A year ago I would never have thought it possible for me to complete a marathon. At that point, the furthest I had ran continuously was a 10km race, which was gruelling. Nevertheless, when my friend pretty much forced me to sign up back in March, I felt I could not let her down. So October arrived and off we went.
My fiancé and I arrived in Amsterdam on the Friday night at a beautiful apartment in the picturesque and bustling area of De Pijp. There was a lovely roof terrace and we thought, although it was approaching 11 at night, we should make the most of it and enjoy a wee glass of vino and each other’s company.
A deep sleep later and once more I find myself at the tram stop at which we seemed to have arrived only hours ago, to greet our friend and her partner, who was also running the Marathon. They were so excited and happy to be in Amsterdam with us. They giggled at the ridiculous Amsterdam stairs up to the apartment, which was pretty much at a perfect vertical angle over three floors!
We had a fantastic day, eating lots of great food, chit chatting away and we also caught a glimpse of the start line when collecting our bibs from the Olympic Stadium.
When we got back to the apartment, us runners (both happy OCD sufferers) meticulously laid out our socks, shoes, shorts, gels and tops with bibs pinned on.
Another deep sleep went by and there we were, ready to walk to the race with a bin bag over me to keep warm and throw away when we get there!
At the start line, the nerves finally got to me! A massive guy with army paint over his face was smiling at me, which was a tad creepy! Suddenly, we are moving through the crowd and we start running. Lots of crowd weeding proceeded for the next 5km and we were both focusing on finding a good rhythm.
At 10km, my breathing was a little off, so we split. At 15km, I’m quite clearly feeling sorry for myself, but I pick up and finally at 20km start to enjoy the race, cruising along and happy as Larry even at 25km! At this point, my lovely fiancé is there to greet me and this spurs me on to keep going. When I see him again at 30km, he ran with me for a bit, charging my batteries. At 33km, the thought of not seeing him for the next 9km dawned on me and I hit that “wall”. Pain is everywhere. I started to mix walking and running until the 40km sign, when I used my entire muster to pick myself up. When I reached the Olympic Stadium, euphoria travelled through my body and I bolted round the athletic track, overtaking people left right and centre. As I crossed the finish line at 4:42, I felt on top of the world.
Hugs and celebrations pursued as we hobbled home with our other halves. We lounged and ate super tasty burgers (vegetarian for me!) whilst reminiscing over the run and off course moaning about the pain. Our friends, unfortunately had to leave, but my fiancé and I, were invited to a lovely newlywed couple in Amsterdam, who made us the most delicious Thai Curry. Two dinners within a couple of hours was just what I needed!
Three days have passed and my feet are big round balls, but I have the marathon bug and want to run again. Now it is just about which marathon to choose?