37K Land-and-Water Run from Spandau to Steglitz with Timed 5K Spandauer Winterwaldlauf (23:19)
My 5K speed runs have been sinking toward my top ten 5K times, and so I wanted to run an official race to see how fast I could get below my 10th best time, 23:27 with optimal conditions and so ran the Spandauer Winterwaldlauf
. The weather for Sunday promised extreme cold (-5°C) but sun, much like the Teufelsberg Run I ran with Hannah last year, but it's not so much cold but heat that slows me down, so conditions were quite optimal.
It was quite the Weltreise to get to the starting line, I took the 187 at 7:31 in the morning, got to Spandau around 8:40, took the 136 bus north and was confusedly asking the bus driver which stop to get out at (which had apparently changed names) when a nice woman dressed in running garb said to me, "If you are running the Spandauer Winterlauf, we can walk together to the starting line." Very nice, and so I immediately took her up on her offer. It turns out she had wanted to run the Caputher 10K last week which we ran, but because someone in her group was sick, she didn't, so she was running today, and so we found lots to talk about until we got to the warm, little hut where we signed up for the race.
This race was unique in that it was without time chip or responder, which meant that they just shot off a gun and then recorded people as they ran across the finish line, like in the old days. This meant that you only got your Bruttozeit recorded, so I got as close to the start as I could.
About 20 minutes before the start at 10:30, I saw on my phone that the temperature had warmed up to -4°C, which was tolerable if you stood in front of a tree and faced the sun, but otherwise you had to keep on moving. With five minutes to go, I left my warm tree and walked to the start with the other 100 or so runners. The race started right on time so we didn't have to wait too long in the cold. The start of the race was almost a full kilometer in one direction, a real blast of cold, fresh air, but then the turns started and you had to watch uneven ground, but for the most part, very runnable. There were a few spots where it was difficult to pass, but I was able to run as fast as I wanted pretty much the whole time, and actually picked up some time trying to stay up with two women increasing their speed to their 2.5-kilometer finish, where they sprinted in after one lap and I ran on to do two.
Rounding the last turn I knew my time was going to be somewhere close to 23:27, and was cognizant as the watch passing 22:45, my fastest 5K time, a point where I could already see the finish line. From there, I was warm enough to run as hard as I could till the end, coming in with a 23:19, and so very satisfied with my time.
After the race, I munched my victory Ritter Sport bar heading straight south 16K towards Spandau, then Gatow, then along the Havel (a beautiful 5K stretch) all the way to Alt-Kladow where I saw that it had warmed up to 0°C. I had 35 minutes to wait for my ferry to Wannsee, so ran into the Bistro Verde to get warm and sat at the bar by myself (aware that I didn't exactly smell like a spring flower at this point) and enjoyed a victory beer. When the ferry came, I made sure I sat starboard as to get maximum exposure to the warm sun, and actually had a wonderful 10-minute nap to the roaring of the boat motors and was woken up by the sound of the front of the ferry crushing through the surface ice as it neared the Wannsee port.
After we docked, it was tough to get out of the warm boat and start running in the freezing cold air again, but I immediately found a little bakery, got a very tasty salami sandwich, a small package of nuts, and a tea, all of which I devoured in the freezing air with my freezing hands as I ran off down Kronprinzessinnenweg toward Schlachtensee. At the lake, my smartphone ran out of battery, which I took as a sign to get home as soon as possible, a good idea since it would be getting dark and thus even colder soon anyway.
So it was another good, long training run for the Seville Marathon coming up in less than a month, hopefully a run that will be considerably warmer than today.