March update

The bike rides are getting longer (but still easily manageable), swim is about consistency, and just like last month, March has been all about running. Running long, running longer, and running even longer than that…

And although it’s been all about the run, I was happy to do my first 5km of the year (in a nice and warm pool), and did find the (mental) strength to go back into the cold open water for a short kilometer… The open water session would be a nice test for my full-winterproof brutal swim-kit: wetsuit, extra vest, gloves, booties. Unfortunately, I left the booties at home, so the feet were hurting once they touched the 10˚C water… First swim with gloves on was pretty nice, so I’m probably using those for the swim! 

You know you’re an ultrarunner when…

Last month I was really excited after running my first ‘ultra’: a 44km training day. Funny to see how quickly not only the body, but also the mind adapts; it’s now ‘normal’ to go for a 50km run on a Sunday morning, and to be back before lunch!

Some of the long runs are solo efforts, really nice to clear my mind and just enjoy the sound of my own feet, but luckily, not all runs are done alone. You have to get creative to find the company though, so it might just mean that you find yourself running a solo 23km just to get to the start of a 25km training… Ah, the life of a long-distance addict…

Pacing the marathon…

This year I wanted to race the local ‘Utrecht marathon’, since the course covers a nice part of my regular training routes. Coach decided that running an early season marathon would not be a good idea (since I would go out fast, which would take to much time to recover, or might get me injured). Unfortunately, Coach is usually right, so I try to be smart and listen to her (that’s not always easy!). Running slow wouldn’t be a problem though, but I’m not really that good in being smart during a race… So best way te ensure that I would go as slow as needed was tot contact the race organizers, and volunteer as a pacer, so I would feel the pressure of finishing in exactly the right time!

Then there was also the little issue of the distance… 42km was just too short for this training day… That was easily fixed, when I arrived at the start I just finished a one hour warm-up run… Never thought I would do that before a marathon!

I met my fellow ‘4 hours 15 minutes’ pacer, and it turned out that he had finished multiple double-distance triathlons, so we had enough to talk about during the race.

The start was a bit unstructured, but we soon found our place and started on the two-loop course. The first lap was great, a big group of runners was following, and it was really fun to race through my home town. It also was quit nice to run a race where the speed is below the comfort zone, so really relaxt talking to my fellow pacer…

At the end of the lap the half-marathon runners made it to the finish line, and I realized that the marathon distance of this race is a really small-scale event… With a group of about ten runners (including the two pacers) we continue, over a course that’s mostly empty… Sometimes we overtake a runner (and urge him/her to try and stay with us, which sometimes worked), and sometimes we lose someone of the group. After about 35km I smile: never thought I would run and would still be free of the pain and suffering I normally experience at this point!

At 4 hours and 15 minutes we drop of our ‘group’ (which is now just a few runners) at the finish line, I grab a quick drink, and then it’s time to run home. Those final 3 kilometers hurt, it’s been a long day at the office! But a nice 56km done, and great to run an event like this in a different role than I normally do!

161 days to go…

I am amazed how my body responds to the long runs; I’m needing a bit more sleep than I usually need, but the legs feel good! So I’m confident that in 161 days (from the time that I’m writing this): I’ll be ready for the massive Double Brutal!

Happy training to you all!

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