Watching the marathon before hand was a nice preparation for me. It took my mind off my own preparation and focused me on the efforts of the marathon competitors. I knew how I would approach this one. I would pace myself for the start particularly. I would sit far back in the field and run at my pace. My failing in Budapest was my start point, my early pace and my hunting down everybody in sight. My start was quick in Budapest. 5 minute kilometers for the first 5 and 6 kilometers. In Amsterdam my pace would be consistent. Starting off at a slower pace and working my way up the field comfortably and gradually. And so it was. A strange start as unlike in any other race I didn't get a much of a run onto the start but this may have been more due to the numbers I was in amongst. My start was incredibly comfortable and even enjoyable and that made such a difference. In actual fact my running pace was no different to Budapest even if it felt so. I've checked my times and I was running 5 minute kilometers again. I was clearly more comfortable.
The route isn't particularly spectactular actually. Its hard to notice when your running but when you are running comfortably its easier to enjoy the surroundings. Much of the run is out of the city and the business district. The number of ad hoc food, drink and wet sponge stops was incredible and something I hadn't seen before. Children left their hands out for a tap from as many runners as possible and held out biscuits, water and 'vet sponsers'. The atmosphere was very special. I tend to be quite engaged with the crowd during a race and so I'll incite a crowd into raising the support and Amsterdam duly obliged. Nothing more than I expected from a wonderfully warm and friendly city. It was fantastic to hear my name called. References to Ireland and Donegal and it really drove me on. It helped me through the pain when pain shot through my ever fragile knees. My knees from past injury worry me so much. Those vital joints that have suffered so much and creak and moan when pushed beyond what they consider a reasonable work out. They know they call the shots and can decide when enough is enough. And running along the river, as a fellow Irish runner commented on my strenght of running, they poked ironic humour and almost called it a day. I defied them. I had to. Nothing would get in the way of a wonderful run and a wonderful occasion.
The support in Vondelpark and those last kilometers into the Olympic Stadium were amazing. I was as comfortable as I could be and enjoying myself to a degree. This is the point for me, those last few kilometers, which I find drag on and on. It was only those last 2 kilometers that really hurt this time around. I felt ill entering the stadium. The final effort, the final push to the finish and that took the shine off my race but overall I had a decent race, a strong race and bar physical exhaustion I had enough left to punch the air and a acclaim fantastic support in the stadium.
A few pints in the Stadium after the race brought a wonderful day to an end. A time to reflect on the race and a seasons running. I am now inspired and driven toward Paris. I have improved and I know this won't be easy but I have it within me to push on. I have so much work to do but this is now possible. My last race of a long year and a long number of miles put in on the road. Its been a great journey but that was just the warm up. The real work lies ahead. Thats worth considering over a few pints. Ok maybe more than a few. The door of Molly Malone's swings open.
|Results Amsterdam Marathon 2010|
|10 km||53:11 (27:20)|
|15 km||1:20:35 (27:24)|
|Distance||Mizuno Half marathon|
|Place||4156 / Mrecr|