Berlin Marathon – Past and Future

I know I’ve already written about my decision to DNS the Berlin marathon, but I thought I’d write a more positive post about all the fun I had in Germany too! Here’s a quick round up of our entire trip, as well as a look in to what the future holds.

Thursday

On Thursday we flew to Nuremberg from London. I had a small run in with a luggage man who insulted my dungarees in front of the entire flight, and ended up sitting next to someone who thought it was cool to eat sushi on a plane (to that person: it isn’t cool to eat raw fish when you’re sat that close to a stranger in a confined space), but other than that this went smoothly. Once we landed we headed to our hotel to dump bags and meet Kelly, before heading to Herzogenaurach for dinner with adidas miCoach ambassadors from all over the world. Herzo is a small very German looking town and the home of adidas global HQ. Here’s a team photo outside the restaurant:

We went for Italian (carbs galore) and had a jolly good time.

Friday

We woke up bright and early to head back to adidas HQ. We kicked off the day with a run in the woods around the adidas campus with Vikki, who runs social for the miCoach channels. It was a gorgeous day and it felt so good to be starting the day in nature, breathing in the fresh air and crunching leaves under our feet. Note to self: get out of the city more often.

Next stop: the adidas employee store. Yes, it was as good as it sounds. Kit heaven! I took advantage of being in the home of adidas and picked up some gear that I hadn’t seen for sale in the UK yet; a pair of tech mesh leggings and a gorgeous knitted baselayer in different shades of grey (not quite 50 though). I have been dying for it to get cold enough to wear them out!

One floor of the employee store…

We followed this with a tour of the adidas campus. The campus was originally an American base in WW2 and the original building still stand in amongst the modern buildings, which is pretty cool. We got up to some secret squirrel business and visited top secret areas, like the future lab and Athlete Services. The future lab is where new technology is developed and they had some incredible equipment in there! Did you know it took nine years to develop boost technology? And it takes four years to develop each world cup ball? Having seen the amount of work that goes in to developing new equipment, I have a new respect for sports gear. Athlete Services is like the ultimate athlete concierge – they make custom kit for their top athletes to accommodate their wonky toes and stuff.

Some super excited runners at the start of their visit to adidas HQ…

Athlete Services! You’re only allowed photos in reception…

With bae (Adi Dassler)

We love to jump

After all this excitement we dashed off to the train station to take the train to Berlin, which took five hours. We passed the time by talking running, reading magazines (I went for Women’s Health and Brides) and watching the man from the refreshments cart do magic. We also got off at the wrong stop in Berlin, but made it to the hotel eventually!

Saturday

A big day! We were up early again as miCoach had a surprise for us. I hate surprises, but even I’ll admit that this surprise was a good one. An exclusive Q&A session with top marathoners, Emmanuel Mutai and Geoffery Mutai! We asked them all sorts of things that they’d probably heard before. My favourite bit was when we asked them “What do you eat before you race?”, to which the response was two puzzled faces followed by “…breakfast?”. A delightfully simple answer! (When pushed, they elaborated that this involved “probably bananas and bread”). After a photo session we nipped off to the expo!

These two!

The whole gang!

The ladies collected their numbers while I arranged deferring my place and we met back at the miCoach stand. We checked out the latest miCoach tech while drinking non-alcoholic beer and snaffling cereal bars. I was carb-loading too, in support of my fellow marathon babes.

I think my favourite part of the expo was having a photographer follow us around – it made people look at us a lot and you could see them desperately trying to recognise us. I should have worn a jumper saying something like “I’m a nobody; as you were” or “Nothing to see here! No, really.”.

After lunch we went and did some sightseeing around Berlin (great boat ride) before heading to eat more pizza for dinner.

Sunday

RACE DAY! A day of mixed emotions for me. I was disappointed not to be running (especially as we woke up to weather practically tailor made for running a marathon!) but at the same time relieved. I was sad not to run with the girls but excited to cheer them on – I love supporting at marathons!

Three awesome ladies before kicking some marathon butt

Walking to the race start – it was such a beautiful morning!

I found myself a prime spot between the Brandenburg Gate and the finish line and watched everyone come through, including the winners! I watched the medal ceremonies. I witnessed a huge variety of faces come down that final straight; elation, pain, relief, joy. I saw strangers holding hands to cross the finish line, parents running with their children, runners stop to kiss their loved ones metres from the finish line. It was everything great about running and I swore to myself that I’d be back in 2016 to give this amazing race everything I have.

The Future

So, I’ll be running the Berlin Marathon 2016. The wonderful thing about this is that I have a year to prepare! What a luxury. I’ve decided that between now and then I’m going to be doing everything I can to make sure that Berlin 2016 is my best marathon yet. In the lead up to the actual training plan I’m going to focus on getting strong and lean; not necessarily running huge distances, but getting a good mix of running regularly and doing enough strength work to get in to good condition.

As for the plan itself I think I’ll use the adidas miCoach plan again. I loved the way that I can set a complementary strength programme to sit alongside the running plan, as strength training is really important to keep me injury free. You can also sync it with your iCal and set up email alerts for each workout – in the run up to Berlin this year I got an email at 11:30pm every night to remind me of the workout set for the next day and this really helped keep me motivated and on track! I would also love to speak to a running coach and maybe get some online coaching. If you have any recommendations, please send them my way!

It’s been a while since I’ve set a new PB, so I’ll be aiming for one in Berlin next year. My marathon PB is still 4:15 from my first ever marathon in Brighton so I’ll definitely be going for sub-4, but I would love to set a more ambitious goal. I’m going to see how my training goes and evaluate closer to the time. Exciting!