This was Hannah's fourteenth 10K and seventh 10K since she she's started running one 10K per month in March, and it was our first out-of-country 10K, complete with weekend sight-seeing and overnight stay in Prague. We took the train out of Berlin at 7:16 AM on Saturday, arriving in Prague at 11:24 AM, and walked across the beautiful but tourist-infested city, over the Štefánikův most which would be our 1K and 9K points in the race, and up behind the Letenské sady to pick up our numbers.
The race products were high quality: Hannah's t-shirt, (orange with "Run Czech" and "All Runners are Beautiful" on the back) and two high-quality and good-looking bags, one of them filled with little cans of juice with cool-sounding names like "Zelený caj s jasmínem a bergamotem" (green tea with jasmine and lime), "Bazový kvet s tymiánem a citronem" (flower blossoms with thyme and lemon), and "Jablko se zázvorem a heřmánkem" (apple with ginger and chamomile).
We took a tram back to the our hotel in Na Poříčí, which was about an eight-minute walk from the starting line, got our rooms and both took a multi-hour, pre-race afternoon nap. Getting ready for the race, we decided that since Hannah had some kind of allergic rash that she was getting over and didn't feel 100% energetic, that we would run this race differently, running as slow as we could, taking the maximum amount of time allowed: 1 hour and 30 minutes.
After taking a stroll to the start area which was a long, narrow street (Na příkopě) with thousands of runners packed in, we got in somewhere in the middle, and took off right after 19:30 to a fanfare crowd cheering us on. The evening was just beginning to turn to dusk, which made for beautiful scenery over the Vltava River with lights reflecting on the water and the sun setting behind the surrounding hills.
By 5K, Hannah's rash was almost gone and she was feeling better, and we were enjoying the company of our fellow super-slow runners, all of us doing about a 9-minute-per-kilometer pace, some of them overweight and determined to finish, some older couples running together, and the lone woman or older man churning along here and there.
At about 6K, two women on bikes slowly rode up behind us and informed us (first in Czech and then in broken English) that the last pace runner, a man at least 70 years old and emotionless, was now running right behind us and if we wanted to stay in the race, we had to stay ahead of him. He became for us like one of those scary zombies that follow you in a nightmare, always right behind you, and who never goes away, so we picked up the pace a bit to get a safe distance from the Last Man, as we referred to him, and soon met two women from London whom we talked to for awhile who said they also regularly run 10Ks together like we do and that they had decided to do their first out-of-country 10K in Prague just as we did. They told us that we should do a 10K in London sometime, which we are taking very seriously as it might be our next run: The Shoreditch 10K
in London on October 14th.
By this time we had been down the river and back, and at 9K, turned right and started down the final stretch over the Štefánikův most. The finish line was in the middle of the city and shone with a super bright light, so the last 500 meters was running into almost a blinding spotlight until Hannah broke into her classic finish sprint and we ran it in. In the finish area, we had super-large and chunky metals hung around our necks, got our free bottles of water, and enjoyed a victory stroll through night-time party Prague back to our hotel.
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