The morning of the race I woke up at 5:45am. The race didn’t start until 9:30, but I wanted enough time for breakfast, porta potty lines, and walking to the start.
Note the growth aka all my gels in my shorts pocket LOL.
My dad and I ate breakfast in our hotel, which was amazing. (Shout out to Joel for the hotel recommendation!). They didn’t have any bagels or peanut butter, so I ate Picky Oats I’d brought with PB packets, a banana, some blueberries, and little bit of bread. And of course coffee. They actually had low fat milk which was a miracle.
As we walked to the start line, we saw Stephanie.
Stephanie and I stood in line for the porta potties and then made our way to the start. You walked through a park and as we rounded the corner it was immediate mayhem. People going to the bathroom in the woods, and overall a kind of frantic vibe. We stayed calm and slid right into the corral no problem though.
Knowing what I know now, this was actually a huge a mistake.
We couldn’t see any pacers, and it was wall to wall people. However, I’ve run two other world marathon majors twice each, and it always breaks up and fans out.
As we started to run, it did not fan out. People were walking or jogging extremely slowly in the middle of crowds. Not safe or fun for them or us. I couldn’t understand why so many walkers, but we did our best to get around them while still running the tangents.
Can you spot us?
My race plan had been to go out a bit slower and cut down through out the race. We couldn’t see a 3:25 pacer, but we did pass 6 (not exaggerating) 3:45 pacers. I was trying to keep from panicking and tell myself I’d be able to run fast soon, the crowds would break up.
By mile 6 I distinctly remembering thinking, “I’m exhausted.” I caught myself thinking that and asked myself why – was it just from dodging people? From running around people? Mental exhaustion?
From the splits you can see we did keep fighting. I started to feel worse and worse though. I kept telling Stephanie to leave me, and she said she didn’t want to, she didn’t feel great either. So we chatted, we talked about buildings and what they might be, we worked together to get around people.
At the halfway mark I started feeling some pretty bad stomach cramps. I was far off my race plan and my stomach was now cramping. I rarely have stomach issues. I wanted to sit down on the curb and close my eyes until I woke up from this dream/nightmare & could start it all over again.
I know that in a marathon, when you start feeling bad, it will often pass. There is enough time that you will likely go through phases of feeling good and bad, and good again. So I did my best to stay calm, and not stress about the time, and just give my best effort. We picked up it again in the last 10k.
I really wish I had an answer as to why this happened. Other people who ran that day ran PRs. It was hot in the beginning of the race, but did cool down some, although I do the best in 50-55 degrees. A lot of the people who I know that ran PRs were in the 3:10 range, so maybe they did a better job of getting ahead of the corrals and walkers? I don’t want to make excuses, but I also don’t want to discount the fact that I am so disappointed.
But back to the race, I got to see John, Ryan, Morgan & my Dad twice, which was amazing. The race offered tea at several of the aid stations, which I thought was quite funny.
Running through the last 2 miles there were a lot of turns, and I couldn’t wait to see the Brandenburg Gate.
I do remember running through it and thinking, omg the finish line is still so far away!
Getting there was pure relief though!
I feel so lucky I had Stephanie to run with. It made the day so much fun and that much more special.
When you got to the finish area, you had to bend over, unlace your shoe, and give back the timing chip that was laced into your shoe. Naturally, I neurotically had laced mine into my shoe REALLY well.
WHAT KIND OF TORTURE IS THAT?
Those beers tasted terrible and did not have alcohol in them. Great photo props though!
Giant pretzel + beer = very happy
My dad was an amazing race sherpa and support that day. I can’t thank him enough. He walked me to the start line, fought through the crowds to watch me, hugged me when I cried after, and made me laugh when I was done crying.
I am really disappointed in myself for not being able to execute at Berlin. The big races are a different beast, as are international races.
Huge thank you to John, Ryan and Morgan for coming to watch me (and track my dot) and congratulate me after! John is always willing to give me a sweaty hug and listen to me be excited or sad depending on the race.
The day would not have been nearly as much fun without Stephanie! So glad we got to run together, sightsee a great city, and check another star off the world marathon majors list.