Race Report: Amsterdam Half Marathon...

11.12.2012


In the month of October I ran two half marathons... only two weeks part... because earlier in the year it had seemed like a good idea! I had already signed myself and hubs up for the Royal Parks Half Marathon when Run Dem Crew decided to make the Amsterdam Half it's next official Bridge The Gap race... and so peer pressure plus an excuse to run through a new city made me sign up! Slightly injured and half doubtful, I headed to Amsterdam without knowing what to expect come race day...


Once again I got to room with a few of my lovely friends that I had done so for the Berlin Half and it was so nice to catch up outside of London. It was fun to have a girly/runners weekend... where late night talks included anything and everything from what time are you going for to what shade of lipstick should I wear race day... and yep, proud to say we all wore some! Together we explored the city, partied into the wee hours, and supported one another as nervousness creeped in.


This race was a little bit different for me for two main reasons... 1. I had just ran another half marathon two weeks earlier... and normally I stop running all together for a good month after a half... and 2. This race started at mid day... unheard of in the race world and I worried about how much and how close to the race I should eat. I'm not sure which is worse, being hungry during a race where it feels like your stomach is literally going to eat itself... or eating too much and (forgive the grossness) having your food repeatedly try to come back out. Luckily, I managed to eat just the right amount and then only had the average pre-race jitters to deal with. Gathering with my crew and seeing all of the other crews from around the world in the same place, with the same purpose (to finish that race!) made me just as nervous as it did excited. It was so incredible to be a part of something so huge!


Miles 1-3: Being the ever hopeful optimist, I gathered with the sub two crew... translation, run a half marathon in under two hours... translation, averaging nine minute miles... translation wtf?!? But I started with them anyways with P (the amazing leader) reassuring me to do what I could, and my game plan was to just try and stick with them, at that fast-ish (for me) pace for as long as I could... great game plan hu? I told P that my exit signal would be a peace sign... meaning go on with out me... peace out! Well I lasted about a good two-three miles... and then up flew my peace sign because of the pain from my already injured foot! I resumed my regular hare like pace knowing that if I had any hopes of finishing, I would have to take it easier. I saw as the sub two crew disappeared into the distance but you know what, I'm still happy I got as far as I did with them! Next time we shall try to hold on for another few miles...

Miles 4-6: This part of the race was an inspiring one... I was able to forget the pain and just soak in all the beauty that is Amsterdam. I have to admit, as far as scenic and exciting races go, this wasn't necessarily one of them. There were long stretches of industrial sights mixed in with nature at it's best.... perfect for some deep soul searching... and lots of thinking... and so that is what I did. It was refreshing to do this during a race for a change, to just let my body take over like a machine and get lost in my thoughts. Usually I can only achieve a zen like state during good (meaning few) long runs. The only things that occasionally drew me out were the pats on the back, smiles, and nods of my fellow crew members as they passed me by. Never in a race had I been touched so much and all thanks to the logo I was sporting... and yes, it made all the difference...

Miles 7-9: So remember when I said the only things that were able to pull me out of my zen like state were things of happiness... well that was true until some silly (and I use that word in place of what I'd really like to say... be creative!) by standers decided it was a good idea to try and cross through the race! It all happened so fast and before I knew it I was colliding into a woman and cursing in a mixture of Spanish (the Hispanic in me) and English. Now we might not have spoken the same language, but I'm pretty sure she knew what I was shouting wasn't polite... but then again neither was her utter and complete selfishness. She is lucky it was only me... a smallish, less than 110 pound, slowish runner and not one of those huge and speedy men I saw on the course. It literally took everything in me not to let this ruin my race... and I know it may seem childish... but do not mess with me or get in my way when I am running... rude!

Miles 10-13: Anyways, luckily the run dem angels were on my side for this race too as out of no where, L appeared on my right side... and didn't leave it until we crossed the finish line... three times! Like a true soldier, she stayed by my side as I started to falter... understood that I couldn't really chit-chat, just merely provide company of some sort... handed me water, thumbs up, and knowing smiles... all because of the simple fact that we were from the same crew. Sappy I know, but our friendship began on the road somewhere around mile ten. I have run all of my races alone and thought it was just what worked best for me, but after this experience, I can see why you would want and sometimes even need to run with a friend. Especially when the pain had started to seep through, what kept going was the fact that I couldn't let my new friend down. Another run dem angel that I owe a huge thanks to is B... injured herself and benched, she didn't let that get her down and  instead decided to be a one woman cheer squad! And what a site (and sound) for sore everything she was! I just remember a surge of uplifting energy as I heard my name being shouted and I thought to myself, I can do this!

Miles 13- 13.1: So what I'm about to tell you is probably the worst thing that could happen to a runner and it happened to L and I... ok probably not the worst... I just like to be dramatic... and in my defense, it sure felt like it was the worse at the time. Nearly at the end now, there was a group of run dem angels that had already finished the race (luckies!) and were cheering the rest of us on. We saw (we thought) the finish line and L quickly whipped out her phone and started recording us as we sprinted, cheered, and shouted our way across the finish line... only it wasn't. I know what you are thinking... but just remember the signs are all in Dutch and the distance in km so we weren't really paying attention to any of that. I was so frustrated that I had just pulled out from somewhere deep within me, all of the reserve power and energy that us runners keep for crossing the finish line... and then it happened again! Another arch, another video, somewhat less energy and enthusiasm... followed by disappointment yet again! An that ladies and gents is when I through my first ever runner's tantrum... mid race... and with less than 500 meters to go. All (and I mean ALL) of the pain just surfaced... the anger... the I just can't run anymore I can't even see the finish line rage that blinded me. If you ever want to experience the biggest high and lowest low possible, run a half marathon and cross the fake finish line twice. I literally stopped running. Luckily L was having none of it and wouldn't take no for answer. She could have just left me and kept on running (and I wouldn't have blamed her for it), but instead she decided we would finish together and we would finish running! And so there is a third video of us crossing the actual finish line... probably the most anti-climatic finish ever... but a finish none the less. And then the tear gates opened up and let's just say there was a lot of sweaty hugging...

Final Outcome: 02:22:27 time / 10"43' pace / 1,1638 overall place / 3,554 female place... achy body parts- 5 (shoulders (again!), ankles, and my ego), blisters- 4. No p.b. for this race either but it was the first time ever that I ran two half marathons so close together and I even beat my first race by a bit so I'll take it. It was a first for tantrums and a first for partially running with someone. Loads to take in from this race and it just goes to show, even with six half marathons now solidly under my belt... no two races are ever the same!


Of course no Bridge The Gap (or Run Dem Crew event for that matter) is truly ever over until we've partied our little booties off! We may train hard... look hard... and even run hard... but rest assured, we most certainly party even harder!!!

***Today I am thankful for yet another great bridge the gap experience... where to next guys?!?***

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