, and those were overpronation shoes. So he sold me a pair of New Balance shoes for 150EUR (yup, almost 200USD). I did not wear them for the marathon, but I did use them in those early post-marathon runs. My knee completely imploded and my running mojo was gone. I initially thought the pain was a marathon after-shock, but after many trials and experiments, I am 95% confident that it was due to the New Balance shoes. Total running for October (including marathon) 59 miles. Total bike 58 miles (mostly the week before the marathon when my hip was hurting). No swimming.

Travel for the month
We went to Aachen for a weekend, to visit a family friend. I spent three days in Amsterdam for the conference, and we went to Greece for fall break. All good trips!
Munching on some delicious German pastries

Sightseeing in Aachen

More sightseeing

Hubby enjoying the views

Waiting for the train back

Life this month
Life was good this month! We finally finished furnishing the house, and our stuff came from the States. The last trips to IKEA were made, the last screws were put in place. All was good!

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