Copenhagen marathon - race report

20 August 2013, 16:49

Let’s start with my training history for this race: I lost 8-10 weeks of training due to an awful case of shingles (which I was still on two pain meds for at the time of the race), then I started to transition to forefoot strike about a month ago so my feet were still tender/damaged in a few places from that. Plus, I picked up a cold the week before the race so I was still really snotty & tired even as far as Friday, but ended up feeling about 85% on race morning.

This was a Bridge the Gap event for all the global crews to get together (like Run dem Crew, but all over the world!) so the Danish crew, NBRO, laid on a whole weekend of plans and had a special VIP tent at the start/finish, too. There were a bunch of us wanting to target 3:45 but after the gun went off, it was mostly three of us that stuck together: me (my 2nd marathon), Emily from RDC (her second), and Louise from NBRO (her third). Louise was definitely the strongest of us, and her pacing was rock-solid, not to mention giving us some sightseeing tips throughout the race! By 20km or so we were about 2 min ahead of schedule, but it was at this point that Louise broke ahead, and Emily fell behind me, so I’d run the first half of the race with these strong ladies, but ran the second half just me, my head, and my body.

Copenhagen marathon montage

Oh, and the rain. Did I mention it was chucking it down the whole race? I personally don’t mind the rain – I’d done most of my London training runs in it, and it meant there was no chance of overheating! I just felt bad for the spectators (of which there were many! And bands!).

The short version of the rest of the race is that my hips and quads just weren’t able to take the 3:45 target pace (5:18min per km). The former I blame on the frequency of cobbled stretches, the latter I blame on my recent forefoot striking building up my calves and hamstrings, but heelstriking during the race itself meant my quads were taking the brunt. When I realised that 3:45 wasn’t going to happen, I just settled in, tried to smile at as many spectators as possible, and breathe deep and calm. The 20s felt harder than the 30s to me, but I think that’s because I was still trying to maintain that pace then, and in the 30-kms I allowed myself to take a few walking breaks, though only of (honestly!) 10-20 second each. Just enough time to say “see hips? It hurts just as much when we’re walking as when we’re running. So let’s run again!”. Silly hips. They do lie, Shakira.

Copenhagen marathon official photo

Unlike Amsterdam, I stayed perfectly lucid throughout – no fuzzy headed haze at 30km, and it really was just my mind against the gnawing pain of my hips, quads, and my poor battered, blistered feet. But like Amsterdam, I got to 40km, and thought “2km left? That’s NOTHING! Let’s go!” I picked up the pace considerably in the final stretch and managed (what felt like anyway) a sprint finish for a time of 3:52:37. Not the GFA I wanted, nor a PB, but considering I’ve only really had 6 weeks of training, I’m okay with that.

Highlight of my race: passing by one of the soundstations just as Dee-Lite’s “Groove is in the Heart” came on. That’s OMG MY SONG and I was jumping up and down to Louise & Emily and I just wanted to stay and dance. Thank you, anonymous race DJ!

Copenhagen marathon, 19 May 2013. 3:52:37.

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  1. Awesome race report, Melissa! So proud to be a part of it. It was a pleasure to run with you ladies, even though it was only the first part :-)

    — Louise Bjerremann Jensen    4 September 2013, 06:09    #

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