I set myself the target of running a marathon in under 3 hours and 30 minutes back in April. That’s quite fast! I wasn’t sure if it was a totally ridiculous aim or whether I could do it. But I signed up for Amsterdam marathon anyway.
I started my 16-week training plan and to be quite honest, the first half was horrid. It was boiling hot (I’m not good at running in the heat) and I couldn’t do any proper speed sessions.
I also suffer from ulcerative colitis (which I’m on mediation for) but I always have to consider where a toilet is on my runs and have to take what I eat and drink really seriously when I’m training. However, sometimes it can just flare up and my diet has nothing to do with it. Well, this happened for about 14 weeks of the 16 weeks training block.
Many track sessions were aborted, my fitness tests had to be rescheduled as I’d started but couldn’t finish, some long runs couldn’t happen as I’d be in too much pain.
Nevertheless, I did as much of the training as I could and managed to move around sessions to accommodate my UC. And actually, I loved a lot of the training and seeing myself getting fitter and faster!
It got to race day and I actually felt physically really fit and ready. I was just worried about my stomach. It’s always like that on race day, right? Worrying that you’re ill/injured/going to break!
I got to the start which was the Amsterdam Olympic athletics track and found the 3:30 pacers. I started with them but actually felt really strong after about 5k so decided to just push on a little bit. I found my rhythm and bounced my way through the streets of Amsterdam!
I absolutely loved it. I felt hydrated and fuelled but still made sure to drink at every water station. Knowing that Sam would be at mile 18 with that trusty Powerade, meant that when I had a little lull at mile 16, I could mentally prepare for seeing him!
Amsterdam marathon completely exceeded all my expectations as a race. It was extremely well organised, and the crowds were amazing throughout. There was even a party boat with a band performing music that runners were singing along to on the Amstel.
Sometimes you just know if it’s going to be a good day or not. And I just knew by 10k in, that I was going to do it. I actually welled up and felt really emotional. I just kept thinking ‘you could qualify for Boston if you continue at this pace’.
And I did! I crossed the finish line in 3:26:16. Every single stress, every worry, every single training session and every single carb was all worth it!
Next stop London!