Saturday 21 April 2018

Rotterdam man, 2018

After last year's Manchester Man, I was kinda hopeful that I could run a marathon on not very much training. But, I was wrong. My main excuse is that after Manchester I got injured, and essentially did no running from June to January, with the exception of some short runs that ended with me going "ow" after a bit when my left calf failed, again. But in February I was back, and did 1:44 in the Cambridge half, which is slow by about 4 minutes, and was also much harder work than it should have been, but I convinced myself it would be all right. A weaker excuse is that I got carried away at breakfast, which I then threw up at 21k. And a still weaker one is the unseasonably warm weather, though that did nothing to stop James up north.

Anyway, TL;DR: 4:25. Yes, really: my worst ever.

I was running with my new Garmin 620 (watch review coming real soon now) including heart rate strap, and I think the trace confirms that I didn't give up too early, in that my heart rate was only just under 150 when I finally caved in. Since I spend most of any given race wondering if I can give in yet, this is important to me.

There's not much else to say about the race; Rotterdam is flat apart from some gentle long bridges; there were lots of water stops. There's a bag drop, but you have to pay, and you must do so in advance; you can't do it on the day you pick up your number, which I think is stupid. Apart from that it's pretty well run.

Of the trip

I took the ferry from Harwich to Hoek, as I always do. Top news this year is that the boarding gantry at Harwich has finally been repaired, so no more bussing. Except... the other news is that the Hoek to Schiedam railway is under repair, so there's a bus at that end. Which, comically, also goes to Hoek Strand; so the first thing that happens to all the people getting off the ferry is that their bus goes the wrong way for five minutes, before turning round. I'll spare you the horror of what I look like in my cabin. The marathon doesn't start until 10:15, and number pick-up lasts till 10, so I think that if you wanted a rather more frenzied pace of life, you could get the ferry over Saturday night; it docks early, and getting to Rotterdam by 9 should be easy.


The bus to the beach did give me a chance to see some interesting flats, which seem to have been designed to look very much "plonked down in the landscape" without any of the ugly infrastructure that buildings normally need. Pic from Google streetview.


After picking up my number it was time to get to my hotel, the SS Rotterdam, from Rotterdam.


The ship is probably sitting on a cradle, or has silted in, because it doesn't give the impression of floating. This year I was operating a strict No Touristing policy, so I didn't look round the architectural marvels of Rotterdam, or even bother with a tour of the ship. I now discover - via wiki - that she was built in 1959 and lasted till 2000. She's certainly more elegant than the ferry. However, she is also at the far end of a very long dock, which would have been tedious to walk to, especially after a long run - hence my belated attempt to apply for a bag drop. But! There's a better answer, the water bus.


Painted, presumably on a whim, to resemble and American train. A one-way trip is a mere E1; for something more like E5 you can take a much more frequent water taxi instead. In the afternoon I walked all the way down the long long dock, past endless barges each with their car parked behind the deckhouse, these are large barges, to a local cafe for a cafe.


And then I walked back again. The evening meal had a recommended beer to go with the ravioli, so I had that. The next day, having paid for breakfast, I made the mistake of eating too much of it, got the water taxi to the start, sat in the sun on the wharf of the Maritime museum, and then ran badly.

Here's one of Rotterdam's architectural marvels, not by any means the most wacky, the railway station.


And here are my shoes and feet when back on the ferry, for my reference. There are no exciting blisters. My feet felt pounded, but they generally survive being run on pretty well.


And that's the end.

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