Le Semi Marathon de Genève

A marathon and its half marathon counterpart are not typically held simultaneously, but the Geneva half marathon started just minutes after the marathon winner crossed the finish line. The 13 milers did one lap, whereas we 26 milers did 2. Somewhere around 30K I came face to face with the last wave of half marathoners who only had a few kilometers under their belts at that point. The half winner passed me at 35K (13.5K for him). When C. passed me about 5 minutes later it really gave me the boost I needed. Soon after that, runners started passing me by droves, but I didn’t mind because that helped me pick up the pace in the final kilometers.

Gotta run…


Le Marathon de Genève, 4

I usually don’t talk to strangers, but on marathon morning I made quite a few exceptions. First I went up to some volunteers and asked if they would share their coffee with me (I had left home at 6 a.m. without a java fix and my blood pressure was dipping). I struck up a conversation with several other first time marathoners in the locker room (ok, this was my second marathon, but the first one was in another life, 17 years ago). I talked to random runners at the starting line. Between kilometers 26 and 28, I chatted with a man from Finland who was running his 31st marathon! At the finish line, I met a young woman from Atlanta who had noticed my Harding t-shirt (but she approached me, so I guess that doesn’t count). A bit later I saw last November’s Beaujolais marathon women’s winner and wanted to go talk to her, but that didn’t happen even though we made eye contact. I guess by then I had used up all my outgoingness for one day.

Gotta run…


Le Marathon de Genève, 3

One thing that helped me break 4 hours in the marathon was hearing so many people shouting my name. It was a really nice touch to have our first names on the race bibs! The 2-lap course was roughly shaped like an 8, with most of the spectators bunched around the central Mont Blanc Bridge. The four times we crossed the bridge, dozens of people encouraged me by name. Believe me, it makes a difference! There were 2 spectators who knew my name without reading my bib. B. had told me she would be present to cheer me on, and I was thrilled to see a friend from Lausanne there as well. But the farther we got from the bridge, the more sparse the on-lookers. Besides the deserted 5-kilometer stretch at one end of town, there was a very lonely 5-kilometer stretch along the lake on the opposite side of town. I might have done even better if the whole course had been as crowded as the center of town!

To be continued…


Le Marathon de Genève, 2

My goal was to break 4 hours in the marathon. So logically, my strategy was to follow the pace setter with the 4-hour white balloon. There were a few dozen of us who seemed to have the same plan. I tried to stay pretty close, but realized after just a few kilometers that white-balloon-guy’s pace was too fast. Besides that, he wasn’t saying a word to encourage us. So I let white-balloon-guy go and little by little the gap widened between me and him. By the time he hit the halfway mark and started the second loop, he was more than 6 minutes ahead of schedule. I lost sight of him soon after that. That’s when I noticed that nothing looked familiar. My eyes had been riveted on white-balloon-guy the first time around. Now I was on a 5-kilometer stretch of the course that zigzagged through a part of the city where the only spectators were a few scattered volunteers. I was virtually alone. In fact, I was completely alone when I made a wrong turn! I saw my error pretty quickly and backtracked, but I was not happy to have added an extra couple hundred yards to my marathon! I caught up with and passed white-balloon-guy 3 kilometers from the finish line. My official race time was 3:55.36. I’m proud to say that makes me a Boston qualifier!

To be continued…


Le Marathon de Genève, 1

There were times last week when I wished I hadn’t signed up for Sunday’s marathon. After 3 days of sciatica pain and fretting I finally decided I would just hope for the best, but if I had to stop half way through the race or walk the last 10 kilometers, that would be ok. Then by Saturday evening I was miraculously feeling better (thank you to those of you who were praying for my healing!). Sunday I was up at the crack of dawn and on the train to Geneva at 6:15. I’m pretty sure this was my first ever morning race. The city was pretty quiet when nearly 500 of us took off at 8. By the time I crossed the finish line just before noon, there were many more spectators out than runners. Not only had I done it, I had had a great race! As Mom would have said, “worrying works, 95% of the things I worry about never happen.”

To be continued…


On the one hand…

On the one hand, I’m nervous; on the other hand, I’m well trained for this weekend’s race. On the one hand, it’s supposed to be cold and rainy; on the other hand I’ve paid my entry fee (by far the highest race fee I’ve ever forked over before). On the one hand, SIATICA!; on the other hand, the pain is manageable if I take shorter strides, and I do have plenty of Ibuprofen. Also, I’ve been carbo-loading all week on carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. That’s what I ate just before running my fastest 20K ever (we’re talking by several minutes). A few days ago I got my signup confirmation with my race number: 555. Now, is that a cool number or what? I think it’s a good omen.

Gotta run…


The last shall be first

I did some cross-training this past weekend (cross-training: anything you do that makes muscles you were never aware of before ache). We went to Shaffhausen for an indoor soccer tournament between churches. Teams from five different countries came to be a part of this annual event. Lausanne competed in the amateur bracket, meaning at least one woman and one child under 12 had to be on the court at all times. The fellowship was great and we had a blast! It’s really true that the important thing is to participate, so I guess there’s no need to mention how we placed.

Gotta run…