Monday, May 09, 2005

Baden Mile 2005

Saturday was a nice cool 10C/50F day, windy, rainy, and wet! Out of the 70 people signed up from my company, 57 showed up and completed the 8.88889K run/walk. I picked up my starting number and T-shirt at 10 a.m., 5 hours before the start of the race. This was cool as there were no lines, an important point to consider as there were over 3000 participants signed up for the main run. I returned home, ate, and slept for an hour. About 1:30 p.m. I drove to Karlsruhe and left my car near the finish line, taking the street car to the center of the city where the start was located. My company wanted to meet 20 minutes before the run for a group picture, but this idea soon dissolved due to the mass of people. About 15 minutes before the race I loosened up, ran about 10 minutes and made my way as close to the front of the start as possible.

The crowd at the start was extremely hyped up, probably because the wind chill factor was close to freezing so they were trying to stay warm. I probably had about 200 people in front of meet when the gun went off. I have never experienced such an aggressive start as this day, people were pushing shoving and being downright rude! It was obvious that the majority are not regular long distant runners. Within the first 5 minutes I probably passed half of these idiots. I started out too fast, mostly to keep from getting trampled by the mob. I ran the first KM in 4:38, which is a 7:27/mile, the second in 4:40. I then slowed down to about 5:00/K (8:00/mile) until the last couple kilometers. I finished in 43:44 which translates into a pace of 4:55/K (7:55/M). I was the 560th runner in a sea of 2451.

As I mentioned the first kilometer was a mad dash, after about 5-10 minutes I started passing hordes of people who had burned themselves out. We ran by the palace, then back to a parallel street that follows the main shopping district in the city. From there we crossed a pedestrian bridge that crossed over the main street splitting the Centrum with the more residential section of town, eventually passing within one street of the old American military housing (hey Susan!). In this part of town there were lots of people (especially kids) out cheering us on. As it rained the whole time you have to admire these people! We eventually took a left and starting circling around to the last stretch of the U-shaped course. This came up quick - around a large building, under the main street again and boom on an asphalt path that winds to the finish line. This path went on for about 15 minutes, just about to the finish line – you could hear the cheering crowds – but then took a sharp left and went all the way around the outside of the stadium before coming in the other side – then we still had a ¾ lap to complete. I knew this from last year, but you could hear the disappointment from some who thought they were almost finished when they saw the stadium.

I held a constant tempo the last 6+ kilometers, picking it up slightly the last few minutes. But I was really beat by the time I crossed the finish, I definitely am not used to running so fast! But 10 minutes later I was recovered looking for food, while most of my buddies were looking like they were ready for a nap.

I discovered we have a few marathon runners in the company, you could tell, they were the ones looking fit soon after the race! We also have some fast runners, one finished in 18th place with a time of 32:58, another in 34th place with a time of 34:04. My boss beat me by 3 minutes, even though I matched his time from last year. With the exception of two everyone who ran last year improved their times this year.

I am really happy with my time, I had not planned on running so fast. I still have muscle cramps – worse than when I ran the 30+ long runs. Tonight I want to do a recovery run and try to loosen up a little.

Oh, very savvy of you to "let" your boss beat you. ;)

I can't believe that people were pushing and shoving at the start! Man, I thought it was rude when people just got in your way, I've never seen somebody trying to take people out. Yuck!
Great race, Jack! Nice placement in the final results. Sounds like it was a madhouse. Was this chip timed? I'm thinking some of the pushing folks hadn't even been in a race before. Crazy.
The race was timed through a barcode on the race number, in other words you had to get over the start line and on your way as fast as possible. The barcode was read with a hand scanner at the finish line. This concept works fine for smaller races, but we had 3000 runners trying to get over the line at once! I think next year I'll just start in the back and take my time, there are lots of other races around.
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