Saturday, December 22, 2012

October 28th: Lausanne...and a race!

I didn't feel like complete death when I woke up the next morning, so it was time to get ready for the race!

Mark made us a tasty pre-race breakfast: eggs, croissants, coffee, and OJ. I managed to keep all of it down, so I was already on the right track.

This was the skylight in our room. Did I mention it snowed overnight? Because it did. And it was still snowing.

We tried to figure out what to wear for our races; I didn't want to overheat while I was running, but I also didn't want to freeze while I waited for my 10k to start. It was below freezing, pretty windy, and still snowing. I finally settled on leggings, snow pants, a long sleeve running shirt, a fleece, my waterproof running jacket, two pairs of socks under my running shoes, and a hat and gloves (that Mark had nicely bought for me the day before - thank goodness!). We geared up and walked the couple blocks down to the starting line.

Us, pre-race. Note how excited Mark is at the thought of running a full marathon in blowing snow. That's a snowflake falling past the camera on the left side of the picture.  :)

The snow wasn't very deep, but it was enough to immediately soak through your socks and shoes. My toes went numb before the race; I was wondering how far I'd be able to run before my feet fell off.

The race seemed to be pretty well organized, from what I could tell from the very few words of French I know. They had group calisthenics as a warm up.

After a little while all the marathoners lined up, the announcer counted down in French, and they were off! I still had about 45 minutes to kill before my 10k started, so I huddled behind a couple vans and tried not to freeze.

Eventually the 10k runners started to line up. I hung out toward the back and watched the clock to make sure I started in the right block (which turned out to be the last one). I'd never run a 10k before, so as long as I finished it would be a new PR (Personal Record). After yelling the countdown in French with everyone else, we were off!

The run really wasn't too bad once you got moving; my toes thawed out and I got a little warm. Lots of people were lined up along the sides of the street yelling 'allez allez, on y va!!' (basically 'go go go!!'). We got to run through a small town with cobblestone streets at one point, and along the edge of Lake Geneva for a little while. A couple of bands were playing along the race route, too, including a really sweet brass and drum marching band. Try running slow past something like that. You can't.  :)

For how terrible I felt I was hanging in there pretty good for a little while, but eventually a pulled groin and the stomach pangs from the remains of the food poisoning started slowing me down. I walked a LOT of the second half of the race (at least, I think it was the second GPS watch died at the start and there were no distance markers for the 10k) and after a while started to wonder why the damn thing couldn't just end already. I was at the back of the pack and kept passing and getting passed by the same couple people.

Finally, the finish line!! I grabbed my race medal (a hard-earned one, at that), a drink, and a banana, tried to find my chip time, gave up, and started walking back to the hotel. Uphill. In the snow. I didn't feel so great, but at least I wasn't still out there Mark was.

After getting cleaned up and having some soup for lunch, I walked back to the finish line (which looked out on the lake, as well) to try to find Mark. He had figured it would be a miracle if he finished in less than five hours, so I stood by the finish line and tried to pick him out of the dozens of other runners with no luck. He eventually found me - he had finished a bit earlier than he expected (he wound up running 4:42:49 - pretty good for a first marathon, especially since his longest run was only 18 miles!), had already had a snack, and was ready to head back.

Mark, post-race. I asked him if he wanted to run another marathon sometime and he wouldn't answer me. We stopped near the expo on the way back to take advantage of their free internet.We had spent the past day watching little bits and pieces of coverage on Hurricane Sandy, which was about to clobber the East Coast, and had no idea how it was going to impact our upcoming flights back to Philly. They were already starting to cancel flights, so we knew it wasn't looking so great.

Since there was nothing we could do about the hurricane from Switzerland, we figured we might as well try to enjoy the rest of the trip. We grabbed some pizza, brought it back to the room, and hung out in our pajamas for the rest of the day. We thought about heading back to the US the next day instead of waiting, but since that looked like it would just make things even worse with the weather we decided to stick with our original plan and stay in Lausanne for the next day before heading back Tuesday morning. (And I finally got my official race time: 1:15:21. So slow for 6.2 miles, but at least I finished!)

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