Saturday, October 15, 2011

Race Report - Singelloop Breda 5K & Half Marathon

Yup! I did both! I signed up for the half marathon through my gym for 7.5 EUR (something like 10 USD) including entry, tech shirt (and a nice one too), refreshments and food afterwards, and goody bag... But then, my cousin and her friend decided to do the 5K and I thought it would be fun to join them.
Start of the 5K (from the Singelloop official pictures)
End of the 5K!

The start of the 5K was at 11:00. I picked them up at the train station and we made our way to the start. We ran together, I just adjusted my speed to theirs. I had my camera with me and I would occasionally speed up, find a nice corner, stop and take a picture of them. It was really fun. We finished in 35:51 and got a medal... My cousin and her friend were suffering a bit from the heat as it was already 23C (73F).

We had a drink in town, and then I went home to change (into my Half Fanatic singlet!!!), eat, and DRINK. It was getting really hot out there, and I figured I should get as much fluids in before the race as I could, especially since I did not have enough time to really eat anything serious... Again, my training was pretty minimal, except for that 1 10-miler two weeks prior...

The half marathon started at 14:00. It was close to 27 C (80 F) and we all know (well at least I know) I do not do well in the heat. So I placed myself completely at the back of the group. I must have been one of the last people to cross the starting line... The run consisted of two laps of about 10 K each.
Before, showing off the Half Fanatic singlet!
The first lap went very well. I was being very patient and deliberate with my pace. I think all my 5Ks were within 1 minute of each other. I was really really hot, but I took advantage of every kind person volunteering to drench me with his or her garden hose. I had also taken my Nathan handheld along for the ride, filled with Nuun + salt+ water. Three minutes before the end of the first loop I was lapped by our friendly Kenyans. The pack zoomed past us at an incredible speed. They finished, we started lap #2.
Mile 2: still happy!
Nathan Handheld Exchange at mile 7

The second lap was much harder. It was just too hot! And... I don't do well in two lap courses. It's kinda boring if you ask me... My legs were cramping up, I was running out of water, there were fewer spectators... Fortunately, my hubby was waiting for me with a second Nathan (same recipe). Also, a visiting buddy had found a spot where he could see me every 30 minutes (and document my disintegrating state by taking a picture) and then raced to the finish to see me there. It was a great motivator to keep going.
2 miles to go!

Well... I finished!!! In 2:09:31, so my second worst time ever (after Utrecht which was even hotter) but really, it was fun and I did a great job nutrition and pace-wise.

Dam to Dam Race Report - 18 September 2011

I am 3 (!!!) race report behind already, with a fourth one coming on this Sunday... So this will be brief!

The Dam tot Dam is a HUGE race that has you run the 10 miles between AmsterDAM and ZaanDAM. It's a beautiful course, along many small, cute (and very wealthy) villages. I wasn't planning on running this race but a colleague received three Nike sponsored entries and offered me one... How could I refuse?!
Unfortunately, due to circumstances, I was the only one of the three actually running the race. He was kind enough to come to the start on Sunday morning to give me my number.
The race was fun, albeit wet. Thirty minutes before the start it started pouring and it did not stop until we finished. I was (very) untrained for this race (like usual) so I had zero ambitions beyond finishing...Instead, I focused on pacing (and enjoying myself...). I figured I might as well make this race part of my Ironman training...
Best outfit choice!
 Miles 1-3. The first mile was the toughest as we went throught the Ij tunnel. By Dutch standards this was a very long and steep downhill, followed by a very long and steep uphill. It did not really bug me to say the truth.
Miles 4-7. These miles were beautiful, I was having a good time! There was some faraway thunder & lightning!
Miles 8-10. The thunder & lightning got much closer. I was worried that they would cancel the race and I was SOOOO close so I picked up the pace...

I finished in 1:35:33. This was my first 10 miles so this would also be my PR :-) I did not care much about the time, but realized that 10 miles is a fantastic distance. It's like a half-marathon without that last, painful, 5K... Hmm... I guess that also means I should not run 10 miles at half-marathon pace... But you know, it was great training for the Singelloop half marathon two weeks later...