Amsterdam Marathon Expo & Pre-Race Report

Just over a week three weeks ago I surprise-ran my fourth marathon this year – and broke my streak of running marathons only in Illinois! I’ve struggled a bit with getting back into the “normal life,” and also with putting my experiences on this race down on paper.  This post will be the events leading up to the race, and I’ll post more this week!

Mike & I had been planning our trip to Amsterdam since back in March, and had realized (after we picked Amsterdam & October) that the Amsterdam Marathon & Half Marathon event takes places when we’d be there!  I had long envisioned running the marathon there, that it would be my fall marathon effort, until I fell ill after my spring marathon in Urbana-Champaign.  I was out for three days, and didn’t want that to happen while on vacation in a foreign country.

So we each registered for the half marathon. And I was happy with that at the time. But after my Fox Valley Marathon just over a month ago now, where I didn’t get sick, part of me wondered why I couldn’t do the full. 

And that thought turned into me thinking of the half marathon as “half of a marathon.”  Not the right mindset – the half is its own event in it’s own right.

So I decided (& Mike acquiesced) to see if I could upgrade to the full marathon at packet pickup.  It was an odd request to the help desk, but the guy was friendly and once he said that I could upgrade, there was no turning back! 


Once the business of upgrading to the full marathon was done, it was time to go down to the Expo! At the Amsterdam Marathon they had separated Packet Pick-up to a separate space in the same building as the Expo.  The Expo took place in a gymnasium, and Packet Pickup was in one of the outer hallways on the floor above.


The Expo was an interesting comparison to US expos.  Lots of similarities, but some key differences:

  • Not much in terms of large “warehouses” selling discount running goodies.
  • Not much in terms of running nutrition – we did find a few items being sold, but they were in unfamiliar flavors & possibly textures (containers were different than our GU’s).
  • Some interesting ones:
    • Rock’n’Roll is going international:  Edinburgh, Lisbon & somewhere else in 2012!
    • We all know race bib belts, but have you heard of magnets?  Actually could have been useful since the Amsterdam marathon bib did not have holes for the pins!
    • The same running shoe “laboratory” – you’ve seen them for Brooks at the RnR expos, they had the Mizuno one out here (Mizuno sponsored the half marathon).
    • Not as much any free stuff at the Expo. You know that’s my favorite part of the big expos, walking around & getting free swag!


Pre-Race Prep:

Once we left the expo, I began planning what I needed to do to get ready for the marathon. After all, I only packed for a half marathon.  On my list:

  • How to keep warm – part 1:  I decided I wanted arm warmers for the race, so I bought tube socks at the grocery store.  Mike smartly travels with scissors, and I cut holes in the toe to make these arm warmers! Cozy, and I didn’t feel bad throwing them off at mile 5 or 6!
  • How to keep warm – part 2: We were staying at the Renaissance hotel, and I hope I won the prize for oddest request of the week.  I asked the Concierge if I could have a garbage bag from their facilities staff.  Garbage bags come in baby blue in Holland.
  • Extra fuel: I had a Gu and some shot blocks, but no handheld and not enough fuel for a full marathon. So at the grocery store I looked for swedish fish, and instead left with Haribo peaches
  • Staying off your feet the day before: Well, we took a bike tour.  Since this was vacation, I didn’t want to just stay in the hotel, so we pedaled around on a City Bike Tour.  It was OK.  I would have liked it more had the bike fit me better, and not beat me up fallen on my left calf as much.  More about that later. 


  • Carb Loading: Well, there were the afternoon beers to wash away the tears from my beat-up leg. That counts, right? And then some pasta at an Italian restaurant that was only OK. Until we got back to the hotel and didn’t feel so good. Then it was wasn’t so good.


This was the primary method of carbo-loading both pre- and post-race! Stay tuned for Part 2! 


One thought on “Amsterdam Marathon Expo & Pre-Race Report

  1. kilax

    Oh no! What was wrong with the pasta?!

    I like hearing about the differences in the expo. I never seem to find the free stuff at expos – even in NYC!

    I love that you did the full marathon! I would like to run Berlin someday, since you can just register, and I’ve never been to Germany!


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