After a week of absolute rest, or to be more precise physical rest , the nerves were breaking havoc, it’s finally time to travel. Dusseldorf marathon here we come. Not running for a week is always strange and feels uncomfortable. If I am not running processing day to day events and input becomes a lot harder. I function quite a bit less than when I am running. So I have to adjust everything. Do less. That’s always a bit of an adjustment.
De trip was excellent, The ICE takes you too Dusseldorf in no time, an easy relaxed and comfortabel way of traveling I can highly recommend.
Weather forecast was promising during the week ahead and kept on getting beter. On the day itself it was dry and chilly at the start. Because the new half marathon start got delayed so dit the main event , the marathon. So another 15 more minutes keeping yourself warm. I felt a bit stiff while waiting but that was just nerves I guess.
The waiting went pretty fast and it was time for the start. During training it was pretty clear my sub 3 hour marathon was a bit of a stretch for now, but the pacers for sub 3 hours had a slow start and I felt pretty comfortable in this group.
The first kilometer was done in 4:30 so that was fine, I just stuck with this bunch and that went well. It was pretty cold during the first 7 kilometer en sometimes I felt pretty cold myself. The pace went up slowly and probably too fast for me between 10 and 15. But it felt very good and I decide not too slow down and decent towards the 3:15 pacers. Sub 3:15 was a time I could aim for based on training results and general fitness level. Which would mean a small improvement of my personal best.
But I ran very easy and it was time for a bit of a gamble. Let’s see how far I can take this and stay with this sub 3 hour group. The half marathon mark was passed in 1:28 so perfectly on target for just under 3 hours. But as everyone knows. A marathon starts at the 30 kilometer mark. And so it went, after 30 the pace started taking it’s toll. Also the gels didn’t go in very well. Normally it doesn’t matter which brand , flavor or whatever I take it’s never a problem. That’s why I never take my own. All the solutions for taking them along just irritate me. And the gels which the organizations give out normally work fine.
Not this time, they made me a bit sick. So now I had too rely on Iso drinks, water and bananas. Works as well just not as fast. At the 35 mark I was well and truly drained. No more energy and I had too walk at one refreshment post and make sure I took my Iso drink the right way. My lap times between 35 and 40 deteriorated a bit and weren’t as fast anymore.
It takes a lot of effort just getting too move forward, or so it feels, maybe it looks that way too. It’s at that point in the marathon I simply stop watching the lap times and pace on my watch and focus strictly on the running part , just keep running. The kilometeres go by and the signs on the road counting down, 5, 4 , 3 ,2 ,1 kilometer too go are unmissable here in Dusseldorf so hat helps a lot. It gets you thinking in kilometers instead of the bigger numbers.
At the 40 mark I felt better and the finish line started pulling. The final stretch on the Koningsallee and then on to the waterfront. At one point you make a slight turn and then run down towards the bank of the river with a nice view on the finish clock. At that moment it said 3:08 and change. At that moment I wanted too cross the finish line under 3:10, and I was going for a final sprint. Which didn’t feel like sprinting at all. 3:09:25 it was. I should have crossed the line cheering and jubilant , but I was simply happy just crossing. The final kilometers were very hard, and maybe because of my fast pace in the beginning. Then again if I had started out slower and try keeping it flat during the race and the energydip had come along I never would have crossed the finish under 3:10.
It has taken me a few days in realizing this new personal best and all the race day impressions. But I am stoked with the result. I’m very happy indeed.