VOORNE’S DUIN TRAIL

This report comes royally late, I know. I had it pretty much written down, then didn’t feel like talking about running much (more about that later), left it lying about for a few months, stuff happened, excuses, more excuses, and all of a sudden we’re 3 months later. But here it is: my Voorne’s Duin trail report. Preparations for Voorne hadn’t been optimal: first there was work. Tons of it. So much, in fact, that squeezing a run into the schedule would have further reduced the already low amount of sleep I was getting. And when things got better, possibly related to that low amount of sleep, I got sick. As everybody knows, running while you’re sick is a bad idea. It’s useless. A sick body can’t be trained, that’s common knowledge.

So I ran. Because, more than to train my body, I’m running to ease my mind. To sort things out. I just needed to get away from it all by doing something I knew. Something that prevents me from doing something else at the same time (It’s impossible for me to watch tv without doing something else at the same time for example, and the same goes for many, many other things) and gives me a lot of time to think about, euhm, all kinds of things. So I ran. Turns out running when you’re sick is just an overall bad idea, no matter what your reason for doing it might be. It’s just not all that awesome. It did give me a lot of time to think, but the only thoughts on my mind for the entire run were along the lines of “I suck. This sucks. My legs hurt. This is frustrating. I used to be able to do this for 2 hours without getting tired. God I hate this. I’m gonna go eat some chocolate”. I went home and ate chocolate, which is something I’m always good at, sick, out of shape, whatever! Something I know and something that usually keeps me from doing other things at the same time.

Fast forward to that Monday, December 1st. T minus 6 days. A 26k run. Despite what a lot of people seem to think, distance never tells you how well it went. The feeling was bad. I hardly enjoyed it. Tuesday. Another 20+. Same story. Wednesday rest. Thursday, another 16. Getting there. Enjoying it. Cold and foggy. Friday. 20k. For the first time in what seemed a really long time, I felt reasonably well and decided to just give it a go and register for Voorne. I’d just run a comfortable pace and see where I’d end up.

I start in the very back of the pack, with Geert. Right from the start, I feel like this is a bad idea. The legs feel quite alright and I’m just going to get bored by staying in the back (no offense Geert 😉 ). So we say our goodbyes and I’m on my way!

About 3k in the race, I catch up with Mildred Haans, which can only mean one thing: I’m going way too fast. I ask if there’s anyone ahead and she says there are in fact 2 guys ahead of us. Another goodbye and I’m on my way again. I catch up with number 2 around km 7. The meandering trail doesn’t seem to be his cup of tea so I lose him right away. Alone again. Every now and then I catch a glimpse of the guy in the lead, but I’m barely closing in. We arrive at the beach around km 12, a strong headwind immediately hitting us hard in the face. He finally looks over his shoulder and I make the universal “wait for me and we can take turns”-sign. He does, and we do.

It turns out neither of us really knows the route and we decide to move closer to the dunes, in the soft sand, to make sure we don’t miss the sign where we’re supposed to get off the beach. A bad idea: the beach part was quite long and when, over 5k later, we finally see the sign, my legs have run low on energy. We hit the streets and some easier running parts of the track. Not for long though. We basically take a loop and are soon retracing our steps on the beach. And then things take a turn for the worse. We get off the beach again and into the dunes, and then… no ribbons. Apparently, we raced passed it on the way down from a big dune and it’s not until number 3 catches up with us that we notice which way we were supposed to go. Damn it! In position 3 now. My companion for the last 15k tries to keep up with the new leader, but I give in.

I’m starting to feel the lack of running over the past few weeks. When you’ve fallen alone mid-race, you have way too much time to think about this sort of things. Still, nobody’s in sight behind me and I decide to just continue, bring home my 3rd place. I hear the speaker. I’m close. And then I see the finish. A final stretch through a swampy meadow and across the line in just under 3 hours. I congratulate the winner who turns out to be Dennis Postma and we head inside, shelter from the cold & rain.

Voorne, you were beautiful. Heavy, but beautiful!

Oh, I didn’t want to keep you from the beautiful picture of my behind some photographer managed to take. And some other pictures too :-). Results right here.

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