Drunk in a bar 4 months ago I committed to runnning my first marathon - Amsterdam!
I flew over from the UK Fri morning to stay at my friends in the Hague, our quiet evening meal turned into a crazy Italian with numerous Peach Shots then dancing and drinking Bacardi Breezers until 4:00am in the local night-club (I won't even mention the packet of Marlboro we polished off). The day after both myself and Gez had major regrets so decided 4 pints of lager would keep us foolishly committed to running the next day.
We arrived at Amsterdam Central then took the tube to the Olympic Stadium (Registration and Start)it was on the tube I started to feel part of things, with the amount of shell-suits around I began to wonder if this was the Dutch Scouse Convention Gathering, sadly the lack of tashes and curly hair dismissed my theory.
Registration was friendly, quick and convenient. We'd placed ourselves in the 4:00hr pen in the Olympic Stadium (although simply finishing was our real goal), at this point I started to feel like a gladiator ready for the off....then without warning a well hidden cannon fired a starting shot that nearly reduced the starting line up by half due to heart failure.
We were off, and my lifelong dream of running a marathon had begun, leaving the stadium and running into the crowded streets I felt I was running on air, but within 5 mins we both were catching our first wind and friendly discussion slowly died down until our bodies started to realise this session was very different to the 6 hour drinking session on the Fri night. We soon got into our rhythm and things began to feel comfy. Finding a lovely female runner to run behind seemed to make running extremely easy, but when they continually ran ahead of us we decided this wasn't going to be our solution to finishing the marathon. We soon moved out of town and crowds dwindled, the odd Dutch man on a chair having a cigarette seemed to be the only support for at least 10km! Suddenly seeing people on the other side of the canal running in the opposite direction and an anonymous runner next to me saying "they are 10km ahead of us you know" had the same effect as dropping a tyre on my shoulders.We had followed the 4hr band on our wrists which shows the correct time you should hit at regular km marks, we were a few minutes ahead of schedule, this kept both our spirits high!
The weather was good and we hit the turning point and head back down the river and to the half way mark. At this point Gez tired slightly but I was feeling remarkably good, so I decided to run ahead. I picked up the pace slightly and felt comfy running, I also started to pass people on a regular basis, which boosted my confidence and seemed to help me combat the pain. I hit the last 5km with crippling cramp in my left foot and calf but now we were back in the town centre and the crowd removed any pain that I had. The last Km felt fantastic with faster runners who'd finished earlier now joining in the crowd offering encouragement (something I will always do from now on). Finally I entered the Olympic Stadium and started to become slightly delirious: It was full to capacity, 70,000 people were shouting my name, encouraging me to run the last few hundred yards and take the Olympic Gold Medal (this first ever debutante to take Gold) and a brit at that! I ran to the line, breaking the current world record by 2secs and most importantly placing myself in pole position for sports personality of the year. I came out of my delirious state and hobbled over the line coughing and spluttering but still ecstatic with my accomplishment and the sense of achievement of fulfilling a lifetime achievement! (and doing it in 3hrs 42mins)
Who says cigarettes and alcohol are bad for you