Sunday, September 27, 2015

Marathon Man

To celebrate my 55th birthday I ran my first full marathon.  I chose the Den Haag Peace Marathon, a small (less than 2000 participants) run that is held in conjunction with Peace Week. In case you don't have time to read this entire post, I'll skip to the punch line -- I made it.  Not very fast, but I made it.  

I've included some photos of the race, which will be plenty for most of you.  However, if you really want to relive the experience I saw two runners wearing Go Pro Cameras.  Can you imagine watching a multi-hour film taken from someone's chest as they run?  

I have to admit that I was kind of nervous before the race.  I had never run 42 km before.  In preparation for the run my longest was 32 km.  One of my colleagues who has completed several marathons told me that "all the excitement begins after 32 km".  Boy was he right.

At the starting line everyone has their hand on their GPS watches, ready to push the button for go.  The guy on the left with the yellow/green shirt won the half marathon.  The guy next to him in the orange shirt won the full marathon.  No, you don't see me in the picture.  I know better than to be up there; I was hanging around in the back.

Here's a photo from early in the race.  You can see my head above the lady in the front.  In case you're wondering, yes I did pass her.  
Later on, things start to spread out.  Not quite as congested.  I think maybe I need to brighten up my running attire.  The classic white on black looks pretty dull.  All the advice says to wear your most comfortable clothing.  My white Bix Run shirt is my favorite.  

Here you can see the group running by the Peace Palace.  It was built in 1913 to house the Permanent Court of Arbitration whose objective was to end all wars by having countries resolve disputes in court.  Good objective, but unfortunately in less than a year Europe was into WWI.  The building was financed largely by Andrew Carnegie.  It currently houses the International Court of Justice.  

We started in the center of the city and ran towards the North Sea Beach.  

I hadn't realized there were so many bunkers from the Nazi's Atlantic Wall on the beach near Den Haag.  There must have been almost 10 like the one shown above.  
About every 5 km there were volunteers serving water and sports drink.  At the half way point, they had Twix and Snickers.  I passed.  I didn't think my stomach could handle that.  
I did eat a banana at one of the stands.  Don't those look yummy?  
Luckily I didn't need these guys. 
I thought this was a nice picture.  Too bad I'm not in it.  We ran about 15 km total on the beach.  Luckily it was low tide and hard packed sand.   There were several "streams" of water flowing from tidal pools to the sea.  I'd run up and try to jump over the water, but no jumping occurred.  There was absolutely no spring in my legs.  So I ran with wet shoes.  
Approaching the end of the beach run
I always want to get a good picture of me running so I can post it.  Looks like I'll have to keep running because this picture certainly isn't worth posting.  

Safe at home after the run.  

I saw this couple before the race and wondered "Are they really going to run barefoot".  Here they are at the finish.  They ran the half marathon (13 miles) barefoot.  Ouch.  

The Den Haag skyline.