I just returned home from my 1/4 Marathon at Egmond aan Zee. I have to say, it was incredible! I am so happy that Donna asked me last month in London if I wanted to do this race, as she and her hubs would be coming over to participate.
Being that I normally jump into something without really knowing what I’m getting into, I kind of panicked after I read what the course was really like. And how I described it yesterday was not completely correct. It was more like this:
3KM in town
2KM on the beach
5KM through the dunes (up and down)
500m to the finish line
To be honest, my thoughts went back to my first race and how horrible the beach part of the run was. Back then I thought to myself “I never want to run on the beach again!” So what was I thinking, signing up for a bloody race, ON THE COAST, in January??? I mean, I don’t know if you guys know what the weather is like here, but January is usually not super-friendly and you can pretty much count on a free skin ex-foliation just from walking along the beach, the wind is that bad. But, OK, I like to keep to my commitments and I’d already missed out on my New Year’s Eve run, so, I was going to do this thing.
What a gorgeous day it turned out to be for a run! I mean, January people! I was completely ready for wind gales and crappy sand but it was none of that (ok, a little wind). Unfortunately I did not find Donna before the race and I had to give up my telephone at a certain point (we were texting each other). I was warming up a bit when a woman came over to me to tell me how cute my skirt was and hubs, who was behind the gates, just assumed that I had found Donna because we’d spent the few minutes before the start chit chatting with each other.
The race started and I felt pretty good. Normally when I’m just training, I really like a good 5 minute (or more if it’s really cold out) warm up. With races you never know if you’ll have the space or time to warm up and today was no exception. I did warm up a wee bit whilst making our way to the start and then a bit of running in place and light stretching before the bell went off (Bell? Horn? Start thingee?). Sometimes during a race I feel like I get off to a rocky start because of lack of warm up. Today? Piece of pie. The first bit was through the seaside village of Egmond and then we hit the beach after a couple of kilometres.
What a glorious run on the beach! Getting down near the North Sea’s edge was in soft sand but near the water it was nice, flat and packed! TOTALLY different from Zandvoort! I was able to run the whole way on the beach, unlike last year, until we reached this incredibly steep hill to go up and into the dunes. THAT I had to walk up and guess what? Not a single soul was running up that hill!
Last week Wednesday when I was rushing around trying to get to the American Consulate on time, I did something to my knee and have been feeling twinges ever since. This hill kind of made my knee uber-sensitive. Once I was all the way UP, I had to go DOWN into the dunes. It was a little painful, so I just stayed on the right and made my way slowly down onto the paved area of the dunes. I got running again and felt OK. I carried on for a couple more kilometers when, around 8KM I saw several Highland Cows (If you are Scottish, “Heeland Coo”), in the middle of the Dutch DUNES!
Like 10 of them! I was so amazed I don’t know how I stayed upright!
Anyway, I carried on, making my way up one more dune hill (the third) and soon I was making my way to the finish. In true racing style I picked up my pace this last 500 meters to get myself strong over the finish line. Final time 1:16:32. I lost several minutes climbing my way up the hill and a few walking down the hill into the dunes. It’s fine, I’m happy with the result. I thought maybe 1:20 and set my playlist up for that, so really, I beat the time that I thought I would make it in at.
Funnily enough, after I got home I was just going through the tweets that mentioned #Egmond and I came across @ellensassen and followed her (her tweet was in English; not that I’m opposed to Dutch, but that the tweet about a race in NL was in English interested me); turns out she came in about 30 seconds before I did! We must have been running next to each other! How coincidental is that??
Next Race: Zandvoort Circuit Run, 27th of March. Totally ready for it!
Did you have a race this weekend? Did you start training or even go for your first run of 2011? When is your first/next race of this year?