When I ran the Winterlaufe last year, I was super nervous going into it because I did not know what to expect, it was my first 8k race, and I had not been training faithfully leading up to the race. I had already done a 10k, so I don’t know why I was so unsure of myself. My friend was running the race last year and when I told her that I was nervous, she reassured me and said “There’s just a couple little hills.”
HA! A couple little hills. She was just saying that to get me somewhat prepared, but not to scare me. Because the course has more than just a couple little hills. I think there were a total of 6 hills (12 if you count going over them again since it is an out and back course) but I wasn’t really paying attention to how many there were… just whether or not this hill was the last one!
So this year I was prepared for those hills and I was prepared to take them down. As I was waiting for the race to start, I considered doing run/walk intervals to try to improve my time. But then I thought no. I’m going to run each and every one of those hills and use the downhills to my advantage. So that’s exactly what I did.
I tried to start off slow, but as usual the excitement of the race had me going faster. In my head, I wanted to aim for a 60 minute finish, a pace of about 12 minutes per mile. My first mile was 11:43, I thought hey, okay, that give me a little room. At around 1.5 miles I noticed that my right shoe was untied. Darn it! I stopped and tied my shoe then hauled off, trying to make up my lost time in the downhills. I hit mile 2 at 11:39 pace – whew! I was impressed that I had gained momentum even with that stop! We hit the turn that went to a dirt road and toward the bridge right after the 2 mile mark. At this point the sun had come out and I was getting toasty. Once we were back out on the road after the turnaround, I really had to tough it out. I had to go through all of those hills again and I was getting really warm. I heard a guy say “Only 2 miles to go!” My third mile was my slowest, and 12:40. When I heard my time, I swore and tried to speed up.
I was getting warmer and was starting to feel heavier in each and every stride. I focused on my form and making sure I took advantage of the downhills. A lot of people around me would slam on the breaks so to speak as they headed down hill. I used the momentum to propel me forward and up the next hill. I stared at the ground rather than up ahead of me as I went uphill because then I wasn’t focused on how far I had to go up each hill. My fourth mile was a little better at 11:55 pace. I heard one of the spectators say that we were approaching our last hill and the turn. I knew that after the turn it was all downhill and I would take advantage of that.
As I made that last turn I checked my time. I was still under one hour and not much to go. I hit mile 5 at a 12:21 pace. I saw my husband and the time clock – 1:01:xx. According to Endomondo when I crossed the finish I had run 5.08 miles in 1:01:14, with an overall pace of 12:03 minutes per mile. Last year’s race clocked in at a total of 5.19 miles in 1:07:59, a pace of 13:06 minutes per mile.
So although I didn’t meet my goal of finishing in an hour… I shaved 6 minutes 45 seconds off my time and a whole 1 minute 3 seconds per mile off my pace!
Now I can’t wait until next year so that I can crush my record again! WOO HOO gotta love PRs!