TCS Amsterdam Marathon 2012, Melanie Orchard’s Story

Amsterdam is my third marathon and I am hoping to run a PB, without my hat (which I have worn pretty much for every race) and my iPod (I am intending to make polite conversation and enjoy the view)!

My 12 week training programme has gone well, but I have struggled with the taper and not really run for 2 weeks.

Getting to the start, squash on delayed metro (feels like London already) get off one stop early as train too full and walk 10 minutes to start worried I am wasting vital energy and whether this will cause early onset of lactic acid build up in my legs. ……

Having not run for over 6 days, and no more than 6 miles for the last 2 weeks I am very ready to run. As usual my nerves fuel the adrenaline and I have to remind myself as I bound along the first few miles, a little too quickly, that I have over 24 miles to go!

I spend the first 9 miles chatting with a club friend as we make our way along the picturesque canal route enjoying the thought that “this is just another training run”, and “what difference will a few miles tagged on the end really make”? As we head back towards the City the wind is now against us, the chatter dwindles our paces no longer match so we go our separate paces from mile 13. Convinced I can stay positive I remind my self that after Milton Keynes early this year (horrific wind and rain) this is just a light breeze for 5 miles where my first support cheers will be waiting at mile 18….

My legs have been aching since mile 13 (unusual for me)- I blame site seeing round Amsterdam on Saturday! I ignore the pain which has set in far to early. . . and look forward to my enthusiastic support – who unfortunately nearly misses me and only manages a weak “go Mel” which does nothing to take my mind off my legs!

The usual physical and mental dip occurs between 18-21 miles, and I chant to try and stay focused “long strides, enjoy the view” and wonder how long I can keep that up for.

I find my pick me up in an enthusiastic American who joins me encouraging me to pick up the pace and reach my race target. Initially annoyed, as my enthusiasm is dwindling; my competitive nature gets the better of me. Soon we are doing steady 8:30 min mile pace for the next 3 miles. I get further encouragement from my support who runs along side us at mile 24 cheering loudly, (to make up for the previous pathetic cheer), and taking a few memorable snapshots which fuels me to push on.

We continue on together and with more American encouragement we are hitting 8:15 in the last 2 miles as we head towards the stadium through the Vondelpark. My legs are at breaking point and I find solus in the thought that I can rest tomorrow but today is for running and breaking PB’s!
The last 500 metres into the stadium track are the longest of my life – crossing the finish line in 3:48:47 (with my American budding behind me) I am elated!

Having signed up for the race because I liked the t-shirt and needed an excuse to visit Amsterdam, I am ecstatic with the outcome….still thoughts of whether I can achieve 3:45 next time are in my head before my feet have even stopped hurting!! But I guess that’s why it’s called the Marathon Bug!

Follow Melanie on Twitter @MelaniePhysio

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