My Amsterdam half-marathon journey started like most plans do with a text from a friend…
Rach Wood (the aforementioned friend): Should we sign up for Amsterdam?
Me: Yes let’s do it… I need something to focus on with my running.
Rach Wood: Me too!
Fast forward five months and it was all systems go to Amsterdam, although not without a hitch!
I’m not sure how it happened but I missed my flight! Rach was already on the flight so I had two options: go home and miss out or book the next flight. I did the latter and, for those of you who are ever in this situation, if you transfer your flight, it doesn’t cost half as much as buying a new one, my transferred flight cost me just £60.
One sleepless night and one very early flight later, I finally touched down in rainy Amsterdam!
Rach and myself had planned to meet up with a London running group called “Ldn Brunch Club”, who had arranged a Saturday morning shake out run, organised by Amsterdam running club “Running Junkies”, which I missed out on. Rach and I instead attended an easy 5K jog around the sites. This was a great opportunity to shake out any travelling aches from our legs, meet like-minded runners from different countries and get our bearings. A great pre pre-race warm up.
Saturday was an exploration day and we made the most of it, maybe a little too much as by, the evening, we had walked over 11 miles, not the best pre-race day preparation, but Amsterdam on foot or bicycle is a must and so beautiful. Very conscious that we were racing the next day, we thought it was paramount to find an Italian restaurant to overload on pasta and Dutch waffles. We would definitely recommend a restaurant called “De Italian”
Waking up to blue skies and temperatures predicted to reach 20 degrees, it was perfect racing weather. Wearing our new Run Through vests, we felt ready to go.
Starting in the orange pen, for runners hoping for under 1:40, we were aiming for a sub-1.30 finish. The race itself took a lovely flat route around the city, running over canals, through parks and finishing in the Olympic Stadium. The course was busy with spectators but not very loud!
Race days can be unpredictable, even if you are in great shape, and this turned out to be the case for me. Things were going well until about mile seven, where I started to get really bad stomach cramps, these came in waves and stayed with me for the rest of the race. It was so bad I wanted to stop but kept running, stride for stride with Rach as planned, and we managed to cross the line in 1:26, which we were pretty chuffed with. Running with Rach definitely helped me push through the pain barrier and spurred me onto the finish line. I also kept counting from one to 100 to keep my mind distracted. I don’t think I have ever felt so bad in a race but it just shows that, with mental strength, you CAN make it across that finish line.
Amsterdam turned out to be such a beautiful city and one I probably wouldn’t have booked had it not been for the half-marathon. Running really is a great way to see the World and I’m looking forward to seeing where our next run takes us.