No “redshirts” on this Away Team

8 10 2011

So the Berlin Marathon has come and gone and I did not die.  I didn’t run the whole race either.  But I’m okay with that.

On September 21, the day we left for Europe, I woke up feeling healthier than I had felt in over a week.  We boarded our flight at 5pm and arrived in Amsterdam 7 hours later (midnight Chicago time) at 7:00 am.  Our room was not to be ready for another five hours and I had not slept on the plane, so sleep for that night was an impossibility.  Instead I enjoyed the people and the walk around the neighborhood, along with a couple of beers and a sandwich.

The next day, we enjoyed an Indonesian rice table and a visit to the Albert Cuyp outdoor market with some friends along with more walking.  My plan to try to run a bit was thwarted by the unbelievable crowds of people and bicycles on the streets and sidewalks of Amsterdam.  Plus, I was pretty tired.  We took the night train to Berlin that night.

On September 24, we arrived in Berlin at 5:00 am.  After maybe 3 hours of sleep on the very bumpy train ride, we were fortunate enough to be able to get in to our hotel rooms for a mere 25 Euro extra per room and attempt to get some rest.  After about a 2 hour nap, I headed over to the Marathon Expo to pick up my packet.  It was a nice long walk past Checkpoint Charlie, the old Berlin wall, and a lot of different ethnic neighborhoods.  The Expo was very large and interesting.  I’ve never been to one that had its own beer garden before!  On our way back to the hotel, the inline skating marathon had begun and we got to watch a lot of the skaters whizzing down the streets.

It dawned on me at that point that “hey, I’ve barely slept in 3 days and was sick for like ten… I really going to try to run 26 miles tomorrow?”  And I decided NO.  I’m too tired.

Sleep total for September 21 = 0 hours.
September 22 = 6 hours
September 23 = 4 hours

Not a good idea to go for the whole race, that’s for sure.  So I decided to make it a Fun Run instead, hoping to make it a a little more than halfway by running as far as the Rathaus Schoneberg where JFK made the “ich bin ein Berliner” speech in 1963.

The morning of September 25, after indeed a lovely sleep of about 9 hours, I ditched the timing chip and headed over to the race (about 2 miles from the hotel) some 30 minutes before the gun went off.  I got there in enough time to join my corral, still waiting to be allowed across the start line, and headed out with the rest of the pack.

From the area near the Brandenburg Gate we wound around the Tiergarten, past the offices of the Chancellor and the Reichstag (Germany’s Parliament) through United Nations Square and then south, up to the halfway point at Potsdamer Strasse and to John F. Kennedy Platz .  And that’s where I finished my race.  I WAS TIRED.  Having dragged myself, with as much walking as running, through 14 miles of the marathon I then made my way slowly back through the streets to the hotel.  It seemed almost anticlimactic after all the preparation and drama over the summer, but I was certainly glad to have it over.

Afterwards, my husband and I had a nice dinner and a couple of beers at a cafe and then set about to enjoy the rest of our vacation.  We left Berlin the next day and headed down to Munich for three days of Oktoberfesting before returning to the States.

And so I have settled back into my life at home, not yet a marathoner but happy to be here.



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