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Thirty-One

Yesterday was race number 31 for me, and my first official race outside of the U.S.  – the Hannover Half-Marathon. When I was looking into registering for a race back in January, I chose this one for a number of reasons: (1) Hannover is mein Schatz’s hometown; (2) it is only a little over an hour away by train; (3) I love the half-marathon distance; and (4) a long weekend (thanks to Labor Day, or Tag der Arbeit) seemed like an ideal time to run a race. Although there was a full marathon attached to the event as well, the Half was clearly the main event, with about 10,000 runners (as compared to 2,000 for the marathon). According to the local newspaper, there were a few dozen foreigners signed up for the race, but otherwise it was mainly a local event.

Unlike all of the other races I have run, this one started pretty late (11am) because of the attached marathon (which started at 9am). This let us enjoy a relatively leisurely breakfast and we had plenty of time at the race start to relax, stretch, change clothing, and use the bathroom. It all felt extremely civilized – none of this waking up at 4am stuff.

One other thing that was different from other races I have run is that the course was marked only in kilometers, of course. I am pretty reliant on mile-markers to let me know if I am pacing myself correctly — which is pretty easy to calculate with a 10:00 minute/mile pace — and I have a pretty good sense of what plus or minus a few seconds per mile can do to my overall goal time. I had to do a little more thinking beforehand for this race, but since I pretty much hit my minutes/kilometer goal (6:25 minutes) with every kilometer (I am nothing, if not consistent), I knew I was going to be pretty close to my target finishing time. Although I will probably always have a better intuition when a race is marked in miles, I have to admit that it was psychologically very satisfying to have the instant gratification of clicking through those kilometers every six-and-a-half minutes!

I channeled the energy and support of all my past half-marathon partners (you know who you are!) to keep me company, and was able to get into a good running groove. We had lots of supporters on the sidelines cheering us on throughout the course, which is always good for a burst of energy. Mein Schatz even had enough energy after he finished (in 1:39:00, no less) to come back and join me for my last kilometer!

All in all, it was a good race. Since my pace was pretty spot-on, I was only two minutes off of my overall goal. While 2:17:08 is certainly not my fastest time, it is several minutes ahead of my slowest time – so I am satisfied, especially given my two weeks of sickness and non-training so close to race day. My quads are really tight today (which makes me walk funny) and my lower back is a bit sore (time for new shoes), so I am skipping my Pilates class, but I have a massage scheduled for tomorrow evening, which should help take care of all the stiffness.

And that, my friends, concludes the coverage of my Hannover Half-Marathon.  Thanks for tuning in.  Until next time.

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