Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Halves of Holland (1/3): The Running Road to Egmond Half-Marathon Part 1

Before I recap, a word...or A LOT of them!

It's almost 3 weeks, since I  ran Egmond Half-Marathon.

A memorable run because it is my first official half-marathon race after 17 months of running; I went straight from running 5K, 4EM, 10K, 15K, 10EM to a full marathon.

28th of August, 2011 - first 5K Pink Ribbon Run organized by Mom in Balance
my fastest 10K in 2012 @ Utregse Meidenloop, holding one of the most unique medal in my bling collection :)

from 4EM in September, 2011 to 10EM in September 2012 @Dam tot Damloop

my first Berlin Marathon (September, 2012)!

Some describe my running history as ambitious, others simply called it, "Crazy!"; I called it supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. hahaha

Seriously, I was purely and simply: enthusiastic!

It took me 30 years to finally begin and realize the childhood dream of running, that I Speedied Gonzalez my way from 5K to full marathon in 13 months.  I had the feeling I needed a lot of catching up to do. :P

I planned to run a half-marathon in the series of races I outlined for myself, after planning, training and successfully running, my 8 weeks to my first 8K.

16th of October, 2011 - my first 8K in Amsterdam Marathon 

Only, after a quarter of a year (August - November, 2011) of enthusiastic running, I had to slow-down a bit in the form of recuperating from a relentless chest cold virus.

After my first 10K in November (first 5K race in August;  first 4M in September; first 8K in October, and unofficial 9/10K fun run), I was out of commission for the whole of December 2011.

Since I was no longer able to continue my training, I missed what would have been my first Egmond-Half, last January 2012.

Running until December, 2012

Even though I missed running Egmond-Half 2012, the running year 2012 was a very eventful running year.

(for more details of my first 16 months of runningplease click here)

Another run I missed in 2011 was Bruggenloop Rotterdam, what would have been my first 15K. I ran it in December 2012 instead, beating my 15K PR from May 2012! :)

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In November, I ran the 7 Hills Run - Zevenheuvelenloop 2012.  A race, I thought would have been impossible to even contemplate on running, when I was just beginning to work on running a 5K, more than a year earlier.

After running Berlin Marathon and Amsterdam Marathon 2012 (3 weeks apart!), my confidence, that I am indeed a runner - even when my average speed is +/- 8km/hr! - immensely increased. I may not be the fastest runner but I am definitely a determined runner.

Berlin Marathon 2012

Amsterdam Marathon 2012

The Egmond Challenge - literally

Determination, as always, is what eventually brought me to the finish line of Egmond.

Two weeks before Egmond, the flat above ours burned down because the neighbor, who lived in it ran amok, set his home on fire after firing shots from an illegal weapon.

This happened in the night of 30th to the 31st of December, while we were about to go to sleep.  We were evacuated in the wee hours of the morning, and since the damage made our home unlivable, we were homeless a day before the New Year.

Photo courtesy of R-TV Nord-Holland 

This incident would have been reason enough to skip the race but instead it made me all the more determined to run it, and as I have planned in January 2012, run Egmond as my first official half-marathon.

Why Egmond?

I love challenges; it's a great motivation, and when achieved, one is filled up with  a very rewarding feeling.

When I begun running in August, 2011, and was getting acquainted with different running events in the Netherlands, I came across Egmond-Half right away.  A half-marathon dubbed as one, if not the most challenging half-marathon in the Netherlands.

image from the blog:
Almost 3 hours later, in the late Sunday afternoon of the 13th of January, 2013, I could finally confirm this, as a personal fact!

A Week Before Egmond 2013...

There is no going around it. I was not fully prepared to run Egmond, as I visualised it in my romantic runner's mind.

The September ecstasy of finishing Berlin -  my first marathon finisher's high! -  carried me through Amsterdam Marathon, 3 weeks later in October.  This high went as far as November with Zevenheuvelenloop in Nijmegen, and in the first week of December for Bruggenloop in Rotterdam.

During the Christmas holidays, I faltered from training, and begun feeling the proverbial deep after finishing a marathon (in my case, back to back marathons).  I justified these feelings with words of denial: I deserve to be lazy after two consecutive marathons!

My plan of strategy was to go back to a slow build-up in the first two weeks of January.

Alas, those precious training weeks, I was counting to run a strong first half-marathon, were eaten up by the unforeseen evacuation from our destroyed flat to a move to a  temporary home, until our new house could be ready for us to move in.

Continued in Part 2 (still currently in draft mode)

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If I can run, so can you: big dreams are reached with baby steps!