I had planned this race out about 3 months ago when I decided I wanted to do the Masters World mountain running champs in Switzerland. I thought it'd be a good idea to go over a week before and do a race and get myself used to the time change. Unfortunately I injured my hamstring along the way (US mountain champs at Cranmore put me over the top) and I decided at the last minute to still go and at least give it a try. I got a cortisone shot right before I left and promised my Dr. and PT that September would be a month off to heal. They agreed and wished me luck at the mountain races.
I was very tentative the morning of the Weissenstein 14.2km mountain race. My hamstring was sore and I was feeling tired before even starting. I wanted to give this a go and see if my hamstring would hold up. I had a plan in place for the race that would have me out conservatively and push on the steep climbs but not run too fast on the flats or downs for fear of really messing up the hamstring.
I hit the trail for a 2 mile warm-up and felt reasonably okay, but tired. I hoped to ease into things as the first 5km only climbed 650'. Fro 5k - 9k we'd climb 1,300' (or about 550' per mile) which was where I hoped to work the hardest. I lined up in the 4th row and stayed out of trouble for the first few sharp turns and then settled into a pace that seemed quick but not crazy. I hit 1km in 3:44 and counted 24 runners in front of me, this would be the last time I'd see the leaders (off in the distance).
I moved up a few places and by 5k found myself in 22nd place as the climbing really started. 21:48 at 5k seemed reasonable and I was hoping to move up into the top 15. It was a real grind for the next 4k, the long road section reminded me o Mt Washington. I passed a few guys and around 7k one guy went flying passed me looking very strong. I hit 9k in 45:18 with splits ranging from 5:06-6:20 per Kilometer. I was dreading the stretch from 9-10k where we dropped 150' on forest roads, all the gains I'd made on the guys close in front of me slipped away AND another guy went flying by. 10km was passed in 49:02 (27:14 for my second 5k), then we had a climb of 1,200' in the next 2.5k (or about 825' per mile). By 11k I was into my best position in the race (16th) but I lost a place climbing to 12km and another as we started the crazy downhill to 13k.
The last 1.2 km was a major ass-kicking for me as I lost 6 more places as we dropped over 400' in 1km. I was not willing (or able?) to push hard on the downs and paid the price, falling back to 24th place and finishing in 1:13:56. I ended up taking 9th in the masters and 3rd in the 45+. It looks like I lost about a minute on the final descen . I can't really complain as my hamstring wasn't that bad but I felt sluggish throughout the race. On to the Czech Republic!
Bold = 40-44 Red = 45-49