As a result, we were all very tired as be got up at 5:40 am to make our way across London to get the Eurostar from St. Pancras to Brussels. My wife used to work in Belgium and still has many friends living there. The plan was to spend some time with them as well as letting me run the Brussels 20k, the biggest race on the Belgium running calendar.
Saturday was spent enjoying the nice weather and catching up followed by a trip to the pub to watch the cup final. It was then on to our friends house to have a BBQ. I had decided to have a couple of drinks over lunch and then a couple more at the pub so I was well oiled by the time the BBQ was lit. At this point, all thoughts of taking the race seriously had gone and I was having a great time with everyone. Bed was after 12 after more drink and lots of excellent food.
Next morning I didn't feel as bad as I feared so I was positive about the day. Johnathan kindly drove into town to pick up my race number and then it was back for lunch before returning into town for the race start. There was a slight hick-up as when I had booked the train, I had presumed, like with any normal race, that it would start in the morning but not in Brussels. It was a 3pm start and the train was a 5:58. That gave me about 30 minutes to get from the finish line to the Gare De Midi or miss the train and buy an expensive replacement.
The race itself started well with the first 5K in under 25 minutes, perfect for my predicted sub-1:40. I only realised I was slowing when I saw the 1:40 pacers moving away from me. By 11km I was feeling really rough and saw the 1:50 pacers drift past me. It was a hot day on a difficult course and the previous nights frivolity was making me hurt. I had to stop for a stretch for a few minutes (sore knee) and then again to get for tape for my sore nips (I forgot Vaseline).
By the 17th kilometer, I just wanted to finish and my time was irrelevant. I saw the arch at the finish but it was a long straight road and there was still 10 minutes of running left. It was agony. I eventually came in around the 1:55 mark which isn't the worst time in the world but well below my best. For example, I did the TW half marathon in 1:48 which is 0.6 miles longer than this run.
It was then a mad dash to the station which I made in time. I did consider getting on the train and texting my wife to tell her I'd missed it but I didn't have the nerve. She would have killed me :-)
Race Number: 13237
Pace: 9:12 minute miles
Finishing Position: 10,848 th out of 23,000