Amsterdam Half – The Training Run

Amsterdam Half – The Training Run

After I didn’t get into New York I decided I needed another marathon to focus on. To begin with I booked my flights and hotel with Joe and Kevin and step one was complete. Over the next few months I decided I wasn’t going to tackle a full so signed up for the half instead. This would allow me the chance to continue to focus on training for triathlons during the summer. I really kind of took my mind off this race with so many other races happening. But i felt I could give it a right go even with the lack of training at the higher distances. But of course all plans were thrown up in the air when I found out I had got into New York on September 17th. This race now became my secondary focus and would now just be used as a training run with it being 2 weeks before NYC

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Great support from home

We were all working on the Friday and got the 5:30pm flight out to Amsterdam. A nice smooth flight and the train to Amsterdam Central. We got a cab to the apartment we had got and then it was time to decide who was getting which bed. Once we lay claim to our beds we headed out for a short stroll and to the pub we went. A few hours there and a healthy feed of McDonalds after set us up nicely.

On Saturday we caught the tram out to the expo. Worked out well that the tram was only few seconds walk from the apartment and went directly to the expo. Everyone besides us about 3 other jumped off at the Olympic Stadium stop, but we hung on for one more which meant we had a shorter walk to the expo. There was a great buzz around and the place was hopping. When we went in there was queues everywhere. Lucky for us there was no where in ours so we had our numbers within seconds of getting there.

Packed Expo

Packed Expo

Off to see what we could buy next. But I behaved and stayed away from all the tempting merchandise. Regretted not picking something up afterwards but I’d be better off not filling
my cupboards with more junk.

After the expo we headed back, got changed and headed down to Rembrandtplein to get some food and watch the rugby. A stroll around that area and around Amsterdam square was it for the night. Back to the apartment early knowing that Kevin was doing the full so he’d be up early.

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Gear Ready

We had a nice lie in and headed off at about 11 expecting to get the tram. Of course to our surprise it wasn’t running. We flagged down a taxi who brought us to about 1.5km away from the stadium and we walked the rest. Good warm up. Bags dropped off and then to the start line. Joe and myself were both in the 1st wave so didn’t take us long to get going. I was planning on doing 5 min per km but once I got going I decided I’d do what was comfortable. I settled into a pace in and around the 4:4x per km. I heard a lot about Amsterdam having a lot of twists and turns but maybe it was just for the full because there seemed to be a lot of straights which helped even out the crowd and you weren’t falling over people. After bumping into a girl from Midleton at about the 8 km mark she was looking strong and aiming for sub 1:40 (she achieved it) I knew I was pacing well. She happened to be the only person I exchanged words with throughout the whole run. After about half km she headed on.

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It wasn’t really until the about the 16km mark where there was support out on the course. Before that it was quiet and a bit boring. But then again I had my head down so I didn’t mind too much. There was a good buzz around Vondelpark when we ran through there. I knew I was getting close to home then. I managed to keep the pace throughout, with my 2 best kms at the 18th (where you 1st entered the park) and the last km. It was great atmosphere entering the stadium and there is just something about finishing on the track. I crossed the line in 1:41:45 and felt good. Usually I’d be very tired after but I raced sensibly and gives me great hope for NYC. A nice massage after and 3km walk pack to the apartment kept me nice and loose.

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Joe finished in 1:37:51 and Kev did the full in 4:47:37

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Some of the best craic and chats came on the flight home on the Monday. Plenty of others who did the race shared their stories and it passed away the waiting time and the flight home.

Would I do it again? Yes, if I wanted a good weekend away close by. A nice flat course, a bit boring in parts but a very easy destination to get to. It will be head down for NYC now but I hope this race has put me in the right shape for it.

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