zaterdag 28 november 2009
Zuiderzee Marathon - van Urk naar Zwolle
After getting up early to heat up the leftovers from last night's potatoes/onions/apples and cheese concoction for breakfast got to Zwolle in time to sign up, drink some tea, eat a banana and a nut filled energy bar before securing one of the front upstairs seats in one of the buses that was to take us to Urk. Nice atmosphere - like a school outing but luckily without the compulsory singing. The guy next to me had done the full distance in Amsterdam when I did my half there in October (and was going to a wedding in Scotland in the spring).
It was very grey and rainy on the way and there was a feeling of total absurdity that we were all voluntarily, no, pAying even for the privelege, getting on a bus that was going to set us down 42+ km away so we could run all the way back... At the start there was a run (ha) on the toilets as everyone made a last sanitary stop. The start was in some anonymous industrial estate where we had access to some sort of office/canteen block. Miraculously the rain faded to nothing by the time we were all ready for the off at 11am.Just plucked this pic from the site. I'm number 15. Note the neck warmer thingy which turns into a headband later when I get warmed up.)
The start shot was given by the mayor of Urk and before this there was a short silence as a mark of respect for the young boy who was murdered in the woods by another young boy in the village this week. (Huge news story here at the moment - nothing much ever happens in Urk usually...)
Ok, lets get the boring numbers bit out of the way before they slip out of my head completely.
10km 59 +
Missed the 40km board completely and can't remember what was on the one at 41km which I did see. Will have to check my finish time later on the site as I was too dazed to stop my timer, but I think it was about 4:53. There was one finisher after me who came in at 4.57. (She had a great finish with all the accompanying motorbikes and sirens! ;-)
Here a few more statistics plucked from the site. I came in 149th of the 150 finishers. Time 4:53:30 Average Speed 8,626 k/p/h Average time per kilometer 6:57
Did my usual too-fast start. Worst 5k was between 20 and 25. Took 38 minutes for this bit. I know a lot of people went past me here and I just felt I was dropping further and further back and it was still sUch a long way to the finish. At the end I was flagging seriously too - missing the 40k mark had me feeling that the end just kept getting further and further away...
But for the rest - it wasn't really thAt hard. The time mostly seemed to pass quite quickly. I never seriously thought I would have to stop. (Though I did occasionally think it was a very attractive idea!) The weather wasn't nearly as bad as it could have been. Stayed dry all the way, with even short views of the sun now and again through hazy cloud cover. Wind was sometimes quite hard, but not the gale force it could have been.
And there was a much friendlier atmosphere than in the huge city runs. When people passed me today they always acknowledged me and sometimes asked if everything was ok. For a while I was just in front of a pair of men who were chatting away about various 100km races they'd done. (Grandchildren were also mentioned - these were true running veterans!) As if they were out for an afternoon stroll... I'm always amazed that people have enough energy/breath to talk when running distances. It was nice to hear proof that this event is indeed one which attracts the real hard-core ultrarunners.
Ah well, I made it to the finish without walking, that was the main aim. This last photo is of the goodies we got in a bag at the end. Nicely designed medal. Red reflective vest for night runs. Banketstaaf (pastry with marzipan in the middle - traditional around Sinterklaas time here.) There was also a smoked herring (Urk is a fishing village...) but I gave that to Riny as it's one of the Dutch delicacies I've never learned to appreciate.)
Went off to Riny's houseboat (10 minutes away) to use her shower. (There were shower facilities there but I suspected I wasn't up to a quick businesslike shower and wanted to have some more space to myself.) Just as well really as I had a bit of a wobbly once I got there. When I bent down to put the bags I'd brought in from the car on the floor I found I couldn't really stand up properly again. I felt like an 84 year old hunchback. All my muscles seemed to be objecting to being used. My legs, my back, my neck. Hobbled to the shower and managed to get it going good and hot before having to abandon any attempts at staying upright. Spent a good few minutes on hands and knees wondering whether I really needed to eat something or really needed to throw up. Managed to avoid the latter and eventually got myself together enough to get dried and half dressed. Collapsed on the big comfy couch and rubbed tigerbalm and lemon oil into my legs while Riny got me tea and some dry bread (which was all I trusted my stomach with).
I've got a big blood blister on the inside of the ball of my left foot. Probably caused by the plaster I'd put on it beforehand to prevent this happening... I'd put a plaster on a tiny blister on my other foot (this is now fine) and thought I'd pre-empt one forming on the left one. Bad idea apparantly. Had quite a lot of cramps in my feet afterwards which I don't usually have any bother with. But now that I've eaten properly they seem to have gone. Around the 25k mark I had occasional strange feelings in my feet. Began half way up my shin and felt as if there was a string there and that everything beneath this string was a large numb bit of wood. Mostly in my right foot but sometimes in the left too. Weird. Not sOre as such but a bit disconcerting as I couldn't feel my foot touching the ground properly. And I really should have had thin gloves with me - sometimes my hands were so cold that I could hardly get my gelsachets open. (I used 3 at just over hourly intervals - there were bananas and mandarins at the water posts too.) So that's my list of 'injuries' such as they were. Not bad at all considering I wasn't really ready for the whole distance and haven't done more than a half in 12 years. Despite feeling briefly quite mangled afterwards I did actually really enjoy the day. Might even go back next year...