Jeroen's Rotterdam Marathon 2013 Race Report
The tragic events of the Boston Marathon unfolded as soon as we stepped off the plane from our personal running accomplishment in Rotterdam. Many questions and emotions were flying around when we heard the news: was it right for us to speak of our achievements during such a devastating time in the world of running? Should we share our story? And then, we were reminded of this picture of our boys completing the Rotterdam Marathon – one picture speaks a 1000 words, and it couldn't have come at a better time.
Support, Love, Victory as a team – this is what running is all about, this is our world of running.
Today, Jeroen shares his marathon journey with us and we hope you gain some inspiration and motivation to do your thing when it comes to your next race. This great quote was posted online - “We run with heavy hearts after the Boston tragedy, but we won’t stop running” - bring on The London Marathon this weekend.
(I’ve left it pretty much how he wrote it, so hopefully you will have a bit of laugh whilst reading it too!)
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On Sunday the 14th of April I conquered the Rotterdam Marathon.
Myself and Food and Lycra arrived at Amsterdam Airport on Thursday evening, and headed straight down to Rotterdam to grab some Surinamese food from Warung Mini (travelling with Food and Lycra what else would you expect!)
I won’t go into too much detail about the days before the race, because there was too much food and you will most likely see a post about the little trip we took coming up soon!
The first thing I did the next morning was get up super early to go to my Barbershop, Schorem. Yes I waited a good 3 months for a hair cut - mainly because I can’t find a good barbershop in London and, well, my barbershop back home is the sickest ever.
Friday morning, fresh haircut, good coffee - what more do I need.
Well I tell you what I need, I needed to pick up my race number that's whatsup!
After picking up Akeem and his girlfriend from Rotterdam Central we headed over to the Marathon Expo to pick up the race numbers and invested some money in energy gels.
We spent the rest of the day hanging out in Central, did a bit of shopping and a lot more eating! In the evening we picked up Jahira, and went to my friend Rene's for some more (you can already guess it) food. His mum knew I was coming and I requested some good home cooked food haha! She is an amazing cook, leaving my belly nice and full after 2 servings and a bit of sauto soup.
Saturday was going to be our relaxing day, we had loads of food, unfortunately it was not really the food I should be eating the day before a Marathon but fuck it. We met up with my mum and her good friend Henriette for an epic dinner in The Harbour Club.
I had a nice tuna steak with spaghetti (keeping carb loading in mind) and there were 2 massive towers of Fruits de Mer.
And, some steak and chips.
And, there might have been some dessert involved.
After food we took the water taxi home, which was quite epic as we got to see Rotterdam after dark!
Before I headed to bed for much needed race day rest, I took an obligatory pre-raceday outfit photo.
Raceday. Sunday morning and of course I missed my alarm…
Woke up at 8am, got dressed quickly.
Nike pro shorts and top on - this is the one thing I always wear when running! Depending on the type you buy it will keep you either cool or warm, and it protects you against chafing.
Believe me the last thing you want on race day is chafing.
My nutritionist Kim, told me to get a banana and 3 slices of brown bread with raspberry jam for breakfast.
After breakfast we headed out of the door and over to Central, of course the tram was not in service so it took us a bit longer to get to the start of the race.
When we arrived it was 10am, we had 30min until the start.
My granddad spotted us in the crowd and took us to our meeting point as Akeem and I got ready for the race.
Energy gels packed 3 on us, 1 at Cheer Dem Crew so they could pass them to us at the 32km point.
After the final good luck wishes we walked to our starting area, a Belgian runner saw our gels half sticking out from our shorts (we didn't have a belt or a bag to put them in) and told us: "if you drop that gel, don’t forget to pick it up! Whatever you do, do not leave that gel behind!"
With that in our minds the race was about to start.
We started at a steady pace, aiming for a sub 4hr race: I calculated the night before that we could do 12km/h for the first two hours, then the third hour 10km/h and the last hour 8km/h.
Yes that is 42km together in 4 hours, sounds pretty good in theory to me!
So we started at the pace we wanted, the start was really busy and a lot of the runners ran at a slower pace then us.
This was a little bit frustrating as you get held up when it's so busy.
Around the 2km there was the first incline - the Erasmus bridge.
I told Akeem, you know how we do with bridges, we go up fast and go down steady.
The first 10km went well, even though my calves were a bit stiff, we kept running at a good comfortable pace. At this point it was time for the first gel. We bought one which you could take without water (something that was a priority for me) and surprisingly it tasted really nice.
We skipped the 5km water point so we had to get some water at the 10km point.
For me the water points went really smooth, I pointed at the person I wanted the water from and didn't grab water at the front of the water point but more towards the end.
10km down 32km to go.
The next 10km were really good too, we kept the same pace but we did feel the sun burning.
It was now a bit over 11:30 which means the sun is really rising now, and the weather forecast was 21 degrees - not ideal but we had to do with it.
At the 20km mark we took another gel, and of course some water!
I tried to get 2 cups of water at every water station as the temperature was high and we really needed the fluid.
I kept myself cool with the sponges that the volunteers were handing out.
At the 25km point we were at the bottom of the bridge that we crossed earlier, now we had to cross it again.
The other runners slowed down for the bridge, but not us: we had to get over this bridge quickly, but not too quick.
Our legs were still fine and about 1km later we had to go downhill and straight backup on a mean hill!
This hill took some energy and I was happy to be back on a flat piece of road to recover a bit.
Then we saw the 40km point on the other side of the road, and the fast runners running towards us on the otherside. Me and Akeem joked that they were giving us false hope by showing that 40km sign!
We were now close to the 30km point and we are feeling our legs getting a bit tired and stiff, I kept telling Akeem that Cheer Dem Crew should be there within the next 2km.
Those 2km took forever, we already took our 3rd energy gel at the 30km point but I was already desperate for another one.
Finally after the 2km that seemed forever, there they were: CHEER DEM CREW
If you see Cheer Dem Crew and your family standing on the sideline, it gives you an extra boost, a much needed boost!
I felt really special and the cheers were loud, as you can see on the picture my cousin handed me a bottle with what I think was some energy drink. Right behind him was Jahira slowly running with 2 gels already opened in her hands. I made it clear I needed a gel cause as I came running up I probably said the word gel about 6 times! Jahira handed me and Akeem the gels and we took them almost right away as our muscles were getting sore, sharing the energy drink that my cousin gave me.
My aunt followed me on the road next to us on her scooter and she took some pictures and kept encouraging us!
I made a sign that I was dead, I was joking but on the other hand I was getting really sore in the legs.
Then around the 35km point it hit me, I couldn't run anymore, my legs just didn't want to work.
I gave my thighs some slaps to wake them up (like that would help, yeah right)!
I had to walk, this was embarrassing! I asked Akeem if he was fit enough to go on, he said yes.
I told him if you are fit then just go, don’t worry about me believe me I will finish.
He didn’t want to hear any of that and stayed with me, I tried several more times to get him to run his own race but no, he stayed with me and I will be forever thankful that he did.
Between 35km and 39km I tried to run as much as I could, it was painful, so painful that I was leaning on a fence at one point.
I showed Akeem my knees and thighs, I said, "look at my muscles, they’re having spasms!"
We kept moving, the crowd was simply amazing!
They kept encouraging us, almost every single person along the route said something to keep us going.
"Jeroen, Akeem, jullie zijn er bijna, kom op!" (you are almost there, come on!)
At the 39km point I ran again, we ran again.
It felt good, I told Akeem, "I think I can keep this up till the finish, at least for now…"
Yes we were running again, there it was 40km point, not long from home now!
I had 2 cups of water and an energy drink, this should help me to keep going until the finish.
We ran further and saw the 41km point, not far now!!!
We were almost there, we saw the corner of the straight line to the finish, 500 meters left!
And then it happened, Akeem’s hamstring turned into stone, I saw the shocked and painful expression on his face.
Another runner saw it happening and grabbed one of Akeem’s arms over his shoulder, I grabbed the other arm and we walked towards the finish.
Then about 250meters till the finish line Akeem said he really needed to stretch. He got on his back on the floor with his leg up and the other runner pushed his foot down to stretch the back of his thigh, Akeem said: "push harder! Push harder, hurt me!"
That was slightly funny haha.
Akeem got up eventually, and we thanked the runner for his help.
We walked to the finish together, I provided Akeem all the support he needed as he put his arm on my shoulder.
We did do a little acceleration at the last 50 meters because we all know: It’s not about how fast you run, it’s how you cross the finish line!
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Watch out for Akeem's Race Day Report in the next couple of days - read, from his point of view, their journey to the finish line together!