Monday, November 12, 2012

Amelie's Race Recap: Olympisch Stadionloop voor Unicef 5k

Whoa, whoa, déjà vu.  Ed just posted a Stadionloop 5k Race Recap.    Why must I bore you to tears with a re-run (ho ho ho) of a 20-minute race? 

Well... because some people enjoy being bored to tears reading play-by-play race recaps!  If you don't count yourself among them, I understand and suggest that to just look at the photos, of which none are copywritten.  We should stop doing that.  

I like to run on a half-empty stomach, and with just a little caffeine.  Breakfast was oatmeal with raisins, brown sugar, a few apple dice, green tea, and milk, 2.5 hours before race time.  I am blessed with a pretty forgiving stomach.  I have friends who can't run with any dairy in their system, or have to eat exactly the same thing for breakfast every time they race.  I'm glad that my stomach allows me to be flexible.

Neither of us had run a 5k in over a year, and weren't really sure about our paces.  I thought surely I could do better than my 20:42 of April 2011, given my strong 1/2 marathon in October and the fact that I've been running intervals with running groups in the past two weeks.  I thought that aiming for 20 would be as good a goal as any, and hoped for "something in the 20s."  In any case, we determined to spend a couple of laps on a nearby track ironing out our 1k pace before race time.  We biked down to the track, jogged a lap, did some half-hearted drills, and ran way too fast for our first 400m-for-pace.  I wanted a 96-second lap.  I got an 88-second lap.  I tried again, this time with 200m, and still came out a little fast.  Well, at minimum we had determined how fast NOT to run.  We headed to the stadium.

Let me say here that, on race day,  I take myself much too seriously for someone who has never broken 19  minutes in a 5k.  I don't like distractions, goofiness, or things that stress me out before I race.  This is why Ed and I have learned to part ways 15-30 minutes before the start of a race.  Of the two of us, Ed is probably who you would want to stand alongside in the starting corral.  Unless you were me.  Then you would stand on the opposite side of the start corral, and behind him, because you would be worried about starting too fast and ruining your splits.

The Start:
Gun!  For perhaps the first time in my adult racing life, I don't have to fight my bladder from race start to race finish.  Woo-hoo!  The race starts with a lap around the track in 90 seconds and me kicking icy droplets from last night's rain onto my calves and hamstrings and getting mildly annoyed about it in the first half of the lap.  Ed, just ahead of me on the track, looks over his shoulder and makes a "slow down" motion.  Yeah, yeah.  I know.  The first 800m drops a lot of the "fly and die" crowd, and we head over a footbridge and veer left onto the fietspad (bike path, from your vocab lesson in BnD Post #2).

The Meat:
I am surprised to learn that I have been mis-visualizing the course.  Instead of the dreaded out-and-back with a 180-degree turn,  there is no 180-degree turn, although there are a fair number of 90-degree turns.   The 300m-ish circular loop at the end isn't terrible.  Also, I have a fan at 2k!  One of the Phanos track club coaches is standing at the 2k mark and cheers for me, saying my name like the French movie title.  The glare from the sun off the wet pavement is pretty annoying, but for once, I'm not straining to breathe at 3k.  I'm pretty comfortable, and on-pace.  

The Finish:
At 3k, I catch up to a guy wearing a blue shirt and we run together for the rest of the race.  At one point I say to him, "Vijf minuten meer, goed zo," (5 more minutes, keep it up), which prompts him to reply with 4 or 5 sentences in Dutch, to which I sneakily reply, "M-hm" and pretend to be conserving my breath.  I also point at Ed ahead of us and say "Dit is mijn man."  Entering the stadium for the final 200m, my buddy darts ahead and I have to work hard to finish 2 seconds behind him.    After the race, I learn that my pacing friend is the boyfriend of one of my running acquantances from Phanos, and that he had been telling me that we were just under a 20-minute finish time.  When we formally meet, he apologizes for speaking Dutch and exclaims, "I didn't realize you are American!"  I quietly congratulate myself on succeeding in fooling a native.  That happens rarely.

...Anyway, I won the women's race with 19:45 (the next woman was 20:43)!  One of my other running friends from Phanos won last year with 18:55 or something like that, so I don't feel that awesome about winning.  I do feel awesome about running under 20 minutes, though, because it's been a long while since that happened.  I also feel (knock-on-wood) gleeful that it felt pretty easy.

The Really Fun Part:
For all those who don't care about any of the above, you can open your eyes now.  One of the best parts about the 5k distance is that you can go about with the rest of your day like you didn't race that morning.  That's exactly what we did.  We started by watching the start of the 10k race (the *real* race, for many).  Here's where the non-copywritten photos come in!

Olympische Stadion!  What a lovely day!

Oh no!  Someone left this girl at the long jump pit!

Excuse me, sir!  Will you be my husband?

Finally!  The shiny-suited groom arrives.

What are all these other people doing here?  Why does that man have a gun?

That groom had the shiniest suit I've ever seen.  At first, I though it was made of spandex.  

After the start of the 10k race, Ed and I hopped on our bikes and chased the runners down to the Amsterdamse Bos, where they ran around the rowing canal.  We watched the first-place man and our friends pass the 5k mark and then wheeled down to the end of the rowing canal for a snack.

The start of the 10k.  Can you guess the winner?

You'll never know if you were right!  He's too small!
Anyway, that's the 5k, from my perspective!  I'll figure out some way to make these recaps friendly for runners and non-runners alike.  I know that not everyone is itching to find out what I eat for breakfast and whether or not I have to pee in the middle of a race.

I've been meaning to show off the views from the bridge leading to our street.  With the perfect weather yesterday, I finally deem these shots worthy of sharing.


A great weekend.

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