I’ve run Frankfurt half 3 times before, I have always set PBs there, but that wasn’t on the cards this time out! After my Berglauf a few weeks ago, I was fairly confident of running a decent time. Then I was ill for 10 days or so, not really bad but a lagging cold that I couldn’t shift. Just as that was going away, I went to TCEC track training the Wednesday before the race.
I haven’t done any speed work this year at all, and before the Half Marathon I only had 280km in my legs, not a lot in the middle of March. So off I went to the track training, where it was a bit slippy so I wore my spikes for the first time ever. I ran quite well, it was only 3x4x200m but my pace was good. Less good were my calves after the first couple of sets, I knew I would have some serious muscle ache afterwards.
And oh my god did I have muscle ache! My abs were sore from the stabi training, my hamstrings were a little tight, but I could hardly walk because of my calves, on both sides. The training was on Wednesday evening, on Friday I was really struggling but decided to try to run to stretch things out a bit. They were better when running than when I walked, but they were still pretty sore. I considered dropping out of the race.
The weather was also set to be as bad as is possible. Very windy with the wind being helpful for the first 10km, then a hinderance in the 2nd half. So all in I wasn’t expecting much going into the race. I did weigh in at 75.0kg on the day though, my lowest race weight ever 🙂
I met up with Jochen, Judith and Katha to get the train to the start, I got to the station early, so decided to have a large Starbucks coffee to get things moving. We were soon there and ready to go. There was a 1:24 pace group, I decided to run with them due to the wind, the pace should be about right for me anyway.
The start was fairly uneventful, I settling into the pace group and felt like I was running pretty easily. If I had more miles in my legs, I would definitely have gone off ahead, but I was playing it conservatively.
Between km 6-10 is on the Main river with the wind right on our backs. It was about 10°C and I felt very warm during this part. We were ticking off the kilometers nicely though, just faster than 4:00/km so that the first 10km were done in 39:40 or so.
Strangely as we started against the wind I started to feel even better. I was right on the shoulders of the pace runners in the group. That didn’t last too long though as they realised that we had slightly slowed and they kicked on after 13km. I stayed with them but the climb between 14-15km was enough for me to be dropped and meant the rest would be a solitary fight.
The out and back section was much longer than I remembered, I could see Lukas well ahead of me and Heiko, Jochen and Uli behind. I felt a slight stomach cramp after 17km and quickly realised I would need a toilet stop. After 18km I found a dixie and did what needed to be done, it wasn’t pretty.
The last few km felt very tough. I came out of the toilet right next to Heiko, but he was running faster than me. I was overtaken pretty frequently over the last few km, but I didn’t explode or anything. As I entered the stadium I could see that I would still manage a sub 1:26 time, not good but given my list of excuses, not bad.
As I met the others after the race, pretty much everyone was disappointed. Jochen ran 1:31, Sven somehow ran over 2h after running the first 8km at 4:30/km pace and Katha and Judith were both disappointed too. Strangely I was the happiest with my result of the bunch!
I knew that Frankfurt was just a warm up race for me really, Mainz in 2 months will be a much better test of form. I did learn a few things though. I have stopped drinking coffee and have had far fewer stomach issues when running. Thus drinking a big, strong coffee before a half marathon was a stupid thing to do for me! Also running with really bad muscle ache isn’t conducive to running well, my legs never felt strong, I feel like my cardio could have taken me faster, but with no spring in the legs, it was a fight.
Anyway, onwards and upwards. I will be doing more run training from now on, so hopefully my legs with get better and I can get back around the 1:20 mark for Mainz. Unfortunately I injured my calves a bit stupidly running 10x400m intervals the Wednesday after the half marathon, but otherwise I plan to get more quality in, and more miles.