Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Unexpected Turnout in Vienna (Race Recap)

It's smile of joy not crazy weird grimasse
Reebok Women's Run Wien race recap, finally! I know I promised it yesterday, but there were so many photos to go through thanks to Jitka and the training at 6:30 am, I did not manage to get the blog post and some sleep at the same time. Sleep was more important, but the most important are you, my great readers! Once I managed the photos, here comes the recap of great, awesome girls only event. Beautiful day, beautiful people, lots of pink, lots of fun! I hope you can see it from the photos.  



Idea of participation at Women's Run in Vienna came from Leona who invited Martina and her coworkers. As for Jitka and me, we joined later in the summer, but with the same enthusiasm :) The girls left for Moravia on Friday afternoon, I had to stay at work so I enjoyed the luxury of my race (8 km) starting at 5 pm and slept in. We had a girls night with Katka who was driving with me as to enjoy the big borrowed car and keep me company and support. I have to add that Leona is a great organizer, nothing to care about, I was signed in and needed only to appear for the start.

The hot pink team ready for race!
(Looking at this, I am glad they actually did not have the camera bag in pink :-) )

We left slightly after 10 am and reached Vienna around 2 pm as previewed. The race was held at the "Donaupark" which is a park bit away from the city center next to the river Donau. Great advantage was lot of parking places, no problem there, with the address from the race's website in our GPS, we arrived on the spot seeing the crowds of pinky ladies everywhere. Turned out it was gonna be challenging to find the Czech crew as there were pink women all around. This was women only race, so men came in only as supporters. As said, sea of pink everywhere. It wasn't hot pink though, otherwise I would have thought I came to heaven on Earth :)

Somehow, I managed to spot Jitka's pink cap and we joined the girls who had been on spot for few hours already and were getting ready for the 3 pm start of 5 km race. I picked up my race number and the pinky t-shirt and decided that I will change in my running gear after the 5 km race in order not to miss out on taking photos of the girls. For both of the 5 km and 8 km races there were also nordic walkers included with their separate category (distinguished by the W on their starting number). Now I remember, why actually I could not change, I was extremely hungry and needed to get in some real warm food in order to digest it before my start at 5 pm. Yep, being honest, with my mileage and intensity increasing, I am hungry all the time.



What was great about both races was the loop system. There was bigger and smaller loop, where the 5 km consisted of one big and one small and the 8 km of two big and one small loop (do the math - big loop = 3 km, small loop = 2 km). Therefore for the 5 km you could see the people at the start, when finishing the first loop and at the finish. Great for picture taking! The Czech team was also easily distinguished by little flags painted on the shoulders and/or cheeks. At the start the crowd had white balloons that were set off to fly towards the sky with the starting gun. I managed to capture some of the girls during their run, especially Leona who made it easy for me to get some decent photos clearing up from the crowd and waving at me.


 

Happy finishers - Jitka & Martina
Time to change in the running gear. I was glad I took the pinky cap instead of the white one I usually run in as I knew the t-shirts were light pink. I hope you like that touch :) We were having fun discussing the race with the girls and soon it was time to do some dynamic stretches and get ready for the start. The big news was that the course was approx. 0.5 km shorter than expected according to the GPS watches and finishing times, so it seemed we were running little less than the previewed 8 km. This was a happening and fun event anyway, so who cares? 


Jitka trying out my camera while I am doing crazy dance 
with GU pre-start gel in my hand
Only I did for pacing myself. When The Coach told me, I should go around 4:30 min/km (7:14 min/mile) I thought I have suddenly acquired some magical hearing disorder. "Are you kidding me?" I did the pre-race tune up on Friday evening consisting of warm up, dynamic stretches, 1 km at race pace and cool down. After finishing it, my thoughts went even more "Are you KIDDING ME???" Spoke to The Coach who told me he knows I can do it, but I have to know it as well, so I can stay "conservative" at 4:40 min/km (7:30 min/mile). With knowing that the race course is possibly shorter, I knew I should try to go for the faster pace at least for the second half of the race.



At the starting line, it was clear that there are only few really ambitious and very sporty girls / ladies. But still I would count at least around 20 of them. Surprisingly there were also the daughter and the mother who went first and second in the 5 km race. I did not have the idea to do both of the races :o But these girls, they looked like they were born running (or born to run? :) ).


The mom & daughter winners of both races
5 pm sharp, off we went for the race. I wanted to stay in touch with the top group, but suddenly realized I am pacing myself with the first few girls, daughter and mom among them. And watching my Garmin, in sub 7 min/mile paces, no way I was gonna last this for all 8 km. I tried to calm myself down and pace according to the plan which worked out better than at the Nike Run Prague. I guess I managed to benefit from the experience. A crazy thought came to my mind, I am among the top and we are really few here, this is gonna be tougher than being in the crowd having fun with others. Oh my God!

And that is exactly how it went. I settled in approx. 7:25 min/mile pace and guessed I was somewhere around 10th/15th place. When running the first loop, Leona and Sarah did not see me, I saw them, since they did not expect me there and honestly, me neither. Jitka with the camera together with Katka and my Isostar bottle were placed strategically few tens of meters after the starting / finishing line. We agreed that I will simply come and get the bottle if I need to drink and then throw it away. Originally, I did not want to bother with this, but the sky cleared out for the 5 pm start and it was getting warmer.


Telling Katka to pick up the bottle when I throw it to the side
Daniela after 1st round - her first race longer than 5 km 
and she did not slow down to walk once. BRAVO!
Turned out having my own support team paid off. Thank you girls! I got the bottle in the first round and shouted at Katka to pick it back up when I throw it down in few meters. This way, the bottle was there ready also for the second time I was passing there (will turn out to be crucial). Coming to the "finishing" line after the first line, the commentator lady tells me that I am closing the top 10. I am getting crazy, I can see few girls ahead of me and I feel still pretty strong and confident. I started working up towards the girl ahead of me, stayed in her "shade" for some bit to "relax", overpassed her and continued ahead. This way I managed to get to the 8th position after the second big loop. Yay! I was getting really excited as I knew that there is only the small loop left and I should definitely be able to do some more overpassing.


Cute approach, guys you should learn from this man :) 
Any volunteers for NYC?
One girl went down when running in the last loop. Where we cut the big loop short and went for the small one, there was finally the official refreshment spot. Two girls few meters ahead of me. There came my time. They picked cups with water and I changed gear in order to kick some ass and overpass them. I was afraid of the faster one that she would hang on and make my job harder, but nope. Down to what I guessed was five or four girls ahead of me. I was sure about the mother and daughter, a girl that was not wearing the race t-shirt and the girl ahead of me. But as we were already mixing up with the girls that had still one more loop to go, I could not tell if there was someone else. I overpassed the girl ahead of me in the turn towards the last flat part and the finish line. I guess it was last 500 m to go. Did not have enough courage and power to look back, but tried to go speed up for the last few hundred meters.


Running skirt + hot pink compression sock = ass kickin' mood!!!
I am officially becoming Badasstinista 
with the approval 

of the Silly Girl Running who invented the concept

 


Finish! Down to bending over, handing my knees and catching my breath. The commentator lady wants to speek with me (in German, help!). I understand that there are only three girls ahead of me, but my brain did not process the fact until later. I try to answer, but basically it's just yes (ja) and no (nein) and lots of loud breathing in the microphone. When she finally lets me go, I am meeting with Katka and Jitka and the excitement kicks in! I know this was no A kind of race, but still, makes the tough work with The Coach, all the hard runs etc. worth it. I finally look at my Garmin, 7:17 min/mile (4:32 min/km) - guess The Coach knows what he is doing :) As for the distance, it was 4.67 miles which is approximately 7.5 km and I did it in official time of 34:01.

Now comes all the eating, non-alcoholic beer drinking, snacking several test portions of cereal as a dessert. Girl talk, fun, walking through the race expo. From the organization and event point of view, this was truly A class event. The starting fee was 23 euros, but you got the timing chip, functional fitted t-shirt, race number with your name on it, refreshments, fruits, red bulls, non-alcoholic beer and so on in the finish as if we were running at least a half-marathon. Many products to try out, get a facial, massage, try shoes on treadmills and so on. All women centered, lots of pink as said before.

Doesn't she look like a celebrity in one of those casual shots
featured in fashion magazines? :)
It says "alcoholfrei" = non-alcoholic on the cup where I am pointing!




Once again, great event, will definitely come next year if I am free to go and will have some more fun, hopefully joining the crew for the whole weekend and not only back and forth trip. Leona and Martina, thank you for inviting me!

Last remark on the always hungry note. We stopped at my best friend's (my best male friend, my Best friend is the Sis of course!) place on the way home, I finally showered and changed in non-smelly clothes (after one hour car ride, oops). And we got some late second dinner. Two adult girls getting very excited for having Hello Kitty placemats :) And Sunday reward breakfast of the original Sacher cake from Vienna my dad brought me week earlier. We did not really get in to the city center - next year we will!


Link for all the photos from my camera




I will be posting about this later this week, but the NYC is official, I am doing it for the Team Hole in the Wall. Great cause helping seriously diseased kids to enjoy holidays as much as the normal kids can. I have almost 3,000 dollars to go in less than two months, I will be posting some alternative fundraising options. But as for now, you can simply go to my fundraising page and help me help the kids - every dollar counts! THANK YOU!



9 comments :

  1. Fakt hezky napsané. Myslím, že jsme si to opravdu moc užily.;-) Příště na celý víkend. ;-) A moc děkuji za fotky - konečně mám taky nějakou běžeckou... :-D Bylo to super :-)

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  2. wow.. tak tohle je paradni clanek, vykon a nakonec i prima zabava... Velka gratulace! 4. misto? to je proste mazec! Ps. asi Te neprekvapim, kdyz Ti reknu, ze presne tenhle Isostar mam nejradsi!!! :-)))

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  3. Krásně jsi to napsala, jako bych tam byla :o))

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  4. :) Uzasny vykon, smekam klobouk. A moc hezky napsane, Jsem rada, ze jsi prijela, alespon na ten jeden den, priste urcite na dyl! :)

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  5. Badasstinista approved!!! :)

    (And yes, we must have shirts made for NYC! :))

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  6. Nádherné počasí, skvělá zábava, báječní lidé ... prostě pohoda. Už se těším, až zase někam vyrazíme, Baru ...

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  7. Skvele napsany clanek!!Koukam,ze tech silnych stranek mas vicero!!Nejen behani.Dobry pocteni!!Kudlacek50

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  8. Jituš: Díky, příště určitě na celý víkend, myslím, že Katarínku oficiálně pasujeme na maskota a nebo už příští rok poběží s námi :) Vypadá to, že jsme jí nadchly! :)

    Blondýna: Nejsme náhodou dvojčata, co je rozdělili v porodnici??? :D :D :D

    Leona: Dík :) Těším se na příště!

    Martina (s0cketka): určitě příště na dýl! :)

    Katarínka: Jak jsem psala víše, příště s námi třeba už poběžíš! ;)

    Kudlacek50: Dík moc za kompliment a za fotky, příští rok tedy určitě na viděnou! :)

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  9. Silly Girl Running: thanks for approval Boss (= the main Badasstinista). Definitely getting these t-shirts!

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