Getting closer – The Graz Marathon 2007

DSCF7802.JPG What a perfect day for runners this Sunday happened to be. Cool temperatures at around 16 C and wonderful sunshine set a perfect scene for about 6.000 participants at the Graz Marathon 2007.
Training more than 143 hours and 1.580 ks, I was well prepared for my second marathon. The conditions were just perfect for me and I had a good first few kilometers. I chose my speed according to my heart rate at about 158 – 163 beats per minute, clocking in the kilometers at about 04.10. After 12 ks I joined two guys running exactly at my speed, also trying to challenge the 3 hrs mark. With joint effort we made good progress towards the end of the first round.

When I finished the first half marathon at 1:28:13 still feeling fresh and with good legs, finishing below 3 hrs became a possibility. At about 24 ks one of my fellows couldn’t keep up the speed and fell behind. I continued boldly and confidently. Alas, at about 26 ks I started to feel a hardening building up in my left thigh. Bad news. I took a magnesium pill and reduced my speed to 4.25 min/km and a few kilometers on to 4.36.
At kilometer 31, the inevitable happened: my left thigh started to cramp. I had to stop running and walk for about 30 meters. The cramp wouldn’t go, so I started to jog slowly. Suprised but happy, I realised that my muscle started to relax and I could run on at about 4.45 min/kilometer. By now the smooth and easy run had transformed into a fight, in which I had to wisely judge my speed in order to prevent my muscles from cramping again. DSCF7811.JPG A few kilometers earlier I had taken amino acids which helped a lot. The left thigh became better and relaxed. But the relief lasted only as long as I realised that the problem had only changed sides. Now my right thigh began to harden up and, at kilometer 37, cramped. Fortunately, I made it to the next refreshment area, where I had access to another bottle of amino acids. Combined with a sipp of sip of Cola, the acids worked like a charm. I could not run fast but at last I could run. What else could you ask for when you are on your last 5 ks on a marathon?

At such a stage, with wrecked muscles like mine, it’s your mind that keeps you in the race, doing the last few thousand meters for you. Your body being floated with endorphines, running feels like being in a deep trance. You notice the people. But the sounds they make seem to come from a different world, seperated by a fog that keeps out the rest of the world. Now with only three kilometers to go, something was telling me that I was going to make it. The voice becoming louder, for me it materialised into a fact – something which had been in great doubt for the last hour – coming like a revelation which made me incredibly happy.
Still the last kilometer is not to be underestimated. It took a lot of effort to keep going and strike an acceptable pose in front of the many spectators. “Just no cramp, now!” was all I hoped for. At least, my thighs did me that favour.
I clocked in at 3:06:51 after 42,195 kilometers on position 124 beating my record of 3:15:59 set in Vienna last April by nine minutes and eight secondds. I am getting closer but today I missed a good chance to hit the 3 hrs jack pot.

Still it was a wonderful experience, all the more since a lot of friends were suporting me on the streets. And I really had the only banner on the course! Thanks to Ulla for that and thanks Christa for the cheering – that sprint was just incredible!!!

After the marathon we all met in our appartement in Haydngasse and celebrated the day with chili con carne and beer: Gerhild and Neil, Lisa and Ernst, Irena and Martin, Klaus, Hannes and of course Sylvia, who was such a great support during the long weeks of training. Thank you so much – your cranio treatment the day before the race was just unreal. I love you.
The race details:
3.06.51 / 4.25 min/km / 13.585 km/h / pos 124
age-group +35 position: 23

1st half-marathon: 1.28.13 / 4.10 min/km / 14.4 km/h
2nd half-marathon: 1.38.38 / 4.40 min/km / 12,857 km/h

05 ks: 0.20:39 min
10 ks: 0.41.38 min – 20:59
15 ks: 1.02.40 min – 21.02
20 ks: 1.23.39 min – 20:59
25 ks: 1.45.03 min – 21:24
30 ks: 2.07.01 min – 21:58
35 ks: 2.31.27 min – 24:26
40 ks: 2:56.36 min – 25:09
40 – 42 ks: 3:06:51 min – 10:15

for more data click here

more shots here