It’s here. Event Fifty. Twelve months after starting my challenge to celebrate my 50th year the final event is done.
It’s a relief. I need a rest 🙂 my body is finally saying no more and my mind doesn’t want to think about preparing for yet another event. All week, since the Santa run I have been suffering with my knee – in fact the aching has made my whole leg hurt. But it’s been the best year and I’m so glad I chose to spend it this way. I’ve shared my events with friends and family and it’s been good to have you along for the ride.
I’ll do a wrap up blog to reflect on my year in the New Year.
But for now – here’s event 50 a 15km run over the bridges in Rotterdam.
I’ve done this event before, two years ago with my friends Tessa and Irene from my running forum. This time Tessa would be supporting – she came down with a nasty chesty cold a few days before so had to drop out, and my lovely friend Andrea who drove the two hours from Germany to be there. Both the girls were with me in Maastricht too and it was lovely to see them again.
The event starts outside a football Stadium on the outskirts of Rotterdam. We would need to get the subway and a tram to reach it. Thank goodness for some local knowledge (thanks Tessa) I would not like to attempt this on my own. Tessa got our tickets and guided us all the way. The tram was packed with runners. Really packed! Like the London Underground on a bad day. I was practically sitting in some guy’s lap and another man had his hand stuck to my backside the whole journey – he was young and good looking so there was an upside lol!
We arrived at the stadium at 3.15pm, the first wave was due to leave at 3.30pm. We were in wave three which went at 3.50pm so plenty of time to get Andrea’s bib, I already had mine (thanks Tessa). Then we collected our lights for the race – flashing green armbands – it’s quite a sight seeing them snake along the roads and over the bridges.
As we walked to our pen Tessa saw a gap in the crowd and persuaded us to jump over the barrier. Andrea being German wanted to stick to the rules and me being British felt too polite lol! But we did it – even though a marshal tried to stop us – we waited until he turned his head and were in wave two – rebels! Last time I did this race we were at the very back of wave three and had to wait ages in the cold to start – it also meant running with fewer people. Being further up would be a better experience – and it was (thanks Tessa)
The day before, Aldo, Tessa’s hubby had given us all flashing earrings as gift. The were totally fabulous and during the whole race many women pointed them out with smiles on their faces. I felt very cool 🙂 So rather than chide us for jumping in the queue we were getting comments about our earrings.
We crossed the start line and I promptly lost Andrea – apparently she had stopped to adjust her belt bag. We hadn’t really planned to run together – neither of us sure of our current state of fitness so I wasn’t worried – I would see her at the end.
Amazingly my knee didn’t hurt at all – a good combo of adrenaline and painkillers. What a relief – no pain. Now it was just a case of seeing if my lack of running and failing fitness would get me round….spoiler, it did 🙂
I haven’t run 15km for while, so the plan was to run 5km which I know I can do (recent parkruns) then hold on as much as possible to 10km and then…well, I didn’t really have a plan for the final 5km, it would be what it would be.
It worked well. Rotterdam, apart from the bridges, is very flat so the running seemed easier than usual. 5k whizzed by, there was also a drinks station at this point which I walked through. 5km – 10km were a bit more up and down and at around 9km you start the long climb over the biggest bridge. There is a small climb before you even get onto the bridge and then up up up. I was right by the barrier and as we climbed it seemed to be a long way down to the water. There were also a lot of people on the bridge jostling around. I tried to not look over the edge. It was a bit windy up there too, it was reminding me of crossing the Severn Bridge into Wales on my bike – something I hated.
It was a relief to get to the top and the views were very good. Over the top and then down down down for quite some time. Before I knew it we were at the 12km point, just over 3km to go. I was walking a little at this point. Not much, just 20 seconds here and there – my lack of recent long runs showing. But I felt pretty good and every time I slowed to a walk someone would pat me on the back and say something encouraging…at least I think they were…it was all in Dutch 🙂
It was very dark now and as we headed along the finally road we could see the stadium all lit up. The end was in sight. I started to get quite emotional at this point. It was not just the end of the race for me, it was the end of my events. The last one, number 50!!!!
I took the time to think back over the last year, a year of doing an event nearly every weekend. All the travelling, all the organising, all the racing. What a year!
The end was lit up with bright lights, I put on a little sprint and crossed the line.
The year was over.
50 Events DONE!
Thanks for being there with me. Your support has being amazing, I couldn’t have done it without you.