I did it! I completed my second marathon! It was unlike any other race experiences I have ever had for many reasons.
First, the sheer volume of people. In the newsletter I received from the organizing committee, the total enrollment in the various races was 35,000 people. Of those, 12,000 in the marathon. Prior to this race, the biggest that I was in was the SFO Nike’s last year-total 24,000. There were participants from 83 different countries! The sheer volume of people was unreal.
Second, it felt competitive. I haven’t been in a race yet that actually felt like a race. Typically, the atmosphere for me has been filled with excitement and a sense of we are all in this together. This race was the first time that I felt like an athlete. Normally I approach my running as something that I “kinda do” as a “sorta hobby”. This race stripped me of those feelings. Instead it was a feeling of you are here to run, fast. It actually made me think more about how running a marathon is a big deal.
Third-the proportion of men to women was WAY off my usual race experiences. With the exception of Nike’s which was nearly all women I would say it is about a 60/40 split of women/men. This race, the marathon at least was by my guess 30/70 women/men. This might have contributed to the feeling of competition.
A few embarrassing points during the race. I guess interval 10:1 running is not a thing here. My first walk break 2km in a man runs past me “vit,vit!!! Too early to walk” This happened a few other times during the race much to my amusement when at about kilometer 25 there are multiple people in agony either stretching or sitting rubbing their legs. This just affirmed to me that 10:1 is a strategy that works. I did cramp up at about kilometer 33 that broke the pace I wanted to hold to finish in my desired time but not nearly as badly as some of the casualties to the sidelines.
The course itself was beautiful. Down the Amstel river and through much of Amsterdam including Vonderland park…three times. Luckily Dani was able to ride the metro to meet me at various points throughout the course taking her role of cheer squad quite seriously!
The finish in Olympic Stadium was amazing! It was also a welcome change from pavement and cobblestone for the last 500 meters. I didn’t dash it and regret that now but at the end felt strong and confident! No hyperventilating this time!
Actual time to complete 4:38:34. Desired time to complete 4:12:00. Not too far off the mark and was totally on track until kilometer 33!!! Until next race!