It is now a week after I got back from Germany and the Berlin Marathon. Today, after taking 7 days off to recover, I ran with my wife for an easy 5 miles on the trails here in Flagstaff. The run was good, we averaged 8:09/mile and my legs are feeling fatigued, but responsive. There wasn't anything that feels like it needs special attention, so I am looking forward to easing back into training over the next couple of weeks and getting my next season started.
I spent quite a bit of time after the race, on my return flights, and over this past week to reflect on my run in Berlin. I finished the marathon in 23rd place in 2:18:18. This was my 4th marathon in the past 11 months, and despite being 8 minutes slower than my main goal, this was another successful marathon attempt. The race started out very aggressive; I had a pair of pacers that were supposed to lead my group through 25k and 30k on pace for a 2:10 marathon, which is about 3:05 per kilometer. My first K was a 3:02, and I was running 7 seconds behind the pacers, with a Swedish competitor, Mikael Ekvall.
View of my Haircut Bekele Getting Ready to Crush It!
and the Start Line Stretch
Over the next 5k Mikael and I traded leads attempting to conservatively catch up to our pacers. During that time we were consistently hitting 3:08-3:10 per kilometer, and not making up ground on the pacers. This was fine with me as I preferred to be as relaxed as possible and let my legs warm up to a little bit quicker of a pace. Finally during the 7th kilometer I decided to pick up the pace slightly to finally reel in the pacers so Mikael and I could get pulled along as we were supposed to. We ran 3:04 to catch up and then I settled in behind them to try to let my mind shut off and just get dragged to a quick time.
If you were able to watch my 5k splits you would have seen that our pace was gradually increasing through 20k (15:44, 15:32, 15:32, 15:26). On paper that would have been perfect, however, the pace per kilometer is not accurately reflected by those splits. Unfortunately, our pacers were having trouble finding 3:05, and our pace was bouncing back and forth from 3:00 to 3:15 every other kilometer. Note: that is bouncing between 4:48 and 5:20 pace per mile.
Mid-Race When I'm still in Contact With the Pacers
Because of this I ended up letting myself get dropped by the pacers around 20k in hopes that I would be able to set a more consistent pace on my own. Again, unfortunately, my legs were already worn down from the constant change of pace from 7k to 20k, and I started fading more and more ever few kilometers. I faded this way, got passed by quite a few runners and ended up positive splitting by about 7 minutes, going 1:05:43 for the first half and 1:12:35 for the second half. It was a bit depressing in the moment having come so far around the world to not be able to run the time that I wanted.
After the race my body was a wreck. I could hardly walk, hardly drink anything, and hardly eat. I realized that despite missing my goal, that I had pushed my body to the limit once again, and despite being in so my pain, my spirits were high knowing that I gave it my all. I was happy for Mikael to have finished in 2:13, and for Malcolm Richards who ran a PB in 2:15:10 to earn the first American spot. But, I needed to get back to my hotel so I could hide away in my room and wait for my body to heal itself enough so I could get some food. And that is what I did.
On the Floor Ready to Die
It took about 2 hours on my floor of my hotel room for me to finally get up and shower. Then a little bit later I was back to life and ready for a small tour of Berlin. I met up with my buddy, Adam, and we got some food and drinks and checked out a few sights that were walkable from our hotels. I decided to call it a night around 7:30pm, but then went out again to meet up with Malcolm, and our other friends from CA, Michelle and Kevin. We got a coupe drinks, relived our races; the good, the bad, and the painful. Then after a couple hours I went to bed and got up at 5am to catch my flights back to the US.
Adam Needed Coffee and Beer Revisiting Tiergarten After the Race
This Church had Bombs Crush
Through the Steeple During WWII
The past week has been pretty laid back for me as I only did one gym session and went for one hike during my week off. I took my dog out for a walk everyday as well, but I didn't do anything too strenuous and really had an enjoyable, easy week off. Now, its time to get back to training and I look forward to my next marathon attempt. I’ll let you know which one it will be soon. Wish me luck!