We came, we saw, we conquered! Who said that originally? Not sure, but it’s a very applicable phrase for the club’s trip to Amsterdam last week.
Waking up at 3am to catch the 6am red-eye flight out of Luton, I am sure I speak for the others by saying it was a pretty ugly time of day to be getting up, but soon enough we were all gathered at the airport, checked in, and looking for somewhere to get coffee and croissants. I was surprised by how lively the team was for the time of day. Excitement was clearly kicking in!
Getting our 3-day travel passes at Schiphol airport we boarded the train to Amsterdam central. Stepping out across the concourse it was very much a case of taking your life into your own hands with trams, cars, busses and thousands of cyclists coming at you from every angle. We quickly found our hotels to dump our bags then headed out to the meeting point where we’d agreed to take the requisite team photo which was at the famous “I Amsterdam” sign at the back of the Rijksmuseum.
The rest of the day was spent at the expo and at various museums with one in particular causing a fair degree of hilarity! Finally we all got together again for the pre-race evening meal at a superb Italian restaurant in the centre, then it was off to an bed early!
Race day! The Marathoners (Paul, Mark, Brad and Keith) set off first with their race starting at 9.30am. The rest of us found a quality place for an LFR breakfast takeover in the red-light district, then back to the hotel, race gear on, and off for the start of the half-marathon.
What a scorcher!! I think the temperature hit 20 degrees at one point in the afternoon, which was too hot for most of us, so only one of us hit a PB that afternoon (Lindsey Caroline) the rest just happy to take part. For my part I should have applied some experience to my race-strategy, given the heat, and perhaps set off slower at the start and built up speed, aiming for a negative split….but hindsight is always very useful. Instead I ran the way I had done during training in the cold rain in the UK, and went out fast and hard, clocking a 20 min 5k at some point in the first half of the race. The second half was slower and a tough slog to the end. Oh well, lesson learned! Will definitely go off slowly next time it’s hot…honest!
What was particularly good after finishing was seeing all the team come in, finding out how they did, congratulating them, then all of us heading back together, naturally we stopped for a well-earned beer and a photo in a pub on the way!
That night we ate at the famous ‘Grasshopper’ in the centre of Amsterdam, and after a night on the town we then had the best part of a day to kill before flying back. At this point there were many options on the table, boat rides, tandem rides or museums so we divided up into small groups and explored the city. I was with Emma, Clive Anthony and Carrie and we chose to rent Tandems for a few hours to explore the city. This was hilarious!
Eventually we all made it back to the airport, boarded the plane and went our separate ways. Like the saying goes, all good things must come to an end, it’s the same with LFR weekends away. We all had an amazing time, whether or not we hit our race targets, happy to share an experience within the team. The next trip is already being planned for Edinburgh 2017 and if you’re even slightly tempted by this sort of team trip, then do not hesitate! Get onboard!