TriExpert Cup 2015
This week, my internship at Red Hat ended. During the summer, I’ve worked part-time as a Software Engineering Intern at Red Hat’s office in Brno, Czech Republic. Coincidentally, a lot of the people there are avid cyclists and runners - which I am, too!
It was they who told me about TriExpert Cup, a weekly amateur running league in and around Brno. Every Wednesday, a group of 5-10 colleagues car-pool to the venue and race against each other (and against 200 other people!) out of fun and love of running. I was thrilled to join, even though the league was already in full swing and half of the races have already been run.
As I found out after one or two races, a good placement overall in the Men’s Junior category (where I belong according to my age) is quite possible for me this year! So I made a promise to myself that I would at least try to run my best and see how it turns out. But more about that later. Here’s a short recap of all the races I attended, with pictures.
My first TriExpert cup race! I was excited, but didn’t know what to expect. The course was short, just 6K: uphill for 1.5K, then downhill for 1.5K and back again. It was really hot - 36°C in the shade. I got through pretty much ok, in 26:07, which gives a 4:21 min/km average pace. That was just enough for 2nd place in my category.
The course was just behind Red Hat’s new office where I work, so the warm up consisted of actually commuting to the registration booth. Unfortunately, I positioned myself too far back at the start, and lost quite some time because of the very narrow trail for the first two kilometers. After that, we hit a gravel road I regularly train on, and gained some time back. Overall, 7.1K in 31:05 with very steep hill before the finish line made for a 4:22 min/km average pace and 3rd place in my category.
A totally foreign course to me: straight along a river for 4.4K, then back. Didn’t know what to expect, so held back at the beginning and let the second half roll - in total, 37:54 for a 4:18 min/km average pace and 3rd place in my category. Also, I beat Honza just before the finish line!
Track day! 5K was on the menu today. The problem was, I had to race the first heat, because I had some errands later
- and it was very hot. Wanted to go below 20 minutes, which didn’t quite work out. Finished in 20:15 with an average pace of 4:02 min/km and got a feel-well present for my failed goal: I won my category!
Total downpour, all day long. We were wet even before it all began. 11K of puddle hopping and mud stomping seemed like quite a bad outlook, but wasn’t after the heat waves of the weeks before. The course unwinded itself for 5.25K and then back along a river, in the shade of a forrest. Managed to win my category again - in 46:35, with an average pace of 4:26 min/km (I was saving myself for a hike I had planned for the weekend, but the better guys didn’t come).
Probably my favorite course - starts with a brutal uphill and basically stays uphill for 4K, then downhill for 4K to complete the loop. Most of it was in the forrest - which was great, given that it started to get hotter again. Although I got stuck in traffic at the beginning, managed to get back and win the race - in 33:45 with a 4:16 min/km average pace. Also, for the first time in my life, I managed to be faster than all the women in the race.
Back to the track, this time for 10K. Vlado and Jirka didn’t run today, so they cheered us on from the stands. Wanted to beat my PB from last year from Branik in Prague (41:55) - which I managed to do, by more than 30 seconds! There were way too many people in my heat, so came in at 41:24 on the clock with an average pace of 4:08 min/km
- which was just enough to win my category!
Over the weekend, I raced another 10K on the road in Myjava in a better pace (4:07 min/km)
- the problem was, in the end, it was just a 9.6K.
Back to Lisen, this time for an 11K. I ran the first half with Honza, after which he told me that he doesn’t feel well and I should go if I wanted to. So I picked up the pace, eventually caught on to the first woman in the race. With about 2K to go I passed her, and also another colleague, Pavel. Saw Tomas in the finish, but couldn’t run him down. Vlado was 10th overall and won his category! I won mine too, in 45:42 with an average pace of 4:09 min/km.
Pisarky - Anthropos (again)
The last race on the traditional TriExpert courses. The weather was better than last time I was here (my first TriExpert race!). Also, I knew what to expect this time. I felt tired from the 110K hike I did over the weekend, and also had some lingering Achilles heel and knee pain from that. Nevertheless, the race turned out nice - even though I was 4th in my category I ran a solid time of 24:19, which is 4:03 min/km.
Blazovice - St. Wenceslav run
The last race (actually not organized by TriExpert) took place in Blazovice on Monday, October 28th, which is a national holiday in the Czech Republic. My biggest rival in the cup turned out to be Petr - we had a 30 point difference in our total scores. That meant, that if one of us failed to turn up today, the other one would win. Unfortunately for me, I was the one down 30 points and we both showed up. I tried to hang on to him for about 6 kilometers, but felt the pace was too fast for me. After slowing down, I knew had had enough. Hurting for the rest of the race, even people that I beat regularly plowed past me. The 11K course had to come to an end and did - it took me 46:52 with an average pace of 4:16 min/km. Petr (after today, the winner of TriExpert Cup in the junior category) beat me by more than 2 minutes today.
Final summary and ceremony
Vlado placed 3rd in Men’s B category (40+), and I placed 2nd in the Men’s Junior category. We both enjoyed the ceremony and were very grateful for the prizes.
Overall, the cup was very exciting, a great experience and race. I hope I’ll be able to try my luck next year too!