Egmond Half Marathon — January 10th, 2016

Brenda & Arni (left) , Bahadir, Sarah standing, Gabrielle and Manu

The race started in a nice slow pace, needed to wait Gabrielle to step up her phone, while Sarah waited us at the start line. Arni and Brenda was running with a different pace group, and Manu took off at the start. Three of us started with a smooth 1 km run till to the entrance of the beach going downhill.

The conditions at the beach was horrible. a 6(37kph) wind blowing against us, sometimes from the North, sometimes from the NE. For the 6 km section of the beach run, it never stopped. The first 2 km I ran with Sarah and Gabby, then started to move ahead to catch the group in front of us to be protected from the wind. First group to the second to the third, I kept on going. Definitely not fast, but fast enough to catch the front groups. After I got into the groups, I stay there, slow my heart rate and took it easy.

At the 6km, there was a aid station, got some Isostar and water and moved on. After I got back to the track, I realized laides haven’t stopped for the aid station and was in front of me. I kick the gear a bit and caught them, also used the water line where the sand was much solid. I kept on running with them for the next 2 kms.

Once the beach run is over, there was a climb around 100 meters to bring you to the hilly sections. Ups and downs, where the ground is mainly soil, turning into mud slowly with each step of participants. I took the advantage of the downhills and let it go. I was feeling a bit tired but okay.

On the left picture, where the big U turn and the aid station, starts the dune(duin) section (Vogelduin), although it looks trivial, the combining factors makes it harder.

Egmond Half Marathon elevation map

After the second aid station, I took a 30 seconds walk to have a bit of a rest, once all the hill sections was behind me, since I wasn’t that much prepared for that kind of running. To be honest, from the Amsterdam marathon to till to the last week of December I haven’t run at all, and 13 days of the before the race I have started training and never run more than 7km, mainly at 6min/km pace. So here I am at the 11km of a half marathon, ran on sand against a strong wind and then passed the hilly section. I thought I was doing quite okay. I was wrong.

On km 14, I switched back to walking, my foot started to get heavy, and my lizard brain started to question my overall fitness. “Run the km only, run the km only” I kept on saying to myself. I haven’t been listening music for the last years while running, but at that moment I asked to myself whether it would be a good idea to have had one right now.

Between the 14th km, till to the last 1–2 km, we were running in the forest where ground was mainly made of cobblestones, still the sides were grass and earth, I didn’t enjoy it that much. In this race, I didn’t have that much of focus. My mind was wondering around, not that much enjoying the scenery and kind of bored. It would be hard for me to catch up with Sarah and Gabrielle as well.

I did what I do best and kept going. I have also tried to pushed myself a bit to not to keep everyone waiting for me after the finish. “Come on, run the km” said to myself and kept on running but not pushing hard. The one hard lesson every runner learn will learn is that keep the energy for later. 25 mins of running later, took the last walking bit for around 6 mins to reserve a bit more energy for the last 4km. With a slow but continuous pace, I kept on running. I wasn’t having that much fun, but keep going.

There was one lady running with her Vibram Five finders and I saw her staying away from the cobblestones and running on the earth as much as she can falling back to walking at sometimes. What an effort! Although she looked quite fit, I would assume she was a bit new to the barefoot running.

After the last right turn, I decided to give it a full go and sprinted the last part of the race reaching out 16kph. It was my first time to have enough energy to sprint. After I passed the finish line, my pulse was probably over 200, havely breathing, my lungs screaming in the meantime.

After receiving an energy drink, and putting the medal on, I started to walk to the SportsHall to meet with others. On the left hand side of the road, there was a Midget Golf business, which in front of it they were (trying to) sell Gluhwine and other drinks to the runners, but who has money with them ?! It would have been awesome to have some, but no alcohol for me. After a solid 10+ minutes of painful, cold, and tired walking, I was at the SportsHall area. Darn.

I grabbed my bag from the lockers, realized there weren’t that much bags left behind, I went back to the SportsHalls to join the rest of the crew. Everyone was there chatting, waiting for me, looking quite fresh. I quickly changed my clothes, and we are on our way back. First we wanted to get fries, but there were around 50 people waiting, so we decided to move forward. Manu offered some cookies, we passed some fruits along.

The next challenge was waiting at the bus line. After a 10 minutes of waiting we jumped in one the buses, and headed to the train station. We missed our stop, thanks to nobody announcing, and convinced the bus driver to drop us back to the station. We saw our train coming in, so every started to sprint except me. No power on the legs, I started to increase my walking speed.

After a couple of seconds, I heart Gabrielle shouting “Come on Bahadir!!” and holding the train of for me while the train conductor complaining to her. I tried to pass through the ticket doors through my Albert Hein card, and of course that didn’t work out, laughing to myself in the mean time, I finally found my OV chipcard and navigated through the doors. And as the final passenger of the train, I jumped in and we were ready to go back. Yes!

At the Amsterdam central station, we headed to the Burger King and ate whatever we wanted. I replaced my soda with Spa Rood(sparking water) and sent the picture to Erik, with whom I did a promise to not to drink an calorie drinks. I was feeling proud of myself! At the end of the day, we deserved all that greasy food.

Finally the food was done, we were full, tired but happy. Everyone headed to home with a sense of accomplishment. Another good day.

When I was reflecting the day, I came to the conclusion that this was going to be my first and last Egmond Half Marathon. Even though the conditions at the beach was overwhelming, I liked the first half of the race, but the last part was very boring, not that of a great surface to run and without any music or scenery, it was repetitive. Once we were back to the city, there was the crowd and some music, made it more bearable. At the couple of aid stations, voluteers couldn’t keep up with the amount of people arriving, it was challenging to grab some water and isostar. I haven’t also see any orange but did able to grab some bananas at least.

I would like to thank all the voluteers out there contributed to the Egmond Half marathon, which was definitely quite challenging for them as well. Both cold, standing on foot for hours, serving for ten thousands of people is hard work. Thanks!