Dearest Clapham Runners,
Here is my report from Berlin marathon that I managed to complete last Sunday.
This was a race I genuinly did not expect to finish as I was feeling really unwell in my last couple of long runs. I would have pulled out if it hadn’t been for a non-refundable hotel booking…No choice then but to give it a shot and see how far I could get.
David and I arrived in Berlin late Friday night and went around the city on a beautiful Saturday morning, giggling at all runners dressed already in full running gear going around Berlin in excitement and anticipation.We had a lovely lunch by the river and off we went to pick up my number. There I found the medical unit and asked them what to do in case I wanted to stop (i know it’s obvious but I needed some reassurance) and the lady said to me, I hope you won’t need us, see you at the finish.
On the morning of the race I was up at 6 to make it for breakfast at 6.30. By 6.25 we were downstairs waiting for the dining room doors to open. By 6.35 me and many other fellow runners were attacking the buffet and devouring our food. Everyone looked really fast, determined and confident. I also noticed the beautiful site at the table next to us, a father and son, two generations running together, eating in silence, the tension and concentration written on their faces.
When David and I reached the park at the start, he was not allowed to come in with me and I got a little bit tearful kissing him goodbye on the other side of the fence. My first marathon where I was going to the start line on my own. I kept going though as I was there and had to dance. Found my bag drop and my starting position and soon we were off.
The first kilometer was really fast but was followed by a loo stop (yes, that soon) that calmed things down. The first half of the race went ok but I kept thinking what a long way I still had to go, lacking a bit in mojo. I passed the half point at the slow time of 2.09 or something, 10 minutes later than at last year’s race. Oh well, I kept reminding myslef that this was a race I was not after getting the time I wanted, but to getting through. However, from around mile 17-22, I felt on top of the world. I found it the nicest part of the way, I had loads and loads of energy, I high fived all the kids and waved at the people of Berlin and they shouted my name. It was absolutely great. And while at the beginning I felt that most people were overtaking me, by now I was leaving them behind. After mile 22 I did start getting a bit tired, but I have to say, not that much really, my legs were fine. I was just getting mentally tired more than physically. It was also a bit frustrating that by that point when every meter counts, although my garmin was showing I had covered a certain distance, the race marks were saying I was 800m behind. Must remember to follow the blue line better next time.
Finally, the Bradenbourg gate appeared and I passed under it-the end was now near!
This was a race of 3 loo and 16 refuelling stops-it was a cloudless day and every time I was offered water and isotonic I took it, which was every 2 km after the 10k point, while walking everytime I had a drink in my hand as they were in cups. This is something I need to watch out for next time. This is not an opportunity for me to eat and drink!!Get on with it woman.
I once again made it, 13 minutes further away from the 4 hour goal than I was last year (finish time was 4.33). The finish line video sums up my feelings. Happines when crossing the line and shaking my head in disappointment when looking at my watch. But surely the fact that I went around this race in absolute comfort must count for something. Sometimes we should remember to be grateful for what we have and for the fact that we can run and try to enjoy it.
The taxi driver that took us to our hotel on Friday night, was very sympathetic about what my country is going through and at the end of the ride shook my hand and said: Lady, good luck on Sunday. I hope you get to the end. I am so happy I did not disappoint.
See you all in a couple of weeks.