Sunday, October 10, 2010

Munich Two

This is the second half-marathon that I ran in Munich this year. I ran the half-marathon that's part of the Munich Marathon. This is the first year that there was a half-marathon along with the marathon.  There were close to 5,000 finishers at this inaugural race: 1651 women and 3120 men.  My time was 1:53:43, which was about 2 minutes faster than my time at last June's City Run.  I was 296th out of the 1651 women and 24th out of 144 in my age group (W 50-54). The results were segregated by gender. Just for fun I checked my time among the men's results and would have been right in the middle of the pack. 

For the most part, I'm satisfied with my time. I achieved the goal of improving on my time from the City Run. There were also a couple of  things which affected my time. The first 16 km (10 miles) were fast. Then the toe cramps struck. The three smallest toes on my right foot kept cramping. I had to walk to loosen them back up. This was the first time that I had toe cramps in a race. My husband gets toe cramps when his feet get cold. After having experienced them today, I'll never again think that he's being a big drama queen when he gets them. The other problem had to do with the sport drink that was served. It tasted awful and my stomach didn't like it. Even when I diluted the drink with water, it gave me gas pains. This was another first. Normally the sports drinks at races don't bother me. I attribute some of that to the nervous stomach that I had since Friday. 

At first I was a bit disappointed with my time because I really wanted a faster one. I was on track for a much faster time through the first 16 km. A lot of that time I was "in the zone," going fast but still feeling pretty comfortable.  But as I was leaving the stadium after having some post-race refreshments, I saw other people who were crossing the finish line. They were finishing at around the 2:15 mark. Then I realized that there were people in the race who would have been very happy to finish in my time. That and being in the top 20% for both the women and my age group put things in perspective and the disappointment went away.

Before the race, I also incurred some slight injuries. There was a huge line for the women's bathroom. Instead of directing people to the Porta-Potties near the start, the organizers sent women to an indoor bathroom with only 3 toilets.  A group of us women toward the back of the toilet line, myself included,  decided to use some nearby bushes to take care of business. There were nettles in the bushes! I got stung on my left hand, arm, and leg. I've brushed up against nettles while training and the sting lasted a couple of minutes. Munich nettles must be more potent than Garmisch ones because the spots where I got stung are still bothering me. I still have some red bumps on my skin from the nettles. 

The course was the second half of the marathon course. About half of it was in the old city. I remember the last part of the marathon course being a big labyrinth, but somehow I though it was only the last 6 km. But about 8 km was like being in the middle of a maze until heading toward the finish at the Olympic stadium. The last kilometer seemed to be the longest because I kept expecting the turn into the stadium tunnel and onto the track. I remember that feeling from running the marathon too. 

I saw a funny sight in the early part of the race. We runners passed by a restaurant called "Mai Wok." One would think that it would be a Chinese restaurant, especially with the word "wok" in the name. Nope. It was a restaurant which served both Indian food and pizza. I've also been to Indian restaurants and pizzerias, but never to a restaurant which served both types of food. 

The runners were encouraged to use public transportation to get to the start and home from the Olympic stadium. The subway trains were packed! It was like what you see in Tokyo during rush hour. I had a Power Bar with me to eat on the train ride back to the park-and-ride where I left my car. But there wasn't enough room to pull it out of my bag and eat it. It was nice that all of the public transportation in Munich was free today for the runners. 

Now it's time to take a well-deserved rest. My right knee is a little bit sore, but some ice will help it. I'll spend most of this week walking instead of running to let my body recover. 

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