Sunday, June 26, 2011

Olomouc half-marathon race report - Part TWO (with PHOTOS!)

Hopefully you won't mind that it took me little longer to finish the race report. I am a busy crazy hot pink runner :) Completed another race this week (10 k this time), tried to recover my calf from both of those, ordered new running babies ... I will try not to forget about any exciting details and news!

For those who did not read the looong part ONE of the race report, very short recap: the race was in Olomouc and my best friend lives in Ostrava (relatively nearby) so I left already on Friday. Specialty of the race is 7 pm start on Saturday, so nice relax and carb consumption on Saturday :) Pre-race and start smooth and fine, bit nervous for Katka who did her first half. I did poor job in pacing in first few miles, the atmosphere was too exciting. Doing OK till the 10th km where my left calf started getting sore, but I managed to overcome it ... and now how the story continued. Warning: long post, but with photos :)

Photo from the first half of the race, I felt really at ease :)
I managed to overcome the calf thing. I just said to myself that I used to feel the calf sore back in 2009 and I was able to overcome it, so why not now. Yep, positive attitude and not over thinking it worked. For the second half of the race, I felt the increasing effort which is basically me getting more tired, as you can see from the pace table, the pace was something around 8:20 min/mile and the heart beat slowly increased. I felt pretty OK, I met a guy on one of the hills asking for anti-cramp, so I offered at least a bit of Isostar I had left in my Fuelbelt bottle, I hope it helped...

Approximately around the 15th km pretty strong head wind came in which was not truly helpful for the last bit of the race and for the long tough hill ahead. On one of the "appendixes" added to the second loop to make it 11k I decided to suck in the second gel in order to get the energy kick before the tough uphill with the headwind. Unfortunately when taking the gel out of the pocket on my Fuelbelt it fell down, I knew I had one more in another pocket and that I probably will not need that one, but I decided to pick the gel up. Yes, immediately when picking it up I knew I was gonna regret it ... and the feeling turned out to be true :) But mistakes are done to help us in learning a lesson and this was not my primary race, so I was finally OK.

When running through the last six kilometers of the race I realized two things, or three. It was raining, which was OK, since it was pretty warm and not raining too hard. The two important things: I felt way better than in any of the previous half marathons even though I was subjectively giving in more effort. And the second thing, the part of the field where I was at the moment of the race, the things got really competitive. I guess that apart from being bit faster than in Prague two months ago, the fact that the number of participants was limited made the field more competitive. And I am sad to admit that my feeling was also due to the fact that it was mainly Czech people running around. I searched for someone to team up with to make the second half easier and everybody stubbornly fought for themselves. I felt like an intruder when I tried to be nice and smile in a suggestion of possible running together for a bit and helping each other out. I certainly did not feel like this when running in NYC (OK, I was slower there) or in London where I was around the same pace part of the field :( Sad, sad thing Czech runners, I am new to this, but I guess you generally fight for with the people around you in last one or two km, but until then everyone is in the same thing...
Around km 19, I am happy that finish is getting closer :)
You can see the orange t-shirt guy behind me...
Funny story: a guy in a black t-shirt and a guy in an orange t-shirt. I first passed them somewhere around 17th km, they overpassed me again. I continued steadily and overpassed them again and they passed me again and it went this way back and forth several times and I certainly did not speed up or slow down too much. I guess it was something about crazy girl in hot pink t-shirt overpassing two guys who couldn't handle that fact :) But they never overpassed me again after the steep steep short hill just before 20th km. That was a tough one as you can see from my paces. But to explain, the table comes from Nike+ and the last mile is actually does not contain the last 0.29 miles. The last mile was influenced by the tough tough hill I just mentioned. You can see here also the Garmin table with 0.25 splits of the last two miles. I needed to recover after the crazy hill, but apart from that I managed to increase my effort steadily up to the last quarter (400 m) and a bit where my pace got bellow and even lot bellow 8:00 min/mile pace.

The last 2 km felt hard, but it was different hard than in the previous races. It was the kind of hard I knew I could manage from my few tempo runs. Yesss, tempo runs help and I am sooo looking forward to gain more speed with more tempo runs included in my training. Just after finishing I needed to take a breath and get consolidated an organizer even asked me if I was OK, I was, yes indeed! The time on my relatively new Garmin was 1:51:45. Wow, I hoped for maybe a little bit better time, but this is nice improvement of 5 minutes since the Prague half marathon in April. And I might have attacked my PR from London 2009 ... as realized a bit later, I missed it by 20 seconds ... damn, I knew the picking up the gel was gonna screw it for me - lesson learned! :)

Last few hundred meters to go ...
I hope you can see from the just before finish picture that I pushed really hard :)
When I took my breath, I realized that it rains pretty hard by now. Went to pick up my bag and searched anxiously for my phone. I knew if a text was there from Katka, she finished after the 10k, if not she is still running. No text! YUPIIII, I was happy and proud and headed over to the massage place, where I met a group of guys from the Prague's running club. Nice chat and people to run with in Prague. Might be useful, since 99 % of my training is me and Bourbon the dog :) Katka came to join us with great finishing time of just bellow or something around 2 hours - great job for a first half-marathon. Made me even prouder :)

We got a quick leg massage and headed for something to eat and refuel since it was almost 10 pm! Crazy thing the 7 pm start... I did not want to suck in the third gel (anyone who has done this knows that after having only the gels throughout the race, you want any real food but the sweet chemical gel). So the strange combination of sweet pancakes and non alcoholic beer it was! Pictures follow together with the rest of the race weekend's photo story.

Sunday recovery was pretty busy ... 5 km easy jog (I tried to go slow, but as usual
was not slow enough) in Ostrava, 3 hour train ride back to Prague and 9 holes
at Golf Hostivař with Eva to do some more stretching
and different type of movement for my legs

And the true after-race reward ... grilled hamburger
(for nutrition conscious readers - I had a salad on the side did not eat
the top bun and not at all all the home made french fries)
You can read Part ONE :) You can also sign up for email updates or RSS feeds or leave a comment, tell me about your story or send me a link to your blog! And just keep running and listen to your body.
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  1. Nice run. Judging by the first photo, you seem to be over-striding and heel-striking which might turn out to be bad for your joints (knees and hips).

  2. Thank you for the insight ... new shoes with more minimalist (I am not saying really minimalist, but definitely less cushioning) are on their way, actually, will have hands on them hopefully tomorrow!