This was one of those: “WTF happened here” races. I spent one of the saddest birthdays of my life yesterday, having to go to the vet to have our feline companion put to sleep.He had been with A and me for about as long as we’ve been living together, and therefore around for all of B’s life, so it was a pretty sad affair. Despite having the race today, I toasted to his life and the good memories with A a couple of times, and went to bed with too much wine inside of me, and too little hours ’til morning left on the clock.
This morning we woke up to a gorgeous day. Just like last year, I ran in team 1 (out of 5) of my employer. We have some pretty fast runners in there, and only the first three out of eight runners in a team count, so a lot would happen if our final ranking came down to me. Last year I had a very tough race despite being in training for Rotterdam Marathon (which I pulled out of in the end, because something was just not right physically). I have no marathon races planned at the moment, just using running as a stress release about six times a week. Truth be told, I ran my last half in November, and nothing over about 13k since then.
So I had no idea in hell what I should do pace-wise. Decided to just go, settle into a rythm I felt would be sustainable, without pushing had to stick to a certain goal pace. My no pressure goal was 1:40, with 1:35 being something to be very happy about. Based on my previous CPC races I was allowed to start from corral A again, which is great, since it means you can pass the start around 10 seconds after the gun (7 seconds in my case today). With 11C and sun it was warm enough to stand around in t-shirt and shorts in the corral without getting cold. The downside of corral A is that you have to be very aware that everyone around you is as fast or faster than you, so it’s extremely easy to overdo the first couple of kilometers.
First kilometre went in 4:14 which was kind of a surprise to me. But it felt relaxed, so I kept going. The second went in 4:20 which sounded a bit more reasonable. Without me conciously speeding up the third one went in 4:15 again. From there on in I was able to keep a pretty stable pace. First 5k went in 21:28 (20:46 last year). Drank a bit at 5k and kept on going, still feeling relaxed. Second 5k went in 21:47 (21:44 last year). At this point I was starting to think that that 1:35 should actually be possible unless something catastropic happened. It’s around 10k that the course turns north east, which meant the wind we had been running into was now blowing from behind. At 15k (which was reached in 21:54 vs 22:16 last year) you start for a stretch along Scheveningen boulevard. At this point my right hip (which had been nagging me a week ago) started complaining. I have no idea where this came from. Luckily I was able to run through the pretty bad pains in about 2k, which meant there was only a short way to go to the finish. I got to the 20k mark in 22:36 (23:11 last year), and things were definitely starting to slow down a bit. My splits beyond 15k were all over 4:20/km with me even hitting 4:34 and 4:33 in kms 19 and 20. Was able to speed up a bit in the last part again, and I passed the finish line in 1:32:34 (1:32:41 gun time). This was 13 seconds faster than last year, but in a much less prepared, and a much more evenly paced race.
I was very very happy about this result. I came in 873th of 10097 overall finishers, 141st in my age group (of 1016). BTW: Chris, if you’re reading this, I still have 2 years minus 1 day to go in this age group ;). Our team came in 8th out of 222. All in all I’d call that a pretty good day. I have checked to see where this HM falls in all the official ones I’ve run so far:
- 1:26:45 (CPC The Hague 2012)
- 1:28:37 (CPC The Hague 2013)
- 1:30:33 (Company run 2012)
- 1:32:34 (CPC The Hague 2015)
- 1:32:47 (CPC The Hague 2014)
- 1:33:32 (Nootdorp 2014)
- 1:36:01 (CPC The Hague 2011)
- 1:42:13 (Egmond 2011)
- 1:48:50 (Nootdorp 2010)
- 1:53:54 (CPC The Hague 2010, first running event ever for me)
So it turns out it was my fourth time ever today. Considering the preparation I described above I’m pretty chuffed about that.