RUN | My experience: The Brussels Half Marathon

Great news: I survived! To be honest, it wasn't as heavy as I expected it to be. Who knows, I might run another one someday (in the far future). BUT I finished in 2:15:44 and you know what, I'm damn proud of it. Okay, maybe the winner ran twice as fast as I did but luckily my goal was to just survive. Here are my thoughts on the (Brussels) half marathon!

What I learned:
  • Brussels is NOT flat. Hallelujah, is it built on seven hills like Rome or what? We had to run through 3 tunnels around kilometer 3 and I was seriously thinking I'd never make it if it would continue like this. Luckily it didn't and there was a quite big flat part too, but the road went up at 15km again and my calves weren't too happy with that.
  • Music is everything. No joke, I don't think I would have reached the finish without it. At the 11km mark, Animals (from Martin Garrix) came up and I'm pretty sure I started dancing. I don't even wanna know what my combination of running & dancing looked like, but it made me pretty pumped. It gave me powerrrrrr! I may or may not have run quite a lot faster during that song.
  • The provisioning is amazing! According to the site, there were 5 feeding & drink stations, but I'm quite sure I drank at least 6 times. I did drink a lot, but I also sweated a lot so I didn't need to go to the bathroom. They had both water and AA iso drink, so I grabbed a bottle of AA at the first stand and ran with it the entire time - as you can tell from the picture above. I took some sips when I felt like I could use them and drank water at the other stations. At 10 km we also got a half banana, which was amazing!
  • There was an amazing atmosphere. Everyone was in the mood for it and was friendly and since I ran in the back group (aka the slow group), people didn't care about their times as much and started clapping at each music point. There were several groups playing music during the run, which was amazing! Everyone (or almost everyone) was laughing and that just made me feel good.
  • I had packed stuff so I could take a shower afterwards, because we wanted to explore Brussels a little more. They had indicated the showers on a plan and said there would be signs down the road. Well, there were 2 signs on the main road, but apparantly it was some kind of expidition to test how smart you were after 21K. We walked around for almost 45 minutes and ran into several other runners who where also looking for showers, but never found them! I was really disappointed because the rest of the race was organised so good. I still don't get it.
  • Right before the race, I quickly ate a banana and a high carb bar I bought. This helped me through the first 10km and the banana I got then helped me a little further, but at 16km it was time. I had never ran this long and thought I could use the energy gel I had also bought. WHAT THE HELL. The energy part is definitely true! I felt like I could run another 16K! It really gives you an instant shot of energy to make it to the end and although it wasn't super delicious, I'd definitely take it again if I needed it!
  • I have an (old) iPod Nano - 4th generation, 8GB. The battery isn't what it used to be and I have to charge it every time I go for a longer run. I was rather curious to see whether the battery would survive 21K. Good news, it does!
  • Although they had said it wouldn't rain, guess what happened when we were waiting to start? Right, it started raining. Very lightly though, and that continued for the largest part of the run. To be honest, I didn't really care. The weather was actually amazing! It was around 15°C, cloudy but not much wind and just a little rain. Perfect circumstances for running! I ran in a shirt and shorts and definitely did not need anything more. I saw people running in thights and got hot in their place. Nor the rain, nor the temperature bothered me. I even liked it!
  • The course was beautiful! I'm not really familiar with Brussels and definitely not with the surrounding towns, so it was completely new to me. We ran through some beautiful big lanes and there was so much green! We ran past several beautiful parks. I could imagine myself running through them. I was looking around the entire time!
  • Last but not least at all: a sprint at the end is always necessary. I ran a little too hard on km 19 and 20 and the entire last km I was thinking "whereistheendwhereistheendwhereistheend". As soon as I saw the counter and the finishing mark, I managed to push out a sprint and finish a few seconds sooner than normal. There's also a rather funny finisher video of me (right here), you can see me at 00:26.

That's it. Quite a lot huh? Those are my experiences on the Brussels Half Marathon. I truly loved it and every fiber in my body was friggin' proud when I came over the finish line. I'm not saying I'll ever do it again, but I don't dare to say never anymore either.. To round off the topic on my marathon, I'd like to share with you my very official diploma (yes I'm proud of it!)

Pictures were all taken by Sportograf.

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