Tag Archives: Amsterdam

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.



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! 

Spur of the moment!

Well I don’t know exactly how this happened, but I’ve upgraded form the half to the full for the Amsterdam Marathon tomorrow! I feel oddly at peace and excited for this, although not prepared in the normal sense. I know I’ll finish. But my best effort… Maybe not.
Walked around a bunch yesterday. A blister on the sole o my foot. Today: a bike tour, where I failed miserably. I hate coaster brakes. And too-big bikes. I’m currently carb-loading at a British pub with some Heinekin & crisps.
Dont have my trusty handheld water bottle, or enough gu’s. I’ll be stocking up on a ware bottle and gummy candies at a convenience mart.
Wish me luck!!!!!!

Vacation!! And an upcoming half marathon

So excited!  This week has been about wrapping things up at work and getting ready for our annual vacation!  I love that Mike & I have made it a priority to travel somewhere fun each year. Right before I settled down in Chicago, Mike met me in the Dominican Republic (I was finishing up managing a volunteer program down there).  First year of living together, we went to Greece.  Last year we travelled to Vietnam.  This year we’re headed to Holland & Belgium!

Not only am I excited for this vacation and relaxing, but I’m also looking forward to the Amsterdam Marathon – we’ll be running the half!  (I considered running the full, but didn’t want to be sick on vacation like after an earlier marathon this year). 

So we’ll arrive in Amsterdam on Friday and then Sunday is the big event! I’m excited to see what it’s like to run in kilometers! 

We’ll see if I can post a quick update from Europe following the event… maybe in between beers & cheese Smile

I’ll miss everyone in blog-land!