From “do I really want to run that far” to “I did it twice” (Part 1: Netherlands)

Keeping Delftly up-t0-date is one of the things that can always brighten my sometimes gloomy days. Even so, it has been a while and I do have so many things to share.

The half-marathon! 

I did it! Actually, I did it – back in March. And now being the end of May, I can also say: I did it twice. In two different countries. But one by one, really.

Den Haag on March 6th.

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Some rain and some hail to begin with. Why not.

Only 4 months in my running training back then, the original plan was definitely not be running 21km so soon. But I felt like I can do it, and I got some encouragements to that end as well. So, as I had registered and the big day was approaching,  I was doing my extensive research on the exercise routine for the last couple of weeks before it – for best results. Do not forget the healthy meals recipes, getting enough sleep while still maintaining good form and shape and all that.

In true spirit of the above, I faced some short-lived dilemma:  a couple of pretty great things that happened as of March 1st (a topic for another post), so I absolutely had to celebrate (wait, seems there was no dilemma, after all). I celebrated so much, in fact, that I found myself at parties for the 3 consecutive days before the Day. Involving some (or more) beers, and perhaps staying up late. Or early – depending on how you look at it being 3-4am. Not to mention a friend’s birthday party the night before!

Basically, I violated every single rule that all the online articles recommended, not least, ignored my better judgement. On the day, I woke up early – and let me highlight this – a really good friend of mine had come to cheer for me and made me super amazing breakfast (which I believe is the only thing that I did according to Best Running Practices! – eating that meal). To sum up, after as much party as my poor self could take on the little sleep I got, I headed to my first-ever half marathon race. Brilliant beginning of a running practice!

 

Let me fast-forward: it was…. an interesting experience. Fun fact: running 21km as a part of a race does not make the running part easier! – surprise surprise! (I was surprised).

But it is certainly exciting to be at the start line with tens, even hundreds, of other people who want to run too.

The race itself:

The first 5km were heavy – mainly because I ignored yet another advice. Namely, run at your usual pace and do NOT get carried away by the people who pass you by. So I was out of breath, and had about 16.1 km to go. Lovely.

I started asking myself why am I doing this. Whoever wants to run that distance. Just cycle it. Or chill instead… or… whatever. Just-not-that! Quitting was not really an option but I seriously considered walking the rest of the distance (aforementioned 16km – that would be quite some walk!….). Then I decided to just keep jogging and it felt like ages by the time I had reached kilometre number 7.

But then came some refreshment stations, some more self loathing, and more jogging… Before I knew it, we were at the beach (yes, Scheveningen!), and I had new energy in me: only 4000 last meters to go! (little did I know it was actually 4100….)

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The Beach – for that part, it got even sunny (and really quite windy but those are details…!)

In the end, I did make it – for surprisingly short time (2h 10min), and I did not pass out on the finish line. What I did do, is to bump into my friend (thank you for coming!!), who saw me dragging myself by the “medals” station and then some more refreshments, and met me with a bouquet of flowers and a chocolate. I do not know what would I do, were I alone.

Overall experience?

It was pretty great (in its own twisted way). I would do it again (and I did!) but not before I had to take a month or so almost completely off from running. I fell (a little bit) ill, and got a cold, after cold, after cold for over a month.

 

Ps. The moment I realised that the half marathon was actually 21.1 km (as opposed to 21), was when later that evening I saw it on the medal every participant received. Speaking of being well prepared…!

Yours Delftly,

A.

 

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