Wednesday, August 19, 2009

HCM 2009

Haven't blogged much lately. Sorry for that, you (probably imaginary) readers. The summer vacation was pretty much uneventful in the sports front. Unless you count renovating the apartment and drinking beer as sports.

I did dare to run the HCM last Saturday though, even though I was quite unsure of my condition because of the lack of training. It went well, perhaps surprisingly. My goal was to run 42 km in about 4 hours 12 minutes, or at the pace of 6 min/km, which I managed to achieve by doing it in 4:04.

My tactic was simple: keep the pace slow and steady. Then, when there's not much distance left to go, and you know you can make it to the finish line, run faster. So, for some 3 and a half hours, I just jogged on and enjoyed the mass event. It was quite fun, watching the other runners, touring the city, enjoying the services offered by the organizers and the encouragement offered by the spectators.

Then, at 34 km, I realized that there's only 8 km to go, I picked up the pace. There were a lot of walkers by then I suppose that I overtook hundreds of people in the last few kilometres. It is much more fun to overtake than to be overtaken, in a sports event, I suppose. Then again, I suppose that my end result could have been better if I'd known the maximum pace I can keep up from the beginning. I'm not complaining, I'm just thinking out loud. I'm satisfied.

A couple of observations from my first marathon:

1) There were a lot of walkers from about halfway the distance. Why? Did they start too fast? Did they not eat enough? Was their tactic to run as far as they could, then walk? Did they just try without considering a tactic at all?

2) I'm a novice in the running world. I was the 890th (of 1912) in the men's series, which is not too bad. But when compared with all participants, I was the 1930th, which means that there were about a thousand women and/or old-timers who were also faster than me. My hat goes off to them.

3) Expensive sports gear might actually be worth the money. I wore cheap shorts, which chafed my thighs. At some point I thought that my muscles were aching, but actually it was just the skin that hurt. Should have gotten better shorts. I will not pay 30 € for a baseball cap though.