Amsterdam Marathon Race Report

Someone ran the NYC Marathon yesterday, and I’m determined to get my marathon from 3 weeks ago recapped before she does!  This is part 2 of my Amsterdam Marathon posts.  Catch up on the pre-race preparations if you skipped out on them!

Well, after a not-so-filling Italian dinner, I went to bed. Carb-loading resumed at 3 AM when I was hungry and we had a leftover chocolate waffle that was supposed to have been dessert the night before. Then back to bed.

Up again, for real “Clif Bar” breakfast and getting ready! Yes, those are leg-warmers with my hat & jacket!


I headed out to the Amsterdam Metro to get over to the race start.  It was amazing to be waiting there with so many other runners who travelled in from all parts, all heading toward a common goal! Once we got to the Olympic Stadium, where the race starts from, it was pretty cramped to get to what you needed to.  The corrals are around the corner from the Stadium.


I did the typical for pre-race – get in the bathroom line, check gear, and get back into the bathroom line again! Bathroom lines are one thing that’s common in foreign races:


And guys relieving themselves outside were also pretty common:


Here’s me in my European trash bag warmer:


As we got started with the race, we began by running around the track within the Olympic Stadium, and then headed out into the streets of Amsterdam.  The first mile or so was on open streets, and then we headed into the “Vondelpark” for a little bit.  This was a nice park area, and then we headed out to the Amstel River. Since we’re in Europe, the race is measured in kilometers and the aid stations were going to be roughly every 5 kilometers.  A bit more spaced apart than I’m used to, so it was important to me to drink at each aid station.  I felt really great in the first several miles, and was straining to not go too much faster than an 11:27 (5 hour marathon) pace.  Although I didn’t hear English way too often, I did enjoy watching and listening to the runners around me.

Running along the river was so much fun! This is where it was the most scenic, and we ran approximately miles 8-14 along both ends of the Amstel River.  First we headed south (?) and were entertained by bands entertaining us from river boats! We also hit the 15K mark right around a major turnaround point, saw one of the kid’s festivals.


See the red river boat?  There was music coming from it!

We also hit the point to cross the bridge over the Amstel River and also the 21K and half-marathon points just after that.  I still felt really great, and was on track to run a 5 hour marathon! I was amazed, especially as I’d been taking photos and appreciating the view.  A 5 hour marathon had definitely NOT been the first thing on my mind that morning.  I was amazed, and I felt great!

Around mile 14, we’re running along the 2nd side of the river and right along the homes that border the river.  People had their doors open, or were sitting in chairs just outside.  The running crowd was pretty thin at this point, but I was plugging along.  I passed someone who had a “cheese stop” at their house and I sampled a piece!

During mile 15 we turned inland off the river.  I also started to notice my leg hurting and my gait changing.  It began to hurt to run. I realized that my left leg was throbbing, and that it was much more bruised than it had been that morning, battle wounds from the bicycling the day before.  This was the hard part for me, as I tried to do a run-walk, but it hurt too much too run.  One marathoner I’d passed earlier, Theo the South African walker, came up from behind and gave me a pep talk.  I was trying to run just to keep up with him, but he told me we were definitely on track for a 5:15 finish and that his plan was to go all out at the 32K mark. 

At first I was a bit confused (32K seems like an odd choice, I had planned to race at the 35K mark, an even 5), but just followed him.  When we hit the next aid station, he paused to refill his handheld water bottle, and I gave it a try at running again.  Didn’t feel too bad, so I kept onward!

Miles 17 introduced us to some industrial parks, but at least there was some entertainment: 


I kept onward and was a bit surprised at how many people I was passing.  There were also people coming up strong from behind, so I tried to keep those ladies as my “rabbits” to keep me at a good pace. 

I felt amazing at mile 20 – also known as 32K (!) and let loose! I achieved some pretty good splits, getting at and even below the 11:27 pace for miles 20-24. 

Around mile 24 I began to fade again.  Partly that I’ve run 24 miles, but also that the half marathoners were beginning to catch up with us.  So I’m going along as fast as I can, and then some crazy comes speeding by me, having only run 11 miles at that point.  NOT FAIR.  I can’t consider those speed demons a rabbit.  At this point we’re back within the Vondelpark again, and loving the shade that the park provided. 

We passed the 40K mark – only 2K to go to the finish! and I was pushing as hard as I could.  But that still wasn’t very fast at all. 



Pushing and pushing, and finally I made it into the Olympic Stadium and finished! 



My splits by 5K:

Amsterdam Marathon Splits


Post-Marathon & Reflections:

  • I ran fast for a good portion of the race. For the first 15 miles, I kept it below 11:27 pace, apart from a quick potty break.
  • I ran fast from miles 21-24. Marathon pace again.
  • My previous marathon experiences this year definitely helped me to know what was possible and that I could push myself. 
  • I need to work on overall speed, and also on the mental game. For me this time, apart from my throbbing knee that slowed me down at mile 15, I was awesome and gave it my all at the end. I slowed down considerably, and I should work on more speed at the end of my long runs.



10 thoughts on “Amsterdam Marathon Race Report

    1. Lauren Post author

      Thank you! It was a great experience! And the knee was odd… I’ve had aches actually in the knee or muscles, but this was the soft tissue around it that hurt this time! However it no longer looks like I was beaten on my leg anymore 🙂

  1. Kayla

    Awesome job!!! Way to go…especially deciding to do the full at the last minute! I really hope to go to the Netherlands sometime. My great grandparents immigrated from there and I think I still have some distant relatives there actually.Congrats again on a great race!!

  2. kilax

    Whoa! Congrats! You did amazing – running an awesome pace, dealing with your leg, then picking up the pace again! You are an inspiration! I know you mentioned you want to work on the mental thing (I do too!) but you really did well. And it sounds like you met some cool people too!

    I love the porta pottie line and peeing pics. LOL. Some things are the same. And the music boats are so cool! And the area right before the finish looks so scenic!

    Is your leg feeling better now?

    1. Lauren Post author

      Thanks! My leg felt better as soon as the bruises went away. But it looked pretty bad for a few days :(. CONGRATS on NYC! I just saw your pictures and they look great!

  3. Pingback: 2011 in Review | Lauren Runs

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