For this year’s sports’ season kick-off Dani and I made the (not entirely smart) move of choosing the Berlin half marathon.
The big day came more quickly than expected, of course, and followed a course of colds and smaller injuries as well as a birthday party and the switch to summer time in the night before the race. So we got up at a time that actually was 5:45 although the alarm clock showed 6:45 and made our way to Alexanderplatz.
As we had no previous great times to show, we started in the last starting block. Block F. This lovely block was so incredibly crowded that it took us a good hour to actually get close to it, nevermind the starting line. As it was rainy and cold, everybody was wearing stylish yellow bits of plastic blankets that the race organizer was giving away for free. We stood waiting in the cold for about another 45 minutes until the race officials announced that it was time for the last block to move the 1 km towards the finish line. They actually had the nerve to play the German song ‘Atemlos’ (‘breathless’) as the people of Block F made their way to the beginning of the race. And then, suddenly, it was on. Dani and I spent most of the first quarter of the race taking over tons of people – some were even walking after the very first kilometer! Nonetheless, we were right on pace, actually a little faster than expected. After kilometer 7, however, I had to tell Dani to just keep running at her pace without me, as my heart rate had leapt up to the high 180s. So we hugged each other good bye and continued on our own. As we moved closer to the half way point, I spotted my dad – I quickly gave him a hug and ran on… Only to discover him again, a few moments later and on a bike! He was actually biking alongside me for a few minutes, motivating me to run on and keep the pace. I truly have the best dad in the world!
After this beautiful encounter, there was a lot to see as I ran through the city. Samba Bands played, the crowd clapped, everything was peachy. Then came kilometer 17. This lovely milestone brought not only pain and breathlessness, but also the reassurance that clearly, I had not nearly put in enough miles in training to try and go for a sub-2-hour-finish. I pushed on for the last few kilometers and all of a sudden there it was: The finish line. After only a last few painful steps, I was done! In the end, I finished in 02:05:36 and missed my 2 hour goal – I will try again next time for sure!
Dani, on the other hand, ran a new personal best of 1:56:48, beating her previous half marathon time by an incredible 20 minutes!
Tired and really happy, we had successfully kicked off the 2015 racing season.