Well, strike me down and shiver me timbers … I posted the OP and then never returned to the thread because my computer had refused to connect to the internet for some time. And now there it is - at the top, too
Now let me answer your questions:
First of all, I ran the Munich marathon, which actually is a good Marathon to start with, as it’s rather flat. How was the race? I wrote a blog entry about it and I’ll just post it here, too, as my blog archives are acting up, too and I can’t link. (I’ll modify it a bit for the international/SDMB reading pleasure. If you’re interested in the course, here’s all the facts (in German, if you go under “Infos” the menu item “Strecke” on the left will yield the course description):
Next time, I’m taking a car - the Marathon
OK. Marathon day. Strangely enough, I wasn’t all that excited. Well, I actually was looking forward to run, because I hadn’t done a long run in quite some time. That’s probably why you’re supposed to take time off from running before the marathon. Anyway. My trusty marathon book said: “Go there 2 hours early”, so I did. Ate my Marathonana (my roommate thoughtfully labelled it so nobody else would eat it) and had something to drink - hydration, hydration, hydration.
Outside it was rather chilly - 10 degrees. Oh well, at least it wasn’t raining. When I got to the Olympic Stadium I discovered that my drinking bottle had leaked in my bag and everything was rather wet. Decided not to wear the belt with the bottle. I turned in my stuff and then I had to wait for ages. I kept thinking: Next time, I’m coming later. Then I kept thinking: What next time?? I’m not doing this again.
Then a guy asked me what he should do - I looked like an experienced marathonista. Yeah, right. I admitted I had no idea, but at least I had somebody to talk to. He did not know a thing about running a marathon which I thought astonishing - I mean, do you just decide on the drop of the hat you’d like to run 42 km? I wouldn’t do that without at least looking at strategy guides or something, but he apparently didn’t. He positioned himself with the “better than 4:30” people. Never saw him again after the start, so I don’t know what became of him. I positioned myself with the 20 people who were waiting after the sign “worse than 4:30”. Considering that everybody else had joined a better group, we dubbed ourselves the “loser group”
Anyway, then we start. Everything goes rather well at the beginning. I go down a couple of streets with people cheering and bands playing at every corner. When I get to Leopoldstr., a crazy guy keeps yelling: “Spawn of the Devil!! You’ll all rot in Hell!” which makes me laugh. Then I get overtaken by the old guy with the pacemaker which in turn makes me think I am rather slow. Which I actually am. But I digress. At the Königsplatz (km 9) I meet my roommate who cheers me on and takes about a gazillion pictures. Then back to Leopoldstr. where I have now lost contact with all the other runners, only three women are behind me. As I go in the direction of the Odeonsplatz, there are lots of people milling about and I lose track of where I am supposed to go and am sorely tempted to turn a corner into the Hofgarten. But then I remember I am supposed to cross the Marienplatz and go straigt. Marienplatz is fun because my name is announced and lots of people are there. OK, so they are there to see the Glockenspiel, but I pretend they all want to see me. At least two Japanese tourists are cheering me on which I find nice as they probably have travelled all the way over from Japan to see the Glockenspiel and now they are cheering me instead.
We are running a loop around the Rindermarkt. When I get back to the Marienplatz, I can see the car trailing the last runners. OK, so I’m not really at the beginning of the field. Nevertheless, I pretend the four runners in front of me are the top runners and I am in fifth place. That amuses me for some time. Now past the Deutsches Museum and up a small hill. While that’s not too difficult to run up it gets me wondering how people can run a marathon that meanders up and down - the flat Munich marathon is quite enough for me thankyouverymuch. Kids are yelling at me: “Hey, lady, you’re the LAST ONE!” I glance behind me - the other women have vanished. Oh dear. I console myself with the fact that maybe I am the last one of 11.000, but the 11,000[sup]th[/sup] of the 7 million Munich inhabitants. This cheers me up. That and the fact that a couple of youths have opened a window and are playing the Gypsy Kings at full blast. Volare!
Then out in the direction of the Kunstpark (Munich’s night club zone basically). I am thinking: “Hey, this just saved me 15 Euros (price of a taxi to the Kunstpark)”. Then I remember I paid 55 Euros to start here. At least it keeps me amused. I have now passed km 16 and am heading for 17. Crisis! My head starts hurting from the cold and the wind and I am feeling tired. Uh-oh! I’ve run training runs like this tons of time and I never was tired. This doesn’t bode well. At least I overtake one guy who has to walk. He’s not going to make it.
Going through Berg am Laim is no fun - an industrial area, nobody else to see but the volunteers who are setting the course. I am feeling like the “Lone Jogger”. At least I get to yell “juhu!” and “hello echo!” in an empty underpass since no one is there to hear me. Then I pass a lady who is wearing a yellow wig. To each his own, I think and cheer up a little. At km 20 I have a banana and start having fun again. Around the corner there’s people barbecuing. They yell: “Last person will finish first!” I yell back: “It’s all about the sprint at the end!” and am happy I can still yell. With my newfound energy I overtake a guy. OK, he’s about 70 but I am overtaking people here!!
My spirit high lasts until about km 25. Am I going to die? I wonder. Then I check my sports watch: Pulse is rather low. I deduct from that I’m not about to die and probably should go on. Enter the Englischer Garten. By now all spectators have gone home. I am again rather lonely and don’t quite know where to go. Imagine losing my way in the Englischer Garten and having to give up. But then four people overtake me. Where did they come from? Anyway, I can follow them. In the middle of the park there’s a lady who yells like a drill instructor: “Pick up the pace! You ARE going to make it! I’m not standing here for NOTHING!” Somehow that perks me up.
Good thing, too, because now the path slopes upward. Great. Who thought of this course?? Now it’s getting real hard and I’m out here in the wilderness all by myself going upward. I make my new mantra: “What goes up must come down!” and keep chanting that. The path still goes up. At least I am passing more people who are walking on the side of the road. I am pretending to be an energy vampire and try to suck energy out of those people. (Yes, I know I’m weird but whatever keeps you running). At km 33 only the thought “I’ve got to meet my friends at the finish line” keeps me on my feet. I check my sports watch again. Unbelievable! My pulse has dropped. Apparently I am not as exhausted as I feel. I decide to plod on.
Plod, plod. A kid yells: “Lame snail!” and is immediately shushed by his mom. I have to laugh, because I really am rather lame. From the mouths of babes…Plod, plod. I’m kind of wondering that I still am plodding and actually are feeling a little better. I remember the old marathon saying “the man with the hammer will hit you”. I imagine a man with a hammer trying to hit me and I’m dodging him and running away, all the while yelling: “I’m escaping you, ha, ha”. Am proud of myself for my uplifting mental imagery. I’m thinking of Gazelle’s description of her marathon and how she just decided to go on. And I do, too.
At 36 km I start feeling woozy again. Since my pulse has dropped again, I begin thinking that I might be on my way to my heart completely stopping or else I can still go on. The thought “6 km is only once around your training course - you’ve done that rather often” cheers me up. I try to imagine my training course but can’t really. Plod, plod. At 39 km somebody passes me on a bike and yells “You’re a finisher!”. To my surprise I realize he might be right. 3 km. That’s doable. I decide to be a finisher after all and keep plodding. To reward myself I plan on having a chocolate energy bar at km 40 - yay! which I do. Hmjam - heavenly chocolate. Two people who are not running but walking pass me. At this point, I don’t really care.
Then I get close to the stadium. The local radio station provides the music - it’s rather loud and I’m dreading my ears falling off but I perk up. Then I see my roommate and a friend jumping and yelling. I yell, too, jumping seems out of the question, but I actually seem to be running.
Then I enter the “space tunnel” which basically means they’ve doused the entrance to the stadium with disco fog so you can hardly breathe and strobe lights are blinking. I emerge into the Olympic stadium which is fun. Here I am running to the sound of the Bloodhound Gang on a course that has actually seen Olympic runners. I exert myself and overtake one more person. Photographers take my picture (yay me!) and then I actually cross the finish line at 4:58 (at least my watch says that)!!! Who’d have thunk???
A volunteer hangs a medal around my neck and I stagger to the place where they have food and water. The blast from the Bloodhound Gang sound out of the speakers almost takes out my eardrum. Yikes. Then I have to go up to the upper tiers to meet my friends. Oh dear. There are about a gazillion steps. My hip hurts and I hobble up the steps. Surprise! There’s also my parents who have come to see me finish. Yay! I am exhausted but actually OK - even if I can’t walk properly. My dad and my roommate take lots of pictures.
First thing I did afterwards, by the way is have a bratwurst, then my friends drove me home and I collapsed on the couch where I have basically stayed until today. Luckily, I have a roommate who provided me with food and water and things like that because hobbling into the kitchen was agony.
Oh, and by the way, I was the second-to-last person to reach the finish line (of the people who had their time taken, as I distinctly recall overtaking a couple of people). Recovery took about a week. Then I started getting sick, I guess it was my body’s way of saying: “I stayed healthy for as long as it took, that’s it now”. Two weeks of sniffles and coughs and fever later, I started exercising again last week.
And though I vowed I would never do another marathon again, I’m already having second thoughts, dammit yes, scout.
I’m thinking about running the London marathon in April or the New York marathon in November. Or both? (Dear me.) Anybody want to join me?