Sometimes life just goes and goes and suddenly you realize you haven’t written a blog post in almost two months 😮
This will hopefully be the first of many again!
You might know or not know that my first marathon was the ‘Marathon van Brabant‘ two years ago.
I chose this marathon then because it’s a nice calm one, 2 loops in a nice environment on various terrain.
Obviously I ran a PB, but I also managed to run under 3:30, my dream goal back then.
This year, my brother wanted to run his first marathon and was looking for somewhat the same specifications as I was looking for two years ago: nothing too crowdy, nice terrain, not too expensive.
Seeing that I really enjoyed my run in 2013 and knew the supply points were ok and the volunteers were super enthusiastic, I recommended Marathon Van Brabant.
The choices in this period for a marathon are limited here so putting it all together, he decided to run it. I said I wanted to be there when he ran to encourage him, but around three weeks before we just decided it would be more fun if I ran along, which I did ^^
The marathon started at 11:45 and we had a 1h40min drive before we got there, so around 9 I stood at Nico’s (my brother) doorstep so we certainly would be on time.
The drive itself was uneventful (carb stocking!) so we got there really on time. Picking up Nico’s bib and registering myself went really smooth, which meant we had about 45minutes to kill.
We strolled to the starting line, where the family run just started. It was great to see all those moms and dads going with their child(ren) through run. We saw some really red faces, adults and children alike, because it was sometimes very clear that mom/dad wanted it more than son/daughter and vice versa and who was trained better than who. But it certainly made for a light mood around the starting line.
After seeing the 5k start, we went back to the changing rooms to make final preparations (toilet!) and headed to our corral of sub 3:30 (there were only 2, where 3:30 was the border).
292 registrations made sure there wasn’t an awful lot of shoving going on at the start, one of the biggest reasons to choose this marathon.
Once the gun popped we went out and made sure we weren’t going too fast (spoiler: failed) and took in the crowd, scene and weather.
The weather was really good for the time of the year, almost a little too hot. Wind was okay, so it promised to be a nice race.
The aim was going at a 4:50m/km pace (~7:46m/mile) aaaaand we blew it the first kilometers although we were sure we wouldn’t. (4:36-4:33-4:45-4:48-4:41)
Not bad for a 5k, especially in a marathon :-/
Luckily we found our pace after this and managed to run at a fairly consistent pace while putting some time in the bank, which I usually tend to try in the longer distances for when the times get rough. (They usually do).
The first half went really good and we clocked our half marathon 1:39:25, so on cruise speed for the goal:
- Goal was 3:30
- Stretch goal was 3:25
- Dream goal was 3:20
But we all know a marathon only really starts at 30-35km.
In all of his training my brother sometimes had severe cramps, so it was a rational fear that this would happen during the marathon. He took every precaution possible: drank lots and lots of water and sport drinks, ate bananas, dates, … but alas, it was of no avail.
First cramp hit at about 32km, after some stretching he managed to go and run again.
At 36km however we had to make a quick pit stop again and at 41km it really hit.
We had the luck there were 2 children cheering with a chair, so a quick stretch session later we were going for the last piece.
It’s for this that I was happy I tagged along, it’s a lot easier to give a mental boost if you’re running side-by-side. I did my best to keep on motivating and pushing him forward (figuratively off course).
I did my share, but Nico certainly did as well. It’s great to see how good he is at clenching his teeth and keep pushing forward to his goal.
Once we reached the finish line we were both as happy could be with an official time of 3:22:20.
Post Race Thoughts
I’m really happy I did this with my brother, achieving things like this together really tightens our bond!
Further: I started to get in some trouble at about 35k, but with the pauses of the cramps I managed to finish with a more than decent feel.
Which basically means in 2 years time I really evolved as a runner. I shaved 7 min of my marathon time with some gas in the tank left.
So good times coming 😉
Strava & Endomondo stats right here
Full result here: (VolledigeUitslagenMarathonBrabant2015) (only one available places everyone in age groups)