Daniel & Jean-Claude Besse

Natation Vélo Course

Half marathon Swiss championships

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Mid-September when it slowly became clear that no triathlon race was likely to happen this year, I told Daniel that I needed a race or two in order to be mentally sane when going into off-season. My eyes were set on the Marathon de Lausanne, planned to take place on October 25.

Sessions on the Affoltern track were going well despite the little amount of running I’ve done this year until July. I registered for the half-marathon Swiss championships as well. A week before might not be super-ideal, but if I finish not too destroyed it’s ok, and there’s the non-zero chance that one or both may suffer from corona-related consequences.

The TVO team before the start.

On such a short notice, my preparation consists of two long runs only, one of 28 km progressive along the lake Léman, the second of 36 km steady the week after. Both feel ok but not super great, yet I’m quite confident that I can aim for 1h12 on the half and below 2h35 on the marathon. A week before the first race my shin splints start to get tense again, likely a sign that I’m now running a lot on little background volume.

The TV Oerlikon bahnchallenge shows that my speed is not quite there yet, it’s a lot of fun though. Combined with wearing chic shoes a whole day after that my legs took a real beating, and I am a bit less confident at the start line in Belp than two weeks before.

I thus decide to take the kilometers one by one, starting at a comfortable pace. While Michèle Gantner and Nicola Spirig started very fast on the first kilometer, they fade out very soon, and I am left with a small group containing training partners Donnino and Luca, as well as Martina Strähl as first woman (dethroned from her swiss record the day before by Fabienne Schlumpf). She’s pushing a nice pace until km7 roughly, which should bring us around 1h11. Feels relatively easy so far, I’m staying hidden.

First kilometer of a fast race.

It would turn out too fast for her as well, and as the group splits up with people trying to bridge the previous little group or fading, I’m taking some turns to the front but aim mostly at keeping the pace constant. At half-point in 35’40 (10km in 33’48), I’m still thinking I could push a little to get the 1h11, my goal B. Not much later I would be alone with Luca though, and uncontrollably losing seconds on the target pace. It feels like the winds is picking up, and I’m struggling a little.

Luca dragging me along.

By km 17 I have to let him go as well, and I have the far-from-ideal thoughts that I’d better finish nice than destroyed to run a better marathon the week later. As I now know, this wasn’t justified as it would get canceled a few days before the date (not without me going through a low-carb phase though).

Final stretch.

I cross the finish line, which seems to have placed just a little too far, in 1h12:33, wanting just a little more. There will be other tries.

Special mention to ckr for his last race, Ruben for holding his fast starting pace, Donnino for being able to negative split, Luca for running 17 km with me, Jamie for her amazing PB, and all the supporters who came along the course.

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