Monday, October 29, 2012

Dresden Marathon - Race Day

      I was up early pumped with excitement for my first international marathon, representing Columbus marathon, the city and all my local runners. On Saturday my host Andreas had signed up for the marathon he had not trained since spring but had spent all summer on his race bike. Ines drove us down to the start line and dropped us off and would come back with the kids on bike to cheer us and take pictures. The support was totally unexpected but greatly appreciated made this like a hometown race with people cheering me by name. The group from Columbus group was charged with energy taking pictures with the Mayor of Dresden doing O-H-I-O it almost took the chill off the 40* F morning.
      This was a relatively small race but very competitive in Germany they have not caught the running and fitness craze. People were here to race, all three distances started together so I tried to stage myself behind the 10k, half marathon elites and the Kenyons of course. The start was very tight and I would say of all my race starts this was one of the roughest. People pushed and elbowed for position and stepped in front of you without warning. I settled into my own race very quickly not knowing anyone was a disadvantage but by feel and my Garmin I found 6:30 pace first mile. I hit the 5k marker at twenty minutes and the first water stop I was ahead of pace but feeling good. The 10k mark I was still with a large group not a lot of change of position but I could see the front pack had pulled away 42:00 minutes was still ahead of my target. 20k the half marathon runners split off for the finish and I could start to pick out runners to pace with I was at a 7:17/mile pace and feeling good I took my second Gel and water at all of the stations. 1:26:00 was a perfect split for my goal 2:54:00 finish I knew I needed to stay relaxed and finish strong to make my goal. The sections through town were a little slow but the path along the river my pace went sub seven minutes / mile and I was being challenged by a few runners and stayed with them to pass people ahead of me. Mile eighteen brought the wall my pace slowed to 8:00/mile I felt like I could hold this comfortably and hopefully recover. I did just that maintained until mile 22 water stop that I decided to walk through and at the end I had a German runner who had passed me at the water stop motion me to run with him my mile 23 split was 8:59 but with him pacing me my pace was back down to 8:00 he got a cramp as we went up the hill to go to the bike path he told me to go on. I pushed it knowing with only a couple miles to go I would still have a good finish. Coming up on the Augustus Bridge ( Augustusbrucke) I came up on a young man struggling gave him a pat on the back and told him to come on together we pushed to the finish. The camaraderie among runners is an international language we looped around to the finish and at the 41k sign I said 1200 meters to go that we had this he agreed and said every step was one closer to the finish. I lost him as I pushed out the last 800 meters with everything I had. My Garmin had at a 7:12 pace but it felt like 5:00 when they announced my name coming into the finish I put a great race behind me. Greeted by my teammates who had run the half I broke down with tears of joy and exhaustion. My host finished behind me making his goal of faster than 3:30 @ 3:26:32. My finish was 3:22:42     235/1145 men 42/227 age group for a course with a record of 2:13:03 I will take that as a success for my first international race.

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