Trains planes and automobiles but in reverse

When a work trips falls perfectly with a race it is a sign that I have to do it. The Singelloop 10km was on and the world record for 10km on the road was set here a number of years back. Only issue was that I was flying out the morning of the race so I needed everything to go on time. The day started with a 3:30am alarm clock. I had everything ready to go and I got in the car and drove to the airport for my early flight. Flight was on time and I had 3 seats to myself – a good start. Next was getting through Schiphol Airport and get the train to Utrecht. Best thing about Schiphol is the main station at the airport brings you to anywhere you want and there are regular trains to Utrecht from there. I got my ticket and the next train was leaving in 2 mins. Perfect timing. Before I knew it I was in Utrecht with plenty of hours to spare.IMG_20171001_043059

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Once in Utrecht I took a stroll around the town and needed to get breakfast. I played it safe and got McDonalds breakfast. The last time I did that before a race I got a PB at the Messina Hof Half Marathon. I then took a stroll to Wilhelminapark where the race head quarters was. I passed the start line along the way and started getting a sense of the course and atmosphere. It was easy to pick up number and things couldn’t have went smoother. The weather was really nice and there was a good buzz around as there was a kids race and a 5km to add to the 10km. With about 40 minutes before the race I dropped off my bag and made my way to the start line. I was in the 1st wave and I moved myself up as far as I could. I stood to the right since I knew the 1st 2 turns were on the right had side. Every second counts 🙂

Healthy start to the day

Healthy start to the day

The Race

So I hadn’t really thought about how I was going to tackle this race. My aim was about 42 minutes because I hasn’t raced 10km in so long and I felt it was a reasonable goal. If things were going right I’d chance a PB which would be breaking 41 mins. As soon as the gun went off any plan went out the window as we all sprinted up the straight with crowds on either side of the road. I really wasn’t expecting much of crows support but how wrong I was. There was support along the whole course and some huge cheering sections which would only help to push me on.

The starting straight

The starting straight

So I quickly got into my rhythm and found a comfortable pace for myself. With many runners around me doing similar pace it was easy to keep that pace going. I went through the 1st 3kms in sub 4 min km pace. (3:49, 3:56, 3:55) My watch was a bit off the km mark so I was hitting the km mark about 50m after my watch. So every time I passed one I was judging to see what my average pace was. In my head I was thinking I’ll regret this later in the race. Considering my most recent 5kms were above 20 mins it may have been a bad idea to take off like I did. I then needed to level out the pace so I put a target of 4 minutes per km and I’ll see how long I could keep that up. Next 2 kms were 4:02 and 4:02, nice consistency there. I passed over the 5km timing mat at 19:55. So even though my splits on my watch were showing that I had more time in the bank I found out after I didn’t. But anyway I was still feeling good at 5km mark. I was half way through and now the thought in my head was that I needed to match that for the second half. It was the 1st time I considered that I could go sub 40.

Jersey was ready to go

Jersey was ready to go

Consistency was key and my next 3km were exactly what I wanted – 4:01, 4:00, 4:04. Its funny in a way the course is so flat but when you have to go up the smallest of bumps it feels like a mountain. We headed over one bridge and I thought I was going to go backwards and any other day you wouldn’t notice that time of incline. Now here was where I thought I lost the chance of sub 40. I began to tire and the 9km was to be my slowest, it was 4:08 but when I actually hit the 9km mark I was 7 seconds outside 4 min average. The wind started to pick up for the last few kms as well. And at times I found myself at the front of a pack rather than tucked in behind someone. This meant I had to dig deep if I was going to break 40 mins now. Before the race I’d have jumped at a sub 41 but now I’d be gutted if I missed out on sub 40. It was there for the taking. Again the crowds were great here and they really did help push me to the line. There were markers for 500m to go, 400 to go etc and I just counted them down. I lifted my legs and pushed the pace the best I could. The final straight was in site and I went for it, the crowds cheering on I knew I almost had it. And finished with a 3:51 min km. I looked at my watch and it said 39:55. I was delighted. The Tuesday night sessions had paid off. I couldn’t believe I had broken 40 mins and got my 1st road PB of the year.

1st PB of the year

1st PB of the year

But little did I know that when my official time came out it was a lot closer than I thought. 39:59 was my chip time. I must have stopped my watch late at the start or too early at the finish but after the buzz of doing sub 40 I would have been gutted to find out after that I didn’t but I just scraped in. Top 100 finish out of almost 6000 runners was a great result overall for me.

The Medal

The Medal

Now mind turns to Lisbon Half Marathon in 2 weeks and what I can achieve there. I really need to put some thought in to it and then make a plan of how I’ll race that. One thing for certain though, if I keep fit over the next 2 weeks I’ll be going into that race with lots of confidence. It will be my last big race of the year and since early in the year it would be my A race on the road. Here is hoping I get to the start line fit and healthy.

My reward

My reward

My watch splits

My watch splits

Course Map

Course Map

Posted in Sport.

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