Berlin Marathon Race Recap
If it’s ok I would like to be a little detailed with how my experience went with the race. This past Sunday (Sept 25th) I competed in one of the most competitive marathons in the world. To say I was nervous is a massive understatement. Not only from a racing standpoint but also the fact that I would be traveling overseas for the first time in my life. I don’t like flying…and the thought of flying over an ocean honestly had me terrified. But there was no way I was going to let something like this prevent me from competing in such a prestigious marathon.
I arrived in Berlin 4 days prior to the race so I could get myself adjusted to the 6 hour time difference and let my body recover from the potential jetlag. Fortunately, I didn’t have any issues with either of these, at least that’s what I thought. The first few days I felt great. And the weather was amazing. Lows in the 50s and highs in the 60s. But the day prior to the race I could tell something was off with my body. I could feel a sickness coming. It wasn’t anything bad but it did have me worrying, especially since I only slept 3 hours the night prior to the race because I kept waking up from cold sweats. A fever was brewing. I was doing my best to ignore this. No way was I going to let a sickness prevent me from running well.
It’s now race morning and I’m heading towards the elite athlete tent. I was pretty much sleep walking this half mile trek. What made me not feel too nervous about this is that I’ve experienced this sleepy feeling many times recently in training and was able to have successful sessions. Plus, a little extra caffeine had me feeling better. I’m now in the elite athlete tent with all the pros. About 40ft to the right of me is Eliud Kipchoge who eventually went on to set the world record in this race. I’m surrounded by tons of world class runners. I just sat there patiently until it was time to warm up. Finally, I was able to head to the starting line and begin mentally preparing myself for what was ahead. Somehow I found myself at the front of the starting line. Like I was right up on that line. I asked others if they wanted to get ahead of me but no one wanted the position so I happily accepted it.
The race finally begins! Right from the start a huge pack forms. This was the biggest pack of runners I’ve ever been a part of in a race. It was nice to be able to have others to run with since I pretty much never get this opportunity. Unfortunately, this only lasted a couple kilometers as I felt the pace was too inconsistent for me. If you follow my training you’ll know I’m a super consistent pacer so I decided to drop back and run my own race. I honestly think this was the smartest decision I made during the whole race. I stayed conservative and was able to set myself up for a negative split race. I went through the halfway split in 1:09:23. I was wanting to be closer to 1:09 flat but I was still happy with my position. And like usual, whenever I hit the halfway point, the race just begins for me. Everything I had already run was in the past. I was focused on what was ahead. There was an instant increase in my pace and I was feeling great. My confidence was right where it needed to be. Each kilometer I was rolling passed runners. I don’t think a single runner passed me in the second half of the race. And honestly I had no idea where I was in the race timewise. I knew it was going to be a good day but I didn’t know how fast I would run. Pacing with kilometers was a little bit tricky for me but I actually enjoyed it. The splits kept clicking away so quickly. My pace increased even more the last 5K. Eventually I was making my way to the famous Bradenburg Gate where the finish line was only a quarter mile away. I cruised it in and enjoyed the amazing crowds. I crossed the finish line and my legs were completely done. Then all of a sudden the sickness that had been brewing hit me almost instantly. I literally got every ounce out of my body. I even had to spend some time with the medics before they let me leave. But I was satisfied. I had just completed the Berlin Marathon with a small 10 second PR. I ran the second half of the race in 1:07:57 for a final time of 2:17:20.
Training for this race had many ups and downs. There were so many factors that could’ve prevented this from going well. With life and with training. And honestly, I wasn’t even sure if my fitness was actually there. I bombed more than half of my quality sessions. Training for a marathon in the Florida summer can really throw off our confidence. The only thing I had backing me up was my mileage. I peaked around 160 miles per week for this build up. Personally, my mileage is my safety blanket. Without it my confidence would be zero. I’m really glad I ignored the advice I got from others to drop it. I think it’s what saved me. I listened to my gut and it worked out perfectly.
So where do I go from here? Honestly, I have no idea what I’ll do next. The Olympic Trials aren’t until 2024. I’ve accomplished a lot in my running career. I’m also getting close to that age where the decline can start happening. But I will say that my passion for this sport is higher than ever. I will find what's best for me and work harder than ever to reach those new goals. For now, I’m going to rest up and focus on my runners. The fall racing season has only just begun. I can’t wait to watch them all crush their next race! Thank you everyone for the support!