Sunday 11 June 2017

Potsdam half marathon 2017

Veni, vidi, vici!

Here we are, back at the starting line of the exact same race where  I broke my half marathon PR two years ago, just before injuring my foot. It's also my first official race of the year... It's about time!

I feel much more prepared than last year, as I just ran 25 km last month. However, since I'll be running on paved roads and asphalt this time, in new shoes I barely had time to work out, I don't know how my foot is going to react towards the end of the race. We shall see and be reasonable as usual :)

On the plus side, I'm running with the wife, which is really rare and enjoyable. On the down side, we have to wake up at 6 o'clock and by the time we start it'll be 30°C! :(

The Potsdam half is one of my favourite race, especially since it goes through the beautiful city-center, the woods, around the lakes and along the castle. It's mostly roads but a good part is dirt trail like I'm used to. It has a bit of a "trail run" vibe at some points.

After 1h of driving, we barely have time to park the car, get our starting bags and here we are, on the road for 21km. We stay at the back of the pack, not looking to score any PR time this year, just enjoying the race.

The city is beautiful, people are really nice and encourage us. It's very hot already and we know that the heat is going to be the main obstacle today. For the first time, I'm running with my flask, filled up with juice, water and salt. It's really convenient, as I can replenish it at every station on the way and take little slips more often.

Fortunately for us, the route features many wooded areas and shadows along the way. Nice autochthons spray us with water hose and we cool off eating apple slices.

On the foot side, it's not heaven but not concerning either. My new Asics Nimbus are very cushioning and my knees complain more about the pavement than my feet. A few times on the way, I noticed some tension in my plantar fascia. It's not painful but it recalls some bad memories. 

"The body remembers the pain", I once read. I stop at every station to stretch my calves and relax my legs. Overall they put up with the kilometres without grumbling. The heat makes every step difficult. We try to cool off by drinking a lot and running under the water jets. 

Around 15 km, hunger strikes. A cliff bar devoured in two bites and I feel better already. That's what happens when you breakfast on carbohydrates only. I am used to eating cereals and milk on race days, because they are quickly digested and I don't run with a heavy stomach. 

But the downside is that my body is craving for some more solid food. I should focus on proteins and healthy fats next time, they would sustain me much longer.

When my foot stars complaining again, we are almost at the end. One kilometer to go! We speed up the pace, just for fun. I'm​ hoping to finish in less than 2h30. 

Eventually we cross the finish line hand in hand, with an official time of 2h31. This is one minute less than my finish time at the Berlin half marathon last year, when I hurt my foot on the way and I finished walking on the pain. 

Therefore, I can say that although not fully recovered yet, my PF is resorbing and my foot is feeling much better this year. I just need to keep running regularly, accustom my legs to longer distances, and always give my body enough time, sleep and healthy food to recover. Piece of cake!

All in all a very nice race, I'm glad to be back on the starting line. Next stop: the marathon in two months... And still a long way to go up to my first 50k!

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