Wednesday, March 5, 2014

ABN Amro CPC Loop Den Haag Half Marathon Week 9 / 9

Monday: 4 x 4,000 @ 3:44 w/ 1' rest
Tuesday: 45' @ 4:00
Wednesday: -
Thursday: 40' @ 4:00
Friday: -
Saturday: 20' @ 4:00
Sunday: Half Marathon in the Hague

It's that time of the year again: race time. My last hard workout felt pretty good - 4 sets of 4,000m at Half Marathon pace - and, considering that it was only a little over one set shy of a Half Marathon, it bodes well for Sunday. Now I am in full tapering mode, just a few recovery runs, a few bowls of pasta (and packets of M&Ms!!) and a few days to endure being without caffeine in my system.

A friend asked me why I chose to run in the Hague. I was looking for a flat, cool Half Marathon run at sea level not too far from home but it was also important that there would be a good atmosphere (i..e, lots of people supporting). I learned from my Ironman in Brazil that I get very bored if there is no-one watching and from my Marathon in New York that I thrive off the crowds. I don't expect the Half Marathon in the Hague to be either extreme (unless it is raining, of course) but it looks like quite a big event: after all, it is where Sammy Wanjiru (RIP) set the World Record in 2007.

But there is another reason why I chose the Hague. As a kid we used to go on holiday to Amsterdam and the Hague quite often as my dad had several dutch colleagues and friends. Sometimes we would swap houses (we definitely got the better deal) and have a huge town house all to ourselves. I haven't been back for about 20 years so it will be weird to be running past all those familiar and not so familiar places. Whenever my parents would have people over for lunch, I would delight in making them tell the anecdote of the time that I got lost in the Hague. I was about 8 years old at the time and my mum and I were returning from the beach. I insisted on going in the last coach of the tram and my mum got cross with me and ended up in a different coach. I can still remember the shock of seeing her waving frantically from the stop she had got out at and my impotence as the tram drew away before I could open the doors. (It later turned out that she had got off one stop too early!). I got off at the next stop and, rather than waiting there for my mum which perhaps would have been the sensible thing to do, I tried to find my way home. I didn't know the address and of course there were no such things as mobile phones in those days but I did remember my parents asking directions from a man a few days before. I retraced those directions and eventually found my way back to the house where my parents were on the phone calling the police. I'll be running right by the spot where I got off the tram (the blue line on the map is the way back to the house). I'll give a thought to Rob aged 5 years as I go past...

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