Our race went great! But let me take you back a step or two…
For those of you who don’t speak German, Märchenlauf means fairytale race, and well, it sort of was. We got off the train from Frankfurt and weren’t really sure where to go, so we followed the only other person in sight (and he happened to be carrying a duffle bag). It turns out he was right, and after being taken back a few 100 years in time, we also managed to find the registration tent and quickly got our bibs. After that we walked around the park a little, warmed up, watched parts of other races (there were some for children and a 6k) and before we knew it, we were lining up ourselves!
The first thing I want to say about this race is that it was extremely well organized. My first 10k last summer was such a bad experience, I actually stopped running for a few months. Not only was I insufficiently prepared, but the course was poorly organized and mostly uphill. It was also pooring rain, 95º, with very few water stations and mile markers, and just a pretty miserable experience in general (with the exception of my running buddy at the time, who actually made it bearable!)…
Anyway, this race completely made up for my last one. Every kilometer was marked, the weather and scenery were perfect, and there was a volunteer standing at every corner/intersection. There was, however, only one water station at about 5k in, but luckily I had a water bottle with me. I was also very well prepared and in better running shape than last time.
I went into this race with one goal-I wanted to beat my last time of 1:08:33, and before the race, Katie told me that I should do what I needed to do. The first three km flew by for me; Katie and I chatted and kept up a regular pace. However, somewhere between the 4th and 5th km, I was feeling a little off. I’m not sure what it was at that point, if it was boredom/anxiety/nerves or what, but I felt annoyed at everything and felt like I was slowing down. So I looked over at Katie and said, I gotta put on my music, then I took off. I think up until this point, I was still doubting that I was ready, I was nervous that if I pushed too hard, I wouldn’t have any energy to finish strong. It was at this point when I told myself, Ally, you can do this. You’ve trained well, you’re ready, just go. And so, I did. I actually felt strong and fast (for me) and ended up finishing with a negative split (my last half was a minute faster than the first half). I gave it my all, and even passed some people on the hill in the 9th km. I sprinted at the end and finished in 1:05:01- beating my previous time by 3 minutes and 32 seconds! I then waited at the finish line for Katie, who was less than 2 minutes behind me- what an awesome first 10k! We cooled down, streched, ate a pb & banana sandwich and some chocolate and then headed home.
And what’s next for me? Well. In a moment of possible post race insanity, I did this:
Yep, that’s right- I did it- I signed up for a half marathon. I actually have no doubt that I could finish a half at this point, but there’s a time limit of 2:30 on this race. And that makes me a bit nervous because the race is in 5 weeks… I actually noticed that the Germans have pretty fast times, and my running club coach said that the Germans don’t sign up for races unless they know they can do well. Most of them don’t do it just to do it, like what seems to be the trend in the US. Based on my current time, I am estimated to finish a half in 2:23, so it’s within the time limit, I just have to train really well in the next 5 weeks….