The days up until this race I did not really feel good as I was struggling with a cold. However, I did not want to miss out on this race as it was the third time i was planning to participate and since I had a result from last couple of years that was a personal challenge for me to try and improve. Therefore my car was loaded with four excited guys and away we drove to Holstebro for the race. On the way down in the car I did not feel good, but after about and hour or so I started to feel better and therefore a bit more optimistic 🙂
Back in 2011 my result on the course was 1:32:18 and last year it was, due to an injury, 1:41:42. As I have been running only at pace 5:00 min/km for the last four months I knew it would be quite a risk to expect a time below 1:30:00 since this requires a pace of 4:15 min/km. Therefore my goal was 1:35:00 which requires paces 4:30 min/km. However, I figured if I could run half a marathon below 1:30:00 back in November at Aalborgløbet, why should I not be able to do it know? Luckily I brought my fast shoes for the purpose. Therefore my primary plan was now 1:30:00 and at least below 1:32:18 and the 1:35:00 goal was now my secondary plan.
The race is divided into three laps of 7km a piece with 55 ascending meters per lap. As the start went I stabilised my pace at about 4:15 min/km within the first three kilometres, but already at this time my legs did not really feel good today. I was already feeling the shin splints that always is a guarantee in my fast shoes. I pushed through and came in on the first lap on 30:49, so I already knew at this point that I was behind schedule and that it would probably not be possible to reach my primary goal. In the second round I continued my struggle, but I started to get really sore in my throat and my legs started feeling a little tired and the shin splints even worse. I could not believe what was happening and realised that my primary goal was not possible and that I therefore had to focus on my secondary goal. I came in on the second round at 1:02:28 so my secondary goal was still within reach.
The third lap was awful, my shin splints was really bad and I was now in pain and struggling to keep up the pace. I could not believe what was happening, a week ago I was running 25 km and could not hardly feel any kind of shin splints or tiredness. This broke my mind completely and my only focus was now to get this over with. I finally reach the goal at 1:35:39 in 47th of approximately 300 runners.
Today was definately not my day as I did not reach any of my goals. I have to say that it was probably one of the thoughest half marathons I have been running ever. I am confident that it was because of my body being ill with a cold, but partly also becuase I keep running in my fast shoes even though I know that they are not stabilizing me enough. However, looking at it all from a more positive side I had a great day with my friends and 1:35:39 is not that bad. I am not feeling any pain in any of my old injuries, which is also positive, so it is not all that bad after all 🙂 Sometimes one also needs a bad experience every now and then to appreciate the good ones. But more importantly, what did I learn from this bad experience? I learned that the next time I feel ill before a race I am not racing, I also learned that my fast shoes are being canned and finally I once again realised how important it is for me to have a realistic primary and secondary goalset.