Den Haag Half Marathon

Back for the third consecutive year, having ran be current PB of 66:o5 in 2015 & wining the 10K in 2016 after just a week back running. So I’ve ran well on the Dutch roads & although the year didn’t start as planned, following a good trip to Spain I knew I was in reasonable shape.

The question was, how fit had I got over the last few weeks & was a couple of days ease down sufficient to produce a reasonable performance?

The answers were quite clear! Fitness is good, but at the end of my first two/three weeks of proper training in 2017 my legs were battered & my slowing through the race reflected that.

Having flown out & having Jo, Mum & Kini there supporting I decided on the morning of the race (a 2.30pm start) that I would commit & go out reasonably hard. I was under no illusions that a PB was a possibility but something close was if everything fell into place.

So my usual pre-race prep, an early morning jog, breakfast & then a reasonably long warm up before some good fast strides before the race.

I didn’t know anybody else there looking for anything significantly below 70 minutes – there was a strong Midlands contingent looking to run between 69 & 74 minutes – but from previous experience knew there would be a reasonable group that would form.

I set off feeling fairly good only to see the first mile tick by in under 5 minutes. Too late now, either stick at it or knock it right back &. So I went for it, backed off slightly & waited for a small group to form. Given I was inside PB pace & not feeling particularly fit there was no way I was leading a pack so after a few flicks of my arm a couple of runners joined me & we moved away from the large group.

The pace soon became too much though & although the 10K split was reasonable I could feel every one of those miles in Spain biting! Grateful for a gel when I saw Jo at ~7 miles it was of little help & by the time I hit the coast I was treading water (indeed a coffee by the sea seemed far more appealing).

Turning inland with 4km for the relatively straight run home the forecast was right & there was a stiff breeze against us. This last stretch was like hitting the wall & I felt like I was 8 minute miling, although still catching a couple in front of me – clearly I wasn’t the only one suffering.

Another welcome cheer – the third – from Jo, Mum & Kini with just over a mile to go pulled my head out my backside & summoned some sort of pace to pick off a couple of runners before the left turn to the finish line.

69:15; 3 minutes off my PB (never realistic), 2 minutes off what I really wanted given my preparation (wishful thinking), 1 minute off my minimum target (pacing put pay to that), 1 second slower than Torrevieja two weeks earlier!

A rubbish result but given the pace I set off at I knew there was a high chance that my time would suffer. The combination of starting at PB pace when not yet in PB shape & still adapting to proper training made for a slow & painful second half of the race. I was pleased to have pushed on throughout though & the fitness is definitely coming, it just happened that this race was a couple of weeks early for me.

I’m glad I gave it a go, rather than what I saw as taking the ‘easy’ option of looking to defend my 10K title & run a reasonable time that still wouldn’t have bee a PB.

All splits indicate the second half of the course was tough, & although the wind will have been part of that the road furniture & turns that are now on the course don’t help.

After a brief sulk during my warm down we made the most of the city for the rest of the day before heading back home for an easier week’s training before Andy sends me through my first fun filled week of structured training. Can’t wait!

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