After 7 years in the office, I finally took part in the annual PatentRun, a 6km loop through the nearby Elsenberger Bos. I left the decision to sign up until the last moment, as I wanted to wait and see how the Rotterdam Ladies Run went. In the end, I don’t think it would have mattered, as Emily (friend and running guru) was determined that we should both take part, and dragged me to the sign up desk before we went for a spinning class on Monday.
Unlike every other race I’ve run in so far, today we actually had good weather. A mixed blessing, as I’m not at all used to running in the heat, and was surprised how much more tiring it was when compared to Sunday’s rainy run.
The other difference to my race experience so far was the inclusion of a hill in the course (by Dutch standards, a mountain!) which defeated me somewhat, especially as we had to tackle it twice, from two different approached. Much as I’d hoped to run the whole course, I did have to resort to walking up part of the hill.
There were a few familiar faces along the course – colleagues who were helping out as race marshalls and cheerleaders. The African percussion group were also out in force to encourage us as we left and returned to the EPO.
By the time I had covered 5 kilometers I was feeling the strain, and was very relieved when I finally had the EPO back in my sights. Having entered the EPO premises, there was one final hurdle – a ramp up to the garden and the finish line. I wasn’t quite sure how I was going to find the energy to make it up, but the cheers of some of my team members spurred me on, and filled me with a burst of enery. Onto the final stretch and I caught sight of the clock, which was showing 37 minutes, and spurred on by the fact that I’d managed a time under 40 minutes, I produced a sprint to take me over the finish line.
Well, I was very proud of myself. Whilst for many of the participants, 6km is a stroll in the park, this was the first time in about 15 months that I had run this far. And whilst I might have been somewhere in the last 10 runners, my time was definitely faster than I’d managed in Sunday’s 5K. Or so I thought…
Alas, it turned out that for some reason (some say a mistake, some say a deliberate choice because of the heat), the course was cut short by about 500m. On calculation, it turns out that my average pace was the same as I ran in Rotterdam… very disappointing indeed.
(thanks to Loek and Jules for the photos)