Oh, What a Race in Rotterdam!

Worth a thousand words.




What a race! I am so absolutely thrilled with my performance today.
Throughout this season, Coach Rick and I focused on marathon pace for all of my races leading up to my first attempt at the Olympic Standard. I ran that pace in November in the RememberRun 8 km and worked my way up to that pace for the March 1st Chilly Half. In the last month of training, I then gained a lot of fitness, including spending nearly 3 weeks in Texas/Florida. I wasn’t very vocal with this marathon, rather just wanted to somewhat quietly do the work and take a shot at it.
Heading to Rotterdam via Amsterdam, I had great travel with no major jet lag issues, an amazing roommate from Paraguay, and no pressure going into the race. The weather looked decent with good temps and some wind. 
Heading into the race,I knew Miranda Boonstra, from the Netherlands wanted to hit her Olympic standard (it was already announced, unlike our standard as Athletics Canada is waiting for the IAAF to announce it first) of 2:28:00. She had two pacers and the four of us stuck together, on pace until 30 km. Unfortunately she started to suffer from bad leg cramps and I was forced to go ahead on my own. At that point, the headwind was nasty and I had to make a decision: 1. aim to continue on my own at that pace, to break 2:28:00, also the Canadian record, and possibly suffer, risking my chance at the CDN Olympic standard or 2. play it safe, stay strong and consistent, adjusting my effort based on the wind and guarantee myself the standard. With the wind and solo running for the remaining 12 km, I chose the safer option. It was the right choice.
Although it wasn’t a PB (which is 2:28:32 from 2013), it was the best race I ever ran, mentally. I was very calm and relaxed. Every time I felt a physical struggle, I just kept the rhythm and waited for it to pass. And it did. It was the first marathon where I felt, “Wow, only x km to go!” as opposed to “Ugh, there’s still x km to go!”. The crowds were great, especially when I ran with their local, Miranda.
When I crossed the line and knew I had the (2012) Olympic standard and was informed I was third woman, well first I vomited, then came the happy tears and smiles. 
I ended up taking 2 hrs in doping control to give the required 90 mL sample but had my phone and the company of a few other runners around me, one being Miranda. It was so nice to get to know her.  In 2012 when I ran Rotterdam, I was 2 minutes slower than our standard. She was 8 seconds slower in the same race. Today I have our standard and again, she does not have her standard. Marathoning is incredibly tough. Having a perfect race at this level is rare. Very rare. I certainly look up to her, at age 42, continuing to commit and work incredibly hard at something in hopes to succeed with no guarantee. 
When asked at dinner with the Speed River group, by coach Dave Scott-Thomas what was next for racing, I replied with a smile, “You know, that is a question I am pleased to have no answer!”. 
I am going to do some travelling in Europe for a few days as a mini vacation, where I can eat anything and enjoy the wonderful surroundings, returning home to Brantford on Thursday. It will be great to see the kids and Jonathan, who has been juggling his busy job and their schedules and care since I left.    

Eload fuel, every time! In each of the 8 bottles I had Eload Fly (carbohydrates) and Eload Endurance (carbohydrates and electrolytes) with one gel taped to the side. I practise in my training runs to know what works best for my GI. Then when it comes to racing, you have to listen to your body to know how much to take in. When I ran the 2013 STWM, I was drinking most of the fluid and gobbling the gels. But today, I took in about half of the fluids and gels, particularly in the beginning when I wasn’t quite ready and in the end, when I had a few urges to vomit, which fortunately didn’t happen until I crossed the line! Sorry to those around me! 

Great support from Saucony. Fancy race kit too.

So impressed with this Belgian guy’s breakfast, race morning. 10 pieces of toast. Yes, I counted. 

My fabulous roommate, Carmen Martinez. Way to go on setting another marathon record of 2:35 for Paraguay today!

Great pacer, Stefan from Belgium. AND a father of FIVE!

Saucony Netherlands and Saucony Canada. Congrats, Gert-Jan Wasskink on your National bronze medal today.

Great pacing group with Miranda Boonstra and the two pacers. 

Solid finish, getting the job done. Photo: David Hiddleston.
Honoured to run with, and get to know Miranda Boonstra while in doping control together. 
Well, that was a first. Blood on the race number, which was on my back. Good ‘ol chafing.

Beautiful flowers and trophy. Elegant vase.

Enjoying my first treat of peanut m&m’s, after the race with Carmen.

A huge thank you and hug to every single one of these people (and many more): 

#TeamDuChene: Jonathan, Micah, Seth, Leah

Coach Rick & Josie Mannen
Sherri, Paul, Patricia – Essential Physiotherapy and Wellness
Naomi, David, Ashley – Therapeutic Massage Counsel 
Sue – stretching and breathing exercises and an active mom I look up to
Maureen, Jeanetta – childcare at the Wayne Gretzky Sports Centre
Celine, Jonathan’s parents, Uncle Glen & Aunt Joyce – helping care for the kids
James, Clayton – super great running friends
Eload – sports nutrition
Saucony – apparel and footwear
Liberte – yogurt
Chariot – running stroller


  1. AMAZING!!!! So Proud of you!

  2. Amazing race, I was there with David spectating at the 29k and 41k mark and it was incredible seeing you go by (twice!). I see you used my photo from Instagram as well. Happy to send you the originals as well as the other ones I took of you if you want. 🙂

  3. Thanks, Alison. I'd love to get the pictures!

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