Having arrived in the Netherlands about 24 hours earlier from Vancouver, Canada, I am not quite sure what to expect at the start of the Houtwijkkerstloop 10km on December 15, 2007. It is cold, sunny with little wind. The course is a certified 10km and as flat as they come. My starting position is not ideal but luckily the road is wide so I power through the slower runners in front of me.
My parents are watching the race at about the 1-km mark, and I decide to quickly pull off my long-sleeve top with hoody and hand it to my mum. I keep my gloves on, and race in a sleeveless top with long tights. As long as I keep running fast, I am warm enough. My first kilometre goes by in just under 4 minutes. I slow down a touch but not much as I feel good.
I have had my heart set on 40 minutes for a long time and today I feel ready to give it another good go. My best time is 41:18 run in August 2007. Today, I keep churning out kilometres that are just over 4 minutes so I am on target to finally break 41 mins. I tell myself that I deserve it and focus.
I cross the finish in 40:24 and am so happy! I have just smashed my previous 10km time and I know I can go faster. I get very cold after the race and go home with my parents after having watched a few others finish. My mum finds the results online which show I was second female. I guess I missed out on a prize. Oh well, there's no better reward than my time!