Photo from Mount Royal, Frisco, Colorado.

"That is happiness; to be disolved into something complete and great. When it comes to one, it comes as naturally as sleep." - Willa Cather

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Nike Testløb 3 Race Report

Today's race was inappropriately called a half marathon. Here is the distance and map from my garmin:

Generally a half marathon is considered to be half the distance of a marathon or 13.1 miles/21.1 km. But today's route was incorrectly measured and was instead, as you can see above, 13.4 miles or 21.57 km. I honestly didn't think much of it and figured my garmin was wrong, until Henriette said after the race how upset she was by how long the route was "again". Apparently these Sparta races are notorious for being inappropriately measured. This really suprised me, because everything else about these races seems so professional and well-organized.

Granted an extra .47 km isn't that big of a deal if you're just out for an enjoyable run, but when you are running your ass off to get a PR (and prove to the blogosphere that speedwork makes a difference) it IS a big deal.

But on to the report.

Here is what I did not run in, but tried on at the National Museum afterwards:

I started off next to my balloon man, who was pacing for a 1:30 half marathon. He warned me beforehand that he ran the first half faster than the second. Here he is, Frederik Bøjholm:

Well, as much as I wanted to make Frederik my new best friend, I could only hold on to him for the first 5 km, which we ran in 21 minutes. After that, I got a side stitch and he and a huge group slowly pulled away from me. Did I mention there were 2588 runners today?

I came through 10k, according to my garmin at just under 42 min. So my pacing was going well. Federik was a good 20 seconds ahead. Already at this point, I noticed that 10k sign was long after 10km. Between the 10k and 12k, I struggled a lot to keep my morale high. There was a lot of turning and going up and down ramps through tunnels along the lakes in the map above. But after 12k, everthing started clicking again. The side stitch was gone and I paid no attention to women around me. (Okay, I did notice that either Tanni wasn't there or she hadn't passed me yet.)

At this point, I was still hoping that the finish line would come at 13.1 miles. But when I came through 13.1 miles in 1:31:01, the finish line was not in sight. But I did get a new half marathon PR of 1:31:01. And that's what I'm using for my records.

I went great guns the last stretch to make it through 21.57 km in 1:33:04, also faster than my previous half marathon PR. My pace was 6:56 min/mile (or about 4:19 min/km).There was concensus afterwards that everyones' times were slower than expected and that everyone clocked the route as long. I saw Tanni come in about a minute after me and she also looked quite disgruntled. Anyway, I shouldn'i forget to mention that it was such a fun race with so many participants and cheering fans and a beautiful route in downtown Copenhagen.

Here is full proof I wore Olga's Wasatch Speed Goat shirt (thank you, Olga!):

After I turned in my chip, I was so happy to be greated by the fam. They took the train to meet me and go the the (free entry) National Museum afterwards.

And then Henriette and I managed to find each other.

What a fun lady. She was also disappointed, though, that her time was over 2 minutes slower than expected and sadly showed me her garmin with the same distance as mine. She also told us about the marathon in Albertslund next weekend. SR and I are both thinking of running it now, just as a training run. Partly because there are both a 60k and 100k at the same time and we want to see our crazy ultra friends.

Anyway, there are two different ways to look at the race today:

1. Despite running perhaps the best race of my life, I officially barely beat my previous PR because the route was incorrectly measured.


2. I got huge half marathon PR of 1:31:01 and then ran a little extra to finish the race route.

You all know I choose number 2.

Running Song of the day: I Gotta Feeling by Black Eyed Peas (when I'm running a race, I don't want to think, I want to rock :))


May-Britt Hansen said...

Hi Tracy.

I´m sorry to inform you that your new PR is 1.33.04.

I´ve been in contact with a friend of mine who has officially measured the route on Friday. He is the only Dane who measures both national and international races through Dansk Atletik Forbund (DAF)

Garmin has an uncertainty of 2% = over 400 meters during a halfmarathon. It is especially a problem in cities with tall buildings.

Still - you ran a new PR and that ain´t so bad. Congratulations :-)

Henriette said...

Hi Tracy.

It was so nice meeting you today. You are one hell of a tough woman and I really enjoyed talking to you and your husband.

Uanset om ruten var for lang eller ej (øv May-Britt - nu troede jeg ellers et øjeblik, at jeg havde en undskyldning for min snegle-tid)- så er det en fantastisk tid du løber på. Og uden en sveddråbe bagefter. Meget imponerende. En anden lignede en karklud lige til at vride.

En 11. plads blandt 775 kvinder, det er i mine øjne forrygende. Stort tillykke. Til sammenligning kom jeg ind på plads 190.

Vi ses igen, Tracy ... måske allerede i næste weekend.

Hilsener fra


SteveQ said...


(I learned to type diacritics, but I'm not learning Danish...)

PiccolaPineCone said...

If you remember the route you ran, try to measure it. I have found this website to be amazingly accurate - I have used it to measure a 400 m track as a test and come up with exactly 400 m.
But, even though GPS units do have inaccuracy, if your friend's GPS device gave the exact same distance as yours I would guess that the course really was long.
Frustrating... but, congratulations on what sounds like a patient, smart, well paced race!

May-Britt Hansen said...

You have to keep in mind that it is the absolutely shortest route, that is measured, and with more than 2500 participants there is a lot of running left and right. That quickly adds up to 2-300 meters during a halfmarathon.

@ Steve Q: Tillykke is the Danish word for congratulation ;-)

sea legs girl said...

Hej May-Britt,

Thanks for looking into it. You know, if my time is wrong, it just makes my next attempt at a PR harder. Plus I'd hate to falsely accuse Sparta of not measuring correctly.

It is just strange that the website does not say the route is DAF measured (as opposed to the Copenhange Marathon). Plus Henriette said that in the first Testløb a bunch of people got socks because they complained the route was measured wrong and they were correct. Hmmmm...

Do you think your friend would mind if I sent him an email? The whole thing is just too weird. Everyones' times were much slower than expected and the weather was perfect. I'm not changing my time until I get to the bottom of this. PLUS Garmins tend to be inexact in that they measure distances too short. They don't add distances that aren't there, at least as far as I understand.

Oh and thanks for trying to teach Steve Q Danish!


Tak! Du er en super sjov kvinde og jeg er meget, meget taknemmelig at jeg kender dig. Vi håber også vi ses næste weekend. Din ven er også meget sød og børnene elkede hans hund :).

Steve Q,

Jeg tror du kommer til at lære lidt dansk, trods alt.


I really appreciate your input in this. I will try the website if I get a moment after this (doubtful with the chaos level in this house at the moment).

May-Britt Hansen said...

I´ve told my friend that you have made a post on Dourun, so look for the answer from Marathonmanden.

Barefoot AngieB said...

sweet PR and great report!!

sea legs girl said...

Thank you, May-Britt! I will look for it.

Thanks also Barefoot Angie B :)!

Paige said...

congrats on the PR!
love the orange shirt. :)

Ingrid said...

Congratulations on your new PR!

Diana said...

Congrats on your new PR! Sounds like you ran a great race, whether or not the route was too long.

I use the gmap-pedometer all the time to measure the distance of my runs (maybe I should get a Garmin like all the cool kids), but I didn't know if it was all that accurate. Thank you for the input about it, PiccolaPineCone.

PiccolaPineCone said...

Ok, I tried to use gmap-pedometer to measure the course BUT i could not follow all the criss-crossy lines! that was one complicated route and there was something espeically complicated going on down by the park near the water that I could not follow. Anyway I wound up with a length of 15.2 km and a whole section that I did not measure :( I'll try again later when the cocotte goes to sleep.

olga said...

Well, this leaves me exhasuted, sorry, but the 400m just don't excite me at all, and all the ra-ra about it either...You ran a great race, you gave it what you had, and it is just so "roadie" to care for exact meausrement...but the shirt looks cute on you. May be this is what caused the extra steps - it's from the trails! :)

Marathon Princess said...

Congrats on the PR! I hate when my garmin doesn't match the course distance, I take my times as my unofficial PRs ;)

PiccolaPineCone said...

But Olga, if we can't measure it, how do we know if we enjoyed ourselves? (yes, I'm kidding... sort of).

Amber Dawn said...

when I ran Boston in 08 my Garmin said I did 42.7km and I was off my goal time by 2 minutes. I don't doubt the accuracy of the Boston Marathon, but I do think the bopping and weaving around people on a crowded course can add to the overall distance.
Regardless, great time!!