That New Years Eve Run where I finished 1st

New Years Eve started out with an early wakeup call at 5 a.m. so that I was able to fuel for my 7 km run that started rather early, at 9 a.m.. However, I was worried that I might not be able to run in the race if I didn’t show up right when registration started at 7. The race was in a small community near the Baltic Sea, called Ponitz. It is a cute picturesque town with a main street lined by many historic villas.

The registration process was quite simple as I prefilled the form at home. Then it was a matter of waiting for the start. I was quite surprised by how nice the facilities in this little village were, brand new, warm and inviting. The best was that there was NO lineup for the bathrooms. No porta potties for the win!

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To kill some time my cheerleaders (parents) and I walked around for about 40 minutes to see a little bit more of the town. Unfortunately the weather took a turn for the worst and the typical Northern German misty rain started. In case you are not familiar with what it feels like, it’s the kind of rain that soaks through every layer of clothing and chills you right to the bone.

 

Apparently there were over 280 runners who ended up participating in the race, as it was time to line up at the start I completed some last minute warm up moves which included lunges, sidekicks, and squats. Anything to help activate my lazy glutes.

 

The start was punctual right at 9 and off we went. After a couple of uphills for the first couple of km we trotted along the Bundesstrasse (country highway) for about 3 km. I thought I was lined up ok at the start line but quickly realized that I wasn’t as I tried to keep a “conservative pace” for the first few km and then speed up after the first half. The pathway was quite narrow and I tried very hard not to trip as I was passing people. At one point I overheard people, ahead of me talk about the 14 km run and I was starting to get nervous that I might have missed the turn for the 7km run. Luckily, shortly after there was the turning point. As I was near the front of the pack at this point I was able to spot the first runner up.

 

A few hundred metres ahead of me were a guy and a girl running together. My competitive side forced me to push past them to be first female through the finish line. I raced past them and could feel that they were trying to keep up with me. However, the took a turn and we went from asphalt to dirt. Did I mention it rained for days on end prior to the race? As you can imagine it turned into a mud run and was challenging to keep a good footing without a)slipping and b)slowing down. To top it all off, this was the most difficult part of the race due to the rolling hills. We followed along these muddy roads for nearly 3km before hitting pavement again.

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At this point there should have been less than a km to go so I decided to pick it up and pass the older man ahead of me. I rushed past him but he didn’t want to have a girl beat him obviously as he made a very rude comment towards me and took the lead again. For a couple of hundred metres I tried to keep his pace but I was getting nauseous and decided to back off. At that point we already hit the 7km mark and I starting to wonder how much further we had to go. Obviously the course length was off. I recognized one of the turns and realized that we probably had about 500m to go and there was a fair bit of a downhill, so I gave it all I had. One last turn before the finish, I spotted my parents cheering me one, and another male runner about 50 metres in front of me. I had to make a “run” for it and see if I could pass him before the finish. And I did!

Completely out of breath I asked one of the people at the finish line if I am the first woman through, and she said I was! 7th overall, 1st female.

Here are the stats:

1 km: 5:40 min/km

2 km: 5:12

3 km: 5:06

4 km: 4:53

5 km: 5:06

6 km: 4:38

7 km: 4:48

Last 650 m: 4:16

Total time 38:13, total distance 7.65 km, average pace 5:00. Total ascent 54m.

I can definitely see that I was too slow the first couple of km due to not lining up properly, this was definitely my fault.

 

After the race I was ready to eat all the food and I picked up my medal (a lot of kind congratulatory words from the volunteers!!). A New Years Eve tradition in Germany is to eat a Berliner which is essentially a jam filled donut (minus the hole), dusted in powdered sugar or glaze. I went for the powdered sugar one and a hot coffee. Let me tell you, it was divine and a good way to set my intentions for the upcoming year. I want to become a better, faster and more dedicated runner in 2019 and now is the time to do so.

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