The VCM – Heaven and hell

VCM-2007-Chris-Ring.jpg Having the Vienna City in the rear-view mirror, a very special energy is circulating my body. Although my legs are dead, sore and aching, it is an elevating feeling that is dominating my body, as if flying or as having arrived at a holy place inside. Although my body has been drained of all its energy, I do not experience the ordinary kind of fatigue. Of course, I could go to bed immediately, yet this stimulating, refreshing energy makes me want to savour it forever.
DSCF0153-Chris-VCM.JPG It was an extraordinary day, starting with fellow 26.279 participants on a run through a grand city, in front of a big crowd, is, at least for me, not the every day kind of experience. If I say that I enjoyed the run, this may sound trite, but I fully did so until 9 ks before the finish. I didn’t have my best day, and, with temperatures soaring at 28 °C, it wasn’t the best marathon weather. Running 1k splits between 4.25 und 4.30 min at a heart rate of 155 to 165 on the first 21.1 ks, I struggled to repeat my performance at a half marathon a month ago. With 1:33.53 after 21.1 ks, I tried to speed up in the kilometres leading up to the critical 28 ks mark.
DSCF0154-Chris-VCM-start.JPG As a matter of fact I managed to improve my position from 913 at 25 ks to 611 at 30 ks, overtaking 302 competitors within 22 minutes. Up to there my legs were fine but with a heart rate of 175 I was pushing my limits, too far as it unfortunately turned out. While I was able to keep my pace up and steady down to the Ernst Happel football stadium at 30.5 ks, the Hauptallee, leading down to beautiful Lustschlössl, a 4ks return, straight, tree lined alley, proved to turn what seemed like heavenly floating across the street into a helish kind of struggle to reach the finish line.
VCM-2007-Reichsbrück.jpg I was caught unawares, it happened like a shot from a sniper. Suddenly, without warning, exactly at the 33 ks sign, my left thigh cramped. Of course it hurt terribly but with another 9 ks to run, my marathon finish, suddenly, seemed to be light years away. Slowing down to 4.50 for the kilometer, I thought I might have escaped the worst. But running back towards Schüttelstraße, the Prater Allee and the soaring heat appeared to be merciless. My pace slowed to a disappointing 5.15 and my legs failed to recover.
VCM-2007-Chris-Ring.jpg With another 4 ks to run, on Schüttelstraße, the next cramp hit so hard that I thought that this would be the end. I still do not know what I did but somehow, after walking for a few meters, I managed to get back into a running pace. DSCF0162-Chris-VCM.jpg Running more with my will than my feet, I reached Ringstraße, ran past the opera and turned right into Heldenplatz, and in a state of total trance crossed the finish line at 3:16.59. I had done it – or rather my body had done it – thank you.

It was a peculiar feeling. From my head to my hips I felt not really exhausted, more like the fantastic feeling I described above, but my legs felt terrible and I found it hard to walk to the exit. DSCF0164-Chris-VCM-finish1.jpg There Sylvia and her friend Michaela were already waiting for me with big smiles, which made me forget for a while those aching, sore, empty legs. Still this is what you get after covering 42 ks but that will go away soon. Although the last kilometers were more a struggle than a run, I am looking back to a memorable day, which was a highlight in many ways, DSCF0166-Chris-VCM-Finish.JPGand will not be forgotten so soon.
Thanks to all of you who wished me well and took part in some way at this undertaking. A special thank you goes out to Erwin, a triathlon world cup finisher and one of my best friends, for his advice during training, for his inspiration and acting as a role model. Without him, I doubt whether I would have ever done this. And last not least, I would like to thank Sylvia, my love, for her great support and understanding during the long weeks of training, for accompanying me to Vienna and for that amazing cranio-sacral therapy on the eve of the marathon. Keep up this kind of work – you are a genius. I love you, baby.

VCM-2007-Reichsbrücke-closeup.jpg My statistics:

  • 01:33:53: 1st 21.1 ks
  • 01:42:05: 2nd 21.1 ks
  • 03:15:59: total time
  • position: 622
  • age-group position : 126
  • 12.9 km/h
  • 4:39 min/km
  • Average HR: 163
  • Max HR: 178
  • KCal: 3.731
  • Ascent: 85 m
  • Average temperature: 22 ° C
  • Max. temperature: 28 ° C
  • 5 KM splits

    KM 05: 00:22:25 min
    KM 10: 00:22:01 ”
    KM 15: 00:22:18 ”
    KM 20: 00:22:27 ”
    KM 25: 00:22:02 ”
    KM 30: 00:22:31 ”
    KM 35: 00:24:21 ”
    KM 40: 00:26:36 ”
    KM 42: 00:11:13 ”

7.578 people registered for the marathon distance.