Sunday, May 28, 2006

The Koenigsbacher Mile 8.2K Race Report

I was getting pretty stiff sitting around the house yesterday, so decided I need to stretch the legs out a bit. A friend and coworker, Uwe, had mentioned to me earlier in the week that if I had any energy left I could come and run with him in Koenigsbach on Saturday night. The Koenigsbacher Mile is an 8.2K (5.1M) race consisting of 4 laps around the town of Koenigsbach where my friend lives.

I usually run a day or two after a long race to keep the muscles loosened up, this seems to help me with my recovery. Now Uwe had mentioned that he hadn’t trained much, so was just going to take it slow and easy and jog around the race course. Since I was going to run anyway I thought I might as well do it with a friend!

A quick telephone revealed that Uwe was in bed with the fever, so much for running with a friend. The race was scheduled to start at 7 p.m. – at 5:30 p.m. my wife decided she was content to sit on the couch and knit, but I should go because I was pacing the house with nervous energy driving her crazy.

So I drove the 25 minutes to Koenigsbach and picked up my start number at the soccer stadium and preceded to look for the start line which was about 200 meters around the corner. Apparently there had also been a 4K run which started earlier so I had a chance to see these racers complete their second round. I was sure to yell encouragement where I could.

About 15 minutes before the race I warmed up a little, jogging part of the race course – nice and flat, asphalt covered roads and bike paths. My legs were tired, but actually felt pretty good considering I had just run 50K/31M on Thursday. I was just going to do the race at a slow jog anyway, and was not above quitting early if I felt the need. This was all about recovery, right!

As I lined up with the other 142 runners, I bumped into 91-year-old Albert Olbrechts and his wife who I visited with before the Baden Mile on May 6th. He was doing good, looking forward to running as always. I hope I’m still alive at 91 years old!! His 33 year younger wife is training for a marathon in September.

So anyway after a few minutes the starting pistol went off and I quickly settled into a comfortable pace, I was in no hurry. My legs felt amazingly good, not aches, pains, or other complaints.

The start of the race was in front of the local Edeka supermarket. From there we ran along a row of houses that led into the center of town. As we approached the center the road went down a tiny hill and turned left. Here was the main part of town with several shops, stores, and old timber-framed houses. A fair sized crowd was gathered along this part of the route, despite dark, gloomy, overcast skies.

The race path continued to wind through the center of town, twisting right and left onto a couple different streets, then past an aid station at approximately the 1.5K point. Dozens of kids were passing out water to the runners and generally having a good time. The atmosphere was very festive, many residents were standing in front of their houses lending support.

The route continued around a corner to the right, then a quick left and up a little tiny hill. Another 50 meters and the route turned left and ran by the soccer stadium where the finish was located. On the fourth lap runners would turn right here to reach the finish line. But for the first few laps we ran a few more meters then turned right, ran a minute, then left and past the shopping area and the supermarket where we started.

It was cool running by the shopping area, there were maybe a 100 people cheering and a small band was playing upbeat music – quite motivating really!

I finished the first lap in 10:20, for an average pace of 5:10/K (8:19/M), about two minutes faster than I had planned on. It was obvious that I wasn’t feeling too bad for having run 50K two days before.

I felt comfortable at this pace so kept going, but making sure that I didn’t speed up any – no since pushing my luck.

The second lap came and went and by the third lap I could feel myself slowing down. Normally, I would have pushed myself and tried to pick up the pace again, but instead I just let my legs decide the pace.

So I kept slowing down a bit as I started the fourth and last lap, but I didn’t care. As I passed the 7th kilometer I saw that I was slowly overtaking a younger lady (around 20?) wearing an ipod and jamming. She first noticed me as I began to inch by her. Well, I guess this woke her up because she struggled to get by me again. Of course this got my competitive juices flowing and I kicked in the turbo just as we climbed the small hill.

As I rounded the last couple turns and made the last right into the soccer stadium she was dust, I had left her for dead on the trail. So anyway I enter the stadium with about 200 meters to go and see a dude about 100 meters ahead of me. Now my adrenalin burner was cranked on high so I broke into a sprint and was only two steps behind this dude by the time we crossed the finish line.

So I finished my supposedly “slow recovery run” in 42:18. This was an average pace of 5:10/K (8:18/M) for the 8.2/K (5.1M) race – or right around my best half-marathon race pace. I was 92nd out of 143 overall.

So after a little stretching and a cool down, I hung around and cheered in the last of the runner’s before heading home to spend the rest of the night with my lovely. I felt really great after the race, but had a ravaging appetite.

This morning my legs are a little sore, which is no surprise, but really do not feel bad at all – I’m even comfortable walking up and down stairs. However, now I am going to take a break from running until at least Wednesday in order to give my body time to recover. I may go for a swim on Tuesday night, but nothing too ambitious.

Have a great Sunday!

You've become a friggin machine!!!!
I can't believe you ran yet another race. Man you are incredible and very lucky to have such an understanding wife.
If I did not have 4 young children at home to watch while my wife is at work I would be searching out races as well. Nice job on the recovery race.
I can't believe you ran a race after your first ultra!
Wow!!! You are a machine!!
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