Bosloop Leidse Hout, Leiden (5km)
Damn it! That's the best way to summarize this race. It was cursed from the very beginning ;)... Now, let me elaborate.
I had a very busy week, including a work visit in Paris, so not much time for running (this week only 2 trainings before today). But to be honest I considered it to be a lucky coincidence: I seriously needed a break to recharge my batteries and probably I would never do it, if I wasn't forced to. Michal was trying to persuade me to run in the Beach challenge next week, but I thought with this low intensity week it'd be a shame not to end up on high note with this race.
So far so good. The problems started on the day of the race. Being tired I had problems getting up. I was almost late for my train so had to run to the station... where I realized I just ran out of money on my checking account and hence was not able to buy the ticket to Leiden. Crap. But I checked the schedule and it seemed that with the next train (in 30min) I'd still make it. So I went back home, got some money on my account, got some pocket money and calmly set back for the station... just to realize that after taking pocket money I decided to leave my credit card behind, so, again, no way to buy the ticket (yeah, I know, I was not too sharp today ;). So, yet again, running home, running back to the station...
Gladly I made it for the train and then for the event itself (again in a rush), but by that time I already did quite a bit of running ;). Luckily it was a rather small even (+/- 100 ppl) so at least no need to work with one's elbows at the beginning.
Before the race I tried to more or less calibrate my Polar for the shoes that I was wearing and I set the target pace for 3:55-4:06 min/km. If I managed to stay in this sweet range then I'd improve my PB on 10K and that's more than what I could hope for for this race. Good that I did that because there were no kilometer marks on the route.
The route itself was also very twisted with very many turns but it was pretty well marked plus there were few people in front of my so it was ok... until the group in front of me gained too much distance on me and at some point I was in doubt where to go. But gladly there was some more informed person behind me who helped me out. Good.
I managed to stay in the zone so I was really hoping that I'm doing good, but I was waiting for the end of the first loop (it was 2x5K) to verify that. I have to say that by the end of the first loop my energy was starting to run low... and then I finished the loop with 20:56 on the clock. Not good. Not good at all. Seems I overdid it with the calibration and instead of the usual underestimation I was now running slower than I thought. Oh crap. And I could feel that I was getting tired so I could hardly imagine running the second half faster.
But it was worse than that. On the second loop things got messy because in this whole maze there were many parts where we would meet slower people running in the opposite direction. Also by that time I was more or less on my own and then... bam!... I missed a turn and was lost. I was thinking of trying to just run in random and try to do 10K according to the GPS (which, as it turned out later, went completely bunkers, anyway) but it was not good: I snapped out of the "race mode" and I was done for the day.
I did complete the 10K on my own but it was not racing anymore. Also I was running more or less in random so I can only wonder how many ppl did I confuse (unfortunately I realized this problem too late to be able to do something about that). All in all: that was not a good race.
In the end I decided to consider it as a start on 5K. That's not very accurate as if it was really a 5K race, of course I'd have gone faster, but I don't have a better idea so let it be -- this way at least I can consider it to be my new PB, as I never run 5K before :D. Remaining question: should I run the Beach challenge next week or not? 5K or 10K? I don't like to start too often, but today was not very satisfactory so I could do with a nice race to wipe out this memory; we'll see...