Race Report – 20km de Lausanne

I’m not doing very well on the moderation in running bit. But so far, it’s okay, no injuries. I’m going to continue to pretend to be a running blogger and do a “Race Report.”

April 28, 20km de Lausanne – Race start time: 6:19 pm – Weather: Overcast, humid, 26 degrees (Celsius).

I wake up feeling lousy, with a nagging headache. Marc and I head for the market. He’s convinced the entire economy of the greater Morges region will collapse if we don’t go to the market on Saturday. I think he has a point.

I get home and discover Marc has eaten all the yogurt, leaving me barely enough scrapings in the jar to start a new batch with our fresh organic sheep’s milk. I call the office (he’s working on a report) and chew him out. Whoa, Mary! You okay? Of course I’m okay. What makes you think I’m not okay?

I decide maybe I should eat something before the race. I have some yogurt and banana, and feel a little better. Maybe a nap might not be a bad idea, either. I do that.

At 4:30 Brendan heads off on his bike to pick up our race numbers. Marc decides to jog over to the start. I wait until 5:20 – I hate standing around before races start – and ride over, dodging people and flies.


One thing I like about Switzerland is its relative lack of annoying insects. At this time of year along the lake, however, there are tons of little miniscule flies that emerge out of the ground. They form funnel-like coherent clouds. You can go around these structures, but if you accidentally penetrate a cloud, the beasties get in your eyes, mouth, and lungs. A block up from the lake they disappear. But they don’t bite, and, like I said, you can dodge them if you’re paying attention. Even the flies are well-behaved in this country!

I find Brendan and we wait around for Marc, who eventually finds us, all stressed out because we had picked up his race number.  Um, we’d said we were going to do that? Oh well. He’s always a little revved before a race. While I’m waiting in my starting chute, a woman greets me like we know each other. I have no idea who she is, but I play along. Ah, bonjour! Then she mentions mutual friend Carol Bonvin and the Morat-Fribourg race and I remember the three of us carpooled to that race two years ago. I am deeply impressed that she remembers my name.

I’m wearing my Sauconys because I still haven’t figured out how to run downhill fast in my New Balance minimalist shoes. I double tie the laces. Once I forgot to do that in a race and lost valuable seconds. Not that this is an issue in this race. Those days are long gone.

I am running this race with my iPod. I know, it’s terrible. It’s only the second time I’ve ever done this, but I don’t like running for such a long period of time without distraction, and from past experience, the people in this race won’t want to talk to me. They’re too busy sucking up air. Most of them seem to find it unnerving if someone runs up alongside them and wants to start a conversation. I have all my music set to 85-90 beats per minute, a good turnover rate which should keep me plugging along. It worked wonders last fall when I ran the Morat-Fribourg race unprepared.

We’re herded like sheep into sections. Marc and Brendan leave at 6:16, and I’m slated for 6:19. This being Switzerland, we leave right on time. All through the race, we pass from pockets of humid, hot air to zones where there’s a fresh breeze. I stop at every water stop and drink deeply.  I don’t feel that great, so I deliberately rein in the pace a little. Just carry on. As I usually do, I try to fixate on a person, but this time it doesn’t work that well. I pass people on the uphills, they pass me back on the downhills.

On a downhill cobblestone section, a man running barefoot careens past me at high speed. How inspiring!

We make it up to the Cathedral, and then it’s downhill most of the rest of the race. At the fire station in the Flon neighborhood the firemen blast their air horns at us and run the sirens, and it makes my ears hurt, even with my earbuds in.

Then we’re running down the steep path along the Vallée de la Jeunesse, the place where I tripped on a drainage grate and fell the year I ran the race with Anne-Laure and Nicole. I’m careful to stay in the middle of the path and watch my footing as I relive that embarrassing moment. Then we’re back in Vidy, and I actually feel better now than when the race started. My favorite song hasn’t yet popped up on the iPod, which is a bit annoying (Placebo – Running up that Hill) so I fast forward to it and crank along. Maybe next time I won’t do a random shuffle, but organize the thing.

In the stadium I show off to the crowd with a 200m acceleration, and cross the finish line in 1:45, a full 45 minutes behind the winner (yeah, he’s Kenyan) and 34 minutes behind the first woman. They’ve probably already had their massages and are eating dinner by now. I splash my face in one of makeshift sinks they’ve set up – it feels like heaven. I’m hot and sweaty and tired and all I want is a cold beer, but I make do with water and a banana.

Marc and Brendan find me – Marc has run 1:26 and Brendan 1:29 – Brendan looks like he’s suffered (turns out he was pretty dehydrated). But he’s happy because the race was a fundraiser for his trip to Uganda this summer, and finishing means that all his sponsors (you know who you are) have to pay up.

After the obligatory post-race mill-around and mutual-congratulation fest, Marc trots off for home and Brendan and I retrieve our bikes. He buys an ice cream and then we ride home slowly, unaccosted, in the twilight (the flies are sleeping now).

All I want to do is shower and go to bed, but the hordes are hungry so I fix scrambled eggs and bacon and send subliminal barbs in Marc’s direction because he’s perusing the online race results instead of helping me. He doesn’t appear to feel them. I was 16th in my category. Brendan was 7th in his, Marc 15th in his. As a family, we rock, except for Luc, who stayed home and played World of Warcraft. Maybe next year.

This was kind of fun to write. So stay tuned, tomorrow I’ll write a race report for the last weekend’s 13.6 km Montée du Nozon. Totally different kind of race. But (for me) equally entertaining.

CORRECTION: Late last night Marc informed me that in fact he was 15th in his category (out of 200+ runners) and I was 16th in mine (out of 100+ runners).  This egregious error has been corrected in the text.

5 thoughts on “Race Report – 20km de Lausanne

  1. Hurrah, my first mention in a blog!!

    And I was mentioned three times (once by name, then the reference to Brendan’s fundraiser, then the congratulations all around because I found Mary and congratulated her :-).

    My other comment is a tip about insects. Mary, you’re tall so this tip may be hard to apply. You need to find a taller person than you to run with. When I go out on a run with Dominique, I don’t notice the clouds of insects at all because they only descend to his forehead level. He’s coated with them above the bridge of his nose when we get home, and I don’t have any. But when I go out by myself, I come back with my forehead plastered too. It seems these gnats attack from above and gang up on the tallest person in a group. You’re right that it’s lucky they don’t bite. They can be so thick that you have to run with your eyes shut though.

    Loved the race report and look forward to more!

    • Hey Carol! I was going to say something about how disgustingly fresh and chipper you all were after your races! I was also going to mention that the ice cream was bought with your 100 franc bill (and then replaced after, of course) because we hadn’t brought any money with us!

      Thanks for your support of Brendan and the blog, both!

  2. Congratulations to all of you! I’m still curious why Brendan is going to Uganda (Dave was quite vague about the purpose), but I’m glad to sponsor him for whatever reason! Good luck on the next race! In case I haven’t said it, I really enjoy your blog and its fresh perspectives such diverse topics!

    • He’s going on a humanitarian project with other 18-25 year olds to help dig wells and build a schoolhouse. It’s sponsored by the Nouvelle Planète Association. They have been meeting together since this past fall to plan the trip. Thanks for your (blind) trust in him!

      And thanks for your kind words on my blog.

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