This was my second visit to Rotterdam for the well known city marathon. It was back in 2010 the first time and it was then that I broke the 3hrs mark for the first time in my running days. This year was also special in some ways for me. It is just 6 months after my serious injury - accident that affected my back and kept me almost 2 months out of any kind of training. My preparation for the marathon started mid January and had to fight with some pains at my back as well as my demanding daily (and many times weekends as well) work schedule. Since I follow my own protocol in preparation for the marathon, and I do it every time for the past several years, I could tell from start that even though my endurance was still there, I was not as fast as I used to be. My accident has affected posture and technique. Main objective was to get my motivation up and enjoy this period as much as possible. I also tried to stick to my protocol with the intervals and long runs without overloading my schedule. from start it was obvious that i was about 4-6 secs slower for my 1000m reps. I kept my focus on my running form and kept any bad thoughts out of the way.
When I stood at the starting line, I knew that my best possible time for this marathon would be in 2:43 and change to 2:47 and change. I started with a nice weather and kept a comfortable pace for the first 15kms. I was running in the area of 3:49/km even though the wind was slowing us down in some segments. This was a nice pace for me. Crossed the 1/2 marathon in just over 1:21. I kept going at more or less the same pace till the 34th km. Then I decided to give it a try for the fastest limit that I knew i could achieve. My legs were fine and still had juice left in them. But just a few hundred meters after I had this thought, a tightness at my right hamstring made me reconsider. There were still 7kms to the finish line. A muscle injury at this point would become much worst if I kept pushing it for 7kms. So I decided to slow down just enough to feel comfy till the finish. And so I did. I kept going at a 4:10/km pace till 2kms before the finish. I picked up the pace a bit when I was close to the finish and there was no risk. I was happy to see the 2:45 on the stopwatch when I crossed the finish line. 1 minute slower than my PB and the same as last year in Boston (which I consider as my best marathon considering the difficulty of the Boston course).
After the race I recovered very fast. Legs are back in shape with just a day of rest after the race. And looking forward for the next race!