Sunday, April 13, 2008

OMV Linz Marathon 2008

I've been running for more than a year now, with around 1,100 completed kilometers. I don't know why I had decided to start running in the first place, what I do know is that this was one of the best decisions of my life. Being a stressed-out software engineer, I enjoy the relaxation and energy boost running brings along, it's also the simplest (run anytime, anywhere) and least expensive workout possible.

My racing debut was the "Linzer Sparkassen Citylauf 2007", a half-marathon. In contrast to today, I was less prepared for the race as well as the pace required to complete it in a satisfying time, the result was 02:16:46. I completed the first 10k in around 57 minutes, however, I was forced to slow down during the second half because my energy depot was practically empty. 

Today, 6 month after my HM debut, I participated in the "OMV Linz Marathon 2008", my competition of choice was once again the half-marathon. I was unsure about participation because f a foot injury I contracted one week ago during training. During a 5k test run yesterday, the injury was fine during the beginning, but was clearly noticeable in the end. Today morning, one hour before the race, I was in doubt about participating as my foot got worse. Nevertheless, I decided to pull through!

At 9:15 am, the raced started on a freeway bridge with around 14,000 participants. My intention was to finish before the two-hour mark, my training was based on a plan from Herbert Steffny for 1:59:00. To ensure a steady and adequate pace, I was using the Garmin Forerunner 305, which not only records the course via GPS, it also provides an instant pace average that is accurate enough for relying on it during the race.

The first 19k were comparably easy, way easier than last time as well as during training runs and way faster than ever before. I completed the 10k in around 57 minutes and still had a chance to easily finish within the first 2 hours. Between 19k and 21k, I increased my pace to make sure I wouldn't miss my goal. The "hammer-man" tried to intervene at that point, however, I managed to maintain the pace (around 5:00) while heading towards the finish line. It's true, the cheering audience does help quite a lot. I passed the finish line with an official net time of 01:57:35, slightly better than expected and with relatively little effort during the first 19k. I was very satisfied with the result, particularly considering my injury, which could have completely thwarted my plans!

Paricipating in a race amongst 14,000 fellow runners was a fantastic experience, finishing in 01:57:35 was excellent and exceeded my expectations for the day. In contrast to last year, I took carbo-loading seriously this time. On a retrospective note, I think the full depot of carbo-hydrates enabled my effortless run until the 19k mark, it clearly showed.

It's always interesting to analyze the race by means of the data recorded by Forerunner. My average pace was 05:30. While I did not plan for it, I managed a negative split - the second half page average was slightly higher than the first. Here's a chart covering pace and heart rate during the race:

The following image shows the course based on GPS data:

The OMV Linz Marathon was excellent, I thoroughly enjoyed every second (well, almost ;) ) and will take part again next year unless another, more interesting event turns up.

Only one open question remains for the next event:
new half-marathon goal OR marathon?

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