First of all, I noticed that a few Facebook Likes of my previous reports are from English speaking people. Since I believe that all Germans who usually read my reports are able to read English, let me try to write my first English running report.
It is about the Mannheim Marathon on 9th of May 2015, a race that I did every year since it was established in 2004.
As written in the previous reports, my form was not the best. Due to many subsequent colds, no time and other reasons, I did not train for the time from December till Februar. In March I started slowly as I did not want to get sick again and it looks like this turned out right as I could train continuously till the marathon race. However, I somehow continued to train slowly, mainly because family and job did not permit more than like 3 sessions per week. So while I still had some secret hope when I started to run again in March that by May I will be in a shape to run 2:59h on the marathon, it soon turned out that this is simply not realistic. In the end, I ran a total of 285km from March till May in 23 sessions. Sounds arrogant, but while this is definitely too less for many people to even finish a marathon, it is enough for me to finish solidly, which is a result of like 12 years of continues endurance sports with many marathons, some Ironman and many more shorter races.
So what was my target time now? While I did probably never train less for a marathon, I did in total 4 long training runs of 25 to 35 kilometers. And all of them went quite smooth without much muscle ache on the next day. On the other side, my only fast runs in 2015 were one 8km run in training, the 10k competition in my home village and the Heidelberg Halfmarathon. Normal would be at least one fast run per week. That means I had to find the right balance between risk and what I felt is at least possible. I only knew that I don’t want to experience another race like in 2015, where I trained like twice as much as this year, risked to target 2:59hrs, which worked for 30km but then stopped suddenly with stomach issues forcing me to some walk, stop and jog mode finishing in 3:13hrs.
In the end I decided to target 3:20hrs, which means that my pace had to be 4:45 minutes per kilometer. On a nice day with some wind, I started a few seconds faster per second, but it felt ok. For the first 10 kilometers, it stayed like this, but then my pulse increased into a region where I did not want to see it yet and I started „to feel my legs“. Also I was a little hungry from the beginning. So I started to eat some banana in every aid station. This is not that good as it is better not to stress your stomach from the beginning. For next year, it means I have to eat more during the day (btw: the race starts at 7pm). This year I had 5 honey buns throughout the day and a plate of dry and salted Tortellini for lunch.
Still, though it got a little harder at a time when just a quarter of the distance was done, I continued being on a 3:15hrs finish. The good thing was that it got not harder between 10k and the half-marathon mark. So I slowly started to think by when I should accelerate a little in case it stays like this.
Large parts of the second half-marathon are run in Ludwigshafen. I must say that I really enjoyed it as the course was a little different this year. So some parts were directly run on the banks of the Rhine river. Since the start was also comparably late and the race on 9th of May comparably early, too, it was almost dark when I reached kilometer 30. By that, my legs where aching a little more, but since I was getting more and more in a positive mood, it was easy to ignore that. I enjoyed it more and more also because I started to overtake continuously without being overtaken. After a U-turn in Ludwigshafen from where it is like 10 more kilometers to go, I decided to accelerate. However, while I felt I really did that, because it felt faster and I overtook more, I was faster not in fact, but I just kept my pace. Nevertheless, it was really fun and this is in the end what I wanted to have.
When crossing the Rhine river back to Mannheim, it was 3 more kilometers to go. I was able to run a little faster and after passing the Castle of Mannheim, I really enjoyed the last kilometer as I knew I will finish in less than 3:15hrs.
Finally, I finished my 30th marathon in 3:14:06hrs, which meant rank 29 out of 581 men.
It was a perfect day for me. I am very sure that I could not have run any faster on that day with my training in 2015. Also, it was great fun as it always is when you can run a constant pace because most people get slower and that means you overtake. When I looked at the result list, I was really happy to see that I ran the first half-marathon in 1:37:04hrs and the second in 1:37:02hrs 🙂 – being more constant is not possible. And by the way, I don’t care how many people I overtake as I will not win any race anyway, but the feeling of being fast is nice – even if I am not really fast, as I have run a few marathons also significantly faster.