Berlin was an emotional rollercoaster until I finally was running my race!
If you have followed my Berlin trainings weeks you know that the last week was a disaster. I was stressed from work, not training due to muscle issues I’ve never had before and I felt nervous about what’s going to happen.
Once I stepped my foot on the German ground, I felt a relieve. That feeling just last a moment until I realised it will actually happen. 42km! My 2nd Marathon!
THE DAYS BEFORE THE RACE
- BERLIN EXPO
Mollie and I arrived few days earlier to be at the Expo first thing Friday morning.
Every runner got a wristband that had to stay on until the race.
I clearly was impressed by the machine.
Oooops can you spot what is wrong … I missed the letter “S”!
While Friday was busy but not crazy packed, we had the change to get our running technique analysed. My result was “E”. Not as efficient as my friend Mollie: “A++”. My running strides could have a longer stretching in the back. Good to know, but there would be nothing I would change on the race day. We went for a massage next, as my legs were still very unpleasant tight.
At the expo I had a chance to see all World Marathon Major medals. If I would run all 6 of them I could get this big six star finisher medal. Wow! Well, it’s not going to happen du to my slow legs… getting into Boston I would need to run a time of 3:30h. Not in this life!
In Berlin I was aiming for nearly 10 min faster than I ran London.
Was I aiming for too much? Or did I smash it?
LAST RUN BEFORE THE RACE
- Adidas Runners Berlin
In London I was running with Advent Running and Adidas Runners London. Running clubs, not to be missed. I take the tube to travel 1 hour home, just to train with these lovely people, Claudia and James. I think running regularly with a team really pushes me to my limits. I wish I could join them more often.
Being connected to Adidas Runners I managed to sign up for a running event in Berlin.
Everyone was celebrating the last run before the race.
Yes, it’s always a fun run with AR!
Friday we met up for an easy 6km run with music and good mood at Run Base in East Berlin.
Pic by Adidas: Warm up.
Mollie and I were trying to keep up with the Adidas Runners Berlin. Wow, they were fast. We both ended up more in the back of the group. We also had a chance to chat with the captains and take a selfie along the river with the Molecule Man statue in the background.
Before a race I personally would not run a 5k. We did it and it was fun, but it was too fast. An easy 20 min jog would have been better, but hey, it just was fun to run together. Back at the Adidas Run Base, pasta was waiting for us. Carb loading!
EXPLORING THE CITY
- Berlin Zoo
It might sound cheesy, but watching the animals was so calming and made me happy. I enjoyed these cute ones so much. I took lots of pics and videos like a child. All the walking loosened up my tight lower back too. We spent 3 hours in the Zoo. A beautiful sunny day came to an end with another carb dinner in a local Pizzaria.
Race kit ready, early night and excited to wear my personalized running t-shirt. Thanks AR!
- Berlin Marathon 2016
Early morning with porridge and banana plus a coffee to go. Heading to the start line was easy, we just took the underground. All Adidas Runners from around the world met up at the “Haus der Kulturen” for a pre race get together and bag drop. Where we all would hang out after the race. (more pics are further down)
“Berlin, Berlin we are running through Berlin.” Ayo, Mollie and me at the start line.
The 3 of us were all in the same block. Slower than 3:30h finish time, no pacer were found in Berlin. It’s that fast and professional. As a Londoner you are used to see pacer for a 5h finish time. Not in Berlin.
We watched the start of the professionals and about 20 min later my block was ready to go next.
Gel time selfie with the Fehrnsehturm (Television Tower) in the background.
My nutrition was planned. Food and hydration is key, therefore I had 7 gels with me. But I didn’t use them all. Planned was one every 6km or roughly every 40min to get the energy in. On top of that I had a bar from SIS (Apple Cranberry).
Here is the race summary:
Managing the Marathon:
- km 1-6: Easy warm up. My running buddy was Ayo and we stayed together for most of the race. It was his first Marathon. We were chatting a lot and I suggested to use a gel around 6km in.
- km 10-20: Checked the time and pace. I didn’t have my watch with me but Ayo was checking the pace. Luckily I had a 5h finisher bracelet from the expo, so we both were a perfect running team. Half Marathon nearly done, it was about mid day and lunch time. Now I had half of my SIS bar. But no gel. Both would be too much.
Massage and First Aid stations during the race.
Throughout the race I was so lucky to have a running partner by my side. We were bang on the 5h pace all the time and I felt Ayo getting stronger and faster during the race. He enjoyed the crowd and targeted to high 5 the kids. I was running my steady pace but when I came to the 30km and above, my mind knew this is now the unknown. The distance I didn’t cover in my training. My legs felt bit heavy and challenged. But no pain or serious niggle.
- km 33 : The challenge started. Running buddy Ayo was getting faster and I realised I was not able to keep up with him. I pushed a bit but knew how many km were still in front of me. I was clearly facing a challenge. I felt back. The next water stations I had water over my head while walking trough. It was hot, too hot for a race. Knowing I would run for 5h and drink a lot of water, I was also concerned about going to the toilet. It’s obviously not healthy to keep it in. Worrying about a toilet but realising the long queue, I made my decision when I saw a toilet with only one person waiting. That’s not happening again! So I went, and had my piece of mind. Back to a steady pace.
- km 35-40 : These 5km felt like forever. Legs were tired, niggle in my left ankle, which was new. It wasn’t a serious pain, so I decided to push though without any pain killers. My body and I wanted to learn how to cope with it and make it to the end with mental strength. Another gel was good to have but I missed something else. I remembered London and realised, I need the crowd. Berlin was great to run, however I missed the awesome cheering Londoners. Berlin you were to quiet. All Adidas Runners were already finished, so I felt a bit disappointed when I reached 37km. Was I the last one? Maybe? Well, I kept up with my steady pace, still running was the key for me.
Yes, the end is near! I thought that’s it, the finish! I know I missed the 5h, so would be fun to record a video. Hahahah, I did.
VIDEO click HERE
The after party was waiting for me at the Adidas meet up…. But first I had to walk 15min to get there. Wow. Legs were feeling tight but I was walking fine!
FINISHED! A new PB 5:06h meaning nearly 3 min faster than last time.
Next time I will manage to have a 4h in front of my time! 🙂 that’s the spirit.
- ADIDAS RUNNERS – Haus der Kulturen
I felt very special. We had it all. Snacks, massage, stretching area or a bath of ice cold water. Beautiful day awesome event! Thanks!!
Found her! Molly did a new PB too like so many others in the team. So proud! Thanks to James, Claudia and team to be around. Everyone was so strong and successful! Great time guys.
AFTER THE RACE
- Enjoying Berlin
Next day every finisher found their name published in the daily newspaper.
More sight seeing in the area: THE BERLIN WALL
The wall was thin and different than what I expected. Interesting political graffiti was on it.
Our final dinner together were we recap the whole awesome weekend included a Schnitzel! OK, I admit it was a Wiener Schnitzel (Austria) but it was absolutely delicious.
In summary, I had a race slightly slower than I wanted, still a PB but I felt healthy and happy afterwards. My ambitions were high and maybe I could have pushed more. Also the training was not ideal, I could have done more. I can see the potential, so I guess I just need to find another Marathon for next year.
2 Majors done! I wish I could run NYC next! Dream a little dream …
Keep on running guys!