Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Snapshots of the Weekend: Berlin Half Marathon

I fell a bit behind on the posts last week so I'll try to pay a little catch-up now. Last weekend, April 2-3, included on of my most exciting and yet most-dreaded Sundays of the year: the Berlin Half Marathon Sunday.

You can see the excitement emanating from my pores...

I say dreaded because, well, I'm not a runner. By any means. In fact, until about last year I really truly despised running. And pretty much complained throughout any running workout I would do. (Ask my sister, she had to deal with me and my whining for years!) But I finally came around and decided that, since I love doing triathlons and do want to keep improving at them, I would just have to face the music and force myself to at least try to enjoy running. Which is why I started running half marathons. It's still my least favorite race, but at least it gets me hitting the pavement all winter so that I'm in good running shape by the time tri season comes around!

Me and my tri buddy Kerstin pre-race, not overheating quite yet, but getting there!

The start on Karl-Marx Allee

Funny thing about big races here in Germany. You see, Germans love to clap, but only in unison. There is no out-of-turn clapping and a race is no exception. So when the gun goes off, the clapping begins. And then after a few minutes of military-like clapping and cheering and general excitiment, it stops, just as suddenly and all at once. If you hear an extra lone clap, you can pretty safely bet it's me or some other sorry-I'm-not-following-the-clapping-rules! American...

 Ok, I can't take credits for these snapshots at all this week. They're all courtesy of my #1 cheerleader, Micha.

Where's Waldo? Oh, there, between the big group of Americans on my right finally talking in miles and not kilometers and the group of way-too-enthusiastic pink-shirted Italians on my left who jumped up and down one too many times  before the start for me to still consider them of sound mind.

The human barricade in front of the final start group. They had a separate start time and were escorted to the start line by these friendly helpers in green.

 Anti-nuclear energy/power plant flags abounded abounded this year.

 This sticker was my favorite: "I'm ,without radio, active" (that word order makes the saying, but doesn't make quite so much sense in English, unfortunately...)

 Ummm, not me. I was probably wishing for the sweet relief of death at about kilometer 11 while he was crossing the finish line.

 Our meeting point at kilometer 17, right past Potsdamer Platz. Micha hasn't managed to actually spot me in this race before, but this year, it worked...

...with quite a pretty outcome... I'm clearly taking one of my infamous running naps here. I think I have a picture of me during this moment from every race I've ever done...

Done! I survived my third half marathon! The heat nearly killed me--my California self is ashamed to say so but it's true--as it was a good 15 degrees hotter than it had been in months and all that training in negative temperatures did not prepare me for a race day heat wave, complete with no shade and very minimal water stations! But what can you do? I made it, Kerstin made it. The top-seeded German female runner, Sabrina Mockenhaupt, did not make it. So at least we can be damn proud of ourselves after that!

And as a side note, thank goodness I brought the flip flops in moment of genius while packing that morning, cuz the heat caused my poor sweating feet to develop not one, not two, not three, but four blisters on almost each toe! (They are thankfully already gone. And surprisingly, weren't that painful. TMI, huh? Sorry about that.)

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