Hopefully no repeat of the last oversea`s trip the club took - the infamous delay at Benidorm ... surely lightning could not hit twice, well I guess three times for me :-/
We took the early flight from Southampton (07:05), which did mean a 04:00 am start from home & collecting Dennis & Dave along the way. Timing wise it was perfect with meeting the others (Margaret, Colin & Brian) at the terminal. (Wendy, Karen & Steve were flying from Heathrow - I have a feeling they didn`t want to fly with me). We played `Spot the runner` in the terminal & on the plane - we didn`t need to look too far as the couple in the seats behind were from Sandhurst Joggers (the only time Cove Joggers were in front of SJ`s). Transport wise & hotel location were spot on - close enough to the train station & only two stops from the Expo & Stadium (start / finish area).
We wandered around the Expo in the afternoon - not too much there at all & prices did seem high which was a shame really & we headed back to the hotel before it was too late as we had arranged to got into town with the rest of the Running Crazy group for dinner later on. All I will say about that it didn`t go to plan which was a real shame as that idea did have potential. Anyway an early night beckoned.
Race morning - alarms off at 06:00 am. As I was room sharing I thought we might be pushed for time as we decided to leave the hotel at 8:00 to give us enough time at the stadium to savour the moment. A it happens time wasn`t a problem, breakfast was `Oat so Simple` pot & black coffee, showered & changed will still enough time to have a run before we left (2M @ roughly 8.00/m pace - blaming excitement there). The train was packed but it was only two stops, loads of folks everywhere so I`m glad we made the early trip. At the bag drop I bumped into Fetchies (katiec, Naomi P, BCRB & Dave B) and made our way into the stadium & zone C, where we saw Mrs Jigs, Rick OShay, Joopsy & Big Al - great timing as we had only to wait a couple of minutes or so for the start..
As it happens I didn`t hear the start - it only took 2 minutes or so to cross the line, and then the slow part getting out of the stadium & the narrow start but anyway. I had not really studied the course layout too much - I knew the 1st bit we had to do a number of times of times. As we headed into the park (1.5 M) the Red vest of a Sandhurst Jogger went past ... damm but nothing new there then :-) After a slow 1st mile we (Myself & Dave) had settled down to a nice pace - somewhere around the 3:40 pace..was I in PB (or close to PB shape???). I felt quite good as the miles ticked past - enjoying the course, seeing the other runners, having a chat with Dave. I think it was around the 5M spot we could see the lead pack on the other side of the road coming towards us - always good if that happens. Spotted so many Serpentine Vests. I was enjoying the course - snaking around the city, not knowing what was coming next.
Even as we moved towards the canal (8 M ish), it was OK - seeing the runners on the far side, listening to the numbers of barge playing music - we spotted our 1st walker (wow long day for someone) & saw a horse on the course (dangerous of what). We saw Malcolm (Running Crazy) just before 10M - I think we went through 10 M in 01:25:00 so all pretty good there & steady pace. This stretch (8 M to 15 M or so) was along the canal - found it a little tough but pace remained the same. Dave had stopped for a pee so I was on my own.
I guess around the 17.5 M area I notice my left hamstring tighten a bit (I decided not to wear my compression shorts - I had wondered if I feel any difference...) I thought I had only slow the pace a little bit (8:45 / 8:50 from 8:20) so it was a shame I saw my 1st 9.xx on the Garmin, followed by another one in the next mile. By this stage the weather was quite warm - my arm warmer had come off miles ago - I had tried to fluff around with the buff so at the next water station I took some time to sort that out..(10:15/m). The walking through the water stations then almost came a done thing as I found myself taking a break through the next & the next - I think my pace in between the stations was about 8:40/m pace but these breaks were adding minutes.. I was now off PB pace and off 3:45 (target) pace.
I thought going past the Heineken factory was a bit cruel but it did make me smile & there wasn`t too many miles left.. We headed back into the park (less than 3 Km maybe 4 Km to go) where I saw so many people walking. Under the 40 Km gantry (as it happens so the race data tells me I went though the 40 Km in exactly my PB to the second - 03:39:41). 2 Km to go - not far at all, 1 Km to go...around the corner and under the 500 metres to go sign...into the Stadium and into the home straight.
I don`t think I had a great race - 1st 17M was good but it was only 6 mins or so quicker then Athens - so I felt a bit of a fraud raising my arms up as I finished but it was another sub 4 done. I guess it`s not really a true PB unless it`s hard & tough going. I collected my bag without a problem & headed up into the stadium to wait for Dave and watch finishers. As it happens Dave finished shortly afterwards & we headed back onto the course to watch out for our Club`s Half-Marathon runners.
We stood at the 1 Km to go gantry. An excellent place too - the sun was out we could spot our vests a long way out plus they didn`t know we were there so the surprise value was great :-) Afterwards we met up in the stands to watch Dennis come through in an amazing time. In the evening we had decided to go for a Club meal (15 of us) & luckily enough we found a fantastic place & then made our way into the city for Post Race Running Crazy Party.......
The next morning, with well deserved hangovers we headed into the heart of Amsterdam for a Tourist day. I highly recommend the Bus with the canal tour a good way to spend 3 hours or so. The flight home was (surprisingly) uneventfully :-)
All in all a really good mini break with really good company.
Race stats -
5 Kilometer 27:07 (27:07)
10 Kilometer 52:57 (25:50)
15 Kilometer 1:19:02 (26:05)
20 Kilometer 1:45:11 (26:09)
Half marathon 1:51:04
25 Kilometer 2:11:31 (26:20)
30 Kilometer 2:40:13 (28:42) (20M I think was 02:52:xx)
35 Kilometer 3:10:02 (29:49)
40 Kilometer 3:39:41 (29:39)
Finish Time - 3:52:28
1) - 1m - 8:57(8:57/m) - 127cal
2) - 1m - 8:22(8:22/m) - 129cal
3) - 1m - 8:29(8:29/m) - 130cal
4) - 1m - 8:21(8:21/m) - 129cal
5) - 1m - 8:14(8:14/m) - 131cal
6) - 1m - 8:22(8:22/m) - 130cal
7) - 1m - 8:29(8:29/m) - 129cal
8) - 1m - 8:18(8:18/m) - 130cal
9) - 1m - 8:19(8:19/m) - 131cal
10) - 1m - 8:12(8:12/m) - 129cal
11) - 1m - 8:15(8:15/m) - 129cal
12) - 1m - 8:25(8:25/m) - 130cal
13) - 1m - 8:33(8:33/m) - 128cal
14) - 1m - 8:17(8:17/m) - 129cal
15) - 1m - 8:27(8:27/m) - 130cal
16) - 1m - 8:20(8:20/m) - 129cal
17) - 1m - 9:04(9:04/m) - 135cal
18) - 1m - 9:14(9:14/m) - 128cal
19) - 1m - 10:15(10:15/m) - 122cal - flaffing
20) - 1m - 8:59(8:59/m) - 129cal
21) - 1m - 9:30(9:30/m) - 129cal
22) - 1m - 9:35(9:35/m) - 129cal
23) - 1m - 9:19(9:19/m) - 132cal
24) - 1m - 9:58(9:58/m) - 129cal
25) - 1m - 9:13(9:13/m) - 130cal
26) - 1m - 9:32(9:32/m) - 129cal
27) - 0.4m - 3:29(8:42/m) - 52cal
Video Pt II
Next up - This Saturday night - Caesar`s Camp Midnight 30 - I best get out the rock climbing ropes & oxygen then............