Gosts in Mijn Hoofd

Well it was a short while coming. On we go then to Amsterdam

once more. I am making a point at this stage to not look back at

previous reports on the same race as my experience differs so

much from year to year that a sneaky look might alter my

assessment of how the race went. But I do remember Amsterdam

last year fondly as a foray into the unknown. I was depending on

Google Earth to get me from my hotel to registration and back

again, but this year I knew the ropes. Flew out at 6 on Saturday

evening from Dublin, marathon in the morning and back in Dublin

again by 6 that evening. A 24 hour whirlwind tour.

I had no idea what to aim for as I headed off, absolutely no idea

- sure I'd break 4 (he said confidently.....) but would I go for

another 3.30? I didn't think so. I decided just to 'run as I

felt' and let it happen. Waking up on race morning was a

delight, an extra two hours in bed (I'm usually up at 6.30), into

the petrol station next to the hotel for a coffee and I bought

the most gorgeous croissant I have ever tasted! Everything was

going great, the weather was perfect... A taxi pulled up right

beside me and I jumped in - this was too easy! I picked up my

number, found a seat and relaxed and it was still only 9.20. I

was settled... Far too easy. Familiarity brings a leisurely

reward and knowing your way around takes an enormous amount of

stress off your shoulders.

So all was going well and nothing really happened until I passed

half way in 1.48 something. I thought I was running a bit

stronger than that but wasn't too conscious of time - and then

something weird happened. In an instant I decided to go for sub-3.30

and picked up the pace immediately, setting off in a zig-zag

course around the more sensibly paced. I heard echoes from

Germany. It was Mick, calling to me, sloooooow downnnnnnn,

was supposed to be a scary voice> slooooooow downnnnnnnnnnnnn.

But I couldn't and picked it up. Sorry Mick (scary Mick).

My calculations were working overtime as I'm not overly used to

splits in K's but by the time I reached 30K I knew that I had 59

mins to do the last 12. Sub 5's it was then and the real work

began. From memory, my splits were being hit consistently just

under 5 minutes and I felt this was just about doable, while all

the time (as usual) waiting for the big fall. By the 36K I gave

up the chase... but decided at 37 to go for it again and stayed

on target. I gave up again at 38 but picked it up at 39 and

finally gave up for good at 39.5K. I was done. I walked through

a water station and started to curse that bloody voice that was

saying speeeeeeed uppppppppp. Will I ever feckin' learn? It was

at this point that I questioned what was the point of running 26

miles anyway and called on The Almighty to put me out of my

misery. And so I trudged along in a shuffle to be embarrassed

enough about without the photographers waving to us to look

happy, and me not able to lift my feet in any co-ordinated way.

To rub salt in my tired limbs the humorous Dutch organisers

decided to put a huge inflatable across the road with a sign

saying 'laatste kilometer' or something like that - It might as

well have read 'de plaats om te sterven' (that should boost

Babelfish's hits by about 10).

I struggled on, using the motivational words of a Marathon Des

Sable finisher who said it took him 90 minutes to cover the last

4K - I only had a quarter of that distance to finish in 'glory'

so surely I could make it. And I did. In 3.34.odd. It seems

strange not to celebrate a pretty good finish time, for me

anyway, but I did suffer badly in the last 2,000 metres. The

lesson I'll bring to Dublin next week is slooooooow downnnnnnnn.

My recovery was good enough to walk the two miles back to the

hotel and catch the coach to the airport to make the flight back

to Dublin in good time. Amsterdam 2007 wasn't too nasty but not

too nice either.


36 downnnnnnnnnn

64 to goooooooooooooooo will I ever see the hundred?