It’s been a couple of weekends since my last event. One was cancelled (the Dart Duo) and the other weekend I was in France watching the Tour de France – they wouldn’t let me join in so I couldn’t call it an event 🙂 …and of course I was supposed to be tapering for The Big One – Ironman Maastricht.
The great thing about Ironman is they often hold side events on the same weekend, so that family members get a chance to join in the IM experience. This time it was a 5km night run, held on the Friday evening. As I hadn’t run for a while I thought I would give it a go, a chance to stretch my legs, make sure I could still actually run and hang out with my family and friends who were all taking part. It would also be daughter Zoe’s first EVER 5km !!!
My whole family had come to Maastricht with me, my Mum and Dad, hubby Ian, daughters Zoe and Heidi, sister Adi and brother- in- law Antony. Why Maastricht? …a place I had only heard of from the signing of the Maastricht Treaty back in the early 90’s by John Major. Well I blame my good friend Declan who has friends there. He wanted to do the Ironman (his 10th) and thought it would be great city to do it in. I was keen to do my next IM in Copenhagen but in the end it seemed like it would be much more fun to do it with Declan and our families could hang out together. It was a great choice. Maastricht is a wonderful city.
It took us a while to get there. A long drive to Kent, an overnight stay, Eurostar from Ebsfleet to Brussels and then a 90 minute car journey to Maastricht. But once we were settled in our hotel just 500m from the expo everything was very straightforward.
So Friday night at 21.30, nine of us (me, Adi, Antony, Zoe, Heidi, AnneMarie, Jack, Dan and Joey) set off with around 750 other people into the night to run 5k. We were all given torches at registration so it all looked very pretty as we snaked through the city.
Maastricht is laid out on both sides of the River Maas and the first km was on the same side as the expo and hotel before crossing the river to the busier area with the market square and shops. Heidi ran with Adi and Ant and scooted off, Zoe held back with me and Dan. We wanted to keep a gentle even pace to give Zoe the best chance of having a nice race. I could see she was doing well from the beginning and after one km she had already run further without walking than ever before ….and she just kept going.
Across the bridge the cobbled streets were all lined with bars and cafes and people cheering. I had a little twinge in my knee – not sure it liked the cobbles, but it didn’t get any worse and as soon as I was on tarmac again it went, phew. Zoe was still going well and even able to chat a little. I chatted all the way (no surprise there) and offered encouragement and Dan stayed with us helping keep the pace steady. After 3km Zoe needed to walk a little, but just enough to get her breath and get her heart rate down. Like me she suffers from asthma and although it’s totally possible to run with asthma is does mean being mindful about breathing rate and not get overstressed which can quickly lead to a more serious situation.
We were running again and apart from two other very short breaks Zoe was storming through her first 5km. Dan was very lovely and hung back while we walked so we could all run together. On the bridge back over the river we caught up with AnneMarie and Jack – this was also a very special race for AM – her come back race after a year of surgery and chemo – and she was rocking it too 🙂 Jack who is usually super speedy had run with his Mum encouraging her all the way.
The finish line was in sight. We could see Mum and Dad, Ian and Declan cheering for us. Zoe found a spurt of energy and a speed which I don’t possess and sprinted to the finish line. Hurrah!!
The others had already finished…Adi and Heidi benefiting from their recent 10k training. Antony also completed his first “bibbed” 5km on fine form and I didn’t see Joey for the whole race so I think he was well ahead, although I believe he might have a blister or two to show for it lol! I figured Joey must have benefited from spending the last two weeks in France with Declan where he did loads of cycling including an epic climb of Col du Joux Plane, which I can tell you was a tough climb.
A very special run with my family and friends. So proud of Zoe on her first 5km…I know from my own experience how much of a barrier that first 5km is, but once you break through, well, to quote Ironman….
ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.
Event 34 – very special.