The Volvo Tierparklauf is the race that turned into a non-race for me. I originally wanted to train to run a personal 5K record, but then life got in the way and my training was totally sub-par. Then I found out the course had to be changed from a 5K to a 5.6K in order to avoid running by some particularly sensitive animals (i.e., the downside of running a race at the zoo). Since there was no way of getting a 5K PR, I decided instead to just run as hard as I could and use it to assess my abilities for the Bremen 10K coming up next month.
There are no photos because my smart phone was stolen shortly before the race, and there was no way I was hauling my DSLR around. Instead, you’ll just have to use your imagination, like the old days. Just picture running by flamingos, deer, and some other animals that I couldn’t see, but sure could smell! It was actually quite a beautiful day, and though I’d never been to the Tierpark (not to be confused with the Tiergarten or the Zoologische Garten) in East Berlin, I was pleasantly surprise by its size and how pretty it is.
I jogged for a few minutes to get warmed up, and then we were off! The first mile was pretty slow because of the narrow pathways — even though they divided up the start times, and limited each start to 1,000 runners, things still got clogged up early on. So I picked up the pace and began weaving my way through the slower runners and walkers.
We did two loops of 2.8K, and I did my best to keep gradually increasing my pace as much as possible. There was a point in the last half a mile when I could feel side stitches creeping up on me, so I didn’t sprint to the finish, but still managed to keep up my pace. I finished the 5.6K in 33:07, with mile spits of 9:58, 9:26, 9:20 and 9:17 (for the last half a mile).
Not exactly the awesomeness that I had in mind for my first short race in a long while, but I still feel like it sets me up for some solid 10K training. Given that my training was not what it should have been, I’m definitely not complaining about my finish time. Plus, it was great to see so many families participating in the run — there were “generational teams” made up of parents, grandparents, and children of all ages, running in pairs and crossing the finish line together. Warms the heart, doesn’t it?
In any case, stay tuned in October for my next race recap! In the meantime though, feel free to entertain yourself with some of my other race reports: