Monday, 26 September 2011

Hammer Stadtlauf 10k

Given the start line for this race is about 30m from my appartment i dont think you can get much more local. It would be unforgivable to not enter.

The Hammer Stadtlauf is another of these great City runs where it is as much about the childrens races as it is for the adults. In Hamm they have a special program where primary school kids start running and collect 40km ... and then run the final 2k of their 'Kids Marathon' at the City Run. Its a great idea, and good to see that kids of all abilities were giving it a go.

My day started off with me watching the Berlin Marathon, and Pattrick Makau setting a new WR, The conditions in the mornign were absolutely perfect for running, but as the slower 3/4 of the berlin marathon field will atest the afternoon was a bit too warm and the sun was pretty hot for an early autumn day.

I had my hopes set on breaking the 40 min barrier for the 10k, and tried to convince myself that the sun would be lower by 16:00 and that there would be more shadow and it wouldnt be so warm. I helped out as an impromptu race volunteer for the 5k race and the first couple of childrens races, before heading home to have a cooling shower and change into my race gear.

I did a 10 min warmup, and then headed back to the appartment for a drink and to put a bag of frozen peas on my neck. Even in the warm up it was clear the 25°c temperatures would make for an uncomfortably warm race... still i tried to remain optomistic. A couple of minutes before the start i headed down to the start line and found myself a place in the second row. Took a few deep breaths and wished my fellow runners luck.

Then we were off, the first km passes the main crowd twice as part of a warmup loop before getting onto the main route. Which meant with the adrenalin and the crowds pushing us on we all went out a bit faster than planned, my first km was over in 3:42 and i specifically held myself back. The front runners quickly opened up a gap and the rest of the field strung itself out behind them.

The second Km was still a little too fast at 3:55 but much more in tune with what i was expecting to run. Km 3 & 4 were much better, bang on the pace i knew i needed at that stage of the race to finish sub 40, I also managed to pull back 3 or 4 runners that had gone out too fast at the start.

By then however the warm conditions started to make themselves felt, my legs were really heavy and started to get that lactate burn i was wary that if i tried to maintain the pace Id end up blowing up completly. With the marathon preparation i havent done a lot of running at LT or faster. My pace slipped to 4:12's for Km 5-8, One of the runners that id pulled back earlier came past again and slowly opened a gap on me before having to pull off to the side around Km 7 ... could have been me i though to myself if id tried to hold the earlier pace.

From about Km 6 on we were also overtaking the slower runners as the route had 4 loops. That made it more difficult to see the runners ahead of me. but i did get the occasional glimpse and saw that i was holding steady with them. I hoped that my endurance would help me close up on them in the final lap.

I had recovered a little and managed to pick up the pace again in Km 9 with a 4:07, I knew the sub 40 was out of reach, but not that runner in the red 50m ahead of me. Id also managed to get a decent splash of water on me at the drinks station on the last time past which also helped cool me a little.

I dont really have much of a sprint finish, I much prefer to wind the pace up from further out and run to the finishing schute in a steady pace... so with 1 km to go i started to wind up my pace a little... And the footsteps i could here behind me helped push me a bit further. Unfortunately they stayed close behind, closing slowly, before he blew past on the last little rise before the finish line, a taste of my own medicine since thats how i like to pass people myself. Still he did help push me to a 3:56 final Km.

I crossed the line, i wasnt seeing stars, and i wasnt quite as blown out as at the end of Munster or NordKirchen, but it wasnt far off. i grabbed a drink and sat down to catch my breath... it still amazes me just how little time it takes to go from a state of total exhaustion back to relative comfort... another great side effect of running. I had heard the announcer call out 40:30 as i came in, my garmin said 40:27,  but we had to wait till all the runners finshed before the official results were published.

Imhappy with the official 40:28, It might not be sub 40, but it still shaved over a minute off my previous PB set in Olfen just 3 months earlier. I finished 11th overall from 82 starters (this years field was much smaller than last year), was 10th male, and as a cherry on top placed First in my Age Group. Thats only the second time Ive managed that, but this time i got an actual trophy. Ok its made out of plastic, but its the first trophy I've ever won for sporting achievment, so it will be taking up some prime real estate on the shelves in the living room.

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