I had been very nervous about this race for weeks. Not nervous about the pain or even hitting target times, more worried that all the training and sacrifice would all be in vain if I had a really bad day.
Arriving in Berlin on Wednesday I had enough time to get over jet lag. I took melotonin every night which worked well for me with no side effects. I slept well on Friday night but tossed and turned Saturday.
Race day with the 8:45 start we had time for an early breakfast and a chillout before the race. We had to walk 4k all up to the start from the hotel but we had plenty of time to do it.
We lined up about 20 minutes from the gun. The weather was cool, clear and still, about 10 degrees with a top of 15 on the day.
The gun went and it took me a minute or so to cross the line. There are 47,000 people in the race so you can imagine the crowd. From the moment I crossed the start line I was running freely however and all my fears disappeared. I felt great. My legs were full of energy and my running was fluid and was sitting on race pace thinking how easy it felt.
The Berlin course is prized for how flat and fast it is and there was no denying that fact. I can honestly say though, all I remember from the race is the spectators and other runners, I literally saw nothing else the entire way.
I felt great running consistent 4:08-4:15 pace through til half way. My Garmin was not working well with all the buildings - every k was short and my pace was recording faster than I was really going - we all measured the entire marathon at 42.8k. I was forced to run with the 3 hour pacers to have a crack at the 3 hour mark. They obviously wanted to allow for a 2nd half fade by going through half way in 88:39 - my fastest half in 12 years. I was still with the pacer at 34k, but was feeling a bit rough and started to slow below target pace. I knew I had some time in the bag but knew I could not slow down much more. Sadly by 38k I was running 4:40 pace and struggling big time. I was using all the mind tricks and focusing on my technique but I could not lift my pace beyond that. It became a case of holding on, trying reduce further time damage. Looking at the splits below 3 hours was marginal by 35k and gone soon after. I just can't think of what else I could have done so I really can't feel disappointed. I had not achieved a 3 hour standard in any shorter races; 84 for a half or 38 for a 10k so maybe the goal was too much of a stretch but I certainly gave it my best shot!
The run down the final straight was painful but the best part of the race. Through the Brandenburg gate and down in front of thousands of spectators was pretty amazing. I stopped the clock at 3.03 which was an 11 minute pb and a good result for me and certainly far beyond my expectations when I took this venture on. Sub 3 would have been great but I am still proud of my run.
5k splits went
|Ok... I'm happy!|
Taking the scalps of Rob Costello (3:13), Timmy (3:09 - an amazing run after being injured and not going to run at all) and Charlie Low (sub 4 hours) was a bonus. I was also stoked to sneak in ahead of Greta (3:04) even if she was on debut, she has run a 82 half this year.
Some mixed results from the guys with Barts and CT disappointing themselves. Enda ran a super 2:44 and Reno 2:47. Dr Skins crushed his 3 hour target with an amazing 2:54.
|Dr Skins, CT, Greta, Timmy, J-Fen, Enda, Barts, Me, Mark|