Everything has been going really well for me this year in training, I have lost a load of weight, am running well off very few kilometres, cycling strongly and even swimming a lot for me (3 days a week). I have been trying to not overdo things this year like I did last year, so races have been kept to a minimum, and I mean that literally, this was my first race of the year.
I want to try some new stuff, not just flat 10k races, so instead of doing the TCE 10k like last year, I signed up for an 8.1km hill run. I’ve never done anything like this before, but was looking forward to the challenge.
After a morning swim, me and Katja went to Wiesbaden and found the sign up for the race. I wasn’t expecting to know anyone there, but Basti had signed up late on so was another TCECler on the start line. Katja decided to stay indoors as we ran, as she was freezing cold!
The race started at 3pm, pretty late but the weather was great for the time of year, 12°C and sunny. I had heard the course was flatish for 1km, steep for 1km, downhill for 500m then a 4-5% drag until the last few hundred metres, which would be about 25-30% up the Rodelbahn.
The race started and I fell back into about 20th place, I thought there had been quite a few good runners at the start, and it seems I’d judged them correctly! As we hit Neroberg it got steep and twisty very quickly. I decided not keep my pace manageable, I mean it was only the 2nd kilometre. I started picking off people who had started too fast, at first 1 or 2, then a few more, then a few more until I was suddenly in 4th place.
On the very steep downhill trail a guy passed me, but I was soon back with him as we started the long stead climb. It was more rolling than I expected, it wasn’t a constant gradient anyway. After about 4-5km I noticed that 3rd place was coming back to me, though I was running with 5th-7th right behind me.
I passed 3rd place, but someone stayed with me. I thought it would be the Waldlaufer guy who passed me on the descent earlier, but it wasn’t, it was someone else. He overtook me after 6km and I slotted in behind him. After 7km I thought his paced slowed, so I moved past but he picked it up and stuck with me.
The final left turn onto the Rodelbahn showed the beast that lay ahead. It was just a steep dirt bank that went on for about 400m. The guy with me took off at a pace that I couldn’t follow, so I just stuck to my pace. It was tough and I did take some walking breaks, but to be honest, they weren’t much slower than running anyway.
As I got to the top, I could see that 4th was in the bag and I ran the last 100m over the finish line. The announcer said that I should smile for the cameras, I think I didn’t but the pictures show a different story.
It was a hard old effort, but oddly satisfying. Basti was 2nd, but 4th pace was a good result for me. Apparently the time on this course tracks very well with a flat 10k, so 37:35 for me, which I would be happy with at the moment given that I am running 20-30km easy per week.
We jogged back down to the start and found Katja, her feet were frozen and she didn’t much fancy waiting another 45 minutes for the prize giving, so I missed out of my bag of food and a waterproof bag, and we went to Hans im Glück to eat a burger instead.
Next up is Frankfurt half marathon in 2 weeks. I had pencilled in 1:25 as a goal time, but now I think a bit faster should be possible. With a good effort in the legs, I can see me going low in the 1:20s, but lets wait and see eh?