Sunday, January 08, 2006

First Race Report for 2006

So this morning was my first race for 2006, a 15K/9.3M race in Rheinzabern, Rhineland-Pfalz. Being my first 15K run, I did not have to worry about breaking a personal record. As I just ran a 30K/19M long run on Friday, my only goal was to finish.

The race was scheduled to start at 10:05, so we left the house about 2 hours ahead of time so that we would have time to pick up a friend of ours that lived in the next town from the race. Eva used to work with my wife a few years ago and looks forward to visiting with my wife when I am running.

We arrived about an hour before the race, I picked up my race number and joined the girls where they were drinking coffee. I thought a little bit about how I wanted to run. The route consisted of a 10K circular lap around three area towns, plus a half of the same route. This was the same as the 20K run that I did last February at this location, except that then we did two complete laps. So I knew the route pretty well, flat, all asphalt – a fast course. My legs felt pretty good for having just run a 30K long run on Friday, but I decided to run conservatively anyway, maybe a 5:30/K (8:51/M) pace.

So shortly before the start of the race I stretched and ran for a few minutes to warm up, then took my place in the middle of the pack at the Start. I would guess there was around 800-1000 runners. The temperature was a brisk -2C/28F, the sun was shining and there was no wind.

It took a half-minute to get over the Start line when the gun went off, our start number had barcodes, no chips were used. I quickly settled into what I thought was about a 5:30/K pace. I crossed the 1K marker at 6:02, which was just about right considering the delay at the start. We wound our way through the first town and passed the 2K marker just as we left the town limits, my time 11:10 – a little fast. I noticed a threesome running slightly slower than I was so I latched onto them for awhile. By the 3K marker I figured out they were running almost exactly the pace I had planned so I stayed with them, following discretely a couple steps behind them. Another woman caught up and did likewise.

The five of us continued on like this until the 12K marker. We passed from the first town, along a bike trail to the second town, then down the middle of the road back to the Start. Shortly before the Start line was the 10K marker, I believe my time was 53:18, a good pace considering!

So we crossed the Start line and started looping around the same route again. Shortly before the 12K marker we lost the one lady that had been running next to me most of the way. Then one of the three started slowing down. The other two slowed slightly and I decided to keep going, so I set out at my own pace, which was pretty close to what we had been running most of the way.

Just before the 13K marker the trail split and those on their second round took basically what was a shortcut to the finish line. As I saw the finish line a couple hundred meters ahead of me I broke into a sprint and past several dozen runners before I crossed the finish line. I stopped for some water and a banana, then walked around for awhile to cool down. After stretching I headed for the showers in the sports club and rejoined the girls.

So my official time: 1:19:32, an average pace of 5:18/K (8:32/M). I ranked 841 out of 1187 runners. In my age group (M45) I was 145 out of 180. The wining male finished in 46:01 (born 1982 – from the Ukraine), the winning female 53:14 (born 1979 – from Russia). Overall I would say the pace today was much faster than most races I have attended. Almost every sport club and athletic association in the area seemed to be present, there are some talented runners amongst them.

All in all it was a good race, I ran a good pace – slightly faster than my normal HM pace, but not so fast that I wore myself out completely. Hopefully tomorrow I can find some pictures of the race on the Internet (I forgot our camera again).

So this marks the end of my first week of running in 2006. I was scheduled to run 58K/36M, but ended up with 73K/45M. My body isn’t complaining (so far). Have a great week!

Sounds like you paced yourself very well. Well done, especially so short after a logn run. I'd say your well on the way to a good marathon.
Great race and a great week!
Your running is so solid these days Jack. Way to go on your first race of 2006!
There must have been a lot of faster runners at that race. It seems with that pace you should be right in the middle of the pack, at least you would be at any races in my area. Great mileage for the week.
Great race! That's a huge turnout (or would be for a race around here.) It sounds like you also have a ton of fast runners in your neighborhood as well!

Have a great 2nd week of running in 2006!
Sounds like a great race, Jack. Congrats on the new PR. You'll have to run it next year and see how you do then. I'm really impressed you did this after your 19 miler a few days ago. I think I'm pretty much done in after the long runs.

Looks like the races are off to a good start this year. :)
Excellent way to start the new running year!!
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