I got quite excited for the race during the day and was looking forward to it! Unfortunately the forecast called for storms in the afternoon and they were not kidding. Thunder, wind, pissing rain. I was actually strongly considering not going as I was sitting in the stadtbahn and watching tree branches fly by the windows. But then it calmed down a bit so I went to see whether they the show goes on or what they were doing.
The race was Frauenlauf Hannover, quite low-key event with no chip timing, but they have close to 1000 women signed up for 5k and 10k and products-for-women expo. And registration was 19Eur, which is really a lot since most races here are max 10Eur. Of course I learnt that only after I already committed and PPC prepared my training plan accordingly.
It was taking place at the pool where I swim almost every day, which was great because we did not have to stay outside in the rain. Almost everybody took advantage of the cozy shelter and therefore I did not meet anyone on my warm up.
I did 20min warm/up + 3x40sec pick ups and was completely drenched, fortunately it was quite warm outside.
After 15min waiting in the rain (and of course the rained stopped like 2 min after the start), we were off. One girl shot to the front immediately but I knew she would not last long because…hm, her behind was even bigger than mine and that tells something, so she clearly was not a runner. (I am not the only one who uses this “measure” to tell athletes apart from non-so-much-athletes). I passed some people in the first 300m or so and was leading but I could hear the footsteps close behind me and they were getting closer and closer.
You know how I had the plan to start at 4min pace, which is faster than I can hold for 5k at this point, and hopefully squeeze under 20:30. So I started at 4min but very soon stopped paying attention to my pace. I was checking the watch every few minutes and saw that I was going at 4min pace, then 4:06, 4:02 but I have no idea how fast I was going after I reached the mid-point. Even when I knew my pace I never adjusted my effort when I saw I was slow or fast. I somehow forgot and I was not even thinking about it. I was just checking for how long I have been already running and how far is the finish line and for how long I need to continue running. That was my focus.
The woman behind me passed me just as we reached the mid-point. Now she was a runner! Her arms and legs were half the size of mine. I told myself to stay with her after some battle in my head to give up or not give up. Just focus on her back and run. I was running behind her for the next 1.5k, which passed quite quickly and I do not remember much of it. But then we reached 4k mark. There I started to think: I have been running 3meter or so behind her for 1.5k and we were running exactly the same pace, maybe I should speed up a little bit and catch her. And when I catch her, I can run with her until maybe 300m before the finish and then show her some middle-distance runner speed. Hm, but I probably do not have any speed. So maybe I should try to pass her already now because I am feeling pretty good.
And I do not know whether she slowed down or I sped up but I was reeling her in and I made a decision to go past her. I do not know whether she bonked badly or she broke mentally because I was immediately gaining big time on her. I am sure that it was not because of me going faster, but rather her going slower.
The last 1k I was still in fear that she will catch me and I just concentrated on not slowing down. I was checking my watch to see how far the finish is quite often (as if that would get me there faster) and everytime thinking, gosh I need to keep running for 3 more minutes (2.5, 1.5, 1min…), where is that stupid last turn etc (all positive thoughts). I think that I picked it up the last 300m but maybe it was just my feeling.
I squeezed just below 20:30. I crossed the line at 20:23. Phew.
Then cooled down for 20min to get 65 min of running in.
And then I swam 2200m (mostly slowly, but I threw in some faster 3x (100 and 200). Although I could not kick much or push off the wall because I was getting cramps in my left foot and toes.
The final thoughs: I am quite satisfied with the race. Sure, I could have gone little faster, maybe 20:15 because I did not feel completely spend at the finish, but I need to train myself to suffer. I do not understand why I did not pay attention to my pace and did not adjust my effort accordingly. I mean, I completely forgot. I think that it is because I did not have a real time goal in mind so I was like just get to the finish line and get this over with. And I am pretty satisfied with 20:23 because I really was dying while trying to do 5x1k at 4min pace (which by the way I was not able to do even with 3min rest) so I was worried I would end up running 21min.
Also for me not giving up when that woman passed me was a small victory because I am not the mentally strongest athlete ever.
So all is good. (Unless my ITB decides to flare up tomorrow)
And since I won a 5k, I got a prize- gift basket full of cosmetic products (shampoos, deodorants, soaps, lotions etc, there is so much stuff that it will last me a year), 100Eur gift certificate to Erdiger fanshop (I really wonder what one can buy there…) and 50Eur certificate to a cosmetic saloon. So I got my 19Eur back plus little more:)