“In the first half of the race, don’t be an idiot – in the second half, don’t be a wimp”
I have never been so nervous before a race.
This was the day. As predicted, the conditions were perfect.
We had it all planned out: stay within 300m behind the 3h30 pacers, catch up with them around the half-marathon, run with them until 32km, reassess from there and speed up the pace until the finish. Good plan. I had my personal pacer Marijn right next to me, to keep me calm and focussed.
9h30, there we go. “This one’s for Boston!” would have been too much, but the moment of silence before the start was in a way moving. Silence before the storm. Running is freedom.
We were falling behind rapidly, but were still running 12,2km/h, so I didn’t understand why we were almost losing the 3h30 out of sight. The moment the 3h45 pacers were catching up with us, I started to feel a bit uncomfortable. “Everything under control” I heard Marijn saying, after me asking every 50m or so. Ok, he got this, so I must be confident we are running the right pace. Everything goes so fast in the beginning.
We found our rhythm after 10km and everything was feeling really good. I didn’t need to slow down for the drinking posts, because my personal pacer was getting everything I wanted. ‘Marijn, banana and AA drink please”, 30 sec. later he served it almost on a golden plate. Golden pacer. This worked really well, I felt a bit bad, but so I could fully concentrate on my running.
So, as planned, we caught up with the 3h30 pacers at the half-marathon around 1h42. High-five and both still feeling really fresh. We were ready for the next stage of the race: staying with the pacers until 32km.
It was hard not to run away from the group but at 32km we decided to leave them behind. Last encouraging words from my loved ones and we were ready to pace it up to the finish. We were going to make the 3h30, that was for sure. The question was: how much could we go under it ? Last words to Marijn at 39km: “I am only listening to you right now”. Afterburner on and picking up some corpses for the last 5km. This was fast, I had to slow down a little bit. We were around 14km/h, but my pacer still found the time to throw his empty bottle in the garbage can. “Goa moet zeiker de properste loper van vandoog zen!”. The audience was clearly appreciating it.
Last part on the Kaaien, I didn’t look on my watch but I was feeling this was going to be a good time. Pompon girls and the mustache club in sight: there was the finish. 3h23. We did it. And a new personal best. I appreciated the wet wipes at the finish so much. Best idea ever.
Hanging out with family De Block afterwards, who finished in 3h53. Crazy bro’s.
This is my final training log from the last 10 weeks, take a peek !
Chilling with the order of the moon now. Lights out.