One of the bigger goals on my list, especially in the sports category, is running 12 half marathons, one in each of the 12 provinces of The Netherlands. Getting at least half way on this goal is one of my major goals for 2013, but I thought it would be nice to get a head start and get one in before 2012 is over. The first province was Overijssel, where I lived for eight years prior to moving to the city we currently live in. Plus, my parents-in-law still live there (in the place where the half marathon was held, even). I love the area and would move back there in an instant if only the job market there was better.
I drove the one hour trip to the starting line, not knowing how I’d fare exactly. I’ve not been running proper distances for a long time, apart from a couple of 17k runs in the last couple of weeks. Still, I was fairly confident I’d be able to cross the finish line in decent shape, given my experience on the distance and the fact that my finishing time truly was unimportant. The only goal I’d set was to not finish last. I didn’t.
The start was at 2pm, it wasn’t as cold as I thought, but it looked like it would start raining soon enough, which it did. Even so, the weather was perfect to me, I can’t stand running in the heat and will much rather run through rain and cold. The course was perfect as well, almost all of it was paved, except for a couple of short forest tracks. It was pretty flat as well, with just a couple of highway overpasses and a poor attempt at a hill to be negotiated.
All I was focused on was to not run too fast, as I know I’d get in trouble later on if I started out too fast. Also, I know from experience that for me, a half marathon consists of three even parts of 7k. The first part is the warm-up, the second part is my favourite since I’m properly warmed up by then but not tired yet, and the last part is usually the hardest part as I get tired and running comfortably becomes tougher.
Especially considering the lack of proper preparation (or maybe this is the best kind of preparation to me, I don’t know) I was able to finish without being too knackered, having enjoyed the view (the area is really pretty) and enjoyed feeling like a proper distance runner again. My finishing time was 1.52.28, a time I’d not been happy with in a previous running life, but which is alright by me now. My love for the half marathon distance and distance running in general has been properly renewed. Onwards to the next half, which I’ll try and run in January.
But first, have a great Christmas, I know I will!