Last Sunday, I ran my second half marathon: The Nykredit Invest Aarhus City Halvmarathon.
I got a free entry to the race at the Hamburg Marathon Expo, and I didn’t really want to travel over 300 km to run a race. However, I knew I just had too. I love Denmark and I love Århus. Traveling was worth it!
My mother and I arrived in Århus around 2pm, just enough time to go to the expo and pick up my bib and race shirt. The expo was small, but nice. Afterwards, we checked in at the hotel, which was at the same place than the expo.
The rest of the day we used to explore the city.
To be honest, I think we walked way to much. I love running around and exploring new areas, but I had to run 21,095 km in the morning.
We went to bed early with feet that were hurting.
I’d love to say I woke up all rested. I didn’t. The mattress was way to soft and both my Mum and I woke up with back pain.
I didn’t feel like running a race. My back hurt and my stomach was feeling as crazy as ever.
After breakfast, we went to the start/finish area, which were just a few minutes away from the hotel.
Just seconds before the start
I first got excited when the countdown began. Wow, I’ll be really running my second half marathon, and my first half was in 2008, so you could even say that I am kind of running my first.
What is my plan? What pace do I want to run? What’s the goal?
This were the questions I didn’t have asked myself before, but they were sure running through my head now.
When I crossed the start line, I knew the 2 hour pacers were behind me. Soon, they passed me, but I kept up. Maybe, I could run a Sub2 today.
I decided I couldn’t around km 5. I couldn’t see the pacers anymore. The smartest thought came to me after I drank an energy drink my stomach couldn’t handle. I still had 16 km left when I realized I had to listen to my body and run my own race.
The race was beautiful from start to finish. We were 10.000 runners, and the side lines were crowded with strangers cheering for us. I learned that it would have been smart to check the difference in altitude before the race (hello hills!). There were a few other surprises (ever run through a parking deck during a race?), we run through the harbour, the city, parks…
Time passed extremely fast, and as soon as I knew it, running felt “easy”. My stomach was nice to me. I was running on clouds.
As soon as I knew it, there was only a mile left in the race. I looked at my watch and realized that I was close to 2 hours. I would have to run the last kilometer in under 5 minutes, and I had never done that before.
It’s impossible, I knew that. I walked the last water station, knowing I wouldn’t finish in under 2 hours anyways.
Then, I ran my first kilometer in under 5 minutes. To be more precisely: I ran the last kilometer of my second half in 4 minutes and 39 seconds!
I finished in 2 hours and 4 seconds, knowing that I could have finished in under two hours if I only would have believed that I could. However, that didn’t matter at all.
I did what I love in a country that often feels more like my home than the country I am from.
I want to thank Århus Motion for giving me a free race entry for such an amazing, well-organized race. I can only recommend running it to anyone!
2 hours and 4 seconds, advantage 5:41 min/km.
5521 out of 8081 runners.
1407th out of 2920 women.
253rd out of 485 in my age group (23-29).
On Sunday, 23rd, I will be running my next half marathon in Hamburg. It’s a fast course, and I know I will be able to run faster than two hours. However, I don’t think it will come close to the experience I had last Sunday. Tusind tak, Århus!