Yesterday I ran a 22 km race as part of a 32 km training session.

Around 8 o’clock in the morning I jogged 9 km, took a shower, dressed in my race outfit, drank a cup of coffee, grabbed my race gear, and jogged the kilometer between where I live and the track and field club, where the start of the Brabantse Wal Marathon was at 10:45 AM. I did the half marathon event, which actually was 22 km (900 m longer than the half of the 42,195 m marathon distance).

cat sitting on a race shirt, smug of his action to prevent me from leaving

The course was mostly off-road, with some steep short climbs and stretches of loose sand, which I had practiced in the past couple of weeks. In the first kilometer there was a single track, and with 270 runners we got stuck now and then, as you would expect. After the field was more spread apart, single tracks were no longer a problem.

I kept a steady pace, though slower than usual, because of the 10 km pre-race jogging. While I struggled to keep from falling, the inevitable fall happened, giving me bruises on my left shoulder and knee. I couldn’t see that tree root on the heavily shaded path. It didn’t slow me down much (like a few seconds).

dirt path in forest with a runner 50 m ahead

In the last five kilometers I ran on familiar territory and could pick up pace. The last 1600 m on the road I could pick up even more speed, sprinting in the last 300 m on the track towards the finish line.

I put my thumb up after I finished at the track and field club

The time wasn’t that impressive. But I hadn’t expected that anyway, because of the added distance, and because of the off-road bits that were rather challenging. The 32 km I did in less than 3 hours and 20 minutes I was proud of, especially because of the low average heart rate under warm conditions (21℃). Corrected for temperature (into a result with 8℃), this would have resulted in a 1 hour 50 minutes for a half marathon road race.

bike path next to lake with a runner coming towards me, taken during the early morning jog

Now I will take a few days to recover with easy training. Next Sunday will be my next long run, 29 km at a more leisurely pace.