Last year around this time Udjen and Joanna were still riding their endorphines about running the Berlin Marathon. I was already thinking of running a marathon myself but I thought well let’s do that…maybe….in 2014.
After a little talk they convinced me to register for the Berlin Marathon 2013.
And so the journey begins…
In the beginning I was super excited, then I wasn’t, then I got scared and finally I started to train….like always…wayyyyy too late. There were some weeks I did like my schedule was telling me but most of the time I was just doing whatever I wanted. Training isn’t me….this is the first race I have been training for and like always I just need to do it on my own way. But this doesn’t mean I was confident in me running a whole marathon.
The long road to the Berlin Marathon
Suddenly it was thursday evening September 26th…..time to pack my bags for Germany. What was changed was my state of mind, I was more confident. I had ran a 30K twice (one felt really really good, the other not that much but still with a rather good result), I ran fast races the last two weeks, fast for me that is and I was more relaxed then ever. The only stress I felt right now was: what to pack, what to bring, what def not to forget…..
Friday morning I left home with my four bags (!) for my little bustrip to meet up with Udjen and Lianne, they were coming along to support me and the other Junkies this weekend. After a much longer trip then we thought…..yay traffic!…we arrived at the hostel. We checked in, emptied our bladders, got changed and rushed ourselves to the Berlin Braves HQ for our Bridge the Gap social run with other crews. Unfortunately we arrived a few minutes late. After learning their route a little bit, knowing they went to the Brandenburger Tor first and then the next stop would be the Berliner Dom we went to the Dom. There we waiting for them, surprise surprise! And we got a surprise aswell….we got a NTC workout on the field in front of the Dom. Fun but maybe a bit too much so close before our marathon. After this we went back to the Berlin Braves HQ where drinks, food, nice talks with great people and a Berlin Braves shirt were waiting for us.
Saturday morning Lianne, Udjen and me went to the Berlin Marathon Expo to pick up my bib. Luckily there weren’t many people in line in front of me to pick up their bib’s. There was just one other lucky lady in front of me! That luck changed a bit when I stepped in line to get my bib printed onto my shirt. After that I met up with Lianne and Udjen again for a little while and then I had to step back in line to pick up my shirt…..and this line was longgggggggg. When I finally got my shirt….and blue gummy bears eh cars…that gave me a blue tongue….Udjen and Lianne came to get me and told me they saw Lunarglides for €70,-. When we got there the pricetag magically changed to €50,-. So all three of us now have the same Lunarglides haha
And then suddenly there was Haile Gebrselassie. We just stared at him like I know I know you but I can’t remember where from….Oh God! It’s a celeb!
And then the crowd swooped in…so we weren’t able to make very good pictures. He signed my shirt I just got printed….so now I can’t wear it anymore…bummer…haha 😉
When we went back to the hostel we stopped for a nice lunch together. Then we got back in the car and we forgot all about the fact that today was the marathon for the inliners so we could not go anywhere by car….we made a pitstop at the Berlin Wall. This was a bit emotional for me, even though I know a lot about the wars but actually not that much about the Wall.
Again we had to hurry cause we were going to have dinner with our friends.
After a great evening filled with food, talks, laughter and just an awesome energetic atmosphere we went back to our hostel and I had to gather my things for the next morning…
Sunday morning at way too early….can’t remember when I really woke up….it was a rough night, hardly slept at all….nervous? No not that….that wasn’t it…no a guy in our room was snorring the night away….really loud! I went to the toilet around 6:15 and there were already some guys getting dressed in there. They looked like they had a good night rest and I had huge bags under my eyes…..
I sat down on the toilet and both on my right and my left guys sat down and well started doing their thing….sitting there in my Spongebob pj’s with my bags under my eyes trying to pee….I got up and left after they serenaded me with their intestines…left before the smelly encore arrived…run Eva run! Back to the room! Back to safety!
When the coast (and the air) was clear Udjen and me took a shower and we got dressed. In the meantime Lianne was awake aswell and when I was fighting with my hair (brought the wrong conditioner with me) she was getting ready aswell.
At 7:15 we were good to go!
When we stepped outside the hostel we spotted the 11km sign. Next stop: the metro. It wasn’t that crowed, offcourse a lot of runners but not like I expected.
We timed everything perfectly actually. There was no stress, no need to hurry, just relax. When we got to the Reichstag, I changed my clothes, got what I needed and left the rest of my stuff with Udjen and Lianne. Still an hour before the first start but I was ready and on my way to the startingarea.
I had my garbage bag on but this wasn’t that helpful afterall….well if I didn’t had that bag on I would have felt even more cold I guess…or just got myself a adidas bag they were handing out….but still I was kinda prepared with my own bag.
Still had time to go to the toilet…the waiting line wasn’t all bad….and the dixie I was standing in line for wasn’t gross either, lucky me!
At 8:45 was the first start. Groups A,B,C,D & E were now on their way. Around 9 groups F & G left and then it was our turn to step up to the start. We got a nice pep talk due the fact this group has the debutants in it. At 9:09 was our startsignal….at 09:09:20 my adventure started!!!
I was so freaking relaxed….I’m never this relaxed! I just started to run and didn’t looked at my watch. I know myself….if I see a pace I don’t like I’m going to push myself. This was no 10K race, no 10EM race, no half marathon….this was a whole marathon….42,2 km…no race to be pushing my own limits…not in the first kilometer already at least. I thought okay you can look at your pace and time at 10km….
I was really happy with the music I picked. It started with the Greatest Hits album of INXS, after that the album Big Ones of Aerosmith, then I rocked the course with Marilyn Manson’s album Lest we Forget and finally there were the Foo Fighters with Live at Wembley Stadium. I enjoyed every song of it and sang along…without sound though…haha
Back at me and not looking on my watch….at the 10K point I decided not to look, maybe at 15K….nope…it still feels really good, don’t want to ruin it when I see I’m not doing fine afterall. Or when I see I go too fast…..this is not good for me either, then I’m going to worry if I can keep this up. Skipped looking at the 15K aswell and at the 21K (at this point I said to myself now it’s going to get interresting, this is the second half. You can do it, you still have enough energy and you are determined. Look at you, you are doing great…no you are doing awesome, you rock….you rule!) and at the 30K…but then at the 31K point….my knee didn’t want to play nice anymore. It just locked…mentally this was a bit of a shock. Luckily I still had a Ibuprofen in my pocket, so I walked a little itsybitsy bit to take that Ibu. Two guys on the sideline cheered me on and screamed NOOOO don’t walk!!! Just run really slow but don’t walk!! I appreciate it guys but I’m not walking cause I’m tired, I just don’t want to choke on that little pink pill..
When I started to run again my knee gave in, twice….I took my pace a bit back and my voice in my head was like: FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK!!
Okay Eva keep calm….help is on it’s way….(referring to that little pink pill). Just hold on, it’s only 11km’s to the finish line. You can make it! When I started to run a bit better I looked at my watch, to see how I was doing at this point. Didn’t looked at my time, only looked at the bottom part of my watch for my pace. Still little under the 6 min/km.
Along the way I had the distraction of looking for Udjen and Lianne in the crowd. At 32km I still hadn’t found them, not knowing if I missed them, I knew some Junkies and people from the other crews where standing at the 36km point, maybe they went there. When I pasted the 24km point I said to myself okay now you are going to start the Zandvoort Circuit Run (a 12km race) and then you will see your friends, after that the finishline is only 6km away… you just have to trick your mind a bit.
Just before the 36km point there were Udjen and Lianne!!! So happy to see them!! Offcourse I didn’t said a thing….I knew I would start to cry right away if I made just one sound. I just smiled, no I laughed, I waved, sticking my thumb in the air and enjoyed their presence, energy, love and cheerings. They didn’t knew/noticed anything about me and my knee. They yelled I was doing great. They found out later.
A few meters after that there was Jeroen….our only other Junkie there haha, where were the other crews? Yes I started last so everyone I didn’t knew already left to see their friends.
Okay still 6 km to go! At km point 38 my knee started to nag again. My pace dropped a bit 7:30 min/km…hell no! I cranked it up till 6 min/km again….if the marathon is going to bust up my knee it is already busted at this point. Then this last 4km at this pace would not make that much difference.
So many people were walking at this point, fine by me but please do not walk in front of me, don’t stand in my way. This was a bit frustrating.
With still 3 km to go my upperlegs started to acidify a bit, they started to burn. Yeah yeah still 3 km to go…hold on!
I brought my own waterbottle, just a 300 ml bottle, to be sure I didn’t got thirsty between all the refreshment stations. In the first part of the course there were stations on both sides of the street, later on they were only on the right side. I was running on the left side and I didn’t want to make my way through all the runners to get a drink that was colder of tastier then the drink in my hand and then make my way out of all those runners again and loose energy over it. So I drank some water out of my own bottle at these points. Later on Ryan explained to me they put these stations only on the right so the people who want to keep running can pass via the left side without zigzagging through the people. The last two stations I skipped because I just didn’t knew if I could start to run again after those two of three steps of walking. Didn’t knew how my knee would hold up when I stopped running. And I thought well it’s just a few more km’s, after the finishline you can drink as much as you want. Just take some more warm water sips out of your waterbottle, you will be fine!
And there it was…the Brandenburger Tor! The pre-finishline….I started to speed up….well a little bit…or just only in my mind haha….sadly enough I really can’t remember running underneath this monument. Cause when you are in front of it you can see the finishline a few hunderd meters behind it, so immediately this is your new focuspoint.
And then there it was…..I stepped over the timing mat…a little beep and I’m in….I did it…I ran my first marathon….
Many people were lying in the grass wrapped in their yellow adidas Boost plastic covers…some with their legs up in the air. Some people tried to sit down and just fell over. I kept on moving, walked up to a sweet lady who gave me my medal. Then the tears came, I kept on walking, dried my eyes with me wristband and a girl called me: Eva! Let me make a picture of you! A few steps later another girl called me in for a picture. And I kept on moving (yes after those pictures!), drank 2 cups of water and a Isostar with too much water…ugh…
Then I had to hand in my chip….crap it is on my laces….can I untie my laces on my own? Am I shaky? No I’m not, okay…I can do this…but I’m not going to sit down. Damn I like this chip…why can’t I keep it?
Okay try to maintain my balance, untie my laces with one hand, hold my phone in the other (somehow this was important at this moment, I think by now I already texted my mom and extra-dad to say I finished and everything was okay). Bummer….can’t tie my laces again with one hand aswell…leaving my phone balancing on my foot. Why I didn’t just put it down on the street I do not know..
Okay let’s get moving again. My legs are still feeling rather good. I do start to yawn a bit…don’t feel tired though…and I don’t know if this is normal. Ah well…
I was on my way to the ‘family meeting point’. On the field in front of the Reichstag they had put up signs with letters of the alphabet. Just go stand at the letter of your lastname (or firstname or whatever you agreed to with your family/friends).
Lianne and Udjen got a bit stuck at the finishline. Luckily I had that yellow wrapper. When the sun was out doing her best the black letters on it were really hot but I didn’t think it was smart to take it off, when the sun was behind the clouds I got really cold, so I wrapped myself a bit better in that plastic thingie.
I knew I was really warm cause somewhere along the course, somewhere in the last part (by then it wasn’t that cold anymore) I running in the sunlight but still could see my breath in little clouds in front of me.
And there they were!!! Yay!!!!! I ran towards them looking like a tiny yellow caterpillar with a red head and threw myself in their arms and the tears found their way back again.
After some little talks we went to get my printout of my finishtime and my laps. I already knew my time offcourse but you still want to see the official time.
I was training for a finishtime of 4:15:53
I was aiming for 4:20
I thought I would finish in 4:25
I finished in 4:10:02
We went back to the hostel, I was still feeling really really good. We had some Subway sandwiches and just talked and had fun. Later on we went out again to get some food, some oh so good noodles. And then we went to meet the other Junkies and the girls of Girls Love 2 Run. After a few hours of congratulations, hugs, marathon stories, laughs, great fun and tons of crewlove we headed back to our hostel.
The next morning we all woke rather early, to do our earlybird NTC session in the room. All of the other guests left already so we literally had the room (and hallway) for ourselves. My legs were still feeling good but I didn’t do all the exercises all the way.
On our way back home I spotted the Holocaust Mahnmal, really have to go back someday for a proper sightseeing, and finally we spotted the streetsign of Straße des 17.Juni. This is the birthday of my brother and on this street is the Große Stern, which I passed in the beginning of the marathon. So this sign meant really much to me. Lianne pulled over and I got the change to make a great picture.
Again we got stuck in traffic for 2 hours, I normally don’t sleep in the car but this time I did get some sleep….as if I ran a marathon the day before…pfff… 😉
But due the delay we had a nice view when the sun went under.
Tuesday I went to Amsterdam to see the Junkies again…yes again…everyone wanted to hear our stories and we all got our own speech. It was really nice, we are really proud off eachother. Offcourse for running it, aswell for the PR’s that were crushed, the qualifications of two of us for Boston and for Ryan who wasn’t supposed to run at all, then wanted to do the half and ending up running the whole marathon, just for the fun of it!
It was a great weekend, really great! An amazing weekend even.
I enjoyed my first marathon so much, hopefully I will enjoy the ones after this as much as I did this one. Still not sure how come it went so well and why I was so relaxed. So I’m not thinking it will be even better after this, or as ‘easy’ as this one. Think I just had a really abnormally good day in Berlin. But we will see…..in April…in Rotterdam. That will be my next one.
A huge shoutout & bigass THANK YOU to Udjen and Lianne, without you girls I don’t think I would have been this relaxed and would not have ran this good.
Pictures by Lianne, other Running Junkies, Marathon Photos, Girls Love to Run & me