Saturday, December 31, 2005

One Last Race Report

So my last race report for the year, somehow I’m all emotional about this, it really has been a good year. I ran and ran, set PR’s, then set them again. Today was not a PR day, the weather was against it, I guess I was too. I ran a 28K/17M long run last Saturday, another approx. 1K less than that on Wednesday. I did absolutely zero speed work, and Mother Nature has been emptying here snow basket on us all week. Today was much warmer, 7C/45F, the racing trails wet, filled with snow, ice, slush, mud and puddles – it was more of a cross-country race than a 10K.

My wife and I arrived in Rheinstetten-Forchheim about an hour before the start of the Forchheim New Year's Eve 10K race, I picked up my race number and sat with my wife for a while. I was hoping that some of my co-workers would show up for the race, the race was only a few miles from work and a lot lived in the area. In the end only one woman showed up that worked in another part of the company – we knew each other from sight and exchanged greetings and talked for a bit before the race. She had a couple friends with her that she had counted on running with so I decided it was better to run on my own – they were more back of the packer’s.

So about 15 minutes before the race started I took a last walk to the toilet, did some stretching and jogged a few minutes to warm up. The Start was located on the main street in the town of about 8000, they closed it off for the race. There were just over 400 runners participating in the 10K race today and one of the most diverse crowds I’ve seen for awhile. There were the normal athletic types hovering in the front, the normal citizens like myself in the middle and towards the rear a mixture of all conceivable runners, including a group of 10 with matching T-Shirts with “Happy New Year” written in German front and back (they all ran and finished together).

I looked for my co-worker but didn’t see her in the crowd (I passed her a few minutes later, she was way up front). So anyway, before I knew it the start gun sounded and we were off. The first kilometer was rather uneventful, other than having to dodge a lot of slow runner’s who lined up in the front. I passed the 1K marker in 5:12 (8:22/M). We had been following the road for about half this distance, than turned off onto a side street that led out to the fields surrounding the town – the last few hundred meters were downhill.

Shortly after the 1K marker we turned left onto a path that led along some fields than ducked into the forest. The trail was miserable, at best we slipped and slided along, real running was almost impossible. Here I think my short legs were a distinct advantage, I passed on person after the other averaging 5:00/K (8:03/M) for kilometers 2-4.

Somewhere between kilometer 4-5 we turned again a ran along a dike (we were close to the Rhine River) – it was really icy, we were all forced to slow down. I passed the 5K point in 25:31, then I shut my stopwatch off – I decided that it was just too slippery to be worrying about my time – better to concentrate on the path and try to avoid any injury.

So I continued on the best I could for the next 4 kilometers, everyone was having trouble, some stopped and walked, other’s seem to just slow up and not worry about it anymore. Shortly before the 9K marker we had to run up a short hill, it was treacherous – why didn’t they sand it? I gingerly made my way up, slowing almost to a walk. Once I reached the top we turned onto a street which was partially clear, I picked up my pace as we passed the 9K marker.

From this point the race was through the streets of the town. The streets were partially clear, but full of mud puddles. My already wet feet where now soaked through and through, my running pants covered with mud, it was raining a drizzling rain – but I was focused.

I tried to pick up my pace as best I could, but somehow I was beat from the slipping and sliding. I tried to psych myself up for a good finish, but somehow it wasn’t working. The about 500 meters before the finish I heard my name, Birgit one of the woman that ran with our company team this past October was yelling encouragement and gave me a high-five as I ran by. This was the spark that it took to get me going. I picked up the pace, and as I rounded the last corner and the final 200 meters I broke into a sprint passing several people and almost ran over one lady who stopped and walked in the finish chute right before the finish line. The only thing that saved her was someone literally pulling her out of the way as I came charging through!

I glanced at the clock as I ran over the finish line, 52:0x, not good, but not bad considering the trail conditions. I’ll take it :-) Whoooohooo that was a hard 10K, but somehow still totally awesome. After catching my breath (I really sprinted the last part!), I grabbed a cup of warm tea to drink and wondered over to the finish to cheer in my co-worker – she showed up with her friends about 11 minutes later – totally happy to be finished, but complaining about the messy trail. Eventually our other co-worker Birgit came over and joined us and we talked for a while. Birgit was just getting over a cold so didn’t run today – she ran the race last year.

As it was raining we broke up after a few minutes and went our separate ways. I took a shower at the sports club and joined my wife just as they were handing out the awards to the elites. I was pleased to see that the 90-year old runner that frequents the local races finished the 10K today. He received an award for being the oldest runner and a standing ovation – he is my hero and an inspiration for many (he finished in 1:38:36)!

So my race stats:

Time: 52:04
Placement (overall): 202/425
Placement (age group M45): 32/54
Average pace: 5:12/K (8:23/M)

So that was 2005, a good running year, full of accomplishments! I am looking forward to what the new year brings. So let me shut-up and just say Happy New Year to each one of you!

Sounds like it was great!
Well done Jack. Molto bene!

Rock on Dude. :)
HAPPY NEW YEAR to you too.

Great race report
Sounds like a fun way to ring in the new year! Happy happy....
I don't know, Jack. Personally, that time would look darn nice in my race log. Sounds like it was a real mess on the course and you still pulled in a nice time. Can't imagine how fast you would have gone with out the water and ice hazards.

Hope you are having a happy New Year! Hey, its New Year's there already. :)
Happy New Year Jack! What a great way to finish the year even without the PR. Still a great time in my books. Heh, a friend we dog sat for weeks ago is from Germany. He brought us back some cheese, beer and some Christmas Raisin Bread stuff. I left the beer for hubby but have been enjoying the cheese bread but still lost a pound *grins*.

I look forward to reading lots of great stuff from you in 2006.
Great recap, sounds like some tough and messy conditions!! Way to keep strong, that's a great time!

Happy New Year!!
That sounds like a great way to end the year, in spite of the icey course.

Happy New Year!
Well done, bravo! In the first half of the pack, in the middle of your (our until dec.31, now I am in the older one)age group and a good pace. Go with the races of a wonderful 2006!
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