Thursday, October 27, 2016

Amsterdam Marathon 2016

It is done!! i did it !! I run a PB (Personal Best) at Amsterdam Marathon and finished at the podium for being 2nd dutch lady in my category. Still not believing …

On the same date, 16 October but 5 years earlier on this olympic stadium in Amsterdam I finished my first marathon. I almost forgot how it felt to hear the speaker man while approaching the entrance of the stadium, I almost forgot how it felt to have  the adrenaline rush pumping in my veins while running  the last 200m towards the finish line . On October 16th 2016 I got to experience all this all over again! Waw!!! `What a feeling ! What a perfect day, it couldn’t have been any better…I am not sure where to start from or how to put this into words!

Friday before the Marathon, after work I went with Corelien and Giovanni to pick up our start numbers and do a quick tour of the expo. I already knew what was my number from the app but when I really had it in my hand I was feeling super excited and somehow special!! I have #1 startnumber …how cool is that!!  I had my 2 min of fame when I scanned my startnumber and #1 showed up on the screen. People around me were looking at me and even asked me to take a picture with them! They must have thought I was some kind of Elite…woehahaha We really had a good laugh.

Saturday morning, I went on a short run to shake out those legs and got all my things ready for M Day! After months of countdowns, here I am doing the countdowns of the last hours …I was not the only person doing a countdown but together with my little boy who was looking forward to run the kids run

Which pace to start, what If I start too fast, what if I can’t keep up anymore… who said I can run 42 km? why did I sign up in the first place? I fell asleep with all these doubts and questions without answers in my head… 

I woke up with a heart beat of 100bpm …OMG it is Marathon Day! Excited and nervous I jump out of bed to have the breakfast of  champions… something like bread and more bread and banana and honey and one more bread just in case ..

7:30 Falco, the guy who is about to experience his first marathon picked me up and we headed to Amsterdam. At the door while stepping out I told him, next time i walk into this door the marathon would be done! we laughed and walked out…This is it no more back!
On the way there I spotted a beautiful big moon disappearing slowly and on the other side the sun was rising… beautiful sky I already felt it it is going to be an awesome day.

We parked the car by the expo and we headed to the meeting point . I gave my drinks to my support team. Drinks will be given to me few meters before every water post on the course. So luxe! I never had such a service before!
Hellas Coach & runningmate Anita
David, Me, Falco, Giovanni
Dropped my bags and headed to my corral. Last restroom stop and here I am waiting for the last few minutes before the start!

9:30 shot gun took off! 200m on the olympic stadium and here I go for 42 km run!

0 - 15km

Legs were feeling good the more i was running the more I was getting into the race and getting confidence. I was mainly focusing on myself if I was feeling any pain or short of breath..I was looking forward to every 5 km where one of the `Hellas ‘ members was waiting there to hand me my drinks… it all went so smooth… The first 15 kms I run it together with  Anita Hoogland one of the fast lady which I talked to before the start.

15 – 30km

Here I found myself alone, I knew my neighbors were going to stand at the 20 km point to cheer for me, all along the Amstel a wind was blowing, I tried to hide between runners and keep on moving forward, looking forward to spot my supporters. At 20km I hear my name and motivation messages all over the place! What a boost to hear my neighbors and kids cheering for me!! I have the coolest neighbors ever!!!
BNE (Best neighbors Ever)

I crossed the HM point at 1.32 but seriously it didn’t hit me that i can still run a PB, in my head i am running a conservative pace...Somewhere between 20 and 25 I pass `Gerben my running mate from Teamvroem who passed me at the beginning of the race aiming for a sub3 but Unfortunately he got cramps and he had to slow down.. just before the 30 km points I see a tunnel on the right side and suddenly I saw myself walking down memory lane …OMG thats where I fell on my head 5 years ago when I was running my 1st marathon. I really had to smile/laugh all alone for a while trying to remember how it all went, I could still visualize @RunningRonald with his speaker and Marco Voorthuis standing on the side,,,  and while day dreaming I forgot to check what was my time at the 30 km point! Damn!!

31 - 40km

Water post was around 31 km, I see my trainer from Hellas waiving for me, I approach to pick up my water bottle, he said to me you are doing great Follow David!
David paced the sub3 runners until 30/31 from that point he was waiting for me to pace me the last 1/3 of the race.
“Ness, Gio is not far from here, he slowed down, it would be nice to catch up with him” Said David while he is jumping next to me to pace me for the last part of the race"

I started following David … I was really having fun especially that I am still running and didn’t drop out of the race yet. I didn’t think I would make it that far after I heard that I had Anemia. Still feeling ok but really from 30 km everything hurts and only countdown 1 km after another and talking to myself was helping to speed up the process

Around 32 km I took my last SIS caffeine Gel which exploded on my face and clothes!!! What else is new? I cant eat my gel without any trouble!!! you can see my dirty shirt in the coming pictures *Embarrassing* ... Still an amateur runner :)  David shoot clearly “come on 10 to go keep on running.”

When I heard 10 km to go somehow mentally I got a boost…Lets do this Ness….No time to give up now, lets go get Gio lets get the finish line, the faster you run the faster you are there… I repeated to myself.

That long stretch between 32 km and the entrance of vondelpark (39km) reminded me of 2011… everything looked the same, flashback of memories! I remember in 2011 I was searching for my parents, but they were waiting at the stadium...  On that long stretch I kept focusing on myself, feeling the pain everywhere, my legs wanted to stop, my right arm on the shoulder level started to hurt… Here I am Passing Giovanni, I saw the disappointment in his eyes, he worked so hard for that sub3 but unfortunately he couldn’t keep up this time… he tried to stay with us but his legs were empty…He run such a good HM in 1h27 but this costed him the race...I moved away from him but somehow mentally I was only getting stronger, I needed a new challenge, every km is taking forever. I told David I see a woman ahead lets go get her… while following his steps we passed her , it gave me more motivation, great feeling to pass so many people,  I see Michiel my other teammate from Teamvroen, I tap him on the shoulder he said wow Ness You are doing great GO! Another boost ... Keep on going Ness I repeated to myself

I told David My PR is 3:06 at that point David mission was to bring me to the finishline with a PR, he was getting excited about it..,.,., giving up is no option and being so close to a PR is also not an option to miss it….

Here we go… last part…. Entrance of vondelpark, 3 kms to go… less than 15 min of hard work! The atmosphere in the park was amazing! I don’t let my body give up! I am strong in my head I can do that…
So funny how much you can talk to yourself the last part of the marathon… a whole conversation with me, myself and I.  I must have had a serious speech with myself….haha
End of vondelpark I pass the 40km, 2 kms to go!!! Another 4’20 of running and I reached the 41 km point and there I hear Out loud” go Nesssiiiiie! Who else can that be beside my hubby? With Oscar his good friend, they were on the bike and they kept biking next to me on the other side of the road till the entrance of the Olympic stadium and all along I could only hear, it is going to be a PR come on Babe you can do it!…. In the background I also heard the speaker man at the Olympic Stadium, his voice was getting closer as the meters were going by … What a feeling! thats when I realized that the end was coming really close. It is almost impossible to describe how I was feeling at that moment, excitement, pain, happy, High…
David say its going to be a PR… he started to dance and I had to smile big time behind him but still in disbelief…
David doing a Dance!

I really need to cross that finishline.. and see it in my eyes. We entered the Olympic stadium…
Waw! What a stadium! Goose bumps! You see the boards 175m to go, 150 m to go….100m to go….OMG I see the finishline….. I check out the clock in front of me…WOWI see 3hours 4 min… and cross the finishline in 3hour 4 min and 14 seconds….YESSSSSSSSSSSS I Just did it!!!

Someone walks to me and said  Congratulations! you are 2nd senior lady, please wait for the award ceremony!!! WHAT?? I totally lost it here, I see David I hug him big time, I guess I could have hugged all the people around me hahaha that's how happy I was!

Award ceremony was amazing! Who thought I would ever win an NK medal? DAMN!!! Standing between Koen and Khalid Choukoud the # 1 and #2 Dutch finisher! Koen still remembered who I was, I met him once in Utrecht! isn't that super cool?

Everything felt like a dream, it took me a good one or 2 days to digest the idea !! Outside of the Stadium I met with My hubby, my son who finished 2nd in his category …WAW so proud and my little girlie.

Daniel 2nd in his Category
I met also with Falco who run an awesome first marathon under the 3 hours and  Giovanni who missed the 3 hours unfortunately…We headed with Hellas Coaches Giovanni Falco, Esther, Robert and my kids to Loetje for a good beer and steak Bali!

In the same evening I put on my high heels and headed to a friend wedding!
Life after a marathon keeps on going !!

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