Almost a 9 months have passed since the last race of the 2009/2010 cross run series in Hamburg and after an exciting triathlon season we were really looking forward to the start of the 2010/2011 series.
Kick off was yesterday with a 6.3k cross run on the horse track. As our race was race number 3 of the day and thanks to the rain the last couple of days the ground was covered in mud and during the warm up run it dawned us – today is going to be a tough one.
Unfortunately I caught a cold 3 days ago and woke up with a sore throat on and congested head on race day – so the initial reaction was. I am not starting.
However, since the race was not until 3pm I made sure I had a rock solid breakfast, lots of fluids and fresh vitamin juices. By the time we had to leave for the race my mind was clearly telling me – ”you’re not starting today” but what the hell – once we arrived on the race track I put my running gear on deciding that I was going to take it easy. Quick warm up with my brother – and just as I was about to stand all the way in the back of the race pack before the start, our team manger told me that his hopes were on me to be the 3rd runner to make the team for the day.
I tried to refuse but then it was kind of easy to change my mind – hey: At least I tried do the right thing for my body but you can’t really speak up against the team manager 🙂 can ya!!
It was a 2 lap race and as the gun went off I quickly find my stride and routine and made sure to run a pace I thought I could keep up more or less for the remainder of the race. It was tough the first half of the lap with all the mud and I was sure I had my shoes laced up real tied this morning – I was pretty darn close to loosing them twice during the race when they got stuck in the mud. (Of course it also might have been the better choice to go for the Saucony Peregrine rather than the Type A4 🙂 )
After the first lap I could see Lutz at about a minute ahead of me and I was struggling a bit and had to drop back from the group I was running with – just 50 meters or so. I focused on my stride and my form and was able to hold the gap. With about 1.5k to go in the last lap I knew my whole plan of going sorta easy today was off the table – I had to catch that group again. During the next 500 meters I practiced the feeling of ignoring the pain twice before letting my legs go with 1k to go into the race.
I was able to slowly close the gap to the group ahead of me but hell was I hurting. With about 500 meters to go into the race I caught 2 guys in the group that had fallen back a little and I still had about 20 meters to catch the rest of them. I knew, that was the moment to put my mind out of the equation, ignore the pain and go for it. I closed the gap with about 200 meters to go when I team manger yelled at me: you gotta get at least another 2.
That’s when the turbo kicked in – my legs starting flying sprinting down the last 200 meters but I didn’t feel a thing anymore. My legs went from just running fast to a burning sensation to going totally numb within 50 meters and I can’t tell you how happy I was to see the finish line. It shouldn’t have been another 200 meters but hey: I caught the guys in front! That’s all that counts. Right 🙂
While for me this years goal has to be to get back on track and support the team where ever I can, Lutz goal clearly has to be to defend last years age group title – and that’s exactly what he sat out to do yesterday. 1st age group, 11th overall is definitely the strongest start into the cross series he had in the last 4 years. So if he continues to improve during the season as he did the last couple of years, I am looking forward to seeing him race the top5 soon again!
Yesterday’s race was also the first race for Caroline in the cross series ever. Despite an unbelievable Rookie mistake – and I say unbelievable because the same happened to Lutz last year and you can’t believe how we took the shit out of him for that, her shoe laces opened during the race – she showed a superb performance and helped her team to a first place team finish!
The winter season has begun – Rock on!
P.s. Huge shout out and thanks to High5 Deutschland for the race nutrition!