Berlin Marathon Weekend

I was supposed to have been running the 40th Berlin Marathon: having been with GT for the London, Paris and Venice Marathons, I’d decided if she was running Berlin and I’d be there anyway, maybe I should run it. How hard could it be? {cough}

So after a few false starts with pulled calf muscles, I started training a little more seriously back in the summer, running a couple of 5ks a week and upping it slightly to a 10k with no apparent problem … apart from a shooting pain in my right knee the moment I started off. Ah…

I’d tried to overcome this in the wrong way: taking Ibuprofen orally and directly to the knee, but I knew that was the wrong thing to do long-term so I got referred privately to a renowned expert on knee surgery/conditions who confirmed patellofemoral dysfunction and early arthropathy (which explained the confirmed crepitus I’d noticed in the knee as well). After several weeks physiotherapy and taking up cycling – 20 miles a week currently on Saturdays when I’m home – it’s improving but I can’t start training properly until the New Year.

Despite being sidelined, I took a long weekend with GT, booking a €400-a-night room at the excellent Hotel Adlon Kempinski right next to the Brandenburg Gate. Or, as I found out the week we were going, two rooms. Oops! Luckily, they were kind enough to cancel the room without charge after a couple of phone calls. Phew!

We flew out to Berlin and settled right in to the truly luxurious hotel, with a quick wander about around the Brandenburger Tor and an hour’s ride around Berlin in a horse-drawn carriage which was quite romantic (and extensively photographed), then back to an epic Thai meal in one of the many restaurants at the hotel: fabulous food but horrendously expensive!

Saturday and after the most opulent five course breakfast with champagne, it was off by underground to a disused airport to get running chips and numbers – very badly organised compared to Paris and particularly London – before wandering around to find a lovely restaurant where we ate oysters, mains and cheese with lots of wine before heading back for an early-ish night.

Up at 5.45am on the Sunday as the hotel had laid on a special breakfast just for the marathon guests, then back up for final prep before joining a group of other runners in the lobby and the short walk to the start. GT had previously got so close to breaking the four hour barrier she was hitting that everyone was saying this could be the one due to PBs on all her recent runs, but she was getting fed up with the pressure from friends and was just going to go for the run rather than the time. Saying she didn’t really like marathons, this would be her 11th and last, she said.

After GT started off I walked off to find the underground as I was heading off to the Spreepark to taken some urbex shots of the deserted theme park during the four hours I’d have to myself. Despite the 6km walk to and around the park, I couldn’t find any easy way in that didn’t have too many onlookers nearby. Ah well. I was joined by a little old biddy who followed me around chatting away in German. I speak very little German… Then back onto the train to get back for the finish. The official marathon app was only suggesting she’d started but on the train I logged into the full website and found that GT was on for a sub-four time so it was a rush to get back to the finish line in time. I managed – just – as she’d not just beaten 4:00:00 – she’d smashed it! 3:49:06!

So it turns out this means a GFA: “good for age” which means an automatic entry into the London Marathon in 2015. Oh and as I still intend to run Berlin next year, GT said it would be rude not to run that. Oh and she’s planning a girl’s weekend in New York with her mates so they can all run the New York Marathon. And on Tuesday after we’d got back and the post-marathon blues kicked in, she’s booked Edinburgh (as have I just for a practice…).

Back to the hotel for a bath and then off to get wine, walking past other finishers who all looked at GT relaxed, cleaned up and wearing her finishers’ medal just as they’d only just finished the event! A bit of a crap Italian meal before bed.

Monday saw us walking around down to the Topography of Terror, the Berlin Wall and Checkpoint Charlie before getting a taxi back to the airport and home.

Abstract Heads
Abstract Heads
Rose-Tinted Spectating
Rose-Tinted Spectating
Brandenburg Gate
Brandenburg Gate with our Hotel Adlon
Spreepark
Spreepark
Haunted House at Spreepark
Haunted House at Spreepark
Berlin Wall
Berlin Wall
3:49:06
3:49:06
2013 Berlin Marathon Medal
2013 Berlin Marathon Medal
Topography of Terror
Topography of Terror
Holocaust Memorial
Holocaust Memorial
Horse-Drawn Carriage Ride
Horse-Drawn Carriage Ride
Brandenburger Tor
Brandenburger Tor

Writen by RHM

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