Last week my 12-year-old daughter asked if we could run a 10K together again, so we got on the website runme.de
which allows you to see all running races in Germany by day. For February 25th, we found a number of races, one in Berlin that was a duathlon, another in Thuringia that was too far away, one in Hamburg for which it was too late to sign up, and a 10K run in Waren an der Müritz, a lakeside resort town about two hours drive from Berlin: perfect. We signed us up, entering Hannah's age at 14 in order for her officially run, booked a Green Wheels car, got up this morning at 6:00 AM, left at 7:15 AM and drove two hours through Brandenburg and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern to arrive in Waren around 9:15, and finally found the little spot in an outlying forest where the race started around 9:25. We parked the car, walked to the starting line and said we just arrived from Berlin and would like to pick up our race numbers. The woman said, "Oh, you have to pick them up at an elementary school in town." I thought she was joking until she started to explain how to get there and then she added, "but you'll have to hurry since they close at 9:30 and the race is starting at 10:00." Her husband apparently picked up my utter confusion and said to his wife, "Honey, they're from Berlin, they'll never find it," then said to me, "Where is your car? I'll come with you guys and show you how to get there!" We immediately took up the nice man's offer and sped off together to the elementary school which we indeed would not have been able to find by ourselves, quickly got our numbers, and sped back in time for the race. Lessons learned: (1) always arrive at these running event early enough to deal with surprises, and (2) helpful people are wonderful in a bind. The race itself was 5K through the forest to a turn-around point and 5K back. Hannah kept the pace and I ran along side. It being 1°C throughout the race, my toes and fingers were numb until they finally thawed out around 7K. Hannah and my best time together was three years ago when we did a 00:58:34 at the 10K Berlin Airport Run, but Hannah paced a steady 01:12:33 today on a course that had quite a few long inclines, plus the low temperature which was not conducive to movement. We finished last out of this group of quite serious runners, almost all of them listed in running clubs. A 14-year-old girl ran the 00:45:33, certainly faster than I could run it. That was the caliber of competition today. But we saw that one women on the list didn't show up, so we technically didn't finish last. At 9.5 kilometers, Hannah picked up her speed to a sprint and we sprinted in together, a really nice race, paced and easy. After the race we visited the little resort village of Waren, had a nice, warm meal at an Italian restaurant, and then took off for the two-hour ride home back to Berlin, with our well-earned race medals.