Berlin Marathon 2013 : Race Recap

4 Oct

40th BMW Berlin Marathon | 29 September 2013

It’s over! All those weeks of training, oh painful training, and it’s all over so quickly.

My dear followers have been bored to tears each week with my training reports and injury woes and constant complaining so I know that you will be pleased to have it all over with. But for those that are still with me, that are still interested in my ramblings and that are eagerly awaiting the results of my hard efforts all year, then this is for you.

First off though, I wanted to say a humungous Thank You to a few people. To my dear Husband for all your encouragement and support from start to finish, for never giving up on me and for never getting annoyed or frustrated during my silly phases. I love you all the more for offering to run a marathon with me at my pace one day 🙂 To Becky for calling me on Skype every Monday morning to check up on my weekend long runs, for getting annoyed with me when my legs gave up and for your bottomless well of laughs and positivity. To my awesome physiotherapist, without your pain inflicting hands I am sure I would not have made it through 18 weeks of training or the race.

My two taper weeks were absolutely horrid. I had just come off my last long run of 37.5km (which you can read about here) and the pain in my shins and right hip prevented me from running more than 5 kilometers during those final two weeks. I thought my goal of running the Berlin Marathon this year had vanished (for the second time). I was preparing myself for the worst, that I wouldn’t be able to run, and I decided to wait until the day of the race to make a final decision as to whether I would run or not. I squeezed in an appointment with my physio on Wednesday morning before the race for some work on my hip. My shins were feeling better at that point after a week or so of rest and after a session of work on my hip my physio was sure that I could run and she gave me her blessing. I was elated!! I was going to run! I could not believe it. My whole perspective and race plan had changed in a matter of minutes, in a few words really. But now I was scared, packing my dacks (as we say in Oz), and all the thoughts of “how the hell am I going to do this?” swamped my mind.

Picking up our race packs on Friday afternoon

We left for Berlin early on Friday morning and with all the touristy stuff we had planned I didn’t have time to think about the race until the night before. And by then, well, it’s pretty much too late to do anything more. There was no more time for training runs, no more time for fretting and worrying, no more time for pussys. It was time to run.

The race was scheduled to start at 8:45am. We woke just after 6am, left the hotel at 6:30am and headed to a quiet restaurant for breakfast, then arrived at the starting/warm-up/changing area around 7:30am. It was also only 8C which in my books is cold. It was even colder when I had to strip down to just my shorts and t-shirt. Even colder still waiting at the start line for more than half an hour with 40,000 other cold runners. The warm-up girls attracted more onlookers than participants… not sure why… surely everyone should have been jumping around to get warm like me??

Since this was my first marathon ever I was in the very last starting group which meant that we didn’t hit the start line until around 9:15am. I wasn’t really nervous, I was too cold to worry about nerves, I just wanted to start running to warm up!! With 36,600 people leaving the starting blocks and with my estimate that 50% of them were in my group I struggled to get a clear path the whole way. It didn’t really bother me too much but my Garmin recorded 42.65km in total… hmm… The atmosphere was electric; you can literally feel the energy bursting from your fellow runners, there is music from street bands on every corner and the cheers from the crowd are deafening at some points. It’s an atmosphere that spurs you on, distracting you from the pain you feel in every part of your being. It was hard for me to settle into a comfortable pace since I was constantly passing people or being passed and having to stop at the drink stations for water but I was surprised at just how quickly and easily the first 25km went by. On a side note, I don’t have a fuel belt or carry a water bottle so I needed to stop at each of the drink stations for a sip of water. The signage and organisation of the drink stations was incredible. I could easily find the water cups and not have to worry about whether it was water or sports drink (which I don’t like). It was around this point of the race where I started to “feel” my legs and feet and at the 30km mark was when the real pain set in. It was as if all of a sudden the crowd had disappeared, the music had stopped, the churches and beautiful buildings of Berlin vanished, and all I could focus on was the pain in my legs and trying to make it just one more kilometer. It was not the sharp stabbing shin pain that had ailed me during my training. No. It was the pain of fatigue. The good pain! I played mind games with myself, bribed myself with drinks and gels and told myself that I could walk if I needed to once I reached 38km as that would be the furthest I had ever run before. Of course, once I got to 38km I chided myself for even thinking about walking and pushed on for the last 4km.

I was so exhausted when I crossed that finish line. I was exceedingly glad to have it all over with and immensely proud of myself for having run the whole course and not walked and to have finished in a pretty damn good time of 4h29m21s.

Finished!

Finished!

I also swore never to do one ever again, but today, I’m recovered, I’m feeling fantastic and I’m thinking maybe I can do another one 🙂

Rewards for Finishing

Rewards for Finishing

Thank you Berlin, it was a blast!

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4 Responses to “Berlin Marathon 2013 : Race Recap”

  1. krissy m. murphy November 17, 2013 at 18:38 #

    Awesome recap! This one is definitely on my bucket list!!

  2. ciritadgCiry February 25, 2014 at 01:35 #

    Your race recap is great. I am running the Berlin Marathon this year. Wish me luck!

    • cheesevegemite February 25, 2014 at 07:45 #

      Congrats on getting a place! It’s a fantastic race. All the best!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Weekend in Berlin | Cheese & Vegemite - October 9, 2013

    […] a wonderful weekend in Berlin in September. We were there for the Marathon (you can read about that here) and stayed on for a few days for some shopping and sightseeing. Berlin is a fascinating city, full […]

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