Half marathon Eindhoven
Last weekend I went to Eindhoven to race half marathon. Before that I raced only two half marathons (I don’t count ones raced during half Ironman distance triathlons). The first one was two years ago and I finished it after 1.16.54h. Second one was in April this year. It was the first hot day of the year (25-27C) and the race was held in the hottest part of the day, but regardless I improved my PB to 1.15.47.
I didn’t have much confidence in my running lately, but I’ve set myself a goal of sub 1.14h in order to motivate myself a bit. That would translate to 3.30 min/km pace.
Initially I got a starting position in C3 block. That was more than 1km away from the start line. I complained and got a new position just behind A block. The downside was that I had to take my place 20 minutes before the start. At that time the wind picked up and the rain started, so it was the longest 20 minutes of my life.
Once the race finally started I went out a bit harder than planned in order too warm up and to catch a good group for the rest of the race. I passed the first 3km in 10.07min. The group I was running with increased the pace a little and I decided to back off and let them go. For the next couple of kilometers I run side to side with one guy. Our pace dropped a bit and some other guys caught us. Crucial moment of the race happened around ninth kilometer when one guy caught us and increased the pace significantly. There were four of us who could follow his pace. Until 17. km our pace was between 3:24 and 3:28 min/km and then the group fell apart. That was another critical moment of the race. For me, it’s a lot harder to run when I’m left on my own. I knew the I was close to my goal time, but I had to remain focused as the four remaining kilometers were long enough to lose significant amount of time. Another challenge was the weather which got a lot worse at that point. It started to rain heavily and the wind picked up (headwind). The weather slowed me down to 3:39 and 3:42 for the next two kilometers. I didn’t think much about bad luck that struck me, all of my mental energy was channeled into the two remaining kilometers. I knew that I gained some time (on my goal) between 9th and 17th kilometer and because of that I was still in the game. Bad luck continued as we turned into cobblestone section for the two last kilometers. It was very slippery and I was loosing a bit traction on every step and had to be extra cautious in corners. I was finally relieved when I saw the clock 200m before the finish line and realized I had 50s cushion. The final result was 1:13:50h which was enough for 16th place overall (6800 competitors). It’s nice to finish racing season with a PB.