Leiden Marathon 10K race report

I really wanted to write an extremely positive report, especially since my training has been going quite well the past couple of weeks. Unfortunately, my first 10K race in more than 3 years was a bit of a disaster!

It started with a broken night due to noisy neighbours. Ugh. And I had gone to bed very early (I was exhausted, to be honest) in order to be fresh and full of energy on race day.

Since I had time to kill before it was time to go pick up my bib, I walked down the street to cheer for the half and full marathon runners passing by. They are my heroes for my running these distances. And they are so fast.

And then it was time to change and walk to the centre of town to pick up my bib. The hubby came along, he’s my best supporter! We cheered more runners (especially the last ones finishing the half marathon — respect!)… and it was time to go line up.

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It took a good 20 minutes (!!!) to finally cross the start line, and then I was off. I started really slow (about 7:15/km), and I was actually quite proud of myself for not starting too fast as I always do. But I soon realised that regardless of how slow I was running, my early morning runs hadn’t prepared me for running by this warmth, in the full afternoon sun, with no shade whatsoever, and barely any wind. By the 2nd kilometre I already had to stop running to walk: I was feeling way too warm.

And so it went for the remaining 8 kilometres. Alternating between a slow jog and walking. My legs were fine, my heart rate was fine (quite low actually for the perceived effort…) but I simply couldn’t cool down. I wasn’t the only one suffering, I had a couple of quick chats with other runners who also had to stop and walk, and they all complained about the warmth.

By the way, I am eternally grateful for the supporters along the route that were holding a water hose to cool us down. Bless their soul. It was really needed!

But we all made it to the finish line. Slowly, but we made it.

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Am I disappointed with my result? Nah. Actually, I’m not disappointed at all. Despite a disastrous race, I had fun.  Giving up was never an option, even if the route took me 200m from my house. I could have literally waved the race goodbye, walk home and call it a day by kilometre 7! The solidarity among runners was strong, and that’s what kept me going. We were encouraging each other with pats on the back, telling each other “We’re going to make it, don’t worry!”

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My main lesson from this race: it might be a good time to start training in warmer temperatures if I want to eventually reach 21,1km…