Thursday, October 03, 2013

40th Berlin Marathon 2013 - Part 1

Warning: this post is probably gonna get kind of long, so I am putting up important facts first. Berlin was beautiful race, little crowded for how fast I wanted to run, but beautiful and still a huge PR. Trust me, 6 minute PR is huge :D My official chip time: 3:19:01 which places me 216th woman among the 8 992 who finished the race! I couldn't figure out the exact overall result - around 4 300th out of approx 40 thousand runners. The conditions on the marathon Sunday in Berlin were perfect as can be confirmed by the new world record of 2:03:25 that was set by Wilson Kipsang from Kenya. Can you imagine how fast that is? Crazy fast! Florence Kiplagat was fastest among women with 2:21:13 - still have 1 hour to cut off my time :D

The Czech gang at the Berlin marathon expo.

Now let's get to the lengthy version :o) Berlin was definitely my "A" race of 2013. With Amsterdam 2012 and Boston 2013 not going as great as I expected, I really needed a race to confirm to myself that what I am doing makes sense. Running is my thing, it is what I decided to do and what makes my life full and meaningful. Admitting this and sorting this out was a huge thing for me. Also huge relief, makes things way easier when you take time to sort out what you want to do. Having the mental coach as a part of my team for the past two months helped a ton! Nike and Matcha Tea are also supporting me on my way toward becoming the best runner I can. Long story short, I really needed to have a solid race. But didn't wanna put too much pressure on myself :)

After the work related stressed kind of screwed up my performance in Amsterdam 2012 I was gonna be sure this does not happen, so I took Friday off work. Had an easy relaxed day, bought some food supplies so I am not dependent on what is available in the hotel and as my dad picked me up at 5 pm we were ready to hit the road. Berlin is just 350 km far, so was an easy ride. Up to the point when we hit the evening traffic jam upon arrival to Berlin. We finally got to the hotel around 9 pm, checked in, got a crazy upgrade for our room (we had a steam cabin in our bath room apart from beautiful shower and bath tub). All that ment it was 10 pm when we got to the dinner. Beef broth, steak and baked potato it was. Broth and potato for the marathon nutrition, steak to spoil myself :D Have been eating mostly carbs in form of fruit and honey etc. all day, so the steak was delicious.

Saturday morning I woke up at 7, but put my sleep mask on to avoid the sunlight and managed to sleep until 8:30 :o) We met up with my aunt who was staying at the same hotel (she is like a sister to me - just 4 and half years older than I am) and went for a breakfast. Honestly, having delicious breakfast buffet is a torture when you love all the great food, but you actually cannot eat what you want because of your race. But you know, as runners we do sacrifice way more in the months coming toward our race, so the decisions should be smart not screwing up everything on the last few days :) I have read Matt Fitzgerald's new book: The New Rules of Marathon and Half-Marathon Nutrition before coming to this race - lot of valuable information!

Treat part of the bfast was salmon and bit of eggs followed by the carb loading part of fruit, jam and honey ... Was pretty full after eating all this, so got an easy massage from my aunt to let the food set in and went for the last pre race tune up run at around 11. The weather was beautiful, I checked the way to the starting area that was only about 1 km from our hotel. Did little over 1 mile at the race pace which I can now say I intended  to be around 7:15 min/mile. My heart ratew was little higher than in the last training but I knew that was all due to the  excitement. Seeing the Brandenburg gate where I knew we would be runnig towards the finish next day... I don't think the pre-race glitters ever get smaller before marathons :)

Took a shower and we went for a lunch because the dinner was gonna be early - involves lots of eating this marathon thing :) We went to an all you can eat sushi place - soo yummy! Great choice and I think I am making this my new pre race tradition having sushi for lunch before the race day. 

And off we were in taxi towards the race expo which was at an old airport that actually is almost in the city center and now serves as a convention center. The expo was pretty huge and unfortunately not very well situated, so we had to cue to pick up the numbers. Was kind of funny as this was my dad's first time at race expo. 

Met with the great Czech running gang at the number pick up where we somehow also decided that the next year's autumn marathon is gonna be New York for us :) Wandered through the expo, my dad got me a cute Nike event tshirt because the official tshirt is Adidas and I have always been a Nike girl! I am pretty proud that it was the only thing I got there.

We couldn't get the taxi so took subway on our way back to the hotel. Unfortunately there was some construciton going on, so we ended up walking quite a part of the route. 

Saturday afternoon the inlineskaters did almost the same as marathon route - this is the first guy - so damn fast!!!

Made it to the hotel just in time to get a bit of nap before the dinner. I made the clever thing to reserve us paleo restaurant for the pre race dinner - I wanted me some delicious broth and sweet potatoes. Both were succesfully achieved at the Sauvage - can only recommend this place. Grat food, great atmosphere, great interior and great service!

Amuse bouche: pumpkin puree in coconut oil.

Turkey broth ... yummy and powerful for the race.

Turkey breast and sweet potato with more sweet potato puree on top - I actually gave up the bacon on the top of the puree to my dad and aunt and didn't finish the meat and asked for extra sweet potato ... Carb loading for the race is a tough job!!!

... the extra sweet potato

Interesting decor at the Sauvage restaurant - lamps made of fish skin.

Back at the hotel, I laid out all my racing gear and my aunt gave me the final massage - so cool to have such a great support team with me. Final touch was painting my nails of course! I also spent some time going through photos from previous races - especially NYC and Prague. Re-read the NYC marathon race recap and was looking forward to enjoy the race day at least the same. Fortunately I only woke up once and had a good night sleep.

Since this got really long ... TO BE CONTINUED in Part 2 :)


  1. Wow, 6 minute PR is HUGE! congrats girl! Love your pics. Enjoy the glow!

  2. Thank you Amanda!!! Can't wait to follow you getting back to training ;o) You gonna rock that spring marathon ;) And love the autumn socks and boots!