Carinthia Half-marathon 2009

Kärnten Läuft Halbmarathon 2009
Holidays with “the boys” used to have a different flavour. Also our destinations differed significantly from the current one. Instead of flying to Greece for a beer-induced summer holiday, this time we embarked on a different mission. With Hannes having opted out because of lack of training (and courage), four of us met at Pritschitz approximately at half-distance between Klagenfurt and Velden at the Wörthersee. Gernot had been responsible for organisation and accomodation and thus Stefan, Herbert, myself and Cedrick (my father’s Retriever) found ourselves in the beautiful backyard of a traditional Carinthian farm, run by Martin’s mother, one of Gernot’s best friends (Martin, not the mother), in warm sunshine on a Saturday afternoon. We were there not for drinking beer but wanting to cover a distance of 21’095 meters as fast as possible at one of Austria’s best run events, Kärnten Läuft Half-marathon. Of course, we had a taste of our favorite drink but just a small one.
Kärnten Läuft Halbmarathon 2009
Our preparation for the run couldn’t have been better: great food at the nearby restaurants, a dive in the cool and squeaky clean Wörthersee and the relaxing atmosphere of the accomodation. We hit bed rather early in order to get up at 5.10 a.m. sharp. Well, a little earlier since Cedrick seemed to have anticipated when the alarm would ring and woke me at 5.09 a.m with a charming “wuff wuff”. Sometimes animals seem to know more than they are willing to tell us humans.
A good breakfast – white rice, squashed bananas and a tip of honey for me, rolls and coffee for the rest of the gang – set us up for the run. Martin gave us a lift to Velden to the start of the race, which made things a lot easier for us. We arrived in front of the Schlosshotel at 7.30, early enough to get quick access to the Dixi toilets and discuss our race strategy.
At 09.00 a.m. we set off. The sun had just managed to penetrate the remaining clouds of yesterday’s evening’s thunderstorm as if wanting to make sure that nobody would be cold. Temperatures were rising quickly and I took two cups of cold water into the starting area in order to cool me off before the start. I do not cope with heat too well and have to make sure that my head and rest of body are cooled down as much as possible whenever I run in warm weather. The first kilometer rises up to the center of Velden and is symbolic for the race’s profile: a constant change of ascents and descents which makes it hard to get into a decent running rhythm.
Despite the heat, I managed to clock in the kilometers as planned (between 3:43 and 3:45 min), thus running smoothly until kilometer 10. There I wanted to pick up a bottle of energy drink, which I had mixed for myself. But having used a different color and type of bottle on my last runs, running with a heart rate of 175 bpm, my eyes couldn’t make out the new type of bottle among the many that were waiting there. I had to stop and browse the offer several times until, finally, I found my bottle. This stop broke my rhythm. The next couple of kilometers were hard. I failed to run as fast as I did before and was slowly but surely losing time upon my 1:20 hrs goal. As this race was just a test run for the Berlin marathon next month, I accepted my fate and tried to get into a good rhythm again. I was now running almost 10 seconds per kilometer slower than before but still at an acceptable pace. Most of all, I wasn’t pushing myself too hard. I knew that two hard running weeks were waiting for me.
Thus I continued all along, meeting Martin, Gernot’s friend, at the bottom of their farm, handing out water cups, cruising through Krumpendorf and struggling a little on the last, dull three kilometers. I still had the strength to speed up on the last two kilometers, enjoying the great atmosphere with hundreds of spectators on the last 500 meters. I had overtaken a couple of runners on the last kilometer quite easily only to out sprinted on the last 5 meters before the finish. I was only annoyed for a couple of seconds. I had better things to do: it’s just too good a feeling when you have finished a race. And this is the time of the race when endorphins rule – all alone. And that’s what you really want to relish. I did – I am still doing it.
Kärnten Läuft Halbmarathon 2009
Herbert (1:39 hrs), Gernot (1:41 hrs) and Stefan (1:51 hrs) also run great races. All happy, we were picked up by Martin again and headed back to our accommodation where we were eagerly and happily awaited by Cedrick, who had been left behind in the apartment. We met at the big wooden table in the extensive garden in order to drink beer, home-made Apfelsaft and reflect on the race. The verdict was easy and unanimous: it had been a great trip and a great race.
We agreed to do it again in 2010.

Kärnten Läuft Halbmarathon: 1:21:15 hrs, 3:51 min/km, 15:58 km/h, pos 66, age-group m-35-pos 12
0-9k 9-15k 15-21,1k
0:33:50 0:24:16 0:23:08
Ready To go - Kärnten Halbmarathon