Sunday, October 06, 2013

40th Berlin Marathon 2013 - Part 2

Second and hopefully final part of the Berlin Marathon race recap. This should actually be the race recap as I only described the beginning of the marathon weekend in the Part 1 of this mini series :)

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 marathon morning: As our hotel was just about 1 km from the start/finish area I didn't need to leave super early. The start was at 8:45 am so the main reason to get up relatively early was to get in the breakfast early enough so I have time to properly digest it. 6 am alarm clock it was, I woke up just few minutes before it. Got straight to the business = eating :D Goat milk cottage cheese with two bananas, bit of home made nutbutter and honey. And double Nespresso - the true one WITH caffeine. Oh that felt great!!! I don't have problem limiting things to lower quantities, but when you totally cross out something, you might be really craving it soon :)

After that I put the warming massage emulsion on my legs to keep them warm in the first parts of the race. It was supposed quite chilly in the morning - around 8 degrees Celsius, rising towards 12 degrees towards noon. I was counting on the sunshine making the temparuter feel little higher. And I am very glad I was right, because if not, it would have been too cold. So dressing up, deciding whether I am taking headband or cap (headband), stocking everything in my dop bag. Bathroom business, final photos and we were ready to go. I started to be little nervous about the time, but still had 45 mintues to go, which meant I started sipping the beetroot juice and took the Tylenol pills (I take them before every marathon/half).

Took few photos at the Unter den Linden street in front of the Brandenburg gate and in front of the Reichstag/Bundestag (the Parliament building) and it was time to say goodbye - as the starting area was restricted to runners only based on ID wristbands attached at the expo. We rechecked the cheering points on the course and I was all by myself. Have to admit, I was getting really emotional. Fortunately, this was good emotional, feeling I am going to put all the hard work in and enjoy the beautiful run in beautiful city. 

Little did I know that I had crazy half an hour ahead of me instead of calm concentration. The closed up area for runners was crowded in the direction of starting corridors and unfortunately the female baggage drop offs were on the way towards corridors so it was double crowded. I called my mom to say hi and figure out where they will be on the course and dropped off my bag. Didn't see any porta potties around and was really getting late so squatting down behind a bush it was - I wasn't gonna screw my race perfomance and all the preparation for not peeing before the race. The warm up and strides were happening on the actual way towards the corridor and here was the trouble. I sucked in my first GU gel and flushed it down with the last bit of beetroot juice on the way to the start. One of the Matt Fitzgerald's tips: when you get the gel/energy in just before the start, it's actually counting towards the calories / carbs ingested during the race, but since you are not running yet, you are not risking the GI distress.

I was in the E corridor which was the last one going out in the first wave, but access to the corridor was together for E and F even though F was starting later. We found ourselves 50 m from the corridor stuck, because it seemed they were not letting the runners in to the F. 5 minutes to the gun. I knew that it is chip measured race so even if I started with the later waves I was totally OK, but still wanted to start in "my" corridor. Went through the "forrest" with other runners which meant that we reached the barrier around corridor like 1 minute before the gun - crazy! And had to go over it, I was really scared of hruting myself, but fortunately runners are great people so two strangers helped me over the barrier and there were we just few seconds before the gun. No time to overthink. 

The commentator said there were several world record marathoners at the start with Haile Gebrselassie and Patrick Makau among them starting the race. I wondered for few seconds whether Paula was there, but I guessed she whould have told me when we met in Prague few weeks ago. And she is always in my thoughts so no time to disturb myself. After the start I realized that we still have few minutes until we actually cross the starting line. It took me like 5 minutes to get there. The crowd of such a huge race helps you to keep the reasonable pace at the beginning and not go out too fast. As I again rediscovered and reconfirmed that  I need to warm up and get in my pace rather slowly. 

The first kilometers were ticking by pretty quickly, I was around the 7:38 min/mile (4:45 min/km) pace and was pretty happy with for the beginning of the race and wanted to pick this up after 3-5 km towards 7:15 min/mile (4:30 min/km). Little did I know that this wasn't gonna happen. But not due to me not being ready to hold the pace. Unfortunately there were too many runners going at slower pace (I was assigned to the corridor according to my previous best time of 3:25). Note to self: if you want to go at the faster pace of the corridor, get there early enough to be at the front of the corridor. 

Almost forgot the ultimate first that I fortunately didn't let to screw up my race - my lace untied at around km 2-3, which made me go crazy for a moment. I was afraid too tie it to tight as I can easily have shin splints when my shoes are too tight. On the other hand that left me checking the laces every now and than visually, because I was afraid the lace would untie again. As this wasn't happening, I finally let it go of my mind around the halfway mark. Back to the race: at 5 km mark I really wanted to speed up to my goal pace as I was feeling great, unfortunately due to the crowds ahead this was tough to do. I speeded up a little, but kept slowing down and speeding up because of the way ahead of me being crowded. It seems to me that I was especially surrounded by huge numbers of Danish runners. I do not have anything against them, but lot of them were running in groups of 2, 3 or even more - side by side. And it is virtually impossible to overpass such a group. Life was tough and I was getting little frustrated, but told myself that I have to be positive and I will probably be able to use the spared energy in the second half. Unfortunately speeding up and slowing down is way more energy demanding than going at the steady pace.

Another slow down were the refreshment points. They were not as frequent as they are usually in the US races, here they were spaced out 3-5 km at time. That made them really crowded because you couldn't afford to miss one of them. Back on the course, oh yes the course, I cannot really remember lot of it. I was focusing on my race, the pace, the nutrition and the great support I had on course. I knew dad and my aunt were going to be btw km 7 and 8, this is where we were getting close back in sight of Reichstag and yay there was my dad in the first part of a slight incline. Very clever - I was up the climb I even didn't know how, because of the excitement of seeing dad :) Now I knew it was going to be quite some time until the half way mark where I was gonna see them again. But yuppiii there was mom and her boyfriend, cool! it is great to have on course support.


  1. Velká opravdu velká gratulace .-)
    zlepšení o šest mint ukazuje , kam se dají posunovat časy pílí a soustředěným tréíninkem ....

    ještě jednou gratuluji


    PS:- pěkné oblečení ;-) sluší moc...

  2. pekny.. je potreba si to uzit.. gratulace.. prijd v pondeli do hospody..:). 12:)