15km, Zevenheuvelenloop, Nijmegen
Morning. Getting up. Quick breakfast. Running for the bus... Routine: almost every race begins like that. Today though I did manage to get some sleep, which recently is not part of the routine ;). And the bus, together with Sportsworld and AV'23 people, got us for the race to Nijmegen and its Seven hills run. I was not quite aware of how huge this race is, but the city was full with runners -- hardly a surprise given that in the end there were almost 26.000 finishers!
After last week I knew that trying to follow Michal is not an option. And as I said earlier -- McMillan recommended 1:06 but I was hoping to push it for something closer to 1:04. But in fact with that many people around I hardly had time to look at my watch and was just running at a pace that felt comfortable. Actually, not quite comfortable as very quickly the hills started and I have to say getting over them was tough -- I guess after all the race is called "Seven hills run" for a reason (though it still surprises me to realize that one can find such a course in The Netherlands ;). The ascent were tiring and, although I'm sure there must have been descends in between, I can't quite recall them ;).
An occasional peek at my watch was telling me that I can kiss goodbye 1:04 and that in fact I'll have to fight pretty hard to make the 1:06. It didn't even look as if I had a serious chance of doing that, but I was putting my hope in the last 4K where I knew that the route is going downhill. And indeed I did manage to regain some seconds in that last part of the race and with some effort crossed the finish line at... 1:05:59. Pretty close shave, huh? ;)
Looking at the charts below one could think that I ran a fairly jagged race, but in fact I think I was doing a pretty good job at distributing the energy and all the unevenness comes from the hills -- take a look at the altimetry chart. Still, all in all 1:06 is not a dream result and I really need to step up my game (and training!). But hey, at least I can say that I ran a race with the great Haile Gebrselassie! :)). Anyway, third time lucks, right? I didn't manage to improve my (marathon) PB in New Jersey, I didn't manage to improve in in Budapest so I hope that Paris it will be :)