Berlin!

Almost a year ago I had a fit of madness and decided to apply for a place in the Berlin Marathon 2017. Having run  the marathon once before in 2015 and telling myself never again, I quite surprised myself with my application. In November, when the ballots were drawn, I found myself with a place and thought ‘What the heck, I’ve got a year to prepare.’ In the spring and summer I ran a few half marathons, didn’t particularly enjoy them and took longer and longer to complete each race. Throughout the training I’ve struggled both mentally and physically and so as the marathon approached I really wasn’t looking forward to it. In the few days before the event I was aching all over, had an almost permanent headache and wondered if I was even fit to take part. However, there was no way I was letting down all the people who sponsored and supported me, in particular my mum and dad, who came over from England for the occasion. I just kept telling myself I was in it to complete it and sod the time, no-one was going to think any less of me for taking a bit longer than last time. I spent the couple of days before the race dosed up on ibuprofen and repeating the mantras ‘I can do it’ and ‘Thank you’ over and over in my head.

As race day dawned I was so nervous and found myself wondering why the hell I’d put myself through this again, as its such a blooming long way to run, what was I thinking?! However, once there, the atmosphere completely took me over.

 

This photo was taken waiting to start by me on my tiptoes. It really doesn’t convey the massive amounts of runners stretching in front and behind us as far as they eye could see!

How amazing to be a part of something so huge. Even though it was a grey and fairly dismal day, there wasn’t a single part of the race that wasn’t lined with supporters, cheering, clapping and playing music and it really spurred me on. I decided to just set off at a nice steady, comfortable pace and see what happened. As I was so busy taking in the atmosphere and the sights, the kilometres actually seemed to whizz by and at around 14km I spotted Rich, little miss and my Mum and Dad, which gave me a massive boost. At the  20km mark I allowed myself a short walk and took the first of my power gels. I checked out my time so far and was astounded to find that I was actually doing really well and was on track to at least match and hopefully beat my previous time. This knowledge spurred me on no end and I can honestly say that I didn’t begin to struggle until around 36 km with only 6 to go. One of the hardest things at that stage when you’re on countdown to the finish line is that if you track your progress by gps the gps and the official mileage never exactly match. My watch was bleeping telling me I had reached 36km but it wasn’t until another 700m down the road that I passed the official sign for 36km and I have to say that really messed with my mind. I kept at it though, managed to spot my family again at around 40km (I even managed to run over and give little miss a kiss as I passed)and that really gave me the push I needed to get to the finish.

This was at the 40km mark, can you see the desperation in my eyes? Haha!

After all the worry and the self doubt, I am absolutely ecstatic to have beaten my previous time by almost 5 minutes, coming in at 04:19:54 which was beyond my wildest dreams.

Rich has been looking at all the statistics and has informed me that I came in at 4701 out of 11032 women, how amazing is that?! I am so so chuffed, particularly as a day later I’m not in nearly as much pain as last time, with just a few sore toes, one blister and a bit of aching. I would even go so far as to say that I may, possibly, be considering not totally ruling out ever  running another one. Watch this space…

 

Karen x