A Halve + A Kwart = Pain

On Sunday, G and I were up at 7.30, out the door by 8.30, and knew it was only hours before we were subjecting ourselves to torture.  I’m not sure about the exact temperature yesterday, but I am certain it was not above 40F/4.4C.  A few months ago, we signed up for the Egmond Halve (half) Marathon.  I’ve had a half marathon on my bucket list for a few years (for me, a half is my “marathon”) and while training in October and November, I was getting really excited about crossing that one off.  Then December came.  And went.  And I didn’t run a single day.  I’m not making excuses, but two trips to the States and a week of being sick didn’t exactly help keep me on schedule.  Fortunately I didn’t have to be a total quitter and there was a kwart (quarter) marathon race before the halve to which I could switch.  While G’s December training regime was almost as non-existent as mine, he’s wayyyy better conditioned as a runner than I am so he still ran the halve marathon.

The quarter run is 6.5 miles/10.5 km and the half is 13.1 miles/21.1km.  My course is outlined in black, G’s continues with the black and white dots:

Given the Netherlands is a relatively flat country, they like to kick it up a notch in other ways with their road races.  The Egmond race was in January (brrr!) and part of the course was on the beach (read: major winds from the North Sea).  And after you have given your heart and soul pounding the sands of the beach trying to keep your race pace, you are required to run/hike/crawl—whatever means will get you to the top—up one heck of a sand dune hill.  Seemed more like a mini-mountain to me.

Me during my bad decision to toss G my gloves

It was absolutely grueling and I was cursing every four letter word I could think of at myself for having failed with my training schedule.  I had breathing cramps in my sides, not enough potassium in my body which caused my leg muscles to lock up, and ice blocks for hands since I dumped my gloves prematurely.  During the last mile, nearly every step was painful since my knee was throbbing and I was eager for the finish line.  My time certainly wasn’t a personal record, probably more like a “personal worst” if I cared to compare it against prior race times.  As I crossed the finish line and was handed my partcipation medal,  I promised myself to find another half marathon this year AND properly train for it!

G waiting to start and the wind fills his jacket

G’s race started after mine, but since my finish line and his start line were a good distance from each other, I wasn’t able to see him start the race.  And he didn’t realize my race’s finish line was different than his race’s finish line, so he didn’t see me finish the race.  He and our friend A were at the half marathon finish line wondering “where the heck is that slow-poke R?” and thinking maybe I had fallen into the North Sea and was floating out towards the east coast of England.

Thousands of runners waiting & shivering

G didn’t have a great race either.  The wind was equally as brutal, his sinuses were a mess, and his right foot had major pain towards the latter part of the race.  Not to mention he was running twice the distance I just ran.  A and I waited just in front of the finish line and high-fived G as he whizzed by. Afterwards, G and I were both walking at a much slower pace and I’m sure A thought we had morphed into an oma and opa (grandma and grandpa).

G (red hat) was so fast that my photo was from behind

Faking a smile to mask the pain

Thanks to A for braving cold temps to cheer us on!

Since I had a few hours to recover (and ran the shorter distance), I offered to drive home.  Sounds like an easy task except for the fact our car is a manual shift, my legs were in pain, and we hit gridlock traffic along most of the A9 en route back to Amsterdam.  I just can’t win.

34 miles/55km until we get home:


If you are new to the blog, you can click here and check out photos from our 12k in Zandvoort (March 2010) which had similar conditions.