Just a week before the race I caught a minor cold, which was a little bit upsetting. But through taking good care of myself I recovered just in time for the race weekend.
On Thursday I met up with my brother Anselm and our friend Julia, so we could fetch our starter packages together. Afterwards we made our way to the Brooks booth, where we spent some time; chatted with the sales rep, drank some smoothies, made some photos and enjoyed ourselves.
However this year was a little bit different, because I had elite ultra-marathoner Mike Wardian staying with me from Friday until Monday.
On Friday, I decided rather spontaneously to fetch Mike from the Airport (SXF) and from there we made our way to my place, so he could drop his stuff off.
Then we went to have a great vegan meal at Planet Veganus in Kreuzberg. After that we made our way to Hoter Intercontinental to fetch his starter package and while on the way to the hotel I provided Mike with a VIP tourist tour.
At the end of the day we walked about 30 km through Berlin, I showed Mike all kinds of sights, some secret places and explained a lot about the history of Berlin. In the evening we went to Café V for some vegan dinner.
On Saturday, Mike wanted to participate in the official BERLIN-MARATHON Breakfast Run. I asked him if he is willing to walk with me, rather then crushing the 6 km in just 20 minutes. He agreed to walk with me, so we had a nice 6 KM walk or well, I did. Mike had serious issues keeping up with my walking speed, so he constantly was falling behind and run up to me to catch up. Which was really entertaining, not only for us, but for the other runenrs and spectators. The end of the course was pretty fantastic, because they led us from behind through a maintenance tunnel into the Olympic Stadium and took us around the track towards an exit. Unfortunately the exit solution was pretty bad, so it took us nearly about 45 minutes to exit the Stadium and have some breakfast.
I filmed the finale bit, you can watch it on YouTube.
We met some fans of Mike after we left the stadium, one decided to accompany us, because Mike was asked to visit the Hoka One One booth at the Marathon expo. At which point my knowledge of the Berlin came in handy, because literally everybody was taking the subway and we decided to take the S-Bahn instead.
We travelled to Savignyplatz to change to the U1 from there and while we were leaving the station, our new travel companion Francisco stopped, because he spotted the nice smoothie place, Adam & Eve, there. We had a nice chat with the owner of the place and everyone enjoyed a fresh made smoothie, while I chose to boost my immune system with the fantastic 'Ginger Shot'.
At the expo we visited the Hoke One One booth, talked a little bit to the guys there and Mike did some photos with them. They even got me to try out a pair of their Conquest model, which unfortunately was only in 45 (US 11) available. On our way out, Mike was making some selfies with himself in front of the Buff booth and a Nathan poster. because Fransisco wanted to meet up with his people from the 'Marathon Training Academy'. Once we arrived there, the organisers were happily surprised that we brought Mike Wardian with us. They asked Mike for some Marathon tips, we had nice talk with the people there and they even included us in their group picture.
Unfortunately we couldn't stay any longer with this group of really nice people. We had to leave, because I was hosting the 'pasta party' for our running group and supporters. Mike got to meet some people from my extended social circle and everyone really enjoyed the evening.
On the morning of the race day I prepared a nice oatmeal breakfast for Mike and myself, which later turned out to be great, because it fueled us both through the entire event. After that I lead Mike to the train station and gave him instructions on how to find the start area, while I stayed back and enjoyed some alone time to properly prepare myself for the event ahead.
About an hour later I went to the start area to meet up with my brother and our Julia. Unfortunately the arrived later then planed and I got a little bit restless while waiting for them. In front of Reichstag a event photographer took a picture of me, usually I don't do this, but I figured while I wait I can do this for once. But while I was waiting another event photographer was approaching me and I told her that I already got a photo of me standing in front of the Reichstag taken by another one. Instead of just accepting my answer, she decided the best course of action was to pester me about taking another picutre. I takes all my self control to be nice to strangers in general, I don't take kindly to strangers annoying me and so that one got to experience a harsh remark to get lost.
After the others finally arrived, I managed to calm myself and get into the mood, after all we were there to the Berlin-Marathon, which is the highlight of our season.
We were a group of four people this year, my brother and Julia wanted to their own thing. Carsten, a friend of my brother, decided to stay with me so I can pace him through the Marathon, because he said that keeping a steady pace his hard for him.
Left to right: Carsten, Anselm (Brother), Tobias (Myself), Julia
Actually it was great to have someone to pace, because it forces you even more then usual to maintain a steady pace. Carsten is a humble and positive guy, which very well counteracted my sometimes volatile thoughts and helped me to get over snarky remarks of some of the spectators.
Beside some minor hiccups, especially hostile spectators, we made it in a good pace to the half marathon mark. Then around KM24 it got a bit harsh, for some reason we were caught in a section of the field where everybody was struggling, even though still moving. That really dragged us down and we lost the good pace we kept so far. Unfortunately I had issues with my feet which felt tingly, just a sensory overload, and made it impossible for me to 'sense' how fast we were going. Around about KM 28 I had enough of being dragged down and just pushed us through this section. My feet recovered and felt normal again, so I could measure our speed again and we made our way past all this suffering.
I don't know why, maybe because it wasn't my first marathon anymore, but somehow the 43rd BERLIN-MARATHON felt really uneventful. So I have to skip the majority of the course, because nothing really worth mentioning happend.
Just before KM38, I had my first major cramp at a Marathon, which cost me about 15 Minutes and it turned out later, that I wasn't drinking enough water and that was just the symptom. Lesson learned. Unfortunately I lost Carsten, because of it and he thought I continued, so he pushed to the end and finished long before the rest of the group.
I fetched some Magnesium from my mom, who was waiting there and waited for my brother and Julia to catch up, because Anselm was struggling a bit and not feeling so well.
I left them behind me and decided to push through my pain and towards the finish. Just before the Brandenburg Gate, I faintly noticed a group of spectators was calling out my name, but I was so focussed on the task ahead that I didn't really caught on to that. It later turned out, that Mike was running along the course and yelling my name to catch my attention. A group of spectators caught on to that and joined in.
About 10 Minutes after I finished the race, Mike fetched me in the finish area and was kindly enough to fetch my finisher package of supplies for me.
After the race our group always hangs around just outside the finish area to meet up with our supporters, relax for a bit and talk about our impressions of the race. It's a nice tradition, which brings the group closer together and helps to cope with impressions of the event. Mike Wardian, as a special guest, was a great temporary addition to the group.
Mike graciously took a picture with most of us, Carsten didn't catch up, because after a race he was taking care of a person who was really struggling.
I am pretty happy with the result, I got to improve my time by 2,5 Minutes, without the cramp it probably would have been around 15 Minutes, a minor improvement is still an improvment and the experience I gained from this event is invaluable.
After all I got to spend an amazing weekend with my new buddy Michael Wardian. We a blast and met several fantastic people from all over the world.