This was the 4th time that I ran the Muenchener Stadtlauf (Munich City Run) half-marathon. My time of 1:57:44 was not what I was hoping for, but it was still respectable. In fact, it was a decent time by my standards because of a couple of factors:
1) Injuries that I had earlier this year. I had problems with the calf muscles in both legs over the winter and it took a while for them to heal. Even as recently as three months ago, I didn't think that I would be able to do this race. My training was accelerated because of the injuries.
2) The weather. It seems like the weather always gets warm on City Run day. Today is the start of a warm spell that's supposed to last most of the coming week. In addition, it was very humid. Ever run through Jell-O? That's what running in high humidity is like. I took a few extra walking breaks to drink, which also affected my time.
I set off for Munich at about 5:10 in the morning. My goal was to get there earlier than last year. The sign--in system that was initiated last year was very inefficient with long lines. Last year I felt like I barely had time to do some quick warm-up stretches, use the porta-potty, then get to the start. This year I got the U-Bahn (subway) train at 6:20 instead of at 6:40 (the trains run every 20 minutes on early Sunday mornings). What a difference 20 minutes makes! There were no lines at all when I picked up my shirt. I had lots of time to warm up, use the toilet, and even use my massage stick.
The morning started off rainy. It rained during most of my drive between Garmisch and Munich. It even rained in Munich after I arrived. But it stopped about 30 minutes before race time and the mercury started to rise. I was half hoping that it would rain during part of the race because it would have been refreshing.
Because of the humidity, I felt sluggish the whole time. When running in high humidity, it's hard for the body to cool itself. This leads to sluggishness. I carried a 0.75 liter bottle of diluted Gatorade and drank almost all of it during the race. I could also tell that I was affected by the humidity because my hands started to swell during the last 5-6 km. During the second half of the race, the sun was also starting to come out, which added to my weather woes. I decided to take it easy for those last few km. There was no point in collapsing so close to the finish, dramatic as that may be. In fact, at the 20 km mark, there was an ambulance going by. My thought was, "I may be slow today, but at least I'm not in the back of that ambulance."
The good thing about taking things slower is that none of my problems flared up. I had zero calf muscle problems during the race. My hamstring issues were also non-existent. However, I did get a cramp in the arch of my right foot during my post-run stretching and my left calf started to cramp as I was walking back to the changing tent to get my bag. After a quick stretch both cramps were gone, never to return.
This year was the first year that finishers' medals were given out. It's a generic medal, but I felt like I deserved one this year. It's silver-colored, very shiny, and says, "BMW, SportScheck Stadtlauf 2011" on the front and, "26 Juni 2011 Stadtlauf Muenchen" on the back. No pictures except for a small BMW logo on the front. BMW and the German sporting goods chain SportScheck are the two main sponsors of the City Run series. There's space to have your name and finishing time engraved on the back.
My next post will be some random thoughts about the race.