When everyone tells you Berlin Half Marathon is “going to be your PB”, and “it’s so flat”, and “you’re going to smash it”, you go with your hopes set high. Ed and I had a great weekend in Berlin, and on Sunday ran the race. It was hard. It was hot. It was long. Yes, it was flat, like everyone said, but when you're struggling just to keep running rather than smash your PB, that doesn't bring too much solace. I hadn't ran once since North London Half two weekend prior, and spent the week previous gallivanting around Barcelona, so I wasn't really in mega training mode as I should have been. Add to that the fact that my calves aren't in the shape they should be, and there's definitely something going on down there, be it muscle strain or inflammation of the tendon — I need to get them checked out.
As much as I love incorporating a city break and a run, you do sort of have to come to the realisation that it's probably not going to be your best race. On the Friday, we walked 24km exploring the city, and on Saturday cycled even further. Berlin is not the city not to go out for drinks in, so obviously, went out for a few on Saturday night, which meant waking up slightly hungover on race day. Damn it. Add to that the fact that Berlin decided to amp up the temperatures on Sunday which meant a 21-degree run, which we hadn't really prepped for in terms of hydration (in fact, probably didn't drink more than a glass of water the day before - oops).
These aren't excuses, they're explanations to both you and I on why Berlin Half was such a struggle. It made me really realise: I can run a half marathon. But I can't run a good race if I'm not physically and mentally prepared, rested, and trained. Injuries and hangovers don't help either, and though you can't control the weather, you can check the weather forecast and hydrate accordingly.
It's not my best, but given the circumstances, I'm actually pretty pleased with that. The course itself was brilliant; it took you past all of the key sights, including through the Brandenburg Gate which was mega, and all the way west to a cobbled village-like area, before you looped back. It was also really well organised, there were plenty of hydration stops, and the medal was cute!
We'll definitely go back and do it again — just maybe do the exploring and drinking afterwards this time!