Firstly, I'd done essentially no training. Secondly, I'd hurt my back in Sabaudia on the last day and it took a week to recover. Third, I'd spent the previous weekend in Yorkshire (is that an excuse?). Fourth, I'd still got the cough I (probably) caught off Chris in Sabaudia, and I suspect probably most importantly, still got the edge of a mild flu.
The ferry over was much like last year - Harwich still haven't fixed their gangway, so you still have to go into the ferry by bus. This time I walked from the ferry to the end of the breakwater, and then back and then on to Maassluis West because I could. Indeed with more time I could have walked all the way into Rotterdam, it really isn't very far; but 16 km the day before a marathon was probably a bit silly. To the Mainport Design Hotel, which is just by the Maritime museum and convenient for the start next day (to compare with Pincoffs from last year: both are nice, this one is more expensive, this one wins as more conveniently situated). All insanely over the top - for example my room had a jacuzzi in it, which really I'd rather not have had, but I'd booked late and didn't have much choice of room. And there was a sauna in the bathroom. But there was a lovely view out over the river and the quay of the museum. Eat in for dinner - pasta - and then spend some time in the evening trying to photograph myself in some impressive way.
Anyway, the day dawned clear and still and I went down to breakfast nice and early. The buffet was good, but the one in the Neue Post in Innsbruck was better. There was enough time to do everything, most especially to check my watch was charged and go to the toilet five times. Leave bag with hotel having checked out, and off: its warm enough in the sun but chill out of it; I could do with a binliner. There's the usual (for Rotterdam) confusion of getting to the start: since they wall bits off, you need to wiggle round back streets. But, there's time, especially since it doesn't start till about 10:20. Somewhat tastelessly - or so I thought, given Boston - each "wave" was started with a loud bang and/or some kind of firework. Well, who cares? I started off not fast, but settled into just-better-than-5:30-per-km, which was fine by me, since 4h was my aim, feeble though that is. I went through half way in 1:57 I think, which was just about in touch; but was overtaken by the 4 h pacers at about 26 km as we went back over the Erasmusbrucke; and I struggled with any kind of pace after that. I settled for aiming for 6:30 - oh dear - but allowing myself to walk through water points, and how I looked forward to the next water point! But finally the last few km drew nigh, and I imagined myself rowing down the Cam thinking its not very far now, and at last I finished and oh how good it was to stop.