Running, as long as it's long distances
Anything under 5 miles (8 km) is a quick dash. Anything over 26 miles (42km) is crazy.
About the where from: Well, I don't really know, actually. Once I set myself the lifetime goal to
run a marathon, (since not being too sportsminded then) if need be after retirement. When then
the chance came along to spend some more time on training, by and by stamina improved. Sorry, meant to write that
I only was able to do some petty distances, still.
Then the goal was set, more precisely to finish in a time of under four hours. Doesn't sound
too difficult, does it? With hindsight, it was-n't.
First one up was Rotterdam. Sort of still hometown, so an obvious choice. However, with only half a year of serious (running)
preparation, halfway things and thighs turned sour. One battled on, letting down family spectators. And reaching the
finish in a less-than-mediocre 4h41.
Immediately, the knees refused further service, and were locked tight. Being able to move
only one foot before the other (literally), the way home was less than pleasant. The first night afterwards wasn't any better; every
five minutes I appeared to move from one side to the other, which meant a shot of pain through the knees hard enough to wake
me time and time again. Then only carefully taking one knee in the hands and laying it to the other side helped (a little). The next days
weren't too pleasant, either. The support from let-down family strengthened the insight that one runs a marathon for oneself only.
Not being the softest kind, the battle continued. London, it was to be, about a year later. Better knowing what it took, the general
physical condition and trained mileage were set to a higher level. We flew to London just the day before, went with some friend to somewhere
beyond Chelsea to see the boat race, and stayed with a friend. The girlfriend of whom must be
thanked for the advice on tandoori crab. Indeed the best for one's stomach possible, when not feeling too well...
as it turned out the next (race day's) morning, I had a quite serious cold. But could one not run, once there? Well, forget about the sensible, medically responsible answer.
Again, the first stretch wasn't too bad. Quite good, actually. After which, at about the crossing of Thames bridge, all reserves ran dry, to a degree
I had never experienced before. More than ever, battling on was the only option. Which meant finishing in a miserable 5h12.
Oh, by the way, not due to a lack
of crowds. They were wonderful; if ever you get the chance to support the runners (especially! the ones later in the field), please do so. You will
not underestimate the comfort it gives to runners. After all of which time for a quick shower at François' place was all that was left before having to commute to Heathrow and back home.
No pain, no gain. The opportunity to run in New York surfaced, half a year later. Having suffered hardly any damage, the preperation meant just keeping up on past
training performance and augmenting that. The trip to NY was a pleasant one, it left some days before the race there to see the sights (MoMA, Guggenheim, etc..) and to relax - the hotel was a stone's throw from
(the finishing line at) Central Park.
The race itself was cold, with a temperature of 5C, and a wind chill of -10C, with sleet snow at the start. Nevertheless, the running was
relatively good. If only one would have arrived at the memorable waypoints sooner. and the supposedly flat terrain was steeper than expected (especially First Avenue in Manhattan). The crowds were there, but (maybe due to the weather) in less numbers, and less enthousiastic than in London.
Still in the Bronx and Harlem areas, our goal was quite feasible. It even was when arriving at Central Park (northeast corner), but when almost there (southwest corner), all physical failed and time ran (out?) quickly. And with that,
the vengeance to fight on, leading to a finishing time of 4h15. *#$%@& it.
But then, again half a year later: Boston! A hotel somewhere near the start meant a hotel out in the countryside. Great stuff, he pancakes and all reminded me strongly of the times when we travelled
America when I was a child; sweet memories. And the relaxed atmosphere and living there! If only one could live and work out there. Trips to the city were uneventful, all nice and that, and Harvard and MIT were
pretty places, too, yes. Off to the start was with the American school buses. Many tens if not hundreds of them; quite a sight.
After a cold start, all went well. And here goes the thankfulness for all of the all-girl Wellesley College, halfway.
Being cheered on by hundreds of high school girls (in the later field still) is what gave me a much-needed boost. But yet again: the so-called flat terrain still had some nasty hills to conquer, and Heartbreak Hill lived up to its name.
Nearing the finish, reserves were quickly depleting. After the finish, I almost passed out, but was kept on my feet by the support of the runner crowd.
And then, after some minutes, I was able to check my watch for my net time.
A very distinct feeling of having to search for a new goal in life (others weren't that obvious, if any) creapt in. A finishing time of 3h59.35 (net), after having been stopped due to crowding twice past the start line.
And a motivation (and hence, spare time) to keep up training was lost, leading to a steady decline of weekly mileage.
About the whereabout: After a long period of sligh training restarts, now at 21km every weekend. Every weekend? Well... sort of.
About the where to: Dunno. If one feels like it, maybe I take up running
half marathon races again. Still recreational, but probably more rewarding.
Maybe something will follow here later, but for now I'm out of text.