Divonne 10K 2002

10K, Divonne les Bains, France. April 7th, 2002.

This was my first race since the ankle injury that ruined my 2001 season. Since I started running regularly only 10 weeks ago, I decided that I would be happy with a time of 45 minutes. Had this race not been right where I live I would not have participated since it is too early in my training and the risk of injury is great. On the other hand, getting your ass kicked is a great way to start the season.

The race started at 2pm, which was a problem from a nutrition point of view. I know from experience that I must race on a nearly empty stomach, otherwise I hurt a lot and my performance is not up to par. So I had breakfast at 7am: a little bit more food than usual but nothing too fatty or heavy. Some bread, a little butter, some cake made by my mother, some fruits and tea. At 10 I had a banana (easy on the stomach). Then nothing until the race. I was hungry at 12; my stomach protested loudly for 20 minutes, then it went away. At 12:45 I registered for the race and from then on the adrenaline took over so I did not feel hungry anymore.

During the race I drank nothing and ate nothing. Still, I did not run out of energy. In fact my last kilometers were faster than my first ones: I had some people to catch up ;-) I think that the important thing is to eat well the night before. I had a lot of pasta.

The temperature was 9 deg. C (48 deg. F). Great for a good time. I gave myself 15 minutes to warm-up: slow running for 10 minutes. Then progressively faster to start sweating a little with 2-3 100 meter accelerations to get the heart rate up and get the lungs working somewhat hard. I got to the start line nice and sweaty and just in time (as usual...) which serves to get the adrenaline up. They were 5 minutes late to start the race, which suited me very well to relax a little and admire the female runners :-)

I thought that I started slowly so I was surprised to see 4:28 on my watch at km1. I felt great but I knew that I should not go any faster even if I thought I could. When I feel that I can pick up the pace at the beginning of the race I always promise myself that I will accelerate only after the first half of the race IF I still feel that great. And of course, I never do... This is my trick about pace management. And it works: I did the first half in 22:35 and the second half in 21:52. 

I did not see the marker 7km. Either it was missing or it was well hidden because I was looking hard for these things and they were so colorful that it was hard to miss them. There's often little surprises like this in French races. Even in a very well organized one like this one (Qualification for the France Championship), I suspect that some km markers were placed within +/- 50 meters of where they should be, which is quite a big error range. If I had some time to waste I would ride the course with my bike... This course being very close to perfectly flat, my speed was very near to constant. So, given my km 6 and km 5 times I would venture to guess that km5 marker was a little bit further away than 5K. 

Km Plan . Actual .
1 4:30 4:30 4:28 4:28
2 4:30 9:00 4:23 8:52
3 4:30 13:30 4:37 13:29
4 4:30 18:00 4:27 17:56
5 4:30 22:30 4:39 22:35
6 4:30 27:00 4:11 26:46
7 4:30 31:30 ? ?
8 4:30 36:00 8:53 35:39
9 4:30 40:30 4:25 40:04
10 4:30 45:00 4:22 44:26
But this is really not a big issue. The only important thing to remember in this country is that when you do a good split, do not relax because you might take more time than expected  to reach the next marker... On the other hand, doing a bad split time is great because it makes you go faster to make up the time and if this was due to inaccurate marking, then you get a nice little surprise at the next marker. 

And the very most important thing is to have fun of course! And I did; and got the job done, just like I like.

Here are the official results and a few numbers:

Time Average time/km Average time/mile Overall Position/Total Position Males/Total Males
1st runner 32:04 3:12 5:09 1/271 1/214
Future me 41:00 4:06 6:36 90/271 88/214
Me 44:26 4:27 7:10 131/271 125/214

"Future me" is a real person who happened to achieve the time that I set as a target for myself at the end of this season.

What was really nice about this race is that 5 minutes after the finish I just walked home (5 minutes), had a shower, had proper food, did some email and called some friends. Then I walked back down to the race and everything was ready for me: I bought the photo that you can see on this page and went to the board where they had pinned all the 10K results. Normally you have to hang around the finish line for at least 90 minutes before you can get all this stuff! Cool, I will definitely do this race next year.


Drop me a note! herve@iherve.com.