Race date: 28.7.2012
Official Finishing Time: 1:29:00 chip time
Official Position: 5/145 (finishers), which puts me in the fastest 3.45%
Race Number: 467
I ran this race last year (link to race report) as well. It’s officially called Heinolan kaupunkipuistojuoksu. There were slight changes to the course this year, it was a bit better as they had removed one silly loop. Perhaps half of it is on gravel, but the elevation profile is quite good, and I consider it a fairly fast course; it’s also quite pretty. The spectators should be kept in control better though, there are a couple of sections where people just hang out on the race course. Another aspect I don’t much like is that the 1/4 marathon starts at the exact same time, causing unnecessary congestion on the already pretty narrow race course. But all in all it’s an enjoyable little race, and I may very well do it again next year.
Unfortunately I was 3:05min slower this year, but I’ve got a good excuse! The weather was way too hot, at least +26 Celsius and not a cloud in the sky. I was quite excited about the race however, and even though I knew that the weather would make it tough, I decided to set off at a PB pace, 3:55min/km, and just see how long I could keep it up. It was always a risk, but I didn’t have much to lose since I already had a solid half marathon performance from June in Idaho. Anyway, I’ll let the splits tell you the story; they’re pretty ugly…
Splits (elapsed time):
10k 20:37,7 (39:59,6)
15k 22:23,6 (1:02:23)
20k 21:23,7 (1:23:47)
Total: 21,32k in 1:29:01,5
So, as you can see from the splits, I set off way too fast. After about 2k I was at fourth place. The problems started to accumulate already after 7k: I started to feel the heat and my pace dropped slightly, and soon I got my first heat/dehydration related stitch — the first of three. I was still managing a decent pace, but shortly after the 9k mark I somehow got a huge pebble in my shoe and had to stop to remove it. I dropped down to fifth place because of that, but worse than that was that I never quite managed to get my pace back up, I had lost the rhythm and the heat was really starting to get to me. I forced a gel down around the 12k mark, which may or may not have helped but it certainly made me thirsty. I could’ve used more aid stations as I was not getting enough liquid; I’m just glad that this wasn’t a full marathon! Well, I remained at fifth place until the end, but the sixth guy was on my heels up to the last km, and probably helped me to push a little bit as otherwise I would’ve been running completely on my own. Indeed, I was back to a reasonable pace on the last 2,5k.
I wasn’t the only one who struggled. The top three was the same as last year, although in a different order. For instance, last year’s winner, who was now third, was 6:20min slower than a year ago. No one got under 1:20, whereas last year the top three were all well under. Given that, my relative performance was in fact better than a year ago: I was 8:21min behind the winner this year and 8:52min behind last year. It’s a pity that the weather was like this because I feel like I might’ve even had a PB in my legs: they felt fine all the way through (even though I’ve got a slight niggle on my left leg today).
I’m pondering about my next race now. There’s a possibility of a trail marathon on the first day of September, but I’d rather try out a fast half again since that would be a better tester, and I’d really like a chance to improve my times, as I haven’t managed a single PB this year.