Or should I say 14km? This was the most annoying thing about this race, it seemed to be quite a bit short of 15km. This has been the case for this race forever apparently. I like my numbers standard so that annoyed me slightly, but I had decided not to care about it going into the race. Big was my surprise when the announcer mentioned before the race that they had lengthened the course to be 15km long. I was quite happy about that!
Something to be less happy about was my bladder. Despite having gone to the toilet just fifteen minutes earlier, I found, with two minutes left till the start, that I had to pee again. At this point it was of course too late to do anything about it and I hoped it would blow over.
The race itself started on the track of the Stade Fallon in Woluwe-Saint-Lambert. A track should be wide enough for the throng of people at the start. Except it wasn’t. The organisation had made a little zone for fast starters, people that were expected to run over 14km/h (that is, 4:17 per km pace). A commendable idea were it not that this zone took up half the width of the track at the starting line creating a proper bottleneck to get going. Not the best execution, in my inexperienced opinion.
The first kilometre or two, my headphones kept cutting out due to my phone making weird movements in my pocket. After that, I had managed to get it stuck in a proper position that made everything work fine. Going by my times per kilometre, it did not affect me in any particular way.
What was affecting me, was my need to pee. To my regret it had not gone away and it kept bugging me. Being the competitive person that I am, even at my slow speeds, I refused to take a break and pee. Instead I kept forcing myself to ignore it, but it was definitely a constant nagging feeling.
Beyond the peeing sensation, things were going mostly smoothly. I did not have the way-too-fast-start I had two weeks before in the 10km de l’ULB so I managed to stay pretty consistent throughout the race. Till kilometre four it was mostly climbing, followed by some downhill until the next hill around the seven km mark. I mostly managed to adjust my pace for each to not break myself too early. Somehow though the downhill after the seven km mark was where I suddenly had some sidestitches. Luckily they were gone after slowing down a bit for them and after that is was pretty calm going (and largely flat) till close to the eleventh kilometre.
At that point the final hill started and I found myself having to slow down quite a bit, to just over five minutes per km. Luckily that too ended and from here it was going to be easy to the finish line, and some glorious peeing time. When I spotted the track, I figured I could kick off my sprint and make the finish all the sweeter. A few hundred metre further however there was a sign that indicated two km were left. Woops. (I was not using distance audio cues and this was only one of two signs the organisers had placed, the other at 10km to go) I decided to slow down just enough to hopefully be able to keep going till the finish. This went ok, caught up with a group of four or five in the final km, shortly adjusted to their pace to regain some breath after which me and another guy from the group continued at a higher pace. He dropped me, but I did not care any more, I had survived.
Crossing the line followed by the now already familiar feeling of oh-god-even-walking-is-hard, I went for the food they offered (bananas and cookies) and the drinks they handed out. I stuffed two bananas in my mouth, threw in a litre of fluid and then noticed my stomach disagreed. I guess there was no energy for digestion or something? The need to puke popped up and I struggled away from the track, fearing running might trigger it. Making for some trees, I realised I was not going to make it there, turned behind a car and let out a little puke of banana and water. As I looked up I noticed I had done so in front of a playground. Oh well. After this I went to lie down for a while, think it must have been at least ten minutes. Having sufficiently recovered, I noticed I still had not peed and that I absolutely did not need to either. Fucking body. I started walking a bit, grabbed some more water and decided to head home, not like I was going to be getting a medal or anything anyway.
The official result places me in 218th position out of 1762 entries with a time of 1h04m27s. That listing also states a distance of 14.5km, but I am not aware if that had just not updated yet with the organisation’s claim of a 15km distance. What I do know is that my GPS and the GPS of many others seems to have put the distance at 14-14.5, not quite 15km. I guess honour prevents me from using the official time as a 15km PR then. Pity. As before: Official results and my Strava activity.
And something to leave you with (organiser vs my GPS):