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.
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.
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.
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?