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Hardtwald 10K Race Report

This morning at 10:00 a.m. was the annual Hardtwald (Hardt Forest) 10K run. I ran this run before in October, 2004 (50:35), so was familiar with the route. The course was approximately 40% asphalt-covered, the rest dirt forest paths. The morning was a sunny 15C/59F and windless, in other words just about perfect for running a race.

About an hour before the race I met some of the members of my running club in the big parking lot from the Karlsruhe soccer stadium. The small sports club that was putting on the race was fortunate to border the same parking lot. After chatting for awhile we got read to run.

The start was located at the edge of the forest. I new from experience that the path is narrow and you had to line up in the front to avoid a bottleneck at the start of the race. I seemed to be surrounded by running club members (15 of us ran) as I lined up. There were close to 500 runners participating in the race.

As the starting pistol went off I surged forward with the crowd, but there was still a bottleneck. I did my best to creep forward, but the first kilometer came (5:05K - 8:11/M pace) and went and I was still penned in. Finally, we made our first left turn and were rewarded with a wider dirt path. Here the fast runners took off and I did my best to pick up the pace. I was rewarded by finishing the second kilometer in 4:05 (6:34/M) which left me wondering if the maker was off, because I don't think I ever ran that fast before!

I was breathing pretty heavy by this time, so slowed down slightly to correct my breathing. I finished the 3rd kilometer in around 4:30 (7:15/M). The crowd had pretty much dissipated so I had room to run. I seemed to be the slower runner by this time as people kept passing me. As each one passed I tried to run with them at least for a few seconds. I missed seeing the 4K marker, but passed the 5K marker in 23:01 (4:36/K or 7:25/M), probably the fastest first half of a 10K that I’ve ever run!

I tried not to think about my potential finishing time as I plodded on. I could feel myself slowing down and fought to keep the momentum going. The time seemed to stand still as I passed the 6th, 7th and 8th kilometer markers – it seemed to take so long. Around kilometer 8 (mile 5) I caught up with one of the guys from my running club. He was trying to break 47 minutes, so I knew I had to stay ahead of him if I wanted to do the same.

With that in mind I fought to pull ahead of him. With sheer determination I slowly crept by him. After a few hundred meters I could feel the effort and knew I could not hold the pace for long. Just then Sabine from my running club flew by me, which totally caught me off guard as she normally doesn’t run so fast. Somehow this shock got my competitive juices flowing and I passed her! Now this lady is determined and as I started to waver just after the 9th kilometer, she passed me again and kept up a brutal pace.

She was about 10 paces ahead of me by the time we saw the sign for 400 meters left. I knew if I was going to pass her it had to be quick. I slowly started closing the gap, 300 meters, 200 meters, then finally we broke out of the woodline and onto the running track and the last 100 meters. She sprinted, I sprinted, she beat me by 2 seconds!

I barely dared to look at my watch as I crossed the finish line. I set a new personal best this past April with a time of 48:18. My goal today was a sub-48 minutes. After congratulating Sabine on a great race, I looked at my watch…a new PR…whoohoo!

My official time was 46:37, one minute and forty-one seconds faster than my old PR! I finished 189/474 overall and 42/73 in my age class (M45). My average pace was 4:39/K (7:30/M), my fastest pace for a race yet!

Running club member Sabine finished 2 seconds ahead of me and ended up in third place in her age group (W40). What I find really cool is that Sabine’s husband Uwe finished just 3 seconds and 1 place (overall) in front of her!

Anyway it was a fantastic race, I had a great time visiting with some of my running club members afterwards, and even my wife asked me if I got a new PR when I walked in the door when I got home!

Comments

Sounds like a fast race! Nice you could struggle over your peers! They helped you to set the new PR!

awesome PR jack! it seems that the running club has benefitted you in many ways!

Excellent race! This read like one of those seat-of-your-pants thrillers, keeping us hanging on to see if you'd PR. Great job!

Congrats on the PR Jack! Great race and report

Congratulations Jack! You've earned that PR with all your training this year.

Great job! I love 10ks. They're my favorite distance.

Congratulations on the PR Jack. It did predict it, didn't I? If you hadn't done 10 miles the day before you would have shaved a few more seconds off your time, but I realise that you're not concentrating on the shorter distances.

Fabulous job!! Loved reading how the competitive spirit got you going each time.

Congrats!!

GREAT job!! That's an AWESOME time! I love good competitive juices!!

You've really picked up SO much additional speed this year!!

blazing fast 10k jack! well done! great PR for sure.

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