Hello! This is a full, tired and happy Lottie writing. Gosh, what a day! And it’s crazy that the day is over already. I’ve been looking forward to it since October, full five months, and that was it. But the wait was worth it.
PWT Urheilumatkat organized my trip and my first impression of the hotel wasn’t the best, whereas I was absolutely amazed in the morning when I realized that we were just about 100m from the starting point of the half marathon. From my room on the 20th floor I could easily follow how the first runners started to gather and all that made my start into the day so much easier – I knew I had time to dress, time to have a big breakfast, and relax before going out. By big breakfast I mean big breakfast – I had a bread roll, another slice of dark bread with honey, oatmeal and lots of fruit salad. I need lots and lots of energy before a run like that and can never understand the people who just have one slice of toast before. After the breakfast I began to get nervous though. It took me ages to pack all my stuff and I went to the toilet four times.
Christian left me outside the runners’ zone. I had about 45 minutes to go and spent that time streching out my aching muscles (they hurt so bad from Friday’s Reebok workout – I’m such a loser!). I jumped around, tried to warm up and visited the bathroom three more times. And I was slowly getting nervous – the atmosphere was beyond great! 30.000 runners, several bands, loud music, a cool presenter motivating us and then the sunshine right under the TV tower. It was incredible!
I started in group D (for runners planning to run about 2h) and had some time to grasp the atmosphere and talk to other runners before we began walking to the start line. Then it all went very quick, I started my sports watch, my running app, my audiobook and there we went!
The start was almost overwhelming! So many fans, families with motivation signs, children with drums, bands, chapelles, chearleader teams stood on the side and shouted, sang and gave us high fives. Oh wow! Quite different from the half marathons I have run so far. Furthermore the entire route was one big sightseeing tour. We started at the TV tower, saw several old churches, ran over the museum island, through the Brandenburg gate. We passed old churches and new parliament buildings.
My tactics worked as well. During my last half marathon I had already picked out a woman as my pacer, which meant that I would try to keep up with her during the whole run. I remembered that tactic when I saw a man wearing a t-shirt saying “Follow me”. I took it literally and did all my best to keep up with him. Which wasn’t easy as he was running a pace of 4:38 min/km (which is a lot faster than my usual pace!), but the adrenaline gave me the power for it. There’s just one thing I have to criticize about the half marathon – the streets were much too narrow! It was so hard to pass other people simply because there wasn’t any space and I lost so much time pushing other runners in order to get past them.
Every time I lost a pacer in the crowd, I picked out the next one. Running with someone was so much easier than havving to think about whom to pass and which side to choose. I wish those men knew how helpful there were! I actually spent most of the time silently talking to them: “Curly man, you can do it! I think we could even go a bit faster! Thank you for believing in me, I couldn’t have done it without you!”
A half marathon is incredible – but it definitely is two hours of agony. I kept telling mysef to keep pushing, because after all it will be only two hours, but my muscles ached from friday, I had pulled my left hamstrings, at 10km I got blisters and at 18km I started freezing, which was very weird. Thank god the Nike cheering team stood at the 19km point and threw confetti on me and my best friend awaited me at 20km – that really pushed me! I did a sprint through the goal and the photographers there had fun catching my strained face. But the sprint was worth it!
I broke my personal best from last fall by six minutes, the one from the run before by 26 minutes. Despite my bad training I did something absolutely incredible. My finishing time was 1 hour 50 minutes! Absolutely crazy!
After the run I got a medal, some drinks and Chris and I shared a Brezel and enjoyed the athmosphere before we left back to the hotel. I happily took off my shoes, laid up my painful legs and then showered. I promised myself that this will be the last run I participate in for several months or even years. Let’s see how long it takes until I sign up for the next one. I bet it will only take a few weeks – the feeling, the atmosphere and the pride afterwards can’t be topped!
And next time I’ll start with an earlier group and break the 1:40! 😉