Mainzer Firmenlauf 2016 – 10th place

For the 3rd year in a row, I was signed up to run the Mainzer Firmenlauf.  In 2014 I was anaemic so didn’t run well, doing about 19:40 for what may well have been a bit short course.  In 2015, well you can read the post here, but essentially I was pretty dead after my Iron-distance race a few days beforehand, but still dragged myself around in 19mins, though the course was long!

This year my well of excuses seems to have run dry. I am in full training for the Berlin marathon in 2 1/2 weeks and things are going quite well.  It has been relentlessly hot and sunny for the last month or so, so my workouts have suffered and I have only managed 2 real long runs, so my confidence isn’t top notch, but I feel like I should still have my form after a good year of running.  I am at about 79kg too, which is pretty decent for me, I wouldn’t mind dropping 1kg more before Berlin if possible though.  My aim in Berlin will be a sub2:50, the equivalent 5k time would be 17:44, so faster than that was my goal time.

It was 29 degrees in the daytime, but in the shade at 18:30, it was a bit cooler, maybe 24-25 degrees at the start.  There was a new route this year and I was interested to see if it was actually 5km or not!  I wanted to get right on the start line, but pretty soon I saw that wouldn’t be possible.  I got as close as I could and when the gun fired, I got going about 13 seconds after the leaders.  The first 100m were a bit cramped, but it soon opened out.  I looked at my GPS after 400m and saw a 3:20 pace, but loads of people were ahead of me, people like to start races fast!  I settled into a good pace as we turned into the old town.  There were a lot of twists and turns on route, after maybe 1km my mouth was so dry that it was sticking shut.  Someone seemed to be offering water, so I took one, in retrospect they may not have been offering it to me, but I took a big plastic cup full of water, drank maybe 30mls and threw the rest over myself, I think that helped my mouth situation a lot.

I was overtaking people a lot of the time and as it wasn’t very busy at the pointy end of the race, the corners weren’t too bad.  I don’t love running on cobbles, which we had to do quite a lot.  I could hear GPSs beeping around me, so had an idea when we had 2km and 3km done.  I wasn’t 100% sure that I wouldn’t blow up, as I so rarely run at 3:30/km pace or faster, but I felt like I was going okay.  After reaching the most distant part of the course we turned back toward the finish, there were a lot more twists and turns and I was starting to feel the pace, I looked at my watch and saw that we had done 14:30 already, so I thought I only had 3 mins to run, I would be fine.  After a couple more turns I could see the start line ahead of my, which meant just a few hundred metres until the finish line.  I had followed someone just ahead of me who had a very easy running style for a few minutes, but as we made the last turn onto the home straight, I decided to try to kick past him.  He saw me at the last minute and sprinted too, we crossed the line basically side by side, but I later saw that he started a few seconds before me, so I finished ahead of him.

My finish time was 17:06, which was much faster than expected.  There are obvious caveats though.  My GPS, which is obviously the best GPS and much better than any Garmin, showed 4.93km at the end.  Others had between 4.5km and 4.9km.  The problem is that it was so twisty a course through the middle of town, that every GPS track I have seen is wrong.  I tend to think that it was 5km, as the start/finish lines could have easily been moved to add 100m if it was short.  That doesn’t mean that it is right though, so who knows.  End of the day, if my GPS is right, it would be worth a 17:20, much faster than my 17:44 goal time. If the course is right, then 17:07 5km would be my best race ever, better equivalently than my half marathon in Frankfurt even.  Given that it was warm and that the course was twisty, I think my time is really good for me, and it is a real confidence boost.

So to Katja’s favourite bit.  I saw at the end that Christian Bock won the race in 15:40 or so, pretty impressive. Martin Skalsky was 2nd. Given that they are 2 high quality runners, the top places were always out of my reach, but they are starting to come into sight ahead of me, and who knows, maybe one day I will be able to run with them.  I saw lots of people I recognised in the finish area, including quite a few TCEClers.  I like it that familiar faces are all around even in a race with 6500 entrants.  I managed 10th place in the end, top 10 was also a goal for me, so that is another positive.

So, next up is Sinzig Triathlon on Sunday. I hope it is wetsuit legal, but it seems unlikely.  I haven’t swum in ages, so it would be interesting.  Then 2 weeks later is Berlin. I had considered running a 10km 1 week beforehand as a confidence booster, but now I think it might be best to taper properly given that I already have done my equivalent shorter race time.