Laziness At It’s Best

Usually, I would be spinning my little heart out at the gym right now. Instead, I am blogging. Lucky you.

I have a cold at the moment that just doesn’t want to leave. My body is fighting a virus, or maybe it’s just me being anxiously about catching something while riding two subways and a bus two times a day for an hour – with tons of running noses. Yuck!

How fitting that the teacher of my spin class sent this picture via mail today.

didyou

Thank you, I feel much better skipping both spinning and swimming this week.

So yes, I have been swimming and spinning for a few weeks, but I still haven’t got the running bug back. I leave the house in the darkness and come home long after the sunset. After a much-needed break after the marathon, it’s time to run again. Regularly. With a plan.

I have doubts that it was the right decision to sign up for the Hamburg Marathon. It’s on May 4th, most of the training will be in the freezing cold. If we have a similar hard winter than last year, we will have snow until April. How on earth would anyone ever want to sign up for a spring marathon?

The truth is, I always dreamed about running the Hamburg Marathon, and training for it is a part I need to accept. Do I want to finish? Do I want to get faster? Do I even want to run a sub 4 hour marathon?

Yes.

Yes, I do.

It’s time for my stronger self to kick my weaker self in the butt. Only 22 weeks and a few days until my second marathon.

 

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Great Things

I turned 24 yesterday (gosh, I’m old) and even though I am looking forward to the next 12 month, it’s going to be freaking hard to make my 24th year even better than the last one.

To honor the best year yet, I have made a list of things that have made the last amazing. 

  • I went from unemployed to being an intern and learned tons about corporate communications.

  • I cut my hair shorter. And then, a little sorter.
  • I made a trip down to Bavaria and met amazing personalities.

team

Berlin1

  • I left my internship for a big girl job!

  • I found out who my real friends are, and who aren’t.
  • I got my first blue toenail, which finally made me a real runner. (sarcasm, friends)
  • First season on my road bike and I never once crushed. (Well, that would have sucked)
  • My name was in a running magazine and so was a picture of mine (well, which a few others) another.
  • I went to see Rocky-The Musical, and found out I would never ever want to see a boxing match in real live, which is good, too. 
  • I run a race together with my Mum for the first time. 
  • I volunteered for a race for the first time. Packing bags with race bibs etc. for a lot of triathletes isn’t that much fun, but I now appreciate volunteers even more! 
  • I bought a 300 Euro purse and it’s my favorite of all time. It was on sale and I only spent 160 €, tough. 
  • I loved the reunion with my favorite girls from university!

 

What was the best thing in the last 12 month for you?

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What’s Next?

What I was scared of the most while training for my first marathon wasn’t running marathon itself. It was the time after the marathon. What would I do next? What do I do without a coach by my side? Do I want to run another marathon? Do I want to complete my first 70.3? Do I never ever want to workout again? Gosh, what would I do?

While running the marathon, I knew that this marathon wouldn’t be the last. The finish time was what bothered me the most. I knew I was way slower that I could have been without the injury and without the stomach cramps. Seriously, I need to improve that time!

Also, I never wanted to run the Berlin Marathon. Nevertheless, I always wanted to run the Hamburg Marathon.

So, four days after the marathon, while still recovering from marathon number one, I signed up for my next big challenge:

hhmarathon

I can’t wait to run the marathon, I can’t wait to run faster, and I can’t wait to run 42 km in the city I love.

It’s scary to think about training for a spring marathon. My training will start latest in mid February. Most miles will be run in the cold, wet, and dark. However, I think that marathon training will be the right training for me in 2014.

I planned to finish my first half ironman in 2014, but plans have slightly changed. I have just started a new job, and I am out the door from 7 am to 6 pm. Sure I can train for a marathon and a few sprint- and olympic triathlons, but I can’t say that I could train for a 70.3 and still be doing a great job at my new company. Someday, sure, but now?

It’s important to choose races not only because you wish you could race it, but because you know you can train properly and still be the best you can be in “real life”. And running the Hamburg Marathon is all I want for now.

Do you have decided on your big races for 2014 yet?

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Koelbrandbrueckenlauf 2013 Recap (1:32:01)

My mother turned 50 today, which leads me to the fact that I haven’t posted the recap for a race we did a few weeks ago. It was the first race we ran together and I must say that I am one proud daughter.

start

On October 3rd, just five short days after finishing my first marathon, I tied my running shoes for the next race.

Runners

I signed up for the Koelbrandbrueckenlauf long before I even knew I would be running the Berlin Marathon. Back in December 2013, the Berlin marathon was sold out and I never even thought about running it. I signed up for the race since I had run it in 2012 and loved it.

I wouldn’t have run it if it wasn’t for my mother. My Mum started running in December last year. To understand the difficulties she had and still has, you must know that she had several spinal disc herniation and could barely walk after her last operation in 2011. Furthermore, she has asthma and has trouble breathing during a lot of her runs.

Shortly before the Koelbrandbrueckenlauf, she ran 30 minutes for the first time. The race is 12 km long. What I have too much of, my Mum has problems with: the belive that with pure will, you can do anything. Not only was the race 12 km, but you run a bridge up twice during the run. With strong winds, this isn’t easy.

bridge

Needless to say that my mother doubted that she would finish. So, I ran the race with my mother to support her.

I had doubts about this race. Fearing that I get injured, also fearing that my already injured food would get worst. Neither of that came true. The first miles of the race were hard and it felt weird to run again. As both of us weren’t fit enough to run the whole race, we did quite a lot of walking, too.

IMG_0036

It was a great experience to run together with someone close, and to support a person who has supported you your whole life. I am looking forward for many more miles.

We both finished in 1 hour 32 minutes and 1 second.

You did it, Mum! Happy Birthday!

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40th BMW Berlin Marathon Recap (4:28:28)

Going through the memories, the marathon seems to be so far away yet it feels like it was yesterday.

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On September 28, after a kick-off weekend in Regensburg, 18 weeks of training, many miles and a lot of doubts, I became a marathoner. But let’s start from the beginning.

On Friday, my mother and I made our way from Hamburg to Berlin. It’s funny how it takes less than 2 hours from one main station to the other, yet it had been 6 years since my last visit.

We found the hotel quite easily. It was a nice hotel with a pretty big room just 2 km away from the start and finish line. I was happy to see all the other runners that I had met during the weekend in Regensburg (read about it here, here and here). After catching up with the others, we went on a run through Tiergarten, where we first saw the finish line. That day, the finish of the Berlin Marathon seemed far away, yet, it was less than 2 days away.

The next morning, we went for another short shake out run. I felt good. I wasn’t nervous and my legs felt awesome. Suddenly, I couldn’t keep up with the others. I couldn’t breath. I stood between Reichstag and Spree and couldn’t breath, less than 24 hours before the marathon. I stood there all alone, letting the group run away. Just seconds before a panic attack, I remembered to calm down, and so I did. I slowly run back to the hotel, and hell yes, there were tears in my eyes.

The rest of the day was great. We went to the race expo, stood an hour in line for the race bib, visited our sponsors, and enjoyed a pasta party at the hotel. The night before my first marathon, I slept like a bear.

I woke up rested, but nervous. My stomach could not handle breakfast at all. With an unhappy stomach, we all met at the lobby to go to the start area together.

morning

The start area was crowded. It took us girls almost an hour to get our bags to the right tent. When I got to the start, the top runners were already racing.

It took me about 30 minutes until I crossed the start line. Since I had never run a marathon before, I had to start in the last corral, but I didn’t expect it to take so long! The race was crowded from start to finish. I have never seen that many people run in so little space.

I saw the first people walking around km 5. Did these people really know what they signed up for? Did I knew? The first 10 km, I had the worst stomach cramps you can imagine. I tried to keep calm as much as possible. I ran slower, but running faster wasn’t possible anyways due to the crowded streets. I took my first gel after 50 minutes, and after I hit the 10km mark, I felt much better.

Berlin2

My body felt good again and I knew I could finish. I wanted to run faster, but the crowded streets didn’t allow it. The whole marathon was like running a super long and never-ending slalom around people who were running slower than me or were barely moving at all. There was a girl stretching her legs in the middle of the street!

There weren’t many spectator in the beginning, but around 11am, people came to cheer us on. Unfortunately, they stood on the streets, making the run area much smaller than necessary. I hate to say that, but I was annoyed quite often during the day.

Nevertheless, the crowded streets were good for something, too. It was hard to run “too fast”, so I was able to run an easy pace and never hit a wall. I gave up on any goal time I had anyways, since I had been injured for almost a month.

My main goal was to enjoy the race, so I focused on fun things like a group of “prisoners” I ran with for quite some time. I also loved that there were so many Danes running and cheering in Berlin.  I loved running the Århus Halvmarathon a few month ago and hearing all the “Kom så Danmark!” calls made me smile for 42,2 km! There were a lot of band playing, too, and the volunteers did a great job!

Berlin3

If someone told me that I should run for 4,5 hours, I’d say they’re nuts. But the marathon didn’t seem to be that long, and time rushed. I never looked at what I still needed to run, I concentrated on the next water station or the next time I’d see my mother at the sides.

When I hit km 40, I couldn’t belive that this race and the training and everything else was coming to an end! On the other hand, I was quite happy, too. My feet were hurting since km 35.

I don’t know if you have ever ran a marathon yourself, but once you hit km 40, you are flying. At least I was. I ran through the Brandenburg Gate and across the finish line.

BerlinFinish

I am a marathoner!

SplitsThe whole year was amazing. I am thankful that I got the change to run my first marathon, get to train with an experienced coach and meet so many inspiring personalities!

team

The best part: all runners of our team finished their first marathon that day!

I finished in 4 hour, 28 minutes, and 28 seconds.
5025 of 8990 women.
611th out of 1081 in my age-group.

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How To Be A Hero: The Blankenese Half Marathon (2:09:29)

I always hear people complaining about running injuries or lost toenails. I was injured for quite some time when I started running again in 2011, simply because I wanted too much too soon. Other than that, I never even got a blister. I never had a bad race. Running felt natural, even though training isn’t easy all the time.

You can bet that I would love to tell you about my first marathon right away. However, I ran my 4th half marathon on September 1st and I think it makes sense to recap this race first, because it changed the way I felt during September and during the final preparation of my first marathon.

Well, let’s call it recap but it’s more of a summary, since the race was seven weeks ago and I worked hard to recover from it mentally (read as: forget all about it and move on).

I knew that this half marathon is the one with the biggest difference in altitude that one can run in Northern Germany, but seriously, how much can that be? How bad can a half marathon become when you are planning on running the distance twice a few weeks later?

The start was at 11:30, which was a perfect time for me. Not too late, but I could sleep longer than I usually do before a race.

The first 2.5 km were along the Elbe and simply beautiful. So, yes, I enjoyed about 2.5 km of this race.

Half Marathon

I know that when I put the words “hill” and “increase” in my mouth, I mean “hills” that others wouldn’t even notice. My northern german brain is just not used to anything more than 10 meters of elevation gain on a 25 km run.

However, dearest friends, when I say “stairs”, and I mean hundreds of stairs, we are talking about the same, and everyone will know how hard this run was for me.

At one point, after running countless “hills” and some stairs, I looked ahead of me and saw a stairway with about 100 steps. To tell the truth, if I would have been taking a walk, I would have turned around and looked for another route. I guessed that is not how a race works, so I took the stairs.

half marathon 2

Don’t get me wrong, the race itself was beautiful. If only I had less pain, I would have loved running it!

I had stomach cramps at km 13 and my feet start hurting at km 18. I walked a lot, but never gave up entirely. “If I can run this, I can run Berlin” was the sentence I had in my mind all the time.

half marathon 3

The race sure was the best training run I could get for my marathon. It was challenging, but I did it!

I finished in 2 hour, 9 minutes, and 29 seconds.
165th out of 281 women.
36th out of 281 in my age-group (W20).

Next up: marathon recap! 

Question for you: what was the most challenging race you ever run, and why was it such a challenge?

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Blogging Again.. as a Marathoner

Hi there!

I missed you, I really did. I didn’t miss blogging as much as I missed this community and I really needed a break.

In my last post, written and published on August 26th, I explained my need to focus on real life, not on writing for the blog. I also didn’t read lots of fun and motivating (but also time-consuming) blog posts. Besides working full-time, I was hunting for a job, since my internship was coming to an end. I was spending a ridiculous amount of time in front of the computer. I was glad for every second I wasn’t looking at a screen. Also, I was training for my first marathon, which was a huge challenge, too.

I write in simple past here, people.

For now, another big storm in my life is coming to an end, but it might be just the calm before another, even bigger storm (more on that later).

The training for my first marathon ended two weeks ago with my favorite race bling ever: The 40th BMW Berlin Marathon medal – I’m a marathoner!

Berlin

I can’t wait to tell you all about the marathon, and the two other races I ran since my last blog post. I have a lot of catching up to do, both on here and on the blogs written by my favorite bloggers.

I’m glad I’m back.

Question for you: What has happened in your life lately? New job, new PRs, fun races?

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