Sunday, January 23, 2011

Never look back...

Friday, as we were preparing for a lovely Friday night/ Saturday in Utrecht, I received an e-mail with race information for the Mastboscross on Sunday January 23rd. This struck me as odd, since the Mastboscross, a 10K through our local forest, was not supposed to be on until the 30th. Or was it?

Well, despite what my agenda and race schedule said, the 10K was on the 23rd. It did not make a huge difference to me, since I was just going to use it as a training run. A quick check of the entrant list showed there were only 18 women registered (only 13 finished), so I had a decent chance of being last. Especially, since people around here take their running *very* seriously.

On "race day" we woke up a bit late, so I ate my usual 2-bread slice breakfast. My tummy was rather unhappy about something I ate yesterday so I almost decided to stay home, but didn't. I slowly jogged the two miles to the start instead of a warm up. Even though my heart rate was too high for such a slow pace, I felt good, so I went ahead. The line for packet pick up was very short, which was great since I got there 15 minutes before the start. At 9:55 I was at the start, chatting with a co-worker and one of our students who were coincidentally also running (they rocked it).
The 5K and 10K started simultaneously, with the 10K running 5(!!!!!) laps. The gun went off and we started. I felt like everyone passed me within the first half mile, but I looked back and saw a few more people. After that I felt I was running pretty much alone the whole time. And it was a looooooooooooooooooooooooooong time. Seriously. I was unprepared for how challenging the course would be. There were several races going on that weekend, including a long cross race (9.8K) and the 10K. So I figured the 10K would not be a cross, but it sure felt like it. There was a lot of mud (especially after it started raining half way), a tree trunk across the road we needed to jump over, a few very steep ups and downs where you could fly down and get some speed to go back up, a lot of branches to avoid... It was cross-ier than I expected.
The first lap was painful. I went out too fast and couldn't sustain that pace. The second lap was painful too, but it was still early. My hubby got a few pictures half way through the second lap, sadly on the flatest, most devoid of trouble section.

The third lap was starting to be routine. I was recognizing all the landmarks and wondering how much longer the torture would last? My legs were toast and I realized I did not have my usual pre-race Luna bar and I probably should have brought a gel along as well. I thought "it's just a 10K", forgetting that a 10K is an hour long affair. Note to self: stay on top of nutrition. The third and fourth laps were the worst mentally, knowing that I still had to go through two, and one more time. At the end of the fourth lap, I think the announcer thought I might be turning to the right, towards the finish... Instead I took a left and he had to announce: "this lady is taking a left". Duh!!!

The last lap was good. I knew I would be seeing my buddy tree trunk and his friends mud puddles for the last time. I bade them farewell as I charged towards the finish. They also gave me a parting gift: a face plant, 100m before the finish (fortunately I was still under tree cover and almost no one saw it). I was looking behind me to see if anyone was trying to pass me, and I knew there was at least one woman behind me. I must have looked behind me a bit too long, because a root jumped out in front (probably to wave goodbye) and my foot caught it. I totally dived into the sand (fortunately not a mud pit), made a yelp, crawled back up and continued running while thinking "I hope I did not hurt anything" and fortunately I did not!

Moral of the story: never look back!

After the race, I collected my medal, chatted with colleague and student who very nicely cheered me on at the finish, ran/shuffled to work (about a mile from the race) and picked up the bike I left there on Friday. Biked home, showered, changed and biked the 30 minutes to our favorite restaurant in Meersel-Dreef (Belgium) for a lovely lunch with the hubby :-)

1 comment:

  1. I can't believe that you are dressed in almost a Summer outfit. I get cold only looking at it.

    Well done on a race that started difficult.

    Thanks about the tip of the ontbijtkoek, I keep that in mind when I'm going to try what works best for me.