Texel, april 7th 2019
The ’60 van Texel’ is one of those runs that has been on my bucket-list for a while; it’s a 60km (or 120km, if you’re crazy enough to do the lap twice) race around the island of Texel. The race is organised every two years, and two years ago I first signed up. ‘Unfortunately’ a different run took place in the same weekend in 2017, so I ended up DNF-ing my first attempt at The Oner that year, cancelling my Texel plans…
So this year I was ready for it! Well, the preparation changed somewhat… After the halfway cancelled 6hour run in Stein, and the last-minute plan to do another 6hour run in France (breaking my 60km PB along the way), the body and mind were slightly tired. So time for a new plan; this race wouldn’t be so much of a race, but more of a nice day of running, with no pressure whatsoever… The only downside to this completely relaxed state-of-mind was that I kinda forgot to check out the course on the map, which gave me some surprises along the way…
On raceday it’s an early start; a drive to the ferry, get to the island, get my race-number, and then it’s all about waiting for the event to begin…
When we start I’m totally relaxed; this is not a race for me, it’s more of a ‘recovery’-run today, so no need to push to get with a fast group. And since there’s about 550 runners doing the 60km I’m also not going to be finishing on the podium, so again, no need to hurry… (and yes, I know that ‘a 60km recovery run’ might sound a bit weird… maybe I should just call it ‘a slow run’, but it turned out not to be that slow at all…)
I get into a steady easy pace quickly, and before I know it I hit the beach… This is not a total surprise, since I’ve heard that there is a beach part in the beginning, but when I move through the sand I’m thinking it might have been wise to have done my homework, so at least I would have known how long the beach-section is… Ah well, let’s just keep on running and enjoy the sunshine!
After what seems like forever I exit the beach, only to hit some sand dunes… Followed by a nice bike path that goes up-and-down through the dunes… Did I mention I should have done my homework? Well, at least the beach part is over!
…I get back on the beach… By now I can only smile, I’m enjoying this wáy too much, but I also know that if I really wanted a fast race today I should have prepared by looking at the map!
After 25km I exit the beach, and I can get into my ‘easy-and-relaxed-ultra-mode’ (on the beach I was running easy as well, but running on the sand is always a bit of work!). So far my pace has been ‘powerful, but relaxed’, where normally I start out wáy too fast, but now I’m finally learning to race smart… And being smart also means eating and drinking according to plan (which is also not something that comes naturally to me, but I’m getting better at it!), so at every aid-station I drink (a lot, since it’s a hot day today), I eat my energy-bars- and gels at the times I planned for, and at every 15km aid-station I have my own bottles with sports-drink… So everything is going perfectly to plan!
This is the time where a good story has a twist: ‘everything was going to plan, but then…’
This time however, there’s no twist; I keep my pace, keep on eating and drinking, and only the final 3km are getting slightly harder, but that’s mainly because at this point you know you’re almost there (so the final 3km I start to count my breaths… Every breath is 4 steps, count to 200… and again… and again… and there’s the finish-line… A nice distraction when those final km’s seem to last forever!).
Happy to finish a good day on the island, and happy to later see my race-data: I’ve never had such a steady heart rate throughout a race, so perfectly paced today, for the first time in my running career!
The day after the legs feel remarkably good (don’t get me wrong; I do feel that I’ve done 60km… But I’ve felt worse after a long run), so it seems that everything went exactly as planned…
de 60 van Texel