Weather was just about perfect, if a wee bit on the cold side. Gentle east wind. Cloudy with even a bit of sun peeking through now and then.
First 8k was on sand. I'm used to running on sand. First over the soft bit and then out to the flat bit by the sea which is mostly reasonably hard and rather nice to run on. Well it is when 15000 folk haven't run on it before you and churned it all up!
At about the 3k mark I seriously thought this was going to be the day I didn't finish. My breathing was all over the place, my running form was shot to hell and I had no idea how long it was going to go on for. (Note to self - a bit more course study beforehand wouldn't go amiss.) I was just plodding along, being overtaken by loads of folk and just concentrating on keeping getting air into my lungs and putting one foot in front of the other. (And asking myself why I was doing such a stupid thing anyway.)
Eventually I started to get some sort of second wind, could pick my head up a bit and look ahead. Decided to turn music on. Dropkick Murphys and Rammstein helped enormously. I tentatively started enjoying myself. And then I could see the ribbon of runners ahead veering off to the left, up through the dunes and onto the dijk.
What a relief to have solid ground under my feet again. After that it was pretty much a doddle. Picked up my feet and enjoyed running along the nice dry undulating dirtpaths. Overtook a fair number of folk (and was overtaken by others) so it was never just a long boring slog home as some of the smaller runs can be. My goal was just to finish within the 3 hour time limit and I did so with 18 minutes to spare so was well chuffed. (And surprised, after the crappy start.)
All in all an enjoyable race (oh how quickly we forget the miserable bits) and I'd maybe do it again, with my trail shoes on. (I didn't want to wear them this time as I wasn't sure how much of the course was on hardened bike paths and didn't want to wear them out.)
The Plan is: to run a marathon in every county in the Netherlands.
Last Dutch county marathon completed!
Zuid Holland ~ Rotterdam, April 1997 4:22 (pre-blog days, so no link to a race report as with my later marathons) Flevoland/Overijssel ~ Urk/Zwolle November 2009 4:53:30 (this is 'cheating' a bit as the race begins in one county and ends in the other, so I'm going to run it again this year to make one whole marathon for each county) And here it is - the second Zuiderzee Marathon, November 2010 5:03(?) Utrecht ~ Utrecht, April 2010 2010 4:52 (no offical time as last minute entry and Utrecht then makes you pay lots of money for practically nothing) Brabant~ Eindhoven, October 2010 4:50:08 (Great crowd support.) Zeeland~ Burgh-Hamstede/Zoutelande, October 2012 5:59:56 (First one where I thought I might DNF.) Noord HollandBeemster, May 2014 (4:45:??? - no official time released)
I watch God's face falling slow slow, even orangier and the clouds are all colors, then after there's streaks and dark coming up so bit-at-a-time I don't see it till it's done. (Room ~ Emma Donaghue)
They drove on into the last of the day's blue, so pale, haunting and intense in the way brief things are. (Romanno Bridge ~ Andrew Greig)
an oyster light that lasts for hours before the sun is actually up and so has about it a diffuse and magical quality (The Weight of Water ~ Anita Shreve)
in the far sky a huge bank of slate-blue cloud was shutting down like a lid on the last, smouldering streak of sunset fire. (The Book of Evidence ~ John Banville)
Oriental sunsets of soupy jade and marmalade (Ghostwritten ~ David Mitchell)
the mournful, bittersweet color of a day's end, that piercing golden bask over the landscape made all the more aching for the fact that it wouldn't last. (The Post-Birthday World ~ Lionel Shriver)
It's so beautiful at this hour. The sun is low, the shadows are long, the air is cold and clean. (Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close ~ Jonathan Safran Foer)
low-flying clouds of red and purple, lit from below with dark gold (The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society ~ Mary Ann Shaffer)
a daybreak like a row of sparkling dinner knives (A Long Long Way ~ Sebastian Barry)