Eindhoven Marathon 2012

Posted: October 14, 2012 in Running
Tags: , , ,

The marathon is a 42 km mind game. After 35 km, when the carbohydrates in the body are gone, the body is screaming out to stop. And you need to go on. You have come this far. This happens every time. The end is murder. And the finish line is sweet.

Route of the Eindhoven Marathon

Route of the Eindhoven Marathon

I enrolled for the Eindhoven marathon at the start of the year when it was far away on a distant horizon. My training was a bit patchy. I went on lots of very long runs on the weekends (between 25 and 37km), but didn’t do enough basis training during the week. I hardly ran at all in the last two weeks, pausing to let some back pain get better. I had a bit of a stomach bug for the last few days, too. So: for the first time I went to run in the marathon without expecting to run under 4 hours. I would run at the speed that felt right. I was prepared to stop if it was clear that the stomach bug hadn’t gone. This lack of self-imposed stress meant that I slept well. The weather was fantastic for a marathon: 13C and cloudy. The stage was set.

The famous lumberjack jacket as my mascot.

The famous lumberjack jacket as my mascot.

Before the start.

Before the start.

km 4: The start was not crowded and I had the space to run at my speed. I soon found it to be 5:46 per km. Fine. I passed a building with the temperature indicated. 11C. And it was cloudy. Perfect.

km 10: The mind starts making big plans for what the final time is going to be. At this rate I will be a tick over 4 hours, but might make my best time of 4:03:57. My heart rate monitor is not working so I run on feeling. I feel fine! No sign of the stomach bug.

km 16: The sun has come out, but I am running in the green leafy shade on the dead straight Oirschotsedijk. Keeping the speed of 5:46. Looking good. I dance with the music as I pass the music stands.

km 18: Zwaanstraat. Everyone is pushed to the left of the road. A Kenyan was going to lap us. A thin stick figure sprints past. I briefly toyed with the idea of trying to run with him for 50m or so. I didn’t. A complete waste of energy, and I probably wouldn’t be able to anyway. He was amazingly fast. He ended up running the marathon in 2:05.

km 21: Half marathon in just over 2 hours. Feeling good to run the second half. I start thinking: if I could just run at 5:30 per km I could make the marathon in under 4 hours. Maybe this time I could run the second half faster than the first. Now that I didn’t push too much at the beginning. I decide to wait until about km 30 to see how I feel then. The speed of 5:46 per km is maintained.

km 25: The sun is out. I pass the building with the thermometer. 14C. The first signs of people starting to walk. I still feel fine.

km 30: I am not going to increase the speed. But, the 5:46 per km is still possible. Just 12 km to go. I can start to feel the energy seeping away, but still feel ok. I start calculating what is needed to run under 4:03:57. I can’t do too precise calculations, though. The brain is switching off, as is the rest of the body. All energy is going into running.

km 35: Oirschotsedijk: Energy gone. The speed has slipped to 6:30 per km. I’m still OK, but a record is not going to happen. No worries. That wasn’t what I expected anyway. Let’s just finish this in a reasonable time.

km 38: Man, this is awful. What am I doing here? I shuffle along at 7:00 per km and stop for the odd walk. Walking is not much slower than running. People start to pass me. I am approaching the centre of Eindhoven where the masses are watching. I stop at the drink stops and drink and drink. And then I shuffle forward. Only 4 km to go. It feels like an eternity.

km 40: In the centre. I have run through the gauntlet of people cheering. I try to find the quieter places to walk. My body needs to stop, and it feigns it needs a toilet break. Desperately. There is a bar with the door opened wide. Welcoming. All tricks of the mind. I shuffle forward. The 4:15 pace setters have past me. My time will be slower than 4:15. I’m not bothered. Let’s just finish this.

The Matthew shuffle.

The Matthew shuffle.

km 42: The last km is signposted 1000m, 750m, 500m, 100m. Each of those signposts feels like they are a whole km apart. I can’t even shuffle forward without stopping between them. Then the finish comes. I stop. I have made it. The time was 4:19:47. And I am content.

  1. Mansi says:

    Good job Matthew! And at least you tricked yourself to sleep the night before 😉

  2. Dina says:

    Juchu, you did it – again! Herzlichen Glückwunsch zu dieser tollen Tat! Hurra!
    Ja, du bist unser Chamipgnon 🙂 schwärmt Selma Buchfee.
    How many marathons have you run altogether?

    Now, take good care of yourself, rest and enjoy!

    Lots of love
    Hanne, Klausbernd
    Siri and Selma

  3. Hi alle! Das war Marathon 8 oder 9 meine ich.. Ich bin öfters in Köln gelaufen und sogar ein Mal in Bonn.. Jetzt daß ich in Eindhoven wohne, ist das Marathon hier schon praktisch. Und auch eine schöne Marathon..

    Viele Grüße nach Bonn!


  4. Val Jones says:

    Congratulations, cousin! I’ve been toying with the idea of trying a full marathon (still working on my speed for the two 1/2 marathons I have coming up) but reading about the pain makes me think that I wouldn’t like it… Even my running coach said she cried during the last few miles of her recent marathon. Yikes!? xo

    • Hi Val. Yes. I find a full marathon much more than twice as hard as a half. Your body runs out of carbs after about 30 km, and your whole body is screaming to stop. Still, you feel good (and proud) when you reach the finish.

      Keep up the running. You will be able to run a marathon if you want to!

      xx M

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