Dam to dam loop, 2011 (10 miles)

18/09/2011
10 miles
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
1:09:50
4:20 min/km
174 hrm
508/18586 (2.7%)

Dam to dam, here I come...

Ok, as I mentioned in the previous post I was trying to figure out where to race as a preparation for the Budapest marathon. Thyra suggested Dam to Dam (probably the most well established race in The Netherlands) and after short deliberation I realized it's pretty much perfect. Then Michal was kind enough to offer me an entry for the race and everything was perfect... or almost.

After coming back from holidays on Monday I did 400m intervals on Tuesday. It was a hell of a tough training but I managed to improve slightly my figures compared with few weeks ago -- few seconds per km faster while at the same time few heart-beats per minute less. So I felt good. Tired but good. Then on Wednesday I did the usual run with SportsWorld group and, even though we were talking things very easy, the following day I felt even more tired. Especially my hamstrings were asking me to take a break. So I did. Only on Thursday I went for the dance class. We had a substitute teacher and I was glad I went because the class was pretty cool. Only it was tough, too. So the following day I was really hurting all over. And my hamstrings were in a seriously bad shape.

I decided to cancel all other trainings this week, including body pump & yoga, but to be honest now, the evening before the start, I'm still aching all over. It almost seems like a pattern is emerging, given that I had a similar problem before the 50K in Assen. At least now it's not a race that I'm dead serious about, more a preparation for Budapest. But a lesson for Budapest is that I really need to make sure I leave enough time for recovery.

So, plans time-wise? I run 10 miles only once before, also in Dam to Dam, two years ago. I was not in a very good shape back then and did 1:21:25. This year I hope I should easily be able to do 1:15:00 and in fact my initial plan was to aim for 1:10:00. I'll probably go around 4:20 pace (for 1:10) and will see how it go and adjust it during the race. Plan minimum: 1:12:00. Plan maximum: 1:09:00. Although the weather forecast predicts fairly strong wind (and rain), so maybe I'll need to slightly revise this plan... ok, until tomorrow!

The race

It again seemed like everything conspired against me for this race. Leaving in a hurry, forgetting stuff, hasting through the pre-run stuff and not having time to warm-up properly... I won't even mention my leg hurting. Nor my phone almost breaking down. Nor the bloody rain that would never stop... but hey, enough lame excuses; such details can be annoying but it's not them that ultimately make you a good or bad runner, right?

I started together with Michal and, as we were both aiming at 1:10:00, we were planning to run together. But just after the fire of the gun Michal jumped into a slalom of passing people at an ultra-sonic speed ;). I kept with him for 1K, but as he did not seem to be planning to slow down I decided to stay behind. And I think it was a very good decision for me. I slowed down more or less to my planned 4:20 min/km (although I incorrectly set my Polar, so I didn't really know very well). The cool thing is: I managed to keep this pace for the whole race. So in the end it was one of those very few races where I: a) run exactly the time as planned (1:09:50) and b) keep constant pace from start till the end.

I have to say I almost forgot what kind of an experience Dam to Dam is. With close to 20.000 finishers it's a really huge event. And that surely makes for a pretty cool experience. On the other hand, in most races you only have to elbow your way through at the beginning; in Dam to Dam - what with so many starting groups, moreover not sorted by expected finish times - the crowd never thins out. To make matters worse some people are not helping. On the way I had two guys who pretty much stopped in their tracks (one of them to pick sth up), without even looking around to see whether there's someone behind (I was; almost bumped into them, too). Moreover, I have the feeling I was the only person who saw the signs asking slower people to run on the right to allow faster ones to take them over easily. But then again, even if this could have saved me few seconds, so what. Bottom line is: Dam to Dam is a great running experience and I'd recommend it to anyone who's into running. And hey, in the end, after all this rain, we even got a fairly good weather!

So, Dam to Dam plan accomplished, time to think about Budapest, which is only 2 weeks away now. Which means only one week of training as this time I really plan to sufficiently recover before the big day. Based on my today's performance McMillan is giving me 3:15:35 in the marathon. Before I was hesitating whether to run for 3:15:00 for my PB (3:15:17, 6 years old) or for 3:10:00 (Boston qualifier). This indication suggests that I should rather stay closer to 3:15:00; probably I'll go for something like 3:13:00 and see how it goes. Ok, time to get some well-deserved rest after the race...

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