Last year it was 33*c at the start of this race, i only did the 10k that time, This year it wasnt quite so warm, it had been cloudy and we even got a few rain showers in the morning, but the afternoon cleared up and the thermometer was siting around 25*c at the start.
The Roruper Abendlauf is a great little event. Really well organised, with a route running through the rolling hills of munsterland. Plenty of drink stations, and lots of support from the crowd. The half marathon starts 10 mins before the 10k both run along more or less the same course with the half having a slightly longer first loop then repeating the course.
There were some 280 entrants for the half marathon and 400 for the 10k. I paid attention to my warmup for this race, In particular doing some running at near race pace, before stopping 10mins before the start, I waited int he shade until we formed up and got a place in the second row. The gun went and we were off. There was the usual jostle for the first 500m as the course was relativly narrow (1 car width) but i got away pretty good.
Actually i probably got away a little too good, because i found myself running at the back of a group of runners ticking over at 4:15 pace. And although id decided to try running at 4:23-4:25 i let myself be suckered into sticking with them. It wasnt a problem for the first 2km where there was a slight downhill. but from km 2-6 it was a gentle rise all the way with a pretty decent headwind as well. I should have let them go and run my own race, but i didnt. and by km 6 i was starting to pay the price.
Shortly after that we rejoined the main loop for the 10k race, which meant that i was faced with weaving through a fair amount of slower traffic. I managed to hook onto the back of one of the first female runners and follow her through most of the worst of it, before she stretched out on the downhill a bit more than i could and opened up a gap before eventually pulling away.
The middle of the race was my worst section, where i was struggling to clear my legs of the lactate debt id built up in the first few kms where id gone out to fast. I lost about half a dozen places. The heat was really starting to take an effect and i had started splashing the rest of my drink water over my legs to help cool them. the gel i took at km10 didnt sit to well either.
Still along the flat sections i was still pulling off 4:30's but on the hills it was 4:45's on the last hill a runner that had just been footsteps behind me finally pulled up along side me, we exchanged a few words, mostly along the lines of, 'hot eh?' 'yeah', and 'damn fool thing to be doing on a day like today' It allowed me to stick with him untill the top of the hill, from there i knew it was either a gentle down hill over the last 4-5 km or flat.... so i dug deep, and held onto him for the next 2 km...
then i drew along side him, and we even picked up a few places overtaking some guys who were really struggling with the heat, with about 1.5 km to go we came to the last drink station, I didnt stop for a drink, took the corners really tight and let the party atmosphere push me through a tad quicker. I dont know if he stopped for a drink but it let me open up a 10m gap... and so i dug deep and decided to make my run to the finish I was running at 4:20 pace and though id be able to hold it until the finish, but with about 250m to go my legs were shot, I was running on rubber and there was nothing i could do to even hold the pace, I slowed but didnt loose any places to cross the line in 1:35:39
Its the first time since ive started running that ive not run a new PB, my current PB (1:34:55) was set earlier in the year in perfect conditions on a pancake flat course. Perhapes if id followed my original pace plan to the letter i would have been able to beat it. but im still pretty happy with the result. Ive also learnt some valuable lessons, in particular to be a lot more rigerous about sticking to my own race plan especially in the early part of the race. Im also fairly certain that if race day temperatures in Münster are around the same ball park as this run then I will not be able to run under 3:10, and it will be beter to take it a bit easier and save the big effort for one of the alternative autumn marathons.