Lessons to be learned (or random thoughts at the end of a long day):
- Hilly courses are hard. I signed up before looking at the course elevation chart. I am glad I did, I may have changed my mind otherwise
- It is very hard to pace yourself on hills.I ran the first two miles at a 7:30 pace, downhill. I was pretty sure I won’t be able to keep that pace, it was faster than I was intending it to be (see below).
- I noticed interesting strategies for handling hills during the race. My approach is to try to keep a steady pace going uphill just as going downhill. I’ve seen (especially) ladies going slowly up the hill and blasting past downhill. It was actually funny to see that the net result was about the same, since I would catch them up on the next hill. I briefly discussed this with another guy that happened to be in my vicinity for about 4 miles, and we agreed it’s hard for tall people to accelerate going downhill. It puts a lot of strain on the knees, the glutes and the core. There was at least one guy that was walking uphill just to go extremely fast on flat or down. I am not sure who is right, it may be a matter of preference.
- Water stations are good, even though I was able to take only a sip out of every cup. Physics make it hard to drink while you’re running. The rest of the water was used for cooling off. Oranges provided a nice boost of energy at the last two stations.
- The corollary for the first two miles going downhill was inevitably that the last two miles were uphill. That was unexpectedly hard. I felt great up to mile 11, but started to feel the pain after that. Probably also because my long runs during training were stopping at 10 miles.
- I dreaded to look at the clock after I finished the race. I finally did it after drinking 1l of water, about 10 minutes after the finish. I was very pleased, given that the average pace was 8.09 when I hoped for 8:45 (since that’s what I found to be comfortable in training for a 10-miler).
- Do not ask me if I will do this ever again. Right now I’d probably say “no way”.
After the race we got to enjoy Asheville – it’s a very quiet, very European city.