I finally had a race again this weekend, the half marathon at Kalundborg Vinter Marathon. A rather hilly race as can be seen on this height profile (full marathon is two loops).
I was mentally prepared for the hills, I know they would be hard, but the real surprise was the weather. Temperature was just about freezing, winds at around 15 m/s (33 mph) and we would be running near the coast.
The race started at the local snow covered stadium, as a nice touch the organizers used a rocket as starting gun.
About 3 km after the start we hit the first and worst hills. I am rather thankful that they did not come later in the race as my legs felt like blubber afterwards. I managed to not fall under 5:02 min/km as the slowest, but felt really drained of energy for the next few kilometers.
Thankfully I had a bit of time to recuperate before we turned into the wind around km 8. At 15 m/s and with the wind coming directly from the water, people where running in lines like in a bike race to try and get some shelter for the wind. After a couple of kilometres we turned our sides to the wind which helped a bit with the speed, but I was close to tripping several times when the wind blew my one foot behind the other.
At around 15 kilometers we got out of the open areas and back into the city which provided some much welcome shelter, I was able to pick up the pace a bit and passing some of my fellow competitors. As a result of that I also ran km 19 as the fastest one in the race at 4:18 min/km. The last few kilometres I gave it all I had and definitely didn't leave anything on the track.
I ended up crossing the finish line at 1:39:39 (a 9 minute PR) with an average pace of 4:43 min/km (07:35 min/mile), much better than expected and a time that I am more than happy with under the circumstances.
I owe my colleague who ran with me a big thanks for his encouraging words during the whole race and for allowing me to tuck in behind him in the worst winds. Thanks!
Check out the video from the local tv station.
I ran with number 564 and my colleague with number 19, see if you can spot us going up the hills around 1:06.