Once a year, Niek and I take part in one of Amsterdam's biggest running races, the Dam tot Damloop. It's a 10 mile race that takes you from Central Station in Amsterdam (The Dam) through Amsterdam-Noord to Zaandam (the "other" Dam) on the other side of the water. Here's a little map I made for you in gmaps pedometer shows you the race.
I especially love the fruit stop somewhere around the half-way mark. The race has your normal water and sports drink stops with the truly disgusting Dutch sports drink, AA, which tastes kind of like an orange lollipop and coats your mouth like candy. Why so many people clamor to grab their cups of it, I have no idea. I have avoided it ever since my first (and last) sip. At least the race isn't that long, and I wasn't in it to win it so I just stuck with the water. But back to that fruit stand...It's about four cafeteria tables long and it was full of banana slices, orange slices and fresh melon slices. Whoever decided this needed to be a staple of the race is a genius. Without that little break, my last five miles would have been much less enjoyable. I have started to look forward to getting to that stand, and I'm grateful to the jolly Amsterdammer in the apron just chopping away at all that fruit. Seriously, he looked really happy to be chopping up fruit.
All in all, I absolutely loved the Dam tot Damloop this year even if my legs felt like lead and a slightly annoying guy kept passing me and slowing down, passing me and slowing down. Great running music on the course and lots of slightly inebriated spectators made for an enjoyable afternoon. Niek had a great race and improved on his time from last year by almost fifteen minutes. He's so awesome. The only complaint I have, why no water at the finish? I do wish they would hand that out instead of a bottle of AA Drink, but I don't think it's in the Dutch genes to reach for water. They think Americans drink too much of it. I'll bet plenty of runners even ran to the nearest coffeehouse after the race to quench their thirst. Oh, wait, that's what Niek and I did, and yes, my latté was quite delicious (after I had had my bottle of water).