The 1/2 Sauer 1/2 Kraut half was a race I signed up for 4 weeks ago and was very excited to complete. I had run the Marathon the year prior and scored a PR, I love this course!
The morning started out at 4:20am, getting up and ready to hop in the car by 5am to take us to the race. I had my pre-race oatmeal all set and my gu’s all ready. The drive in was uneventful, I wasn’t as nervous or teary eyed as I have with my others. I cared a lot how I was going to do on this race but I was taking a different, less stressed approach. I think it helped. I wanted to PR. I didn’t care if it was by 1 second. I wanted it! I deserved it! I have put tons of time into my training and felt ready for anything.
Usually, I worry, worry, plan, plan to the smallest detail possible, worry more, tear up in anticipation and then get to the race and run and worry… This time around was going to be different! I cooled it with the worrying, cooled it with the planning. I did, however, go over the race in my head a bunch of times, but not in a stressed out way. More of a ‘man I love this course’ way and thought that the mantra of the day would be “just run” …AND it all paid off! I PR’d by almost 3 minutes and I felt awesome throughout the entire race!
Getting to the Cannstatter Volkfestverein
I picked up my packet with ease and stood in line for the bus.
My parents were there to support me in my efforts and cheer me on, and well, just be there for me because they are so great. I was meeting them at the starting line.
On the bus, I people watched and reflected on the ride noticing that I didn’t see one pair of shoes that was like the other. I mean, everyone was wearing two shoes that match, it was just that no one in the place was wearing the same shoe! Are there that many different types of shoes that I step on a bus of, what? 100 or so people and no ones matchy-matchy? It is mind-boggling. The ride was short but a couple had time to fit in some PDA. Crazy, I know, I get it, but really?
Anyways… At the race location
there were plenty of Port-o-pots, lines were not outrageous and I went for a short warm up jog. During my warm up I picked it up to my race pace so I could feel the pace I was planning to run, stretched and it was time to get into my starting wave. I was in wave 2. There were 1000 runners, and notably one guy was running 160 in one year (he wore a ‘supermarathoner’ suit with a cape). I saw him a few times on the course.
The start had a few hitches, but then we were off. The pack was running fast, I stuck in there and said “just run.” Usually at this point I would worry about going out too fast and petering out later on. Not this time. I just ran. Getting to the first hill and the second water station there was a row of young lady’s all dressed in their Lederhosen. It was neat, I passed them by, this time, but would see them again on my way back. This race is an out, up Mount Cuckoo and back. Rolling Hills and beautiful views!
(Sorry no more pictures till the end, I still haven’t got that ‘take photo while running thing’ down.)
Running at first was pretty uneventful, just running, I was going back and forth with a runner and finally asked her if she wanted to run together, because it was exhausting passing and then being passed (about 5 x) she said yes and we quickly began chatting and discussing life, family, running, and solving worldly problems (as we all do while running a race). We were keeping a pretty good pace, gliding up hills and flying down the other side. I ate a gu at mile 5 and she and I split up at the off-road trail. The race supplied Hammer Gels, I took one to try later. I don’t like trying new things on race day. That I will not change.
The off-road trail (Mount Cuckoo) is probably my most favorite part about this race. This is what the race website (www.uberendurancesports.com) says about the off-road trail- ” Mount cuckoo is a 1 mile trail section that might feature minor roadblocks like rocks, dirt, possibly horse poop and some short rolling hills. This section is relatively easy by trail runner standards, but the surface is definitely different from what you usually discover during a (half)marathon. This might just slow you down enough to miss your PR even if the weather cooperates.”
When running this race you really do run on a path riddled with mud, stones, rocks, sticks, horse poop, and there is a beautiful uphill then a nice downhill and I love it! One thing I find is that when non-trail runners see a trail they almost do a complete stop. When we all hit the start of the trail we were running in a close straight line. The moment the first person hit the dirt it was almost like a wave of dominos almost ready to fall backwards.
I had to get past those people if I was going to hit my PR, AND I did!
I was through with Mount Cuckoo and had less than a half of the half to go. I said “just run” and I did. I put my feet to the pavement and ran and passed people. This is new to me, usually I am dying on the second half. I hardly looked at my Garmen and tried to be a ‘Gazelle’ AND it was working!
Gliding up hills and flying down the other side. I said hello to the ladies in their Lederhosen which was located up the last hill and took a sip of water. Down this last hill, a few more bumps in the next 3 miles, and I was home free. My mind said, “slow down you need to conserve” and I said back a resounding “just run” and I did! I passed a ton more people, which, again, is all brand new for me. I chatted with one runner who was upset about her time and I had to leave that negativity and picked up my feet, bent my knees, and “just ran”.
Cow bells in the not so far distance told me the finish line was near! I looked at my watch, it said 2:00:01, I wasn’t going to finish under 2 hrs. no worries. I minute later I was at the last bend. I picked up my pace. I was flying, smiling, and yes tearing up. I saw my Mom and she yelled for me to “GOOOO” and I pushed harder. I felt a little nauseous but said, to myself, “you throw up at the end if you need too, but you are just going to run now” and I did!
No, not throw up! Run! and I finished official chip time 2:02:20! My new 1/2 Marathon PR. Awesome.
The fans were great, the course amazing, and the race administrators are one of a kind. I will be doing this again next year!
I have a few thoughts of why I did so well this race. I’ll share that with you in an upcoming post.
What is your favorite course?