Race: International Half Marathon, Kelkheim, West of Frankfurt, Germany
Distance: Half marathon
Date: Sunday 1 September 2002
Weather: Overcast at start, sunny at end, reasonably cool but windy.
Course description: Three and three quarter laps through town centre and suburbs reasonably flat (worth a re-run)
The running scene in Germany is, I’ve concluded, enormous with a choice of races almost every weekend, each within less than an hour’s drive of home. This one, less than 15 minutes from home and fortunately run in the base of a valley away from the somewhat vicious hills around my own village.
My first race in five weeks, which doesn’t sound like a big break but for me its an eternity, especially when prior to my five week break I had been racing every other week. Anyway the break was at least partially enforced due to (well documented and moaned about) knee problems. Fortunately, whilst I’ve had a minor relapse and some knee pain this week, a day off and an easy day the day before the race meant I felt little pain either before or during the race. The race was also a good test of form as due to the aforementioned knee pain I’ve had to almost completely drop speed training from my schedule over the last four weeks (relying instead on hard / steady runs and some tempo work).
Anyway, as set out last week my strategy for the race was to try and run to my HRM (as I had done five weeks previously) and keep in the low-mid 170’s for the first half, with an increase over the second half – at least that was the plan………
With what seemed like over 500 people registered I pushed myself to the front taking up my customary second/third row position to ensure no time lost at the start. Surprisingly I was feeling a little nervous evidenced by the fact that just before the gun as I glanced at the HRM of the chap next to me his HR read 87, mine read 109! Bang! And were off, the customary small rush of about 20-30 come past but I’m holding back (not wanting to overcook) whilst trying to move smoothly. I’ve set the alarm on my HRM for the first time with a range of 165 – 180. A quick look at my HRM after the first km – 175, I’m already in my range.
(Move on to part 2)